New day and new bands to see, this day it was time to see The Hives at the biggest stage at the Grand Square and also The Weaklings at Rock Stage. A few people sat and had a beer waiting for the band when I arrived to the Rock Stage and 6 o clock. The Weaklings is a Malmo based band formed in 2015 and have so far released an EP. According to the info sheet the band is playing dirty rock n roll with a touch of both country and Motorhead. I hadn’t heard the band before but the description appealed to me and I decided to give them a chance. When I asked drummer Rickard Dahl (ex-Nasty Idols, ex- Jet Black Combo, ex-69 Hard etc) what The Weaklings sounded like he said –you have to wait and see, that only made me more curious and at 6.30 it was time for the band to show their stuff.
One by one the members entered the stage and two songs were played after which singer Persson thanked the crowd. I’d say their music felt like rock n roll teamed up with country and folk rock influences with Persson on acoustic guitar. Persson thanked for the support and said that it was nice to see so many attending the show. I haven’t got a set list to the show and since I never heard the band before it was hard to know the song titles but I really liked what I heard and The Weaklings offered a little different musical twist to Rock Stage. The members are:
Dick Persson – lead vocals, guitar
Finn Aspe – bass
Per Nordberg – guitar
Rikard Dahl – drums
The song “Beautiful Mess” was dedicated to their Perssons friends Patrik who had his birthday this day, the song is taken from the bands selftitled EP. The band let the music do the talking and the show was over after 40 minutes.
I had really wanted to hear a little more from the band since I thought their music felt fresh and offered something different to the mostly harder kinds of metal and rock act that was booked at Rock Stage. By booking The Weaklings the organizers really showed that they include all kinds of rock music to their lists of bands and that they aren’t afraid of stand out.
So was it time for the band Frank to hit the stage. Frank comes from Trelleborg, a few kilometers south of Malmoe that released their debut album TATTOS N BOOZE 2015. Behind the drums we find the same Rikard Dahl as in The Weaklings and we also find bass player Chrille Fridlund that played together with Dahl in 69 Hard and Jet Black Combo. One special thing with Frank is that they got two bass players, what that does to the music I don’t know but it looks cool. After a short line-check was it time for Frank to do their thing.
“Good For U” was the first song out and just as when VA Rocks performed it was a bunch of photographers in the pit that took shots of the band. It was full speed ahead from the start and singer Widerberg said – we are Frank, nice to see you all here. “Hail To The King” followed and it looked pretty cool when all of the front men stood in line singing b-vocals. Especially guitarist Delén and bass player Fridlund seemed to like the fact there were so many photographers in the pit and they both posed and pointed towards the pit when they played. Next song up was a cover of the D.A.D song “Bad Craziness” a song that Widerberg said have had a huge impact on the band. Line up in the band is:
John Widerberg – lead vocals, guitar
Mikael Delén – guitar
Linus Hagfeldt – bass
Chrille Fridlund – bass
Rikki Dahl – drums
It was pretty obvious that the band was used to performing on stage because they had some really good co-operation with the crowd and the audience seemed to be enjoying the Frank experience. “Let’s Party” and “Son Of A Bitch” continued the show and even though there were a lot of people in the tent if wasn’t full. The stage filled up with smoke and it was hard to see the band when it was time for “Hey Hey My My” and it was Delén and Fridlund that moved around the most on stage. The members are all really competent musicians but their music never grabbed a hold of me, there were nothing that blew me away. Sure it was well played rock music but maybe a little too polished for my taste. “Wag My Tail” followed and Delén said that Rock Stage was doing a really good thing for the rock/metal community and that this should have been done several years ago.
“Fade Into Black” continued after which Widerberg said it was time for a drinking song and traded his waterbottle into a beercan, cheers Malmoe he said and the band fired off “Last Call For Alcohol” which is a song originally done by the Swedish glam/sleaze act Hardcore Superstar. The band had a few minutes left and said it was time for a song that already had been played at this stage before during the festival, then by the band Lizette&, and it was “Ace Of Spades” this time with Fridlund on vocals. The band pulled of a pretty mighty version of the classical song and the moment the crowd heard the bass intro they began to cheer. That cover ended the show and the band thanked the audience for the support.
