Click here for home page

Click here



Contact Us | Information | Privacy Policy | Audio Help

Explore
Main Menu
Submit a review
Forums
Sign up for newsletter
Album Reviews
Book Reviews
DVD Reviews
Interviews
Get Your EMail Address
Links
Submit your website
Feature: SWEDEN ROCK FESTIVAL 2009
3-6 June 2009 Solvesberg (Day 4)

GRTR's Ian Pollard first visit to Sweden Rock was back in 2002 and he's been a regular visitor ever since. He has witnessed first hand the growth of one of the main festival events in the rock calendar. He braved the vagaries of the Swedish summer to report on four days of beer and bands...

Sweden Rock Festival


The 4th and final day of the festival arrives and, shockingly, it is sunny! Some clouds still visible but the forecast promises little chance of rain - so hopefully the still damp gear will get a chance to dry out.

Doogie White (Tank), photo by Ian Pollard
Photo by Ian Pollard. Photo Gallery

The day's musical entertainment is kicked of by another NWOBHM band that never quite made the big time. Tank are back, with none other than Doogie White on vocals. I wasn't sure how this was going to work, as I just couldn't match Doogie's vocals with Tank's music - I needn't have worried, like with everything he does DW applies his own style and makes it work. Old favourite "This Means War" sounds great, and we even get a couple of new tracks thrown into the mix. Good news for all fans of the band.

Impelliteri, photo by Ian Pollard
Photo by Ian Pollard. Photo Gallery

A first look for me at the next act... Impellitteri, featuring the man that regularly appears in the top echelons of guitar magazine lists. I can immediately see why, Chris is an exceptional guitarist and works his Stratocaster as well as anyone I've seen. Rob Rock on vocals proves to be a good foil to the axe attack, and the end product is top quality melodic rock. I'm not familiar with the music, but new album "Wicked Maiden" features heavily in the set, and is definitely worth a look.

Blackfoot,  photo by Ian Pollard
Photo by Ian Pollard. Photo Gallery

Southern Rock time again, and another band approaching 40 years in the business... Blackfoot. With 2 of the original members, Greg Walker and Charlie Hargrett, joined by long time collaborator Bobby Barth, there is plenty of natural on-stage chemistry. Great music too, from the excellently performed cover of "Wishing Well" through to the epic set-closing "Highway Song".

Journey, photo by Ian Pollard
Photo by Ian Pollard. Photo Gallery

Having waited 25 years to see the next band (when they finally made it across the Atlantic in 2006), this is now my 6th show in 4 years (and 3 different vocalists). Journey's new man with the microphone, Arnel Pineda, is now far more comfortable in the position than he was a year ago. The extended touring they have done in that time does not seem to have had any effect on his voice, which is still a note perfect carbon copy of the legendary Steve Perry's.

Journey, photo by Ian Pollard
Photo by Ian Pollard. Photo Gallery

Download as desktop wallpaper (In Windows, save and then open image, right-click and select 'save as desktop background')

The whole band are clearly enjoying playing together and reel off all the expected classic songs, interspersed with a number of cuts from the 2008 album 'Revelations'. Highlights are too many to list, but eternal crowd pleasers "Separate Ways", "Don't Stop Believin'", and "Faithfully" get the biggest cheers from the very sizeable crowd in attendance.

Dream Theater, photo by Ian Pollard
Photo by Ian Pollard. Photo Gallery

Download as desktop wallpaper (In Windows, save and then open image, right-click and select 'save as desktop background')

Nothing in the next slot really perks my interest, so it is time to have a rest and a beer whilst trying to keep warm - it may be dry, but the wind is still bitingly cold. We're into the finishing straight now, and Dream Theater is the first pit stop. As always, exceptional musicianship is on display as they showcase new songs from the forthcoming 'Black Clouds & Silver Linings' album amongst their now sizeable back catalogue. Unfortunately, there is something of interest about to unfold on another stage, so I drag myself away to witness...

Hot Leg, photo by Ian Pollard
Photo by Ian Pollard. Photo Gallery

...Hot Leg! Yes, the falsetto of Justin Hawkins is back in business with a new project, appearing at various festivals to support their debut release 'Red Light Fever'. JH arrives on stage with crutches and his right leg in a cast. The crutches are cast aside and the show goes on - although I do detect the odd wince of pain as JH still puts 100% effort in.

Musically, the 70's twin lead influences are still present, if a little less obvious than in his Darkness days. They put on a very entertaining show, with lots of banter with the crowd - which is a very good size considering the fact that they are screening the Sweden vs Denmark football match in the Gibson tent (I won't mention the result) at the same time. Apparently that is quite an important game in these parts.

Europe, photo by Ian Pollard
Photo by Ian Pollard. Photo Gallery

Download as desktop wallpaper (In Windows, save and then open image, right-click and select 'save as desktop background')

Local heroes, Europe, get the penultimate slot of the festival. Fronted by the ever youthful Joey Tempest, they rattle through a crowd pleasing set featuring the hits "Superstitious" and "Rock The Night" as well as material from their recent albums since reforming in 2004. Much more than the hair-metal band they have been tagged as - their own fault, I hasten to add, thanks to 'that song' - they are a really solid live unit with a lot of quality songs. John Norum brings some excellent playing to the party throughout. Eventually though, it is time for 'that song', and we can move into position for the final countdown to the climax of this years festival.

Tony Iommi (Heaven & Hell), photo by Ian Pollard
Photo by Ian Pollard. Photo Gallery

What better way can there be to finish a huge rock festival, than with the heavy metal masters themselves, Tony Iommi and Geezer Butler, ably assisted by Vinny Appice on drums and fronted by the best voice in rock / metal ever... Ronnie James Dio. Heaven and Hell have just released a cracking album in 'The Devil You Know', and 3 songs from this make it into the set list alongside timeless classics such as "Lost Children Of The Sea" and "The Mob Rules". Of the new songs, "Bible Black" is my favourite, but all fit in well.

Heaven & Hell, photo by Ian Pollard
Photo by Ian Pollard. Photo Gallery

Ronnie is his usual gentlemanly self, lavishing thanks and praise on all and sundry (not least the 'sausage vendors', who are apparently integral to their survival). The climax of the set is naturally the song from which they take their name, and RJD proves once again that he has still not lost any of his vocal control or power with a supreme rendition.

Strangely, the volume of the PA goes up significantly half way through the song, and when they return for the encore of "Neon Knights" the earth is shaking to Geezer's bass riff. Very loud, but not painfully so, and still crystal clear - is that how it should have sounded for the whole set?

That's it for another year. Once again, the team at SRF have done a marvellous job in organising such a big festival. Every band I saw started bang on their scheduled time, and there were no notable technical difficulties beyond the occasional microphone problem. Over 35,000 people attended this year, another new record for the festival.

Roll on 9th-12th June 2010, and the next SRF!

Review and photos by Ian Pollard
2009 Ian Pollard/GRTR! All rights reserved.

Day 4 Photo Gallery

Day 3 Review

Day 2 Review

Day 1 Review

Swedish Rock Festival 2005

Swedish Rock Festival 2007
 


Featured Artists
Sweden Rock Festival 2009
Artist Archive
Featured Labels
Label Archive
Do you want to appear here?