Before anything else, many thanks to festivalphoto.net and Rasmus for the opportunity to be at this festival this year. Nice nice nice!!
For a bunch of vids from the festival, checkout this playlist:
Also, the photos taken for festivalphoto.net can be found here.
5th edition of a small festival with big names brought me to South of Norway, in Kvinesdal, up to an amazing location for a rock concert. The festival area is surrounded by green hills and behind the stage there is a lake (or a river, can't really see where it ends) where people can go for a bath. Water might be warmer than that at the showers. The security at the festival is the strictest I have ever seen. There are two check points on the way to the festival and they check roughly everyone who comes in, so you must wait at quite a queue sometimes. Then they do not allow mosh pits nor people to be lifted on others' shoulders. A really negative point is the fact that I only noticed a trailer with 5 toilets inside the camping area. It seemed to be enough for the first two days, but when weekend begins and more people show up, it's just mad. Other than that, good mood and lots of alcohol. One thing that I have never seen at other festivals: the camping spaces are numbered so you have to book it in advance and pay for it. There is room for more than one tent per place (one normal tent) and I saw quite a number of cars, mainly caravans, that were allowed in the camping. And in the normal parking, when you arrive to the festival, you can pay 50 Kr. to rent an ATV with a trailer to transport your stuff. Really helpful.
Rammsund If you ever wonder how Rammstein music sounds with lyrics in Nynorsk (one of the two official Norwegian languages) then check out this band. They came on stage with their bodies painted and their show was quite impressive considering the amount of pyro effects on the background and despite the not so good quality of the sound. Really fun to watch, especially when the singer went down from the stage and sung from the fences in front of the crowd, and probably even funnier if you understand the lyrics much better. But they translate them from original Rammstein so you might already know what it is about.
Critical Solutions First band on the scene in the tent were the young Norwegian musicians, inspired by Metallica, Pantera, DIO etc. Some technical problems and a bit of stress on their faces but their first release is from 2008 so they have time to learn. They entertained the crowd with some covers such as Seek&Destroy by Metallica.
Jorn One of the best voices at the festival and from Norway, It was an impressive experience to hear the classic hard rock performed by him. I heard his various works with Ayreon, Avantasia, Russell Allen from Symphony X, but never his own project. So now I am looking forward to get the chance to hear more of it since the songs tend to easily get to you.
Sublime Eyes Another young band on the small scene in the tent, performing a rough death metal from their self sponsored unique album so far. But some of the crowd actually knew lyrics and their rhythm and you could see some head bangers in front.
Airbourne I saw them at 3 different festivals and each time all I can say after the show is 'fuckin' awesome'. The energy that they have on stage just transmits to everyone in the crowd and makes it a totally sick concert. The rhythms of their songs appeal to many as they resemble AC/DC with bits of other famous bands. The vocalist hardly stays in one place for more than 5 seconds and even if he didn't get to climb the stage, he took a run through the crowd with his guitar, followed by his body guard. The kind of show that I'd see daily and not get bored of. Cyaneed A nice surprise in the small tent - a band of 4 young girls, rocking the stage like crazy. Especially the guitarist dressed in a pink dress, who kept jumping around all the time. Their music is a bland of rock, pop, punk but the girls are too fun to watch to actually end up remembering the music after the show. A bit of research tells me they have 3 albums out by now so I am going to give them a try aterwards. But I bet they are a better memory as a live band.
Megadeth I had to skip Saxon as it was raining like hell and I didn't manage to get away from the tent on that weather. But I came down for Megadeth, still on a shitty weather and unfortunately the concert wasn't the best one to lift up my mood. They play well and guitar solos sound good, nothing to complain there but they are so static that I just went and listened to them backstage. Still nice to hear their hits live again.
Ingenting The name of the band means 'Nothing' in English. But it would be so wrong to say I saw nothing on the little stage. I saw a local band that is so loved by the crowd, hence it was really packed in front and you could hardly squeeze in. It was impressive to see all the hands up in the air and hear everyone around me singing along the rock'n'roll tunes. As far as I could tell they use one of the many Norwegian dialects, thus making them even more loved by those who share the same 'language'.
