Friday, June 15, 2012

Sweden Rock Festival 2012- Sölvesborg, Sweden

Weds June 6th

9:36 Sue and I are waiting for the train to Malmö to pick up the rental car to drive to Mjällby, where we will stay in a new place this year. 

12:30 We had a really nice drive up in a compact Volvo sports car. Wow.. This car drives really nice and is very comfortable. We heard the new St. Vitus, the debut EP by the Rival sons, and some Lynryrd Skyryd (Gimmie back my Bullets). This place is pretty cool. A 300 year old house that they have turned into a hotel. We have a very nice room in the middle of the building. The place is fully booked with Finnish and Spanish people. 

14 We took a drive down to Halivek and had a nice fish and chips lunch down by the water. It is a bit cold, gray and not that warm and a lot of wind. It feels like it will rain. We will see.
In Solitude

15:26 We just missed the bus as he came by too early and drove right by the place. Bastard. Some local lady gave us a ride in her private car for 140SEK, only 20 more than the bus fare.

17 I am in line waiting to get my wristband. IT went very fast for Sue to get her’s but this line is really slow this year. They have moved all the backstage area stuff as well this year and the Rockklassiker stage is in a new position. This was the 9th year in a row for me to visit the Sweden Rock festival and more or less the setup of the stages, food, etc.. was the same, including many of the same faces you see each year.

17:45 We are checking out the Swedish band, In Solitude. Young kids playing less complicated Iron Maiden style material. Real headbanger stuff. The small crowd are digging it. I am quite worried about how this stage is going to do when bands are playing on the Rock stage as the sound will come straight across this are. This is a not very well though out position to put this stage.

18:30 Fear Factory have a pretty big crowd. I had not seen these guys since they opened for Iron Maiden in 1995. It was pretty similar. They have the worst drum sound I have ever heard for a live rock band. It sounds like the guy is pounding on the edge of tin cans. Ugh.. that is not rock drums…. Anyway, this is intense screaming heavy stuff with lots of heavy riffs and no guitar solos at all. Not my style. Singer is having a good time for sure. He is best when he is angry. A few songs he tried to really sing and he can’t hold a key and sounds terrible. 

19:00 A pretty unusual Swedish band called the Bourbon Boys, playing country rock or sorts. A lot of really funny lyrics and the singer has a really gruff, gritty voice and it works well. The crowd was really into it and I really liked this a lot. They had a lot of good songs and a bit of Status Quo at times. 

Bourbon Boys
21:30 We are sitting on the hill listening to the Swedish death metal band, The Crown.. Not that many people considering they are on the Sweden Stage. Pretty fast intense generic death metal. Not much more to say about them really. 

22:00 I just met Mark and Dave from St. Vitus. Told them we were scheduled to do an interview tomorrow. They thought this was a really cool festival but they were in need of some weed. We talked a bit about the tour and they loved playing at Loppen in Christiania and want to play there again if they can. 

23:00 We decided to call it a night as it was pretty cold so we did not see Entombed or Ed Guy. Nice to be back as SRF again. It feels so familiar despite the things I mentioned above.

Day 2

The place we stay was very quiet considering there were a lot of Finnish party people. All very cool. 
John Ricci Exciter

11:50 I am bit mad that the bus was late so now I will miss some of Exciter, the Canadian thrash band that I had never seen before. The weather is cold and gray at the moment but it looks like it could clear up. This damn bus driver was completely clueless and drove all the way to fucking Sölvesborg and then back to where we started before going to the festival. Now we will nearly miss Exciter. Bastard….. What is normally 15mins took 50mins to get to the festival. 

13:30 We did get to see some of Exciter and besides the lack of hardly any guitar in the mix (until I complained to the sound guy- it was good for the last 4 songs), they were really powerful and the huge overweight singer did a good job of trying to be like Dan Beehler, the original singer. John Ricci, the guitar player is the only original member. They played a lot of the classics like HM Maniac, Long live the Loud, Violence and force, Pounding Metal, etc.. and a lot of newer songs so they were not just resting on the old stuff. Solid set…

Aggressor, I Am the Beast, The Dark Command, Victims of Sacrifice, Heavy Metal Maniac, Evil Omen, Rising of the Dead, Stand Up And Fight, Pounding Metal, Slaughtered in Vain, Rain of Terror, Long Live the Loud, Violence and Force

