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METALTOWN 2009 - Day 2

Stadt / City Göteborg 
Land / Country SWE 
Web www.metaltown.se
Frihamnen Gothenburg 
Datum / Date26.-28.6.2009 
Bildergalerie / Picturegalerie siehe Text / see text 
Photos: Cornelia Wickel 

Day 2 seemed to be all about Japanese bands, since there were three more or less similar ones on the main- and tentstage. Like on day 1 the weather was simply perfect, even a bit warmer, so it was quite strenuous in the afternoon, thanks to almost non-existing shadow. The few shady places were gone soon, so the security guys had their hands full, providing the crowd, especially the front rows with water and even dragging some of them out of the crowd, since they had been in the heat for too long. If it hadn´t been the sun, that was heating everything and everyone up, the bands themselves would´ve surely heated up the audience pretty well, too, since most of them presented kickass gigs!

Band photo gallery here
EVERGREY had the doubtful honour to open up day 2 and presented their material in front of quite a manageable amount of people. Most of them seemed to prefer catching a seat in the huge beergarden – directly on the right side of the two stages – or trotting around or simply sitting in the sun. At the aforementioned beergarden was pretty full from the start and shouldn´t get empty any soon. Thanks to the great position of this beer-paradise, some people didn´t even consider going in front of the stages and stayed there for the rest of the day, no matter who was playing. Well, back to the stage, the people in front of the mainstage enjoyed this gig nevertheless and sang along to „Recreation Day“, „More Than Ever“ oder „Touch Of Blessing“. All in all the reactions were still pretty reserved. Heat plus the previous day, that was still troubling some = no good combination for the first band. All in all this was a rather disappointing gig that wouldn´t really ignite a spark.

In case this was too calm, there was the possibility of catching ALL HELL from Örebro on the tentstage, who were presenting a mixture of Melodeath and Hardcore. I for my part skipped them, though. Band photo gallery here

Band photo gallery here
Completely different picture on the mainstage a bit later, it was time for THE HAUNTED . It was not only a home game for the guys from Gothenburg around fronter Peter Dolving, no they´re also known for being a great live band. Thus it was their turn to proof, that they deserve this reputation. Shortly before the gig, the audience started warming up by initiating „Haunted“ choires and clapping. Thus it didn´t take long, until the Gothenburgians entered stage. Especially the Björler brothers seemed way more active, than back at the beginning of the year, when I saw them on tour. I didn´t see them headbanging and posing that much. No wonder, that they got the crowd going with ease, having lots of fun on stage. Songs presented were „The Flood“, „Moronic Colossus“, „99“ and the last song „Hate Song“, just to name a few. Once again, the ground at Frihamnen was shaking in the truest sense of the word. At the end of the gig you could see some fans waiting on the very right side, having shirts and pencil ready to get their stuff signed (the backstage entrance was right at that corner). So after a while Peter Dolving came out and spotted those guys immediately, looking quite happy about people waiting for him and hugged them. Of course they got their stuff signed and got some pics as well.

Almost simultaneaously, ILLFIGURE from Norrköping were playing the Close-Up stage. I´m quite sure, that the fourth and last demoband also managed to get some new fans in the rather manageable amount of people in front of the stage.

The incredibly colourful backdrop made it possible to tell from quite a distance which band was up next. It was DRAGONFORCE , who were about to spread their insanely fast, simply mad Metal. I´ve rarely, no never seen a bad, that´s jumping around constantly like this. And that in combination with outfits in crazy colour combinations, that make your eyes go all funny. The one, who took the biscuit was surely keyboarder Vadim with wonderful neon-yellow spandex trousers, pink suspenders, pink keyboard and equally colourful make-up, ouch! - well, at least he stuck out of the mass! A Swedish colleague was joking: „Well, now I know where the 3 song rule for us photographers comes from... you can´t stand this guitar madness any longer...and those colooours!“ - he might be right, haha.