Twisted Sister A crazy day ended with a crazy show by the American heavy metal band. As it says on the festival's website, The Iron Men Of Rockâ€™nâ€™Roll continue to rock the planet just like theyâ€™ve always done â€“ looking like women, talking like men, and playing like mother-f**kers. The singer, Dee Snider, with his blond curly hair 'on fire', talked the crowd into screaming louder and louder and at the end everyone in the band just applauded and said 'Norway, you kicked Twister sister's ass'. They also told that Norway is the European country where they had the most shows, thus making the Norwegian pride go all the way up through the cloudy sky. As for the band's pride, they had to say that they have all the original members. Since they were so thrilled by the audience, the guitarist brought a small camera and was filming from the stage. Good show.
Purified in Blood The 2nd band of the day on the main stage was also quite a young one from Stavanger, Norway, so more or less locals. They just had a new album out and they were eager to promote the heavy music they have put together, but without forgetting their older stuff. There was an impressive number of musicians on stage: 2 singers, 2 guitarists, 1 bassist, 1 keyboard, 1 drummer, so it was rather difficult to watch the entire show since everyone of them was having a great time on stage. They play an extreme metal with punk bits in it and it was a very good wake up concert after the previous rainy day.
Amon Amarth It was the concert with the funniest sound check I heard, as the guy was saying in the microphone that cookies are good, topless is better. And it got way better with the melodic death metal from the Swedes who sang viking themed songs for the vikings in Norway. You could see people in the crowd with helms or with swords, swinging them in the air on the rhythms of famous songs about Norse Gods. There was not the right time for a viking ship on stage, unfortunately, but this didn't make the show less interesting. The singer, Johan Hegg was in a great mood and his voice was incredibly powerful, delivering one great tune after another.
Over the Rainbow This is a recreation of the classic Rainbow, featuring Joe Lynn Turner, Paul Morris, Greg Smith and Bobby Rondinelli with JÃ¼rgen Blackmore, Ritchie Blackmore's son, on guitar. Their setlist consists of Rainbow songs as the band came to live after many requests that Rainbow should reunite. It was cool to see the old guys on stage, despite the lack of any kind of show. Also nice to get the chance to sing along their famous tunes, like Man on the silver mountain.
Immortal Time for fast drumming, spikes, leather and mean painted faces on the main stage. The black metal trio did a good show altogether, getting plenty of horns from the crowd up in the air, especially for the great riffs that could be heard during their evil songs. Abbath and the rest had a dynamic stage presence and I'd say their show was the most energic on the main stage that day.
Kamelot The Americans performance of power-symphonic-progressive metal was really nice to see for a change in the blend of hard, heavy, death black metal until now. The singer had a good stage appearance in his black stylish cape and he sand every note with passion. There was a lady doing back vocals but they placed her back, next to the drums, so she didn't get the deserved attention for her great voice. Their show did not miss flames coming out from the stage, but with or without them it was a damn good concert with good mood from the artists and great musical skills.
Slash I already saw this concert at 2 other festivals more or less with the same playlist. But I still haven't got bored by Myles Kennedy's amazing voice and how good he performs old Guns'n'roses songs. Everyone I spoke with agreed he is better than Axl and the crowd was very excited on tunes such as Civil War, Sweet child of mine or Paradise city. Let's not forget the guitar solos of Slash himself that proved once again why he's so famous. Together with his black long hat. Super ending of the day on the main stage and I was way too tired to check the last band in the tent, Backstreet girls.
Crashdiet For a bit of entertainment at the beginning of the day on the main stage, we got to see the Swedes from Crashdiet playing their glam metal to a handful of people with spiky haircuts. The music didn't catch me too much, but it was fun watching them for a little while and notice as many details as possible of their funny haircuts, clothes, pink guitars, etc.
Smooth Criminals and other bands in the small tent In the small tent, for both day 3 and 4 we have a bunch of local bands such as Smooth Criminals and Karaoke from hell who keep playing famous songs from various artists, including Britney Spears, Rage against the machine, Alice Cooper, Metallica, Deep purple, Johnny Cash etc. I didn't go to see them, but it's a nice background music here in the press area. But when I did go to check the tent they play in, at 12.30, there was nobody between the stage and the sound tower. Poor guys.
Audrey Horne With a name inspired from the Twin Peaks series, the Norwegians from Bergen have a mix of alternative/hard rock in their songs, and we got to hear both ballads like and really faster songs. The singer came on stage dressed in a white suit and black tie that was fit for his moves. A pleasant surprise was to see and hear the cool riffs of the guitarist from Enslaved, Ice Dale.