Again, the members are all skilled musicians but in this case their music didn’t appeal to me. It wasn’t band but it wasn’t great either, it was an in between kind of show. It was great fun though to see Fridlund and Dahl on stage together again, but it was nevertheless a medium kind of show.
Good For U
Hail to The King
Son Of A Bitch
Hey Hey My My
Wag My Tail
Fade Into Black
Last Call For Alcohol
Ace Of Spades
The last band out at the Rock Stage this night was Eleine, but I decided to go to the grand square to see The Hives instead. According to other photographers I met during the week the stage at the grand square was going to be really high up and at the edge of the stage they had placed a camera maneuvered by an assistant that filmed the artists on to the huge screens beside the stage. Behind the camera guy there were a huge box which it was forbidden to stand on at the beginning of the festival but after complaints from the photographers it was now allowed to use it to stand on.
The Hives comes from a small town in Sweden called Fagersta and was formed in 1989, their debut album BARELY LEGAL came 1997 and since then have the band put out 5 more albums. The latest one came 2012 titled LEX HIVES and throughout the years the band have toured world wide and are one of the biggest bands in the garage rock/punk rock genre. This stylish band is also known for dressing alike on stage and they have had some pretty good looking stage clothes during the years.
Huge letters portraying the band name was placed at the back of the stage and in the middle a drum set was placed. Now it was only to wait for the band to come on stage and the crowd that was gathered started to get a little anxious. Finally it was time and the clock had struck The Hives time.
The band got the theme of “Jaws” as intro music and when the guys showed up the show started right away with “Come On”. “Hey Little World” followed straight away and singer Almqvist was all over the stage at the same time. One of the bands biggest hits “Hate To Say I Told You So” continued the show and the song comes from the VENI VIDI VICIOUS album from 2000. The song has been featured in the soundtrack to the movies Spiderman, Boyhood and Daddy’s Home as well as in the Tv show Nitro Circus, the video game Rolling and Singstar series, in other words it’s a popular song. Almqvist said it was fun to be in Malmoe and that the fans had to scream all the time so it wouldn’t get quite. Do we have any doubters in the crowd tonight he asked, we always have a few of those. “You Got It Wrong” was dedicated to all of them which made the crowd go crazy. As the song ended all of the members froze and stood still for a moment after which Almqvist said it was a nice weather this night and the weather depended on the fact that The Hives was in town. I see that I have to tie my shoe he said, I don’t care what you think I do it my way and the way I want he said and reached down to his shoe. “Main Offender” set fire to the crowd which is another brilliant song from the epic VENI VIDI VICIOUS album.
“Take Back The Toys” followed and the line up in the band, with the new bass player is:
Howling Pelle Almqvist – lead vocals
Nicholaus Arson – guitar
Vigilante Carlstroem – guitar
Chris Dangerous – drums
The John And Only – bass
To the joy of the fans Almqvist jumped down into the pit in the middle of the song saying hello to the fans, when he got back up he said the band was half way through the show and now it’s time to do it my way. Is everyone fans of The Hives? Ok, well it’s about 4% that aren’t fans yet, well we have to play more songs and try to convince them then. “Die, All Right!” followed and Almqvist thanked the fans for the support. Are we doing alright up here he asked the fans that all cheered back, now it’s time for a song you all have to jump and clap along in. When I present the song you all scream for me? He walked on top of one of the speakers and introduced “My Time is Coming” and jumped down facing the screams from the crowd. When Almqvist put back the mic on to the stand it dropped as Almqvist said I look cool anyway, I have done a lot of misses during the show that you haven’t noticed, that’s how good I am. Everyone who loves The Hives throw your hands in the air, here is “Won’t Be Long”.
The band put on a great show and lined up hits from beginning to end, the band was on fire. This isn’t the first time we’re performing at this festival Almqvist said, how many have seen us before and how many are going to see us again? “Walk Idiot Walk” followed which woke up every single person at the grand square. Almqvist once again jumped down into the pit hooking up with the fans firing them to sing even louder with him. He wanted to see everyone clap their hands in “Try It Again” and he went again down into the pit. He then divided the crowd in two sides and said it was time for a scream a long contest. It was uncertain which side that won, I only know that Almqvist seemed satisfied.