14:00 10CC is on the main stage and this does not interest me at all. We can hear them in the distance and see there is a pretty big crowd for this pop band from the 70s. We going to see the UK 80s band Little Angels. This was a huge surprise! They have an amazing singer and some damn good songs, great guitar solos, cool horn section (only one at the entire festival), and a pretty mainstream sound I would not generally like but they were excellent. Sound on the Zeppelin stage is so good. Way better than all the other stages. In the old days, the Sweden and Festival stages used to have the best sound but not for the past few years since the soundmen do not know how to do sound on these stages sadly. So many bands have poor sound on these stages now days. It was terrible for nearly every band yesterday on the Sweden stage (way too much bass and drums, hardly any guitar).

15 Now it is back to thrash, with the Bay Area band Exodus. I had last seen them in 1992 opening for Black Sabbath!  They really delivered the goods and even managed to get a pit going briefly which was cool to see and the security did not try to stop it. They really kicked ass and were so powerful. The singer looked like a mean motherfucker and just blasted the lyrics. Great set.

The Last Act of Defiance, Iconoclasm, Piranha, Shroud of Urine, Pleasures of the Flesh, And Then There Were None, Blacklist, Metal Command, War Is My Shepherd, Impaler, A Lesson in Violence, Bonded by Blood

17 St. Vitus was really great with an excellent sound. Chandler was really into the concert a lot. Wino was not that into it but still sang great. I filmed the song Dying Inside. They played 2 or 3 from the new record and they sounded great. I will interview the band later. Cool set. 

Blessed Night, I Bleed Black, Clear Windowpane, Let Them Fall, The Bleeding Ground
Look Behind You, The Waste of Time, Mystic Lady, Dying Inside, Born Too Late

We watched a few songs of Nightranger while we had some food. I saw them opening for ZZTOP on the Eliminator tour in 1983. I never liked them much but they were clearly having fun and they even played Crazy Train by Ozzy, since Brad Gillis played in Ozzy after Randy died for half a year or so. Their music is pretty mainstream 80s AOR-pop music. Not interesting at all for me. Crowd at Sweden rock loves this stuff so they went down well.

17:30 Rival Sons from California have a pretty big crowd and I saw most of the show before having to leave to interview St Vitus. They are a solid band playing Led Zeppelin like blues rock but the guitar player is not of the same league and rarely does any solos more than 20-30 seconds long. Great singer and front man, who knows how to work the crowd. They come across as just a bit too polished and practiced and need to loosen up. Even there jam song, baby please don’t go, seem rehearsed. I would not go see them again unless I hear they are starting to jam for real.

Me and St Vitus
19 Did the short interview with all the guys in St. Vitus except for Wino, who seemed a bit drunk or shy. Mark, Dave and Henry.. super cool guys…. The guys said Wino did not like to play in the daylight. 

20 We saw most of the Steel Panther concert and damn these guys are fucking great. This was the largest crowd of the festival so far. They are so popular they could be a headline act here one day. They had way more people than Soundgarden headlining later this night. Anyway, they really are masters of the humor and heavy metal. I have to give them a huge kudos as they really do great. I was laughing a lot and having so much fun. I would not listen to their records at home but live they rock! Just check out the song titles below..

Steel Panther

In the Future, Supersonic Sex Machine, Tomorrow Night, Just Like Tiger Woods, Fat Girl (Thar She Blows), Asian Hooker, Gold-Digging Whore, Community Property, Eatin' Ain't Cheatin', I Like Drugs, Turn Out the Lights, It Won't Suck Itself, Eyes of a Panther, Girl From Oklahoma, Party All Day (Fuck All Night), 17 Girls in a Row, Death to All but Metal

22 Heard a couple of songs of Mastadon and they for sure said fuck you to the 100db limit as they were LOUD and powerful. A huge crowd as well. Then we went to see my friends Graveyard. They also had a big audience on the Zeppelin stage and excellent sound. It was strange mellow opening choice for the start but people were into it. They played most all the songs I would expect but I think they played one off Hisingen blues that I did not hear them play live before, which was cool. They still need to change the set list more as this is nearly the exact same they have been playing every show for the last half year. They are a great and tight band but I really wish they would jam out like 3 songs in their set each day as the one song they did do a longer jam on was the one where the crowd went the most wild and reacted the most to. If they did that like 3 times in a set, it would really raise the level of the performance and also give you a bit of a surprise and make you want to see them again soon. I still love this band.

