This year saw two Stockholm Rocks being arranged. The first one was kept earlier this year in May with the bands Imber, TNT, Gus G. Marty Friedman, Reckless Love and H.E.A.T.
Again it was a one day festival, now on Friday, so we flew to Stockholm early morning hours on Friday. As there was time before the festival started I arranged an interview with Chandler Mogel from Outloud. While at the backstage we greeted fellow Finns Brother Firetribe, who arrived early enough and singer Pekka Heino met one of his idols Mark Mangold, who happened to be there as well.
Because the interview went later than scheduled I missed out on Miss Behaviours gig. I heard some of it downstairs, and they sounded good. Their music is hard rock with plenty of catchy hooks. A band worth checking out for sure and you can find their videos on YouTube.
Their setlist was:
The Tyrol venue is quite big and it's in three levels. What makes it more comfortable than many other venues is the fact that there are seated areas too and stairs where it's easier for shorter people to see the bands, if you don't want to go to the front row. The bars served alcohol quite fast concidering people were drinking heavily on Friday after work. The bar saw some Swedish musicians like Reach and Houston, who were having a good time.
OUTLOUD went on stage after six o'clock and had fifty minute showtime. It was enough for the band to show their material from three albums, of which the debut was released in 2009. The band just recently added guitarist Jim Scordilis and the rest of the band is Bob Katsionis (guitar, keys), Sverd (bass), Kostas Milonas (drums) and Chandler Mogel on vocals.
Mogel proved to be a hyper frontman for the band, who was all around the stage and even jumped on many occasions down the stage to sing with the fans standing next to them on the floor. He got close to the fans, which is a good thing, and even hugged them. The Swedish crowd didn't seem to be too familiar with the bands songs though, but they got a good enough response in crowd singing.
Katsionis, who also plays in Firewind, is a good guitarist too and a multitalent, as he also plays the keys and other instruments. He and Scordilis did some nice guitar solos together. Sverd on bass also had a good touch to bringing the show alive, but as usual, drums were left in the darkness too much, so Milonas was hardly seen in the spotlight.
The Tyrol sounds were completely different for each band. For Outloud they weren't really good to the front rows, but I stayed there to film some stuff on video. Mogel was a cool guy to video, he had so much action going on, even tossing the mike in the air all the time, but the whole band was lively. I managed to get some cool guitar solos as well. All in all it was a very enjoyable show, though I hoped the crowd would've participated more, even in the Enola Gay cover, which was a cool cover from the band.
Setlist: Death Rock, One More Time, Isolation Game, I Was so Blind, A While to Go, Enola Gay (Orchestral Manoeuvres In The Dark cover), Waiting for Your Love, We Run.
The Finnish melodic rock band BROTHER FIRETRIBE did their debut in Sweden. I stayed in the front row for a while to catch some footage on video, but this time the sounds were so terrible to the front rows that I didn't stay too long. Jason Flinck's bass sound came vividly over other instruments and had a strange metal sound to it I've never heard before in their shows. So the bass ruled over everything else. Later I found myself standing in the middle of the hall and the sound was so much better, so clear that you could hear every musician.
The band came on stage with smiles on their faces, and the crowd cheered them nicely. This wasn't nowhere near as huge welcome as the guys received two weeks earlier in Firefest in England, but vocalist Pekka Heino, like the rest of the band, is a seasoned entertainer who gets the crowd going in no time. Their setlist hasn't changed much after the release of their third album Diamond in the Firepit earlier this year, and in their fifty minute set half of the material was from that album. I don't know what the reception has been in Sweden for the band before, but they surely got a few new fans this evening, as their set ended with the pompous and energetic songs For Better or for Worse, Heart Full of Fire and I Am Rock. These are good singalong songs and a sea of hands was clapping to their beat.¨
Brother Firetribe is a band with a playful twinkle in their eyes, so anything can happen on stage. Nightwish-famed guitarist Emppu Vuorinen often jokes around with Heino and Flinck, and if not all goes as planned the guys don't take it too seriously. This time Heino probably had his thoughts somewhere else during I'm on Fire, as he completely lost where he was, so he quickly joked half singing ”morning breaks and I'm still on the stage, I don't know what the hell I'm singing about.” That made me laugh and it's one of the things I love about the band, life isn't meant to be taken too seriously and this is after all entertainment.
Setlist: One Single Breath, Runaways, Love is Not Enough, I'm on Fire, Wildest Dreams, Winner Takes it All (Sammy Hagar cover), For Better or for Worse, Heart Full of Fire, I Am Rock.