Band photo gallery here
After a while this was definitely a bit too much – everyone single member in the band is doing a show. From doing funny faces, to teasing each other, guitar soli, where everybody starts playing on the guitar of the one standing next to him, a little shower with water from the vocalist (oh how happy we photographers were...not!) and some flirting with the girls in the front row. You simply don´t know whom to follow. However, strange outfits or not, they obviously have lots of fun doing, what they´re doing there and they can play, that´s for sure. And there´s something else, that´s for sure, there´s hardly any band, where you can take so many pics in such a short time, that don´t look the same. Oh and songs, yes they of course played some music, „Heroes Of Our Times“, „Fury Of The Storm“ and „Through Fire And Flames“, were those three songs, that still found their way into my memory, despite the madness. ;-)

Band photo gallery here
After that it was about time to relax a bit, before heading over to the tentstage again. This stage was completely packed with people. It took us quite a while to make our way to the photopit through those masses of people waiting for AUGUST BURNS RED Since there were quite a lot, who wanted to photograph them, we didn´t have more than 1,5 songs. From the beginning they made everybody go off the rails. I´ve never seen girlies screaming like crazy in the front row at a metalfestival. As soon as the vocalist came somewhere near to the front of the stage, the girls went crazy, this is something I would´ve expected during the Japanese bands, but not during ABR. Quite unimpressed by this, they continued their gig in an experienced way and with lots of fun. The was getting heated up, in the truest sense of the word, since the temperatures were of course rising. I don´t know, whether they didn´t expect them to attract so many people, but it would´ve been no problem for the band to attract enough audience for the mainstage. Well, next time then!

Band photo gallery here
There wasn´t much time left till the next band was about to start, back to the mainstage, to see ALL THAT REMAINS . Here I couldn´t imagine, how they´d be like on a big stage, since I had always seen them on smaller and middle sized stages so far, where they could always convince with lots of contact to their fans. Ok, this time it was my turn to underestimate a band, there was a huge crowd waiting for them and just like on the clubtour in spring, vocalist Philip Labonte managed to get a grip on them with ease. Yes, ATR fit on a hottest women there, he had won anyways.

Meanwhile BRING ME THE HORIZON were playing the tentstage, absolutely no way to get into the photopit or better to say to fight my way there. So I finally gave up and decided to get something to eat. I was quite surprised to find fresh strawberries and cherries for a reasonable price, no way I could not get some. This is something I´d like to have at German festivals as well!

Band photo gallery here
MY DYING BRIDE were facing some pretty unpleasant conditions. Their playing slot during early afternoon, in the sun was surely not the best circumstances they could have for their Doom music. This probably was one of the reasons that let to quite a decimated crowd in front of the mainstage – especially compared to some other bands. But die-hard fans surely enjoyed this gig nevertheless. It was pretty hard to get into the right mood for MY DYING BRIDE though, since the dark atmosphere that you normally have during their gigs simply wasn´t there. Unfortunately I´ve to admit, that the spark didn´t ignite, even though they surely weren´t bad. A great song like „Cry Of Mankind“ didn´t fail to impress though. Still, a nice place on the tentstage would´ve suited them much, much better;especially when it comes to lightshow and more cosy atmosphere. A real pity!

Band photo gallery here
GIRUGÄMESH – Japanese madness I. The tent was packed once again, lots of fans were waiting, not only in the front rows. When having a look at the aforementioned rows though, it was quite interesting to see, that there were almost only female fans. Without knowing who was up next, this would´ve at least told you, that it was a Japanese band. So the band entered stage and the girls started shrieking and screaming as if their lives were at stake, holy shit! For the metalheads in the audience this was maybe a bit too soft, even though vocalist Satoshi was putting on a great show. Unfortunately I´m not able to provide further infos on songs being played, due to not being familiar with their stuff. Quite interesting though, that it was obviously no problem for the girls in the frontrows to sing along, Japanese lyrics or not. Well, not my cup of tea, so I jumped off to the mainstage after two songs of taking pictures.

