Sweden Rock Festival 2006
(Sölvesborg, Sweden)

by Scott Heller
All pictures by Klaus Kokholm

From Aural Innovations #34 (August 2006)

The Sweden Rock was really awesome. The weather was perfect, if not a bit too hot. So many killer bands. The first and last days were the best. The first day I saw Cathedral (Entombed play at the same time). I liked the Cathedral songs a lot and but I did not like Lee Doren's vocal delivery at all. Cool heavy riffs but his style of singing, more like talking, is really bad.

Setlist: ?. The Tree of Life and Death, Soul Sacrifice, The North Berwick Witch Trials, Commiserating the Celebration, Autumn Twilight, Corpse Cycle, Upon Azrael's Wings, Ride, Hopkin's Witchfinder General

Next up was DORO, and believe it or not they kicked ass! She played almost all old Warlock tunes, including two from the first record and one from the second. Great!

Setlist: Earthshaker Rock, I love the Ruin, You are my Family, Live to Win, Burning the Witches, True as Steel, Band Intro, Hellbound, Rise above the Ashes, Fight, All we Are, Metal Racer, ?,

Missed Lord Belial but caught Krokus. Pretty damn cool set of mostly old classics. One of the 3 new songs was cool but the others were not. Dragonforce played at the same time. Did not see them. Saw Porcupine Tree and that was better than expected in some way. Left at the encore to catch Leafhound and they really rocked. Pete was really into it and I got sucked into it as well. It was in a small tent and there was good energy. Only real complaint was the new guitarist just does not rock. He stands there like he is just going through the motions and never gets in to it. Really poor stage presence from the band except for Pete. Next up was Krokus and what a blast from the past. Last time I saw them was back in 1986 and WASP were opening the show. Wore my Krokus studded leather wrist band for the first time in 20 years! Storache, the singer, is the only member left from the old days but he still sounds amazing and can really belt it out. It was a cool set and I had a good time. The new songs were not that good though and they played some surprises as old songs go.

Setlist:Nightstalker, Long Stick goes Boom, American Woman, Hellraiser, Screaming in the Night, Spirit of the Night, Angel of my Dreams, Easy Rocker, Mad World, Rock City, Revolution, Celebration, Headhunter, and Bedside Radio

Caught a lot of Jeff Healey and that was excellent. His set was almost all cool covers including Highway to Hell by AC/DC. Did not give a shit about Journey so went back to the camp and came back for George Thorogood who was the best band of the day up until Deep Purple, who blew me away. It was a set of all old classics and the added bonus that they jammed them out and Morse and Airey were killer. What a day.

Day 2

Arch Enemy features the Spiritual Beggars guitarists. Heavy thrash with this insane German woman singing who sounds like cronos in a blender! You would never know it was a woman singing. They were ok but I hate those death metal vocals. Gehennah played a cool set of Motorhead meets Charged GBH before the singer passed out from too much sun and beers!!! Next up was Metal Church, a metal band I never got to see. Only one original member now. Their new songs were not very good but the classic stuff, including finishing the set with 3 from the first record, was great. Next up we saw some of Neil Turbin's Death Raiders. He was the original Anthrax singer on the first record, Fist Full of Metal. He played one third originals and 2/3 Anthrax stuff. He still has an amazing metal voice and was totally into it. A very small crowd at this one. He was brought down by an awful guitarist who thought he was Yngwie Malmsteen (he used to play in Steeler, which Yngwie was in). The guy just played these insanely fast ripping solos all the time and it just did not fit with the music at all.

For Queensryche we went and sat in the shade at the beer tent and could watch them on the screen on the big stage. It was a cool theatrical show with the singer acting out all the stuff from Operation Mindcrime, including the female part, but the music just did not excite me and it was exactly the CD, so it could have been a backing CD for all you would know. They played a lot of Operation Mindcrime 2 as well but not classics from the first 2 records... not that interesting. I heard a lot say this was the highlight of the festival… not for me. Then, it was CACTUS time! I thought it was fucking great. Great new singer and they rocked and jammed a lot. It was a pity that they had so many problems with the bass as this threw the whole band off but great stuff. New songs were damn good as well.

Setlist: Long Tall Sally, Swim, One Way or Another, Cactus Music, Brother ILL;Muscle and Soul, Oleo, The Groover, Part of the Blame, Evil>drums solo, Boogie, Parchment Farm, Rock and Roll Children

Then it was the highlight of the day, VENOM!!!!!!!!!!!!! Massive stage set up with 42 Marshall cabinets (only 2 on each side miked up!). This was totally cool and raw, nasty punk meets black metal attitude with fire flames, explosions, etc... and Cronos, who was very evil. A 55 min set of classic Venom including the encore of Evil In League with Satan. Amazing stuff.

Setlist: Witching Hour, Die Hard, Welcome to Hell, Bloodlust, Antichrist, At war with Satan, Countess Bathory, 7 Gates of Hell, Burn in Hell, Warhead, Metal Black, Evil in League with Satan, Black Metal

I next saw WASP and I really like these guys and they totally delivered the goods. A kick ass set including 4 from the first record and two from the second record. The lead guitarist played some great stretched out solos during Sleeping in the Fire and the Crimson Idol. Great stuff.

