Saturday 12th June

Fates Warning
Festival Stage

Fates Warning was to me a pleasant booking for this years festival. But I wasn’t sure that their progressive rock would be done justice at a festival like this. I have always prefered to watch progressive bands like Dream Theater or Queensrÿche on their own because to me a festival is a party and bands like this are more for listening and not partying. For SRF, the band had reunited with the lineup that recorded their biggest album to date, Parallels from 1991 and with that in mind I really looked forward to watch them. The guys are truly high-class musicians and they have a lot of killer songs to play. But just as suspected, it didn’t work all the way through despite the fact that the band seemed to enjoy themselves enormously. Had I watched a Fates Warning gig under other circumstances, I would probably have loved this, but here I actually got a bit bored and I kept waiting for some action to take place. A very good band, indeed, but for me, wrong forum. On the other hand, lots of fans seemed to enjoy this a lot, so maybe it’sjust me. Please come back by yourselves and I’ll be there and my guess is that the review from that concert would look a lot different to this one.

Jon Wilmenius (6/10)

Winger
Festival stage

Another reunited band I really looked forward to see. Winger reunited in 2006 and are now touring to promote their second album, Karma, since the reunion. For some reason Winger is one of the most picked on bands of the whole so-called “hair metal” genre. Why is anyone’s guess, but maybe it had to do with Kip Winger’s good looks or the fact that it was well-known that he used to take ballet lessons. But the fact is that Winger wasn’t even close to the cheesiness of many other bands from that era. Quite the opposite. Four fantastic musicians, a sound of their own and had people only bothered to listen to their masterpiece Pull from 1993, minds may had changed. This gig was Winger’s first time on Swedish soil in some 20 years and my expectations were high to say the least. And I’m very happy to say that the guys delivered. However, the conditions for the guys could have been better. Their concert was 30 minutes late due to a mixing table that blew to the ground at Rock Stage. But when the guys finally took the stage, they rocked our asses off. Winger of today doesn’t do pop metal anymore. They’re a full-blown hard rock band and a lot of the earlier, softer material is left out on behalf of their newer, heavier stuff. “Deal With The Devil” opened up like a punch in the gut and tracks like “Stone Cold Killer”, “Pull Me Under”, “Blind Revolution Mad” and “Down Incognito” showed that there are lots and lots of life left with the guys. Of course, older hits like “Can’t Get Enuff”, “Easy Come, Easy Go” and “Seventeen” had to be played, but the way they are played live is nothing like they sound on the records. The keyword to Winger 2010 is “Heavy”. Sadly, they had to cut their set short because of the mixing table incident so a couple of songs were left out. There is no doubt that Winger is a killer live band and all of you who have ever tried to be funny on their expense should check them out. You’d be surprised. I know people who were…

Jon Wilmenius (8/10)

Opeth
Rock Stage

First of all, I’m a big Opeth fan so I’m not sure about my objectivity here. I have also seen them live a couple of times before and they are an amazing live act. Although, this is a festival and I was a little worried that their progressive kind of death metal meets Pink Floyd wouldn’t really cut it at a place were a lot of people (like me) more like to drink beer and get rocked. Well, just one half of the opening number proved that I didn’t have to worry at all. The thing is, despite playing looooooong songs, these guys never ever gets boring. Not just a little. Not for a second. And when their set ended, you went “Is this it?”. I wanted more. A lot more. Another thing, on stage, the guys don’t do much. A little head banging here and there, but that’s it. Still doesn’t get boring. In Mikael Åkerfeldt they have a great singer, who both growls and does his clean voice singing with the same intensity. And he’s a funny bloke as well. None of the usual death metal stage raps. The guy jokes through the whole concert and smiles all the while and a second later, the most evil growls comes out of his throat. New guy Fredrik Åkesson (Arch Enemy, Talisman, Southpaw) is just brilliant and easily one of Sweden’s finest guitar players. World class. The same goes to bass player Martin Mendez and drummer Martin Axenrot. What a fucking rhythm section. Mendez flying fingers are just jaw dropping. Great band, great songs, great gig. There you go.

Jon Wilmenius (9/10)

W.A.S.P.
Rock Stage

The last time I saw WASP was back in 1999 and they played a very good gig. In later years I’ve lost interest a bit, much due to the pretty weak albums they’ve put out. Until 2007’s Dominator and their latest effort Babylon, both shown a WASP that feels born again musically and the word on the streets has been about how great a live act WASP is nowadays. That, plus the fact that they have promised us a nostalgia gig with songs only from their two first albums made my interest in the band rising. Blackie and the boys entered the stage shooting “On Your Knees” from the hip and then the hits just kept coming. Songs like “The Last Command” and “The Torture Never Stops” hadn’t been played for 25 something years (and the latter may should have been left in the closet, to be honest), but it was sure fun to hear the oldies again. Of course, with a new album out, Blackie didn’t keep his “only from the 2 first albums” promise. Both “Babylon’s Burning” and “Crazy” from the new album, as well as “The Idol” and “Chainsaw Charlie” from The Crimson Idol were performed next to gems like “Wild Child”, “L.O.V.E. Machine”, “Widowmaker” and of course “I Wanna Be Somebody”. I didn’t mind though. In my book, the six first albums are all killer as well as the two latest. The performance was awesome, the band are as tight as a camel’s arse in a sandstorm and Blackie Lawless is still the most underrated singer in the world. The 54 year old’s voice is still fantastic. Only minus is that the new-born christian Blackie refuses to perform one of his most loved songs, “Animal (I Fuck Like A Beast)”. Since Axl Rose and his band doesn’t interest me a bit, this were my headliner of the evening. Thank God for that.

Jon Wilmenius (9/10)

Guns N Roses
Festival Stage
Sunday 13/6

 First of all, this isn’t Gun N Roses. This Axl Rose’s Solo ensemble or something. Second, there is no rating here because I didn’t stick around to see the show. After waiting for 20 minutes for Mr I-go-on-stage-when-ever-I-damn-well-please, I left listening to a booing crowd and seeing them throwing bottles at the stage. Apparently, he decided he would be a nice guy and actually play after an hour, so yes you read it correctly. The gig started after midnight, therefore Sunday.

Jon Wilmenius

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