Thursday 10th June

Dio Stage

In a day and age when every melodic hard rock band and their mother decides to reunite, some reunions are called for and some should just have been left alone. In fact, some bands should never have started to begin with. In the mid eighties, Treat were Sweden’s top act, beside Europe when it came to melodic rock. But when all attempts to break big outside Sweden failed and then grunge decided to almost kill every band with a melody, they split up. But thankfully they decided to reunite. Because a quick listen back, their songs really stands the test of time and with a killer new album, Coup De Grace, proves that this band is too good to remain buried. All of us who have seen them live knows that as a live act they’re even better and this SRF gig is no exception to that rule. In Jamie Borger and Nalley Påhlson they have one of the tightest rhythm sections I have ever heard and Anders Wikström must be one the most underrated guitar players ever. Why he never earned a guitar hero status is beyond me. But the biggest surprise is singer Robert Ernlund. At 52 he sings his ass off and is far better than he was in his heyday. The fact is, the Treat of 2010 is a much heavier unit than in the 80’s. Kicking off with “The War Is Over” followed by “All In” from their latest CD they set the standards for the day. Hard, rocking and kicking ass but with crowd pleasing melodies, this just couldn’t go wrong. And they weren’t short of old classics either. “Ready For The Taking”, “Get You On The Run”, “World Of Promises” and “Rev It Up” shows that those songs are just as strong as back in the day, if not stronger. “Papertiger”, “Roar” and the fantastic encore of “Skies Of Mongolia” tells me that the boys has a bunch of classics to be. A great gig by a great band. Not to be missed in the future by any rock fan.

Jon Wilmenius (9/10)

Sweden Stage

This is the third time Y&T plays SRF since they debuted on Swedish soil in 2003. The fact is, they have remained faithful to Sweden by coming back at least once a year since then, playing smaller clubs, often two days in a row. As huge Y&T fan I have never missed them when they have been playing here and they have never disappointed me even the slightest. And this gig was no different. One big thing that makes them always interesting is that they never play on routine like Kiss and Mötley Crüe, who just plays the same set of songs year after year. With a big goldmine of songs they change their set all the time –  and this time they have a new album, the great Facemelter to promote, their first one in more than ten years. The show opener this time is “Black Tiger”, a great song, but maybe not the first choice to open a show with. How about “In The Name Of Rock” next time boys? Among the new tracks played this day were “On With The Show”, maybe a future opener and the great single “I’m Coming Home”, which both fitted in perfectly among older killers like “Open Fire”, “Mean Streak”, “Rescue Me”, “I Believe In You” and “Eyes Of A Stranger” and their tribute to the late Ronnie James Dio, “Rainbow In The Dark” was just fantastic. Dave Meniketti might be in his mid fifties but he still has a powerful voice and as a guitar player he simply rules and with the other original member, bassist Phil Kennemore by his side, this version of Y&T is just as strong as the original lineup. Y&T deserves to be massive and the fact that they’re not a huge arena band is truly unfair. But the size of the crowd shows that they’re one of the most wanted bands on the bill. Many people stood up to the rain and loved every minute of it, to judge by the look on their faces. For me, they’re welcome to play this festival every year. Let’s just hope for some sunshine next time.

Jon Wilmenius (9/10)

Pretty Maids
Festival Stage

This review should have been about Ratt if they hadn’t cancelled in the eleventh hour due to Stephen Pearcy’s illness that required immediate surgery. A shame really, because Ratt has a new, great album out, Infestation and I had looked forward to see them. Instead, Pretty Maids was called in in a hurry. Which made up for the loss of Ratt big time for me. The Maids is one of my favourite bands and the last time I saw them was on an extremely sunny day at SRF back in 2008 where they did a great gig. So my expectations were pretty high, especially since their new album, Pandemonium is their best since Spooked in 1997. Not that they have made a bad album ever. This time the sun were nowhere to be seen, but with new bass player Hal Patino, the guys are now a tighter unit than before so the clouds and rain, that ironically started during their new single “Little Drops Of Heaven”, didn’t bother much, much to the fact that it didn’t rain that hard anyway. Pretty Maids have since they started back in 1983 made no less than 12 albums, so they have a lot of great songs to choose from. Their old classics like “Future World”, “Back To Back” and “Love Games” drew the biggest applauds, but newer stuff like opener “Pandemonium”, sing along “Walk Away” and “Please Don’t Leave Me” and “Wake Up To The Real World” went down surprisingly well and that shows that the Danish guys have a pretty big following here in Sweden. Well, after all, we are neighbours…

