Malmo Rock Festival 2019 featuring
The Headlines, Hardcore Superstar and LOK
25/5 – 2019
Live review and pictures by: Anders Sandvall
With Malmo Rock Festival the city got a brand new festival that, just like the name hints, is a festival that appeal fans of harder music. The organizers behind the festival is the same ones that manages the rock stage at the annual Malmo Festival that takes place every year in August in Malmo. The festival co-works with Rockklassiker (radio station), Probike/Harley Davidson Malmo, Quality Hotel The Mill Malmo, Malmo Folkets Park, Skånsk Live, Folkuniversitetet, Kultur Skåne, EBS Professional Bass Equipment and At Graphiken and the aim with the festival is that is going to be an annual one. A string of bands was released earlier during the year with Evergrey and LOK as the first ones and later on came Hardcore Superstar, The Headlines and Frontback. In April names like Riot Horse, Bombus and Death Ray Boot was added, however Bombus had to cancel their show and was replaced by another Swedish act in Engel.
LOK hasn’t been active for 17 years and this year the band celebrate the release of their debut album and chose to do a few selected shows in Sweden. The pre-party to the festival was held the day before at Quality Hotel The Mill located pretty close to Folkets Park where the festival was held. Two stages was available at the festival titled Rock Stage and the smaller one was called The Mill and as mentioned earlier the festival took place in Folkets Park which is the oldest family park in Sweden and was situated back in the 1800’s. The park is the second most visited place in Sweden with over 2 million visitors each year. It’s a really nice park that inhabits a night club, family areas where kids can play, a stage and before the renovation there was also a carnival there.
Since the park is surrounded by houses the curfew was set to 11 at night which meant the park opened at noon. The first band was being on stage at 1 and the last act was entering the stage at 8.30, for the visitors that didn’t want to go home there was also a after party held.
To be honest I didn’t know much or had heard much of the first bands out so I decided to turn up a little later during the day in time to see Frontback perform at The Mill stage. The festival area was small but cozy and I didn’t have any problems with getting my media pass, it all went really smooth and as I walked around the area I saw the two stages as well as a few foodstands and merchstand. Tables and chairs was put out for the visitors to rest on and the atmosphere along with the nice weather felt promising.
It would have been nice of the festival to maybe print out programs to spread out at the area so that the audience had some info on which band was playing when but that was maybe just my opinion, it was the same matter last year at the Melodic Rock Festival which the organizers of this festival also ran.
I arrived in time to see Frontback perform at the smaller stage, the band comes from Växjö (a smaller town in Sweden) and their latest studio album titled HEART OF A LION came 2017. Frontback is now signed to Dead End Exit Records which is a Malmo based record label and the band is led by the very charismatic female singer Anlo Front which has an amazing rock n roll voice. The band have toured through Sweden a few times back and forth and have been support act to Status Quo, Mustasch, Bullet and Electric Boys to mention a few. I really appreciate the bands hardrock/heavy rock music so I was eager to see the bands performance this hot spring day.
The band faced the cheers from the fans as they entered the stage and kicked off the show with “Fearless” straight followed by “Glory Days”. Singer Front thanked for the support and announced “Fennder” as the next song and the band didn’t have much but their gear on stage. “On And On” followed and as I walked out from the photo pit to the crowd I could see that there wasn’t many people watching the band, sad but true. Granskog had the audience to clap their hands in the middle of the song and the line up in the band is:
Anlo Front – lead vocals, guitar
Axel Granskog – guitar
Jonas Persson – bass
Koffe Stridh – drums
Front asked how the crowd was doing and said it was nice that the band could go straight off the stage out in the park and have a cold beer after the show. “Let’s Play Rock n Roll” followed and the band was as always really tight and solid and every member are really skilled musicians. Front’s voice sounded great and she inhabits one of the best female rock-voices in Sweden for sure. In my opinion the band had grew a lot as a live act since the last time I saw them and everyone worked really hard to get the crowd going. Front said the band was in the process of making a new album which soon is going to be released by Dead End Exit Records, and the next song was a new one in “I Drive When You Go”.
