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Skogsröjet 2014

My third opportunity to visit the Skogsröjet festival in the small village of Rejmyre, located somewhere around a 185 kilometer drive (115 miles) south-westbound of Stockholm, Sweden. A pre-party with free entrance started things up on Thursday July 31st with an acoustic appearance by The Quireboys in the bar area. Personally I couldn't attend that early and I arrived on Friday August 1st to a place with perfect festival conditions with temperatures around 27-29° C (lower 80's F).

|Friday| - |Saturday|

Reviews and photos by Tobbe

Friday - August 01

Bandit Stage 15:00-16:00

(sorry, no setlist)

Band: Facebreaker
Tube Stage 16:00-16:50

(sorry, no setlist)

Band: The Quireboys
Bandit Stage 16:50-17:50

The Quireboys performed without their lead vocalist Spike, who apparently had to leave the festival due to a family emergency, according to guitarist Guy Griffin, whom in Spike's absence handled the vocal duties during this full hour. He actually did a solid work on stage, although he complained a little and he also said that he now knows why Spike has a hoarse voice all the time. The show proceeded in a fairly good pace with many songs off the debut album A Bit Of What You Fancy. I'm certainly no expect when it comes to The Quireboys, but as far as I'm concerned I don't think that the band suffered too much without its frontman and they managed to deliverer a decent show anyway.

Performance: 5 chalices of 10
Stage sound
: 5 chalices of 10
: Not canceling the show and therefore playing without the band's frontman Spike.
: Probably that Spike wasn't around.

(sorry, no setlist)

Band: Dream Evil
Tube Stage 17:50-19:00

Dream Evil is a band that comes and goes. It's been four and a half years since the band's latest record release, but according to vocalist Niklas Isfeldt, the boys have at least started to work on a forthcoming album. The band is obviously not a regular act on stages across the world and with its power metal influenced heavy metal, the band was able to really get the crowd going up front.

The band definitely enjoys the time on stage and I reckon a whole year without any live performances is a triggering factor. It absolutely wouldn't have hurt if the band had bothered to rehearse a little more during this break in order to bring out a greater show in total. Still they certainly have a lot of fun together, although it eventually turned out a little tiresome with all the jokes about fucking and miscellaneous things included in that practice. This gig also marked the return of guitar player Mark Black and even though his presence wasn't highly notable, it's visibly important to at least have one guy with long hair in a metal band. All in all, a decent gig with a setlist that has more or less been around since 2010.

Performance: 5 chalices of 10
Stage sound
: 4 chalices of 10
: The Book Of Heavy Metal (March Of The Metallians)
: The two opening songs.

In The Night
In Flames You Burn
Crusaders' Anthem
Fire! Battle! In Metal!
Made Of Metal
Heavy Metal In The Night
Bang Your Head
The Chosen Ones
Children Of The Night
Chasing The Dragon
The Book Of Heavy Metal (March Of The Metallians)

Band: Pain
Bandit Stage 19:00-20:10

(sorry, no setlist)

Band: Alestorm
Tube Stage 20:10-21:15

I guess a few beers or more is required to shout the words and to really enjoy a gig of this Scottish pirate metal act. If looking at fairly well-known bands, lead vocalist and keytar player Christopher Bowes may have one of the least amazing vocal talents in the business, but he really knows how to make up for that disadvantage and to really put up a great show. Alestorm is a band that definitely is more set for entertainment than to create magnificent moments with awesome individual performances. With catchy choruses and songs mainly about piracy and drinking, they are able to interact with their audience in a great way.

It's like a big one-hour party, where the band chose to play only two songs off the new album Sunset On The Golden Age, released this very same day, in order to not bore the crowd with new songs that nobody has listened to. To really come out spectacular in the end, Bowes decided to do a little crowd surfing and stayed on the grounds for a while to talk to his fans. Although I personally didn't enjoy this gig to full extent, I have to hand out a fair 6 chalices, since their fans totally loved this hilarious performance.

