Graspop Metal Meeting 2012 Day III

The first show we attended on day 3 was by MaYaN, a band which features members of EPICA, After Forever and Sons of Seasons.

Grunter Mark Jansen, keyboardist Jack Driessen and guitarist Frank Schiphorst have gathered a couple of very talented musicians around them.

First and foremost I was once again impressed by the amazing talent of Sons of Season’s vocalist Henning Basse. The female vocal parts were taken over by the well-known and beloved Floor Jansen and the Italian opera singer Laura Macrì. The band is completed by Ariën van Weesenbeek, Isaac Delahaye and Rob van der Loo, all from EPICA.

After the show we went outside to see Sebastian Bach, but the rain was so heavy that only few people held out in front of the main stage. The unlucky singer said that he was afraid to walk up to the edge of the stage, because he feared he might be electrocuted.

So the next band we saw for real was the freshly reunited Ugly Kid Joe. They mostly played their old hits like ‘Cats in the Cradle’, ‘Neighbor’ and ‘Everything About You’, but also songs from their new EP, which sounded quite promising!

Singer Whitfield Crane’s voice has obviously gotten a bit deeper over the years, but the singing in itself was flaw- and apparently effortless. He was wearing a Motörhead shirt, which had me confused at first, but it turned out that Phil Campbell would make a guest appearance later on!

Crane tried to climb one of the tent’s pillars, as you can see above. Two security guards however were determined to prevent this and  held on to his legs so that he eventually had to give up. He was really mad, obviously, and flipped the security off about 200 times during the next song, which is partly captured in my video below. A while later he had calmed down and apologized to the security guys. He said they had “a little misunderstanding before” and shook hands with one of them.

Phil Campbell, who we later saw on the main stage with his band Motörhead!

Killswitch Engage and Machine Head were luckier than Sebastian Bach, as we could see them without getting soaked!

Killswitch Engage’s Adam Dutkiewicz wins the GMM sexy legs award, lol! What was he thinking?!

Behemoth put on an amazing stage show at Graspop! Singer/guitarist Adam ‘Nergal’ Darski was in extremely good shape considering that he has recently undergone a bone marrow transplant! As he sang, blood dripped from his mouth – which was hopefully artificial, or I’d have to withdraw my previous statement. His guitar carries the name “flying” V in full right, if you know what I mean.

Behemoth’s show included an insane amount of pyro and some burning inverted crossed, as you can see in my video.

But for me, the highlight of the day were Children of Bodom with the incredible talent of their frontman and guitarist Alexi Laiho, who partly played his solos standing on the hood of a car that was a stage prop!

The headliner of the day was Guns n’ Roses, who were scheduled to play for over two hours. They could have packed this entire time  with mega hits, but sadly what they did was play mostly songs from their new album and give every musician an eternity and a half for solos. This made it easy for us to leave at about halftime. We could hardly make it to the car as it was, because our feet hurt so much after three days of basically only standing and walking.

Graspop Metal Meeting 2012 Day II

Day II was the best day in my opinion – absolutely amazing!

We were going to sneak a peek at the Heidevolk show – a band which I don’t know, but I figured may be similar to my beloved Eluveitie. Sadly they had been placed in the metal dome, which was not big enough for all the people who wanted to see them. Many were standing outside and listening, I didn’t even see as much as a hair of Heidevolk.

At least this meant we were able to hit marquee 1 early for the Alestorm show. Those of you who have been following my ramblings for a while already know that I love these guys – and this show only reinforced my conviction that Alestorm is pure pirate awesomeness! The show was basically a bash of 50.000 – everybody was partying and singing along to Alestorm classics like Keelhauled, Rum and Nancy the Tavern Wench.

As it was Christoper Bowes’ birthday, everybody also sang “Happy Birthday”, followed by a triple “Hurra!”. The band put on party hats for the occasion – who said metal has to be evil all the time?

Afterwards of course we had to live up to the reputation, as Christopher told us in a distorted voice: “It’s time to get eeevil! Show me your hands and squish those invisible pineapples!” and everybody held up their hands like claws – it was hilarious! They played ‘Death Throes of the Terrorsquid’, which is indeed particularly evil for an Alestorm song, since it has a black metal component.

