Sweden Rock Festival 2009
June 3-6th, 2009
From Aural Innovations #42 (Sept 2009)
This was my fifth year in a row coming to the Sweden Rock Festival and it was the first year where the weather was not that good. Iin fact it was damn cold! Usually we are roasting during the day and cold at night, but it was just cold more or less all the time and freezing at night (40's). Yes, it is suppose to be summer but not this weekend. Anyway, we stayed at the Hanohaus Hotel this year with people from Canada, Russian, USA, Germany, Italy, and Sweden. The train ride from Copenhagen went fine and we took the bus from the Solvesborg station to the hotel. A lot of folks hanging out. They have a bus directly from the hotel to the festival site, so this is great.
The first day they only sell like 10,000 tickets and only half the festival site is open. We decided to relax and not rush so we arrived around 16 or so, got our wristbands and headed into the site for a beer and to hear the Swedish band, Deathstars. A quite young group, all in black with white face paint (Goth look). They played quite groove riff oriented goth metal. No solos, just pure riffs played over pre-recorded keyboards (a little lame). In fact the only solos of any type were pre-recorded keyboard solos). Apparently, one of the two guitar players plays these on the studio records. He should do it live as well since both guitar players play more or less the same guitar riffs in every song. Pretty ok band.
Next was Torch, an old Swedish band from the early 80's. I listened to their debut EP last week and it is great. I had hoped they would play songs from this and they did. The band was a dual guitar band back then but only had one guitarist. The only original member from Torch is the singer, a short stocky guy with an attitude but he still sang quite well and damn, these songs were just great live. I really enjoyed this set a lot. They had some technical problems with the guitar at the end of the show and Beauty and the Beast was played with no guitar (sounded terrible, the band should have just stopped). They were to play Firestarter, one of their best songs but just abandoned the rest of the gig and said Goodbye. Great set.
Setlist: Warlock, Sinister Eyes, Thunderstruck, Watcher of the Night, Lies, The Dark Sinner, Gladiator, Blind Leads The Blind, We Will Fight, Sweet Desire, Electrikiss, Beauty And The Beast
Fire Raiser (not played)
Next we walked back to the Sweden Stage and had a beer and watched some of Sevendust but this angry metal style was not at all what Sue and I like so we left after like 3 songs. The crowd seem to enjoy them. I headed back to the backstage area to see who was giving press conferences this year and hoping for ZZTOP but they were not on the list. I met Kaj and Susan having a beer in the backstage bar, We had a chat and arranged to meet up later at Uriah Heep.
Witchcraft was next and Sue and I had a chat with the drummer and guitarist before the set and I had hoped they would have some new material (they have written one new song) and asked if they would play “her sisters are weak” and they thought not as it was a long song and good for the festival. In the end we would get to hear this song and it was the highlight of their very normal set. They have been playing more or less the same exact set for the last 2 years I have seen them. They are a great band but I am damn tired of this and don't want to see them until they change the set or add new songs. This is really just lazy and playing it totally safe and boring to do the same set every night for 2 years. Anyway, they have amazing songs and I love this band and the small crowd liked it as well. I thought they would have more people.
Set list: King of Bees, No Angel or Demon, Wooden Cross, Walk between Lines, Hey Doctor, Witchcraft, Shyssta Logner, ?, Chylde of Fire, bury your Head, Her sister are weak, If crimson was your Colour.
Next up was the Swedish Viking band, Amon Amarth. We sat up on the hill and heard nearly their entire set. They have some really great and cool numbers but it is really all way too much the same. Fast songs, with growling vocals, melodic riffs, etc. I was really looking forward to hear the Transubstans label band, the Chair. The CD is ok but the songs sound too much the same and there are hardly any guitar solos. They had two guitars which were great but sadly the sound man in the Gibson tent was terrible and refused to adjust the sound so you basically only heard bass, drums and singing and some guitar like he was playing in the other tent. This sound guy needed to come down off his high rise and down to where all the people were so he could hear how bad his sound was but he did not want to. The people in the tent are not standing 10 feet in the air like him. He can hear some guitar from the stage up there but we can't down on the ground. Idiot. We had to leave as it just sounded so terrible. All their songs sounded the same though. Not that impressed with the Chair, even though the singer is great.
