Time for the second day on Alcatraz, while day one ended very hot, day two started with a lot of wind, even so bad that the meteo services broadcasted warnings. Alcatraz took care of it by taking off a bar of lights on the main stage and some acts were moved to the Swamp stage at the beginning of the day.
Bury tomorrow (****)
Originally, Bury Tomorrow was scheduled to play as the very first band for the main stage. However, due to weather warnings and heavy wind early in the morning, access to the main stage area was fenced off for a little while and the show was moved to the Swamp stage at a later time. Regardless of that, the turn-out was remarkable. The band was very energetic, which in turn made the crowd energetic too. Pretty much every song had people jumping and participating in mosh- and circle pits. Somewhere halfway through, vocalist Daniel Bates gave a speech about having fun and showing it by jumping to the music. As a result, many who were uncertain about jumping before, now found a reason to jump along as everybody else did.
Sometimes it was a bit difficult to keep track of the band members, as there was so much moving around going on onstage. It felt a little chaotic, but it certainly fit the energetic vibe. Bury Tomorrow mainly showed off their latest album, Black Flame; with songs like No Less Violent, The Age and the Black Flame title track. I really dug the use of relatively clean vocals to go alongside with the more aggressive guttural vocals on said title track. Despite the rescheduling, the band pulled it off magnificently. They truly deserved that main stage slot. It’s a shame that opportunity had to be taken from them so abruptly.
Sanctuary, the band that existed before the famous and one of a kind Nevermore , reunited when Nevermore called it a day. While Jeff Loomis took place in Arch Enemy, Warrel Dane reformed with Sanctuary. But as sad news came in that Warrel passed away we wondered if Sanctuary was going to continue. And yes they did, with a new singer. The new dude tried to do the same vocal style as Warrel, but Warrel was one of kind, nobody can ever touch him. This was not the Sanctuary we were used to, although it was a very good try.
Crossfaith got on stage with Deus Ex Machina, giving off some sort of EDM vibe. I wasn’t quite sure what to expect of them at first, as I knew their music was a mix of quite a few different styles. When the electronic intro finished, the band kicked off with Catastrophe, which quickly transformed that electronic feeling into something quite heavy and industrial. After which, they followed up with Xeno, which happens to be Hiroki’s favorite song to play (read more about that here).
Admittedly, Crossfaith certainly exceeded my expectations. With the crowd being a little confused and shy at first, they also quickly started joining in on the energetic vibe that Crossfaith emitted. Jumping, moshing, walls of death… It all happened. A couple of band members even went up to the fences to be closer to the crowd and channel their energy to them. And with a song like Jägerbomb, it was certainly difficult not to join the crowd and move along. All-in-all, Crossfaith was a very pleasant surprise. An amazing performance with great crowd interaction.
The melodic gothenburg metalheads of Soilwork came here with their new one ‘Verkligheten’. As a fan of the first hour it couldn’t go wrong, and it didn’t, the songs were played good, an excellent stage presence with a nice mix of old songs and newer songs, although the old songs still have more the X factor, or it is because I am getting old. To the end of the set I couldn’t get the impression out of my head that they were playing too much on auto pilot.
Tommy Victor‘s Prong can’t go wrong. Although the hard wind decided to kick down the mic before they started, they gave everything from the beginning. With a backlog that big it became a best of, Beg To Differ, Prove You Wrong, Revenge Best Served Cold , this was a feast for the Prong fan. It couldn’t have been better ended with Snap Your Fingers and Whose Fist Is This Anyway. Best of the day so far for me.
U.D.O. (*** 1/2)
U.D.O.’s Udo Dirkschneider may be old, but damn! His voice is still ever so powerful! With songs like Tongue Reaper, One Heart One Soul and Man And Machine, U.D.O. proves that you can put up a good old school heavy metal show, regardless of age. It’s always nice to discover a band of which you’d think “Nah, probably not my style” and then leave the show thinking “I wish I discovered this band earlier!” And I’m willing to bet a lot of young people at Alcatraz had a similar thought that day.
Thin Lizzy (**)
How Thin Lizzy ended up on the main stage is beyond me. Because, at this point, the real Thin Lizzy is long gone. The Thin Lizzy we are shown these days practically nothing more than a Thin Lizzy cover band. Ever since the real Thin Lizzy broke up, there have been no more new songs. All that is still released, is live recordings. These guys live off the fame of those who came before them. The show was okay, I suppose, but it was hardly a spectacle. Still playing songs like Jailbreak, The Boys Are Back In Town and Whiskey In The Jar, the band is like a broken record. How they are still relevant after not releasing any new material for 35+ years is beyond me. Sorry guys.
You love them, hate them or couldn’t care less. Though I’ve been a regular for over five years and have seen Avatar grow from playing in the back of a small pub to playing for huge crowds at plenty of festivals, every show is a pleasurable one. Having seen their Avatar Country themed performance live more times than I can count on one hand, I pretty much know every word of the speeches Johannes gives when the band goes from one song to the next. So when it was announced Avatar was to headline and that they would make it extra special and even wanted to record the experience on video, I had expected a little more ‘oomph’.
The band certainly gave a spectacular show with a decorated stage and fireworks and pyrotechnics, but it may have felt a little underwhelming to those who were already familiar to Avatar’s approach for live shows. And though it’s been a while since Avatar played Tower, most of the songs they played that night were no different from other shows. Crowd favorites like Hail The Apocalypse and The Eagle Has Landed were also present. All-in-all, it was very nice to see an Avatar show lasting 1½ hours, with pyro and a headlining spot, but it’s too bad the increased show length wasn’t used to play a few songs that have been neglected in the past, as I would have loved to see the band playing songs from their self-titled album again… But alas.
Finally they’ve made it to their hometown. The Swamp was packed which is no surprise as Amenra is hyper popular. The contrast with Opeth that closed off day one in The Swamp is huge, Amenra is more about a performance and a ceremony like thing then it has to do with making music that stays in your head. While post metal fans love this band , they get in a trance like state when enjoying Amenra, I just don’t get it, but hey you can’t discuss taste. The packed Swamp loved what they were doing,