|» Skogsröjet 2015||
Skogsröjet festival celebrated its 10th anniversary
and also had a record attendance. I wouldn't say it was crowded in any
way, because I think that there still was plenty of room in front of the
stages. The indisputable metal queen Doro unfortunately missed her flight
due to massive traffic jams and therefore had to cancel her appearance
and Swedish heavy metallers Bullet were quickly announced as replacements.
Reviews and photos by Tobbe
Band: Electric Boys
(sorry, no setlist)
Band: Hardcore Superstar
Hardcore Superstar seems to never do a half-assed gig and they are usually delivering what's expected out of them. The attitude of the performance is like dynamite and it's generally a high tempo on stage. This well-greased outfit has played numerous times at this festival though the years and although I haven't personally witnessed each and every one of them, I think that the crowd's response is awesome over and over again and the band is always welcomed back to these grounds with open arms.
The set is like many times before based on the band's self titled 2005 effort, although we only get 5 songs off it tonight. The remaining 8 songs, except Liberation, are picked from the period after that record and 2 songs are played off the band's newest release, HCSS. I guess that the latter possibly just happened to find their way to the set for the sake of it, because they actually are nowhere near good enough to be found among the band's 13 greatest songs.
The lead vocalist, Jocke Berg, seems to never run out of fuel and he's
running up and down, forward and back over the stage floor, but still
has full control of his actions and knows exactly how to entertain a crowd
out on the Swedish countryside. His buddies in the band simply have to
follow his lead, stick to their guns and things seem to happen naturally.
It's not like they all end up in the shadow of their frontman though,
because they interact with the audience in a very pleasing way too and
as a unit, Hardcore Superstar yet again comes out as a great live act.
Performance: 7 chalices
Band: Skid Row
This was the first time that I watched a Skid Row set since they decided to bring Tony Harnell to the ranks earlier this year. It seems like I've heard bits and pieces of everything from awesome to complete failure and beforehand I therefore had no idea what to expect out of his and the band's performance. I'm the first to admit that it felt a little awkward to see a vocalist that I've seen with TNT a couple of times before now sing for Skid Row instead, but still, if you're open to change, I think that this move might have been crucial for the band's future existence.
In my opinion, Tony definitely did all right, even if his most prolific days of his magnificent run probably are over at this point. His voice occasionally wants to go to places he's comfortable with, but no matter what, he definitely by far manages to come out more valid than what the band's former vocalist Johnny Solinger did in the last few years, when the latter had lost pretty much all of his interest for live performances with Skid Row and that Johnny eventually got booted could hardly have surprised anyone who'd seen his absent actions on stage during his final few tours. The band as a whole still has a good amount of energy on stage and especially on the right wing with guitarist Scotti Hill's appearance. He's always trying hard to communicate with the people up front and also gets much appreciation for doing so.
The songs that they choose to play is more or less a display of the 2
first albums with the addition of a few selected songs from the 2 latest
decades. To me personally, who have seen the band perform many times,
with different singers, it would perhaps have turned out greater if they
had shaken up the setlist a little bit and not have such strong focus
on its initial records. At the same time, I'm fully aware of the fact
that 90 percent of the crowd would have been extremely disappointed if
Skid Row didn't play a set like this. A pretty good show at the end of
the day and I believe that this unit at least won't lose any more fans
with this lineup, than what they already did by sacking Sebastian Bach
Performance: 6 chalices
(not in correct order)
(sorry, no setlist)
Udo Dirkschneider and his U.D.O. has toured Sweden numerous times before and they visit this place so often that wherever you live in the Southern and most populated third of the country, you rarely have more than a one-hour drive to at least one or two gigs each and every year. Okay, I might exaggerate this a little bit, but when looking at how many times I've seen this group perform in the last decade, I think that the latest lineup changes with the guitarists were necessary. The previous axemen, Igor Gianola and Stefan Kaufmann, were in the end so completely uncommitted to the task that the gigs became really boring experiences to the concert goers and I personally don't know if I still would have been following this unit if the swaps hadn't been made.
As the band now comprises one of heavy metal's absolute happiest men on stage, Kasperi Heikkinen, who also gets some assistance from his Russian companion Andrey Smirnov, it's really a different and more vivid performance that's offered to the crowd. The band has suddenly turned somewhat into a force to be reckoned with again and the addition of 2 additional members, Udo's son Sven on drums and Harrison Young on keyboards, has further contributed to the band's renewal. I'm still not really sure or convinced what the latter one's role is in a metal unit like this, but he's at least rocking all right. This rejuvenation of the band has indeed made the veterans, Udo himself and bass player Fitty Wienhold, step up to their game as well.
The band has, besides from a couple of songs in the finale, stopped playing a lot of Accept songs during the sets, which to me also makes it more purposeful and earnest and shows that the band is definitely capable of standing strong with its own material. The everyday fans certainly come down to first and foremost see the classic Accept songs and especially the hits of course, but there are a lot of us who prefer the U.D.O. songs instead, simply because we haven't seen them live so frequently as we have with the 80's songs.
