Parkway Drive has had to deal with their fair share of grief. In the last few years their close friends in The Ghost Inside were involved in a life-altering bus crash that claimed the lives of two drivers. Their good friends and Metalcore cohorts, Architects, lost a brother and founding member, Tom Searle, and Parkway frontman, Winston McCall lost his best friend and faithful companion Monty, his beloved dog who died in his arms. Grief is a powerful motivator, and goes some way to explaining the stylistic shift seen on Parkway’s latest album, Reverence (Epitaph). Continue reading →
Super Bowl 50. A milestone. An epic event. Set in the San Francisco area, Super Bowl 50 promised to be a once in a lifetime experience. The huddled masses of the Bay Area wanted, no.. needed, a halftime show of equally epic proportions. A young man from Ohio had a brilliant idea. Why not allow a local band to perform at the halftime show? Jason Long started a petition to get Metallica, a local band with a good 35-year history in San Francisco, to play the Super Bowl. Metallica songs are anthems played in sporting stadiums around the country anyway. Jason’s petition quickly caught the eye of media outlets everywhere including Metallica and the NFL. But alas, after 63,925 signatures it was not to be. Much to the chagrin of everyone, Coldplay was chosen. But never fear. Metallica was so well chuffed by the idea, they rented out AT &T Park in downtown San Francisco and created CBS Radio’s The Night Before. Fans rejoiced! A full Metallica show with no time constraints or auto-tune.Continue reading →
Exodus are known for their fast paced and high energy live shows, and this was no exception. The musical equivalent of a kick in the teeth and a moshpit that left many bruised and battered finally give the bloodthirsty thrash fans in the audience what they were thirsty for all day. And while the summer sun-scorched the pit and the aggressive assault of sound infected the crowd, singer Steve Souza reminds them that while he loves the violence, pick one another up.
Lamb of God, photo by Susanne A. Maathuis
Lamb of God are known to be utterly brutal, a reputation they keep on this warm June day in Nijmegen. They’re also an experienced and excellent festival band, pulling crowd from all over the fest. The shops and stalls at the other side of the field are pretty much deserted as the band take the stage and fling their groove metal into the sweltering sun. The heat really picked up, leading vocalist Randy Blythe to douse his head in water several times, but didn’t deter the high energy show the band gives. Blythe also made a small comment about pit etiquette, reminding the whirling crowd we’re all in this together. All in all an excellent and thunderous performance.
Clutch, photo by Susanne A. Maathuis
Now it’s time, I finally get to see Clutch live. After cancelling part of their summer tour last year, the American stoner-rock band finally visit our continent again. And boy do they deliver. All of them are incredible musicians, and the crisp quality of the soundmix is incredible for an outdoor fest. They get a metal crowd to shake some booty to their bluesy, groovy psychedelic rock with Zappa-esque lyrics. And while most of the band has little stage presence, the focus pulled by their excellent front man, Neil Fallon, means they’re interesting and fun to watch, if you’re not to busy getting your groove on to the excellent timing and swung of the drummer, Jean-Paul Gaster.
Epica, photo by Susanne A. Maathuis
After a quick bite to eat of one of the many stands that little the festival terrain, we head over to the main stage to see Epica. They honor their name by the stage setup they tote out and definitely know how to rock the pyro. Add to that the excellent vocal condition Simone Simmons is in today (something that can sometimes be a bit of an issue with the band) and the incredibly tight and larger than life show, this is an excellent show. It’s also good to see every member of the band getting involved in cheering the crowd on, who lap up the hand gestures and clapping that even their keyboard player joins in with. It’s small wonder they got awarded an export award a day prior for selling most records outside of our own small speck on the map.
Venom, photo by Susanne A. Maathuis
You don’t go to a Venom gig to hear excellent musicianship. You go for the show. Pyro, insanity and a hell of a lot of energy, even some good musicianship from guitars and drums, however the bass is all over the place. Does this matter? Hell no! Venom is about frothing at the mouth and gleefully smashing your first into someone’s face, who then grins at you and returns the favor. Oh and fire! Though it seems vocalist and bassist Chronos had forgotten about the timing of the pyro, and set his own hair on fire briefly, but even that cannot stop this juggernaut of a band as the violent fun must always continue!
Slipknot, photo by Susanne A. Maathuis
As dusk sets in and the last golden rays of sunlight hit the main stage, Slipknot get their show on the road. This is a whole different league to anything we’ve seen today, with flying and turning mini-stages for the percussionists, the masks, extra lights, and more. And what about the music you ask? You can love or hate Slipknot, but they are all good musicians, with an incredibly eye for detail and showmanship, that doesn’t in any way strip away from the musical quality of the show. The switches between clean vocals and grunts by front man Corey Taylor are tight and impressive and for an hour and a half the band has the entire grounds captivated. This is much more than a gig, this is a music based circus act, that brings you up and down whenever the band feels like it. A fitting end to an excellent day of this reputable fest.
Slipknot, photo by Susanne A. Maathuis
Slightly sun-burned and quite satisfied the visitors and me leave the festival grounds to the buses, on our trek home. Fortarock, we thank you.