Blue Soul, Buying Truth, As the Years Pass By, The Hours Bend, Ungrateful Are the Dead, Uncomfortably Numb, Granny and Davis, Ain't Fit to Live Here, No Good, Mr. Holden, Satan's Finest, Hisingen Blues, The Siren, Thin Line

23:15 Saw about 45mins of Dimmu Borgir from Norway. This is a very intense band playing what I would call pop black metal. Very melodic with heavy riffs, keyboard pad stuff, and death vocals and melodic guitars and no solos. Crowd liked them and they have amazing make up and a cool look. We then went around towards the main stage and sat in the beer tent and hear the last half of Sebastian Bach. He had a giant crowd who was really into it and he seem to put on a great show playing new material, solo stuff and classic Skid Row songs as well. Dee Snider from Twisted sister came out and sang the last 2 songs with them, including We’re not gonna take it by TS. 

1:00 Wow.. Soundgarden totally kicked my ass! I used to really love the band’s first 3 records but after Badmotorfinger I really did not like them much and on this night like 75% of the set was all these old songs that me and a hand full of people knew and they rocked. Chris sounded pretty damn good and he was really into it despite the smallest crowd I have ever seen forea the main headline act ever as SRF. Sounds was great where we were right in front of the mixer but I was told off to the sides it was all bass and drums and sounded bad. They had the best visual show of the entire festival as well with really movies, projections, images, etc.. Great concert. Blew ne way…

Searching With My Good Eye Closed, Spoonman, Let Me Drown, Outshined, Flower, Drawing Flies, Hunted Down, Blow Up The Outside World, Fell On Black Days, Ugly Truth, Loud Love
Live To Rise, My Wave, Burden In My Hand, Rusty Cage, Gun, Black Hole Sun, Room A Thousand Years Wide, Jesus Christ Pose, Beyond The Wheel, Slaves & Bulldozers

Day 3

We got off to a very slow start today and sadly missed Amorphis and Adrenaline Mob, both of whom played around 12. There are a lot of good bands today but the weather is looking like it will rain and it is windy and cold at the moment. 

Black Spiders
14 We caught a good portion of the Black Spiders high energy Rock and Roll set. They are a pretty damn cool band with a lot of great songs, nice guitar solos and a really good sense of humor as well. A mix of Dozer like stoner rock a bit of Soundgarden vocal at time, and they just rock! Nice guys as well when I met them on the Monster Magnet tour. 

15:15 Saw the first three songs of Michael Schenker (Into the Arena, Armed and Ready, Lovedrive). He has Doogie White on vocals (yngwie, Tank) and a solid band but damn, it is the same fucking stuff every year. Franz from the Scoropions was on bass this year so he was playing a few Scorpions songs in the set from what I could see on the internet. I read later that people did not think Doogie did very well. 

16:30 The weather is really turning awful but Änglegård were so cool to see on the small Rockklassiker stage but you could hear Michael Schenker almost as well as Änglegård at times which totally sucked. It was quite small crowd standing here watching these amazing players in a light rain. The last song of their set was so amazing. This was pure Swedish melodic progressive rock played to the highest level. I enjoyed the concert very much. I knew quite a few people here as well, some had come basically only to see this band, which has not played since like 1994. 

17:30 Blue Oyster Cult played on the main stage and it was now pouring down rain and cold. We saw the first hour of their set and they had a new bass player and drummer since the last time they played here at Sweden Rock but they played more or less the exact same set, which is really a pity. They are so predictable you could say but if you have never seen them they still kick some ass but they play the same stuff with a few minor variations like The Golden Age of Leather and Harvest Moon but the rest was all the same- Red and the Black, Burning for you, Cities on Flame, Godzilla, Don’t fear the reaper, Last days of May, etc… I was wet and cold and we left during the drum bass solo interlude in Godzilla. 
Buck Dharma (Blue Oyster Cult)

