We woke up pretty early in a really hot tent and got ready for a long day. The area was about to open at 2pm so we killed the time by heading over to the supermarket to buy breakfast and water. There was a stand on the camping where you could buy food and beverages but it was quite expensive so we decided to shop at the supermarket. We came into the festival area at about 3pm and could already see that it was a lot bigger compared to last year. The Blue stage was located right beside the entrance and it was the first stage we saw when we came in. The area now reached a lot further along the canal and at the end of the right side stood the Red Stage. Numerous market stands were selling t-shirts, food, albums etc along the canal down to the Red Stage. There were no taps to fill up bottles with water until the last day, so everyone was forced to buy water for 20SEK which was madness when it was so hot out. The festival must have made a fortune on just the water. There was no VIP bar/area either which was another mistake. The first band up for us to see was the Gothenburg based stoner/rock band Mustasch on the Green stage at 4 o clock.
The band opened the show with “It’s Never Too late” and straight after followed with their big break through hit “Down In Black” which still is as popular today as it was when it came 10-12 years ago. The band was as always as tight and solid as ever and it’s always fun to see Ralf Gyllenhammar live in action. The band members are:
Ralf Gyllenhammer – lead vocals, guitar
David Johannesson – guitar
Mats Stam Johansson – bass
Jejo Perkovic – drums
Perkovic joined the band recently and it’s fun to see that he blended in perfect and added his groove to the band. Gyllenhammar asked the crowd if they loved hard rock and of course everyone shouted a loud yes back to him and Gyllenhammar said well, that was good because that is what we’re playing and announced the songs “The Challenger” which was followed by “Deep In The Woods”. Gyllenhammar was in a great mood and joked around with the crowd and his band members. “Speed Metal” appealed to the quite big crowd that had gathered in the early afternoon to see Mustasch and they did their best to encourage the band the way Gyllenhammar encouraged the crowd.
Gyllenhammar took his glass and screamed Cheers to the people in the beer garden and fired off “Heresy Blasphemy” taken from the 2009 album MUSTASCH. Even though the band didn’t move around a lot on stage they managed to get the crowd going and the fans sang a long in most of the song during the show. “Bring Me Everyone” and the slower song “I’m Frustrated” continued the set and it’s not until now we hear that Gyllenhammar sounded a bit tired in his voice. Maybe that depended on the show he and The Quill did the night before in Gavle town during something called Summer Night where bands perform. Another huge hit in “Double Nature” followed and it felt like this was the song everyone had waited for this afternoon.
“Destroyed By Destruction”, “Accident Black Spot” and “Morning Star” followed and in the last song Perkovic featured a shorter drum solo. Gyllenhammar asked if the crowd wanted to sing more, which they wanted, and fired off another sing a long friendly song with “Black City”. “Mine” completed with a long guitar solo and “I Hunt Alone” ended the show and Gyllenhammar and the band thanked the fans and went off stage. Mustasch delivered another solid show and the band is incredible on stage and you never know what is going to happen when Gyllenhammar is in the right mood on stage. The negative things were Gyllenhammar’s somewhat tired voice and the partially lame crowd. Maybe it was too early for this kind of music or maybe hadn’t people drunk enough beer.
It’s Never Too Late
Down In Black
Deep In the Woods
Tritonus (prelude) intro
Bring Me Everyone
Destroyed By Destruction
I Hunt Alone
As soon as the band went off stage began the crew to prepare for the next band and the crowd walked over to the other stage where Kvelertak was about to begin their show. In Sweden there are rules about where you’re allowed to drink alcohol and on the festival was it OK to drink beer in the huge beerhouse and in the smaller beertent. Last year it was possible to walk across the beerhouse in order to get on the other side to see the other stage but this year the doors were closed so you were obliged to walk around the house if you wanted to see something on the other stage and that made many people irritated.
The problem with the Blue stage was that the ground you stood on was filled with really hard and edgy stones which made it tiring to stand a long time. At 5.30 was it time for the Norwegian Kvelertak to go on stage on the Blue stage.
