Sweden Rock Festival 2019 - Day 2

The second date of Sweden Rock was swiftly dawning and there was an interesting mix of bands that were scheduled to perform from Slayer, who are supposedly on their way to retirement and are delivering a helluva show, just like the Swiss melodic rockers, Krokus, are also meant to, to hard rock supremos Def Leppard, the bizarro orthodox werewolves Powerwolf, Blaze Bayley, Arch Enemy and Amon Amarth, this day had definitely a lot for one to sink their teeth into. And lest we forget, comedy masterminds Tenacious D raising hell and then sending the devil to do their grocery list, as well.
Sweden Rock Festival 2019 poster
Due to it, being Sweden’s National Day (Thursday 6th June, as we found out later – Go Sweden!) there was more traffic on the roads than usual, so despite our best calculations, we only managed to arrive midway Blaze Bayley’s show, missing Canadian’s The Wild! completely. The former Iron Maiden singer who also was kind enough to do some press with us, he was in great form and with his long standing band behind him, visibly enjoying being on stage and performing basically Iron Maiden – instead of solo material, but who am I to complain?! It’s been a while since I’ve heard him doing all those hits (which Maiden only perform sporadically) so why not?!
Blaze Bayley Setlist:
Lord of the Flies (Iron Maiden song)
Sign of the Cross (Iron Maiden song)
Judgement of Heaven (Iron Maiden song)
Virus (Iron Maiden song)
The Clansman (Iron Maiden song)
The Angel and the Gambler (Iron Maiden song)
Man on the Edge (Iron Maiden song)
Futureal (Iron Maiden song)
Como estais amigos (Iron Maiden song)
While entering the fest we also caught wind of Swedes Lillasyster a metalcore-ish band by former members of LOK, who seem more recognizable for doing covers of Riri and Katie Perry, than actually their own hits, at least to the “foreign” person. I shouldn’t be too condemning, since I hardly had time for more than a song. Doing Blaze press, meant missing also Swedish female fronted vintage rowdy rockers Cobra Cult, but at least, we managed to come out in time to catch most of Souther glories, Blackberry Smoke and a decent portion of the original band of current Kamelot singer, Tommy Karevik’s Seventh Wonder, who sounded more at home using his real voice than trying to channel Khan as he does, with great success in Kamelot. We thus missed the Swedish Gravestone (ie the death metal guys) because of the overlapping schedule.
Despite being a longtime fan I never had the pleasure of watching Powerwolf perform. While I do not like most of the newer breed of power metal bands, ie Sabaton leave me cold and I almost despise Gloryhammer, I do find these wicked Germans to strike the perfect balance between majesty, melody and not taking themselves, or their image too seriously. Self-deprecation and a great stage show, were the order of the day and I must admit that I hugely enjoyed my first “mass” with them. So much, so that I am now looking much more forward to their Greek shows in Autumn.
Powerwolf Setlist:
Tape: Lupus Daemonis
Fire and Forgive
Army of the Night
Incense & Iron
Amen & Attack
Demons Are a Girl’s Best Friend
Killers With the Cross
Armata Strigoi
Blessed & Possessed
Resurrection by Erection
Tape: Agnus Dei
Sanctified With Dynamite
Coleus Sanctus
Werewolves of Armenia
We Drink Your Blood
Tape: Wolves Against the World
Watching them meant giving Canadians Three Days Grace and Swedes The Generations Army a pass as we were trying to eat and catch our breath a bit. Before long we were back in the fray however, rushing to the Festival stage to see long standing Swiss rockers Krokus performing one of their select few gigs prior to what they claim will be their “final” performance in December… how final… remains to be seen as even bands that claimed to give it up, have continued to tour beyond their “farewell tours” (ie Judas Priest and Scorpions). They were in fine form and did a fine job, with the only qualm being that their setlist could have been a little bit more “hits” oriented. The one they played was a little heavy on deeper cuts.
Krokus Setlist:
Long Stick Goes Boom / Pinball Wizard
American Woman (The Guess Who cover)
Rock ‘n’ Roll Tonight
Winning Man
Hoodoo Woman
Rockin’ in the Free World (Neil Young cover)
Bedside Radio
Easy Rocker
Live for the Action
Opting to watch Krokus meant in turn, missing weird Swedo-Irish, celtic punks Sir Reg who were tearing it up in one of the smaller stages, as well as the stoned rock of female fronted Swedes, Electric Hydra, who were rocking away in the tent, glimpses of both we caught on our way back and forth between stages bars and shops.
The international melodic death metallers Arch Enemy, who are well liked, were going on stage next at almost the same time as Swedish Occult Rockers Lucifer. After watching a fair bit of the former (that had recently performed in Greece), who were professional as always on extremely good form, we decided to go check the latter only to feel quite underwhelmed by how Sadonis sounded quite weaker live. Adding Nicke Andersson (Hellacopters, Entombed) to her band has allowed her to keep her contract, but on stage the exhibited boredom and wine drinking antics by the overall wearing wannabe scarlet diva did not charm and had us quickly returning to the Rock stage to watch some more Arch Enemy.
