(Wait long enough from the festival, forget most of the bad stuff, remember only the good :).
Heavy metal. These girls know how to have a good time.
I guess I'm just a sucker for dominant pairs of guitars. I recall thinking, what silly lyrics, what silly bass lines, but ignoring this for love of the guitar riffs. (Looking these guys up, turns out they're having a come-back. Whatever; it was good times.)
Checked out Varg at one of the Marquees, felt like boring, generic metal.
Grave Digger were a pleasent surprise, the name sounds like a death metal band but there's a strong, interesting Irish-folk theme going on. Better give them a second chance.
Then came Helloween.
Pleasently excited to see, for the first time in the festival, a band I grew up on, they came on the stage to the sounds of the intro of Keeper of the Seven Keys part II and played songs from all times (Eagle Fly Free, Dr. Stein, last song was Futureal, etc.)
From Helloween rush to the Marquee to see Korpiklaani. These guys sure got better than four years ago! Heavy, groovy, folky metal. Didn't notice before that the bass player was such a master, strumming with four fingers.
After Korpi I payed a visit to Papa Roach at the main stage, verified I don't like their nu metal sillyness.
Waited to see Prong, felt like generic thrash.
Went to see Rotting Christ at the small stage, making up for the fact I missed their visit to Israel. They felt experienced, but I just don't like brutal very much.
Payed a visit to Heaven Shall Burn, reminded myself why I skipped them and moved on to catch a relatively front row for Korn at the Main stage.
Now, I like Korn's albums but the live show was, well, not very good. As if the heavy rain got the better of them, they just didn't feel as groovy as usuall. Jonathan's gestures got relatively annoying, I found myself in the middle of the circle pit (a.k.a. Mosh pit, a.k.a. Fogo) where my sandals failed to cope with all the army boots around me. The old fuck pissing into (an uncorked) bottle and letting it to the ground, spilling on my foot was probably the straw that broke me, and I retreated to the back rows.
After that went to see Soulfly. I remember thinking, this is death metal but very well performed. Couldn't get in the tent, they were supposed to be a mainstage act but becuase they were late they were switched to the smaller Marquee 2. Should try them again some day. Also, recall thinking the lead singer is wasted.
From Soulfly rush to the main stage to see the Twisted Sister. Throughout this day, every conversation began with a question whether I saw TS last year, to which I replied no, which brought an urging, "o, you really gotta see them". After this show I completely understand why, the style is heavy metal and they play it with so much energy that's just incredible.
Every few hours the screens showed yesterday's video highlights, Saturday's always concluded with Twisted Sister's flipping mother nature off. Guitar player thanking the audience after "We're not gonna take it" for last year as well as this year. Gus proposing to his girlfriend after the guitar player. Next song after that I left early, having had enough rain soak through my sweatshirt, two t-shirts and pants.
Saturday started with rain again, and with a sip of Rum, courtesy of my neighbours. This day mostly drowned on. Rereading my comments I see a-lot of "generic metal". I did feel that way. I've a hard time with no distinguished guitar, better yet- two distinguished guitars. I'm not sure if the problem was with the sound or with the bands or with my ears; fact is I just didn't have much fun, mostly waiting for most of the non-headliner bands to walk away and for the time to pass.
I can't recall anything from Vanderbuyst nor Brainstorm even though I recall having fun. I've a much easier time having fun in the morning.
Amarnthe's concept of three vocalists sounds promising, at least for me, didn't fullfill. Also, I seem to recall some sort of keyboard composing a major part of the band's sound and I couldn't see a keyboard player on stage.
I can't recall anything from The Devil Wears Prada, I do recall not having fun and walking away.
Caliban's audience said they were the sh*t, I recall thinking, more generic death metal.
Bullet for my Vallentine did well to remind me why I don't like them.
Agnostic Front, well, I seem to recall them being a Punk outfit; again sounded like generic death metal.
Within Temptatin, well. Their last album just makes me feel bad. Why every did they decide to base a theme album on such a rehashed concept such as a bunch of good guys fighting a bunch of bad guys, with no subtelety or reason to care, is beyond me. Sharon's voice is very nice and all this euro trash was a nice refreshment, but this wasn't very good metal. They did play Stand My Ground and a few songs from Mother Earth. Sadly, no song from Enter. Wacha gonna do, aye?
Went to see Down at the Marquee to see what it was all about; sounded just like generic death metal.
Went to see Saxon at the front stage, mostly to be in a front place in time for Slipknot. What a great surprise: such fun heavy metal, such a sweet audience.
Such masters. Six fascinating individuals in loose coordination on the stage, and such incredible music. The raising drum platphorms, sitting down at "Spit it Out". (I did not regret my sandals at the third row :P.)
Walking away from Slipknot on clouds. 1:30 AM, first time I see the crescent moon rising above the festival grounds.
Sunday morning. Dew replaced the rain to be shaken off of my tent.
This day started with the incredible Voodoo Six. Such strong bass lines, so much fun heavy metal.
Pretty Maids didn't leave a mark on me, even though I recall having fun.
Moonspell, I think, are trying to have a gothic theme. They still sounded fairly boring. Listening to their stuff on youtube they sound cool. I think I'm going with the bad sound / bad ears theory. Bummer.
Started waiting with Stone Sour, more generic death metal.
Wait 1 hour.
In Flames. The first reason I came to this festival. A combination of bad sound, In Flames really wants both guitars at the same sound level, not as they were- lead guitar and suppport, bad setlist: no songs from Jester's, none from Lunar Strain / Subterrnean; only one from Whoracle (the incredible The Hive). I mean I enjoy the two newer albums but it's just not as good as the old stuff. Bad crowd, surrounded by f*cks who came to see Iron Maiden and were willing to pull through In Flames to have a fron trow. Most insulting is the fact the lead singer did not always pull through, missing some of the words. There is no way I couldn't have fun, knowing the new albums by heart as well; I suppose it's possible to have fun while being dissapointed by an objectively bad show, surely not the stuff of a front stage, festival headliner.
Pull through another hour to wait for Iron Maiden.
What can I say beyond what's already been said about these masters. Three dinosaurs were running like madmen with their guitars across the stage, jumping and kicking and riffing their way through hell. Relentless drums, incredible bass lines and above all the almighty Bruce, screaming his soul out, changing outfits between songs, etc.
And what a show they put on, changing the background before every single to the appropriate image, about six different statues rising behind Bruce's patwalk at different times, a giant pirate chasing Adrian Smith at Run to the Hills, Fireworks, firespitters, I'm probably forgetting something, there was simply so much going on the stage.
They didn't perform Hallowed be thy Name, nor did they perform anything later than 2000. They did perform "Afraid to Shoot Strangers" which I recall hearing on my way to the enlistment barracks, a powerful experience.
A nitpicky anecdote, Rather than saying "The good that man do- is often turned with their bones. But the evil that men do- lives on and on" Bruce reversed the sentence, which doesn't work quite as well :) Fairly sure that's a mistake :).