SKOGSROJET Festival 2013: SATURDAY
Sister Sin are one of these new generation bands hailing from Sweden. To be honest, I don’t know much of the band or almost any of their songs but decided now to check them out. The band is fronted by Liv Jagrell and she turned out to be quite valid singer. She might sound a bit like Doro Pesch but she still does have a strong sound of her own. “End of the Line” was a great track and it clearly stood out from the rest of the material. The band has a lot of potential so perhaps I should just shape up and try to get know them better in the future.
Faster Pussycat is one of the bands formed in Hollywood during the biggest glam metal boom in the 80’s. The band was most successful with their self-titled debut (1987) and their 1989 album WAKE ME WHEN IT’S OVER. Later on the band went through several changes and now vocalist Taime Downe is the only remaining member from the original line-up. It’s been seven years since Faster Pussycat released new music (THE POWER AND THE GLORY HOLE, 2006) but the band has been active touring act and I think that this was their third visit to Sweden within past few years.
The band opened show with pair of 80’s gems. “Cathouse” and “Slip of the Tongue” was then followed by THE POWER AND THE GLORY HOLE track “Number 1 With a Bullet”. The bands current heavier sound made new and old songs work well together. Downe looks very different to his 80’s blonde look. His current look is quite hard explain other but saying he now looks like a crippled but elegant version of Marilyn Manson. There was no single moment during the show you could see him without cigarette in his hands but a chain-smoker was vocally in good shape still. The set list was a mix old and POWER AND THE GLORY HOLE tracks but the band also performed one brand new song titled “Pretty Ok” which was nothing less or more but pretty ok. The highlights were definitely the classics “Bathroom Wall”, “Don’t You Change That Song” and ballad “House of Pain” which was bands biggest hit to date. Overall Faster Pussycat did a strong performance and there were no dull moments during it. Along with Pretty Maids, Lita Ford and Twisted Sister this was one of the better shows in Skogsrojet this year.
U.S. shock rockers Lizzy Borden have been regular visitors to Sweden since 2008 when they performed here for the very first time at the Sweden Rock festival. The bands show is all about horror/shock rock with tons of theatrics so they’re always great band to watch live. This time the band is touring under the title “30 Years of American Metal” and, as the name says, the band is now celebrating its 30’Th Anniversary. Lizzy opened up with brilliant title song of “Master of Disguise” followed by debut album LOVE YOU TO PIECES track “Red Rum”. Vocalist Lizzy was busy man as always. The man constantly changed his outfits and masks during the show and at one point a man was swinging on stage with huge axe. The highlight of the show was when Lizzy, during the “There Will Be Blood Tonight”, “bit” beautiful dancer girl from the neck and sucked up her blood like “a real vampire” does. On next the man leaped into the audience and painted people’s face with “blood”. There was lot of things going on stage and generally speaking the show was great but there were a few things which I didn’t like. First of all, although Dario Lorena is a really qualified guitar player, at times I was missing a second guitar player. Another minus comes from the set list choices. Seriously, does it make any sense to play worn out cover songs like “Rebel Yell” and “Born to Be Wild” when you have only 60 minute set?
THE 69 EYES
Finnish band The 69 Eyes has managed to create a successful career especially in Southern and Eastern Europe but it was pleasant to see that there’s a great demand for the band in Sweden as well. The men in black kicked off their set with new X album track “Love Runs Away”. Vocalist Jyrki 69 was surprisingly active on stage and so was the whole band actually. It must have been more than 10 years when I last time saw this band playing live so now there was a huge difference in the bands stage presence compared to the old days. What’s also different to the old days is the fact that the band has nowadays enough good songs to play. There are good songs starting from “Gothic Girl” and “Brandon Lee” to latest hit “Tonight” and list goes on. “Wasting the Dawn” was the only track included from bands “pre-gothic” era and it was quite a refreshing anomaly among the newer songs. The 69 Eyes played a good show and it was striking to notice how many girls dressed in black were following the band’s gig.
Danish veteran hard rockers Pretty Maids have been on a strong upward trend in recent years and they are now little by little catching up with similar popularity as they had during the golden 80’s. The band released its latest album MOTHERLAND just few months ago and they now opened up with pair of songs from it. “Mother of All Lies” and “I See Ghosts” worked out fine but it was the third song, “Needless in the Dark” from the classic FUTURE WORLD, which finally which aroused everybody in the audience. Ronnie Atkins is a great front man and it seemed that his recent stint as a special guest on ongoing Avantasia tour has brought some new manners to his stage presence. New bassist Rene Shades is another strong character on stage and he clearly brings some fresh energy to the band. Pretty Maids set was really solid and it was pleasant to notice, that although the 80’s classics got a very warm welcome, it was “Drops of Heaven” off from the bands previous album PANDENOMIUM which got the loudest applause from the audience. Pretty Maids show was one of the better ones on the whole festival.
Twisted Sister is one of those bands who were really big in Scandinavia during the 80’s. Although the band haven’t basically released any new material after 1987 they’re still capable to come back annually and headline festivals here. Twisted Sister opened the show with a bang and ageless classics followed one another. “You Can’t Stop Rock ’n Roll”, “Shoot ‘Em Down” and “Stay Hungry” made the audience go wild and in fact, regardless of what song they played, it was like the band was receiving unconditional love from the audience. Twisted Sister’s songs are easy to adopt because their music is not about virtuosity or of any very profound message. Their songs are simple but filled with great melodies and huge refrains a ’la “I Wanna Rock” or “We’re Not Gonna Take It”.
The band gave up their famous makeup and outfits few years ago but you don’t really miss those things anymore. Dee Snider is still an incredible performer and always gives 100% on every show. A man was still hyperactive on stage whereas the rest of the band stayed more in the background. A.J Pero had his turn to shine during drum solo and guitarist J.J French repeated his famous “incendiary speech” where he states out his opinions about the current state of music business and record companies. He praised the longevity of real bands like Kiss, Alice Cooper, AC/DC and Twisted Sister (of course) compared to current American Idol etc. generated artists which are just disposable products. Of course he got a noisy applauses because the man has a point.
I’ve seen Twisted Sister many times and although they now just repeated the same old set list, I never got bored, which is a testament to their ability because I was entertained. Twisted Sister figured out years ago exactly what works for them and their fans and that’s precisely what the Skogsrojet crowd received on Saturday night. Until next time then…
BTW: Because time is limited you sometimes have to choose which bands to check and which you need to skip for reason or another. For this report I picked up selected bands but tried to include as many as it was possible.