For ‘Captain Morgan’s Revenge’ they split the entire crowd to form a gigantic wall of death.

On the Saturday the weather was so good that we were actually able to lie in the sun while enjoying some Primal Fear and Thin Lizzy.

Finally it was time for Eluveitie, who never cease to amaze me with their skilled use of historic instruments and their musical diversity.

As the band gave their all as usual, the audience went nuts and in spite of the official ban there was lots of crowd surfing. Somebody kept waving a Swiss flag. Chrigel also designated someone, who was apparently wearing a really cool shirt, to lead the circle pit and promised that if he did well, Chrigel would have a beer with him outside after the show. I’m very much interested in whether this actually happened – does anyone know?

Singer Anna Murphy excelled herself, which was actually unnecessary, as she had enormous of support by the audience. Especially on the Eluveitie hymn Inis Mona, when Chrigel was silent to listen to the crowd sing the chorus all alone.

 

Fear Factory had a lot of technical issues. After the first song there was a power outage that lasted several minutes and the band left the stage. On their return singer Burton C Bell commented: “Looks like Fear Factory blew the power of this fucking tent!”, then they resumed playing. Sadly things still didn’t seem to be quite right, since the audio quality was horrible, especially on the vocals. This resulted in our early departure from marquee 2. Luckily all the other bands I was interested in were on the main stage or in marquee 1 anyways!  You can see a video of the incident below:


Twisted Sister had not been in Belgium for thirty years, which is a shame, because they are definitely worth seeing live!  I can not believe that their singer Dee Snider is 57! He was more energetic on stage than any of the relatively “young” frontmen/-women I’ve seen during this amazing weekend. He jumped and rolled around on stage like crazy and his vocal performance was flawless.

He informed us that GMM is at 90.000 visitors the biggest festival in Europe this year and thanked us for supporting metal in spite of the economy. Well, I can’t say that I personally have been affected by the crisis so far, but I know that especially during bad times people should party once in a while to take their mind off things! And a party was what Twisted Sister delivered. The festival ground was full during their slot on the main stage and everybody was singing along to their songs. During “We’re Not Gonna Take It” Dee said that we didn’t even need the band, because we are “loud motherfuckers”. During “I Wanna Rock”  (I love the song!) he played a little game with us. He made us yell “I Wanna Rock!” and then “I Wanna Fuck!” to see which would win. Not surprisingly, people were way louder yelling “I Wanna Fuck!”, lol.

After the great time we had with Twisted Sister, Shagrath of Dimmu Borgir asked us if we were “up for a night of godless black metal”. Was I? Hell, yes! Even though especially Alestorm, Eluveitie and Twisted Sister were perfect, I’d say that Dimmu Borgir was my favorite show of the day, if not of the entire festival. I had a blast seeing them perform and “singing” along to songs like “Dimmu Borgir” and “The Serpentine Offering”.

Shagrath, who had three outfit changes (!), jumped on the drum kit after the last song and tore it up!

You’re welcome!

After Dimmu Borgir, Limp Bizkit were scheduled on the main stage, but we decided to leave. First of all we don’t like that kind of stuff in the first place, second of all, Dimmu Borgir is not a great opener for Fred “Let’s Get This Party Started” Durst. I was really, really not in the mood … 😉

Watch my video recap of Day II here:

Graspop Metal Meeting 2012 Day I

As always we missed the first band (or rather person) we had planned on seeing, which was Slash, and we were right on time to hear the last song of the Paradise Lost set.

After this slightly depressing start we went on to catch Sabaton on the main stage. I am usually rather put off by the way they market themselves, but they were actually entertaining and their singer Joakim Brodén seemed like a nice guy. He admitted that he was extremely nervous before the show and very relieved to see so many people in front of the stage. He also made fun of the name Graspop. He said “Gras I get, but Pop?!” I guess he had a point there! There’s a snippet of their show in my “Day 1” video, which you can see below. If you are interested in the band, I suggest you start off with the song ‘Primo Victoria’ from their debut album. You can find it on Youtube.

