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Thursday 8th July - Saturday 10th July 2010
Moheds Flygfält in Söderhamn, Sweden
Kamelot performing at Rockweekend, 10th July 2010
Photograph copyright © 2010 Annika Argerich - www.metal-discovery.com
Reviews by Ritchie LaRoux; Photography by Annika Argerich
The Swedish funky-metal band Electric Boys, led by frontman Conny Bloom, was first band of real interest on the final day of the Rockweekend festival. Hundreds of people were gathered in front of the stage, well in time before the show. I was almost equally surprised of the big audience as the absence of the same at the Sepultura show, and more people approached the main stage in great haste as the show began. The curly-haired singer/guitarist Conny Bloom is one of those rock stars who has that obvious charisma that gets the unquestionable centre of attention. His vocals are strong and his “funky Yngwie” riffs on the guitar that bears his trademark are impressive. The number of quality songs at the band's disposal is equally impressive. Their attributes also make them ideally equipped for a live environment. The band is a most efficient unit with Niclas Sigevall (drums), Andy Christell (bass) and Franco Santunione (guitar) all contributing with fundamental chops. Sigevall perhaps gets noticed the most, his powerful drumming creates a solid base for the irresistible grooves. The music simply grooves and swings, highlights such as ‘Knee Deep In You’, ‘Mary In The Mystery World’ and ‘Groovus Maximus’ gets the crowd going. And as the setlist continues Bloom occasionally swaps guitars sometimes for a tambourine in his characteristic laid-back 70s’ rocker style, revealing that he is in his element. The concluding number and biggest hit ‘All Lips And Hips’ serves as a brilliant finale to a great late afternoon, making the crowd screaming for more. Shall we say same place, same time next year, then?
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Saturday evening, 20:00 and all is perfect. The weather is great and the biggest band ever booked for Rockweekend are due on stage. Last time I actually saw them was at Sweden Rock in ‘99 (damn, time goes fast). First time was in 1985 on their legendary Perfect Strangers Tour. At that time I was really into them, I’d just began playing the guitar and of course they were a great inspiration for me. Back then there was Lord and Blackmore in the band, but with Morse and Airey I knew that this would be just as great as ever. 10,000+ people (according to the local paper), nothing could really go wrong this night, the only threat to a success was a power failure or a natural disaster, but I’m not sure about the last one mentioned. What a night to remember...Purple delivers a great show, and although I wish they could play for hours and had the time to play some more of the band’s old songs like ‘Child In Time’, ‘Burn’, ‘My Woman From Tokyo’, to mention a few, I was still very pleased because the band totally kicks ass when it comes to playing their instruments. Needless to say, it is a pleasure to hear tunes like ‘Highway Star’, ‘Strange Kind Of Woman’, ‘Lazy’, ‘Space Truckin’, ‘When A Blind Man Cries’, and ‘Perfect Strangers’ along with great solos from both Steve Morse and Don Airey. And the excellence of Ian Paice & Roger Glover is still underrated; nobody should really complain. It’s sad, however, that Ian Gillan gives the impression of being so bored, and the fact that one of rock’s finest voices throughout time, comes out in a white t-shirt along with standard pants doesn’t add much to his stage appearance. You could try to look a little bit more "Rockish" Mr Gillan! Musically, Deep Purple are one of the best in the business. The great pioneers of progressive Hard Rock and founders of the genre, still blow me way. Absolutely world class performance! Please come back soon again gentlemen.
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I absolutely adore Saxon. I have seen them perform many times before and have 50+ Vinyls on the shelf. It goes without saying that they are one of my all time 10 favourite bands. Entering the stage to the sound of Metallic’s ‘Seek And Destroy’, anticipation grows high among the gathering crowd at the main stage. And as the mighty Biff Byford gave the “horns up” as he started the vocals to ‘Heavy Metal Thunder’, the reception was overwhelming and from the first stroke to the last, Nigel Glockler punished the skins in a tight, powerful way that added energy to the band not seen, at least by me, for quite some time. As this was my 20th or so Saxon gig, I can promise you that the fire was really there. Due to delays and the switch of the running order, Saxon had to shorten their set by 15 mins. Despite that, some more recent titles were still played such as ‘Dogs Of War’, ‘Live To Rock’ and ‘Demon Sweeney Todd’ from their latest album ‘Into the Labyrinth’. This was highly appreciated by me since they left “the Demon” out during their ‘Labyrinth’ tour in Scandinavia some four months ago. What the main part of the audience wanted was crystal clear. When Doug Scarratt and Paul Quinn delivered the riffs to songs like ‘And the Bands Played On’, ‘747 (Strangers In The Night)’, ‘Motorcycle Man’ and ‘Wheels Of Steel’, the temperature immediately rose a few notches. You could see that Biff liked the response. The classic ‘The Eagle Has Landed’ and ‘Crusader’ followed, and Biff continuously kept the audience wrapped around his finger. Finally, to conclude this set, ‘Denim And Leather’ is dedicated to the late Ronnie James Dio. And yes...the chanting of “Dio” was heard again, and again. I think they could have gone on much longer than 80 minutes; the audience was great and it was a tremendous performance by Saxon on this, close to a perfect final day of the Rockweekend Festival. And as we slowly walked away from the festival area for the last time, we all agreed that Saxon were the undisputed winner of this year’s Rockweekend.
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When Kamelot entered the stage it was head on with full intensity right from the start, with flames shooting up frequently and a beautiful stage set, this promised candy for both eyes and ears. Kamelot had brought with them a female backing vocalist. Her addition further added some depth to the songs and made them even more powerful, sound wise as well as visually with one more person performing on stage. Again, the only disappointment was the sound. The lead vocals from Roy Khan were low - it got a bit better after a few songs but could still be up a notch or two. This was a shame because he really has a great voice, but I really had to concentrate to hear any of it. The sound was otherwise okay. Finally somebody had bothered to turn down the bass frequency on the drums. I expected Kamelot to do a great show, and from the beginning to end this was exactly how great I wanted it to be, and even more. After 50 minutes or so I typically had to empty the bladder so I missed about 15 minutes. In conclusion, Kamelot seemed to be having a really great time on stage, and this is what I love about some bands - you can see that they are really pushing themselves to do their best, and also that it shows so well that they really like it. Therefore, even if I missed some songs in the set and I think they could have gone on much longer than ninety minutes for my part, it would be idiotic of me to complain. I will definitely go to a show on their next European tour!
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