SWEDENROCK 2012

June 27th, 2012
by Arto Lehtinen

SWEDEN ROCK 2012 SATURDAY

HELL

A couple of years ago Hell was a relatively unknown and obscure outfit with a few demo releases from Mid England. As for the present day, the same band is definitely the wanted band amongst organizations of several festivals. Obviously, one of the reasons is Andy Sneap’s input to the second coming of Hell. That band has rehearsed tremendously. That could be paid attention to when the five piece performed as tight as hell and a well trained set. The singer, being a real actor, turned out to be a real showman with certain manners and speeches based on British literature. The band has put a lot of effort into the show. He has made it worth every cent as without this show and awesome frontman Hell wouldn’t have gained their current status.

Let Battle Commence

On Earth as It Is in Hell

Plague and Fyre

The Quest

The Oppressors

Blasphemy and the Master

The Devil’s Deadly Weapon

Macbeth

Save Us From Those Who Would Save Us 

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 GIRLSCHOOL

The grand old ladies of hard rock from England, Girlschool, kicked off the last day off on the second stage. The energetic and vital four piece performed enthusiastically and lively at noon for a few thousand people who remembered to enter on time. The set consisted of the true old Girlschool classics. Songs such as “C’mon Let’s Go”, “Hit And Run” were featured during the one hour set. The band proved they are still able to kick ass…and hard. The set consisted of the true old GirlSchool classics. Songs such as “C’mon Let’s Go”, “Hit And Run” etc belonged to the one hour set. The band proved they are still able to kick ass…and hard.

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ELECTRIC BOYS

The Swedes returned with their comeback album AND THEM BOYS DONE SWANG in 2011 and since then the band has been more or less in active mode. Vocalist/guitarist Conny Bloom is a very charismatic front man and he still makes the girls to see daydreams for sure and the band was playing tight as hell. There was nothing actually wrong there but it feels that Electric Boys is suffering the lack of quality material. With the exception of few single gems like “Lips’n Hips” and “Phsycedelic Eyes”, the set was quite neutral and bland. But in their defense, it can be said that last year that the band did rock hard in a club environment, so maybe this was just too big of a stage for the bands Funk O Metal?

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YEAR OF THE GOAT & ORANGE GOBLIN

Swedenrock has truly followed the on-going trend in the metal and rock genre. During the past few years doom/stoner and above all occult rock have become extremely successful. Here are two bands in a row. Firstly, Year Of The Goat having been on a turbulent rise to the big ranks. The Swedish occult rockers’ catchy riffs and songs are easy to embrace and enjoy. Year Of The Goat sounded strong and as for the stoner stuff, the British Orange Goblin pulled the true stoned set under the red hot sun. The more biker looking frontman kept encouraging the audience to bang their heads. The band sounded doomy heavy.

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BAD COMPANY

Paul Rodgers, Simon Kirke and Mick Ralphs at Swedenrock at last…wished for by many. Bad Company put on a really enjoyable, easygoing and soulful show. Kicking off things with one of their biggest hits ‘Can’t Get Enough’ and featuring a well put together set of songs from -all- of the 6 albums they released when they were an active band 1974-1982. The Rodgers-penned acoustic number ‘Seagull’ being one of the definitive highlights. Another definitive moment was hearing their signature song ‘Bad Company’ introduced by Rodgers as a song ‘they couldn’t leave the stage without playing’…

This was Bad Company’s first (festival) gig in Europe outside the U.K. in 37 years – welcome back guys, anytime!

Can’t Get Enough

Honey Child

Run With The Pack

Burnin’ Sky

Young Blood

Seagull

Gone, Gone, Gone

Electricland

Simple Man

Feel Like Makin’ Love

Shooting Star

Rock ‘n’ Roll Fantasy

Movin’ On

Deal With the Preacher

Good Lovin’ Gone Bad

Bad Company

Ready For Love

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CRUCIFIED BARBARA

The chicks in Crucified Barbara are often seen at Swedenrock playing a gig or just having a good time. This time they were on the fourth stage. Placing them on the smaller stage was a total mistake. The whole area was totally packed making breathing and moving near impossible. However, the four piece rocked hard and delivered a great deal of catchy rocking tunes such as “Sex Action”.  A killer band indeed, but they need to play in bigger places.

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SLAUGHTER

The U.S. hard rockers Slaughter finally made it to Europe after 22 years of waiting. Originally the band was intended to make a tour in here with Cinderella in the early 90’s but it got cancelled at the last minute. Many things have changed since then in Slaughter and in the music world. Gone are the platinum years, big hair and huge tours. In fact, the band has gone through difficult times. The line-up hasn’t been stable in years and it’s actually been 13 years since the latest opus BACK TO REALITY was released.  However, the band now made it here and did their European debut at Swedenrock.

