SWEDENROCK 6-9 June 2007

July 8th, 2007
by Arto Lehtinen

Saturday June 9th 

TROUBLE

The first band to check out on this final day of the festival, were the American doom metallers Trouble, lead by the rather spaced out vocalist Eric Wagner. It must be said that Trouble go down much better in the darkness of a club than on the “Festival Stage” in broad daylight. Still they’ve got a brand new album out called “Simple Mind Condition” and what better way is there to promote their first album in twelve years than in front of legions of enthusiastic fans. Of course most of songs making up the setlist were classic, although not quite all of them. (Marko)

The Chicago legendary doomesters Trouble had got quite an pleasant job by being the first band of the main stage on the 3rd and final day. However a plenty of people had crawled to testify Eric Wagner and companies on time even though more people could have been in front of the security fences.

The five pieced definitely rocked hard and played damn tight for sure. Frankly the stuff what Trouble represent suites extremely well to a smoky and sweaty club atmosphere for sure. This kind of big outdoor stage construction doesn’t fit and give that fair impression of what the Trouble is supposed to sound. However several immortal Trouble classic got aired for example “Plastic Green Head”, “Come To Touch The Sky” “Victim Of Insane” and etc… The guitarist duet Franklin and Wartell    

As for the frontman Eric Wagner, obviously he was more than thrilled about playing at Swedenrock as taking pics and walking from one part to another part of the stage encouraging to people to bang more. At least his smoking habits will kill him as he lit a new “cigarette” soon after when the previous one had been smoked.
Trouble did damn good despite they would better suited to clubs. The band is expected to tour Europe later this year…. (Arto)

 

BLACK OAK ARKANSAS

Next on the Rock Stage were Black Oak Orkansas featuring in their ranks, in addition to of course Jim Dandy, also the erstwhile Deep Purple guitarist Tommy Bolin’s brother Johnny Bolin on drums. The band put on a good show and the public really seemed be getting into it, however at the same time on the Sweden Stage the legendary ex-Motörhead guitar hero Fast Eddie Clarke and his newly assembled Fastway lineup were rocking away, so after a couple of songs of Black Oak Arkansas it was time to migrate.

 

FASTWAY

After being kicked out of Motörhead Fast Eddie Clarke put out a string of classic albums with his new band Fastway, initially featuring also ex-UFO bassist Pete Way. The band quickly rose to dizzying heights of success back in the early to mid ’80s, but towards the tail end of the decade, however, Eddie was in a bad shape and after two more albums with the ex-Roll Ups frontman Lea Hart at the helm the band disbanded in the early ’90s. As for this new ’00s lineup, the singer, Toby Jepson, formerly of the Little Angels, is a respectable frontman with a good voice. The same can not, however, be said about the rest of the band and even Eddie, while still playing like a god, seemed a little stiff in the joints, but perhaps that’s just the fifteen years of laying on one’s laurels showing. Still, Fast Eddie has probably much left to offer the world of rock, so let’s keep our fingers crossed for a new album and more shows.

Misunderstood
All Fired Up
Steal The Show
Another Day
Heft
Telephone
Say What You Will
Feel Me, Touch Me (Do Anthing You Want)
Non Stop Love
Easy Livin’

 

 

 

BLIND GUARDIAN

In quick succession, next on the Festival Stage were the German power metallers Blind Guardian who put on a muchly improved performance over the one they gave at this very same festival a couple of years earlier. Surprising amount of classic songs from the early and especially the mid and late ’90s albums made for a very satisfying experience for all involved. The best environent in in which to witness these masters of myth and high adventure would be in a club. Still a great show by the charismatic Hansi Kürsch and his band of minstrels.