After a quick glance at Florida death metal veterans Obituary, we were ready for what turned out to be my favorite show of the day – Amon Amarth! I need to get my hands on their albums ASAP! These guys are riding the Viking train hard, but it’s completely convincing! Their singer Johan Hegg actually had a drinking horn strapped to his hip. I was very impressed not only by their music, but also their pyro and light show, as you can see in my pictures:

Cannibal Corpse were next on the menu and George “Corpsegrinder” Fisher challenged us to keep up with his headbanging. He said “You can try, but you won’t succeed!” The man was right – and he has a gigantic neck!

Lamb of God singer Randy Blythe called Graspop his “favorite festival of the European mainland”. Their show featured a guest appearance by Obituary drummer Donald Tardy on the song ‘Redneck’, during which they also attempted the biggest circle pit of the night, comprising about one third of a 50.000 people tent! Here’s a video of it:


 

Randy also encouraged the audience to raise their middle fingers, which he said is “a friendly greeting at a lamb of god show”.

When I saw the guy on the right I thought: “Whoooaaa, they have Gandalf on stage!” :)

We finished off the Friday with Ozzy and friends, which luckily meant we got to see Slash after all, as well as Zakk Wylde. Ozzy was very enthusiastic, jumping up and down and clapping all the time. Part of his stage show was to hose down his audience several times, as well as himself accidentally. But he would have gotten wet anyways, because he emptied a huge bucket of water over his head – and don’t you think that it was a warm summer night, it was freaking cold! I’m really happy that I got a chance to see this legend live and I had the best time!

To wrap this up, here’s my video recap of Day I:

Graspop Metal Meeting 2012 Impressions

Hi guys! I’m starting off with some impressions from this year’s Graspop Metal Meeting, which took place in Dessel (BE) from June 22-24. We stayed all weekend and had a blast!!

This is my claw holding a couple of Graspop Tokens, which you need to buy food and drinks at the Festivalsite. It is forbidden to bring your own foodstuffs along, so your life sort of depends on these tokens. They are easily available through token stands and vending machines in exchange for cash or plastic.

If these babies weren’t so expensive, I’d have kept this as a souvenir.

Here’s a map of the festival ground. I’m going to walk you through.

As you can see, you enter through the Metal Plaza.

To your right is the Metal Dome, the white tent in this panoramic picture.

During the day it is the smallest venue for shows, at night is is the location of the after-show party.

They kicked off on Thursday with a THE BEST 100 METAL ALBUMS OF ALL TIMES bash, of which the guests got to determine the playlist in advance via online voting. You can see the top 100 list of 2011 here!

This is the metal dome during the Cannibal Corpse show.

“I’m Back, I’m Here, Give Me Some Fuckin’ Beer”… yeah, HAHA, can you imagine I was more interested in seeing George Corpsegrinder Fisher grind some corpses than in reading your funny sign?

Here he is, BTW.

So next to the Metal Dome there is the Joe Piler Saloon, where you can party and enjoy a cold Jupiler.

Lots of people also enjoy wearing the red stetsons they give away.

On Metal Plaza there were also bumper cars this year, as well as tons of food stands offering French fries, pasta, pizza, Mexican food, pita, waffles, ice cream, sandwiches, fruit etc. See the bumper car arena behind the solar phone charger (!).

We preferred eating in the restaurant tent, where you can sit down on ale-benches.

You can also sit under this roof outside the restaurant.

Note those dudes in boxers and raincoats, lol!

When you enter the actual Festivalsite, you have the Festival Fair and Metal Market to your left. Many big online stores sell their merchandise there. You can get anything from baby rompers to gas masks.

She’s a beauty!

We found Waldo!!!

On the left of the Festivalsite, there are further food stands, including the most important one – De Lachende Poffer!!! (I’d translate this to “The Smiling Mini Pancake” – I’d also try it if I were you!)

Poffertjes!

Making the Poffertjes!

Once again the large Coke area offered games and a soapy slide.

Further in the back there was the VIP, press and backstage area to be found.

