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!