Performance: 6 chalices of 10
Stage sound
: 4 chalices of 10
: Lead vocalist Christopher Bowes.
: Pirate Song

The Quest
The Sunk'n Norwegian
Surf Squid Warfare
Nancy The Tavern Wench
Back Through Time
Pirate Song
Wenches & Mead
Wolves Of The Sea
Captain Morgan's Revenge

Band: Unisonic
Bandit Stage 21:15-22:25

Unisonic's second album Light Of Dawn was released, similar to Alestorm's, this Friday August 1st. Since I had the privilege to listen to the new album in the weeks before this gig, my personal ego was hoping for a fair number of songs off it. Luckily for the remainder of this band's fairly large and somewhat old audience things didn't turn out that way, although three new songs were played.

Michael Kiske still has the lungs to make things ablaze, even if his voice was set on a low volume initially. The band relies pretty much on him and guitar player Kai Hansen during the set and it's a no brainer that these two guys feel at home together on stage. During the song Over The Rainbow, they sat down on the small ramp in the stage's front and Kiske just laughed his way through the song and told Hansen that he really had to tune the guitar, so they could finish the song properly. The vocalist also went on a stroll in the crowd during one of the songs and in a million years I could never imagine that happening.

Much to the crowd's delight, two old Helloween songs, March Of Time and I Want Out, were performed. Naturally the band couldn't disappoint the fans and leave that heritage out. I mean, these two guys on a stage together and not performing any Helloween songs would probably be devastating to this band's future achievements. In total, a good show from a hungry band and I left satisfied.

Performance: 7 chalices of 10
Stage sound
: 5 chalices of 10
: Throne Of The Dawn
: Nothing really.

Venite 2.0 (intro)
Never Too Late
For The Kingdom
Star Rider
My Sanctuary
King For A Day
Throne Of The Dawn
March Of Time
Over The Rainbow
We Rise
I Want Out

Band: Megadeth
Bandit Stage 23:35-01:05

First of all; this was probably the best Megadeth performance I've ever seen. The band has made themselves a name of being a pretty poor live act, much to lead vocalist and guitar player Dave Mustaine's non-existent stage presence and him constantly staring at his guitar or on the stage floor. On this night however, Mustaine stepped up to something I haven't really seen before. He seemed rejuvenated and seemed to have a great time and, hold your breath, he even smiled on stage. What are the odds of that happening?

His and Chris Broderick's guitar parts were mainly awesome, as they interchanged solo parts and fast plays between each other through the entire set. Megadeth is certainly all about the guitars and with this list of songs, as displayed below, things turned out great in the end. On the negative side, Mustaine's voice was just as terrible as always and the band had too many staged positions in front of the 3 screens in the back to have my full blessing. I'm a little impressed that the band was able to deliver such a great show after having seen them live many times before. I truly hope that this gig wasn't the exception to the rule.

Performance: 7 chalices of 10
Stage sound
: 6 chalices of 10
: Skin O' My Teeth and Sweating Bullets.
: The new songs aren't anywhere close to the older stuff.

Hangar 18
Wake Up Dead
In My Darkest Hour
Skin O' My Teeth
Sweating Bullets
Tornado Of Souls
Public Enemy No. 1
À Tout Le Monde
Cold Sweat
Symphony Of Destruction
Peace Sells
Holy Wars… The Punishment Due

To the top

Saturday - August 02

Band: Crashdïet
Bandit Stage 17:00-18:00

(sorry, no setlist)

Band: Black Star Riders
Bandit Stage 19:05-20:15

(sorry, no setlist)

Band: Gamma Ray
Bandit Stage 21:15-22:25

I witnessed Gamma Ray's performance in Stockholm earlier this year and back then lead vocalist and guitar player Kai Hansen had severe problems with his throat and couldn't sing on even half of the songs. When now not being out on an extended tour, his voice has stabilized back to normal again and his current state shows that his character is an important factor on the band's sets.

This unit seems to have fun on stage again, after having some trouble within the band a couple of years ago. For example, Hansen presented the song Master Of Confusion as Master Of The Future and sang those latter words in the two first choruses until he looked puzzled and laughed during the bridge and switched back to the correct words again. I admit that this isn't too funny, but it gives you something to relate to anyway. We also got the extended ska version of I Want Out, since Hansen told us that he had played the original version the day before with Unisonic.

