SWEDENROCK 2011

August 1st, 2011
by Arto Lehtinen


Sweden Rock 2011: SATURDAY

LEE AARON

There’s no doubt that the original metal queen of the 80’s was Lee Aaron. She did such success albums as METAL QUEEN, CALL OF THE WILD and BODYROCK which sold great amount of copies especially in North America. When the 80’s turned into 90’s Aaron decided to reinvent her musical style into new areas and one album after another she found herself from the jazz and pop music world. She did enjoy some success before going into a kind of “hiatus” because of family priorities. Sometime ago Ms. Aaron announced that she’s going to reinvent her career once again and now she’s going to make another rock album. Lee Aaron was the very first artist performing on Saturday but there were still plenty of people waiting for her performance.The show opened up with “Powerline” , a nice hard rocker from Aaron’s self-titled album from 1987. Aaron was clearly a little nervous at first but when the show went further all tension soon disappeared. The second track was a rare gem ”Concrete & Ice” which was originally released on LEE AARON PROJECT –CD as an European bonus track.  Everything went fine so far but then she started to cover her pop / jazz era songs and after a couple the atmosphere started to sink a bit. You can’t play stuff like that in front of thousands of rock fans, right? Fortunately there were few more rock gems played later on the set like CALL OF THE WILD track “Barely Holdin On” and the title track of “Metal Queen” which was now rearranged almost unrecognizable. All in all, this show was very ambivalent. On the other hand Lee Aaron did sing well, she looked still very good and her backing band was really solid  but maybe she should decide if she really wants to rock or stay in pop / jazz world?

Powerline

Concrete & Ice

Hands On

Baby Go Round

Handcuffed to a Fence in Mississippi

Sweet Talk

Some Girls Do

Odds of Love

Barely Holdin’ On

Watcha Do to My Body

Metal Queen

Do I Move You

Bad Boyfriend

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DESTRUCTION

The legendary German thrashers Destruction finally made it Sweden Rock. The trio should have unleashed theirs " bestial invasion of hell "years earlier but being the first band on the third stage at noon truly sucked for the band as the festival audience hadn’t awaken up yet. However a good amount of people had arrived on time to witness Destruction in action. The early playing time didn’t prevent Destruction from thrashing till death. The one hour set had been set up to cover both new and old classic tunes such as "The Fuel Is My Hatred", "Thrash Till Death" and all the way back to the 80’s material. The frontman Schmier tried to encourage the audience to arrange moshpits, but the Swedish metal crowd didn’t show that much interest in that.

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STYX

Styx last appeared at Sweden Rock in 2005 – that was for many a show to remember, Styx being an excellent live act. As was the case last time, the songs sounded even better live than on record. This time the 1977/1978 albums ‘The Grand illusion’ and ‘Pieces by eight’ were celebrated. All members had their time in the spotlight – the highlights being ‘Fooling Yourself (The Angry Young Man)’ and show closer ‘Renegade’ sung by Tommy Shaw, the Lawrence Gowan led ‘Queen of Spades’ and ‘Come sail away’ and the excellent rendition of ‘Lorelei’ by founding guitarist/vocalist James Young. The band also has one strong rhythm section – Ricky Phillips on bass and on drums Todd Sucherman.

The Grand Illusion

Too Much Time On My Hands

Lady

I Am the Walrus

Lorelei

Suite Madame Blue

I’m OK

Queen of Spades

Fooling Yourself (The Angry Young Man)

Drum Solo

Miss America

Come Sail Away

Blue Collar Man (Long Nights)

Renegade

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KANSAS

Legendary U.S. prog-rockers Kansas finally made their triumphant return to Sweden Rock this summer, the last time being 2005.  The show started out with some enjoyable more-or-less- instrumental numbers, including the excellent ‘Musicatto’ from the very underrated ‘Power’ album from 1986 featuring  Steve Morse on guitar, and continuing on with old classics ‘Point of know return’ and ‘Song for America’.. The show only got better as it progressed, the definitive highlight being two of the band’s best songs ‘Miracles out of nowhere’ and ‘Icarus – Borne on the wings of steel’ played back to back before finishing with ‘Carry on wayward son’! The band consists of Steve Walsh on vocals and keyboards, Richard Williams on guitar, Phil Ehart on drums, Billy Greer on bass and vocals and David Ragsdale on violin.