Setlist: On Your Knees, Murders in the Rue Morgue, Love it??, Love Machine, Wild Child, The Widowmaker, Sleeping in the Fire, The Real Me, The Crimson Idol, I wanna be somebody, What I'll never Find, Blind in Texas

I went back to the camp as I did not care at all to see Def Leppard. Another cool day.

Day 3

The day starts off with an amazing set by Anvil, another band I never got to see but have most of their records. Original guitarist, singer and drummer. They totally kicked ass. Loved it! Recorded it but the middle 20-30 minutes is fucked… awesome. Then we went and saw the whole set by the old Swedish metal band, Overdrive. I liked their two records they made in the early 80's. Original members except a new young singer who was great. They were very very good. Fun stuff.

Setlist: march of the Crabs, 666, School Love, Jackhammer, Forged in Fire, Winged Assassins, Smokin' Green, Race against Time, Computer Drones, White Rhino (w/drum solo), Blood on the Ice, Mothra, Metal on Metal

The Michael Schenker Group (MSG) was next and they pretty much sucked. Schenker was not into it and something about his strange band, they just seemed off. The crowd was into it anyway. Molly Hatchet, now that totally kicked ass. I had not seen them since 1982!!!! Only one original member who is pretty much sidelined to a rhythm guitarist even though he was the original lead guitarist. Every song they played was great. Kick ass southern rock and roll. I should have recorded them.

Setlist: Bloody Reunion, All over Now, Gator Country, Song of the South, Stop the Madness??, Devil's Canyon, drum solo, Beatin' the Odds, Top of the World, Dreams, The Journey, Jukin' City, Flirtin' with Disaster

Sodom played at the same time, so I missed them. Never did get to see them. Old school German thrash! Next it was Onslaught... remember Power from Hell??? Only two original members but still thrashing it out. I only saw half their set as it was hot and I was not really in the mood. We sat in the beer tent and watched The Sensational Alex Harvey Band. That was actually pretty damn cool. Alex Harvey died in like 1981 in a car crash, I believe. Strange costumes, strange rock songs. Cool. Back to the small stage to catch the British NWOBHM band, Blitzkrieg, which only has the original singer and a bunch of younger guys. I know one of the guitarists (Ken) as he was the long time boyfriend of an old penpal of mine. Met him two times some years back. Anyway, they had some very cool songs for sure and we watch most of their set until The Sweet started… yeah.. that's right, The Sweet. It is only Andy Scott, the original guitarist of 37 years. This was fun to see but they started the set with all their bubblegum classics because the crowd was yelling these all out. The singer said, well, I guess we might as well throw out the set list after they played 3 they were not expecting to play. The crowd was huge, young kids and old folks. Strange. I left after about 30 minutes to catch the Ted Nugent press conference. I got in the front row and got to ask a question and Ted was totally insane. Completely over the top and outspoken and cursing and saying fuck every fifth word. It was entertaining but he is a bit twisted. I caught two songs of the Quill, who sounded really good and then ran straight to get a great place for Ted Nugent. He was my favorite back in the 70's so I have a soft spot for the right wing motherfucker. Anyway, after a few tracks to warm up he totally ripped it up and had a great time. Classics but with a jamming attitude. Lots of improv here. Cool set.

Setlist: Stormtroppin', Wango tango, Snakeskin Cowboys, Free for All, Wang Dang Sweet Poontang, Blues Jam, Cluster Fuck Me, Raw Dogs and War Hogs, Soul Man>Hey Baby, Dog eat Dog, Raise Hell, Motorcity Madhouse>Baby please don't go>Motorcity Madhouse, Cat Scratch Fever, Stranglehold, Great White Buffalo

I had to run straight to get a good place to see Alice Cooper, who had a really cool stage set up and would turn out to be the best of the day, perhaps. He played a lot of classics and the new songs were damn cool as well. He was truly excellent.

Setlist: Dept of Youth, No more Mr. Nice Guy, Dirty Diamonds, Billion Dollar Babies, Be my Lover, Lost in America, I never Cry, Woman (of Mass Destruction), 18, Nervous, Is it my Body?, Go to Hell, Black Widow Jam (instrumental), Devil's Food, drum solo, Feed my Frankenstein, Welcome to my Nightmare, Steven, Only Women Bleed>Steven, Ballad of Dwight Fry, ?, I love the Dead, Schools Out, Poison, Wish I was born in Beverley Hills, Under my Wheels

Next up was Whitesnake. I really love the old blues style records from '78-'82 that they did and luck for me most of the set was from this era, which caught me by surprise. The only drawback was that the two guitarists are these LA hair shredders and have no idea what a blues guitar solo is like and this destroyed a lot of the guitar solo sections of these classics. Coverdale looks and sounds amazing. Opened with Burn>Stormbringer>Burn, the Deep Purple classics. Great concert as well.

Setlist:Burn>Stormbringer>Burn, Slide it In, Love ain't no Stranger, Walking in the Shadow of the Blues, Love Hunter, Slow and Easy, Is this Love?, Ready an' Willing, guitar solo jam, Crying in the Rain, Ain't no love in the heart of the City, All your love Tonight, Here I go Again, Take me Away, Still of the Night

What a day. I was on my feet almost the whole day for 12 hours, sitting only for a few minutes here and there. Great festival. The Sweden Rock beer though (45kr) was not very good. We drank the Nordludsgud, which tasted good and was cheaper but had less alcohol.

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