Sweden Rock Festival 2007- Sölvesborg, Sweden June 6th- 9th
From Aural Innovations #37 (Sep 2007)
This year Sweden Rock was 4 days long, with a sort of half day on the first day with mostly Swedish bands and the Australian Pink Floyd as a headliner. Lars, Klaus and I arrived at the festival site about 2 in the afternoon after an uneventful drive up (although Kaj got stopped by the police at a checkpoint, something about the tires on his Danish car…). Weather is great and we set up our tents in pretty much the exact spot as last year…..which worries me a bit if it is hot and it looks like it will be.. (Sun wakes you up as it gets very hot in your tent at 7:30 in the morning!).
It is about 16 and we can hear Randy Piper’s Animal playing on the stage closest to where we camp. Sounds like a poor man’s version of WASP. Singer does a reasonable Blacky Lawless imitation. He plays 3-4 of the old WASP songs.. The Danish band Switchblade is the first band we see for real and it is high energy Rock and Roll and not that good. Ken, the singer is a really great guy, but he simply can’t sing.. Sorry Ken… The band rock out though.. We catch a few minutes of Vomitory (extreme metal) before going and seeing all the glam folks at Crazy Lynx. They play true 80’s hair metal and the people are digging it. Not very interesting musically for me. We saw about half of WOLF. I was surprised they had some quite good songs.
Now, something I was really looking forward to, Mountain of Power (on a very small stage) with Janne Stark. He is rock guitarist from the 70’s. They have a very good singer from Italy (sings in Andromeda) on a few songs like Sitting in the Pool and Fire and Water by Free. They also played Day of the Eagle by Robin Trower. Their original tracks were quite good as well. Only played 30 minutes, sadly. At 20:30, we caught, Black Debbath, a very cool Norwegian band, with a great sense of humor (but you need to be Norwegian to really appreciate it!). Some of their tracks have a real stoner groove to them. Good band.. We caught a couple of songs of Andromeda, as mentioned above, but were not into it. Some sort of Italian prog metal. A little after 22, we caught Annihilator. Heavy thrashy stuff. Both guitar players and the bass player all do lead vocals. We walk by and see that Crash Diet have a totally packed tent. They play 80’s hair metal as well. Funny…. People still love this shit!
The Australian Pink Floyd had a really nice show and it was finally dark. They played for a couple of hours and it was mostly songs you would expect a Pink Floyd tribute band to perform and they had nice visuals. The best versions were Us and Them, Set the Controls for the Heart of the Sun (better than Roger Waters did last summer), and Time. They opened with Shine on you Crazy Diamond, played a few Division Bell songs, Learning to Fly, Run like Hell, Comfortably Numb and Money. Very good but I think that they take too few chances and the singers are not that great. The Danish Pink Floyd Project is a better band.. That was the end of Day 1….
8:30.. IT is 44C in my tent (108F)…can’t take it anymore.. off to the shower… I am totally psyched to see Black Sabbath tonight.. wow… but first is a lot of other band starting with the Tokyo Dragons (UK). Real R&R with dual guitars. Bluestone Company (from Japan) is next and playing with Chris Duarte. This should be good! They are amazing….. not that many people seeing them though.. Heavy blues rock. These Japanese guys really can play. The lead guitar player plays a nice slide as well. I have to find their CD… Great band.. First surprise of the day.
We are now sitting in the beer tent and listening to Thunder… I don’t care for them at all but they have a quite decent crowd on the main stage. Next up is Backdraft but we catch a few songs of Eldritch. They are ok and playing to a small crowd. The lead guitar player is really good but they too generic a style of melodic speed metal. Not that interesting..
