Alcatraz 2021 – Day 2 (14/08/2021)

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The main stage was again cursed with poor audio. But the wind was the bigger culprit this time, taking off with most of the vocals and cymbal strikes. A shame, really, since Burning Witches (***) is a power metal band. And power metal usually means memorable singalong epics. That is, if you can reach the higher notes. These Swiss ladies have some serious stage presence, which enthralls you and draws you into the historical and fantastical stories they’re trying to tell. Show(wo)manship is always appreciated when recounting of dragons, witches and devils.

And now for the band of the day, we turned our attention to the dirty Belgian punks of Funeral Dress (****1/2). This was an incredibly fun concert. Sweating guaranteed as the Swamp’s entire center stage was jumping around on the merry sounds of classic punk rock. The hot midday sun didn’t even have anything to do with it. I’m a big fan of 80s pop classics and will thus never forget their rendition of Men at Work‘s ‘Down Under‘, the song that drove me in the mosh pit and kept me there. And of course everyone lost their minds when they played their classic hit song, ‘Party On‘, one we all expected but needed more than we realised.

Time for the joke of the century. Well it may have started as a joke but look at where it has brought Fleddy Melculy (***). They’ve conquered all the bigger Belgian stages and can check Alcatraz off their list. Their groovy metalcore mix made the crowd go crazy as hell. A bit too wild even, as the show had to be stopped because of an injury in the pit. Tough very energetic and wild, in the long run all songs off their set sound a bit similar. Still, they have some nice riffing in their songs.

“Who is that guitar player, I recognize him from somewhere?” must be one of the most asked questions I got during Omnium Gatherum’s (***1/2) show. Mostly from people that are quite familiar with the Finnish melodic death metal scene. It is surprising that few fans of Insomnium know Markus Vanhala’s other project of which he is a founding member. Omnium Gatherum’s melodic death metal is very layered and the sound crew in the Swamp did not always manage to bring out all the details in the mix. Also lead vocalist Jukka Pelkonen’s strong switch between a deep growl and a lighter timbre proved difficulty to manage in the audio. Unfortunately, because of these issues I believe that the Finnish OG could not deliver its best possible act. I hope, however, that the sympathetic Finns will have convinced enough people to check out more of their music online.

Feed (***), a band that’s been around for about twenty-five years, twenty of which I think they spent in silence. This band is the creative child of Peter Iterbeke, a well know musician in the Belgian music scene. In a previous life he even played with Channel Zero, and all too forgotten excellent thrash metal band, Erode To Greed. Peter showed us he is a great guitar player and just as good a singer. This three-piece brought us a mix of groovy stoner rock. Feed is not for everybody, but the more refined music lover knows when a band brings us a dish as delicious as theirs.

This report continues on page 3.

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