 

ICED EARTH

Just as soon as Blind Guardian took their final bows Hansi’s partner in crime on the excellent Demons and Wizards project, Jon Schaffer and his boys, Iced Earth began their onslaught on the opposing “Rock Stage”. Wow, what a show, rivalled only by their awe-inspiring compatriots, Symphony X, these Americans were firing on all cylinders. The loss from their ranks of singer Matt Barlow prior to the recording of their latest album, “The Glorious Burden” in 2004, was a great disappointment, but the ex-Judas Priest, Winter’s Bane and Beyond Fear vocalist Tim “Ripper” Owens was under the circumstances probably the best conceivable replacement. Also featured in the bands current line up is ex-Winter’s Bane and Beyond Fear bassist Dennies Hayes and returning on the drums is Brent Smedley who has previously played on the “Days of Purgartory” and “Alive in Athens” records.

From the newly released single, a track called “Ten Thousand Strong”, a taster from the upcoming two part album, was the only new song played. The rest of the set was made up of “Iced Earth” from the debut, “Pure Evil” from the “Night of the Stormrider”, “Violate”, “Vengeance Is Mine” and “The Hunter” from “The Dark Saga”, “Burning Times” and “My Own Saviour” from the “Something Wicked This Way Comes”, “Jack” from the “Horror Show” and “Declaration Day” and “The Reckoning” from “The Glorious Burden” albums. Having seen Tim “Ripper” Owens with Iced Earth, Beyond Fear and Judas Priest, it must be said the this time takes the prize. The screams were piercing and the man’s whole presence and charisma on stage were on whole another level. Even the often claimed lack of emotion was nowhere to be seen. The only downside to this exhilarating spectacle was that due to some sort of communications breakdown the set was cut short at about 50 minutes in, with still well over half an hour of playing time left. No encore, no nothing, the band was simply gone, leaving the public staring in bewilderment. Short, but sweet. On the upside, the trimmed Iced Earth show allowed us to witness the last third of Suzi Quatro’s surprisingly lively set, which was brilliant.

Burning Times
Declaration Day
Violate
Vengeance Is Mine
Pure Evil
The Reckoning
The Hunter
Ten Thousand Strong
Jack
My Own Savior
Iced Earth

 

 

 

KORPIKLAANI

Another band on the tent stage, what a shame indeed. Korpiklaani should have played at least on the fourth stage for sure as the tent was absolutely packed and people were standing outside desperately trying to get a glance of these forest metallers. Another reason for why the tent got packed was as Iced Earth quit the set 30 minute earlier than expected and several passers-by were willing to see Korpiklaani. Anyway the clans took the stage by storm literally. The folk oriented metal with the tremendous speed encouraged the audience to dance(!!) and sing together such as “Beer, Beer”. Of course it was amusing to see as several Swedes tried to sing the lyrics in Finnish. The band’s stage manners and performance was real fast-packed and entertaining indeed. Therefore they are seen in several festivals around Europe. Anyone digging the folk troll forest metal with the wild entertaining stage performance, Korpiklaani is an obvious choice.

 

  

 

KRUX

Krux, could be easily described and said to be some kind of the Swedish all star line-up having Leif Edling from Candlemass, a couple of former Entombed guys and the former Arch Enemy guitarist and the gold throat Mats Leven on the mic.

Mats Leven is a tremendous excellent, brilliant vocalist, being able to sing and use his voice with a wide capacity, from the clean singing to the more harsh style. Leven’s stage chamastica definitely filled up the whole stage leaving other members more in the statics role. The material ain’t that slow funeral doom putting everyone into the everlasting sleep instead songs have hooks and above all catchy riffs created by the doom riff wizard Leif Edling. Occasionally it makes to ponder if some riffs have been borrowed from Candlemass or on the contrary.  Krux being the last band on the fourth stage delivered a good deal of songs from the both the albums and sounded massive heavy and epic as well. Frankly it is kinda beyond the task to name any certain fave tunes as “Black Room” or “Serpent” were and sounded nothing, but doomy brilliant. Hopefully Krux will be seen on the stage more often, even though other bands of the band’s members seem to take more time.   