Slaughter took the Rock stage by storm and opened with the title track of the sophomore album THE WILD LIFE followed by “Take Me Away” from BACK TO REALITY.  The originals, vocalist Mark Slaughter and bassist Dana Strum, were controlling the stage whereas longtime guitarist Jeff Blando did a solid job and stayed more in the background.  In a way it was quite twofold to follow this performance.  Strum was still looking and performing energetically, exactly the same way he used to be back in the days, but Marc Slaughter himself was just a pale shadow of itself. His once high and clear voice is mostly gone, at times it was hardly even recognizable and his outlook… Let’s say that the man was now looking quite different than back in the days.  Vocal wise, things got better while set went on but overall his present condition was disappointing. The set list was a typical “Best of” list which was heavily built around the classic debut album STICK IT TO YA. The band also played one brand new tune (whose name I can’t now remember). Strum was the true star on the stage. His energy, funny facial expressions and great bass playing saved a lot. Another star was found behind the kit. Zoltan Chaney (Vince Neil band) was just amazing drummer and his showman tricks were truly spectacular. All in all, maybe there was just too much expectations for Slaughter?

The Wild Life

Take Me Away

Burnin’ Bridges

Spend My Life

Mad About You

Eye to Eye

Living Inside

Real Love

Fly to the Angels

Up All Night

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LYNYRD SKYNYRD

When you go to see Skynyrd at a concert you know what you are going to get…

a) an endless string of amazing southern rock classics

b) high quality musicianship

c) a good feeling and connectivity by all in the audience

d) a Rousing extended finale in Free Bird

Gary Rossington is nowadays the sole original member, with Rickey Medlocke backing him up more than satisfactory on the lead guitar. Mark Matejka is also playing the lead guitar. The late Ronnie VanZant’s younger brother Johnny VanZant has been handling  the vocals since the late 80’s. Michael Cartellone (ex- Damn Yankees and Accept) has been the drummer since the late 90’s. The band didn’t however rely solely on the classics; ‘Skynyrd Nation’ were played from their latest album GOD & GUNS from 2009. This coming August sees the arrival of their new album by the name of THE LAST OF A DYING BREED.

Workin’ For MCA

I Ain’t The One

Skynyrd Nation

What’s Your Name

Down South Jukin’

That Smell

Saturday Night Special

Simple Man

Gimme Back My Bullets

Whiskey Rock-a-Roller

The Needle And The Spoon

Tuesday’s Gone

Gimme Three Steps

Call Me The Breeze

Sweet Home Alabama

Free Bird

 

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SACRED REICH

The Arizona based thrashers, Sacred Reich, reactivated a few years ago and has made stints to several European festivals. The four piece Arizona thrashers have the fanatical followers in Europe and even in Sweden, where a couple of hundred people had crawled to see the deathsquad. The sense of humour was and essential part of Sacred Reich as Phil Rind truly enjoyed having some fun with the audience. He made particular jokes on Motley Crue, Lynyrd Skynyrd, there were not offensive, but funny. Sacred Reich sounded thrashing vital and above all ass kicking. The old songs are still as vital as over twenty years ago. The famous songs were the part of the set such as “Surf Nicaragua”, “The American Way”, “Death Squad”.  Even though the band sounded strong and appeared to be enjoying playing, but these pits in Sweden are bloody ridiculous. The crowd mostly stands eating pizza and drinking beer. Well, Sacred Reich will definitely have an entire different response in Finland this August.

Independent

Free

Love…Hate

The American Way

Crimes Against Humanity

Death Squad

One Nation

War Pigs (Black Sabbath cover)

Surf Nicaragua

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SLADE

Slade was one of the most successful bands in early/mid 70’s with their endless line of hit singles. As  the decades have gone by, the band line up has gone through various changes but Slade is still soldiering on. The band played all the hits needed to make the audience pleased. The remaining originals guitarist Dave Hill and drummer Don Powell have recruited good and experienced musicians around them, however the current line-up could be seen more or less as a tribute to the original band.

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KING DIAMOND

When the legendary Danish King Diamond announced a break from the tour activity to get his back healed and finally with his heart failures as a major shock and surprise, most fans truly believed King Diamond’s days were gone and the man would not return to the stage. Sweden Rock definitely made a huge surprise by booking King Diamond to headline as the last band on the second stage on the last day. The whole area was totally packed when ten thousand+ people were willing to testify the return of King Diamond.

