Getaway Festival – Sweden

Spread the metal:

Getaway Festival

Gävle, Sweden

August 6 – 8 2015

Review by Ellen Norvang
Photography by Inca Calmeyer

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An hour away from Stockholm lays a Swedish city that resembles every Astrid Lindgreen tale you have ever read. Amongst this entire idyllic scenario a heavy metal gathering has taken place since 2010.

Getaway Festival provides big international name that have been around for ages, mix it with well- known Swedish bands and takes care of the niche genres such as black metal.
The sun is shining from clear blue skies which only add more struggle to the 80% of the male attendants that have decided to wear the obligatory leather or denim vest.

On this Thursday afternoon Swedish Hardcore Superstar (3/5) takes the main stage while the sun is still out. They play rock n roll that Swedes and Hollywood Americans know how to do with perfection. It’s loud, it’s energetic and it is covered in tattoos and eyeliner.

Frontman Jocke Berg is a great leader of the show and even though the space in front of the stage is far from crowded there is a party happening. The band’s material has never really reached extreme heights when it comes to originality or choruses that will go down in history, but entertainment it sure is.

Another Swedish act takes the stage while the sun is still out. Deathstars (3/5) play industrial metal that does not go well with heat and sunshine. The Swede’s harsh sound is difficult not to stand still to, but singer Whiplasher Bernadotte’s vocals have never been of the royal kind. They are not meant to be beautiful, but at times it just becomes unpleasant and cringing to listen to.

However the band sounds great live (with a little help from the sample friends on the stereo) and they are entertaining. It would have suited them with a slot after daylight hours, but then again most bands deserve darkness as setting.

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Thursday night’s headliner is party rocker, Rob Zombie (4/5). Zombie’s set list is perfect for sing a long and groovy dancing, but it is predictable. Even the little White Zombie goodies added to the setlist is necessary, yes, but way to predictable.

Rob Zombie is a party starter. He crowdsurfs and interacts with the fans. As much of a big name Mr. Zombie is, it is like Getaway Festival is not geared for his show. The party in front of the stage reminisces a social gathering where alcohol free beer is served more than it reminisces a rowdy, drunken state of a party in the true Rob Zombie spirit.

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It is a shame because Rob Zombie might use all of the clichés and if you have seen him once before on stage you have seen all these tricks before. At least he did what he could even if it seemed like routine.

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Friday is just as warm and welcoming, but the musical programme is lacking a lot of new modern stuff. Friday is for fans of the old school. Especially of the German and Swedish kind.

Zakk Wylde and Black Label Society (4/5) are headlining this evening and just like fellow American from the day before he needs a platform to empathize his status. It is not difficult to see him though as the front of the stage is nowhere near crowded.

The sound is almost perfect and this only gets better and better throughout the gig as Wylde is a wizard on the guitar. The band’s song might not be of the most varied kind, but they fill out the whole area sound-wise. Can all the guitar porn get a bit too much? Yes, for sure. But Wylde is first of all a guitar-man and the front leading comes second. He might be notorious for not being the easiest guy in rock n roll, but he sure is professional and knows how to put on a show that is worth paying money for.

Saturday screams hangover, but the programme today is far better than yesterday.

Turbonegro (3.5/5) has one of the most dedicated following out there and a few Turbojugends have found their way to Sweden this early evening. It is easy to win a tipsy crowd over with perverted jokes, but what seem to work tonight are the hits. Singer Tony Sylvester has the same approach to the fashion, the appearance and the dark humour as previous leadman, Hank von Helvete, did. It can be hard to tell whether this is a lovely tribute and continuation of something that doesn’t deserve to die or a parody.
The finishing touch with a medley through some of the decades hits such as “Smells Like Teen Spirit” and “Enter Sandmen” can seem a bit tiring and unnecessary and Turbonegro leaves a feeling of satisfaction, but definitely not any surprises.

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Ghost (5/5) is by far the festival’s best performance. One can have an opinion about the music, but what Ghost does and sounds like on stage can only be met with positive thoughts. You leave a Ghost show feeling full and intrigued without having witnessed an intense amount of pyro or fireworks. Sure, there are masks and disguises, but Ghost uses incenses, calm mimics and a hell of a lot of mystery and built up persona. And the Ghost fans are definitely giving the Turbojugends competition when it comes to dressing up and showing your colours.

What the two little kids dressed in skull make-up had to do on stage remains a mystery, but Ghost ruled the fans and the sceptics this evening.

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Dark Funeral (4.5/5) finishes of the festival with the best time slot a black metal could ask for. Unlike a lot of black metal bands Dark Funeral is a fantastic live band when it comes to the sound. This is just as much about make-up and dressing up, but less about theatrical stage shows. Dark Funeral have entered 2015 and does know what is expected of a band – especially a band finishing a festival in their home country. They bring the sound, the costumes, the pyro and the firework.

There have been some changes on the vocal site. The new lead singer, Heljarmadr, does a good job, but he is not Emperor Magus Caligula. He for sure carries the show in an energetic way that finishes off the festival in the best possible way!