Black Room
Popocatepetl
Sea of Doom
Devil Sun
Shadowplay
Nimis
Serpent
Pirates
Omfalos
Depressive Strokes of Indigo

 

MOTÖRHEAD

For many the real headliners of this final day of what had been one hell of a festival, were undoubtedly Motörhead. For undisclosed or at least ambigious reasons Motörhead had recently cancelled several shows, leaving people speculating as to the indestructible Lemmy’s state of health. Well, as far as could be seen or heard from the audience there seemed to be absolutely nothing wrong with the man, his voice or his spirits. It was very refreshing to see so many songs from the two most recent and excellent Motörhead albums, “Inferno” and “Kiss of Death”. “Whore House Blues”, as always, was a set highlight. For the encores the legendary “Bomber” -lighting rig had once again been hauled from storage and swung menacingly on the wires above the band, surely a sight to behold in the pitch black night. The bomber was, to the delight of many fans, not the only relic that had been dragged out of retirement. Fast Eddie Clarke, the man who sharpened his tooth on the classic “Overkill”, “Bomber”, “Ace of Spades” and “Iron Fist” as well as the unforgettable “No Sleep ’till Hammersmith” albums, was brought on stage during the encore to play guitar alongside Phil Cambell on the songs “Bomber”, “Ace of Spades” and “Overkill”. The apparent camaraderie that still exists between the current and past members of the Motörhead family was heart warming. Of all the numerous Motörhead gigs throughout the years, this one ranks near the top and not only because of the inclusion of the bomber and mister Fast Eddie. Motörhead never disappoints and one can only hope that Lemmy will choose to keep on rocking forever, like he in all likelyhood will. (Marko)

Motorhead were forced to cancel most of summer touring dates for some unknown reasons. However the Swedenrock festival wasn’t rumoured to be in jeopardy as the three piece has become some sort of institution as a houseband for the Swedenrock festival. Of course all kinds of rumours were floating around regarding Lemmy’s health. Despite pretty negative rumours, Sir Kilmester appeared to be in a good strike and still looks and sounds same as he did over 20 years ago. Judging by those facts, it is kind hard to guess why Motorhead cancelled several dates.

 

As said earlier Motorhead has gained the houseband status in Swedenrock, however it was utter amazing and shocking to see the whole area of the second stage was completely packed. Where did all the people show up all of a sudden ? However this was supposed to the sixth appearance for Motorhead at Swedenrock in a row and the success of Motorhead in Sweden has always been more than extreme strong thru several decades.

As for the set featuing a plenty of classic ones for sure and of course some newer ones. But the (un)expected surprise had been saved for the encore part of the gig. As the mandatory and above all classic bomber had been placed above the bands. But the real highlight of the show was when the former guitarist Fast Eddie Clarke was invited to play a couple of classic tunes such as “Bomber”, “Ace Of Spades”. Well maybe Animal Animal Taylor will join Lemmy and companies next time. (Arto)

 

Snaggletooth
Stay Clean
Be My Baby
Killers
Metropolis
Over The Top
One Night Stand
I Got Mine
In The Name of Tragedy
Sword of Glory
The Chase Is Better Than The Catch
Sacrifice
Jus’ Cos You Got The Power
Going To Brazil
Killed By Death
Whorehouse Blues
Bomber *
Ace of Spades *
Overkill *

* with “Fast” Eddie Clarke

THE SCORPIONS

After the blinding blitz of Motörhead, the evenings headliner and the final artist on the festival bill, the Scorpions, seemed almost a bit anticlimatic, even though they were to be joined onstage by a very special guest Uli Jon Roth, but perhaps it was just the fatigue from too many days of rocking setting in. Uli Jon Roth originally played on the Scorpions arguably best albums “Fly to the Rainbow”, “In Trance”, “Virgin Killer”, “Taken by Force” and the classic live “Tokyo Tapes” from the ’70s before embarking on a solo career. The Scorpions were of course headed towards even greater success in the early to mid ’80s releasing such classic albums as “Animal Magnetism”, “Blackout” and “Love at First Sting”. After a string of somewhat subpar albums like “Pure Instinct” and “Eye II Eye”, Rudolf Schenker, Klaus Meine, Matthias Jabs and co. returned in 2004 with a solid hard rocking album called “Unbreakable”. And now they’ve got a new album out called “Humanity – Hour I” continuing in the same strong direction, and it’s time for these Germans to once again headline the Sweden Rock Festival.