“Back To Hell” followed straight after and Front tried to get the crowd going but the audience seemed to be a bit lazy this afternoon. “Honest” taken from the album HEART OF A LION followed and it was strange that more people didn’t pay more attention to the bands show and their brilliant material. It was a little obvious that the band maybe suffered from lack of time because the last song followed in “All The Way For Fame” and Front thanked the fans for coming to see them and in the middle of the song she jumped down into the photo pit with her guitar continuing the song. As she returned back up on stage she and Granskog thanked the fans again, and that ended 30 minutes of rock n roll music.
I hadn’t seen the band live for a while but they didn’t disappoint me one bit, the charismatic edgy rock n roll voice by Front paired up with some edgy guitarplay by Granskog left me wanting to hear more from Frontback, in my opinion the guys could at least had been given 45 minutes to play for. I really do hope this band get their big break through soon because the great rock n roll masses out there needs to hear the music of Frontback! The Frontback show was the perfect way of starting my evening at the festival.
On And On
Let’s Play Rock n Roll
Dead Man On The Road
I Arrive When You Go
Back To Hell
All The Way For Fame
It was now time to cross the lawn and head over to the Rock Stage where it was time for one of the evenings highlights in Evergrey which was going to be on stage in about 15 minutes. Strange though to give Evergrey such an early slot during the day..
I don’t think Evergrey needs no further introductions, the band is one of the biggest progressive metal acts in the world led by singer/guitarist Tom S Englund from Gothenburg Sweden. Many members have come and gone since the birth of the band back in 1995 but since 2014 the bands line up have stayed intact and today the only original members is the bandleader Englund. In January this year the bands new album THE ATLANTIC was unleashed and it follows up the 2016 year release THE STORM WITHIN. Since the 2014 year album HYMNS FOR THE BROKEN the band is tied to the German label AFM Records.
On stage a backdrop portraying the cover of the album hung, that was the only thing besides the instruments which was placed up there and it was now pretty hot and the stage was facing the sun. It was going to be a blast to see the band again since I have been a fan of them from the very start.
The band came out on stage during the intro music and the first song out was “A Silent Arc”, the song really woke up the drowsy crowd and the show intensified as “Weightless” followed. The show stared out with two new songs taken from THE ATLANTIC but the crowd seemed to like what they heard, Englund seemed a bit disturbed by the sun that was getting in his eyes while Danhage and Niemann seemed to be happy to be on stage. It felt a bit strange to hear the epic and dark music that Evergrey plays when it was blazing sunshine outside, their music fits better to be performed at dawn.
As Englund switched guitar he thanked Malmo saying it wasn’t fun to have the sun in his eyes but here comes “Distance” nevertheless. The band consists today of:
Tom S Englund – lead vocals, guitar
Henrik Danhage – guitar
Richard Zander – keyboards
Jonas Ekdahl – drums
Johan Niemann – bass
The songs sounded as great live as they do on album and the band did an amazing job of creating a proper atmosphere to their song despite the sunny weather. Englund sings like a god and the rest of the band really harmonized together creating the perfect foundation for Englund to lean back on. It’s strange that the band isn’t bigger than they are, by now they should be dominating their genre worldwide.
As Englund again switched guitar he said that there were four bands from Gothenburg performing on the festival tonight and that made him feel almost like being home in Gothenburg. Well we can all say we’re “Passing Through”, he thanked the crowd when they applauded the song and to be honest I haven’t been listening a lot to the bands later albums and have a hard time coming with an honest opinion about several of the songs since I haven’t listen to them for a while. Englund asked if there were any soccerfans in the crowd this afternoon (both Gothenburg and Malmo have teams in the top soccer series in Sweden) and the raise was on. Englund smiled and fired off “The Fire” followed by “My Allied Ocean”. More people had arrived to the festival and I guess many was there to see Evergrey, the band haven’t toured in Sweden for quite a while and I bet their fans was eager to catch the guys live.
