As with most times, when you sleep in a tent you wake up really early and this day was no exception. The weather was OK, not so sunny, but no sign of rain either. It’s a gamble to host a festival in August at least when it comes to the weather here in Sweden. The toilets and the water were at the same places as last year which ended up in guys peeing on the fence when they didn’t have the patience to wait for their time in the queue. While we took care of the morning duties, the camping site began waking up to life. It looked like many hadn’t slept too much. At 1 we began our walk to the festival area and as we walked we could feel the first drops of rain on our heads. The first act on the first day was the Swedish death metal act Ceremonial Oath. They opened the festival on the Green Stage.
Other acts that we looked forward to see included: Gamma Ray, Iced Earth and Testament. We went through yet another security check when we entered the gates to the festival and when we came into the area we saw that it all looked like it did when the festival first started out. Across the Green stage stood food carts and a beer cart. And on the other side towards the Red stage the merchandise stands stood in line. The space in front of the Green stage was also larger now that the beer house had closed its outdoor service. Overall, was the area was much larger than last year and the Red stage was also much bigger. It was sad though that there was so long way to go in order to get to the Red stage from the Green. However, it really was positive that they didn’t have a stage right in front of the entrance as they did last year. We took a short glance at the area before we headed over to the Green Stage to see the Swedish death metal act Ceremonial Oath. The band was active in between 89-95 and released a demo, one EP and two studio albums before they put the band on ice. Last year the band released a remixed and remastered version of the album THE BOOK OF TRUTH from 1993. On each side were two up and down turned crosses placed and the fans had gathered pretty early in order to see their favorite act.
“The Invocator” was the first song and it was followed by “For I Have Sinned/The Praise”. Singer Oscar Dronjak (of HammerFall fame) said that it was nice to be in Gavle and said it was time for the song “Enthroned”. The line-up today looks like this:
Oscar Dronjak – lead vocals, guitar
Anders Iwers – guitar
Jesper Stromblad – bass
Markus Nordberg – drums
Dronjak said that if we hadn’t already noticed, the band was playing the entire THE BOOK OF TRUTH and said that the band was against all kinds of religion hence the two crosses on each side of the stage. “Only Evil Prevails” continued the show and it was pretty obvious that Dronjak isn’t used to being the frontman. He seemed almost a little embarrassed to be in the front as he is best suited to being the guitarist. It was really nice to see Stromblad on bass agai. It was a while since I saw him live and it’s nice to see him back in shape again. “Thunderworld” and “Lords Of Twilight” followed and Dronjak said it was fun to be playing at Getaway Rock Festival and that Witchcraft was supposed to play but had to cancel.
“Ceremonial Oath” followed and it became clear that lead vocals isn’t Dronjak’s strongest side, he should stick guitar. The crowd was a bit reluctant towards the show but it can’t be fun to play death metal in the sunshine during the bright afternoon. “The Lost Name Of God” and “The Book Of Truth” followed and Dronjak thanked for the applauds and said that the next song up was a cover of the song “Submit To Death” by Grotesque. And to Dronjak’s surprise stood the drummer from Grotesque in the crowd and the band gave a shout out to him. That cover ended the show and the band thanked the fans and went of stage. Even if Ceremonial Oath isn’t one of our favorite bands was it a pretty Ok show. Again, it was nice to see Stromblad in action and that was also the most positive with the show.
Prologue: Sworn To Avenge (into)
For I Have Sinned/The Praise
One Evil Prevails
Lords Of Twilight
The Lost Of God
The Book Of Truth
Submit To Death
At the end of the show the rain came and it started to pour. The weather varied in between little drops of rain and pouring down and lucky for us we could hide from the rain in the media lounge that was located in the same house as the beer house. The media center was at the second floor and it was there we took a break from the rain before the Iced Earth show. It was however a bit tricky to come up to the media center because we had to walk into the beer hall and straight across the room was an anonymous door to open. Behind the door were stairs and on the second floor the media center located. We didn’t get any information about where the center was located until Anders waited to get into the photo pit, after the Ceremonial Oath show the instructions came on how to get to the media room. There was also a VIP lounge located beside the Green stage.
