Monday, June 9, 2014

The Meister in Sweden 2014: Day Two: The Rock Begins!


Day #1 Schedule
I survived the night successfully in my tent, a little chill but overall good.  Today is still a little dismal out and there’s a definite chill in the air again.  Wandering the grounds in the morning, this time I ventured farther than I made it last year and discovered where all the public campgrounds were situated as well as another general store with a better selection than the Supermarket.  Unfortunately, the plan of venturing into Solvesborg was not put into place as by the time that I learned the bus schedule it would have been too late to go in and return in time for the first band. In an effort to keep these daily diary accounts of my adventures at Sweden Rock Festival 2014 fairly short I will try not to ramble on too much, only getting detailed with my "highlight" promises though!
The layout of Sweden Rock Festival 2014
Vdelli-photo by The Meister
Killing the time with an afternoon nap, still a little rough after the lengthy travel day, I awoke feeling refreshed and ready to rock.  The first band of the 2014 festival was a group called Vdelli on the 4 Sound stage.  Vdelli, a blues rock power trio from Perth, Australia presented a great and spirited set with selections from their back catalog as well as their latest release.  There were several over indulgers (of booze) already present at this early hour of the festival, stumbling about the crowd while as the guitarist and namesake of the band told of the two days of travel it took for them to get to Sweden.  He also said that he was glad they were on first so that
Vdelli-photo by The Meister
they could then drink and watch all the other bands as well and would be available to meet fans at the Band Merchandise booth after the set.  He was genuinely laughing throughout the set, obviously not lying when he said he was happy to be here.  Several songs stuck out for me, “Loose Ends”, “Never Going Back” and “Time for a New Town”“Change the View” came with the announcement that it was the first video for the band, just being made recently.  The last song of the set, “Don’t Bring Me Down”, resulted in broken guitar strings and I do mean every string on his guitar, can't say I've seen that before!  Searching out some of Vdelli’s catalog is a must and this guitar driven, boogie, blues rock was a great opener to the festival.

Backstreet Girls-The Meister
I later learned that passing on Freak Kitchen, the next band on a stage, was a mistake, but at the time I was unfamiliar with them.  I took some time to wander around the festival area which seemed a slightly different set-up in places than last year, but overall basically the same layout.  The VIP/Press area finally got me back onto the internet after a day and a half’s absence, which in this day and age seems an eternity  After a beer and some message checking it was back to the rock with The Backstreet Girls on the 4 Sound Stage.  They burst onto the stage with a raucous energy and their glammy, sleaze style of rock was awesome.  By the second song I picked up on a heavy punk influence and every song in the set was loaded with pep and energy.  The singer sported a bad cut on his knee, the bloody mess noticeable through his ripped jeans, while the bassist’s wrist was wrapped in a bandage.  Did these guys just get in a fight before they took the stage?  The building pressure in my bladder drove me away after about the sixth or seventh song, but this is definitely another band to look into when I return home.

A pretty good beer!
Deciding to check out the band merchandise booth, which I learned last year is something that you should do often as there’s new merchandise appearing as bands come and go, I randomly met two Swedes.  They were shocked that I had come from Canada for the event and insisted on purchasing me a beer, well how could I say no?  After also meeting two Danish Bikers and several other folks while I enjoyed my beer (pic of bottle), I took some photos of the band merchandise to send home for those wanting me to do some shopping for them.  Meeting up with some UK cruise friends back in the VIP/Press lounge for another drink before heading over to RockKlassiker Stage for Black Trip.

Black Trip-photo by The Meister
Black Trip are an excellent new band from Sweden whose debut record, Goin’ Under, I just recently discovered back home.  They played some great songs off that record such as “Putting Out the Fire”, “Night of the Living Dead” (which is not the correct song title, but a great song none-the-less) and “Voodoo Queen” among others.  I thought that the band absolutely rocked the stage, sounding great and delivering a high energy rock show.  Their set was no nonsense straight ahead playing with little to no talking between song selections save for a few Swedish words from time to time. This album, containing a collection of 70’s influenced stoner rock is a great pick up for any rock fan.  I left during the last song to head over in hopes of getting a decent spot for Magnum, who was about to take The Sweden Stage.

Magnum-photo by The Meister
Some awful and awfully overpriced fish and chips (well, really what did I expect?) along the way led me to Sweden Stage for Magnum.  The area was totally packed for this band that obviously has a huge following here, but is relatively unheard of in North America.  I had heard the name, but only recently delved into the catalog a little when their name appeared on the Sweden Rock roster.  I was unfamiliar with the first few songs, not surprising given the immense discography of theirs to go through, but I did not dislike what I was hearing.  Unfortunately the whole sound system here appeared to be at a very low volume and it was difficult for me to hear the vocalist and even the music over the people talking around me.  I wormed closer to the stage in an effort to better hear and see, meeting once again my UK friends.  I overall enjoyed the set, recognizing tunes such as “How Far Jerusalem”, “England’s Eyes” and “Sacred Hour” as well as a couple of others whose names elude me.  I was told that this was not their best performance, my UK friends having seen them just six weeks ago, where the vocalist’s voice had been much stronger rather than this, the end of a tour.  I, however, thought they were great and yet another band whose music library I need to investigate further.

Blaze Baley-The Meister
Di'Anno vs. Baley was next on the 4 Sound Stage and something that I was interested in.  Paul Di'Anno and Blaze Baley, both having been the front man for Iron Maiden at different stages of that band’s tenure as one of the premiere metal bands in the world, teamed up for this event.  Blaze Baley was on for the first half and played a selection from his two Iron Maiden album catalog including “Lord of the Flies”, "Futureal”, “Sign of the Cross”, “The Clansman” and “Man on the Edge”.  In all of last year I had never seen the crowd at this stage as thick as it was now and I stayed nearer to the rear for this event.  Paul Di'Anno and his
Paul Di'Anno-The Meister
band came on after what seemed an overly lengthy time in between and worked through his Iron Maiden material.  D'iAnno took a position sitting/leaning on the drum riser, announcing after the second song that he had injured his leg and queried the audience if it was OK for him to sit. "Sanctuary", "Wrathchild", "Killers", "Phantom of the Opera" and "Transylvania" were all included in his set with “Remember Tomorrow” being dedicated to his lost heavy metal brother, Clive Burr. and although I was not impressed with his vocals, he sure has Baley beat on material!  As one may have expected, Baley and Di'Anno performed "Running Free" and "Iron Maiden" together to close the show.

The cold was starting to set deep into my bones again and once the rain started I threw in the proverbial towel and headed back to camp, missing Queensryche’s set.  I had just recently seen Queensryche at the M3 Festival in Baltimore so I didn't feel too bad about missing them although I do apologize to fellow Decibel Geek writer Kate Campbell (a huge Queensryche fan).  I curled into my sleeping bag, listening to the rain patter on my "minimum 20 year old tent", praying that it wouldn't leak!  Hopefully tomorrow will bring better weather!

Cheers from Sweden,

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