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Leyendas Del Rock 2017, August 9-12

Review and photos by Krister

Day 1, Wednesday. Introduction of the festival and arriving the first day

My second year at this festival and this time I decided to go on all four days instead of just three as I did last year. There's really not much to think about when they decide to put Amon Amarth as a headliner on the warm-up day. The warm-up day is free for people who bought the 3-day tickets, otherwise it will cost you 5 Euro to access the festival.

Overall I think that the lineup this year is really solid. So many good bands in so many different genres, there's something for everyone here. But the great lineup is of course not everything, the atmosphere is just as important. And I must say that the Spanish people impressed me last year, such a good crowd when the bands play but also extremly friendly towards foreigners as myself. Even though alot of Spanish people doesn't speak English very well they still tried as much as they could and if it wasn't enough they would simply grab a random person that was nearby to help us in our conversation.

I got to Villena more than an hour before the first band started just to have time to park the car and get the photopass to be able to access the festival area. Just as I head of the highway I saw that I wan't the only one arriving today, I should have thought about this I guess.There was a queue all the way from the highway, atleast 500 meters. The traffic was going slow and policemen where redirecting the traffic.

About 30 minutes later we arrived at the festivalparking. Finding a parkingspot is not hard, the parking is huge and it's also free of charge. Walking distance from the parking to the festivalentrence is 5-10 minutes depending on where you got to park.

On the road to the festivalentrence you walk past the campingsite. I feel good about travelling back and forth to a house because the way this camp looks like, it's nothing like the camps in northern Europe. Here you get to place your tent on dust, gravel and rocks sometimes bigger than a fist. There's also two different camps, one is directly under the sun and I cant imagine waking up in a tent hungover in this kind of heat. The other one is in the shade, located under big tents that has been built up, you will have to pay extra for a spot here and they will sell out.

Considering the queue to get to the parking I was a bit surprised that the ticket exchange and entering the festival went as smooth as it did, all in all about 15 minutes.

Day 1, Wednesday

Finally inside the festival I noticed the lack of urinals. They had them last year, atleast during Thursday to Saturday when I was presence. And a quick walk around the festival area and checking the location of the toiletts made me think that there might come more people here than the festival had expected.

I went to the exchange for tokens, which is the currency on the festival. They are plastic coins and come in 1, 2 and 5 Euro coins. This speeds up the queue in the bar and at the food places. The queue to the exchange was very long just as I got in to the area but it makes sense, everyone needs to get tokens in the beginning and this is not really a problem later on. There arent alot of queues to the bar or to the food places, I don't know if it's because Spanish people doesn't drink as much as people from northern Europe do or if it's because of the prices. A big beer 0.8L costs 6 Euro.

Thundermother: Azucena Stage 17:25–18:05

The first band I went to see on the festival. The guitarplayer Filippa have replaced the 4 bandmembers that left the band earlier this year. I like their Rock n' Roll music but I couldn't help to think of that something was missing when there were 4 new faces on stage. The new singer is good and the gig was overall good despite a powerfailure they had at a point, this is some nice rock to start of the day with. Guitarist Filippa went down in to the crowd during a song and continued playing while running around far into the crowd before getting back up on stage again.

Angelus Apatrida: De La Rosa Stage 18:10–19:10

A band that I never heard of before and considering a name like that I take for granted that they sing in Spanish, so why would I even bother to see them? Well, I did catch a few songs anyway and I'm glad I did. Another good thing with festivals is the chance of finding a new good band. This thrashmetal band sounded really good and it's a band I need to check out a bit more. I also find it a bit interesting that they are from Spain but still sing in English.

Last in Line: Azucena Stage 19:20–20:30

A Ronnie James Dio Supergroup just without one of the worlds best singers of all time. Some might call it a coverband but I won't. I don't get the "cashgrabbing" feeling that you might get when a band replaces someone like Dio with a new guy named Andrew Freeman. Instead I find that this is a really good tribute to the treasure of songs that Dio left us. Andrew does a good job even though he has some big shoes to try to fill.

They played alot of classic Dio songs aswell as a couple of their own songs from their debut release in 2016. The energy in the band feels really good. They seem happy about what they are doing and Guitarist Vivian Campbell and Bassplayer Phil Soussan moves around alot and it just creates a good mood. I enjoyed watching them all on stage and the fact that I got as close as I will ever get to see Dio's band was nice.

There were some raindrops during the gig but it escalated a while after the show had ended. Alot of people took shelter in the huge beer tent even though the rain can feel as a nice change of pace in a country like Spain.