“The Grand Collapse” followed and as “A Touch Of Blessing” was the second to last song for the show Englund thanked the fans with that amazing song taken from the 2004 year brilliant album THE INNER CIRCLE. It was really nice to hear some older material since the band mostly played songs from the newer THE STORM WITHIN and HYMNS FOR THE BROKEN. I love “A Touch Of Blessing” and so did the crowd, the singing and cheering increased and reached new heights with that song. “King Of Errors” taken from the 2014 year album HYMNS FOR THE BROKEN ended the show, and yet again another new song, it wouldn’t have hurt to hear some more older songs plucked into the set list. The band took a selfie with the fans in the background and then the show was finished.
The 50 minute show was nothing but brilliant, and even though I had wished to hear more of the older songs I thought the set list was really nice. Evergrey can’t do nothing wrong and this afternoon the band gave proof of why they are at the top of their genre. The only negative thing with the show was the length, I had wanted to hear and see more of the band, and the early slot they was given didn’t add atmosphere to the show. The band’s music suits better to be played in a darker more intimate club rather than on a lawn in broad daylight. Besides that the show was brilliant and I really long to see the band live again.
Set list (I may have missed one or two songs)
A Silent Arc
My Allied Ocean
The Grand Collapse
A Touch Of Blessing
King Of Errors
It was to time to walk to the other stage again in order to see a band I discovered at the end of last year. The Headlines is a punk/rock n roll act from Malmo formed back in 2005, the band released their debut album 2007 titled PLUG N PLAY and their latest studio album IN THE END came 2017. The bandmembers are scattered across the world and lives in Sweden, Copenhagen, Italy and Åland and at the end of May the band signed on for a new record label in Metalville. The band has toured heavily across the world but for some reason I haven’t noticed them until last year.
The sun shined over the area and the scenery was framed with trees and bushes and it created an intimate atmosphere to the event. The heat made the crowd thirsty and unfortunately there was only one bar where it was possible to purchase alcohol, maybe that’s something to think about for next year.
The band entered the stage at 5.15 in the afternoon and was given a warm welcome from the fans as their first song “In The End” kicked off the show. it was full speed ahead from the start and it was especially lead singer Kerry Bomb that took on the crowd. She thanked for the applaud saying it was really nice to be here and that summer already had come to Sweden. Here is “From the Ashes”, the song really lit up the crowd and Bomb once again thanked the fans for the huge support. As you can see we have a new guy on the drums she said, our regular drummer couldn’t make it tonight so we have taken in a stand in, but honestly, how hard can it be to play the drums she continued and smiled. The Headlines are:
Kerry Bomb – lead vocals
Jake – guitar, vocals
Peter – guitar
Cim Dahlle – bass, vocals
“High Heels” and “Black Gold” followed and the as the show proceeded more people arrived to see the band. “Punk Rock Radio” was next up on the set list and it was easy to see that the band have toured a lot together since their performance was tight, well oiled and fierce. Bomb is the born frontwoman with her charismatic appearance and she has a great voice that suits perfect for singing this kind of music. The next song Bomb said was about a guy that broke her heart and it’s called “Razorblades”. “Rebel” followed after which Bomb said the band had a really good time on stage and that they hoped this festival could be an annual thing in Malmo in the future. The next song is dedicated to you she said, here is “For You”. The band ran through their songs in a fast pace but that probably depended on the time limit, however their kind of music should be played in a fast and furious pace because it’s best that way.
Bomb thanked for the applauds saying we are a Malmo band but this night we have a US drummer with us, I live in Italy and this gorgeous girl and she pointed at Dahlle lives on Åland ( an Island in between Sweden and Finland). Dahlle said that Sweden got kicked in their ass by Finland in Icehockey not too long ago and Jake answered her back and they laughed together arguing which country is the best at Hockey. Bomb interrupted by saying should we let her sing a song? Ok here comes “Tough Love” with Dahlle on vocals. The song was brilliant and it was nice to hear Dahlle take on the vocals, she did a great job and the fans cheered when the song was over. “Swagger” followed and right in front of the stage stood Ida Svensson Vollmer lead singer in VA Rocks and girlfriend of Jake, both he and Bomb pointed at her during the song so I guess they sang about her, the chorus is “the girl got swagger royal of self-destruction plays guitar like a drug injection”…
Now it’s time for me to show my language skills Bomb said when it was time for the final song which was “99 Luftballons” originally made by the German singer Nena and a huge hit back in the 80’s. The band did a heavy and solid version of the song and it was a lot better than the original. Bomb thanked the crowd and the band walked off the stage and the show ended after 40 minutes.
