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METALTOWN 2009 - Day 1

Stadt / City Göteborg 
Land / Country SWE 
Web www.metaltown.se
Frihamnen Gothenburg 
Datum / Date26.-27.06.2009 
Bildergalerie / Picturegalerie siehe Text / see text 
Photos: Cornelia Wickel 

Since Metaltown turned out to be a pretty relaxed festival last year, it was a sure thing, that I´d jump on the plane to Gothenburg to attend this year's edition as well. With 15 000 metalheads it was completely sold out in 2008 and it reached this mark pretty fast again in 2009. No big surprise when having megasellers like Slipknot and Marilyn Manson on board. Luckily the organiser managed to get the ok for having 20 000 headbangers in the festivalarea each day – in combination with an extension of the festival ground (which now really reached it´s capacity limits). In the end it turned out to be 22000 people, according to newspapers. Luckily it never became overly crowded, despite bigger visitor numbers. They offered a great variety of merchandise and food, located all over the festivalarea (and if I say great variety, I mean great variety, you could find everything from Mexican to typically American stuff that is burgers and tasty Langos). Apart from that you could also find places to fill up your waterbottles, where always lots of people where standing in line – no wonder with those hot temperatures! Hopefully they´ll increase the number of those waterplaces next year.

Unfortunately it was impossible for a photographer to see all the bands or better to say complete gigs, since you had to run after 3 songs during some bands to catch the other band playing on the tentstage. But that´s just some information on the margin. The weather was absolutely great, sometimes even a bit too great, since we constantly had temperatures of 25 degrees and above. Due to that the security guys had lots of stuff to do and even had to take people out of the crowd, who started fainting. Some of them had obviously been standing in the front row all day to see their favourite bands and probably „forgot“ to eat and sometimes even drink. So the security was passing water to the crowd, this worked really well, thumbs up for that! Thumbs up for the security in general, because it was a great, relaxed team.
And now we´ll have a look at all the bands playing at Metaltown:

Band photo gallery here
As soon as we had entered the festivalarea it became pretty obvious, that there were more people than in 2008, since there was already quite a respectable bunch of people, waiting in front of the left mainstage at 1 pm. The guys of Dead By April were performing quite a good show – unfortunately the clean vocals of turned out to be kinda weak. As soon as the vocals became a bit more aggressive it definitely became better, obviously this was more the style of vocalist Jimmy Strimmel, who has been singing for Nightrage and it also vocalist for Death Destrcution (with band members of Evergrey). Especially for the latter one it seems, as if he can use his vocal abilities to the fullest there. Unfortunately time was running out pretty fast, so they were forced to cut down their setlist and had to leave out the most famous song „Losing You“. This or that way they managed to leave an overall positive impression with songs like „Stronger“ or „Erased“. Give them a try!
Meanwhile, one of four newcomers of the festival was playing at the smaller Close-Up tentstage: Sterbhaus. Another band you guys should check out!

Band photo gallery here
Back to the mainstage: time for dancing with workaholic Peter Tägtgren and PAIN. Ignoring the rising temperatures quite a lot of people followed this „invitation“ and started partying. Guess you can´t do anything wrong with this band at a festival – even though I have to admit, that I´m eagerly waiting for some new material of his other band Hypocrisy
(according to various news this should happen quite soon...). However they entertained the crowd with „I´m Going In“, „Zombie Slam“, „End Of The Line“ or the stomping „Walking On Glass“. After „Shut Your Mouth“ the party was over after around 45 minutes. Definitely enough time to make lots of people sweat. It was almost a pity, that they had to play so early.

CEDRON,, were playing almost simultaneously on the Close-Up stage and also managed to attract quite a nice crowd, despite the competition on the mainstage. The young band was playing Metalcore stuff, so pretty different from what Mr Tägtgren was playing – so no interference with fans I´d say. I have to admit, that I didn´t know this band and managed to check out only a few songs beforehand, but they definitely convinced me with their vital performance. One band, I´m surely going to give another try. Band photo gallery here

Band photo gallery here
NAPALM DEATH are definitely some kind of phänomenon for me. Somehow all the songs seem to sound the same in a way, but they make the audience go off the rails. Like always the fronter was jumping over the stage, throwing the mic cable around and giving photographers a hard time, trying to catch him. However, the quartet from Birmingham presentend a convincing gig in good old Gothenburg with a fat portion of Grindcore – by the way, the only portion of Grindcore we should get at this festival, since there was no other band of that genre present. They presented stuff from the first album „Scum“ and the classic „You Suffer“. With „Siege Of Power“ they did the last punch in the face. The audience seemed happy, they got what they had been waiting for, what else can you want? No matter if you like them or not, they´re a great liveband.