Amon Amarth The Chair
We caught some of Blaze Bayley and the crowd was really into it especially when he played the Maiden songs. I have to say most of these songs all sounded like that era of Maiden that he played in. He also suffered from having terrible sound with basically no guitar in the PA. It was like watching an air guitar contest if you were not standing in the middle but it was too crowded. We just went and found a place to sit and hear the rest of his set and wait for Uriah Heep.
Uriah Heep had a cool stage and huge crowd, the biggest of the day for sure. I was really disappointed with the sound woman at this show as well and we were standing right next to the sound both in front of Mick Box and you could almost not hear his guitar at all for the first hour of the concert. It was as if she did not even notice he was there. A real pity. When it came time for Look at Yourself and his long solo the sound lady woke up and turned him up. Wow... hey, this band has a guitar player.. Anyway, we got to hear some of the classics (sunrise, Gypsy, Stealin’, easy Livin’) and a lot of the new record, which had some really great songs like God of Nations. Pretty cool show and long set despite the low guitar mix.
We had a pretty relaxing morning and a nice breakfast. It was really cold last night at the show so extra layers are needed tonight but a lot of great things to look forward today. We will try to catch the bus at 12:45 to see Grand Magus at 1:30. Damn… no bus came at 12:45, or 1:45 as scheduled and now it is 2:30 and still no bus.
The bus finally came at 2:45 and this means we will miss some of the Outlaws, one of the bands both Sue and I had really looked forward to seeing. Bastards… Anyway, we arrived at the stage at 3:17 and missed the first few songs of the Outlaws. Not that many people so we could be right in the middle (their sound man, knew we needed to hear the guitar and all the solos were loud and clear!). I had last seen them in 1982 opening for Black Sabbath on the Mob Rules tour! Three of the members had died since then but they still keep going. Outlaws were amazing. Just damn great songs (most people were over watching Volbeat. No idea why…Metallica wanna be band). We really enjoyed this and it made us more angry at the bus company for not having any buses for nearly 3 hours!
Outlaws set list: Railroad, Grey Ghost, You are the Show, The Prisoner, ?, So long without You, Instrumental Jam, Knoxville Girl, Green Grass and High Tides, Ghost Riders in the Sky
Next up was Candlemass on the main stage and like the last time they played they had the massive wall of fake Marshall cabinets. Impressive but a pity they are not all working. Even Candlemass could have standed to have louder guitars, the bass and drums were too dominating. The singer is a bit annoying at times as he does not really know what to say to the audience and they also had some technical problems during some of the show that lead to some delays. I was surprised that Robert Lowe, the singer, still needs to use a teleprompter for the lyrics of songs he has sung over 100 times now. A little strange. I could understand with the new songs that they have probably rehearsed a few times and have not really toured on yet but these classic songs that we even know a lot of the lyrics, he was back there reading them, which sometime led to him being a little off. Anyway, small critic. Candlemass deliver the goods and really rock. The highlight for me was to hear the great Hammer of Doom from the new record. I wish they would play a few more from the last few records. The encore was a powerful version of Kill the King by Rainbow. I had never heard them play that before.
Set List: Mirror Mirror, Dark Are The Veils of Death, Samarithan, If I Ever Die >Hammer of Doom, At The Gallows End, Emperor of The Void, The Bleeding Baroness, A Sorcerers Pledge, Solitude
Kill The King
I ran off to get some food and to catch the Tubes. Sue went off to see Flogging Molly. The Tubes started in San Francisco in 1974 and it was amazing to hear and see them now. It looked like most the original members except for the keyboard player, Vince, who was dead. They played all their classic tunes which meant a huge range of music from punk rock, new wave, jamming classic rock numbers, and just strange stuff. The singer Fee Waybill had a lot of cool costumes and still a sharp sense of humor. It was a great 90 minutes. No idea what the full set list was but White Punks on Dope was fun to hear.