Backdraft, are a Swedish southern rock like band and they kicked some ass. Really excellent high energy southern boogie rock… guys with long hair, rocking out! Axel Rudi Pell is still playing but that is not that interesting for me, so Quiet Riot will be next. Last saw them opening up for Black Sabbath on the Born Again tour in 1983! I am actually quite surprised how amazing Kevin Dubrow still sounds. He is as he ever was. They have Frankie Banelli on drums and Alex Rossi on guitar and a guy named Chuck on bass. A pretty big crowd are checking them out and they play a mixture of stuff from their new record as well as all the ones you might expect. A couple of really old ones as well. Not bad…better than I expected..Point Blank are next. I used to see them a lot from 80-83 but this was way better than any of those shows as they have gone back to their blues roots and totally kicked ass. I was totally blown away. They had an amazing lead guitar player. They totally rocked and did a ton of jamming. I will have to look out for their new live CD out soon. We heard about 20 minutes of Meat Loaf and could see it on the screen but his was not for me at all. Theatrical but musically, nothing I liked much. Great female singer though… We just watched all of the extreme Death metal band, Marduk.. Scary fucking people….. They did have a few really cool songs but mostly when they slowed down… insane…people up in the front…
Quiet RiotPoint Blank
Thin Lizzy, is one of those bands that I have never seen before, believe it or not! While, I regard this version as a tribute band as none of these guys are original members and they have been playing this stuff under the banner of Thin Lizzy for 10 years and have not written one new song… tells you it is all about money and a tribute to Phil and nothing about a real Thin Lizzy… Anyway, John Sykes can really sound like Phil sometimes and other times not really. IT was a pretty good set but more or less what you would expect and I did not like Sykes lead work at all. Just blazing fast and no feeling at all..
Setlist: Jailbreak, Waiting for an Alibi, Don’t believe a Word, Cold Sweat, Are U Ready?, Chinatown, Dancing in the Moonlight (which we actually could!), Massacre, Still in Love with You, Bad Reputation, drum solo (Tony Aldridge)., Warrior, Suicide, Boys are back in Town
We left and saw the last two songs of Dimmi Birgur, a Norwegian Death Metal band. Wow. They had a huge crowd and were very intense visually and aurally. They were more melodic than Marduk and the vocal was not as intense. They also have keyboards. Soon it is time for Black Sabbath with DIO!
The sound was massive and the visuals on the screen were killer! I was totally sucked into it and was so amazed to see a version of Black Sabbath that was actually jamming! They played the same set they have been playing for months, but this is the shortened set they are playing in Europe, having dropped a few songs like Lonely is the Word and the Devil Cried (which I had really hoped to hear as it is better than the Shadow of the Wind, the other new track they have been playing). Anyway, it was amazing…. They totally jammed on Voodoo, Sign of the Southern Cross, Heaven and Hell, Die Young had a killer intro…. It was great to hear I, Mob Rules, Children of the Sea, Falling off the edge of the World was one of the highlights as Tony plays such a great solo at the end… Blow away…… good night…
This day started off hot and we went to check out Tyr, a band from the Faeroe Islands. This is true Viking metal. All the songs are based on Viking sagas and things like that and they sing in English and Faeroe language. They were really good but I could only see 20 minutes and we were off to see the Swedish band, Anekdoten, whom I had been waiting to see for more than 10 years! They did not disappoint but they also did not play as heavy a set as I expected, give this is a really hard rock festival. They started with a track that was very post-rock like but with mellotron. It got better and better though but I still think they overuse the Mellotron and it makes some of the stuff sound too much a like. I think they played mostly quite recent material. Next up was the high energy Irish band, The Answer! Never heard of these guys but they are for sure into Led Zeppelin. The soundman was terrible though and the kick drum was way too high and the guitar way too low. It was damn hot in the sun during their set.. could not take anymore…I liked their fast version of Preaching Blues and they ended the set with a long jam.. Great…. Band to look out for in the future…
We needed some shade and found a place to sit inside the round beer tent to hear Kreator, one of the thrash bands I have never heard live before.. Fucking hell, they were intense.. The singer was really angry and political and pushing the audience with statements (he started the show with this one), “now, were going to have 75 minutes of violence, anger and hate. I want you to kill each other!” They had a big mosh pit. Did not see that at any other band… They actually were really good and quite melodic at times as well… Cool…..Next up, was one of my favourite bands, Gov’t Mule, who were playing their first time ever in Sweden. They had the best sound of any band I heard at the festival and they rocked! The set was all originals and no covers, which is unusual for them. Warren had a lot of problems with the tuning of his guitars and seemed quite annoyed. Anyway, they rocked and played a great set with some cool jams in About to Rage, Rocking Horse and Mule… They were great but not amazing..