The show began with the furious tempo song “Sjöhyenar (havets herrar)” and it was full speed ahead right from the very beginning. The six-piece act ran over the audience like a train and it felt like the band was really eager to perform at Getaway Rock. Kvelertak means chokehold or stranglehold in English and that was exactly what the band had gotten the fans in. The insane continued with songs like “Fossegrim”,” Blodtörst” and “Sultans Of Satan”. The band also played a brand new song called “Spring For Livet”, it’s hard to judge a song from only having heard it once during a live show but it sounded like a typical Kvelertak song nothing more or less. The bands obscure mix of hardcore, punk and metal went really well amongst the crowd in Gavle and a smaller mosh pit was even formed. Kvelertak said goodbye after 60 minutes and even though we were happy and more than satisfied shouted the fans for more.
Sjöhyenar (havets herrar)
Sultans Of Satan
Spring Fra Livet
Ordsmedar Av Rang
Utrydd Dei Svake
Something that was strange and very disturbing was the small amount of toilets available in the area. There were always long lines to the toilets and the organizers couldn’t manage to keep them clean either. A few of them were also really unstable and really rocky so there was a risk that they could tip over….so not funny to be the one in that toilet then. They also missed putting soap or something to clean your hands with which was a major error! Gross! Graveyard was about to enter the Green stage so we moved slowly over to the next scene to see the hottest thing in Sweden when it comes to 70’s rock/metal. Anders has seen them a few times before and hadn’t been impressed at all so he was eager to see if the guys were going to stun him this time then. The band has released two albums and their latest one called HISINGEN BLUES has become the critic’s favorite album and have won several awards.
Behind the band hung a backdrop and on stage stood a few amps and that was it, Graveyard was not into any high fashion equipment. Already in the first song lost we interest but decided to bear with them and their really slow music. The band consists of:
Joakim Nilsson – lead vocals, guitar
Rickard Edlund – bass
Axel Sjöberg – drums
Jonathan Larocca Ramn – guitar
Nilsson stood on the right side of the stage and Ramn to the left and beside him stood Edlund and no one was in the middle. Everyone stood solid on their spot and hardly said anything in between the songs. Despite their heavy touring the band still haven’t learned how to take on a crowd. Boring. Maybe it was a mistake to put the band on the biggest stage, they might have succeeded better on one of the smaller stages. “Buying Truth (tack och förlåt)”, “Ungrateful Are The Dead”, “Ain’t Fit To Live Here” and “Evil Ways” was run through and even though the songs aren’t so long it felt like they never would stop. After 1.10 was the show over and what are there to say about Graveyard? In our opinion this show was really slow and lame with no element that grabbed hold of us. We have a really hard time understanding the bands greatness.
While Black Dahlia Murder got ready to begin at the Blue Stage took we took a break and explored the food and market stands. The food stands was pretty much the same as last year with langos, kebab, thai food and steak-baguettes. Expensive? Yes, tasty? Nja. It was no good at all to have so little variety of food on the festival and it was way too expensive. It has been this way three years in a row now and the organizers have to do something about that.
With the adding of one scene it made you miss bands and something that we’d really had like to see was Moonspell at the Red stage. Unfortunately they played against Venom. That was just one example of clashes of bands.
A positive thing with this year’s edition of the festival was the meet and greet. The fans had the opportunity to meet Venom, Black Dahlia Murder, Obituary, Finntroll and HolyHell during the three days and the events was really appreciated and well visited. The name that was on the most visitors lips this day was Venom who held a meet and greet a few hours before their show.
A huge crowd had already gathered in front of the stage when we arrived to the Blue Stage and there were no doubt that Venom was one of the bands that had lured the largest amount of people to the festival this particular day. The only one that has been consistent in Venom is Cronos but to be honest they haven’t been too busy with recording and releasing albums the past decade. Four albums have been released with the latest one called FALLEN ANGELS.
The members arrived on the stage to the tones of the intro and the crowd gave their favorite icons a warm welcome and of course began the show with the all-time high classical “Black Metal”. The Venom of today consists of:
Cronos – lead vocals, bass
Dante – drums
La Rage – guitar
“Leave Me In Hell” continued the show and “Hammerhead” followed. Cronos thanked the audience and said that it was great fun to be in Sweden again. He said that the band was only going to play songs only from the albums BLACK METAL and FALLEN ANGELS and continued with a song from FALLEN ANGELS called “Pedal to The Metal”. Dante had some huge problems with his drumkit and the cymbals that had a tendency to almost drop to the ground after every song. A roadie ran on stage all the time to put the cymbals back in place. The band’s music really would benefit taking in another guitarist in order to add more edge.