It was really fun to see the band live and their songs really sticks to your head like glue, performance was energetic and the band members seemed to be having a lot of fun on stage. The crowd seemed really satisfied with what they had seen and I really loved the show. Now I’m anticipating the bands next album!
In The End
From The Ashes
Punk Rock Radio
Next on the agenda stood Hardcore Superstar that was going to perform at the larger stage. Last year the bands latest album came out titled YOU CAN’T KILL MY ROCK N ROLL which was an amazing album that the band still tours on. Last year the band visited Malmo and did two shows and now it’s time again. The band is really loved in Malmo and that may have something to do with the fact that the guitarist Vic Zino comes from Malmo. The band still use the same backline as they did the last time they were here with a big black and white backdrop with the band name onit and two smaller backdrops on each side. It felt like the bands people was coming to see the most was Evergrey, Hardcore Superstar as well as the closing band Lok. The line was long to the one and only bar as people was getting thirstier as the evening approached, the glam/sleaze gods from Gothenburg was going on stage at 6.15 and people started to gather in front of the stage the closer it got for the show to start. And as the stage started to fill with smoke it was time for the band I looked forward to see the most entered the stage.
As always the bands intro was “This Worm’s For Ennio” and as all of the members walked out on stage the fans greeted them warmly. Adde was the first member out and then the rest of the band followed and fired off the first song which was “Moonshine”. The fans jumped up and down singing along in the song straight away. As always during a HCSS show it was full speed ahead from the very start and singer Berg was a whirlwind on stage. It was he and guitarist Zino that moved around the most on stage while bassplayer Sandvik took on a more laid back approach. “Electric Rider” followed which is a song taken from the new album that worked really well live. The line-up in the band consist of:
Jocke Berg – lead vocals
Vic Zino – guitar
Martin Sandvik – bass
Magnus ”Adde” Andersson – drums
Berg thanked the fans saying it was great to be back in Malmo again and it was time for “We Don’t Celebrate Sundays” which lit up the crowd a notch. The old favorite “Liberation” followed straight away and it was fun to hear the band dusted off a song from the old 2000 year album BAD SNEAKERS AND A PINA COLADA. Before the band chose to perform it acoustic but this night they did it the original way and it sounded really good. Berg had the audience to scream at his command and he and the band had the fans in the palm of their hands.
Come closer to the stage Malmo and drop your beers, are you ready for “My Bad Reputation” Berg asked and the song woke up all of the fans even the ones at the back. Berg wanted the fans to scream for him again and Adde behind the drums said it sounded good. Do it one more he said, shit it sounds like we’re at a sold out Kulturbolaget Berg said. Adde asked if they should do another ballad and Berg said yes, I hope you all know this song “Wild Boys”. Berg once again invited the fans to sing a long with him in the chorus and he jumped down into the photo pit in order to come closer to the crowd. He stood at the fence handing out the mic letting the fans sing the chorus and when he couldn’t jump back up on stage he had to walk around the stage to come back again, there for the song became a bit extended. Finally up on stage again Berg took over the drums from Adde and he finished off the song. Adde walked down on stage saying thanks and cheers Malmo, he and Sandvik holding up each beer while Adde said, but Martin you never drink do you while both were laughing. The band members joked around with each other all through the show and it was nice to see that they still, after all the years together, still seems to be having such a good time together. Well I hope you all recognize this song Berg said and fired off “Someone Special”. At the end of the song Berg played bass guitar while Sandvik was holding it and again, the guys seemed to be having a blast together on stage.
Adde was hitting the bass drum while Berg said that I have a four year old daughter and she knows that when the bass drum hits you should clap your hands so come on everyone, that ended up being the intro to “Last Call For Alcohol” which is one of many crowd pleasers the band have written through the years. Berg stopped the song in the middle saying that if we had alcohol here we should invited you up on stage joining us, but never the less, cheers Malmo, he and Adde who had come down on to the floor cheered with the rest of the band and with the fans, the song continued on with some sing a long and naturally it became a really extended version the band did of the song.