Arch Enemy Setlist:
Tape: Set Flame to the Night
The World Is Yours
Stolen Life
War Eternal
My Apocalypse
You Will Know My Name
Under Black Flags We March
Dead Eyes See No Future
The Eagle Flies Alone
First Day in Hell
Tape: Saturnine
As the Pages Burn
No Gods, No Masters
We Will Rise
Tape: Enter the Machine
We witnessed most of Amon Amarth’s set, who were both in fine form and put on a visually spectacular show, with tons of Pyros in the Festival stage, in support of their latest album, “Berserker” (from which they performed some three tracks) despite sporting the backdrop from their previous one. But I did also have a foray to the smaller “4Sound Stage” to catch a few songs by Swedish prog/symph wonders A.C.T, who I doubt, I’d be able to see elsewhere. They were quite extraordinary.
Amon Amarth Setlist:
The Pursuit of Vikings
Deceiver of the Gods
First Kill
The Way of Vikings
As Loke Falls
Crack the Sky
Legend of a Banished Man
War of the Gods
Death in Fire
Shield Wall
Raven’s Flight
Guardians of Asgaard
Raise Your Horns
Twilight of the Thunder God
We thus missed local band In Silence, who were playing at the tent but reconvened for crazy Americans Tenacious D in a performance that at least in my mind’s eye I had envisioned as being a lot more epic. They had a massive amount of the festival’s crowd flocking in front of the stage and it might have been the slight wind, or the dynamic range of the vocals being particular that caused them almost becoming inaudible in places / at times. Overall, they were good, once you found a sweet spot to stand, but could have been better and more spirited, I guess. I didn’t quite enjoy them as much as I had thought I would.
Tenacious D Setlist:
Tape: Post-Apocalypto Theme
Woman Time
Save the World
Post-Apocalypto Theme (Reprise)
Rize of the Fenix
Low Hangin’ Fruit
Beelzeboss (The Final Showdown)
The Metal
Dude (I Totally Miss You)
Double Team (with Black performing snippet of “Take A Chance On Me” by ABBA)
Fuck Her Gently
We had to miss most of Deadland Ritual’s performance – a band that has only released a couple of tunes so far, but counts drummer Matt Sorum (formerly of Guns n’ Roses, Velvet Revolver and more), vocalist Franky Perez (of Apocalyptica and formerly Scars on Broadway), guitarist Steve Stevens (Billy Idol) and Black Sabbath bassist Geezer Butler amongst its members. It consisted of a handful of original tunes they have penned, as well as a number of Sabbath covers (“Neon Knights”, “Symptom of the Universe”, “Sweet Leaf” and “War Pigs”), Billy Idol’s “Rebel Yell”, as well as Velvet Revolver’s “Slither”.
We did go back for one last drink and maybe a burger and that meant missing a bit of Swedish experimental rock/metallers Sins In Vain, in the tent but with Def Leppard headlining the Festival Stage at around eleven, there was little contest about where we’d be.
Def Leppard Setlist:
Let It Go
When Love & Hate Collide
Let’s Get Rocked
Armageddon It
Rock On (David Essex cover)
Two Steps Behind
Man Enough
Love Bites
Bringin’ on the Heartbreak
Switch 625
Hysteria (incl. Snippet of “Heroes” by David Bowie)
Pour Some Sugar on Me
Rock of Ages
The Leps just rocked the place, with a phenomenal audio visual show, a very refreshed band after almost half a year of the road and JE also much more at ease, as the band has adjusted the overall sound to fit his current range a bit. It was my second favorite time watching the band, from about ten in the past twenty or so years.
We also missed Swedish dubstep rap metallers Scarlet, who seem to over-rely in their Avatar like aesthetics and production, other than the conventional “rock” approach. The last dilemma of the night for us, but not for too many others I imagine would be choosing between Slayer’s farewell performance, which was simply crushing and commanding with tons of pyro going off… making things rather hot or allowing ourselves to chill out with British rockers FM, who were performing at the same time on the smaller “4sound” stage. I suppose the answer to that particular problem was to purposely “take a short trip” to FM during “Payback” and “Temptation”, missing two out of a twenty song set, in exchange for a glance at the Brits, who were good in their own way. However we didn’t regret our choice, as we had seen FM recently in Athens and the desire to watch Slayer painting Leoforos in scarlet, crimson red was only exemplified after watching them, bringing hell on earth, in particular a couple of miles outside of Norje, in Sweden.
Slayer Setlist:
Tape: Delusions of Saviour
Evil Has No Boundaries
World Painted Blood
Hate Worldwide
War Ensemble
Mandatory Suicide
Chemical Warfare
Born of Fire
Seasons in the Abyss
Hell Awaits
South of Heaven
Raining Blood
Black Magic
Dead Skin Mask
Angel of Death
We zombi-limbed back to the parking area and went back to our cabin by the lake, with only quacking ducks, instead of drunken fools braking the placid of the night…