The Red & The Black, Golden Age of Leather, Burnin' For You, Buck's Boogie, Harvest Moon, Cities on Flame With Rock and Roll, Then Came The Last Days Of  May, (Don't Fear) The Reaper, Hot Rails To Hell

Tygers of Pan Tang… wow. This was a band I never thought that I would ever see. They put out a new record back in 2008, I think and they played two new songs (These Eyes, ?) from a record that will be called Ambush due out in Sept. I think they only have Robb Weir as the only original member now. The new young singer sounds much more like the 2nd singer, Jon Deverill than Jess Cox but he was good. They played some really rare and old songs from their early singles that really surprised me like Rock and Roll Man, Don’t touch me there, as well as Suzie Smiled, Wild cat, hellbound, euthanasia, etc… it was a cool set, pretty true to their roots. The rain had nearly stopped now but not quite..

Killing Floor
19:30 The oldest band at the festival, Killing Floor played a really cool set of blues rock for us and they were in a good mood and also played some songs from a new album they have out or will have out soon. They also played some blues standards as well like I’m a King Bee. We had a good place in the beer tent out of the rain to rest our feet and hear them. The fog is actually rolling in and it has a strange look in the sky as well. Still raining… 

20:00 A huge crowd is heading for the main stage to see the Darkness but all the cool people are going over too see Pentagram! 

21:30 Pentagram was excellent and the crowd really liked them a lot. Bobby was in his same funny mood and said some strange stuff like “wait a minute I have to get two long hairs out of my teeth”!   It was funny to see some of these really young kids singing all the words and totally into it. They played a couple of different songs from the set I saw in London in December and they dropped Vampire Love. The same two songs, one good and one not so good from Last Rites were played (To the Ground and I’m the Man). I think these are the only ones they play from that record. Cool set. Crowd loved it as well. 

Treat Me Right, Forever My Queen, Review Your Choices, Sign of The Wolf (Pentagram), Evil Seed, Into The Ground, Death Row, All Your Sins, Call The Man, Relentless/Nothing Left, Dying World, Wartime, When The Screams Come
Bobby and Victor (Pentagram)

21:45 Motorhead hit the stage with Damage Case, Iron Fist, I know how to Die, Stay Clean, Metropolis, Over the top… wow..what a beginning and of course it rocked! Lemmy was looking really tired and the sound was just way too low. I think Sweden rock must be one of the worst places to see Motorhead as they can never play very loud. We left to go check out the Flower Kings a band I had never seen. 

Damage Case, Iron Fist, I Know How To Die, Stay Clean, Metropolis, Over The Top, One Night Stand, The Chase Is Better Than The Catch, The One To Sing The Blues, Just Cos You Got The Power, Going To Brazil, Killed By Death (with Whitfield Crane & Andy LaRoque), Bomber
Ace of Spades, Overkill

Flower Kings
Flower Kings are great players no doubt but this is not the kind of progressive rock music I am very fond of. It is too slick, to polished, too melodic, almost like pop music and some of the songs we heard were very religious. Ugh….. We left and went back to Motorhead but only saw the very end with Overkill. They played a short set like 70mins when they had a 90min time slot. I think Lemmy was not on top today, looked really tired. 

01:00 Wow.. what can I say. Twisted Sister just rocked the place! They came out and just kicked ass with a mostly high energy don’t fuck around too much rock and roll set. Unlike many bands that have played here a lot, they changed their set a lot playing like 5 songs they did not play here last time including the Kids are back, Sin after Sin, Wake Up from their LP Love is for Suckers, they have never played except two nights ago in Trondheim, Norway! Powerful stuff. They had a few of the sing alongs but they had the audience in the palm of their hand and Dee Snider is an amazing front man giving 200% and sounding really great. 

What You Don't Know (Sure Can Hurt You), The Kids are Back, Stay Hungry, Wake Up (The Sleeping Giant), I Believe in Rock 'n' Roll, You Can't Stop Rock 'n' Roll, Sin After Sin, The Fire Still Burns, We're Not Gonna Take It, The Price, Burn in Hell, I Wanna Rock, Encores: It's Only Rock 'n' Roll (But I Like It), Come Out and Play, S.M.F.