In the middle of the Festivalsite you have the main stage obviously. Bars are conveniently located here as well.

Slayer

Twisted Sister

Some people may have hit the bar a little too hard…

The two marquees are on the right. They can comprise 50.000 people each!

What happens in the marquee stays in the marquee… 😉

This year they also had a building crane which lifted people up to have a view of the entire area. I was going to do that to get some awesome aerial images for the blog. Sadly on Sunday the weather was like this:

I hope you all like my designer garbage bag skirt!

G’night Graspop!

Graspop Metal Meeting 2011 Day II

So, with a lot of delay, here’s my video of day 2 of the glorious Graspop Metal Meeting 2011!
I had a great time and I would definitely recommend Graspop to everybody!
Day 2 started for us with Lacuna Coil on the main stage… which meant in the rain.
But that was not really a big deal and they were totally worth it!

After that we were especially glad to see the amazing Blaas of Glory – you can watch a little piece of “Living on a Prayer” in the video! I loved them – and their leggings!

The next couple of hours were spent eating and drinking in the food-tent and right in time for Black Label Society (eye candy 😉 ) the rain stopped – so we could enjoy them outside on the main stage without getting soaked again!

After that we once again entered marquee 1 to see Moonspell, a band which I liked a lot when I was younger.
The show was great, but my neighbor was hit in the head by a hardplastic bottle and it caused a nice huge bump on his head. People kept throwing bottles and full beer glasses (what a waste!) into the crowd, so we left before the concert was over.
Of course I am ready to get a concussion any time, just not before seeing Arch Enemy, you know?
When we came back outside, we saw on the big screen that the headliner Ozzy Osbourne had cancelled his appearance because of a laryngitis. They must have known longer than that though, because they had brought in a Belgian band whose name I forgot as a replacement. Also Judas Priest had been bumped up to the headlining slot and they had announced they would play a 120 minute set!! They are fucking heroes! :)
Arch Enemy was way awesome as always, though I was a bit annoyed by Angela’s comment:”I want to see some broken bones!”
I must reply:”I want to see your face when someone gets hurt so bad during your show that he/she is left in a wheelchair for life like it happened during a Cradle show just two or three years ago!”
Well, what ever!
After Arch Enemy, we saw Whitesnake on the main stage and I must say they are not really my taste.
Cradle of Filth however are very much my taste and so we watched their show next – it was amazing. Apparently the girl in the front row who flashed Dani agrees with me! 😉

But the highlight of the night was definitely Judas Priest – they are so awesome it’s ridiculous!
It was as if they were saying to all the other bands: “Yeah, that was nice kids, but now let us show you how it’s done!” 😀
Hehe.

Graspop Metal Meeting 2011 Day I

I made a short video compilation of our first day at Graspop. Like I already told you we missed a couple of songs of the EPICA set, because the road signs were very confusing. So we could only stand in the far back of Marquee 1 and watch the rest. EPICA had prepared a special pyro show for Graspop, which was very cool. Sadly they only spoke Dutch, so I have no idea what the hell they were talking about.

After that we caught a glimpse of VOLBEAT, who were playing outside on the Mainstage. Then we went into the Metal Dome to watch Duff McKagan for a while, who as you may know was the bass player in Guns N’ Roses and now has his own band, “Duff McKagan’s Loaded”, in which he also sings. I like them.

Finally I got to see Iced Earth! I’ve been waiting for a chance to do so forever. Luckily they were still fronted by Matt Barlow! Not that I don’t want to see them with Stu Block, I am hoping to do so in December. It’s just that Barlow sings on my favorite albums and it would have sucked to never have seen him live. So, now I have and it’s all good. :) Apparently a lot of people felt the same way, since there were a lot of “Barlow” choirs. Hell, it was awesome! :) I just wish this freakshow couple had not been in front of me making out the entire time. I could not use some Iced Earth footage because it was more porn than music video, lol! Get a room!

