Summer Rock Festival 2014 with Twisted Sister and more at Friluftsbadet Svedala, Sweden

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Friday

The gates opened at 5 and besides Twister Sister I decided to also take a closer look at the local act Bad Barber. The weather was really nice and people started to arrive one by one after the gates had opened. Bad Barber was going to be on stage at 5.20 so as soon as the festival opened I headed straight to the smallest stage where they was going to perform. In Sweden it isn’t allowed to walk around with alcoholic beverages everywhere at festivals, you have to stay inside the restricted area in order to drink beer and other alcohol and there were three areas besides the beer tents where you could listen to the bands and drink at the same time. Bad Barber is a fairly new act that recently released their debut album COURTENEY COX AND ROCK N ROLL. The album was released by the band on their own and not by a label at the beginning of 2014 and the band calls their brand of music rock n soul. I found a pretty suiting description of the bands music in old school rock n soul with a modern “take no prisoners” attitude.

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Once the band got on stage the show kicked off right away and singer Andersson moved  across the stage instantly. The line-up is:

Mange Andersson – lead vocals
Martin Nobel – guitar
Gustaf Berggrensson – bass
John Olsson – drums

Andersson moves  around and is like a whirlwind on stage and he’s so energetic that his sunglasses falls of his head. The music was in my opinion a heavier version of rock n roll with some soul influences here and there. The band members were really tight and solid and completed each other perfect. Andersson was the perfect front man and it wasn’t a single dead moment on stage when Bad Barber performed. I guess the bands setlist consisted of songs from the album, however it sounded really good and I’m glad I chose to take a closer look at the band. The intense show lasted for 50 minutes and I was really impressed by both the music and the performance from Bad Barber this early evening and they deserved to be playing for a much larger crowd than the one that had come to see them. I do think that Bad Barber is going to be a force to be reckon with in the near future.

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Now began the wait for the headline act and as I walked around on the festival I was once again struck by how well organized the festival was is. There were no sign of people that argued or have had too much to drink. Most of the people walked around with a smile and kids ran around eating candy while playing with their friends. Summer Rock festival sure is a family thing and it’s probably because of that the festival have lasted for so long and have grown popularity each year. Maybe it’s time to let the rest of the southern parts of Sweden in and advertise for the festival in Copenhagen as well. But one thing the festival has lacked doing this year is to put out how many visitors the festival had each day.

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Twisted Sister is out in Europe celebrating STAY HUNGRY which turns 30 this year. Twisted Sister is one of my all time favorite acts and the band started out in 1973 and got their big break in the 80’s. The band is led by the very charismatic Dee Snider and according to the festival is Twisted Sister the biggest band they have booked. In my opinion is this booking much better than W.A.S.P. The band had 90 minutes to play for and they didn’t have much equipment on stage but the most necessary. The fans began to dwell to the stage about 30 minutes before the show and the closer it got more and more people arrived.

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Twisted Sister has always been big in Sweden and has always got a very loyal fanbase and since the reunion have the band visited Sweden quite a few times. The darkness had set over Svedala and now it was only a short while until the band was going to show up. The circumstances for a great show were obvious. It was dark, the weather was warm and the fans chanted for the band to come out and play. Suddenly the intro bursted out from the speakers and it was the AC/DC song “It’s a Long Way To The Top (If You Wanna Rock N Roll)”. The people got more anxious and sang along in the lyrics.

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Twisted Sister

The members all walked out to the stage together while a voice said “Sweden, from New York city! Welcome Twisted Fucking Sister”. The members all faced the crowd and kicked off the show with “Stay Hungry”. The audience tagged along for the ride from the very start and tried to keep the speed singer Dee Snider kept during the show. Pyros were blasted off which scared a few of the photographers in the pit and the band showed from the start who the bosses were. The fans sang a long in almost every song that was played during the show and the night continued with the amazing “Shoot Em Down”. Snider wore a white coat, white pants and a black t-shirt and ran around like a maniac across the stage. That man has the body of a 20 year old man! He’s crazy fit!. He worked really hard to keep the fans going and said that the band loved to be in Svedala and that the guys are out celebrating the 30th birthday of the STAY HUNGRY album. He said that the set list was going to be jammed with songs from that album but the next song up was not from that album. It was the song “You Can’t Stop Rock n Roll”. As soon as the song started Snider took of his coat and showed his t-shirt where it said “Stop Taken Selfies” and the fans clapped their hands a bit harder and louder when they saw the print. Twisted Sister is:

Dee Snider – lead vocals
Jay Jay French – guitar
Eddie Finger Ojeda – guitar
Mark The Animal Mendoza – bass
AJ Pero – drums

Snider and the band had the audience in the palm of their hands right from the start and I was blown away from the first note the band played. Snider thanked the audience and said that what the crowd saw on stage was the original band and said that besides the STAY HUNGRY songs was the band going to play some more un-expected songs that the band only was going to play at this tour as well. The next two songs that was coming up was linked together Snider said and the songs served as inspiration to my movie Strangeland. The songs were “Captain Howdy” and “Street Justice” and the fans tagged along with the band and jumped around while singing along in the songs. Snider looked really happy with the respond from the fans and it was obvious that Snider as well as the band loved to be on stage together again in front of a horde of screaming fans. Snider said again that it was the originalband that was on stage and that no one luckily was dead even though it had been rumors going on that I was dead. The following song brought down the biggest screams yet from the fans and it was the major hit “We’re Not Gonna Take It”.

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Twisted Sister did a delivered a rock solid show with brilliant guitarplay by French and Ojeda and a solid rhythm section heavily executed by Mendoza and Pero. And what better way to describe Snider than amazing! He is the born frontman and sure knows how to take on a crowd. It doesn’t matter if it’s 10 people or 10.000 in the crowd he always does his absolute best to put on a show. At the end of the song was it time for the fans to sing on their own and Snider said it was nice to see kids scream along with their parents and that everyone seemed to be having a great time together with the band. Snider took a look at the surroundings and said he saw that the festival was located besides a school and because of that he urged the fans to scream and sing even louder. French took over the mic, took a pic of the crowd with his cellphone and said that this is what social media means. He said that the band has always been big and popular in Sweden and usually doesn’t the band perform on festivals like this one but this one is an exception. French said he didn’t like shows like Idol, X-factor and such and said that those shows only offers a fast way to the stars. A real band has to work for the success like Twisted Sister always has done. The song that followed was a tribute to all the struggling bands; it was “The Kids Are Back”.

The sound and light system worked perfect and did the band justice and the mood on the stage was high and Snider joked around with both band members and the crowd all the time. “I Believe In Rock n Roll” followed and Snider said “Welcome to the church of Twisted Sister where we only worship rock n roll and nothing else. There is only one true religion and that’s rock n roll so say after me Sweden I believe in Rock n Roll. Snider wanted the crowd to scream I believe in Rock n Roll a few times and finally he was satisfied.

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Snider said that there is one band that plays on almost every festival there is every summer and that’s Motorhead. As most of you know Lemmy’s got health issues and to pay our respect to him and the band we’re going to play a Motorhead song in “Born To Raise Hell”. And once again the audience went completely frantic and jumped up and down while screaming on the top of their lungs. Snider let the fans sing the chorus and together with the band they did an amazing version of the song. In the middle of the song Snider stopped the music, ordered one of the crew members to come up on stage with his video camera to film when the crowd was singing the chorus. The band was going to send the film to Lemmy to cheer him up he said. Snider looked into the camera and said We love you Lemmy, get better soon. Best wishes from Twisted Sister and Sweden. The show continued with “The Fire Still Burns” taken from the album COME OUT AND PLAY which is an album Snider assured us they hadn’t forgotten. Fire burst up from the edge of the stage and Snider once again invited the fans to sing a long with him. By now I was in heaven and it was so fun to see my child hood heroes live on stage. Snider said that the band hadn’t got a clue what kind of festival this was and was surprised to see that they were going to play at a festival alongside with a winner from Idol. But now, he said, he and the band loved being on stage in Svedala performing for some hardcore fans. Snider took off his shirt and showed how ridiculous fit he is.