Now I had 15 minutes to get to the front of the big stage for ZZ TOP. I did not have very high expectations from them as they still fill the majority of their set with material from the 80's, and basically nothing from their records from 2000 on, which are great (XXX and Mescalaro). They had been in the studio this year with Rick Rubin so maybe we would get some new songs, but no. The set was pretty cool and they looked and sounded great but the sound was way too low. It was like they played out of a boom box and I was right in front of the mixer dead center. People were just talking and having a party, which was annoying. It should at least be loud enough to get people’s attention. Anyway, they had amazing visuals, and films and played well but Billy just is slow these days and can’t really rip it up on the guitar anymore despite having a killer guitar sound and tone. They played quite a few blues tracks and even Foxy Lady, which really surprised me. The crowd was totally into it and I think they had a great response. They played for a full 90 minutes and no encore.
Set list: Got Me Under Pressure, Waitin' For The Bus >Jesus Just Left Chicago, Pincushion, I'm Bad, I'm Nationwide, I Can't Tell My Faith, Cheap Sunglasses, I Need Your Tonight. Cat Fish Blues, Foxy Lady, Heard It On The X, Just Got Paid, Gimme All Your Lovin', Sharp Dressed Man. Legs, Tube Snake Boogie, La Grange, Tush
Now the choice was Hammerfall on the Rock Stage or Over the Rainbow on the Sweden Stage. By the time we got from ZZ TOP to Over the Rainbow, they had a huge crowd and had started with Tarot Woman. Another band, where if you were not in the middle, the guitar was too low and you could not hear Richie Blackmore’s son that well. Joe Lynn Turner and the band sounded great though but they started a bit rough. We watched the first 5-6 songs and got to hear some of the classic Rainbow songs like King the King, Man on the Silver Mountain, etc. Not too bad, and I think the Rainbow fans were liking it. Jürgen Blackmore looks like an overweight version of his father for sure and he can rip it up but lacks that edge that his dad had. Very difficult shoes to fill I admit.
Hammerfall Sunset at Sweden Rock
We headed off to the beer tent and to see some of Hammerfall. Wow. Hammerfall did not give a shit about the 100db limit. This was the loudest band we saw today, easily, and we were far away in the beer tent. Also one of the best sound we heard. You need some volume. They put on a really excellent show and really rocked. The fans were totally into it. If you are not familiar with Hammerfall it is very anthemic metal. Fine show but now it was time for Twisted fucking Sister!
I had last seen the band two times on the Stay Hungry tour back in 1984 and tonight the band was celebrating the 25th anniversary of Stay Hungry and was to play the complete record. I think that is a great record and so I was very much looking forward to this. It was pretty damn cold out here and a bit windy as well.
So Twisted Sister played the whole Stay Hungry LP from start to finish but Dee stopped between nearly every song to talk with the audience, give some background about songs, bullshit, etc. He is an amazing front man and still sounded great. They started with terrible sound and way too low but then the sound man got a grip. It was too crowded to be in the middle though and like a lot of the bands today, the guitars were always a bit too low, which is a pity and they should have been louder for sure. Anyway, they were amazing and played great. After completing the Stay Hungry LP, they came out and had a 10 minute jam on It’s only rock and roll by the Rolling Stones, a song they used to end all their shows with in the old days. I saw them play it back in 1983 but by 1984 (at least when I saw them), they had already dropped this. Anyway, Lemmy and Phil Campbell from Motorhead came out and joined them and this was fun. You could tell Lemmy was totally blasted and he had this look on his face like he had no clue where the fuck he was. Bizarre…. You could not hear him in the mix at all so it did not matter what he played. It was only like 70 minutes when this was over and I would have been very disappointed if it was over but they came out and played Come out and Play, Under the Blade and You can’t stop rock and roll. All three, great songs… Still a short show but it was damn cold out (steam was rising off the drummer’s head and Dee was making fun of this) plus the drummer is way over weight and probably damn tired so I understand. Great show.