Overall the show was quite un-tight and unfocused and the band sure have survived on old merits. “Buried Alive” and “The Seven Gates Of Hell” followed as well as “Damnation Of Souls”. Cronos tried his best to look evil but he failed big time and Dantes drum playing was so bad that the band had to stop a song and start over again because of him. This show sure left more to wish for and for Anders who grew up and loved the band back in the days this show felt like a disaster. It was the first time the guys played “Heaven’s On Fire” live and the song went straight into the classical “Countess Bathory” and by now had people began to leave the show. There was something wrong with La Rage’s guitar so his guitar tech came with a new one during “Countess Bathory” and all these errors made the audience, except for the hardcore fans, loose interest in the show.
“Hail Satanas”, “Nemesis” and “Teacher’s Pet” followed after which Cronos said that it was time to play “Punk’s Not Dead”. By now was it only the true hardcore fans that inhabited the space in front of the stage and they cheered happily when they heard the first tones of “Warhead” that came next. “Fallen Angels” and “Don’t Burn The Witch” closed the show and that was not a minute too late. 1.20 was about what we could take from Cronos and crew.
Leave Me In Hell
Pedal To The Metal
The Seven Gates Of Hell
Damnation of Souls
Heaven’s On Fire
Don’t Burn the Witch
There is nothing much to say about the show but what a disappointment. The sound was bad and the drummer was a catastrophe. Why put so many new songs in the set list and why didn’t the band play any song from WELCOME TO HELL? It was pretty obvious that many of the people that saw the show thought like us and they chose to walk away. Venom may be black metal icons but maybe the time has passed them by.
We met up with a few friends that like us were going to see Ghost so we all went over to the Blue stage to see the mystical Swedish act led by an evil pope. Ghost has toured heavily the past years and their highly acclaimed debut album came 2010 called OPUS EPONYMOUS. The band performs in corpse paint and robes and the lead singer is dressed as a pope and it’s the bands image that no one knows who they are. The darkness had taken over the festival area yet so it was going to be quite exciting to see how the bands show was going to look. Otherwise benefits both the band’s music and show to be played in the dark. It gets dark pretty late in the middle/north of Sweden during the summer so many acts actually performed more or less in daylight. A huge crowd had already gathered in front of the stage and screamed and clapped their hands in wait for the band.
As expected, all of the members walked out on stage all dressed in white and after a few minutes the lead singer also came out so the mass could begin. He stood solid at the front of the stage looking at the audience and waved incense front and back like a catholic priest. “Con Clavi Con Div” and the bands big hit “Elizabeth” was first out and the audience loved every single move the band made on stage. “Prime Mover” followed and the crowd sang a long in almost every song during the show. None of the band members said anything in between the songs they only waited for the crowd to silence and then began a new song.
Ghost tried to baptize the non-believers at the ground with their music and the band probably gained a few new fans with the show but we don’t know if it’s correct to put the band into either the hardrock genre or the metal genre. Ghost’s music is hard to label in any category, maybe it could be considered as light doom music. The darkness had begun to creep closer and brought more atmosphere to the show. If the guy who handled the crazy smoke machine had restrained himself it would have been a great stage show but it was hard to see because of all the smoke. “Genesis”, “Here Comes The Sun” which was a cover version of the Beatles song, and “Ritual” followed and “Ritual” also closed the show.
Con Clavi Con Dio
Stand By Him
Here Comes The Sun
It was a pretty monotonous experience to see Ghost perform live and we have a bit of a hard time understanding what’s so great with this band. Ulrika was more positive towards the show and the band and she appreciates the music more than I (Anders).
Now was it really dark and we waited for the clock to turn 11 in order to see the headline act – Nightwish. The Finnish act were the last ones out on the Green stage and they were scheduled to play for 90 minutes.
