Alcatraz 2021 – Day 2 (14/08/2021)

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Udo Dirkschneider (**), the once frontman of Accept brought us, well Accept. A set that consisted of almost only Accept classics. The purely heavy metal fans are going wild on it and yes, even me couldn’t hold himself to sing along, that’s what Accept songs do to you. But Udo, what the hell, each song stretched out to make the crowd sing along, full of ego showing of your band what they are capable of, too much is too much. Just play some damn songs.

I seldom put on an Emperor (****) record for the simple reason I find the recordings dated and can’t bear the audio quality. But I’ll never miss a live performance if I can avoid it. It’d been three years since I’d seen the Norwegian black metal masters at work, and last time I thought the set list was a little on the mellow side, resulting in me being bored towards the end. Tonight’s set however was bloody explosive and kept me invested until the last note. My opinion of their performance may also have strongly been influenced by the fact that they were scheduled in the Swamp marquee, a far better place to play somber music such as this as opposed to an open air stage. The ambiance is far better, there’s next to no light from outside, the lighting and smoke achieve their full effect, and sound rarely travels. Needless to say, conditions were perfect to relive the greatness of Norway’s finest black metal band.

From one entrancing performance right into the other. I’ve never missed a single Belgian Heilung (****) experience, nor do I ever intend to. The international folk ensemble bring us yet another rendition of what they call “amplified history”. By this they mean to take you back through time all the way to the dawn of Western-European civilization by way of musical hypnosis. Expect druid rituals, deep booming drums, throat singing skalds, warrior initiations, and angelic odes to mother nature, all performed in a multitude of languages, dead or still spoken today. I admit this description does not fall into the heavy metal category per se, but the message can be found in some metal subcategories, folk metal and power metal to name the most prominent ones. And while most of us in the crowd at the very least enjoyed the concert thoroughly, there were some who did not share that sentiment. I can respect some audience members’ lack of interest and their subsequent departure of the festival grounds, but to stick around with the sole purpose of mocking this awesome performance is just petty. Go grab another beer in the comfort of your narrow-mindedness and leave the rest of us in peace. Fortunately hecklers were steadily getting shushed and chased out of the grounds by a few braver souls, and we could all enjoy the rest of Heilung‘s performance in peace.

Well, that does it for me on this second day. Back to the camp site for more festival shenanigans and further partying. The third and last day is drawing near, so we gotta make the afterparty count.

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