Set List: Blind man in the Dark, High and Mighty, Brand new Angel, About to Rage, Bad Man Walking, Streamline Woman, Larger than Life, Rocking Horse, Banks of the Deep End, Slackjaw Jezebel, Piano Intro>Soulshine, MULE
Kreator Gov't Mule
Next up was November, a great Swedish band from the 70’s, which have recently reformed. This is only their 3rd concert since like 1975! Quite a good crowd and the band did not disappoint. They were excellent… I could see the concert was video taped.. I hope they make another record…
Now, I went back to the camping area and they were having a birthday party for Jens (43). Morten and Michael from Artillery, Kaj, Susan, Stefan and his wife, Klaus, Jacob, Lars and I were all there. Lots of booze and some small gifts and snacks.. People were in a great mood.. I left after 45 minutes to meet Sue..
Watched about 30 minutes of Talisman (there last show ever), with Jeff Scott Soto. They rocked out even though it was some sort of pop metal. After this your choices were Tiamat or Skid Row…… I wanted to sit down and it was packed over by Tiamat so we went over to the main area and sat down and heard nearly the whole Skid Row concert. They were ok but I don’t like them much. Crowd was into it. I thought they were much heavier when I saw them back in like 92 and Pantera was the opening act…
Ok.. now it was Aerosmith time… I was not sure what to expect.. Last time I saw them was in 1988 on the Permanent Vacation tour (just before they leaped off the rock wagon and onto the commercial charts of pop…).. Anyway, they were pretty damn good and had a really cool show with stuff on the screens that went along with the festival and songs but they still managed to do some long jamming. They opened with a long jamming version of Love in an Elevator and then played about 45 minutes more of their pop rock from the 90s, Dude looks like a Lady, Jaded, Love on your knees and some stuff I never heard… the they went into the blues with Baby please don’t go, Hangman Jury and all the old stuff but they played in a really jamming way…. I hated the pop keyboards to Seasons of Wither. That ruined the song. They did not need these commercial style keyboards on all the old songs… That guys should just not play.. Anyway, we got Last Child, Draw the Line, Dream On, Sweet Emotion, and Walk this way. They played about 1hr and 45 minutes and really gave 100% for sure.. Real showman…
Damn.. I was fucking tired today after 3 nights with only 4.5 hrs of sleep in a row… fucking hot this morning again… Off to the showers…ice cold…
Just had some pizza and an ice cream and am waiting for Focus.. Another of those bands I have never seen. Only one original member but that is ok… One more than Thin Lizzy has… Anyway, the crowd started off really small and grew and grew and the band was actually amazing…. Wow.. the guitar player totally smokes… How needs Jan Akkermann?? I was really blown away. Hope to see this band again. Really great Dutch progressive rock with that Jethro Tull feels due to the flute playing.
SetList: Syliva’s Stepson, House of the King, something from Focus 8, Yihipppie Yeah, Eruption, Sylvia, Harem Scareem, ?, Hocus Pocus..
It was getting really really hot and I was becoming a zombie from the lack of sleep and the heat but Trouble was next and I was greatly looking forward to this! They were fucking great. Wow… A really great sound as well with the dual guitars. A really good set of songs. The new material was good as well and I was surprised to hear the songs from the first record to close the set… The singer, he does not quite have the range as he had in the past and he chain smoked cigs throughout the whole concert… Hope they come back to Europe again..