The band members entered the stage to the crowd’s clapping and cheering and there were no doubts that Gavle had a lot of Nightwish fans. Everyone but one member was on stage, and then singer Anette Olzon entered the stage to the first verse of “Storytime”. Band members:
Anette Olzon – lead vocals
Tuomas Holopainen – keyboards
Marco Hietala – bass, vocals
Emppu Vuorinen – guitars
Jukka Nevalainen – drums
The backdrop looked really nice and was really huge portraying the cover of the new album. Holopainen’s keyboard looked like a church organ with pipes attached to the front and the entire stage set looked really cool. A lot of fire and flames and sparks flew here and there throughout most of the songs. As soon as the first song had ended could we hear the intro to “I Wish I Had An Angel” and the audience went crazy when they heard one of the bands biggest hits. Hietala and Olzon stood in the middle with Vuorinen on their left side and Holopainen on their right and it was Olzon and Hietala that moved around the most connecting with the crowd. Olzon said that it was really fun to be playing in Gavle and she introduced the next song which was “Amaranth” taken from the previous album DARK PASSION PLAY.
It felt like the crowd exploded with joy when they heard the first notes of the song and overall was the crowd doing their best to cheer and to encourage Nightwish during the entire show. Olzon went off stage during the last parts of the song and let the guys wrap up and after the song went also the rest of the band off stage. Out of the speakers came a really twisted child’s play song and in came Hietala, Vuorinen and Nevalainen and started the song “Scaretale”. It’s a really hard song to perform live because of its many changes in key and harmonies. The song is taken from the band’s newest album IMAGINAERIUM and even though the album has been out for a while now it felt like this audience was a bit reluctant when the new songs was played. Olzon continued with saying that Gavle was a beautiful place to be playing in and she seemed to be a little confused because she shifted between talking in Swedish and English. “Dead To The World” followed and Olzon thanked everyone for the support the band got from the fans. It was quite a huge audience that had gathered in front of Green stage to see Nightwish. On the Blue stage there was Black Stone Cherry performing at the same time. The sound and the light worked brilliant and you could see every member clearly. The amazing backline had huge similarities with the one the band had on their winter tour and when Anders saw them in Copenhagen.
“I Want My Tears Back”, “Come Cover Me” taken from the 2000 year album WISHMASTER which was a nice surprise and the instrumental piece “Last Of The Wilds” followed and the band seemed to be having a great time on stage. Everyone looked happy and Olzon did her corny dance moves during the entire show. She looks more like a pop singer than a singer in one of the world’s biggest symphonic metal bands but we decided to ignore her pop-ish approach and to instead focus on her vocals and man can she sing. After the slow instrumental piece it was time to head back in the game again with “Planet Hell” and the new song “Ghost River”. Olzon then said that it had been a blast playing in Gavle and that there was only a few songs left for them to play and then followed another huge hit in “Nemo” and the cover of the Gary Moore song “Over The Hills And Far Away” which she dedicated to Moore. As soon as the song was over the band went off stage again and this song ended the original set of the show. But of course wanted the fans hear and see more from Nightwish so they screamed for them to come back again which they did and kicked off “Song Of Myself” as the first encore. Then followed “Last Ride Of the Day” and the outro from IMAGINAREUM ended the entire show. Fireworks and explosions ended the show and it was an amazing site to see the flames go off in various patterns across the stage. Nightwish sure is a band that puts on a hell of a visual show as well as vocal show. 1.20 went by really fast and so ended the first day of Getaway Rock.
Wish I Had An Angel
Dead To The World
I Want My Tears Back
Come Cover Me
Last Of The Wilds
Over The Hills And Far Away
Song Of Myself
Last Ride Of The Day
Well, there’s nothing more to say but what a great show Nightwish put on. Really good songs teamed up with a great visual show can’t go wrong in any way. The band’s show evolves mostly around the later albums with Olzon on songs and not many songs from the Tarja Turunen era is kept but we guess it’s now time once and for all to proclaim Olzon as the lead singer in Nightwish. Despite her pop approach did he a great job and she has grown a lot since the first show I (Anders) saw with her a few years ago. We decided to head back to the camping in order to get some sleep before it was time to wake up to a new day of festival and sun. Well back at the camping were there no one that checked our bags for glass bottles or so we were just allowed to walk in, we hardly had to show our camping passes.
Read about the second day of the festival on the next page…….