Set List: The complete Stay hungry LP in order, It's only Rock and Roll (with Lemmy and Phil from Motorhead), Come out and Play, Under the Blade, You can't stop Rock and Roll
Lemmy joins Twisted Sister!
I was up early and caught the 10:45 bus so I could get there in time to catch THOR! I went to see Kaj, Susan, Klaus and Jacob and say hello. They were all doing fine. They were cold so did not see all of Twisted Sister. Volbeat was the highlight for some of them… I met up with the Canadian guy Greg, who was staying at our hotel for THOR. I am quite tired so I start off with a coke and some food. Two major choices today with Voivod and Marillion and Motorhead and Johnny Winter on at the same time. Pity… The weather is looking grim today…
Anyway, THOR was pretty fun. He actually has some really good songs and a very good guitar player and was highly entertaining with all his costumes, smashing stuff with a sledgehammer, bending some steel with his teeth and arms, etc… I only saw the first 45 minutes.
Set list: Intro, Lightning Strikes, Ride of the Chariots, Anger, Thunderhawk, Warhammer, Knock em Down, The Secret of Steel, Let the blood run Red (last song I saw),
THOR Neil Morse
I wanted to see some of Neil Morse and I was glad that I did as he had a great set of musicians and the drummer from Dream Theater even joined them. They played some of the Transatlantic stuff and I really liked the instrumental music. The singing was not my thing at all but mostly they just played their instruments.
Jon Oliva’s Pain was next and I stood in the center in front of the soundmixer. Sound was great. I was pretty damn stunned to see how large Jon is. Wow... back in 1986 on the Power of the Night tour I hung out with the band in their mobile home and damn, he could not fit in the door now. Poor guy… Anyway, I had not seen him or Savatage since the Streets tour and he played a lot of Savatage tracks and they were amazing still today. It was a great set and he sat down for most of it as he must weigh 200kg now. Sue showed up early in their set with beers! It was for the best thing today so far…
Setlist: Intro>City beneath the Surface, Sirens, Through the eyes of the King, OF Rage and War, Chance, Maniacal Rendering, Tonight he grins again, Gutter Ballet, The House, Believe, Jesus Saves, Hall of the Mountain King
Jon Oliva's Pain
Now, it was time to run back to the Sweden Stage as I was planning to see all the bands that were playing on this stage today. VOIVOD. Wow... I used to love this band and saw them and hung out with them in their first US tour in 1986 (I even wore the RRRoooaarr tour shirt!). I had last seen them in like 2001, I guess it was, without Snake. Anyway, now that Piggy has left this world, the new guitar player had huge shoes to fill but damn, I was impressed with Dan. Great guitar player and he was totally into it as was the whole band. VoiVod is one of those bands that you either get what they do and are totally into it or you don’t understand it. I get it and they were awesome. Cool set list as well and the new songs were quite good. It was a really cool and spaced out version of Astronomy Domine dedicated to Piggy to end the show. They played about 75 minutes.
Setlist: Voivod, Panorama, the Unknown Knowes, Ravenous Medicine, Overreaction, Tribal Conviction, Treasure Chase, Global Warming, Tornado, The Prow, Brain Scan, Nothingface, Nuclear War, Astronomy Domine (dedicated to Piggy)
Next we went over to see some of the Turkish band, Black Tooth. We had run into the drummer two times and he was in a great mood and we had a nice time chatting with him. They play a very aggressive angry style of metal like older Black Label Society before Zakk lost it and got weak. Anyway, we only stayed for like 3 songs as the sound was terrible and you could not hear any guitars at all. Metal with no guitar, what the fuck is that??