Ladies and gentlemen the time has come, have you given your all for The Hives tonight he asked? Do you want to give it your all, if you are ready to do that are we in the band ready to receive you and fired of “Tick Tick Boom” and when the band played the intro they froze for a moment and then continued the song. Now that we have come here Almqvist said you have to go home and tell everyone you know what happened here tonight. The Hives tonight have been a little like the big bang and I want to hear you scream once more for the band, then Almqivst jumped down into the pit and asked one of the fans her name and where she was from, it’s important that we know each everyone he said and then introduced parts of the band. Then he walked over to a guy in the crowd and asked the same thing. Ok now we know each other he said after having repeated the procedure a few times and then jumped back on to the stage. On three I want to hear you scream the name of your hometown!! Well I haven’t introduced the entire band yet he said, I have forgotten myself – the king of Malmoe!! But Almqvist wasn’t satisfied yet and jumped down into the pit and then over the fence into the crowd that divided and created a road for him to walk on. I want everyone to sit down now, and almost everyone in the crowd did as he said. Well there’s always someone in a hat that doesn’t do as told Almqvist said, it’s so typical! He shook his head and the crowd laughed, keep on sitting down and I’m going to tell you when you’re going to jump up again, he went back on to the stage and shouted NOW and everyone jumped up. Meantime while all this happened the band continued to play the song and the jumping ended the show and the band thanked the fans for this time. “Tick Tick Boom” ended 65 minutes of music but the fans wasn’t satisfied with that and shouted eagerly after encores.
While the huge letters on the stage lit up Dangerous came out and kicked off the first encore with his drum beat and it was “Bigger Hole To Fill” that was the first encore out. The extraordinary Almqvist had the fans clap their hands during the song while saying we couldn’t believe that you were going to still be here shouting for more music from us. Ok we have one more song to play for you and the last song for this night is “Patrolling Days” but don’t be sad Malmo lets enjoy this song together and remember we love you all. He jumped into the pit looking really happy with the huge respond the band got from the fans this night.
That song ended an amazing night together with The Hives, the band put on an astounding performance and Almqvist is one of the best front men in the world. I had really wanted to hear more than 80 minutes of music from the band because they are not keen on touring in Sweden these days. The bands high voltage and energetic garage rock n roll/punk rock was the perfect way of ending this day at the festival and why can’t more bands be like The Hives when it comes to live performances was the remaining thought in my head when I walked home. The only thing that brought down the show a bit was the irritating camera man and the high up placed stage. But the show saved the night at the grand square and I really long to see The Hives live in action again.
Jaws theme (intro)
Hey Little World
Hate To Say I Told You So
You Got It All Wrong
Take Bake The Toys
Die All Right!
Won’t Be Long
Walk Idiot Walk
Try It Again
Tick Tick Boom (band introduction)
Bigger Hole To Fill
Again, it was really bad the festival hadn’t booked any harder band to perform at the biggest stage this year, The Hives was excellent but they aren’t a metal band. Friday was the last day of the festival but since it wasn’t any band that I wanted to see that was performing at Friday the last day for me at the festival was Thursday. The band I was going to see this day was KrashKarma and was going to perform at Rock Stage. The bands show was going to kick off at 8 and I came to the festival at 7 in order to meet up some friends. The weather wasn’t great and it had been raining on and off during the day. The info sheet wrote that KrashKarma could be described as the White Stripes in metal clothes, and since I hadn’t heard the German act before I thought I should give them a try.
A few minutes before scheduled time the duo came out on the floor, Skisimas with a drum and Dietal with a megaphone shouting that it’s time to come to the tent and see the band. The walked out to the bar outside the tent shouting and that gathered people to come and see what was going on inside the tent. It was a pretty odd but smart way of announcing the beginning of the show.
The duo went up on stage finishing their first song after which singer/guitarist Dietel thanked the crowd saying the duo had been travelling far to come to the beautiful city of Malmo. He was all over the stage during the show headbanging his long hair. The lightings weren’t great during the show because the band had put their own lights on top of the speakers and the stage light wasn’t used to the fullest. Drummer Skisimas asked how the crowd was doing and asked if they had been visiting Rock Stage much during the festival. Dietel and Skisimas shared lead vocals and since her drums were placed at the front of the stage besides Dietel both of them acted front persons. When I got out from the photo pit I could see that not much people had gathered to see the band which felt too bad. The tent was hardly semi full. KrashKarma is:
Ralf Dietel – lead vocals, guitar
Niki Skisimas – drums lead vocals
Dietel thanked the crowd again asking if they were going to see the next band as well, he said they had some technical problems to take care off. He said he thought Malmoe was a very clean and nice town and then he told the crowd about his guitar that was custombuild and included both a bass guitar as well as a regular guitar. He showed the crowd how to switch between bass and regular guitar and I guess all that was done in order to stall the time and to get the engineer to fix the technical problem. In the middle of the next song Skisimas left her drums and took out a huge cymbal and a baseball bat pounding on the cymbal.