What a lovely night it is Adde said Berg, it almost feels like we’re in Gothenburg ha ha, ok we have released a new album a while ago and I presume that everyone here bought it already? Here comes the title track “You Can’t Kill My Rock n Roll”. Sadly it felt like half of the crowd didn’t heard the song, in my opinion the new album is one of the better ones that came out last year and the new songs the band performed live this night really felt solid and great.
Zino is a great guitar player that really takes the show up a notch with his amazing guitar play and stage persona, it was lucky he left his old band Crazy Lixx to join HCSS because otherwise the bigger stages in the world hadn’t been able to see and experience his greatness. Adde and Sandvik was as always a solid team for the Zino and Berg to rely on and the band can’t do anything wrong on stage, they are one of the best live acts in the world. That title track ended the 45 minute show but 45 minutes was not enough music and show for the fans that shouted for encores as the band walked off the stage.
An intro was heard through the speakers and Berg came out encouraging the fans to scream on his command. “Kick On the Upperclass” was the first encore out and the song is taken from the selftitled 2005 year album. The song was really appreciated by the fans and before they had time to catch their breath it was time for “Bring The House Down”. Thanks Malmo Berg said, Adde wanted to thank the festival for booking the band and to Evergrey for being there, clap your hands for Evergrey and for the next band Lok he said. Another intro was heard and it was time for the last song for the night in “Above The Law”. Berg once again jumped into the photo pit and then into the crowd and crowdsurfed his way on fans heads. The bands crew came on to the stage beginning to tear down the bands gear as the song came to an end, and that stunt have been done since way back, the crew put down a ladder into the pit to that Berg could climb up to the stage not having to take the long way around the stage.
The guys ended the song, took of their instruments and took a band photo together with the crowd and that ended the show that lasted for altogether about 60 minutes.
HCSS gave the fans and Malmo just another spectacular show with many great songs, the band is amazing live and even on a bad day not many bands can beat them. Even though the set list lacked some of my personal favorite songs it was solid and fun, I was really glad to hear “Above The Law” which is one of the best songs the band written. It was a brilliant show that set the bar really high for Lok to follow.
This Worm’s For Ennio (intro)
We Don’t Celebrate Sundays
My Good Reputation
Last Call For Alcohol
You Can’t Kill My Rock n Roll
Kick On The Upperclass
Bring The House Down
Above The Law
Tonight’s headline act LOK was entering the stage at 8.30 and since it was 17 years ago the band was put to rest a lot of people had come to see the bands first show in ages. The band comes from a small town outside Gothenburg Sweden and released altogether three studio albums and one live album before they quitted. The band is now out celebrating the 20 year anniversary of the release of their debut album NAKEN BLÄSTRAD OCH SKITSUR and as you can read from the title the band sings on Swedish. The band was active in between 1995-2002 and did their last show in Malmo at the Malmo festival. Back in the days I thought it was fun to hear metal sung in Swedish however I lost interest in the band pretty quick and haven’t listened to their albums since then.
The closer it got to the show to start people started shouting for the band and 3 minutes late the bands intro was heard and it was time to kick off the show.
The band was greeted with an enormous enthusiasm from the fans and singer Westerstrand said – we are LOK and here comes “Lokpest”. “Låt 3 Ton” followed straight away and the fans was given no time to catch their breath in between the songs. “Skrubbsår” then followed and it was no doubt that the fans had been waiting a long time to see their idols in LOK again, line up in the band is:
Martin Westerstrand – lead vocals
Thomas Brandt – guitar
Daniel Cordero – bass
John Reivén – drums
The band members looked a little older but there was nothing old and tired about the performance and they all did their best to get the crowd going. It was full speed ahead and it felt like the songs went a bit faster live compared to on album. Westerstrand thanked the crowd saying it was really nice to be back in Malmo and that it was a long time since the band visited the city. “Passa Dig” and “Barnbok” followed which made the fans explode and it was really a good time going on amongst the fans this night. As the bands before LOK they had smoke covering the stage which made it hard to take picture of the guys.