Day 4

11:10 I am waiting for the bus alone and Sue will join later as I want to see Girlschool at 12:15. Been a long time since I saw them last and I am wearing my Girlschool 1982 tour shirt..  I wonder if Lemmy would come out, but it is probably too early for him.. The sun is out today and it is quite nice if not that warm. 

13:30 Girlschool actually really rocked the place and it was really fun to see them. They only played stuff from their first 3 records except for this one song from Legacy, which Ronnie James Dio sang on. Demolition, yeah right, kick it down, hit and run, etc.. a very cool set. I left at the last song and I am sure they played a few encore songs probably ending the show with Tush.

Demolition, C'mon Let's Go, Not For Sale, Hit And Run, The Hunter, I Spy, Never Say Never, Screaming Blue Murder, Future Flash, Kick It Down, Watch Your Step, Yeah Right, Race With The Devil, Emergency

I ran over to catch the end of the old UK band HELL. They had a really cool stage set up and were all painted up like Ghouls, except the singer. The crowd really dug them and it was cool dramatic heavy metal stuff. The best song I heard was their first single that they ended the show with, Save us from those who would save us. I wish I could have seen the whole set.
Let Battle Commence, On Earth As It Is In Hell, Plague And Fyre, The Quest, The Oppressors
Blasphemy And The Master, The Devil's Deadly Weapon, Macbeth, Save Us From Those Who Would Save Us

14:45 We checked out most of the Bonafide set on the Zeppelin stage and they had a big audience. If you don’t know them, they are a Swedish rock and roll band very inspired by AC/DC but a bit more bluesy at times. The crowd knew a lot of their songs and was having a good time in the sunshine. They did a cool version, which they play every show of I don’t need no Doctor and they threw in a few bars of Nice Boys by Rose Tattoo in one of their songs as well. Fun band. 

While waiting to see Fish, we heard like 3 songs by the Norwegian band, Return on the big stage. This is not at all my type of music but it is very popular at festivals like this. They sound just like the 80s AOR pop metal style stuff like Bon Jovi or something. 


Orange Goblin
16 FISH was excellent but sadly we did not see the whole show as I wanted to see some of Orange Goblin at 16. FISH was in a very good mood and had some really nice social commentary as well and opened the show with the Alex Harvey song, Faith Healer. Innocent party, a commentary on the Wars was great. Vigil in the Wilderness of Mirrors was quite moving as well. An excellent set.

Faith healer, Credo, Assassing, Long Cold Day, Innocent Party, Vigil, So Fellini, Open Water & Fugazi

17:00 Orange Goblin really rocked the place and have evolved from this Black Sabbath style stoner rock into a real high energy biker rock band. They did not play any early songs that I recognized in the 25mins that we heard before running off to see Bad Company.
Paul Rodgers (Bad Company)

18:00 Bad Company was pretty good. Paul Rodgers is simply amazing. The best singer at the entire festival for sure. He has really still got it and they played nearly all the classic Bad Company songs except for Rock Steady. The original guitar player Mick Ralphs was not into the concert at all and his solos were always a bit off, he has no fire at all. The rest of the band was kicking ass and Simon Kirke, for a guy of 60 really pounds the drums still, not a light hitter. Paul was so amazing. Sang, played guitar, piano, was truly enjoying himself. Crowd loved it as well. The sound was a bit off due to a strong wind blowing across the stage at times. I finally got to see Paul…. No Free songs were played. 

Can't Get Enough, Honey Child, Run With The Pack, Burnin' Sky, Young Blood, Seagull, Gone, Gone, Gone, Electricland, Simple Man, Feel Like Makin' Love, Shooting Star, Rock 'n' Roll Fantasy, Movin' On, Deal With The Preacher, Good Lovin' Gone Bad, Bad Company. Ready For Love

19:45 Now we had a bit of a break as I was not interested in seeing Symphony X, Crucified Barbara or Slaughter. We ended up having some food and sitting closest to the Slaughter stage so we heard most of their set. They had a huge crowd and people were into it. I was surprised how well they played and sounded. They even did a few minutes of Heaven and hell as a tribute to Ronnie James Dio. 