KONGH were playing something completely different on the tentstage. This was the perfect band for all those, who are into Neurosis and Co. Kongh presented quite a unique mixture of Black Metal, Sludge, Doom and Postcore, check it out! This was definitely my first and most interesting discovery at this year's Metaltown. They already entered the Close-Up Magazine toplist with their debut „Counting Heartbeats“, which was easily topped by the second album „Shadows Of The Shapeless“. Best alternative for all grindcore-averse ears. Band photo gallery here

Band photo gallery here
TRIVIUM gathered a huge crowd in front of the mainstage and hence it was no big surprise, that lots and lots of people were singing along to almost all the songs. Apart from taking pictures, I couldn´t follow the entire gig, since it was really about time to get something to eat. So I didn´t only miss Trivium partly, but also Municipicial Waste. Luckily it didn´t take me long to get the desired food, since, despite long queues, it went fast. The prices were festivallike, but acceptable for the amount and quality of food offered. Fortified by a nice meal it was about time for some madness:

MESHUGGAH, is a band I have tried to see live countless times. Last time actually back in April, where they had to cancel their gig at Inferno festival last minute, due to back problems of their drummer. When the next cancellation came in at the beginning of June (Sauna Open Air), I was already awaiting the worst for Metaltown and said to myself, that I probably wouldn´t see them there as well. I was wrong though, at 6 they insane Swedes entered the mainstage and started to spread musical madness.

Band photo gallery here
It was quite interesting to see how they managed to attract so many people with their pretty complex sound. Vocalist Jens Kidman was presenting the songs with entertaining faces, that made him look kinda obsessed from time to time. They played stuff from the latest album „ObZen“ and of course older material as well, thumbs up! Or should I rather say: Totally insane? - that would definitely be a compliment in that case. Some Swedish colleagues called this „Hjärnkirurgi Metal“ - fits perfectly, because this sound is going right into your brain, twisting it and leaving you back in front of stage compeltely drained. Great gig by the quintet from Umea, that, according to the festival infosheet, has been voted one of the 10 most important metalbands ever by Rolling Stone magazine.

Band photo gallery here
HATESPHERE started their „busy weekend“ in Gothenburg, - 3 days, 3 festival was their motto. So they were the first band of the Danish invastion of day 1. They managed to get the crowd going with ease. How could you resist a bunch of smiling Danish guys, that are going totally crazy on stage, having lots of fun?! Guitarist Pepe was doing funny faces as always and the rest of the guys seemed to enjoy themselves, too. They performed a nice mixture of old and new songs, especially new ones of the highly acclaimed album „To The Nines“. Vocalist Joller made excuses for his Swedish, that was not that good, but assured everyone, that it was getting better with more alcohol. However, I couldn´t stop thinking, that it would´ve been ever better, if they had been put on the mainstage instead. They should´ve switched slots with My Dying Bride, that would´ve been better off on the small stage... more on that on day 2 of the report!

Band photo gallery here
CHILDREN OF BODOM were already waiting on the mainstage, so I couldn´t watch the complete Hatesphere gig. Actually nobody would´ve had to hurry, if they had sticked to the normal running order, but for some reason, all the gigs had been changed and started 15 minutes earlier. Unfortunately this hadn´t been announced anywhere, so that some people were pretty amazed to see, that the band had started, when they arrived „on time“.
Fronter Alexi didn´t look as tired and wasted anymore, like the last time I had seen them. Maybe he recovered a bit after his broken shoulder? Well, no idea, he was enjoying being on stage, keyboarder Janne looked kinda bored (maybe he really was, who knows). No matter how, the crowd had fun – some of the must be in really good shape, you could see almost the same faces in the front row during the whole first day! „Hate Me“ and other songs made them go crazy and Mr Laiho was using his favourity swearword pretty seldomly, wow! For me personally this band isn´t anymore, what it once used to be, but I can´t say anymore, that they seem kinda tired. In fact this was a more energetic gig, than those I´ve seen a while ago.

Band photo gallery here
VOLBEAT – Is there still something that hasn´t been said about the bands ability to play damn great gigs? Guess no. It´s almost frightening to see how fast and well the Danish (mind you: Danish invasion part II) got the whole crowd on the toast within seconds.
Volbeat Mania wherever you go. This must be already the 4th country, where I´m seeing them live and it´s always the same – in a positive way. The amps have been decorated in quite a stylish way, having the words „Caddilac“, „Gangster“ etc on them. And there you go, vocalist Michael Poulsen and his „gang“ started rocking stage and crowd - Rock'n'Roll big time. No matter which song they started playing, the crowd was singing along to „Gardes Tale“, „Radio Girl“. Even though there might´ve also been quite a reasonable amount of people singing along, Volbeat are the winners. It´s simply a phenomenon and there doesn´t seem to be an end.