Tony Harnell Best known for his work with the Norwegian hard rock band, TNT, Tony Harnell came on the main stage to perform songs that he has previously released with various of his projects. The small crowd in front of the stage (at some point there were more photographers than people there) seemed to love him and I understand them, since his voice was absolutely fantastic. They performed a ballad about Northern Lights only on acoustic guitar and I admit I so loved it. The audience was even more thrilled by it since he admitted the song hasn't been played in Norway for many many years. He informed everyone that there is going to be a new album released next week, so there's something to look forward to.
Enslaved Another session of Norwegian black metal, this time more progressive though. The two original members left in the band, Ivar BjÃ¸rnson and Grutle Kjellson, started it when they were 13 and 17, and they learned along the years to incorporate more and more cool progressive elements into the brutal metal that they play. Hence, the nice guitar riffs (and if you read few rows earlier, you'll see that the guitarist is at his second gig this day) and backing vocals.
Gamma Ray With the super voice of Kai Hansen (Helloween, Avantasia) and who also participated with his guitar skills in other big names like Blind Guardian, Angra, Hammerfall, the evening started to get filled with great old hits. The playlist was a combination of Gamma Ray and Helloween songs and the volume was incredibly loud compared to other gigs, as I was able to hear quite good from the camping. The old musicians were smiling all the time and the mood was excellent for a good performance.
Cavalera Conspiracy The recent project of Max Cavalera (Sepultura, Soulfly) and his brother, Igor, came to Norway under this name, but they performed a lot of Sepultura songs that kept the crowd entertained. Max took the occasion to introduce his talented brother to the crowd. I did miss most of the concert due being in the campus, but I can say the sound was rather low. Yet, I could hear the crowd cheering on Chaos AD and when I got back, it was perfect time for Roots, bloody roots. Right after the concert, a big surprise came from the Harley Davidson team who had a drawing and gave away a Harley to a lucky dude who knew the answer to a question about the year the company got founded and where.
QueensrÃ¿che A band that I am happy I got to see live were the Americans from QueensrÃ¿che who started their career almost 30 years ago. It was pleasant to hear the good old school heavy metal with bonuses of progressive pieces and very entertaining to watch the front man's show, Geoff Tate. He was all dressed in black clothes and was in a good vibe for a concert, giving us the chance to hear an impressive voice. Those who were familiar with the music were so excited when they heard the old hits such as Empire or silent Lucidity.
The Carburetors I had no idea about this band before the festival, but after having had read that the singer is the previous one from Chrome Division, I decided to check them out in the small tent. They did play a similar music to Chrome Division's style so his voice was very fit for their boogie rock 'n' roll and metal. The crops on the scene and the clothing were meant to put you in the atmosphere of songs loved by bikers and beer drinkers. Overall the concert can be described by the lyrics of one of their songs 'You want it, we got it'.
Gary Moore As if the day hasn't brought us enough legends on the main stage, we got another treat at the end of it: Gary Moore. And I got my treat right from the first song, 'Over the hills and far away'. The man really knows what to do with the guitar and he proved it for the whole duration of the show. I admit his voice was not as impressive as on recordings and parts of the songs were adapted to fit that, to my disappointment. Yet, one of the most touchy concert as I saw people crying in the audience and I got tears myself hearing 'I still got the blues for you' live. The Cumshots One of the many projects of Kristopher Schau (a Norwegian musician, TV host, comedian, author and songwriter.), The Cumshots play a death'n'roll music. Since Gary Moore lasted a bit longer than planned, they had to wait to start their concert. And after half a song they got stopped since Gary Moore hadn't had ended. Therefore the singer got the crowd to scream loud 'Fuck Gary Moore', and after a while they just ignored it and started an incredibly mad show, with each of the band members jumping or running all over the stage, almost hitting eachother all of the time. There were also many beers drank on stage and of course, in the tent, just in time to open the mood for the parties to come at night in the camping.
Anvil After very few minutes of rain falling from a clear sky, we packed our cameras to go and catch some shots at the opening concert, Anvil, which, surprisingly enough, managed to wake up quite some crowd. Or maybe they just got there on Saturday morning, so they didn't have to wake up from a night in the camping. It felt like a normal continuity of Gary Moore's performance from the previous night, since they came on stage with songs from their 30+ career and even made fun saying that their bassist, Glenn Gyorffy (aka G5) is still called 'the new guy' even if he had been with the band for 14 years now.
