Alcatraz 2021 – Day 2 (14/08/2021)

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I’m always wary when it comes to cover bands, because my opinion of them varies depending on the spot they hold on the schedule. As an afterparty at night? No problem. I’ll have had a few, I’ll be in a party mood and just wanna shout along to lyrics everyone else around me also drunkenly yells out. But when they’re scheduled between all the other artists, it doesn’t do much for me. Biased, yes, but that’s the way it is. Bizkit Park (**1/2), as you may have suspected, brings a selection of covers by bands with which most peers of my generation grew up with. It so happens that this demographic makes up the larger part of the festival audience. On the menu you’ll find acceptable renditions of Linkin Park, Korn, Limp Bizkit, System of a Down, Deftones and many more. Why acceptable? Well, because the presentation and vocals are plain average. I found only few people shared my opinion as the Swamp marquee was completely packed. So props to the band. When your core game is nostalgia, you have to bring something extra to the table to keep me invested. And I found the table quite empty.

Ever had so much fun a concert was over before you knew it? It happens to me a lot, but never at the pace of this Destruction (****) show. The legendary German thrashers were one of today’s heavier performances. Schmier and friends truly brought the heat. I’m not just talking about their performance, which was figuratively lit, but they dared to bring out the pyrotechnics not caring one bit that we all had been baking to a crisp in the afternoon sun. Pushing us to our very limits, the Teutonic thrash masters demanded we completely demolish the festival grounds. And we were all too eager to indulge as we breathed in the dust kicked up by army boots barely holding on to moshing feet. What an exquisite mess.

Off to something more quiet, or so we thought. The Swedes from Dark Tranquillity (****) gave a memorable performance to say the least. Not only did they select an interesting set list but some of their bangers sounded much better live than they did on their records. Songs like ‘Monochromatic Stains‘ and ‘Terminus (Where Death is Most Alive)‘ were performed to perfection. The Gothenburg melodeath pioneers played a surprisingly varied set list, supporting their latest record ‘Moment‘ (2020) as well as playing more than a few tracks off their mid and later period albums like ‘Atoma‘ (2016), ‘Fiction‘ (2007) and ‘Character‘ (2005). Everyone, including the band, was simply delighted with this concert.

Peter Tätgren’s Hypocrisy (****) clearly chose a crowd-pleasing all-star setlist spanning practically the whole of their career. This caused no rest for the crowd that could indulge in headbanging and crowd surfing from beginning to the end. And also unlike their other fellow Swedes from At The Gates who played the day before, Tätgren did manage to make a connection with the crowd which made this feel like a more heartfelt show. So in case you are wondering, the winner of the unofficial melodic death metal legends competition is Hypocrisy! But also overall, throughout the weekend, there were few other bands that left such an impact on the crowd. One point of critique, however, is that their setlist at this year’s edition is practically an exact copy of their appearance at 2019’s edition. So maybe it’s time to switch things up a bit? Or even better, get in the mood and write some new Hypocrisy material!?

This report continues on page 4.

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