Now it was off to catch a few songs of Lita Ford. I used to manage a band in Albuquerque, New Mexico called Maxx Trixxie and we opened for Lita Ford back in 1984! She was damn hot back then and not looking too bad for over 50 these days either, but it is about the music, right?? I was not at all impressed. It was just too mainstream for me. She played some nice guitar solos for sure but overall the songs just did not speak to me. The crowd seem to like it or was it her???
We arrived at the Zeppelin stage to catch the beginning of DEMON. They played back in 2000, the first Sweden Rock for me but I did not see them. Anyway, they opened with the Night of the Demon and then played a bunch of so so songs that I was not familiar with at all (I only have their first 3 records and I think they have made like 10 now!). We went off to see UFO who started at 18:15 so we missed the end of Demon, which according to the set list on the internet had their best songs. Oh well.
Black ToothDemon Lita Ford Band
I last saw UFO when they played at Sweden Rock back in 2004. Ed Mundell from Monster Magnet stood on the stage next to Vinnie Moore for some of the set! UFO are a band that I have all their records and I still think they were one of the best bands ever from the 1970’s but I am very very tired of their set list. They must be really sick of these songs, which they could perform while asleep… And, yes, we got the same fucking shit as always. Why don’t they play a few more new songs? The brand new track Save Me had an acoustic guitar part and was a killer track. One of the best in the set. Ain’t no Baby from Obsession was a real surprise but other than When Daylight goes to Town, it was the same songs as last time they played and I guess every night they play. I do have to say that Vinnie Moore played the best guitar solo of the whole festival during Rock Bottom, where he got an extension while they tried to fix something with Paul’s keyboards. Man, he was creative and smoking. It pissed down rain during UFO, which was not that cool and we were pretty damn wet after the show. Still fun to see what I am sick and tired of these songs… Please mix it up some more you lazy bastards…. Learn some more of the old songs.
Setlist: Intro>Mother Mary, When daylight goes to Town, I’m a Loser, Saving Me, Cherry, this Kids, Only you can rock me, Ain’t no Baby, Love to Love, Too hot to Handle, Lights out, Rock Bottom, Doctor Doctor, Shoot Shoot
We now headed over to the beer tent and could see and hear a bit of Foreigner. They had amazing sound and a huge crowd. This was clearly a big thing for a lot of people to see. I had seen them once back in 1982 and they were really good. It is pretty amazing how many good hard rock songs they wrote amongst the commercial crap. I was entertained. We decided to check out this American blues slide guitar player Eric Sardinas in the Gibson tent. Maybe we could hear some guitar this time? Wow... you could hear it… Eric was in a great mood and this was just down and dirty slide guitar boogie blues stuff and he was having a blast and the small crowd enjoying it as well. If you were not inside the tent though, the sound was disrupted by Foreigner on the big stage. It was fun but not that great.
It was freezing outside and windy and looked like it was going to rain again as we went back over to the Sweden Stage to catch Johnny Winter. They had Motorhead on the ROCK stage so this was for sure going to be where most people would be. Just as the band was coming out to start the intro jam before Johnny comes out it started to rain and damn it was just blowing right in onto the stage and the guitar player had his gear out to the front so his monitors and pedals were all getting soaked. Johnny would be ok where he was sitting, maybe a little wet but not that bad. I had last seen Johnny at the Warfield in San Francisco in 1991 and he was looking a lot older and more feeble now and of course he sits down the whole time. Anyway, he still smokes on that damn guitar. They started off with a lot of blues tracks like Hideaway, blackjack, Redhouse, another Freddy King track and then they started to rock! With All over now, Bony Maronne…. And ending with a great jam on Mojo Boogie. We moved up quite close to be in the center of the crowd as it was freezing out but luckily the rain only lasted for the first 3-4 songs. We were so cold and wet that we decided to skip In Flames and go back to the hotel. It was already 12 hours of music for me and I was pretty wiped out…
The last day and we had to get up early to get breakfast and catch the bus at 10:45 so we could be sure to catch TANK! This is one band that I just figured I would never get to see. We used to crank up those first 3 records a lot! Weather is very nice today, sunny and a little cool but way better than any of the other days. TANK was on the Sweden Stage at 12:00 and we made it there in plenty of time. They only have one original member (the drummer) but the two guitar players from 1983 and 1984. We got to hear a lot of the classic tunes as well as two new songs that they had prepared for these festivals they are playing this summer. The new songs had a lot of harmony guitars and the riffs were pretty good. I am just not keen on the singer. The new singer (replacing Algy, who is sick and not interested in playing live and not really approving of this line up) did an ok job but his style is more commercial rock music and not gritty enough for TANK. He tried at times to be more down and dirty but was not at all natural for him. Great to hear so many cool tracks like This means war, Shellshock, Walking barefoot over Glass, TWDAMO, Don’t Walk Away, etc… The soundman could have done a better job though as both guitars were too low the whole time.