On the Red stage Katatonia was performing but we were ready to see Nashville Pussy. Each act had a playtime on 60 minutes except for the headline acts that had 90 minutes. This day In Flames closed the festival. The rain made the mood sunk and there were many that hide away from the rain in the beer house and under the few roofs that was available on the area. Nashville Pussy prefers to play live rather than record albums and the latest studio album called FROM HELL TO TEXAS came in 2009, That album was re-released last year with a featured bonus disc. The former bass player Karen Cuda is replaced by Bonnie Buitrago but besides that is the line-up intact. Guitarist Ruyter Suys has also been voted as one of the best female guitarists in Elle Magazine recently. The band members were doing the soundcheck on stage and there were obviously some problems with the gear. 5 minutes late was it so time to kick off the show.
The members walked out on stage and fired off the excellent song “Come On Come On Come On”. Cartwright thanked fans and said that it was time to play a song taken from the latest album called “Give Me A Hit Before I Go”. The line-up is:
Blaine Cartwright – lead vocals, guitar
Ruyter Suys – lead guitar
Bonnie Buitrago – bass
Jeremy Thompson – drums
Cartwright said that a little rain didn’t mean a thing and fired off the crowd pleaser “High As Hell”. The stage was pretty wide and deep and the band didn’t use much space. It was mainly Suys and Cartwright that used the stage while Buitrago mostly stood solid on her spot. Cartwright looked cool and like a real redneck when he played his guitar standing with one foot one the amps.
The problems the band had with the gear or whatever was solved and the band had a really good sound during the entire show. Cartwright said it was time to play a new song from the album that is possibly being released at the end of this year or at the beginning of 2014. Suys ran around on stage kicking and playing the guitar most of the time and she really is a great guitarist. The entire band is a solid unit and really skilled in a live situation. Cartwright said that he liked Sweden very much but it is hard to buy weed here and said that if there were any people in the audience that had some they should throw it up on stage to him.
The weed situation was the only thing we should try to change in the beautiful country. “She’s Got The Drugs” followed as well as “I’m So High”. Even though the fans at the front of the stage did their best to give the band support if felt like the major part of the crowd stood just still and just looked at the band. Maybe it was the bad weather that put a wet blanket on the party mood. It was so time for the band to play the first ever song that Cartwright wrote and it was “Goodbye Baby Go To Hell”.
We thought that the band despite the bad weather and the stiff audience did a great show and they really tried to get the crowd in the mood. The second new song from the album was played and even though it sounded like a typical Nashville Pussy song it was quite hard to think something about a song you hear for the first time. “Good Night For A Heart Attack” followed and Cartwright thanked the fans for coming to see the band. He also thanked the festival for letting Nashville Pussy play although they just a rock band and not a metal band. So was it time to go old school and listen to the songs “Snake Eyes” and “I’m The Man”. “Why Why Why” and “Go Motherfucker Go” ended the show and as soon as the show was over went the band off stage and had then been playing for about 60 minutes.
The band delivered a rock solid show and the mood was high even though the rain was killing the spirit for many. The set list was excellent and Cartwright and Suys was as hardcore on stage as always. The set list it not in order.
Come On Come On Come On
Give Me A Hit Before I Go
High As Hell
She’s Got The Drugs
I’m So High
Goodbye Baby Go To Hell
Good Night For A Heart Attack
I’m The Man
Why Why Why
Go Motherfucker Go
The constant rain made everything wet, it was impossible to sit outside because the benches were all wet. It was impossible to find a seat inside the beer house because every single spot was taken. While we waited for Gamma Ray to begin we took a walk around the area in order to find some food. The food was just as last year (really expensive) but since we had to eat, we had no choice. However, there was more food to choose from this year than last year so that was a positive thing. A meet and greet with In Flames took place from 17.30-18.00 and with Testament from 19.00-19.30. On the right side of the Green Stage the meet and greet tent was placed and it was a bad place because the lines to the events blocked people from walking back and forth to the stages and the VIP lounge. The line to the In Flames meet and greet was really long to say the least. Last year was the tent placed at the other side of the area which was much better because then the lines didn’t stop anyone from getting back and forth.