The stage and backup looked more than amazing. There were several details built on the stage and painted in the backdrop; two hanging inverted crosses, a shining pentagram, massive looking stairs, and of course huge cemetery gates placed in front of the stage. The opening intro from the classic FATAL PORTRAIT welcomed King and the band to the stage and was followed by the “The Candle”. The whole setlist was an utter firework of classic King Diamond songs from his long career. Most songs were for obvious reasons from the 80’s such as “At The Grave”, “Welcome Home”, and “Sleepless Nights”. Material from the 90’s albums was played such as “Dreams” and the haunting “Up From The Grave”. King had already promised surprise guests in the press conference the day before. Seeing the legendary guitarist duet Denner/Schermann together was expected to happen. Both of them indeed showed to the stage, not together however. Michael Shermann joined with the Volbeat frontman Michael Poulsen to do the “Come To The Sabbath” song. Basically it wouldn’t have been that big a deal how else sung the parts as King dominated, cos Poulsen’s role on at the stage was to pull some more attention. Denner and Dee joined to do the “Halloween” tune from the first Diamond album. King Himself was in an extreme great shape. His voice sounded absolutely wonderful like in the old days. Obviously quitting smoking has done wonders for his great voice and body in general. As King said, these two festival dates are tests for him to figure out how he is able to pull through the 90 minute show. To be honest, he did truly well indeed. Even though the 90 minute running time is a normal timing for any gig, but this time it felt it was too short. Welcome back King Diamond.

The Candle

Welcome Home

Voodoo

At the Graves

Up From the Grave

Let It Be Done

Dreams

Sleepless Nights

Shapes of Black

Come to the Sabbath (Mercyful Fate cover) (With Hank Shermann and Michael Poulsen)

Eye of the Witch

The Family Ghost

Halloween (with Michael Denner and Mikkey Dee)

Black Horsemen

King Diamond – Press Conference

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CANNIBAL CORPSE

When the Saints of Los Angeles were shouting at the devil on the main stage, meanwhile the gore death metal legends unleashed pits of zombie on the fourth stage. A couple of hundred people had entered to see the massive headbanging Cannibal Corpse guys. Even though Cannibal Corpse delivered a brutal death metal maelstrom, each song sounded exactly similar to one other. The frontman George Corpsegrinder deserves kudos for the insane looking headbanging.

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MÖTLEY CRUE

There is no denying that U.S, band Mötley Crue is one of the most important influences in the modern hard rock scene. The band was originally formed in Los Angeles in 1981 by bassist Nikki Sixx, drummer Tommy Lee, guitarist Mick Mars and vocalist Vince Neil. Mötley Crue’s 80’s albums SHOUT AT THE DEVIL, THEATRE OF PAIN and DR.FEELGOOD are all recognized as classics and to date the band has sold over 80 million records worldwide. Mötley Crue went through many changes and difficult times during the 90’s and but once the classic line up was put back together in 2004, the band has been stable since then. The latest studio album SAINTS OF LOS ANGELES was released in 2008 but the band has been touring almost annually with the great success. Mötley Crue now headlined Swedenrock for the second time it did seem that there’s still plenty of demand for the hard rock icons in Sweden.

The stage structure was looking massive and it was dominated by Lee’s massive drum “rollercoaster”. After the animated intro video was rolled through huge screens, the actual show opened up with “Wild Side” followed by oldies “Live Wire” and “Too Fast for Love” The title track of the latest album got a great response and “Shout at the Devil” just increased the heat in the audience. The band was definitely in good strike. Vince Neil was running across the stage like always and he kept his energy level really high through the entire show. Tommy Lee was playing impressively behind his kit and Mick Mars was surprisingly active on stage. The man has openly struggled with ankylosing spondylitis for years now so this ongoing constant touring must not be too easy thing to handle for him. Surprisingly it was Nikki Sixx who was the most passive member on stage. Maybe this was just a “bad hair” day for him but the man did look a bit bored and uninspired through the show. Show wise, the highlight was definitely Mr. Lee’s amazing drum solo part. It was definitely something “never seen before” stuff in it’s entirely. The Swedish girl “Veronica” for sure got a ride of her life with Tommy… The dancer / backing vocal girls also did a great job on stage. The girls offered Vince strong sometimes needed vocal help and were otherwise a good feast for the eyes.  The set was as self-evident as expected with no surprises there. And in fact the list has been almost identical since the reunion started in 2004. In summary, Mötley Crue is still capable to create very entertaining and impressive show.

Wild Side

Live Wire

Too Fast for Love

Saints of Los Angeles

Shout at the Devil

Don’t Go Away Mad (Just Go Away)

Same Ol’ Situation (S.O.S.)

Looks That Kill

Piece of Your Action

Primal Scream

Smokin’ in the Boys’ Room

Drum Solo

Dr. Feelgood

Girls, Girls, Girls

Home Sweet Home

Kickstart My Heart

 

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