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HEAD FESTIVAL, Germany
15-17 July 2010
Day 1 15
festival season and it's that time of year where my wallet takes and a
big pounding. Although i enjoy the UK festivals, every year i do try to
treat myself to at least one Europeon festival.Our friends overseas are
not controlled by so much authoritarian health and safety issues,
meaning the music is louder and goes on into the early hours of the
night.Not only that,but the beverages are of a much wider taste(No luke
warm knats pee on offer here.) and the cuisine is much kinder to your
As for the
festivals in Germany, I've visited the mother of all metal festivals -
Wacken - on a couple of occasions and the much smaller but fun
Headbangers Open Air and have always had a great time with our German
cousins. This is my first visit to Bang Your Head which is now in
it's fifteenth year.
Balingen, which is a hour's drive from Stuttgart. We took the
sensible option of hiring a car between the three of us from the
airport, meaning we could stop off en route at the local supermarket to
stock up with enough booze to keep Lemmy happy if he was stranded on a
metalheads know how to camp at festivals in style. Many bring
converted camper vans covered in logo's of their favourite bands,
generators running at full power for their music systems (Forget
about getting a good nights sleep.) and even that old second hand sofa
ends it's life here at festival land, making life comfy and it's worth
soon making friends with our German friends to share some beer and hog
the sofa for a while.
by mountains of green the hills are alive with the sound of music.
With the booze free flowing and the clock ticking it was time to see
some action. My only complaint about BYH is that you have to catch
a shuttle bus into the main arena which is about ten minutes away, but
not too much of a problem as the buses were running frequently.
night was taking place in the newly built Messehalle Volksbank next to
the main outdoor arena. A night billed as a celebration of the
NWOBHM. (That's the new wave of British heavy metal to you and me
folks.) Thirty years on and the scene that gave us so many greats is
still making it's Deutsche Mark.
weekend was to be a celebration of the lives and works of Ronnie James
Dio. The organisers had asked every band if they could possibly
add a track sung by Dio into their set. Most bands obliged or for
those who felt they couldn't tackle the great man's work ,songs of their
own were dedicated instead or just a few bars were slipped in.
Roxxcalibur are a band featuring members of Viron and Abandoned who
have successfully made the ultimate metal tribute band, playing mainly
the more obscure songs from the NWOBHM era. Songs originally done
by the likes of Grim Reaper,Dark Star, Vardis and Witchfinder General
sounded revitalized and would keep any conisseur of the genre very happy
indeed. Ending with 'Neon Nights', Roxxcalibur gave the first
tribute to Dio of the weekend.
Blitzkrieg are mainly remembered for only one song. To most,
that's the B-side of Metallica's 'Creeping Death' E.P single where along
with a cover of Diamond Head's 'Am I Evil' Metallica brought the sounds
of the NWOBHM to a whole new generation.
were never one of my favourite bands of the time and didn't really move
me tonight.I always felt that the riff to the self titled 'Blitzkrieg'
was very similar to Focus 'Hocus Pocus', but at least it got my head
banging .'The Mob Rules ' ensured some good applause.
Time to cool
down in the fresh air and a enjoy a cigarette, it was also a good time
to make some new friends. I had to have a chat with a couple of
guys who were wearing a Tygers Of Pan Tang T-shirt and a Desolation
Angels T-shirt (Who remembers those South Londoners?).
chatting and consuming I couldn't believe I missed the beginning of
Demon who were unexpected guests this weekend after replacing Icon.
The night of
the Demon impressed throughout with their melodic metal. Why this
band were never a main draw back in the UK is beyond me. Demon
were treated like heroes here tonight.
Hill was enjoying himself maybe a little too much saying ''I don't know
why I'm talking to you c##ts because you can't understand me anyway''
with tongue firmly in cheek but which may have got lost in translation,
but a local behind me shouted back sternly 'Oh yes we can.''
Demon gave a
polished set including their first single 'Liar' which I enjoyed
immensely. 'Don't Break The Circle' was the song everyone was calling
out for. A surprising cover of 'Starstruck' raised the first Rainbow
song of the weekend. It's an injustice why more people haven't
discovered the works of Demon.
were the headliners tonight who surely would've seen themselves high on
the bill on the open air stage had they been here a day later.
With the hall packed and the beer flowing Saxon gave a set which was a
It was time
for some serious air guitar-ing with a set that was mainly focused on
those glorious heavy metal thunderous days. The amps were turned
to ten and it didn't matter if you spilt the pint of the person next to
you: We were all unified by the strength of metal tonight.
Has Landed' was the only time my neck got a rest from headbanging if
only for the first couple of minutes of that song. Saxon didn't play any
Dio tracks and Biff Byford may have made a dedication but I was too
Brahms 'n Liszt to remember.
This was a
set full of classics, and was one of the best gigs I've ever witnessed
from Saxon, but playing to a crowd of denim and leather wearing
metalheads what more could you expect? This was one solid ball of
rock that bowled me over.
shuttle bus back to camp, it was time for more drinkies and to listen to
the nearest ghetto blaster. A late night ensured and before
crashing out we all agreed there was no chance of us making the first
band the next morning at 10am.
Saxon set list : Heavy Metal Thunder / Dogs Of War / To Hell And Back
Again / Live To Rock / Dallas 1pm / Motorcycle Man / And The Bands
Played On / Demon Sweeney Todd / Strong Arm Of The Law / The Eagle Has
Landed / 20,000ft / 747 (Strangers In The Night) / Wheels Of Steel /
Princess Of The Night ....encores .. Crusader / Solid Ball Of Rock /
Denim And Leather
photos by Mark Taylor
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