Graspop Metal Meeting

These are my first pictures from Graspop Metal Meeting. I thought I’d introduce the festival first. It takes place every last weekend of July in Dessel, Belgium, near Antwerp. It had the highest amount visitors so far in 2008 – 135.000 people, which makes it one of the biggest metal festivals in Europe. Wacken, for example, has about 80.000 visitors.
This year the headliners were The Scorpions (Friday), Ozzy Osbourne (Saturday) and Slipknot (Sunday). 75 bands played.

Here’s a map of the festival ground, which I downloaded from the German Graspop forum http://www.graspopmetalmeeting.de. I only downloaded this to show you guys though, because at the festival we were actually able to use a free GMM Android app! It had the schedule and map, so I really needed nothing else!

My only criticism of the festival is that it is not so easy to find! When we left the highway, there was a sign “festival”, which is nice, but it really should say which festival it is, I mean, how am I supposed to know there’s not a Jazz festival happening in the next village or something? We followed the sign and it lead us to a construction site which blocked the road. There was an official sign, not from the festival but from the city, that redirected us, but that did not say “festival” or anything, just “deviation”. We followed this sign for a while and already got worried that we were going in the wrong direction, because there were no more “festival” signs to be seen… until we finally spied a sign that said “GMM receptie”, which means reception, so we figured this is where we had to go to exchange our e-tickets for wristbands or something. There was no other sign related to the festival, so we followed this one. We drove past the correct parking lot twice, because the next “receptie” sign was kind of ambiguous and also there was not a soul in the parking lot so we thought this can’t be it. When we got out of the car, there was once again no sign telling us where to go, so after some searching we found some stairs that lead us to a reception area. Only it turned out to be for deliveries, not for visitors. From the look on the faces of the people who worked there we could tell that we were not the first ones who came there by accident. They were very friendly though and gave us a small map and showed us on it how to get to the actual festival parking lot! This time we found it! Wohoo! There were several pastures and each of them was reserved for a certain type of ticket holder – combi or day. We got on quickly and there was no problem, except that once you were on the right pasture, there were no people there to direct you. You could chose the spot to park in all on your own and stupid as people are, that did not work in all cases: Some cars had been blocked and it was obvious that there was no chance for them to leave before some others did! Anyways, when we got out of the car and walked off the parking lot, we arrived at a crossing: 4 possible ways to go and once again no sign what so ever! While we were standing there contemplating our options a Belgian guy asked us if we knew which was the way to the festival. He then asked other people and was told where to go and we followed him. After about 20 minutes of walking we finally arrived at the festival site. Getting the wristbands and getting on the festival ground was super quick and easy, but sadly because of all the problems before EPICA had already started playing when we arrived.

Now let me tell you a little about the festival site itself, which is amazing! When you have your wristband and have been checked for bottles, weapons etc., the camping ground is on your right, the festival ground on your left – so when you want to go back and forth between the stages and your tent, you do not have to go through security again, which is very convenient. The festival ground has a huge restaurant tent, where people who camp can have all kinds of breakfast, but which also served us as a dry place to sit when we were on a break in between shows. In fact I spent several hours in that tent and there were people playing cards and stuff. There were also many many ATMs and even a wagon with actual bank employees in it. The restroom facilities were cleaned all the time and I’d say the number of them was well chosen. There were no super long lines of people waiting… at least not of people smart enough to walk to the back and not just stand in the first line they see! 😉

There was also a giant amount of different food stands. I’d like to introduce to all of you my favorite – De Lachende Poffer!!!

They sell Poffertjes, which are essentially mini pancakes (size of a 2 EUR coin) with powdered sugar. The festival site also has a saloon and all kinds of attractions like bumper cars and a soapy slide. There’s a “festival fair” where you can buy merchandize, jewellery and things like that. The ground is very sandy, which is awesome! I’ve seen pictures of Germany’s Southside festival were people were standing in mud up to the middle of their shins, but in Dessel that’s not a problem. I wore my rubber boots in vain!

As of the stages, there’s 4. There’s the main stage, which is the only open air one. This is it:

The other ones are tents, so called “marquees”. Two big ones and the smaller metal dome.

That’s it for now, next time I’ll post some pics and videos of the shows I’ve seen!