Most things were enjoyable, but the stage lighting was nothing but terrible. Perhaps I shouldn't put too much energy into such a failure, but it was so badly set that I couldn't ignore it. All the lights came from the back and the bandmembers' faces were constantly shaded, so it was kind of tough to see the band's facial expressions. Still in total, this was definitely a satisfactory performance by the Germans.

Performance: 7 chalices of 10
Stage sound
: 5 chalices of 10
: Rebellion In Dreamland and the 90 seconds of In Trance.
: The stage lighting.

Welcome (Intro)
Heaven Can Wait
I Want Out
Pale Rider
Rebellion In Dreamland
Master Of Confusion
Man On A Mission/Snippet of In Trance
To The Metal
Send Me A Sign

Band: Steel Panther
Tube Stage 22:25-23:35

American foul-mouthed rockers Steel Panther was placed on the smaller of the two stages and when looking at the number of people who came out to see the show, this was probably not the most brilliant move, but perhaps there was no other room to put them in, I reckon.

The band was talking for around twenty minutes of the seventy minute set and the obscenities were constantly in place. It's their brand and if you can't accept it, then you better not see this band perform live. The talk between the songs is pretty amusing if you're cool with their abusive language, but personally I have seen this outfit a handful of times already and I recognize most of the words and I must admit that it feels a little repetitive at the end of the day and the total experience isn't that awesome anymore. Following their standard procedure, the band invited a bunch of girls to join the band for a couple of songs late in the set as well.

The actual songs have great effect and the crowd was invariably on its feet and shouted the words out loud. This is a show with the sole purpose to entertain and the band definitely succeeded on that matter. It's a pretty fun experience to see Steel Panther perform at least once and if you haven't already, go check them out, because the band is certainly able to deliver some great songs and also bring a few bursts of laughter.

Performance: 6 chalices of 10
Stage sound
: 7 chalices of 10
: Eyes Of A Panther and Death To All But Metal
: I have seen this theatre before.

Party Like Tomorrow Is The End Of The World
Asian Hooker
Just Like Tiger Woods
Party All Day (Fuck All Night)
Girl From Oklahoma
Community Property
Eyes Of A Panther
17 Girls In A Row
It Won't Suck Itself
Death To All But Metal

Band: Hardcore Superstar
Bandit Stage 23:35-01:00

Swedish outfit Hardcore Superstar used to be some kind of a house band at Skogsröjet festival, but hasn't been around for a few years until this appearance. Their absence has not gone unnoticed and when now returning, a rather large crowd was present to welcome them back. Personally this performance didn't come out strong at first, since they started the gig with two songs that I really don't care much for, Moonshine and One More Minute.

Things absolutely turned out greater past that point. This is definitely a great live act and Jocke Berg is one hell of a frontman. His energy and neverending will to give it all is highly contagious. He runs around like a rat on speed. Up and down, back and forth, continuously making the crowd pay attention. His wingers do a good job as well and they interact with their crowd in a great way, all to create a party vibe through the entire set. I enjoyed what I was given and it was well worth the wait of having this band back on this stage again.

Performance: 7 chalices of 10
Stage sound
: 5 chalices of 10
: Lead vocalist Jocke Berg.
: One More Minute

This Worm's For Ennio (Intro)
One More Minute
Kick On The Upperclass
Into Debauchery
Dreamin' In A Casket
Long Time No See
Wild Boys
Last Call For Alcohol
Someone Special
Run To Your Mama
Above The Law
My Good Reputation
We Don't Celebrate Sundays

To the top

The closing words

I left the festival grounds immediately after Hardcore Superstar's show and I had barely started my ride home to Stockholm when I faced a little thunderstorm, which I believe didn't fully hit the festival area, but still I was happy that I wasn't going to sleep in a tent that night.

Skogsröjet is definitely a nice little event with an estimated number of 4000 visitors. It has it ups and downs and I personally think that it's a disadvantage to start the shows at noon with less known bands. I personally arrived at 3 pm Friday to check out M.ILL.ION and there was only around 350 people by my side. I also talked to a friend later and he told me that Saturday's first three gigs had gathered somewhere between 100 and 150 people. Sonically this year was way worse than last year. I haven't mentioned this matter above, because almost every gig had insufficient sound quality. I don't know what happened, because last year had fantastic audio. Most things are all right though and I will definitely head down to Rejmyre next year as well.

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