Band photo gallery here
7 o´clock, it was time for allmighty MUSTASCH and completely different music. Home game once again and this became even a bit more obvious than during The Haunted. The fans of the Stoner Metal act were singing and screaming some songs and „Mustasch“. The security guys warned us, that it might become pretty rough and that they might have to send us out of the photopit quickly, if crowdsurfers started crashing in. Well, it didn´t become that rough, but the crowd was going of the rails from the opener „Bring Me Everyone“ onwards. No song, where the audience was a bit calm, no way, they all seemed to know the lyrics by heart. „Dogwash“ was followed by „Down In Black“, MUSTASCH definitely had a grip on the audience. After the really catchy tune „Double Nature“ the fun was over again. Easy listening stuff, great party music, perfect for a festival, nothing to complain!

Bring Me Everyone
Down In Black
Teenage Pacifier
Accident Black Spot
Falling Down
I Hunt Alone
Black City
Monday Warrior
Double Nature

OPETH – yes, I admit, this is one of the bands I was waiting for the most this weekend. So far the Swedes never failed to impress me at a live gig and it should stay like this. After having been forced to cancel the gig at Metaltown 2008 last minute due to Mikael Akerfeldt´s illness, it was just normal, that they would´ve been booked again this year to make up for this. The sun was slowly going down and created quite a nice atmosphere, that fitted perfectly (it didn´t get totally dark anyways). I guess nearly everyone enjoyed this atmosphere, well maybe except for drummer Martin Axenrot, who had the sunlight directly blinding him for almost the whole gig („This was nasty“, as he commented lateron).

Band photo gallery here
After quite a calm start, they slowly started getting heavier. Inbetween the usual funny annoucements, which I unfortunately didn´t understand completely, due to my Swedish still not being good enough. I hardly know any band, that manages to captivate people with damn long, pretty complex songs, that easily go beyond the 10 minute mark like „Ghost of Perdition“ or „Leper Affinity“. The setlist included 6 songs, apart from the aforementioned also „Closure“, „The Lotus Eater“, „Deliverance“ and „Heir Apparent“ - this definitely made some shivers running down my spine despite the still warm temperatures. After one hour it was over, way too short for an OPETH Gig. But to enjoy them to the fullest you definitely have to attend a club gig, I´d say.
Unfortunately there was some disturbance coming over from the other mainstage, when DIR EN GREY were doing the soundcheck during some calmer songpart. Luckily they were stopped, since this was too loud.

DIR EN GREY were the second Japanese band of the day then, since I skipped MUCC, who were playing at the same time like Opeth. And when having a look at the tentstage, we had to recognize again, that it was absolutely impossible to get into the tent, thanks to a huge bunch of people waiting there already. DEG managed to gather a loud, loud crowd in front of the stage, that made me almost feel like being at some boyband concert, rather than at a Metal festival.

Band photo gallery here
I have to admit, that this fascination and hype that is created around this band couldn´t excite me, too. One thing is for sure, they obviously totally enjoyed being on stage, jumped around like crazy, but the vocals were something you have to get used to. No matter what the fronter was doing though, he could be sure, that the girls started screaming and the guys seemed to enjoy this. Musically, you can call DEG a jack of all trades in a way, since you had some emo stuff, hard parts up to progressive tendencies and deathmetal-like growling at parts – sometimes, as aforementioned mixed up a bit too much and this made it kinda confusing. A great gig for the fans, something strange for the rest. „What´s this?!“ is a phrase I heard quite often while sitting backstage.
From then on everything went really fast, two more bands left and then Metaltown 2009 was approaching it´s end. CULT OF LUNA vs. MARILYN MANSON.