Setlist: RIP, Sleeper, Touch the Sky, Plastic Green Man, Pray for the Dead,
Mindbender, Going Home, End of my Daze, Memories Garden, Psychotic Reaction,
All, Tempter, Bastards will Pay..
I was really looking forward to Black Oak Arkansas but we were really disappointed, mostly because the sound was terrible. Jim Dandy’s voice was super high and the guitars way too low. We heard the opening song, Wild Bunch, Uncle Elijah (from the 1st album), Heart Breaker and Post Toastie (Dedicated to Tommy Bolin, whose brother plays in this band). Off to catch Fastway… This is like the first concert they have played in a very long time. Fast Eddie has been really out of action for a long time. He looked good and had a great tone. Not sure how much of the set we missed but I heard they started 15 minutes late (and they also stopped 15 mins before they had to), so I think they did not play that many numbers. Anyway, were heard some great ones, all from the 1st 2 records. My baby’s gone and left me, Say what you Will, Feel me Touch Me, Non-stop love and Easy Livin’. I guess we missed the great Led Zeppelin inspired, We become One… Good to see Eddie back playing… Should say the singer was excellent… young guy…
I really wanted to catch Magic Pie (who I heard were great!) but I was so wiped out I went back to the camping area to try to rest for an hour. Several others were there resting or sleeping as well. Ha….
We sat in the beer tent as the heat was oppressive and heard most all of Iced Earth, who was really good. I did not have many expectations of them. Ripper Owens, who sang with Judas Priest is the singer now and does a great job. Powerful stuff. Melodic power metal.. at it’s best… Next up was Korpiklaani from Finland. They played an hour of high energy beer drinking Finnish polka metal. Fucking excellent. We had a great time but it was stiff ling hot in the tent and I was sweating like a pig…. When this was over we went up and sat on the hill and waited for Krux (Leif from Candlemass) and the doom metal… We heard about 30 minutes of REO Speedwagon. It was hard to gauge how huge a crowd they had but they a few of the old songs like Riding the Storm out but their new single that he announced was terrible AOR pop crap… We did not get to hear the whole concert as Motorhead was going to start! Yeah… Anyway, these guys were good and very Candlemass like but with keyboards..
Motorhead totally rocked the place. Lemmy looked and sounded amazing and the band played really fresh. Hard to believe I would say it was not loud enough, but it wasn’t as I could hear the fucking people around me talking who were not into it like they were suppose to be. No musical surprised until the end when Fast Eddie came out and joined the band for Bomber, Ace of Spades and Overkill. Fucking great… Quite a lot of old stuff in the set, Stay clean, Metropolis, Chase is better than the Catch, Over the Top… Excellent show… top form…
Scorpions with Uli Jon Roth.. This is something I truly though I would never ever get to see. The old Scorpions records are some of my all time favourites, so even though I am not into modern Scorpions music much, I was excited and almost half the concert was tracks from the 70’s! I should say that the new songs were actually really good and quite heavy. Rudolph Schenker is in amazing shape for a guy in his mid 50’s and he runs all over the place… I can’t remember all the newer stuff but the old stuff they played was Holiday into Longing for Fire and Uli came out for Pictured Life, He’s a Woman, She’s a Man, We’ll burn the sky and an amazing version of Fly to the Rainbow.! It would have been nice if Matthias had sat these songs out as his guitar was often louder than Uli’s, which was a bit annoying. Also, Rudolph should have changed his guitar tone to a more 70’s sound for this part of the set as it was too metallic sounding.. just petty shit.. really… Uli came back out and they played In Trance! They ended the show in a really heavy way with Dynamite, Blackout and Rock you like a Hurricane. I think they played like 2hrs and 10 minutes! Great show and a great Sweden Rock 2007… I will be back for sure…
Reviewed and all photos by Scott Heller