Friday, 15 June 2012

Nova Rock: Friday Line Up

Friday dawned incredibly hot and sunny. I had had a terrible night's sleep due to the noise - the first night of a festival is always the loudest in the campsite (it gets quieter as everyone gets more tired) and I was kept awake by a cacophony of music coming from all directions (including the group of international people yelling in English). Still, I figured I'd persevere.

So, after a swig of iced tea and a trip to the toilet, the Beard and I decided to wander off in pursuit of a shower and some breakfast. The queue for the shower was massive, so we decided that it was OK, we could manage with a festival shower (aka the baby wipe wash) and queued for just as long to get something to eat. The breakfast places were horrendously badly organised and this was one moment when I longed for the insanely polite British penchant for queueing properly. It would have made things much easier.

Our first foray into the arena wasn't until 3pm, so we ate, washed up, lubed up (sunscreen) and cracked open the first of many, many beers.

First up, Lagwagon. We figured we'd go and watch the beginning of their set on the Blue Stage, before heading over to the Red Stage for Steel Panther. Managed to see a couple of songs, very good, a bit weird seeing a band like Lagwagon on a huge stage though! Soon, it was time to head over to the Red Stage.

Steel Panther

I hate Steel Panther. I think they represent everything that is wrong with the world today, and I know, its a joke, but I am fairly certain there are impressionable young kids out there who don't get the joke and will think it is OK to smack talk women and reduce them to their sexual organs. And I know that misogyny is not unusual in metal or any music for that matter, but I still think it is vile and unnecessary. Ergo in my mind, Steel Panther are a bunch of sexist twats.

That aside, they are actually pretty talented musicians, if you like that sort of thing. Which is like some kind of copy of Mötley Crüe. So, I was probably the only person in the entire crowd not cheering, but well, sometimes you just gotta know your enemy.

Next up, the show I've been waiting 8 years for....

Killswitch Engage

I first got into KSE when Howard Jones had replaced Jesse Leach and they had just released "The End of Heartache". I went to see them in 2004 at the Lemon Grove at Exeter University, the night before my final 2nd year exam (doing an exam with a hangover is never ever fun, but I still got really good marks!). To my utter dismay, my ex had a panic attack midway through the gig and we had to sit the rest out in the bar. Gutted does not cover my reaction as it is such a tiny space, I will never get to be that close to the band again!
Then I was going to see them in Bristol but they had to cancel with Adam Dutkiewicz injured his back. Then there was Download 2007 when they clashed with Within Temptation and I only got to see the end of the set. Then Download 2009 when I hadn't realised the time and was queueing for the loo and had been for a while...

So whatever happened this year, I was not going to miss their set. Nothing was going to stop me. And thankfully it didn't! It is 10 years this year since the release of Alive or Just Breathing, which I personally think is KSE's finest album (closely followed by The End of Heartache). And now that Jesse Leach is back in the band, it was all the more special to see them.

Epic. That is the only way I can describe it. The balance of songs picked from across their material was excellent, with the crowd singing along all the time. It was like classic KSE and Jesse Leach sang with passion and gusto. He's got an awesome beard too.

It was epically dusty!
 As per usual they finished with Holy Diver which is always an excellent crowd pleaser. It was a shame that Howard Jones couldn't carry on with the band, but Jesse Leach is no second best.

Then a few hours of hanging around.... more BBQd sausages and beer consumed then return for...

The Offspring

Now we were in the arena in good time for The Offspring but had to watch the start of the gig whilst trying to get some drinks. Spritzer Paradis may well specialise in 1l jugs of wine mixed with a variety of soft drinks, but the one thing the lack is the ability to run a bar in a large crowd. Particularly the one barmaid that we managed to get stuck by. In the end I used my wonderfully robust and forceful German on her and got us our drinks. On with the Offspring enjoyment!

I last saw The Offspring in 2002 at Reading Festival and from what I recall (I was somewhat intoxicated that weekend) they were pretty damn good. And they still are, just 10 years older and with a bit more material. It did serve to remind me that it has been many years since "Pretty Fly For A White Guy" was in the charts and that many of the people watching the band would have been pretty young when it was. Still, the crowd loved it. We all loved it. Who doesn't love a bit of bouncy sarcastic punk? Unfortunately it turns out I was enjoying myself too much (and so was The Beard) and I forgot to take any pictures.... ooops!

Unfortunately once The Offspring finished, it all started to go a bit wrong. Before they came on stage there was a storm warning posted on the screens. Now I've been to festivals where there have been storms before, but I had to remember that we are now in Central Europe and storms here mean something a whole lot different to storms back in the UK. Namely that there is a lot more lightning, and where we were on the Hungarian border, apparently a lot less in the way of landscape to temper the winds (which probably explains the hundreds of wind turbines in that part of Austria). Storms are pretty serious.

So when The Offspring finished, a bloke came on stage and told us all we had to leave the arena and go back to our tents, to wait further instructions. The sky was pretty ominous looking by this point and the winds were beginning to pick up. So traipse back to our tent we did, and hung out with the guys we were camping with waiting for it to subside.

After a bit of rain and a lot of wind, someone yelled that Rise Against had started playing on the Blue Stage, so we figured we'd head over to the Red Stage to check out....

Within Temptation

I decided to go to Nova Rock based solely on the fact that WT were playing. I've never seen them play at a festival (their set at DL 2007 got cut due to technical failure) and I wanted to see what they'd pull out of the bag for this outdoor set. And I love them. A lot.
When we got over to the Red Stage they were still trying to set things up. We waited a little more, got a good spot near the stage in the wave breaker area and waited. An announcement came over the PA that they were hoping to start the gig in 20 minutes. It was quite clear from the continued gusts of wind that this was a weather thing - the stage looked a little fragile when a gust of wind blew threw.

You can see where they took all the back drops down to let the wind flow through!

After another 20 minutes they announced that unfortunately, due to safety concerns, the set by Within Temptation had to be cancelled, but they were hoping to get back up and running for Marilyn Manson in another 30 minutes. I later found out that that got cancelled as well.

I'm not surprised they cancelled - when we got home and I got back onto Twitter I looked for Sharon's tweets under @WT_Official, and she said that the overheads were swinging backwards and forwards. If just one thing had fallen it could have been terrible. Safety has to come first, although the crowd was incredibly disappointed. Following disasters in the USA and Belgium, weather just cannot be ignored.

So then we went to bed.

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