Graspop report day 1

16908564310_c969e651d5One of the best weekends of the year has once again passed. Man, it went quickly. Time to reminisce a little about the good times we’ve had, or if you’ve stayed at home, because for instance you’re still in you exams, see what you’ve missed. Today I bring you day one: Friday.

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People who’ve already read some of my previous articles will definitely not be surprised I started my day at the Metal Dome for Belgian stoner rockers King Hiss. It was interesting seeing how different the show would be from their intimate performance supporting Clutch last week. Something that struck me was the fact that guitarist Joost Noyelle looked particularly thrilled to play in front of a bigger crowd. This time Sadlands was the track kicking of the set. Because of the video the band released, La Haine was given a more prominent place in the setlist instead of the opening position. It seemed to take a while for the crowd to get all awake after the thursday evening party, but by the end most of them looked pretty awake anyway.

Having not all that much to do, I decided to go check out Swedish hardrockers H.E.A.T opening main stage 1. I was curious how singer Erik Grönwall would sound live. I must say, it looked pretty impressive. Jumping around, seducing with his moves. When reaching higher notes, his voice kind of lost some power though. Still, lots of promise. Definite highlights were power ballad Mannequin Show, a shred of Highway Star and set closer Living On The Run.

Because of the twentieth birthday of the festival, all through the weekend there were more intimate performances at the Classic Rock Café as well. On friday, the lovely Lounge Kittens brought their own unique covers of mostly rock and metal songs. Being completely smitten (such a crush on Jenny) ever since I saw them opening for Steel Panther, I had to check them out again. Once you’ve heard Carcass’ Heartwork in triple vocal harmony backed by only a piano, you’ve probably heard it all. Some other highlights were Limp Bizkit’s Rollin’ and a Download medley – which was rebranded Graspop Medley. Great performance, even greater fun! (they even get an exclamation point)

Next up: Cavalera Conspiracy at Main 1. Not that I’ve ever been a huge fan of Max and Igor, but I really liked the last album though. Combined with some Sepultura classics such as Refuse, Resist and the final Roots, Bloody Roots, why not go check it out? Kinda felt disappointed though. Sometimes Max seemed to really struggle with his vocals. Bummer, but on to the next one.

With a little time to spare, I wanted to go check Evergrey at the Metal Dome. Boy was I not disappointed with that one. Great performance of the Swedish progmetallers. I didn’t really know them up front, but that’s definitely going to change! When I got back outside, the great Slash was already ripping out Back from Cali. Anastacia gave away that the guitar icon was in really great shape, more so than when I last saw him at Forest National where I left kind of disappointed. Needless to say the crowd went completely bonkers during the grand finale Sweet Child O’ Mine, Slither and Paradise City.

I went to seek out a good spot to await headliner Kiss – and to follow In Flames in the meanwhile. They rocked the place from the beginning with opener Only For The Weak. Once more, lots of new songs, but fortunately we also got Bullet Ride and the eternal Cloud Connected. This once, Take This Life already second to last, making My Sweet Shadow the closer.

kiss300The apotheosis of the first day came with headliner Kiss. Pretty much like In Flames, they opened up with a blast. In their case Detroit Rock City, although the big banner that was supposed to cover the stage until the start seemed to be stuck somewhere in the middle instead of being pulled all the way up before falling down. Needless to say we got the whole nine yards: Gene Simmons spitting fire and blood before flying all the way up to the ridge of the stage where he started playing God Of Thunder. Right before Love Gun, Paul Stanley travelled to the skydeck by cable to perform over there, making the crowd have to flip their heads constantly. After that, there was the great Black Diamond, accompanied by the big disco ball. It doesn’t get any more metal than this, aight? When the last pieces of fireworks were being lighted up, it was time to close the set with I Wanna Rock ‘n’ Roll All Nite, during which Stanley and lead guitarist Tommy Thayer came floating above the audience. Stanley’s voice didn’t even sound all that bad this time.

Some honourable mentions

Revelation of the day: Evergrey

Possible future headliner: In Flames

Most charming female performer: definitely Jenny Deacon of Lounge Kittens, although Erik Grönwall is a close second (hashtag nohomo)

Definitely come check back later this week, because I’ve still got two more days of great fun to share with you!

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