Set list: This Means War, Echoes of a Distant Battle, TWDAMO, Phoenix Rising, Walking barefoot over Glass, Honour and Blood, Great Expectations, Power of the Hunter, She fell in love with a Stormtrooper, Don’t walk Away, Shellshock
TANK did not even play an hour so we caught the last few tracks by Ripper Owens, including the Green Manalishi. Crowd seemed to dig him. Next we went to the main stage to catch Impelliteri. Maybe we should have gone to see Stormzone as I heard they were great. Anyway, Chris Impelliteri has been said to be the fastest guitar player in the world. He had a slow day if that is the truth. I think the young kid who played in Neil Morse band played a bit faster and for sure Buckethead could smoke the guy. Anyway, they had an amazing singer and some pretty damn good songs but Chris never played a solo during any of the songs longer than like 45 seconds. A bit strange I though. They rocked for sure and the sound was great but not loud enough at all. Not bad.
Set list: The King Is Rising, Speed Demon, Countdown To The Revolution, Garden of Eden, Wicked Maiden, Wonderful Life, Father Forgive Them, Last of A Dying Breed, Hurricane
Victim of The System, Lost In The Rain, I'll Be Searching, Warrior
RIOT was next on the ROCK stage and the crowd was not that large to start. It was a bummer that Blackfoot was playing right now as well as I really wanted to see them as well but you have to choose sometimes. Sue went to see Blackfoot. I had last seen RIOT in 1981 on the Fire Down Under tour and they were really awesome. I really love the Rhett Forester era material a lot as well and was not very found of Thundersteel and the Privilege of Power and, unfortunately for me, that is almost all they played. They opened with the instrumental Narita and that was great but the drums and bass were too loud and the guitars too low. Fucking sound man. It got better but Mark (the only original member) was too low the whole show. This line up rocks like hell for sure but it more like mainstream speed thrash metal than the cool vibe of the old days. It was so clear how great the old songs were to the new ones, just cooler riffs, grooves, more original sounding. The Thundersteel, Privilege stuff is just too generic, 100 bands playing that stuff. Anyway, we got Swords and Tequila and Outlaw (killer riff and groove) from Fire down under, and they ended with Warrior, otherwise it was all new stuff of from those two records. 75 minute set.
Set list: Narita, Fight or Fall, On Your Knees, Metal Soldiers, Johnny's Back, Sign of the Crimson Storm, Swords and Tequila , Wings are for Angels (new song), Bloodstreets, ?, Storming the Gates of Hell, Outlaw, Dance of Death, Thundersteel, Warrior
Now I had to run over to catch Kebenkajse, an old Swedish psychedelic rock-folk band. I got to see 45 minutes of their set and they were amazing. Wow. These old guys could really jam and the songs were cool. Most of the set I heard was a bit folky but they had one long very psychedelic rock jam. They had two bass players and a normal drummer and an old black percussion player. Guitar player was amazing (Kenny Håkansson). I met up with my friend Kalle, the drummer in First band from Outer Space who I play with sometimes. His mom has been coming here every year for the last 12 years. That was cool. Anyway, I really enjoyed their set but they only got 1 hour to play.