What I don´t understand though is: Why do you have to let fellow countrymen, the third Danish band of the day PILGRIMZ , play at almost the same time on the smaller stage? They´re not playing the same style, no, but one thing is for sure, they also know how to rock! Fronter Max turned out to be a real stage tiger. Quite sad, that I could only see half of the gig. But one thing is for sure, when there´s the possibility to catch them live on tour, I´ll surely do so! The material from the 2008 album „Boar Riders“ is some pretty decent stuff you should check out. Nice to see, that they managed to fill the tent, despite the big Volbeat playing on the mainstage. After this, the Danish invasion at Metaltown was over. Band photo gallery here

Band photo gallery here
Next premiere for me, I´ve never seen DISTURBED live either. Unfortunately a gig in Luxemburg, end of the month, was already sold out, so this was the perfect chance for me to make up for that. Directly at the beginning they made us grin, since the vocalist was being brought on stage in Hannibal Lecter outfit – mask and straitjacket, that was being removed by a male nurse. After the vocalist had removed the mask as well, he started off with „Voices“. I don´t know, whether this was his normal condition of voice at a live gig, but he sound pretty weak, I have to say. It almost looked, like had quite a tough time to reach all the notes. This obviously didn´t keep the audience from going crazy to songs like „Ten Thousand Fists“ or „Prayer“. „Down With The Sickness“ was a nice finish of a gig, that left some disappointment neverthelss. Apart from the vocals, a nice gig.

Just Stop
Meaning Of Life
Land Of Confusion
The Game
Inside The Fire
Ten Thousand Fists
Down With The Sickness

Day 1 was slowly coming to an end. Time for some oldschool stuff on the tentstage, since BULLET were the alternative for all traditionalists or those, who didn´t want to see the Nu Metal clowns on the mainstage, here it was all about rock in best 80´s manner!
Even the outfits of the guys seemed to be at least 20-30 years behind the latest fashion. It was lots of fun though. After a short stop in the 80´s, I trottet back to the mainstage, to take some pics from near the soundtower, thanks to a hint of a fellow photographer. Band photo gallery here

Band photo gallery here
SLIPKNOT were presenting the most interesting gig of the day for sure, when speaking of decoration and the whole production of the gig. Quite impressive stage set-up! Too bad, that they were quite hard with photo permissions, no webmag was allowed in the pit, so we can only present you pics from further away. We were supposed to drop an e-mail with photo request earlier in the afternoon, which didn´t work due to internet, that had obviously gone on strike. After we had finally found the responsible guy, it was too late anyways and we also got to know, it was printmags only. Well, 10 photographers made it into the pit in the end. The rest was upping the blank...or using the telezoom, at least when you managed to get some decent spot for that in the huge crowd.

Band photo gallery here
This or that way, this was some pretty impressive gig. You got three drummers, two on each side of the stage, Joey Jordison in the middle on his turnable drumkit. He continued drumming, as if nothing was happening, when it was lifted up into vertical position and started turning. The bridge directly besides the festival ground was completely packed with spectators, who were asked to sing along as well, by the vocalist. He turned towards the audience and comforted them by saying: „Well, see it like this, you got the better seats.“ Shortly after that he wondered, whether the crowd was up to making history and wanted all of them to go down – nearly all really did so – and jump when he gave the sign for it. Amazing view from further away and surely even more impressive, when standing on the bridge! The ground was shaking in the truest sense of the word, woah! Like other bands before Slipknot had a grip on the audience, no problem with songs like „Wait And Bleed“, „Duality“ or „People= Shit“. After one encore, you could hear „Beat It“ in memory of Michael Jackson, whose death had been on the frontpages of every newspaper that very morning. In the morning there were still lots of people, who surely didn´t believe this, but with reports and news coming in constantly, every doubt had been erased. Nice gesture at the end of a captivating gig!

Band photo gallery here
There´s no doubt that this was a really good headliner-worthy gig. I was quite amazed, that they managed to convince me, since I´ve never been a fan of this band. However, I´d surely catch them live, if I got the chance.

Intro (742619000029)
Wait And Bleed
Before I Forget
The Blister Exists
Dead Memories
Spit It Out
Beat It (Michael Jackson)

After that, there was no way, I´d have gone to the aftershow party in a venue called Parken, with a live band (ADEPT) playing. We were all way too tired and exhausted. So off to bed to catch some badly needed sleep and get some energy for day 2.

(to be continued)

Cornelia Wickel

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