The sun has been absent in Sweden this summer, but when I awoke for the first festival day the weather actually looked kind of nice. The first day I was covering the local metal act Eleine. I arrived to the festival at 7.30 and got my media press without any problems. At 8.30 Eleine was about to enter the stage and in wait for the band I took a look at this year festival area. The site looked similar to previous years with the main stage at the right and a beer/food tent at the opposite side. A little further into the site, the smaller stage was placed inside a huge tent and also that stage faced a nearby beer/food tent. The majority of the people were already in the tent looking at a band while the crew were preparing the larger stage for Eleine. The instruments were put up as well as a smaller backdrop. The band comes from a town near Malmo called Helsingborg and released their self-titled debut album in Europe this year and last year the band unleashed the digital single BREAK TAKE LIVE. The band labels their music as symphonic metal but to be honest I have never listened to the band any closer. Last year they performed at Sweden Rock Festival and did a shorter European tour with Moonspell. This year they played at Wacken Battle in Malmo as well as at the Gefle Metal festival. With 15 minutes left to the show there appeared to be some malfunctions on stage with the keyboard but it was solved and the band went on as scheduled.
“Land Beyond Sanity” marked the beginning of the show and “Destiny” followed straight after. It was really hard to take pictures because the stage was so high that I only saw the band members who were standing at the edge of the stage. Singer Eleine thanked the fans for being there and said it was time to play the band’s first single which also was the very first song the band wrote together in “Gathering Storm”. The line up in the band is:
Eleine – lead vocals
Andreas Mårtensson – bass
David Eriksson – drums
Sebastian Berglund – keyboards
Rikard Ekberg – guitar, vocals
“Another Rite” followed and Eleine said it was extra fun to be playing at the festival this year because of the anniversary. In my opinion it’s wrong to call the band’s music symphonic metal; I rather think it sounds like light goth metal. To be honest, I’m not impressed by their music at all. Ekberg took the mic saying that the next song was one of the band’s own favorite songs and “A Sin” followed. Many in the crowd now started to leave the area and walk towards the other stage in order to see the band that was getting ready to perform over there. Singer Eleine said that 2017 had been a great year for the band with the release of their debut album in Europe and touring. It was time to slow down the tempo a bit with a ballad taken from the debut album in “Turn to Dust” as everyone besides Eleine and Berglund left the stage.
Ekberg’s contribution with his growling vocals didn’t help out the music, in fact it was the opposite as the music would have been better without his growls. Ekberg said it was time to play the last song for the night and he wanted the audience to help them out in “Story Untold”. To be honest, I thought the show was a bit pale and it felt like the band borrowed inspiration heavily from other bands in the same genre. A friend of mine said he thought Eleine had a lot in common with Nightwish but no, I don’t agree with that at all. However the crowd shouted for an encore. Ekberg said the band was about to play “Break Take Live” in which singer Eleine fronted her yellow wings that actually looked really cool when she turned from side to side. More people started to leave and Ekberg asked if the crowd wanted to hear one more final song before the show was over, and last song for the night was “Death Incarnate”. Ekberg wanted the crowd to sing along with the band and urged them to sing louder and louder. Before the band left the stage they wanted to take a picture with the crowd and that ended the 50 minute show.
As mentioned earlier I’m not a fan of the band’s music and they didn’t succeed in winning me over this time around either. I think their music is pale and it doesn’t capture me. To me, a band like this is a dime a dozen and it takes a lot more than their bland goth metal to win me over. Parts of the crowd left the show before it was over and that may be an indication that Eleine needs to improve both their music and show in the future. The band has a long way to go if they want to be one of the top acts in their genre.
Land Beyond Sanity
Turn To Dust
Break Take Live
So was it time for a break before Europe was scheduled to be on stage at 10.40. I noticed that the festival was organized perfectly as always, with a lot of security, medics, and police to keep the area safe.