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“The Price” followed and Snider wanted the stage to go black and the fans to put up their lighters and cellphones during the song and it looked quite awesome with all the lights amongst the crowd. The stage was then covered in smoke and the song “Burn In Hell” blasted off with Snider standing in the middle with a red light starring in his face looking quite evil. Pero ran through a standard drum solo and then was it time for a song that defines the band and one of the songs that the fans had been waiting to hear. Of course am I talking about the monster mega hit “I Wanna Rock”. Snider wanted the stage to be all lit up before the song started to that the band could see all of their fans. Snider said it was so nice to see three generations of fans with the young ones at the front of the stage, their parents a little further back and the real old hardcore fans at the very back. So was it time for everyone to loose their minds and get crazy in “I Wanna Rock”. Snider wanted everyone to scream I Wanna Rock back at him at commando and the dedicated fans followed every single instruction that came out of Sniders mouth. The music got silence and only Pero and Mendoza were still playing and Snider urged every single one in the crowd to scream I wanna rock. Snider said he was thinking of trading rock for fuck but since this was a family festival he chose not to. He wanted everyone to raise their hands and said he was impressed by how hard Svedala could rock.

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I was a bit confused when I read who was going to performing at the festival he continued. From what I could see were there only pop-princesses and pop acts but you guys really know how to rock. He was also trying to pronounce the name of some of the Swedish bands/artists that performed on the festival and it didn’t sound too good. The song was extended due to all the talking and the sing a long but I didn’t mind. I was in Twisted Sister heaven. That song ended the show and Snider thanked the fans so much with saying we are Twisted Fucking Sister – don’t forget that Sweden. A few minutes went by and the fans screamed for more music, the fans weren’t satisfied with 75 minutes of madness they wanted more. And finally we could hear the intro to “Come Out And Play” playing in the speakers and the band came back and played “Come Out And Play”. Snider once again thanked for the support and asked if the fans wanted to hear one more song before it was time to go off the stage. But before the next song it was time for another speech from Snider. He said that there are many bands that perform today that consist of only one or few original members but what we were seeing was the original Twisted Sister. He asked the other members for how long they have been touring together this second time around and the answer was 12 years which was longer than the first time they were active. He said that the members have never been angry at each other or have been fighting. When they gathered to rehearse for the first time in years Mendoza had come and put his gun on one of the speakers and believe it or not it was laying there and no one touched it. That’s how good of friends we are he laughed. He introduced the band and said that it was Mendoza’s birthday in a few days and asked if the fans wanted to sing for him. The fans sang happy birthday for Mendoza and he looked really happy for that. French took the mic introducing Snider with the words – everybody tries to look like Lady GaGa, Madonna or Katy Perry but no one can look like or be like the one and only Dee Snider on lead vocals. Snider took a look at the clock and said that they had to hurry if they were going to play another song and fired off “S.M.F”. In the middle Snider wanted everyone to sing SMF and then he changed it into “I’m a sick motherfucker” and that was done a few times before the song was over. The band once again thanked the audience for their amazing support and the encores added 15 minutes to the total playtime.

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The show was 90 minutes of sheer magic and I’m really glad that the festival booked the mighty Twisted Sister to Svedala. The band showed that they still are a force to be reckoned with and in my opinion I could gladly see another 90 minutes. The set list was perfect and included a brilliant mix of songs of course with main focus on the songs from STAY HUNGRY. It was a treat to hear songs from COME OUT AND PLAY and the show was definitely one of the best shows I’ve seen on the festival during all the years I attended it. It was great to see that my childhood heroes still manage to deliver a rock solid show 2014. However I think it’s time for the band to release a proper studio album instead of touring the world a few times on old live and compilation albums. It would be nice to hear something new from the band. They should make up their minds of they’re going to be active or put the band to rest, until today the band have re-united several times. Please make up your mind. A huge thanks to the bookers at the festival who made sure we could see Twisted Sister on a stage in Svedala at the Summer Rock Festival.

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Set list
It’s a Long Way To The Top (If You Wanna Rock n Roll) intro
Stay Hungry
Shoot Em Down
You Can’t Stop Rock N Roll
Horror-Teria (The Beginning)
Captain Howdy – Street Justice
We’re Not Gonna Take It
The Kids Are Back
I Believe In Rock n Roll
Born To Raise Hell
The Fire Still Burns
The Price
Burn In Hell – drum solo
I Wanna Rock
Encores
Come Out And Play
Happy Birthday for Animal Mendoza
S.M.F

The clock had now turn 12 at night and it was time for me and the rest of the festival to go to bed. This was nothing but the perfect evening and I went home with “I Wanna Rock” ringing in my ears.

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