Magnum Opus

Musicatto

Belexes

Point of Know Return

Song For America

On The Other Side

Hold On / Peaceful & Warm

Dust In The Wind

The Wall

Cheyenne Anthem

Miracles Out Of Nowhere

Icarus – Borne on the Wings of Steel

Portrait (He Knew)

Fight Fire With Fire

Carry On Wayward Son

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ANGEL WITCH

It was great to to notice that the old British metal is still alive and well when Angel Witch took the Zeppelin stage on Saturday afternoon. The band’s line-up has once again undergone some changes and now the Carcass guitarist Bill Steer had been recruited to handle the second guitar. To be honest Angel Witch is basically the same as Kevin Heybourne and Angel Witch will live on as long as Heybourne is willing to carry on the legacy of Angel Witch. The material off from the classic debut album was obviously dominating the the list and it was awesome to hear classics like “Angel Of Death” and “Baphomet”. As for Bill Steer, he ldid a good job with the classics and yes, he still does Carcass as well… 

 Gorgon

Confused

White Witch

Sorceress

Atlantis

Rendezvous With The Blade

Angel Of Death

Baphomet

Angel Witch

Devil’s Tower

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BLACK LABEL SOCIETY

There are many things that have changed in Black Label Society since their last visit at Sweden Rock in 2005.  First of all, Zakk Wylde is not playing anymore with the “Madman” Ozzy Osbourne. Secondly, Wylde was forced to stop his drinking for health reasons and there have been changes in band line up as well. As a result Black Label Society is now doing better than ever on many levels. Their latest album ORDER OF BLACK went into number 4 in U.S charts and the band has been on a hugely successful tour across the world since itsr elease. Black Label opened up with ORDER OF BLACK track “Crazy Horse”. It was funny to notice that during the song Zakk was wearing in a huge Indian headdress which did look very impressive. Excellent “Funeral Bell” followed next before a pair of 1916 ETERNAL songs which did continue the “crush” songs before Wylde switched his guitar to piano and then headed into “Overlord”. The song is a Southern type of ballad and it proved to be a good variety in an otherwise heavy set. It seems that nowadays Black Label Society do have a very good package together. Wylde is singing great, he looks healthy and his playing is as good as ever. Now, after nine Black Label studio albums, there’s enough strong material to choose from without having any fillers or cover songs there. The whole band is really dedicated to its own thing. It was really fun to follow bassist John DeServio’s and guitarist Nick Catanese’s energetic performance. It must be easier for Wylde now to concentrate on his own band instead of sharing his time between Black Label and Ozzy. That and also quitting drinking have already helped Black Label Society to rise to a whole new level and it’s going to be interesting to see how the Black Label Community will grow in the future?

Crazy Horse

Funeral Bell

Bleed for Me

Demise of Sanity

Overlord

Parade of the Dead

Born to Lose

Darkest Days

Fire it Up

Guitar Solo

Godspeed Hell Bound

The Blessed Hellride

Suicide Messiah

Concrete Jungle

Stillborn

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NIFELHEIM

The evil twins of Nifelheim, Tyrant ja Hellbutcher, already did a show with Necronaut on Wednesday. But the evil twins’ own band Nifelheim opened the gates of hell and unleashed raging flames over the festival that Stryper’s blessing and praying didn’t help afterwards that much. Seriously the band’s evilness and darkness have been taken to the level where the cornish and amusing reach the peak. Nifelheim’s brutal and uncompromising black death metallish approach is merciless and savage pouring blood and metal. Even though Tyrant and Hellbutcher are known for being the real Iron Maiden hard core fans, but it is obvious the ultra brutal extreme metal warms their heart. However Tyrant had adopted the playing style of Steve Harris.

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RHAPSODY OF FIRE

The Italian heroic power metal was on a long hiatus because of the legal issues with Joey DeMaio. After solving these legal hassles, the Italian power metallers activated by putting albums out and embarked on the short European festival dates. Rhapsody Of Fire dropped to Sweden Rock to unleash the heroic dragon powerful metal. The singer Fabio Lione definitely has an absolutely outstanding voice in the whole power metal genre. He is able to sing various styles without loosing any note. To some, the music is kind of corny, but otherwise heavily influenced by the classical music and the world of the fantasy. Luca Turilli is definitely a virtuoso on the guitar leaving the other hired musicians in the background. All in all,Turilli, Lione, and Alex are the main core of the whole band.