Still I think that they a little too much focus on the 2 latest releases
and a set with songs off their entire catalogue would have been more suitable.
It's surely a double-edged sword and no matter which way you put all these
matters, someone is always gonna complain, but I'm confident that Udo
in the end is doing his best to carefully please his fans.
Performance: 6 chalices
Band: Dream Theater
The undisputed kings of progressive heavy metal, Dream Theater, are sometimes criticized for not having a singer who is capable of keeping up with the band's mighty skills. I think that James Labrie's vocal performance absolutely could have come out greater than what it did, but he's definitely doing okay on stage and it's indeed not a calamitous experience I witness on this Saturday night. At the same time, people hardly go to a Dream Theater concert for primary its well-performed vocals, because just to watch the guys play the actual music is utterly beyond the ordinary.
Dream Theater is during 2015 celebrating 30 years of the band's existence and is therefore playing one song off each of its albums. With mere a 90 minute show, LaBrie told us that they had to condense the songs to be able to play every song in the set, but I didn't find this matter noticeably important and most of the performed material didn't suffer and was fine anyway. With a set like this, people naturally question which songs to play and I guess most people in the crowd would have chosen a different set if they were in charge.
When you visit a show with this unit, you more or less know in advance what you're going to get, since there's always plenty of showing-off, in a great way though, and the men with the strings and keys are nothing but fascinating at what they do and their abilities cannot be questioned. All this skilled playing makes the guys look down a little too often on their instruments and some of the heavy metal concert feeling is naturally lost because of this.
The band is undoubtedly no masters of the art of interacting with an
audience and the visual experience is like expected not very exciting
and this show is basically a matter of listening, more than a matter of
seeing and rocking out to the songs.
Performance: 6 chalices
Queensrÿche performed a set filled with songs from the beginning of the band's career up to the 1990 album Empire and I believe nobody had expected anything significantly different really. This is what they've been doing during the last few years and most people on the grounds only know these songs, so I guess it's all for the good in the end, even if I personally would have wanted to hear a couple of songs off Todd La Torre's first record with the band, the 2013 self titled effort. For the record, the band in fact played a new song as well, called Arrow Of Time, which is taken from its forthcoming album Condition Hüman.
This gig could have been a fabulous one if the sound quality would have been all right through the entire set and if the band had chosen to play the 75 minutes it was given, instead of the 60 minutes now performed. During the first half of the set, the vocals of La Torre were not loud enough, Michael Wilton's guitar was occasionally absent and Eddie Jackson's bass guitar was definitely too loud and I must say that all this together was rather annoying, because it absolutely ruined part of the show.
Once the settings were corrected and the problems were gone, it was nothing
but an amazing experience to watch this revitalized band who at this point
seems to have left all its past issues with its former vocalist Geoff
Tate behind. La Torre is really giving all these old songs and classics
well deserved justice. He is able to perform them in a way that his predecessor
is nowhere near of doing today, but it certainly must take its toll on
his voice too, because it seems like he is indeed stretching his vocal
cords to the limit and I wonder for how long he will be able to give the
audience such great power on stage.
Performance: 7 chalices
Saxon seems to never disappoint a crowd. They are total professionals and although a minimum of the band's performance is noticeably staged beforehand, except for the setlist of course, they really know how to please their fans every damn night. When approaching midnight, it was starting to get a little chilly on the festival area, but this was truly not an issue for the guys on stage, or perhaps it was a triggering factor for the veterans, in order for them to work even harder to last the full 90 minutes?
A festival gig with Saxon usually means them playing a set with mainly songs from the 80's and this night's set was no exception to that well-proven method. It obviously goes hand in hand with what the crowd wants to hear and even if I, as usual, want to have more fresh material in the list of songs, I can't blame the band for giving people their money's worth. All songs in the set, but 2, Sacrifice and the brand new track Battering Ram, are from 1990 or older and I have definitely seen those songs live numerous times before.
Bass player Nibbs Carter was headbanging more than ever and I wonder how much more of this tough treatment his neck can take before it breaks. Biff Byford never cease to amaze and this 64-year-old still shows quite a spectacular range and stamina in his voice. I wouldn't say that it's utterly awesome, but it's one thing to do it in the studio and a different situation when being on stage. You can definitely see that he is slowly aging though, but still he entertains the crowd in the most pleasing way and it seems like there's no end in sight for the band, even if they started this whole thing about 40 years ago.
Performance: 7 chalices
The closing words
I wish that the organizers could find a way to upgrade the second stage to something more valid. It's not small, but basically it is indeed quite a greater experience to watch bands on the main stage than on the second stage. A couple of bands have a similar audience in size and therefore the visual experience is somewhat lost when the stage floor is about 3 feet lower on the second stage.
I can without a doubt say that most things on this
festival are much to my liking though. It's indeed a nice little festival
in the middle of nowhere and with kind of small means they have definitely
been able to get a great lineup for this year's event. I'm very positive
to returning for 2016's edition as well and if the lineup is as good as
this year, I will be there for sure.