Just like the other days this last one didn’t include many must-see-shows but I decided to go and see the Danish act Supercharger and the Swedish The Heard at Rock Stage. Supercharger was going on stage at 8 and The Heard at 11.15 and just as it use to be the last day there was a lot of people moving around at the festival. From my point of view the festival had been a calm one and I didn’t see any fights or stuff like that during the days I been attending the festival. It felt like the entire city was preparing for the last show which was Steve Angello and the police had increased the ways to the grand square where he was going to perform so you had to walk in special lines if you wanted to come to the show. There were also huge video screens placed at the other square behind the grand square so that people could stand over there and see his show.
Back to the Rock Stage now and to Supercharger, the bands debut HANDGRENADE BLUES came 2009 and in 2015 the band singer Mikkel Neperus left the band and it was about then I lost interest in the band. Neperus was such a great front man that I doubted anyone could replace him, and I was right. In February last year the bands single “Rotteburg” was released and at the middle of this year the album REAL MACHINE unveiled. Since a few albums back the band is signed to the Swedish label Gain Music. The bands biggest fanbase is located in Denmark and Germany and I hadn’t seen the band perform with the new singer so it was premier night for me.
Nothing but a backdrop and the gear was placed on stage when I arrived and at 8 it was time for the band to kick off their show.
The band made their way on to the stage to the sound of the intro and the first song out was the great “Hold On Buddy” and it was full speed ahead from the very start, “Supercharger” followed and the three members in the front moved around on stage the entire show through. Post climbed on to the speaker that was placed at the floor in the pit while Johnson thanked for the support. The German singer said it was fun to be in Sweden, are you ready for “Like A Pitbull”? The line up in the band consists of:
Linc Van Johnson – lead vocals
Thomas Buchwald – guitar
Benjamin Funk – drums
Karsten Dines Johansen – bass
Ronni Clasen – keys, harp, guitar
Dennis Post – guitar
The band had now ran through three songs from the previous album BROKEN HEARTS AND FALLAPARTS which came 2014 and I think Van Johnson did a pretty good job as front man and as he thanked the fans he announced the next song in “Are You Satisfied”. It felt like the fans woke up when they heard the older material and when I got out from the pit I could see the band had drawn quiet a lot of people, probably the biggest crowd I’ve seen during the week. Van Johnson said it was time to play a song from the latest album ROTTENBURG in the title track “Rottenburg” and it seemed like the fans liked what they heard.
In the next song the band had help from the ex Thundermother singer Claire Cunningham on vocals which was the second single from the album titled “The Ride”. “Mrs Ferguson” followed as well as “Seven” and “Off We Go”. Van Johnson said the following song was about how bad things can go when you’re “Hangover In Hamburg”. Malmo are you ready for “Rise And Fall” Van Johnson asked and fired off the very popular song. “Blood Red Lips” followed and as the show started to reach its end I noticed the band hadn’t played one song from the debut album yet which was strange because that album contains a strain of strong songs. Do you want to sing along with us Van Johnson asked, good well do that in “Hell Motel” and this was the very song the fans really had been waited for, and yes the song is taken from the debut album. Van Johnson invited the fans to sing a long and urged them to sing louder and louder until he was satisfied.
With that song the 50 minute long show ended and what are my lasting impression of the show? Well even though Van Johnson is a good front man he’s a good singer but I don’t think he really fits into Supercharger as a singer. His vocals are too clean and do not fit the music very well, he had made better in a band like Nickelback. I want to see Neperus handle the mic in Supercharger once again. As for the rest of the band members they all did a solid performance and they all are skilled musicians. I had wished to hear more songs taken from the debut album but besides that it was a solid show and the band delivered what they should.
Hold On Buddy
Like A Pitbull
Are You Satisfied
Off We Go
Hangover in Hamburg
Rise And Fall
Blood Red Lips
In wait for The Heard I took a walk around the rest of the festival area and there were a lot of people in action this warm night and I was back at the Rock Stage about 40 minutes before it was time for The Heard to enter the stage. The band did their sound check when I got back and I could see that the drummer missing and replaced by Danne McKenzie (ex- Mustasch, Satan Takes A Holiday etc), the bands original drummer Nicki Wicked stood beside the stage pregnant so I guess it was because of that she couldn’t perform this night.
