With the NEMIS program complete for 2019, it was on to the regular programming content of Sweden Rock Festival 2019. Friday brought a blast of bands from the past that had not performed in years along with a solid mix of bands locally and from around the world.
I started the day out with two competing performances in the same time slot, LOK and The Night Flight Orchestra. The day was definitely off to a running start, literally between stages! First up, LOK with one hell of a performance! LOK has been out of the scene for a bit but kicked off a tour run that sparked fan interest which was clear by the large audience turn out to see their performance on the Rock stage. The band sounded great and proved they clearly still have it! Can’t wait to see what’s to come next from them!
Off to TNFO! This band is a plunge backward in sound with a cool mix of 70’s disco mixed with rock that makes a very special sound and lends to a great live gig. The full band set up extends to keys and two back up singers who always appear like fashionable flight attendants. There’s no going wrong with this band, they sound as good live as they do on their albums. I was really pleased with their performance and thrilled because now I know that their upcoming performance at Wacken will be just as great!
After TNFO I headed off to another band I really enjoy, the female rock group Thundermother. The band went through a complete overhaul since their last performance at Sweden Rock so this performance for me was the true test of the new lineup. I’ve already been deep into their newest album and know that their recordings sound good, but how about live and what about the dynamics of the band? Not to mention since the new album, they have also replaced the bass player once again. I set aside time for their entire set to really check them out. What I saw and heard was a band that has truly connected and wants to work together. They looked great and their show was full of energy that the audience was completely in to. Lineup changes do not always work, especially with vocalists, but this lineup change works well. I am happy to say I think the ladies are in good company and I definitely would recommend seeing them live and I am looking forward to the new music to come.
Next up was a band I’ve loved for a very long time but never had a chance to see live before, Easy Action! They announced a reunion tour for 2019 and I have to say I was thrilled to see them announced for Sweden Rock! Finally, my chance to see a band I never thought I’d ever see in my lifetime. Sadly it was at the same time as Royal Republic and I had to make the hard decision to miss RR! But their show was everything I hoped it would be to! So many songs I’ve loved for many, many years. The band looked fabulous, their energy together was incredible and they fulfilled so many wishes I’d had for their performance. I can only hope they will have new music coming and tour more after this! And a special thanks to the master of sound Arnold Lindberg of Sound Industry Gbg AB who handled their sound (along with Gathering of Kings and LOK). Anytime I see him mixing sound for any band anywhere, I know the band is in good hands and so are my ears!
My afternoon took a little different turn as Cyhra was at Sweden Rock doing a special showcase performance with Metal Casino at their booth, so of course as a champion of this band I had to see what they were up to! The band was scheduled for two acoustic sets with them during the festival. I caught their first performance and grabbed some live video that I will come back and add the videos as they go live, one will be in the next few days, the other you will have to wait until sometime after their upcoming album release later in the year, but it is well worth it and that is all I can say about it at the moment! I did catch up with Jake E and Euge and there’s major things happening for the band this year and into next year, so make sure you keep an eye on our page and their socials. Many great things to come!
Watch the acoustic performance of Letters To Myself
After my time with Cyhra and Metal Casino I head off to check out ZZ Top! I’d already seen Billy F. Gibbons in January during the Gibson Guitar relaunch at NAMM in Anaheim, CA. After seeing his performance there, I knew ZZ Top was a set to not miss and was I correct! The band doesn’t put on a high energy gig where they are running around on stage, but they do blow you away with their sound. It’s as good today as it was back in the 80’s, proving that rock never dies!
The rest of the evening entailed Disturbed, KISS and time to kick back and enjoy more of the festival experience while catching up with a few bands and numerous festival friends I’ve made through the many years returning to Sweden Rock. First I started off with some tasty gourmet bites from one of the food vendors in the VIP area. When people tell you festival food is nothing but burgers and crap food, they wouldn’t be talking about Sweden Rock’s food options. While there is plenty of junk options, they have others too. You can find anything from vegan, Indian, burgers, bbq, langos, pasta, fish and chips, frites, donuts, waffles, pizza, and a number of other ethic options. The one thing that I wasn’t about to locate this year was the grillspett vendor who’s been a constant for me over the years, was it there and I just couldn’t locate it or was it gone? One thing for sure, I hope it is back next year.
After the grub a chat with rock n roller’s Cobra Cult then with dirty Australian rockers Stone Rising, a band who was just up for the festival but also doing some promoting of their new self titled album. I also had a chat with the ladies of Thundermother and not quite sure if that audio will be able to be released as it hahaa! Then it was off to reminisce with my band from the early 2000’s to Get Down With the Sickness, Disturbed. Now this is a band that really owned the early 2000’s for me, but lost me along the way with their later material that I just could not connect with at all, while others went nuts over their cover of Simon and Garfunkel‘s “Sound of Silence”, I never did. I am old school when it comes to Disturbed so I wasn’t sure I’d honestly enjoy their set. It all depended on their setlist to me. I was relieved when they performed many of their older tracks instead of the newer flavorless stuff. I actually connected with this performance because it brought back the feeling of what made me a fan in the first place.
The last gig of the night for me was of course KISS. The largest stage in Sweden… you better believe I was not going to miss that. Having seen KISS a few times in my lifetime from their non makeup Lick it Up days to the full theatrical makeup and platform boots, I knew this would be a good show to see, plus the last certain chance for me to see them live before they retire. The show was everything and more. Being on that massive stage the band was able to have an incredible stage show, the full lights, backdrops, pyro, elevating platforms, and just an all out visually dramatic performance. This was definitely the best last way to see them live in my opinion. They looked and sounded great, the fans were supercharged and loud. I have to say I was completely impressed. If you are going to do a final tour, to it big and be great or don’t do it all like bands like Motley Crue who showed up and sounded like garbage at Sweden Rock their last performance, it’s not fair to the fans who’ve paid to see you. So thank you KISS for that final amazing performance!
Day three is a wrap, one day to go and the excitement continues on with a band I’d been waiting to see!
Day 3 Running Order:
11:30-12:15 Burning Witches SUI – 4Sound Stage
12:15-13:15 LOK SE – Rock Stage
12:15-13:15 The Night Flight Orchestra SE – Sweden Stage
13:00-14:00 ROCKKLASSIKER ALLSTARS SE – Rockklassiker Stage
13:15-14:15 Magnum UK – Festival Stage
13:15-14:15 Thundermother SE – 4Sound Stage
14:30-15:30 Easy Action SE – Rock Stage
14:30-15:30 Royal Republic SE – Sweden Stage
15:00-16:00 Lisa Lystam Family Band SE – Rockklassiker Stage
15:45-17:00 Axel Rudi Pell GER/US – Festival Stage
16:00-17:00 Dizzy Mizz Lizzy DEN – 4Sound Stage
17:00-18:00 The Quill SE – Rockklassiker Stage
17:15-18:30 Candlemass SE – Rock Stage
17:15-18:30 Uli Jon Roth GER – Sweden Stage
18:45-20:15 ZZ Top US – Festival Stage
19:00-20:00 Jag Panzer US – 4Sound Stage
19:00-20:00 Hällas SE – Rockklassiker Stage
20:30-22:00 Disturbed US – Rock Stage
20:30-21:45 At The Gates SE – Sweden Stage
21:00-22:00 Witchfynde UK – Rockklassiker Stage
22:15-00:15 KISS US – Festival Stage
23:00-00:00 Batushka POL – Rockklassiker Stage
00:15-01:45 Dream Theater US – Rock Stage
00:15-01:15 Gorgoroth NO – 4Sound Stage
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