Thursday 9th June

 Buckcherry – Festival Stage (7/10)

As far as I know, this was the first time Buckcherry had played in Sweden in their 15 year long career. And what could be better than a hard dose of Buckcherry’s mix of sleaze and classic rock to start off the day with? Well, a bit of sunshine to start with, because there was none. But we had rain. Not hard rain, but enough for the party mood to take a long walk and a party mood is a pretty big thing for a Buckcherry gig.  However, that wasn’t the guys fault and they tried hard as hell to get us going, but to no avail, I’m afraid. Josh Todd is an excellent frontman with a decent voice and although no virtuosos, the rest of the band are a tight unit and good musicians and on a finer day they probably would have come across a lot better because they have the songs, the looks and the act. When newer songs like ”Rescue Me”, ”It’s A Party” and ”All Night Long” were mixed with older hits like ”Lit Up” and ”Crazy Bitch” I for one could not stand still, but unfortunately it didn’t work for everybody. Too bad on such a great band. I would love to see them indoors soon. They sure would kill then.

Joan Jett And The Blackhearts – Rock Stage (9/10)

This is a review I never thought I’d write. I was never a Joan Jett fan and I more or less went to her gig because I thought I’d just catch a few songs and then leave. I mean, she is a legend and you’d really have to see her play, just a little, now that we both were at the festival. Much to surprise, I didn’t just watch a few songs, I stayed the whole concert. And even more so, I really, really liked it. So how come? Well, first of all, the passion and the pure love for playing was contagious. You really could feel the commitment and the emotions from the stage. Joan herself was all smiles and her band mates looked genuinely happy as well. The crowd in front of Rock Stage must have been one of the largest I’ve ever seen and if the reaction from the crowd is anything to go by, they all loved her. Me, I was just struck with awe after just a few songs. Songs that I normally don’t really like. The set were mixed by high-octane versions of old Runaways stuff like ”Cherry Bomb” and ”Drive Me Wild” and her solo stuff. The killer opening with ”Bad Reputation” set the standard for her concert and hits like ”Do You Wanna Touch” and, of course, ”I Love Rock ’n’ Roll” really brought the house down. A killer cover of Sweet’s ”AC/DC” finished the gig, a perfect ending of one of SRF’s highlights this year. The only reason she didn’t get a full 10/10 rate here is because of her drummer. Could be one of the crappiest drummers I have ever seen and mind you, I have seen Poison live… Still, hats off to a real genuine and, now in her fifties, very beautiful rock chick. Am I a fan now?

Queensrÿche – Festival Stage (4/10)

Let me first say that I love Queensrÿche. At least the records from their debut to 1992’s Promised Land. But I even like a lot of their later records, that, it seems, no one else likes. I have also witnessed a bunch of concerts with this Seattle band and I have never ever been disappointed. Not once. Quite the opposite. So that is why it is a bit painful to realise that Queensrÿche are no longer the band they once were. Because, although not really bad, this was a dull show. Boring. I can’t for one second grasp why on earth a band like this would choose a set list like this. I can appreciate the fact that they don’t wanna be a nostalgia act and that they want to move forward. But this is a festival and not their own tour. So, for God’s sake, just play the classics. Heaven knows that this band have shitloads of them. Try this one; ONE, yes folks, ONE song from their biggest album Operation: Mindcrime. That, my friends, is blasphemy. The set list wasn’t entirely bad, in fact some older cool songs were played, but it wasn’t nearly enough. All the new songs took too much room and besides, as a live act,  most of the energy of old is missing. This was the festival’s only big disappointment and Queensrÿche needs to learn what they need to do to be a big band again. They need to look back – and they need to stop playing and writing the type of songs that nobody is interested in anymore or their career just might hit shit creek. I haven’t heard one good reaction to their gig, so I hope it’s not already too late.

Judas Priest – Festival Stage (8/10)

It was only two years since Judas Priest last headlined this festival, third time all in all. Last time wasn’t bad, but it didn’t rock my world either. And I love the Priest so I want and need them to do just that when I see them live, to not be disappointed. This is Priest’s goodbye tour, meaning they won’t do anymore big tours, just the odd gig here and there. And of course albums. With that we reached the news that original guitarist K.K. Downing had jumped the ship and been replaced by Richard Faulkner from Lauren Harris band. No good news at all. We could however not knock him or this new lineup before giving them a chance. And boy, did they take it. So along comes a bunch of good news. First of all, Priest rocked. Hard. Second, Rob Halford’s voice sounded better than in a really long time. Third, they didn’t go all Kiss on us with a predictable and safe set list. And fourth, Downing wasn’t missed that much. Ok, visually it wasn’t the same, but Faulkner did a very good job and sound wise, you couldn’t even hear the difference. Well done. Now to the songs. Of course the hits must be played – ”Metal Gods”, ”Breaking The Law”, ”Victim Of Changes”, ”Electric Eye”and ”Painkiller” were all there and they really had to be. ”Living After Midnight” wasn’t which was weird, but that song is disposable. Cooler though were the more obscure choices. Opener ”Rapid Fire”, ”Starbreaker”, ”The Sentinel” and ”Blood Red Skies” are all songs I’ve never heard live before and they were all so welcome into the set. There are still life in the Priest and this night they felt more alive and kicking than in a very long time. A perfect ending to an almost perfect day.

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