Devil Driver Really time to shake up your hangover and tiredness with the Californians and their melodic death metal. Unfortunately, they told us that some of their stuff got lost and the bassist was sick so they had some reasons to be pissed. But the anger was quite useful for the quality of music and intensity of the show. And another misfortune is the fact that at Norway Rock the crowd is not allowed to do moshpits. Hence, the singer Dez Fafara stopped singing, looked at the crowd and asked “You're not allowed to move down there? What the fuck metal festival is this?” and received a really loud set of applause for this. And actually I think this helped a little for the rest of the day, since I saw the people a bit more active at the later concerts.
Epica Except the backing vocalist of Kamelot, I don't think I saw any other female vocals on the main stage. Therefore Epica was a really nice change in the landscape and to the delight of the guys gathered in front of the stage, Simone Simons did a sexy show, having her hair all up in the air by standing most of the time next to a ventilator placed in front of the stage. And she's got a pretty hair color, making a nice contrast when headbanging along the guitarists. She saw the people with Epica tshirts in front of the stage and thanked them for their support. Right after the show we witnessed a proposal on the main stage and there came even more excitement for the fans as afterwards Epica came out for a signing session.
Sabaton One of those bands sponsored by Duracell, the Swedes from Falun keep playing their military themed power metal, dressed up in their military clothes, at the same intensity I saw at each of their show. The pyro effects were a bit wasted, given the daylight, but cool nevertheless. The fans seem to have already had learned the new album as they were singing along both the older songs and the recently released ones.
U.D.O. & Bullet for my Valentine With all the respect for the old Accept singer and his voice, I was not able to stand and watch the concert for more than the first two songs. And for a star with his name, it was quite a pleasure to hear we would be allowed to take photos at all times during the concert. And I also had to go and take an interview during the concert, but I can say that despite his very affected face expression and age, the German musician sang fantastic. Afterwards I went for a break during the concert of Bullet for my Valentine so there's no comments from my side on their performance.
Chrome Division Probably most of the people currently watch this band just because of Shagrath's and Lex Icon's presences and maybe also Athera's. But they are working on building a big name for themselves and their only two albums so far contain enough cool songs to allow a super cool playlist. Shagrath was missing as he was shooting a Dimmu video in Germany, but we got the chance to meet the guitarist who is due to replace him on his absence. We were informed that Chrome Division will have a new album out early next year and other than that, there were only booze, broads and beelzebubs on stage. In leather clothes and white shoes.
Sebastian Bach He had to switch places with MotÃ¶rhead, so he was no longer the main headliner of the day. But I am pretty sure many counted the ex Skid Row's frontman as the main attraction after his show. A hypnotizing presence, wearing a white tshirt with a Marvel character, Mighty Thor, on it; a presence that just sets you in the right mood for a live show after the first few minutes and especially after a song like 'Back in the saddle'. The most impressive moment of the concert and of the festival (if we don't count the marriage proposal) was when he told us that he found out it was DIO's birthday and he started to sing happy birthday DIO accompanied by every single voice in the audience. I have this filmed and I am so looking forward to finish with photos and reviews to start sorting the videos as well. Plus, during some of the following songs and especially the DIO cover at the end, he was switching words or improvising a lot to either mention DIO's name or Norway and Kvinesdal. The cherry on the cake for the audience was when he admitted he's got Norwegian ancestors from Elverum and agreed that he loves Norway but likes tits best. MotÃ¶rhead They seem very loved in Norway as I think it was the band whose name I saw on most patches or flags in the camping. I ended up almost in front of the stage and up in the air for few times, so from this point of view it was the best experience at the whole festival. Other than that, they were MotÃ¶rhead and they played their rockâ€™n'fuckingâ€™roll for one hour, including an awesome drum solo. They got a little help from Sebastian Bach though, who came with his camera on stage to film the crowd and then sang a song along with the band. I might be wrong, but I think the song was Born To Raise Hell.
Norway Rock is not a big size festival yet, but it has some of the nicest crowd I have ever seen. I haven't gotten so many hugs and cheers and smiles from total strangers in my entire life. At the end of it, I was left with a very good impression seeing how people cleaned after themselves. Most of the camping places had a big garbage bag on them where people just threw all the trash, hence not leaving much of a trouble for those who clean afterwards. It might also be explained by the fact that you have to order a certain camping place in advance, and since they have your name associated with a place number, they could send you a fine if it's dirty or so. I so hope to get back there the next years.
In the end, don't forget to check out the photo gallery of the festival with photos taken by me and my colleague, StÃ¥le TrÃ¸an Malkenes here.