Amon Amarth: Azucena Stage 22:00–23:30

Suddendly the crowd in front of the stage got really big. Alot of people seemed to have come just for the vikings from Sweden. Even though it was still raining a bit in the beginning of their set there was no way that the Spanish people would miss this.

Creating a couple of big moshpits that went on for the majority of the gig, speaking Spanish, raising the drinking horn and cheering to the crowd, Singer Johan Hägg really wanted the crowd to be an important part of the gig. The response was good and even though alot of people may not be very good at English, there were alot of people singing along to the more famous songs.

Songs like Guardians of Asgaard and Twilight of the Thundergod are great livesongs. It's a really mighty feeling just being in the crowd when those songs start and you can feel all the positive energy from people around you. They had two big smokebreathing dragons on the stage that the bandmembers could climb up on, it was a nice boost to the atmosphear.

As soon as Amon Amarth stopped playing and the crowd started moving away from the stage I realized how windy it was. Walking past the camping site showed how the wind had destroyed alot of partytents. And again I was happy about going home instead of staying at the camp in this weather, there was debris blowing around and you sometimes had to close your eyes because there was alot of dust in the wind.

To the top

Day 2, Thursday

Arriving to Villena and going towards the festivalarea I noticed that there was hardly any traffic at all compared to yesterday. The problems came after I parked the car and went to the festivalentrance. The queue seemed to be endless. I walked to find the end of the line and I bet it was 300 meters long. The crew in the entrance was doing their best but there was just no way they could handle this much people at the same time.

This is something you really have to take in consideration or you will risk to miss half of a gig with a band you want to see, just like I did with Steve n' Seagulls. But I got to see a couple of song and of course they played Thunderstruck which really got the crowd going. The response of the crowd when they hear their favourite old school rock/metal songs played in a blue grass version is great. This band is a great addition to a festival like this and definitely a good way to start the day.

Alestorm: Azucena Stage 18:30–19:20

Just by looking at their backdrop which is a psychedelic colored background with two bananas that are merged with ducks makes you wonder what kind of band this is. Being extreme in this kind of way and also in the lyrics of course made this band a big hit. The piratemetal scene has grown alot with alestorm even though I feel that they keep losing the pirate theme visually for each year. I would like if the continued to wear pirate clothing and accesories considering the kind of band they are.

I like how keyboard player Elliot Vernon gets to shine on songs like Magnetic North and Alestorm, his growling is a nice addition and a good break from the scottish accent Chris has. They played a couple of songs from the album No Grave But The Sea which was released earlier this year. I enjoyed hearing the song Mexico which is my favourite song from that album but it was when they ended their gig with Fucked With An Anchor that the crowd really got involved in the gig. It doesn't matter how many times Chris tells the crowd to fuck off, we all went away from the gig with a smile upon our faces.

Blind Guardian: De La Rosa Stage 22:00–23:20

One of the big names on the bill this year are the powermetal gigants from Germany. The expactaions are huge as they enter the stage. Starting of with a mix of new and old songs but later on focusing more on the old songs. Playing Mirror Mirror before ending with Valhalla as their last song. I wish the crowd would have participated more during the show and specially at the last song. I don't know if the crowd had to high expactations of either the setlist or Hansi's ability to sing great all the time. There was something missing and I will remember this as a mediocer gig. Not blaming Blind Guardian entirely but also the crowd, we could have done this better all of us.

Arch Enemy: Azucena Stage 23:30-00:40

Starting of the set with their new song The World Is Yours you could immedietly see the aggressive attitude of Alissa. She moves around alot and looks just as great as she sings. First half of the gig consists of mostly newer songs before returning to the Gossow era in the second half.

What surprises me the most is how they don't want to show off their guitarplaying more. Why not step forward a couple of more steps while playing a solo or even just playing the melodies? Put the lights on the two great guitarists they have and let them shine a bit more. Their ability to play and create melodies is a big part why I'm a fan.

The end was a bit weird though considering that they only had 70 minutes of time to play. There were at least one more song to be played but suddenly it was just over and the band said good bye more than 10 minutes earlier than they had to.

To the top

Day 3, Friday

Primal Fear: De La Rosa Stage 16:30-17:20

Starting of the day with some German power/heavy metal is always good. The energy and enthusiasm from the band is great. And Ralf, what a voice he still has. Singing songs like the new The End Is Near shows how good his falsett is. This song also gets the crowd really involved and alot of people are singing along. But the music and singing from the band is not the only thing that's great, they are also very satisfying just to watch.

