» System Of A Down 2005 06 18  
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Reviewed by Niklas
City: Hultsfred, Sweden
Venue: Hawaii
Date: 18 June 2005
Set length: 90 minutes

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System Of A Down

With all due deference to Marilyn Manson, Slipknot, Nine Inch Nails, The Hives and Snoop Dogg, but surely System Of A Down should have the biggest credit due to the fact that Sweden's biggest music festival Hultsfred was sold out this year. (31.000 people - that's a new record, folks!) After the release of the hugely successful Toxicity-album in 2001 the band is arguably the most popular metal band in the world today, and since they've been rather sparse with their visits to Sweden it's no wonder that so many fans has gathered at the Hawaii stage on the third and final day at the festival.

Worst things first: the problem that affected many of the other bands on Hultsfred's biggest stage earlier happens to System Of A Down as well - the volume is way too low! On the first song "B.Y.O.B" both singers Daron Malakian's and Serj Tankian's voices are drowned by the audience's cheering during the chorus, about the same thing that happened to Slayer the previous day. How sad. Because of this blunder, the beginning of the show fumbles a bit. But just as soon as the popular monster hit "Chop Suey" makes an entrance, the problem with the volume is quickly forgotten.

The set list feels very generous, since this is a festival and there is a tight schedule to follow. The reason that System Of A Down has the time to play an amount of 24 songs has partially to do with the fact that their songs mostly stick to the 3-minute formula. Furthermore, the band rarely wastes time on talking to the crowd in between songs. Serj says something about "how grateful he is to play in such a beautiful country", but otherwise they just keep playing.

One complaint about the set list is that there are relatively few tracks (five, not counting the intro "Soldier Side") from the recent album Mezmerize. Especially since there are a total of eleven songs (!) from the four year old Toxicity. As much as it is a masterpiece, I would definitely have sacrificed a couple of tracks from there in favour of the new favourites "Radio/Video", "Violent Pornography" and "Old School Hollywood". On the plus side, to wet our appetite the band plays "Kill Rock n' Roll" from the forthcoming album Hypnotize, due in November.

A lot from the otherwise excellent show must be credited to the incredible audience, which is one of the most dedicated I've seen in Hultsfred so far during my four visits. There are thousands of clapping hands in the air almost all time, and during songs like "Lost In Hollywood", "Prison Song" and "Toxicity" the response is at its best. System Of A Down also display some of their notorious sense of humour, when they add a ballad intro to "Cigaro", which is extra funny when you think about the lyrics ("My cock is much bigger than yours...").

The best song of the evening, then? A tough one, but personally I found the trio "Needles", "Deer Dance" and "Aerials" from Toxicity to be difficult to beat. This show was in competition with Slipknot and Nine Inch Nails the best I saw on Hultsfred this year, and considering that this band will be even better when the few glitches have been polished, there is more than one reason to return to System Of A Down.

9 chalices of 10


1. Soldier Side (intro)
2. B.Y.O.B.
3. Revenga
4. Science
5. Kill Rock N' Roll
6. Suggestions
7. Psycho
8. Chop Suey
9. Cigaro
10. Mr. Jack
11. Needles
12. Deer Dance
13. Aerials
14. Bounce
15. Atwa
16. Forest
17. Lost In Hollywood
18. Question!
19. War?
20. Prison Song
21. Roulette
22. Toxicity
23. Suite-Pee
24. Sugar

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