Triumph or Agony 

       Holy Thunderforce

        The Village of Dwarves

        On The Way To Ainor

        Dawn of Victory

        Lamento Eroico

        Unholy Warcry

        The March of the Swordmaster

        Reign of Terror

        Emerald Sword

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THIN LIZZY

One of the finest things ever coming out of Ireland are the classic rock band Thin Lizzy and it’s immortal albums like JAILBREAK, BLACK ROSE and LIVE AND DANGEROUS which all do belong in every self-respecting rockers collections. Like we all know the band’s legendary frontman and leader Philip Lynott died way back in 1986. Since Lynott’s sad passing there have been several different Thin Lizzy line-up’s during the years and today we are having an incarnation of the band which includes founding member and drummer Brian Downey, longtime members guitarist Scott Gorham and keyboradist Darren Wharton, bassist Marco Mendoza, vocalist/guitarist Ricky Warwick (The Almighty) and guitarist Richard Fortus (Guns’n Roses) who now temporarly fills in for Vivian Campbell who’s currently busy with his main band Def Leppard.    

As expected the show did offer a string of Thin Lizzy’s best known tracks. "Are You Ready" opened up the game and it was soon followed by "Waiting For The Alibi" and and one of the band’s biggest songs ever "Jailbreak". Warwick seems to be a great choice to fill Lynott’s big shoes because he’s not just a charismatic performer but his Irish accent does also sound very close to the original.It was also a nice to hear some three guitar playing on old classics, for example "Whiskey In The Jar" did sound really fresh with now having Ricky’s acoustic guitar giving some extra "spice" in there. It’s also great that Downey has finally agreed to re-join Lizzy and play these songs again. He’s having such an unique playing and beat what these songs were definitely missing when there’s been other drummers filling his place in past years. Setlist wise there wasn’t too many surprising choices but "Killer On The Loose" was one of those. The track, which was originally in CHINATOWN album (1978), is really an underrated classic and it’s not been included in the set list since the THUNDER AND LIGHTNING -tour in 1983. All in all, this show was an enjoyable nostalgia trip and this current lineup is working very well together. It would be more than interesting to hear some new material from these guys but it’s probably impossible….

Are You Ready

Waiting For An Alibi

Jailbreak

Dancing in the Moonlight

Don’t Believe A Word

Still In Love With You

Whiskey in the Jar

Emerald

Cowboy Song

The Boys Are Back In Town

Killer On The Loose

Rosalie

Black Rose

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OZZY OSBOURNE

The final performer on this year festival was the original madman and “prince of darkness” Ozzy Osbourne. The man jumped on the stage for a while making the audience went crazy. Only his trembling figure made the audience shout ”Ozzy, Ozzy” till “I Don’t Know” was blasted out of the monitors. Ozzy appeared to be in a real good strike and seemed to be enjoying the gig a helluva lot. He picked up a water pipe to let the water spill over all around and over the audience. The crew members ran to clean the stage, but the prince of darkness got them wet by foaming all of them. Gus G the current guitarist wizard in the band, having gained a name and reputation in Firewind and Dream Evil. He is the man filling the big shoes but he does that extremely well and frankly he fits to the Ozzy band like a glove. His groove and technical skills have proved him as one of the best guitarist around. Seriously it has been tremendous great to follow Gus G’s career since he debuted in Sweden Rock with Dream Evil back in 2002. Time truly flies. The set list was a flashback back to the glorious years of the 80’s without any surprises here. It was a pity as “Killer of Giants” had now been dropped from the set and there were no any songs played from the latest SCREAM album at all, which was kind of odd as the tour’s purpose is to promote the new album. Actually it was bit of strange to notice that the newest songs on the set came from NO MORE TEARS and that was released exactly twenty years ago… As usual a couple of the Black Sabbath tunes belonged to the set as well. This time band did: “Iron Man”, ”Fairies Wear Boots” a part of “Rat Salad” and of course “Paranoid” which concluded the gig. All in all it was pleasant to witness Ozzy in such a good condition and still going crazy on the stage.
I Don’t Know

Suicide Solution

Mr. Crowley

Goodbye to Romance

Bark at the Moon

Road to Nowhere

Shot in the Dark

Rat Salad

Iron Man 

Fairies Wear Boots

I Don’t Want to Change the World

Crazy Train

Mama, I’m Coming Home

Paranoid  

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