Because Pretty Maids has a long history of touring behind, they have become a great and tight live act through the years. Vocalist Ronnie Atkins has some trouble with his voice, but it doesn't affect the show much. Bassist Rene Shades and guitarist Ken Hammer make a good front team with Atkins on stage for more visual show. The fans love all the members quite equally, their drummer is Allan Tschicaja and keyboardist is Morten Sandager.
The band was scheduled for 80 minutes on stage and it probably was that, but still the show seemed to be over way too fast. Good things always end too soon, right? This was a good show for headbangers for the evening, and it seemed like some of the crowd left after them. There was still two bands left for the evening though.
Setlist: Mother of All Lies, Nuclear Boomerang, Love Games, Red Hot and Heavy, My Soul to Take, Another Brick in the Wall Part 2 (Pink Floyd cover)/ I.N.V.U., I See Ghosts, Yellow Rain, Rodeo, Little Drops of Heaven, Please Don't Leave Me (John Sykes/Phil Lynott cover), Back to Back, Encore: Future World
It was around half eleven o'clock that VANDENBERG'S MOONKINGS took the stage. Sometimes it's great to see new bands you've never seen or heard before live, and the crowd that left the venue after Pretty Maids missed out on a lot. I've followed the ex-Whitesnake guitarist, Dutch Adrian Vandenberg's career since he released his selftitled debut album in 1982, which had a lot of great songs, and was happy to see him live with this band. This evening we only heard Burning Heart from it though. I was waiting to hear some stuff from his second album Headed for a Storm, at least Different Worlds, but none was played from it or the third album Alibi.
Moonkings was formed in late 2013, so it's still a new band not everyone knows about. The other guys are Jan Hoving (vocals), Sem Christoffel (bass) and Mart Nijen Es (drums). Vandenberg seemed content on stage and having fun. The band has influences not only from hard rock but also blues and classic rock, and of course Vandenberg's guitar work gets its deserved spotlight on the show. Hoving proved to be a vocalist that matches the sound needed for this genre and in the Led Zeppelinish Close to You the vocalist did an amazing job with his raspy deep voice, which even resembles that of Robert Plant. The band was blessed to have good sounds, even the front row sound was lean and clear.
Vandenberg's band has the class of bands from the 70's and 80's, which seems to be disappearing rapidly with each new band bringing more modern sounds to the scene. The songs surely touch the fans from those eras and even when Moonkings are doing a little jamming on stage (which goes along with their music), the show isn't boring at all. The Whitesnake, Vandenberg and Free covers are done with ease and Hoving again showed he's a versatile singer. The Whitesnake cover especially sounded brilliant. This show ended up being one of my favourites from all the shows I've ever seen in my life which is a lot in my books, as I've seen thousands of shows around the world since the 70's. Too bad the show was over in 60 minutes though.
Setlist: Line of Fire, Steal Away, Leave this Town, Feel It, Close to You, drum solo, Judgement Day (Whitesnake cover), Burning Heart (Vandenberg cover), Good Thing, Lust and Lies, Here I Go Again (Whitesnake cover), Nothing Touches, Encore: All Right Now (Free cover).
It must've been somewhere around midnight that the band got on stage. Even I was too tired already, but drank some water to stay awake for the show. Having seen the band before I knew they were a good live act, and Erik Mårtensson is a brilliant singer. The band played a lot of stuff from their 2012 album Bleed and Scream. This seems to be something the Swedish bands do a lot, as H.E.A.T also loves to mostly play their last album. Bitter Taste saw Magnus Henrikssons guitar solo, which was classy, fast and emotional. Robban Bäck was on drums and keysman Johan Berlin was a lively one living to the songs and trying to get the crowd going.
About to Break introduced Mårtensson with a guitar, he sometimes plays it live. Love Bites is a new song from their forthcoming album and was played live for the first time. During the W.E.T. cover song One Love Mårtensson had to ask ”är ni vakna?”, are you awake, because the crowd response was very lame, even pathetic. Surely the band understood their crowd was just too drunk at the early morning hours. The fast and very catchy Breaking My Heart Again closed the fine set, but the crowd must've been sleeping already. Even Mårtenssons energetic act with throwing the mic stand around in the air didn't impress them. What a waste of a good show.
Setlist: Ain't Dead Yet, Wake Me Up, Battlegrounds, A Bitter Taste, Bleed & Scream, Under the Gun, S.O.S., Love Bites, About to Break, Hometown Calling, One Love (W.E.T. cover), Breaking My Heart Again.
Report: Satu Reunanen