Westerstrand once again thanked the fans for the support, it means a lot for us he said, here is “Ensam Gud” and the band felt solid and cohesive on stage, the only one that felt a bit nervous was the singer, maybe that depended on the fact that the entire HCSS as well as Evergrey stood at the side of the stage looking at the show. “Experiment” woke up the majority of the crowd, the song taken from the debut album seemed to be a huge crowd pleaser. “Hem Till Gården” then followed and “Tommy’s Ponny” was the next song on the list. Now the songs from the debut album started to run out and Westerstrand said that it was something special with performing in Malmo since it was the place the band did their last show ever before the band was put to rest. Thanks for making this night really special to us he said and fired off “Som En Hund”.
“Natten Till Morgonen” followed and by now the band had fired off every song from the debut album except the big hit which is the one they had their big break through with. However the ordinary set of the show was now over and the band walked off the stage. The fans wasn’t happy with that and chanted LOK LOK in order to get the band back on stage, and of course they returned and fired off their biggest hit in “Lok Står När Dom Andra Faller” which brought down the evenings biggest applaud. A smaller circlepit was formed as the singer invited the fans to sing a long with him in the chorus. It was fun to hear the song again and it was also fun to see how glad the band was when they heard the roar from the fans. Westerstrand said that the band didn’t have any expectations on the night but the fans had made the night memorable and amazing. It was then time for the guys to play a song from their first EP in “Rosa”.
“Scudmissil (den lede fi)” taken from the bands last album followed and the fans really loved the song. This was something we couldn’t expect after having been on a 17 year hiatus Westerstrand said as he took in the massive support he got from the crowd. “Sug Min” followed as the fans once again chanted LOK LOK and Westerstrand said he probably should be quiet and just listen to the fans. But wait, this is one of the few times we play at the same place and at the same time as HCSS and as he said that Adde and the rest of HCSS came on stage and took the mic, what an amazing show we have witnessed tonight Adde said. It’s great to see LOK on stage again, Berg then took the mic saying we did a song together many years ago called “Staden Göteborg” and is about our beautiful hometown on Gothenburg. Let’s do it Berg said and kicked off the song which became a bit of a rusty version because neither of the lead singers couldn’t really remember all of the lyrics.
The song was released as a single back in 2001 and I was really glad to hear it live because it’s one of my all-time favorite songs. The band did a fast version of the tune and that ended the entire show. Thank you all Westerstrand said, now we’re going to get drunk. Thanks and good bye.
The 65 minute long show treated the fans with the entire debut album and by the look of the fans and how they acted they thought it was an amazing show and comeback by LOK. This is also the first show the band did this summer, next up for LOK is Sweden Rock Festival and after that a few more selected shows in Sweden before it is over. But maybe the band got a taste for touring now and continues touring on later this year, who knows.
The band felt solid and well-rehearsed and had a lot of fun together on stage, the only minor negative things was the slight nervousness from Westerstrand and the fact that his voice wasn’t on fleek. The band put on a solid performance and it was a bonus to hear the last song together with HCSS. The songs maybe hadn’t stood the test of time and the things I thought was funny in their lyrics back in the day’s maybe weren’t so funny today. But altogether it was a nice afternoon and night in the park with great weather, good performances and good vibes only. Both stages had some great sound and the festival felt intimate and friendly.
Hem till Gården
Som En Hund
Natten Till Morgonen
Lok Står När Dom Andra Faller
Scudmissil (den lede fi)
Staden Göteborg w HCSS
Next year the festival, if it returns, maybe should narrow down the amount of bands performing, I thought the festival started too early during the day and had wished for the festival to focus on fewer bands that could have played longer sets. Also make sure to include another bar next year, the warm weather made people thirsty and it was a too long of a line to the only bar around. And a suggestion is also for the organizers to print out a program to hand out to the visitors so you can see when the shows starts and ends.
Otherwise it was a nice and warm night with a lot of great performances and the organizers should have credit for making the festival possible.
Thanks to head of press and communication at MRF Dea Reuter for help with press and photo pass to the show, thanks to Rock Stage Malmo for taking on the task to deliver a rock/metal event to Malmo.
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