Gamma Ray has gone through a change in the line-up with Michael Enré behind the drums. The bands latest studio album TO THE METAL came out in 2010. The band released an EP in 2011 titled SKELETONS AND MAJESTIES and in March 2013 came another EP called MASTER OF CONFUSION. Gamma Ray is also out on a world tour together with Helloween called Hellish Rock 2 Tour. People gathered in front of the stage and still the crew was busy and it seemed to be some kind of problem up there.
The clock turned 6 but nothing happened. The band was supposed to kick off their show then but nothing happened. Anders stood and waited to go into the photo pit but he and the rest of the photographers were not let in. This year the press people from the festival in the photo pit didn’t let in the photographers until the band stood on stage. Last year they were let in about 5 minutes before the show which was a lot easier because then they could rig the cameras etc before the band came on stage. This year it all had to be done in a hurry. The festival also handed out A and B photo passes which meant that if you had a B pass you only came into the pit if there were enough space. About 20 minutes after scheduled time the intro was played and it was finally time for the band to kick off their show.
The band got warmly welcomed by the fans and the first song out was “Anywhere In The Galaxy”. After the song, Kai Hansen said that the equipment doesn’t always work but now we’re here and they were going to make the best of the situation. The audience agreed and clapped their hands for Gamma Ray. The band today consists of:
Kai Hansen – lead vocals, guitar
Henjo Richter – guitar
Dirk Schlachter – bass
Michael Ehré – drums
“Man, Martians And Machines” followed and it was really hard to take photos of the band because they stood so far back on stage. The stage was really high and often the monitors stood in front of the band. Hansen thanked everyone for the support and said that it was time to play something old in “The Spirit” which is featured on the 1991 year album SIGH NO MORE. “Dethrone Tyranny” followed instantly and despite the rain the fans were in the right mood. It had now been raining for a few hours and there were no sign of the sun. Hansen said that the band had released an EP earlier with some new songs. And it was time to hear a song from the EP. He also said that the band was about to release a new album at the beginning of next year. “Master Of Confusion” followed and it was really nice to hear Hansen sing so well. He’s vocals were brilliant and his guitar playing was amazing. He and Richter completed each other perfectly and Ehré on drums did contribute with some solid drum works.
“Emphaty” and “Rise” followed and it seemed that the band had a really good time on stage. “Rise” ended the show but the audience shouted for more music so the band returned on stage and fired off “Future World”. It felt like it was this song the most people longed for and everyone sang along in the song. Hansen thanked the crowd again and the band went of stage.
Despite the delay with the gear we thought the band did the best with the situation and delivered a solid show. The set list was well mixed with both old and more current classics. It was definitely a show that made us wish for more of Gamma Ray.
Anywhere In The Galaxy Man,
Martians And Machines
Master Of Confusion
The constant rain continued and most people went to the beer house after the show in order to get out of the rain. The rain had also begun to take its toll on Anders’ camera. The bag where the camera lies was wet and it is a real camera bag that can handle water but apparently not this much water and moist.The rain didn’t promote the festival feeling one bit. We tried to take cover in the beer house but inside were the atmosphere so damp and moist so it didn’t matter if we were outside or inside, we were all wet either way. Next band on the Green Stage was Iced Earth and Hypocrisy was about to kick off on the Red Stage. We decided to stay put to see Iced Earth in action. It was sad to miss Hypocrisy and we wondered how the organizers had planned the playtime amongst the band.
This year it was too many bands that clashed and it took too long to walk in between the stages because then you had missed valuable time from both the bands. On the Green stage hung now a huge back drop with the cover art work of the latest album. The trouble the previous band had on stage continued for Iced Earth. The band is still touring on the 2011 year album DYSTOPIA. Band leader Jon Schaffer has also done some changes in the line-up and there is both a new drummer as well as a new bass player. People started to arrive to the stage as the minutes passed and the dusk started to set. Every photographer that waited to come into the pit was once again checked for an A or B pass and one can think that because it was the same girl that checked the bands on the prior band she should remember what she had asked about one hour before.
Read about the last bands on the first day of the festival on the next page