It’s hard to describe what kind of music KrashKarma plays, it was a different show to attend that’s for sure. Dietel wanted the crowd to teach him how to count in Swedish because the next song up was called “9 Lives”. He counted to three and then the crowd was going to shout die, he did that a few times and was then satisfied. When it was time to sing the chorus he invited the crowd but they were pretty reluctant to do that.
I thought the band put on a fun and unusual show and it was a long time since I was surprised by a live show and band. Even though I have issues with the constellation as a duo I thought they did the best they could and it was actually refreshing to see something new and outside the box. Skisimas jumped down into the pit and thanked the crowd but then again technical errors occurred with her mic that didn’t work. Come closer to the stage she said because now it’s time for a ballad in “Voodoo Dolls”, the song was played only on guitar while Skisimas stood in the pit singing. Dietel wanted to hear the crowd clap for Skisimas as she walked back up on to the stage. In “Angels And Chainsaw” Dietel wanted to see a moshpit and as the song kicked off a took a look at my watch and saw that the time was soon to run out for the band. A moshpit wasn’t formed and the crowd stood still and watched the band and I have to say that the crowd was really lame.
One more song remained for the band to play as Dietel said the duo had some merchandise for sale across the tent. “Tears of Gasoline” followed and it closed the show. Dietel tried to have the crowd scream at his command but that didn’t go well. The band should have credit for not giving up on the lame crowd and continue to urge the crowd to sing a long and clap their hands the entire show through. Dietel thanked the crowd for coming and seeing the show and then the duo walked off the stage.
I was impressed by the fact they could make so much noise despite the fact that they were only a duo. I thought they did a great job and it was nice to see a band I haven’t seen before. Sure their music and approach was a bit different and that maybe threw people a bit off guard. It was too bad the show suffered from technical shortage but the duo did the best of the situation and delivered a solid show. While Dietel was on stage taking down the gear Skisimas walked over to the merch stand talking to people.
This unusual experience closed the festival for me and I felt content with what I had seen during these days. But once again it was pretty clear to me that if there hadn’t been a Rock Stage that booked heavier bands there wouldn’t have been much to see at the festival. Why insists the organizers of the festival to discriminate against an entire music genre? What makes it so hard to book metal acts to the festival? Past years at the festival booked heavy acts like Joan Jett, The Haunted, Testament, Flogging Molly, Dropkick Murphys, Danko Jones, Entombed, Hammerfall, Hardcore Superstars and Watain, why is it so hard to book something heavy nowadays?! And it’s pretty strange that the Posthus stage was closed after only four days that stage has also been known for booking harder acts.
Thanks to the heavy metal gods that Rock Stage exists!! Rock Stage is a nice oasis that spread the rock n roll word to people and where it’s OK to have a beer and listen to heavy music. I really hope Rock Stage returns next year because they are a well needed place for rockers and metalheads. Unfortunately the festival this year again reported 29 cases of sexual harassments, why can’t people keep their hands to themselves and let innocent people enjoy music and have a good time with friends!? Last year the number was 18 cases, however the festival works really hard to increase the numbers of files reported and the police managed to arrest suspects in 17 of the cases. Sexual harassments are a despicable action that doesn’t belong at a festival or in any parts of the society and I’m glad the festival is doing their job to make the festival safer.
Best shows at the festival this year were The Hives, Team Anarchy, Dead Sleep, Va Rocks and KrashKarma. The shows that left more to wish for were Frantic Amber and Frank.
Thanks to the head of communication at the festival Johan Fridh for help with photo pass.
And a huge thank you to all the staff and security at Rock Stage, you all did a solid job, thanks for your efforts in order to make the festival a little more fun for fans of harder music!!
More info about Rock Stage
More info about the bands