21:30 I had not seen Lynryd Skynryd since the last time they played at Sweden Rock in 2000, when they were one of the headline bands. I have to say that I was really disappointed. While they have so many amazing songs and it was so fun to hear them live and I was singing along to the songs, the singer (Mr. Van Zant) was like he was on valium. He sung with absolutely no passion or emotion, just like speaking the words and going through the motions. Gary Rossington looked like he was so bored and he had no spark or fire in his playing at all. The young third guitar played played like 50% of all the leads and he was great while Gary and Rick just don’t seem to care. Why bother? Show some emotion, some feeling, give some energy to your performance…  They have a new record in August and they did not play anything or even mention it. Still fun to see them play their jukebox. 

Workin' For MCA, I Ain't The One, Skynyrd Nation, What's Your Name, Down South Jukin', That Smell, Saturday Night Special, Simple Man, Medley: Gimme Back My Bullets/Whiskey Rock-A-Roller/The Needle And The Spoon, Tuesday's Gone, Gimme Three Steps, Call Me The Breeze
Sweet Home Alabama, Free Bird

21:45 What to see now- Vdelli, Slade or King Diamond?? We choose to see the Australian blues rock band Vdelli. They were really good, playing a hard edged blues rock. We saw about 20-30 mins and then ran off to catch some of Slade as neither of us had seen them. I was totally stunned to see the most massive crowd I had ever seen at the Sweden Stage. For Slade???? What the fuck??? We worked our way to the middle and this was a rock and roll party. People were having an amazing time and singing and this was pretty fun. The songs are a bit pop but a pretty hard edged guitar and these guys were really giving it some energy and having fucking fun, unlike LS. I was pretty surprised.

King Diamond
00:00 We heard the first 30mins of Motley Crue and that was a hell of stage show and light show and the crowd was pretty massive. It lacked in volume though, which took some intensity away from their show. Starting with Wild Side (including two scantily clad young woman back up singers at their sides!), live wire, shout at the Devil, Too fast for Love, Saints of LA and then we headed off…… tired… Saw them in 1983 on the first album tour so seeing them today it is not quite the same… 

Some final comments:

They had made a few changes, not for the better. They moved the Rockklassiker tent/stage to a new location that was not working well, due to way too much sound from all the other stages. This must be changed. This was a disaster for bands like Änglegård. The sound men can be much better at their jobs. The sound was often just adequate to poor and rarely great due to way too much kick drum and bass for most bands and far too little guitar. The soundmen need to learn to mix the sound for where the people stand, not for his holy position. 
Motley Crue

There is only one plae to find free water and it is not that easy to find. If it had been really hot, this would have led to a lot of problems. You cannot have a festival force people to buy water! No umbrella’s allowed so people have to be prepared with rain clothes or buy them for 80kr. Beer is way too expensive, now up to 62kr for a 500ml bottle. Crazy… Will it be 70kr next year?  The day after the festival it was in the local papers that the organizers of the festival made more than 10 million Swedish kroner in profit? Now, I ask, is that really necessary to make such extreme amounts of money on the backs of the working people who are dedicated to coming to this festival? 

Now for the positive things.. pretty damn good weather but still too cold for June, except for the Friday during the day, where it rained for like 4-5 hrs on an off, mostly on. A lot of great bands, especially on the Zeppelin stage, where they had the most competent sound man. Due to it not selling out this year, it was not as crowded as usual as well, which was nice. Perhaps they should sell only 30,000 and not 35,000 tickets? 

Who were my favourite bands?  Twisted Sister, Änglegård, Pentagram, Bad Company, 


  1. Dear Scott as always it was a pleasure to meet and talk to you. There was free water but the directions where to get it were lousy and have been heavily critisized. SRF have promised to improve in this area. And beer price, well what do you say? 62 sek for a beer is insane. It cost 49 kr two years ago when festival all of a sudden decided to increase price more than 25 %. I think it is to spit the audience in the face and "reward" them like this. They are making lots of profit already at 49 sek. There is a ongoing discussion at the SRF message board but unfortunately I doubt the owners will listen. And they did not make 10 million progit, they made 33 million last year, and 25 million was given to 3 or 4 owners. Their beahviour is sick and the worst form of ultraliberal supercapitalism unfortunately /Robert

  2. Thanks... I walked over the entire site and ever saw the place for free water??? It is just unreal that the owners of the festival are so greedy?

  3. Nice read! I missed HELL they played so damn early. King Diamond ruled SRF