Rock Zottegem report day 1

rockzo_infoSo, how’s your weekend been? Apart from volunteering at our local fair, I’ve had an appointment with some rock dinosaurs at Rock Zottegem. The organisation of the two day festival tries to put a lot of variety in its line-up and definitely succeeded again this year. But let’s leave the DJ Village for what it is and focus on the “crazy” main stage acts.

To open the first day of the festival with a blast, the kick-off was given by German speedfolk band Fiddler’s Green. Most people were still arriving, but the few people already present immediately started jumping around and dancing, even though the technicians seemingly had a hard time figuring the right settings for the vocals in particular. The band even requested a wall of death, which the crowd happily delivered, although just a small part actually participated. Anyway, we were warmed up.

Next up were the Dutch Jett Rebel. With them trying to put together a very eclectic mix of jazz, funk, blues and still trying to make it sound poppy and radio friendly, I can’t exactly say I was a very big fan of what I’ve heard. I’ve seen some good musicianship without a doubt, the bluesy guitar duel being a prime example. I just found them combining too many different styles into one. So, time for a bratwurst with onions, mayonaise and ketchup!

My next appointment would be Saxon. Biff (Byford) never disappointed live before and I’d be damned if he would this time. Along with his longtime companion, the perpetually-bandana’d Paul Quinn and the others, he decided to eat the setlist and just play a tight set with as many fast sing-along anthems as possible. Starting off with Motorcycle Man, going through Strong Arm Of The Law, Heavy Metal Thunder and Princess Of The Night, ending with Wheels Of Steel and Denim And Leather. Perfectly entertaining people in between, the British metal five piece definitely signed for one of the shortest hours of my life.

Starting off with ‘The Best Is Yet To Come’, Novastar‘s Joost Zweegers sounded a little bit too dull for me to keep on following. Too bad he was scheduled right after the hurricane that was Saxon. Same thing with former Live frontman Ed Kowalczyk. Not that he’s a bad singer or performer. The problem was: you know those bands you see performing when someone goes to a concert in those American movies and sitcoms? Those slick, picture perfect performances from those very popular rockbands no-one has ever heard of in real life? Well, there you go. (Except of course for Ace Ventura, because Jim Carrey and Cannibal Corpse rule) That and I didn’t find his material particularly original. Apparently many people did really enjoy it, but just not really my cup of tea.

Photo by Press/Heather Porcaro

Photo by Press/Heather Porcaro

You probably already caught my drift: Toto couldn’t come soon enough. Starting off with some new material ‘Running Out Of Time’, ‘Burn’,… guitarist Steve Lukather took a little time to introduce some of his co-bandmembers, so we could welcome back original bass player David Hungate. Toto being somewhat of his own personal dovecot, that was more than welcome. With ‘Hold The Line’ they got the crowd going nuts for the first time. ‘Pamela’ and ‘Rosanna’ being the other two occasions. By the end of the evening, the biggest bomb was still left undropped. After asking the crowd what we still wanted to hear, the obvious ‘Africa’ was shouted out. So that’s what we got, with the obliged live adaptions. What a guitar player. What a song.

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