Like Motörhead, Scorpions never fail to deliver and always give a good performance. Of course it would have been nice to hear songs like “Sails of Charon” for example, especially with Uli present. Still, with so many classic albums to draw material from it would be hard not to pick a great setlist. Klaus Meine’s voice was on fine form and Rudolf Schenker is always the center of attention on stage. With all due respect to James Kottak, getting Herman Rarebell back on drums, and while you’re at it Francis Buchholz on bass aswell, would really be something to look forward to. Be that as it may, all the band members, old and new, put on a good show and a special mention must be given to the masterful Uli Jon Roth, who gave his unique touch to many of the songs. Of all the headliners at this years festival Scorpions were probably the one and only that played for over two hours and really gave their fans their money’s worth, but still managed to seem somewhat light weight in comparison. (Marko)

When the Scorpions were booked to the Swedenrock 2007 it is quite obvious several people were slightly disappointed about the third headliner as well as the last band of the whole festival. However Scorpions have had a real interesting addition to the touring line-up as the former and legendary guitarist Uli Jon Roth has occasionally teamed up with the former bands for a few carefully selected shows. Therefore having Uli Jon Roth along with the Scorpions on the bill of the Swedenrock was rather important as well as a great gift to the audience of the Swedenrock fest.

The tight and trained five piece hit the stage by starting the set off with the new material off the new album “HUMANITY –HOUR 1”. Frankly the new material definitely sounded extremely heavy and of course modern. The set was immediately followed by a plenty of classic ones such “Big City Lights” “Bad Boys Running Wild” and of course the audience seemed to go absolutely beserk.

The night’s set had been built to cover equally songs from their long career and some new stuff had been added. Of course the set was entire different compared to their incredible three hour long gig at Wacken. But mandatory Scorpions ballads were at present again such as the semilegendary wall breaker hymn “Wing Of A Change” and of course everlasting love ballad “Still Loving You”.

But frankly the highlight of the gig was experienced when Uli Jon Roth got on the stage to give a lesson of his magical playing. Some kind of magic and mysticum definitely is in the playing of Uli Jon Roth. His playing brings more vibes to the older song of the Scorpions. All in all six old Scorpions songs from the Roth era were played such as “Pictured Life”, “In Trance”, “She Is A Man – He Is A Woman” and so on. As a matter of fact without Roth’s input to the gig, the whole gig would have been rather dull and quite “just another typical Scorpions gig in a row”.

In general the band appeared to be in good mood as well as good strike during two hours. Why not, cos touring and playing seem to work well and people are keen on hearing the good old German hard rock.

Even though Scorpions seem to divide the people to the like or dislike camp, but to tell the truth everyone should take a hat off to salute these German hard rock veterans as they have pounded the rock since the 60’s until now. It is more than clear that they won’t give up for a long time. (Arto)

 

 

  

  

…And Finally

As for the final verdict, a great festival once again all in all, what else is new. As far as bands and performances go, the 7th of June was probably among the best in the festivals entire history, rivalled perhaps only by the final day of 2002 with apperances from Bruce Dickinson and Halford among others. Each year the question springs “Who are they going to get for next year?”. Still, every time “new” bands get dug up from oblivion to bravely climb up onto the stages and if we’re lucky perhaps another long expected reunion will take place. Having said that, while it may seem like a pipedream, here’s hoping that Ritchie Blackmore gets back the urge to rock and reassembles Rainbow. Seriously though, in recent years, the quality or rather the caliber of the headlining acts has regrettably been on the decline however slightly. With the rare exception, even great bands like the Scorpions or Whitesnake, Deep Purple, Sammy Hagar & Co. from the past few years don’t really justify the ever increasing prices that get charged for the tickets. Grievances aside, Sweden Rock is and will hopefully remain an unparallelled an unique shrine to hard rock and heavy metal fans of all ages. We at least look forward to our yearly visits in anxious anticipation. Rock on!

Two Swedish Legends of Hard Rock and Metal


Visit official Sweden Rock site

www.swedenrock.com

Swedenrock….Till 2008

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