Jon Wilmenius (8/10)

Festival Stage

I remember the first time I heard Slayer. I was a teenager back in 1986 or something and a friend of mine played me “Hell Awaits”. Back then I was only into melodic rock and I had never heard anything like that ever. That wasn’t music, that was a raging bulldozer on speed trying to crush everything in its way. That made me hate Slayer until I saw the video for “Seasons In The Abyss” on Headbanger’s Ball in 1991. I have since then changed my mind a lot and even though I now believe that Seasons In the Abyss is Slayer’s magnum opus and that the albums after that isn’t all that great, I now like their earlier records a lot. Having never seen Slayer live before I really looked forward to this gig, especially now that drummer Dave Lombardo, one of metal’s greatest drummers is back in the band. Afterwards  I can only state that witnessing a gig with Slayer is like being run over by a steamroller, but in a good way. The band is extremely tight and heavy, even though Kerry King is a horrible guitarist and when they play all their classics, stuff like “Raining Blood”, “Dead Skin Mask”, “War Ensamble”, “South Of Heaven” and “Seasons In The Abyss” you just have to surrender. And when you see Tom Araya, all grey haired with a huge smile on his face while playing this, dark and evil music in the sunshine, you just gotta love it. I had high hopes that Slayer would put on a good show, but I never thought they’d be this good. This was certainly not the last time I went to see them.

Jon Wilmenius (8/10)

Festival Stage

When Aerosmith played SRF the last time we wrote 2007 and I was expecting a lot. Having seen them on several occasions, I knew that they are a killer live band. After the four or five first songs I thought they would play the best gig in SRF’s history. Enter the ballads. Not only did they kill the whole show by playing all those ballads in a row, but they decided to throw a couch on stage to sit and do some acoustics as well. That’s when I left in a rage. This year they were booked again and I won’t be the lesser man, so I had no problem giving them another chance. And this time they took it. After a couple of turbulent years with Steven Tyler falling off the wagon to drugs and inside fighting with Tyler wanting to go solo and the rest of the band looking for a replacement, they had decided that they wanted to show everyone how the big boys do it, that they’re hungry again and that they won’t go away anytime soon. Basing the set on seventies material made a lot of us happy, bringing back stuff like “Kings And Queens” and  “Lord Of The Thighs” mixed with crowd pleasers like “Toys In The Attic”, “Draw The Line”, ”Back In The Saddle”, “Sweet Emotion”, “Dream On” and of course “Walk This Way”. Plus the covers “Walking The Dog” and “Baby Please Don’t Leave Me” that fitted in very well, even though I would have chosen a couple of originals instead. The eighties were somewhat neglected, no “Dude Looks Like A Lady”, “Janies Got A Gun” or “Rag Doll”, but “Love In An Elevator” was a great opener. The ballads were there and that’s ok when spread out through the set and some of them, like “Cryin’”, are a must, but why they keep playing crap like “Jaded” or “I Don’t Wanna Miss A Thing” is beyond me. No one would have cried had those been left out and with the treasure chest of songs that Aerosmith have, there is at least a dozen songs they could have played instead. Ok, enough of the complaining, Aerosmith played a great gig, they sounded hungry and like they meant business and hopefully this wasn’t the last we saw of them. Now, will you please release that album that has been in the works for the last years already.

Jon Wilmenius (8/10)

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