The Heard is a bunch of people from bands like Crucified Barbara and Deathstars that joined forces and formed a joint band with burlesque model Pepper Potemkin behind the mic. The band released a single called “Sirens” and the band describes their music as heavy riffs, misty songs, dark waters and a death supreme. The info sheet writes this about the band “The Heard paints a mystical and dark world with equal parts of melodic as well as heavy rock. The bands lyrics include mythological elements and great refrains”. In order words, I had no idea on what to expect from The Heard.
First song out was “The Island” which was followed straight away by “A Death Supreme”, it was really dark on stage and not much light at all, that added with all the smoke made it hard to see the band. The audience clapped their hands as singer Potemkin thanked for the support saying we are The Heard from Stockholm and we’re going to take you on a journey with us that already has begun. We are on an island and we’re going to tell you about it now.
After having a few technical errors with her gear guitarist Force kicked off “Revenge Song” and the band members are:
Klara Force – guitar
Ida Evileye – bass
Skinny – guitar
Pepper Potemkin – lead vocals
Danne McKenzie – drums (session member)
The bands music felt really strange and is best described as like some variation of light doom metal with female vocals, the songs were pretty long and included some really extended instrumental parts. On the island there lives a queen Potemkin said, but before we take on the next song let me introduce our drummer Danne McKenzie. Then “Queen Scarlet” followed and the few people in the audience didn’t seem overwhelmed with the show. “It” followed and already now I realized that The Heard’s music wasn’t going to make it for me. The long boring and dark songs didn’t appeal to me at all and the show felt kind of strange. I guess the songs evolved around some sort of theme but it was hard to get that since the album wasn’t released when this show took place. Potemkin said it was time to tell how the story began, it all began in a spooky forest and a lake, think of the most haunted forest you know and what makes you scared, here is “Crystal Lake” for you all. I saw many of the people in the crowd that left the show, however the dedicated fanbase stood in front of the stage admiring the band the show through.
Force thanked for the applaud saying that the next song was the one that started it all for the band, it was “White Lightning”. As Potemkin re-entered the stage she switched her black dress to a red one and taken of her wig sharing her shaved head with the fans. She introduced the band saying that drummer McKenzie helped them out since the main drummer Nikki is pregnant. She is with us tonight, Nikki come up on stage please, please hang around and sing back up vocals for us Potemkin continued and fired off “Sirens”.
“Tower Of Silence” followed and the entire stage turned pitch black, what the point was with that I don’t know but the band continued playing the song. So the time had come for the band to play their last song which was “Leaving The Island” and yet again the stage was pitch black. When I took around in the tent I saw that it was almost empty, it was only the hardcore fan left to see the show and when the song was over it was them that clapped their hands for the band waving goodbye.
The show and the music were really strange and I’m not in the mood to check the band out any further. The most positive thing I can say about it is that the band members are all excellent musicians and know what they do. The weak link is the singer which voice couldn’t really carry on the music. It would been easier to have read the lyrics before the show in order to have an idea what they were singing about but since the band hasn’t released an album yet it was hard to do that. And I think many with me were so bored that they even left the tent before the show was over. I had expected more from such great musicians.
A Death Supreme
Tower Of Silence
Leaving The Island
The Heard ended this year festival experience for me and to be honest this year’s version of the festival was a pretty boring one. Sure there is the Rock Stage available if you want to listen to harder music, but this year the stage mainly booked local smaller acts that to me weren’t appealing at all. The main organizers should have booked more harder acts, as for this year it felt like they totally missed out on luring people that loves rock and metal to the main stages. The festival motto is that they have something for everyone, but sorry to say, not this year. I really hope the festival steps it up next year and take more notice of the forgotten hardrock/rock/metal audience.
And what about the star DJ Steve Angello and his show then, well he broke the record with 28 000 people watching his show.
I know the festival have the money-muscle to book bigger acts, why not take some of the budget and put it into a major hardrock act next year? If I could wish I had wished for the Rock Stage to book a bit bigger acts, and not only local ones. For the organizers to have the guts to book a major hardrock/metal act to perform at the main stage, and please lower the main stage so it’s possible for photographers to see over the edge of the stage when you’re in the pit.
Highlights: The Guilt, Bomber and Captain Blackbeard
More to wish for: The Parity Complex, The Heard and Finnegan’s Hell.
Thank you for this year, I hope to see you and some better bands next year Malmo Festival.