I guess today there’s probably no one that doesn’t know who Europe is? The band comes from a suburb to Sweden’s capital Stockholm and sold about 25 million albums. The band took a break in 1992 and was revived in 2004 with the release of the album START FROM THE DARK. With 20 minutes left for the show to start it was pretty crowded in front of the stage and many waited eagerly in order to see one of the biggest hard rock bands Sweden’s ever produced.
Since the stage was so high no one in the photo pit could see when the band came out but we could at least hear them. “War of Kings” was the first song out and the entire stage filled up with smoke as the song went by. “Hole in My Pocket” followed straight away and the crowd seemed to be in sync with the band from the very start.
The band consists of:
Joey Tempest – lead vocals
John Norum – guitar
John Levén – bass
Mic Michaeli – keyboard
Ian Haugland – drums
Darkness had now settled over the festival and with that came problems with the stage light. Most lights were focused at the back and not in the front which made it hard to take pictures. The smoke made the members look like silhouettes on stage and it was very hard to take descent shots.
Tempest said, “Come on Svedala, Rock the night, rock the night!”, which of course was the presentation of the epic “Rock the Night” which woke up the crowd. It was also bold of the band to put on such a classic piece so early in the show. Tempest had the fans scream and sing at his command which went really well and when he asked how the fans were doing he got applause back.
“Scream of Anger”, which is probably the fastest song the band ever made, followed. It is one of my personal favorites with the band and I was really happy when I heard the first notes of the piece. The song was executed with energy and vitality and I was really glad they chose to dust off the tune this night. Tempest showed that he’s still got his amazing vocals intact and he did a great job keeping the spirit alive on stage. He worked really hard to get the crowd going and the audience followed his every move.
“Last Look at Eden” followed after which the entire band beside Michaeli left the stage while he did a keyboard solo that turned into “Carrie”. The crowd sang along with Tempest, who was in a great mood. The band felt tight and solid together. Norum was brilliant and showed why he is one of the best guitarists in the world and Haugland behind the drums was, as always, solid as a rock. The bands old songs feel as strong today as they did back then and it was great fun to hear the old pieces again. “The Second Day” followed and even though the fans greeted the current songs well, there was no doubt that people had come to hear to old classic tunes. “Firebox” followed and so it was time for another Michaeli solo that turned out into “Sign of the Times”. Tempest said he wanted to see everyone’s hands in the air one more time. He then put on a guitar and said it was time for a tune from the album OUT OF THIS WORLD as the band played “Ready or Not”. Tempest thanked everyone for the amazing support and said it was great fun to be in Svedala this night.
“Nothing To Ya” and “Superstitious” continued the night as Tempest wanted to see everyone’s hands in the air, from the front to the back. He said it was amazing that the festival turned 30 this year and it was an honor to be in Svedala performing. “Are you ready for some “Cherokee”?”, he asked and the fans exploded with happiness. The last song for the night was “Days of Rock n’ Roll” with Tempest once again playing guitar. Of course the fans weren’t satisfied with only 70 minutes of music and yes, there were one mandatory song the band hadn’t played yet. The song that defined the band back in the 80’s that everyone was waiting to hear. The fans shouted for encores and it didn’t take long until Michaeli came back on stage, did the keyboard intro and the rest of the guys teamed up with him in the monstrous hit song “The Final Countdown”. Needless to say, the crowd went totally crazy when they heard the intro and that mood was stayed constant during the song. At the end Tempest once again thanked the fans and said that it had been great to be performing at the festival. The show lasted all together about 75 minutes and since this was the last show for the day it was only to head over to the busses and go home and close down the first day of the festival.
I have seen Europe many times live on stage and they have had their ups and downs. Luckily this was a good day for the band and they all seemed to be having a good time on stage. Tempest did a great job and so did Norum, who is a genius on guitar. The set list was flawless and a big plus was that they had dusted off “Scream of Anger”. The band was on fire this night and I was so happy they did the best they could to do a great show this night. Even the partially stiff bass player Levén looked like he had fun on stage. The only negative things were the constant smoke on stage and the poor lighting, but that is a matter for the festival to take care of. Otherwise this was the perfect way of ending the first day of the festival.