|» Växjö Metal Festival 2005||
City: Växjö, Sweden
If you are from Växjö, you are not exactly spoiled with metal concerts. Monsters Of The Millennium 1999 (Manowar, Motörhead, Dio) and Popstad 2003 (The Haunded, Mustasch) has been the only shows with somewhat larger acts the latest years. Now there seems to be some hope, when the people behind the pub Harry's took the initiative to Växjö Metal Festival. Unfortunately that name brings some memories of a less successful event a couple of years ago, but that is a totally different story. Now the arrangements were close to perfect. Both artists and visitors that I talked with were more than pleased about the whole evening.
There is more to come! March 30 (2006) Växjö will host one of the three Swedish gigs on the tour with Freedom Call and Rage (Stockholm and Gothenburg get the other two). Now its up to all metalfans to show up and make it possible for further events in the future. Just above 400 appeared this time, which is quite good, but it could be even better.
The band Rainbow Ladyland decided to rename themselves just a couple of days before this debut gig. Well, it might be a better name as such, but Rainbow Ladyland better describes the melodic rock the band plays. Anyway they sure have potential to reach quite far. Front woman Linéa Helgé, until know most famous for her appearance in the Swedish reality show Villa Medusa, lets the singing do the talking. She appears a bit lost in the between talk, but when she sings she knows how to keep the attention of the audience. She adds some straight attitude to the music. My Curse will be a name to keep an eye on in the scene of 80s influenced melodic rock.
7 chalices of 10
Lemon Bird consists of four very skilled and talented musicians, inspired by the 70s hard rock. When that easily can result in overly pretentious music, Lemon Bird doesn't fall into that trap at all. The band gives about everything on stage to reach out to the listener. Not resting with that they try to make the music not just live but alive as well. The drummer Anders Jonasson explains that they are continuously working on a wish to make even more improvisation on stage in the future. Singer Jonatan Andersson totally goes into the role as front man on stage and shows impressive closeness to the music. Guitarist Johan Runesson delivers solos with true feeling. They are backed up by a tight and heavily swinging rythm section, Jonasson and bass player Rikard Kristoffersson. Deep Purple comes to the mind as a possible influence. Jonasson admits this, but also says he listens very much to jazz, blues and fusion, to catch the right mood of the roots to rock 'n' roll drumming. Lemon Bird has something to give both to the advanced music lover and to those who just want some party rock 'n' roll. The only thing lacking at the moment is a couple of 'hits' that will make the crowd going on the same level as the band. Some of their songs sure have the potential.
8 chalices of 10
To my great disappointment I missed the most of Bullet's gig (on the other hand I got to interview Michael Stanne instead). Anyway I got just in time to catch the finish with Leather Love and Bang Your Head. With Bullet you know what you'll get. And that's exactly why you want it! Bullet are proud of their 80s, and want to show it to the world. With riffs from Judas Priest, groove from AC/DC and choirs from Accept they are hitting the hearts of every true metal lover. I don't think I've ever seen someone so purely happy on stage as the underground bass legend Lenny Blade. The crowd is now really starting to get warm, with the help of the old combination of beer and party metal. The only way Bullet can disappoint you is if you miss them, as I did this time
The glam/sleaze trend that seems to have started with the reunion of Mötley Crüe, has not yet reached Växjö. The interest for Zan Clan was quite modest among the visitors. Many seemed unaware of the glam legend Zinny Zan and his career with Easy Action and Shotgun Messiah. Those who did know who he was, knew him from the role as rock 'n' roll-mentor in the reality show Wannabe. That did not seem to bother the singer and front man though. He gave what he had for the small audience. But after all even the metalheads agreed afterwards that it "did not sound that bad". I think that is a judgement as good as any.
7 chalices of 10
There was really no doubt that Dark Tranquillity would deliver as main attraction of the evening. With all the respect for the rest of the bands it was quite clear that the most of the spectators were here to see the melodic death constellation. The tone was set straight away, during Lost To Apathy, when the crowd pushed the security railing over and came just about half a meter closer to the stage. The message was that this should be a tight gig to remember - one where the band and its fans came as close together as possible. Front man Mikael Stanne answered with stage diving. You could not tell that this was a warm up gig before a four-week tour. The band seemed as tight and ready as ever. The setlist was quite different from the summer festivals, and contained a couple of positive surprises from the more melodic side of the cathalogue. Especially FreeCard (which Stanne dedicated to the reporter from MetalCovenant) but also for example Zodijackyl Light. Afterwards the band was pleased with the response as well. Although former Växjö resident Michael Nicklasson was a bit disappointed at Stanne for not announcing him as the returning man of the year.
A perfect finish for a great evening. Let's hope for a lasting return of the metal scene in Växjö!
8 chalices of 10
David, December 2005