ELECTRIC BOYS Sweden Stage (8/10)
Almost the whole Friday rained away which was a total bummer, so waking up and seeing the sun shining on a cloudless blue sky made me feel a lot better. Specially when Saturday was the last day of the festival, a good way to end SRF 2012.
Electric Boys played early afternoon and I was looking forward to enjoy their funked up rock show, shirtless with an ice cold beer in hand. Having seen the Boys on several occasions before, expectations were high since they have always delivered the goods every time. But again, the same volume problem appeared, just like it had with several other acts on this festival. Usually, their opener ”Psychedelic Eyes” gets the crowd going from the first note, but due to the low volume, you just couldn’t feel it and if there’s one thing that is important when it comes to Electric Boys, it’s feel. You need to feel their groove in your chest. The band themselves really did no wrong, so it’s a pity that some stupid moron feels that they need to decide how loud my music should be. Hallo, idiot, ever heard of earplugs? But it got better. Not louder, but the sound engineer managed to make the sound come out right by the third song ”Groovus Maximus”.
Finally, we could feel the beat. And when that happened, the Boys went from good to great. They played a mixed set of old and new songs and what hit me was how well the crowd responded to the new stuff. ”Father Pocorn’s Magic Oysters”,”Angel In An Armoured Suit” and ”Welcome To the High Times” did almost as good as their old hits. But of course, it were the older stuff that really brought down the roof. (Roof?, What roof…?) If you have just a little rhythm in your body, then it is impossible to stand still to songs like ”Rags To Riches”, ”Electrified”, ”Bad Motherfunker” and ”Knee Deep In You”. But why play ”Dying To Be Loved”? It’s not a bad song by any means. Quite the opposite. But it is a ballad and when you’re standing in the sun, drinking your beer, a ballad is not what you crave. No, another rocker is craved. And lord knows, these guys got shit loads of them. The encore of ”Mary In The Mystery World” and the brilliant ”Captain Of My Soul” was pure world class. Another killer concert by Electric Boys and just like the title of their latest album says; them boys done swang….
KING DIAMOND – Rock Stage Saturday (10/10)
Ever since my more pop/metal days as kid, I have always had a soft spot for both Mercyful Fate and King Diamond. But I have never managed to catch either live. So King Diamond were one of the bookings this year that I looked forward to the most. But the fact that King Diamond hasn’t played live for many years due to both back problems and bypass surgery we were many who feared that his voice wouldn’t be able to come up to old standards. That and that the guy is 56 years old. But it took only the openers ”The Candle” and ”Welcome Home” to prove that all worries were unwarranted. The fact is, the King was faultless and managed to cut all of his falsetto screams without any hassle.
The band were very tight and it was a pleasure to listen to guitarists Mike Wead and Andy LaRoque do their stuff live. Mind you, King Diamond’s music is complicated and needs total focus. And the band played some brilliant songs. ”At The Graves”, ”Voodoo”, ”Up From The Grave” and ”Sleepless Nights” were all magical. But for me, the highlight was ”Come To The Sabbath” from Mercyful Fate’s masterpiece album Don’t Break The Oath. And their old guitar player Hank Shermann guested which was really cool. But what could have destroyed the whole song is that, for some funny reason, Michael Poulsen from Volbeat also guested, on backing vocals. Fortunately, his michrophone wasn’t that high in the mix, so no harm done. The whole stage set were really impressive with the light show to go with it.
The only negative thing I can think of is that I would have loved to hear more from my favourite King Diamond album The Eye. Only ”Eye Of The Witch” was played. But hey, you can’t get everything you wish for, right? The encore with first the brilliant ”Family Ghost” and then ”Halloween” which were gusted by another old guitarist, Michael Denner and their old drummer, now with the mighty Motörhead, Mikkey Dee. Dee must be one the best drummers out there, no doubt. ”Black Horsemen” was played as encore number two and even though I might have wished for some other track from the brilliant Abigail album we left this gig with a big smile on our faces. Whenever the King returns to the road, this reviewer will certainly be there.
MÖTLEY CRÜE – Festival Stage (2/10)
I have seen Mötley Crüe lots of times before. In the 80’s, the guys were young, angry, hungry and ready to kill and even though I had both seen them great and on one occasion not so great, at least back then they weren’t tired and only playing to raise money for their retirement. They headlined Sweden Rock back in 2005 on their reunion tour and that gig was a killer. Tonight they weren’t killing anything but their reputation. With a treasure chest full of brilliant songs, you would think that the Crüe could do no wrong. Well, think again. This night I saw only three people on stage that showed some guts and balls, Tommy Lee and the two dancing girls. Lee’s drum solo was brilliant, that guy truly was born to entertain. We need not to get into all the stunts he has pulled while playing his solo, we all know about them. But this time his drumset was built on a rollercoaster track in form of a circle on which he went all around on and then he got a girl from the audience to sit with him on one ride. Hilarious. Other than that, I really can’t find anything good about tonight’s show and Lee’s solo is the reason why I gave this gig two out of ten instead of one.
So what went wrong? Well, for starters, the sound was horrible, on the border to un-listenable. I admire Mick Mars for managing to get out and tour in his state. Not only is he in his early sixties, he also suffers from ankylosing spondylitis, an inflammatory condition that mainly affects the joints of the spine. It is very painful and makes it hard for the patient to even walk. He also had a hip replacement some years ago. But no matter how sorry I feel for him, the fact is that he just doesn’t play that well anymore and it affects the songs AND don’t get me started on Vince Neil. The guy was never a good singer, but today he’s overweight and not only is his voice in bad shape, his condition is so bad that he can’t sing whole sentences and just go for the key words. It’s just embarrassing. Even Nikki Sixx, one of the coolest rock dudes in music history, looks like a relaxed old uncle that walks around the stage, posing the poses but without conviction. I’m wondering if they have as much fun as they claim they do.
To me, Mötley feel more like a business than a rock band. Kinda like Kiss. And speaking of Kiss, the Crüe seems to have received their mentality when it comes to picking the songs. Their set lists are the same every time. ”Wild Side”,”Dr Feelgood”,”Live Wire”,”Don’t Go Away Mad”, ”Girls Girls Girls”, Primal Scream”, ”Same Old Situation”,”Home Sweet Home”,”Too Fast For Love”. Ok, ”Louder Than Hell” has been exchanged for ”Smokin’ In The Boys Room” and ”Saints Of Los Angeles” has found its way into the set, but damn, they have so many great songs that it feels just so lazy not to change around the set list a bit. And why not surprise us some. Generation Swine and New Tattoo were overlooked as usual, but the old Crüe, the Crüe that were a big middle finger right in the face of society could have played a song from the Corabi-fronted album and to smooth things out, play one from Neil’s solo album.
But nothing of that is left today. Mötley Crüe feels jaded, almost a nostalgia act that travels around the world playing their greatest hits. Sure, they sell out everywhere they go, so I dunno, they must be doing something right. But this night, almost everything felt wrong. I want the old Crüe back.