Take guitarist Alex Beyrodt as an example, he headbangs, jumps around and shows of his guitarskills in different ways all the time. There is just not a boring moment watching this band. Ending the gig with the song Metal Is Forever makes the gig complete. I wouldn't mind if they had 15 more minutes of time to play but I'm almost a bit exhausted when I walk away from the stage, in a good way of course.

Firewind: Mark Reale Stage 19:20-20:10

Leaving the big stages to go and see Firewind but I had to go up to the smaller stage which is located in the other end of the festivalarea. They might as well have played on one of the bigger stages instead but unfortunatley things like this happens sometimes. I belive a band will lose some audience just by playing here instead of the other stages. The stage is in a big tent and there was alot of people there.

Hammerfall: De La Rosa Stage 20:40-21:50

One of the first things I noticed was the new guy behind the drums. Apparently Johan Koleberg from Therion were filling in for David Wallin for a short while. Other than that the gig was a typical Hammerfall gig. Alot of happiness and enthusiasm and of course bandmembers who are really synchronized. Joacim Cans singing is as good as ever and I'm glad that they played a song I haven't seen them perform in a while, Riders Of The Storm. To bad they left out B.Y.H though.

Megadeth: Azucena Stage 22:00-23:20

My favourite band of the Big Four and my first time to see the band with Kiko on guitar and Dirk on drums. I felt great when they came out on the stage and immediatley started of with Hangar 18. If you consider the treasure of songs they have you can be pretty sure the setlist is going to be good. And it is, the good songs kept coming.

Problem is that Dave seems tired and there's just to much mumbling from Dave going on both in songs and in between the songs. I enjoyed almost half of the gig being as far from the stage as the soundtower is but after that I decided to go alot further away so that I could hang around and talk with friends while having the gig in the background. I guess the heat during the day is taking it's toll now and I started to get tired.

Even though the songs are good I got the feeling it was a bit to much of the same thing over and over. Visually it's not very fun watching them either especially if you stand there for the 80 minutes that they played. They had monitors showing videos that was pretty cool at some points and has a nice part of the experience. However I consider it a problem when it's more fun to watch the videos on the monitors instead of the bandmembers themself.

There were also some technical difficulties and Dave had to get his guitar replaced during a song. Also the sound quality was pretty bad at some points. These problems might have been the reason to why Dave decided to play some airguitar as they said good bye to the audience after playing their last song.
I would give this gig 5.5/10.

Day 4, Saturday

Eclipse: Azucena Stage 16:30-17:20

Starting of the day with another extreme queue just to be able to get in and watch the first band. When the band started there were still alot of people waiting to get in so the crowd might have been the smallest one I have seen on this stage. These Swedes have released 4 albums in 5 years now so they have plenty of good songs to create a setlist with. No songs from their second album but a good mix of songs from the other ones. It was nice to hear an acoustic version of the song Battlesgrounds in the middle of the set. When the show was over I felt like the crowd had doubled in size and the only negative thing I can think of is that they didn't play I Don't Wanna Say I'm Sorry, other than that the gig was great.

Rhapsody: De La Rosa Stage 22:00-23:20

The 20th anniversary reunion farewell tour of Italys biggest powermetalband is a tour that no fan would want to miss. To see Fabio and Luca together again is magical. You can easily see how good they get along and how much they enjoy being on stage together. Fabio and Luca makes a spectacular show and there's not a moment that's not worth seeing. The setlist is a good mix of fast and slow songs. Of course the more famous songs are included and also a couple of songs that has never been played live before this tour. The fans that catch the farewell gig will get just what they want and the gig really brings justice to their incredible legacy. These guys are still on top and it saddens me a bit that this is their last tour together.

Day 5, Sunday

The festival is over and I'm back home looking back at the great memories from the past days.
A couple of bands have already been booked to 2018 including Nightwish and Doro and the limited earlybird tickets for 70 Euros sold out really quickly. Lets hope the organizers fix the extreme queues at the entrance and that they make sure there are enough toilets and urinals as soon as the festival starts.
It would also be good with a few more places where you could wash your hands, now I believe there's only one place. While doing this they should also put up a sign so that you know what kind of water it is and if it's ok for foreigners to drink it.

Another annoying thing that must be fixed is how the big screens next to the stages and the soundtower had a delay that you could see very easily. The video needs to be synchonized with the music otherwise it's just frustrating watching it.

There's really not many more negative things to point out. Considering what you get for your money, the people on the festival and the bands that played I would give the festival 8.5/10.

And of course, I will be back!

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