|» SRF Kickoff 2005 12 03||
City: Stockholm, Sweden
Sweden Rock Festival has become something hip. This evening was the clash of two quite separate worlds; the celebrity premiere people of the capital city who came to be cool for a while - with the hard rock trend going on right now - and the true rockers who where there to see Saxon and to be among the first 'deadly' to know which bands will be playing this summer. The former personified by Bingo Rimér, a 'nude girl'-photographer and his bunch of playmates, representing the sponsor Moore. The tempo was quite slow during the evening. Not very much exciting took place between the bands and the band presentations. "We will be back in five minutes", was the most common line from the M.C. Ronny Svensson. He and his backups, the girls from Crucified Barbara, did a quite ordinary job. Why is it that it is so hard for presenters to say something more sophisticated or fun than "eeeeeyyy, how are you" or "have you been drinking beer"? The one person I would have suggested to resolve this small problem for the summer, very sadly is not around anymore. Legendary Swedish comedian Micke "Svullo" Dubios ended his life just a couple of days before, which became official on the morning of the kick off day. He was supposed to perform his rap-metal-hit "För fet för ett fuck" (Too Fat For A Fuck) with Clawfinger, but instead there was a minute of silence to honour him. Svullo, we'll miss you - ride on, wherever you are!
There was also a lot of room for sponsor events. Except for Bingo and his girls the highlight being the members of Europe arriving in a limo to sign their new DVD. A moment of more embarrassment than excitement actually. A bit overdone, to be more specific. In total this seemed to be more of an evening for the branch people and the media than for the actual festival people. The latter were supposed to be happy with drinking (expensive) beer and listening to Saxon. The former had a more trendy party going on up in the VIP section, one might guess. So, Sweden Rock, how big you ever become, don't try too hard to be hip and bring in more money and fame. Don't forget those who stood loyal with you during the first shaky ten years and spread the word to help you become what you are today. Those souls are just as important as any sponsor or guest from the evening press (who did not write anything anyway )!
...was exactly as boring as I remember them. I'm Sorry!
4 chalices of 10
I lost my interest for Clawfinger somewhere during the second half of the third album. I have hardly listened to them since I saw them at Sweden Rock Festival 1998. Today they got a new chance to re-conquer my interest. Unfortunately they lost it again with a couple of songs from their latest album (Hate Yourself With Style). The forerunners of rap metal simply do not sound fresh anymore, but rather as a copy of later American followers. The old songs have not been standing the test of time either. The band members are still energetic on stage, but at the same time there is something missing. It has become routine rather than passion.
5 chalices of 10
What the hell did Marc Storace think of when he chose that potato-bag as scene clothing? Anyway Krokus delivered an impressively heavy set of rock 'n' roll. Many old songs from the early 80s of course and they worked like a clock. Or what do you say about Long Stick Goes Boom, Bad Boys - Rag Dolls, Screaming In The Night, Easy Rocker, Night Wolf, American Woman and Rock City? The only song I definitely missed was Tokyo Nights. I hope I get to hear it this summer instead, since Krokus also were among the presented bands for next Sweden Rock Festival. Some guy warned me that Krokus has become 'adult oriented' nowadays. He could not be more wrong I would say. This was as heavy as you could wish for.
7 chalices of 10
Generally I prefer when band mix songs from every part of their catalogue. But who can resist an ultimate hit parade from Saxon's early 80s? They played them ALL! Well, not Wheels Of Steel actually, which is kind of sad. On the other hand it is fun that less remembered songs like Stallions Of The Highway and Suzie Hold On got dusted off. Maybe not my personal favourites, but just the expected hits would have been too predictable.
Many were sceptic about that Nigel Glockler's return to the Saxon drums would mean a softer sound than with Jörg Michael. Well, although I, for obvious reasons, can't tell how he will handle the new material, I can say that the old songs rock more than ever. Glockler actually impressed me with vital and swinging drumming. Biff still sings formidable by the way. But he was a bit scarce with the headbanging this time.
As for the show, that may not be the strong side of Saxon, when 'The
Eagle' is not present. In the middle of the set Biff entered the stage
with a very blue guitar. "Do you want a fast one or a slow one?",
he asked the crowd. Of course the answer was 'fast', and Biff threw away
the guitar and the band delivered Power And The Glory. The procedure was
repeated with 20 000 Ft and when To Hell And Back Again were up, the line
was shortened to "Do you want a fast
well, fuck it!" Then
Biff actually played the blue guitar in Frozen Rainbow, from the first
Saxon album. The six last songs (see the setlist below) were just an impressive
row of pure metal hits. To sum up: a better setlist and more energy than
on this summer's concert at Sweden Rock Festival. Saxon will deliver for
yet many years and Glockler is welcome back.
8 chalices of 10
1. Motorcycle Man
What about the bands presented for the summer then? Well, Deep Purple was quite expected. Maybe not as first headline out, rather as 'the third complement' (read: Scorpions and Sammy Hagar). It was six years since Purple played at the festival and they are out with a new record at the moment. So it was about time. Further, with all the 80s bands as headlines the latest years (and as rumours for the summer) a band with older roots will be necessary for the festival, to not lose focus from its concept. For me personally it will be fun. I hated the concert at Sweden Rock 1999 - just a long boring jam session. But I have kind of discovered Deep Purple again since then.
Stryper is a killer booking! I must say that there are many Christian bands who actually are much better. But Stryper has the cult status, the image and the commercial ground to stand on and will probably deliver a very nice live experience. It was time for Doro to play at the festival again, but that doesn't feel especially unique. Metal Church can be a great one, after some more exploration from my side into their accomplishments. Celtic Frost are legends, but not any personal favourites. Krokus will deliver, this evening proved that. Evergrey will probably still be boring. My sixth sense tells me that Journey is not anything I would appreciate. But even I can be wrong and I will give them a fair chance. W.A.S.P . well, I hope they understand that they don't have the song material to do a 'clean' show as the last time on SRF (2001). Blood, meat, beheadings, chainsaws and more blood will be needed! The Storyteller was great a couple of years ago, but I need to refresh myself with their latest releases before placing them on a scale. Easy Action is not anything I have listened to very much. If they happen to hit the right spot in my festival schedule I might check them out. The 'not-so-very-original' Sweet is of little interest for me, but of course they fit into the SRF concept. When it comes to he rest of the lineup, I will have to get back when I've done some more research Anyway, it will be great in the end, as always.
David, December 2005