Band photo gallery here
Some might´ve thought, that CULT OF LUNA would have a hard time on the small tentstage, but this wasn´t the case. Even though the Swedes had to play at the same time like Manson, they managed to gather a great crowd. COL were lacking one of the normally two vocalist though – according to my Swedish friends this wasn´t unusual though, since they played gigs with less members quite often lately. Well, this or that way, this didn´t affect the songs in a remarkable way. The whole stage was completely covered with thick smoke, so that you could hardly see the musicians from time to time, which actually fitted perfectly to the band. After having photographed Manson, I thus rushed to the tentstage to attend this gig, which ended with the fantastic „Ghost Trail“. Still had 30 more minutes, so we listened to Manson from further away, thanks to a huge videoscreen on the left side of the stage, you could even see what was going on. I was quite exhausted after COL though, not physically but probably mentally, what a damn captivating gig!


Band photo gallery here
was much easier with photo permission, than Slipknot on the day before. We were quite amazed, that there was no contract, no extra stuff, but 2 complete song for taking pics (accompanied by a really huge, mean looking private security guy, who approached one photographer, who dared to take a few more shots after the two songs and while going out of the pit with a nice „Get that fuckin´ caaamera down!“ - no idea whether he did the same with the photographing fans in the frontrows. ;-)). The whole stage was covered with a huge black curtain, and you could only guess, that there was lots of smoke piling up, accompanied by lots of nice red light (the photographers were of course totally happy about this...not).

Band photo gallery here
At 22:45 sharp the music started to get louder, the rhythm got fast and faster, the clapping of the crowd turned into screaming and suddenly the curtain was gone! Mr Manson entered stage with a black coat and a pirate-like hat and was hardly seen due to all the fog during the first half of the first song. The other musicians slowly appeared in all this fog and during song number 2, he got rid of his coat and walk on the little „catwalk“ that had been built in front of the stage. Am I wrong or did he really gain quite a remarkable amount of weight? Well, no matter what, the spark didn´t want to ignite. This wasn´t shocking at all, the show as a whole was ok. The highlights clearly were „The Dope Show“ or „Sweet Dreams“, which was played by the way, when we left the tent from the COL gig. All in all he didn´t meet the expectations and didn´t turn out to be such a crowd puller as some might´ve expected and didn´t attract as much audience, as Slipknot the day before. After the COL gig you could already see lots of people leaving the festival area, when having a look at the bridge, there was still loads of people standing and watching the gig.

Band photo gallery here

We left earlier as well, since there was an aftershowparty going on in Parken again and today it was BURST playing there. And they played one of the best gigs I had seen of them so far. The vocalist was joking a bit „Thanks for coming here, hope you enjoyed the support bands.“ Sure thing, that people had to grin about him calling the bands of the festival „support bands“. After that he dedicated one song to all those suffering from sunburn – luckily I didn´t belong to those (quite amazing I didn´t get one). What a nice way of ending a great festival weekend, that turned out to be relaxed, despite higher visitor numbers than back in 2008.

All in all I can say the following about this year´s Metaltown: Unfortunately there wasn´t much shade, that made it possible to escape from the sun for a while, there should´ve been more places to get some water with temperatures over 25 degrees. Apart from that, you never had to wait that long, neither in when getting some food, nor at the entrance control. The mix of bands was pretty good, and the festival area wasn´t packed, despised having more visitors than last year. The selection of food was really varied, thumbs up for this, I´ve rarely seen so much different food at a festival! The beergarden was bigger, much more toilets, so no big waiting times there either. The backstage area was redesigned and some extra press area for conducting interviews had been added as well. But one thing should be thought over and probably changed: the tentstage. There were quite a few bands that exceeded the capacity of the tent. So either bigger tentstage, or all bands on the two bigger stages. So I came back with an overall positive impression once again, leading to marking this festival in the calender for 2010 again! Let´s see how many visitors Metaltown will have then and how it´s going to develop!

Cornelia Wickel

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