Graspop report day 2

16908564310_c969e651d5As you could already read in Graspop report day 1, we’d already had a more than successful first Graspop day. After gazing upon the line-up, saturday would turn out to be quite busy, especially the evening. So, let’s continue our journey.

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The first band I wanted to see wasn’t on until 15h50, but why wait until then to enter the festival ground. When passing the marquee, I noticed the Israelian progmetalband Orphaned Land had just begun their set and decided to go check them out. Their particular brand of heavy metal with lots of eastern influences makes them kind of a love it or hate it band. Their stage performance, featuring lots of religious symbols and even a belly dancer, was nice to see nevertheless.

After that, American classic heavy metal foursome Orchid were opening main stage 2. With their sound reminding particularly of Black Sabbath, I decided to keep following them from a distance. Great performance as well. We would need some extra power for our next appointment at the same space, so time to grab a bite before returning. A little before 16h, Exodus entered the stage, instantly starting the biggest moshpit of the weekend with some new songs (Black 13, Blood In Blood Out). The highlight obviously came with Bonded By Blood and closer Strike Of The Beast, with the traditional wall of death.

A little over an hour later, I got ready for a big marathon starting at that same main stage 2. First part of that marathon were Finnish progmetallers Sonata Arctica, that didn’t seem to gather much of a crowd until the very beginning of the set. I was a big fan of most of their work before the ‘Unia’ album. Later not so much. So the highlights to me were definitely opener White Pearl, Black Oceans, Destruction Preventer and final song Don’t Say A Word. In between, I almost got bored actually.

Part 2 came up immediately after at main stage 1, so I just had to slightly turn my head. Boy do they look cool onstage, the guys from Five Finger Death Punch. All of them very colourful, singer Ivan Moody with the red hand painted on his face and drummer Jeremy Spencer in a skeleton outfit with lights in his mouth. They were at the top of their performance when suddenly the PA decided to call it quits. Immediately Moody turned around some monitors and started joking around. Highlights were the shout-along anthem Burn MF and The Bleeding.

Back towards main 2 for the third band of the marathon: Alice Cooper. Always worthwile, even when given only 60 minutes. The grandfather of shock rock nevertheless managed to get himself killed multiple times. The crowd loved it, even though there was considerable less time for some instrumental mayhem from his back band containing Ryan Roxie, Tommy Henriksen and the ravishing Nita Strauss on guitars. Needless to say songs like No More Mr Nice Guy, Poison and School’s Out were shouted along by the entire crowd.

For the fourth part of the evening, I had to get my ass down to the marquee for At The Gates. The agony of choice had already cost me Arch Enemy and because of some delay I had to leave early in order to get a nice spot for the next band on my list. So no Blinded By Fear – which turned out to be the set closer – but at least I heard the title tracks of the ‘Slaughter Of The Soul’ and ‘At War With Reality’ albums pass by.

JudasPriestLogoThe band worth skipping the end of At The Gates for was of course the great Judas Priest at main 2. The way the great Rob Halford slowly marched onto the stage after the band had already started playing Dragonaut was absolutely intense. Immediately after the opening song, they already ripped out Metal Gods and Devil’s Child. Time passed by way too fast. Way too early Breaking The Law and Hell Bent For Leather made an end to the regular set. The first encore brought us back to ‘Screaming For Vengeance ‘ with Electric Eye and You’ve Got Another Thing Coming, but obviously there was no way the Priest was going to leave without also ripping out Painkiller and Living After Midnight. Amazing performance particularly by guitarists Glen Tipton and Richie Faulkner and definitely Halford as well, still screaming like an eight-year old girl that just woke up dreaming about Alice Cooper.

Honestly, main stage  headliner Slipknot was supposed to be part of the marathon as well, but after the Priest I was kind of done for the day. That and my feet were actually trying to kill me. Shouting along to Psychosocial from a distance, that was the only thing left inside me for saturday.

Some honourable mentions:

Possible future headliner: Five Finger Death Punch. There’s definitely enough heaviness and melody to captivate a large crowd for a longer amount of time in the future, besides looking awesome on stage.

Most present absent band (say what?): Kvelertak. The Norwegian black ‘n’ rollers didn’t even have to be on the bill to easily win the band shirt combat. Coming in second were Behemoth. Even Max Cavalera was rocking in his shirt of the Polish satanic deathmetallers.

Biggest moshpit of the weekend: Exodus. Isn’t it obvious? There definitely were some other attempts to top them. More of that to follow tomorrow.

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