Wow... only like 3 more bands and SRF 2009 was going to be over. We had a break now and went over to the Sweden Rock Restaurant. We heard a few tracks by Forbidden and they sounded really good. After the meal we headed over to the beer tent and we heard the last 30 minutes of the Electric Boys. It was not really my thing but they played one really cool hard funk tune that reminded me of the old Red Hot Chilli Peppers when they were a great band before they sold their souls to the pop world. Next up was back to the big stage to hear Dream Theatre. I had never seen this band and missed them last time they played here in 2004.
What to say about Dream Theater… I really liked the guitar players tone and he played some really cool guitar solos and the bass player and drummer are awesome as well. They really overshadow the keyboard player. Anyway, they play great and the singer, he comes in and out of the stage to sing his lines and then disappear for 5-10 minutes as the band plays their instrumental music. They had the PA go out completely during one of their songs and it was quite funny to see them just playing along like nothing had happened. They all had in ear monitors and their stage gear is very low so they had no idea that there was no sound at all. Funny… It came back on after sound loud nasty crackles and noise after like 20 seconds. They played a great new song called Rite of Passage but the rest of the set I have no idea. It was starting to get cold again now.
Now it was time for Immortal. I did not really have any expectations for this Norwegian black metal band. I never really listen to this kind of music. It rained a bit during their set and it was damn cold now so we squished into the center of the crowd and got blown away completely. Wow. This was the best band of the day. They had a great drummer, killer guitar riffs and cool songs. The guitar player did not play many solos but seemed very talented. He also had a pretty cool voice, not just that very deep unintelligible growl like most black metal bands. I was pretty damn blown away. Sue did not dig them that much so we left at the one hour point when I thought it was over. I was told he came out and blew some massive fire from his mouth.
Off to the Gibson tent to catch Helstar. We were able to see like the last 30 minutes and they were great but still the sound guy after 4 days had not figured it out and the fucking guitars were still too low but at least you could hear them. These guys were awesome and had great songs and damn, the singer could really hit the notes when he screamed. The Texan singer in Candlemass came out and joined the Helstar guys, who are also from Texas for one song, which he had no clue what the lyrics were but had some coaching and was having a good time. They rocked!
Now, it was Heaven and Hell and I had seen the set list they were playing on this tour and they were played 3 new songs and two that they did not play on the last tour but it was more or less the same show as 2 years ago except this was the worst sound of the entire festival. The sound sucked. What the hell is going on…. Black Sabbath with no guitar? The sound guy was having a nightmare with the 100db limit. Tony plays at 118db from the stage and this is by itself near the db limit so he did not put any guitar in the PA except during the quiet parts so the guitar would come and go and it was a nightmare. Most of the show there was almost no guitar, even when standing right behind the sound box directly in front of Tony the guitar was too low, it was a disaster. I never in my life thought I would leave a Black Sabbath concert but this was so terrible and a real downer of a way to end the festival. The sound guy finally said fuck it to the db limit and during heaven and hell and neon Knights cranked it up the way it should have been but it was too late to save the show. At least 30% of the crowd was gone, it was cold and the combination of the sound guy and the db limit had ruined the gig….
Anyway, Sweden Rock still rules but they have to sort out this sound issue if they are going to have 100db as the limit. They need extra speakers behind the sound box on the main stage, they have to train the sound men to demand a low volume from the musicians on the stage so they can put most of the guitar in the PA, etc. It is a terrible crime to measure the db limit in the center on the main stage as only 40% of the people are actually in this area so for 60% of the people it is way lower than 100db and terrible sound for several of the bands. Why…why……
Heaven and Hell
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Reviewed by Scott Heller