Location: Dokkum (Netherlands)
By: Sabine van Gameren
Another day for Dokk’em. And with even more bands ahead, a sun shining and a warming welcome by the local Christians the day is ready to get started.
Teethgrinder is the first one of the day. The band won a contest that made them openers here and will also be at the Into The Grave festival later this year. Some people were still in that hangover blues and that probably affected the whole a bit. Teethgrinder has much more energy than anyone out there and therefore the input does not really get returned. Musically the band plays quite straightforward songs, meaning that there is not really a key item there yet that gives them their own face. Yet, they are still a relatively young band so perhaps some time will bring them there but for now the show did not came out as much as it could have. Perhaps at Into The Grave the guys will be able to put that straight then?!
Evil Masquerade on the other side of the tent brings it on a different level. The Danish Heavy Metal formation should have been playing a bit later perhaps as they encounter the same problems as Teethgrinder. What makes the difference is that Evil Masquerade is a band that has a warm feeling along with them. They look like they have a lot of fun and that is contagious. Although most of the vocals come from Tobias Jansson it is the voice of Henrik Flyman that gives the whole a bit different twist. At the end they played the song “Black Ravens Cry” which was making people come alive.
A nice band to see, although the guys would have benefitted more from a later timeslot.
Because Circus Maximus was still waiting for their gear to arrive at the airport, some changes would come across. We were getting now Cirith Gorgor which were actually replacing the band Troll which had to cancel their show. A bit of Black Metal into the day was welcome and these guys appeared to be quite successful in bringing the atmosphere into it. Some candle’s some mimics and a strong sound make their performance successful. Towards the end of the set it becomes a little bit recognizable and the songs become too much alike, so perhaps it should not have been much longer, but for what the guys have played it interesting enough.
M.O.D. or fully: Methods Of Destruction was quite something to see. What is important in their show is the constant interaction with the audience. After each song some stories about how our moms were fucked by them in the 80’s or how he dislikes band X or genre Y. The guys have an opinion and are not afraid to say it out loud. That is exactly how we like it as we are certainly not afraid to tell someone the same if we don’t like it. You got to appreciate honesty. M.O.D. had the tent filled. Obviously a much appreciated band here and when the guys share how much they appreciate playing in a tent like they do at this point, considering themselves an underground band a lot of cheering and applause breaks loose. With some tracks like “Speak English Or Die” or “Fuck The Middle East” the band has their points come across in only short compositions. Yes, these guys can bring some entertainment and we realize not everyone may find themselves alike with these statements and humour, but the majority of Dokk’em obviously does.
Nocturnus AD is Death Metal formation. The band has been around since 1987 and had some rumourous periods. Now on stage the band is simply boring. Although there comes a wall of sound over you, the band are pretty much statues on a stage. Not too much going on. Vocals coming from the drummer of course are a bit part of that too. Musically the band is strong, they have a solid base in their drummer and the guitars are complimenting it very well, but with the lack of performance it seems like everyone decides to go for dinner. More and more people leave them for what they are and catch a glimpse of sun. The band themselves noticed it too and wonders out loud where everyone is going to. Kind of sad to see people running away from your set but maybe it got them thinking. It was not their day today.
Freedom Call was there to cheer up the whole and this job is perfectly written for them. With their super catchy songs people are singing along and with their relaxed way of performing the band seem to make people happy. Not everyone had found their way back in after Nocturnus AD emptied the place, but those who were there were dedicated enough. With tracks like “Heart of a Warrior” they manage to impress us and although it is probably not the most known song, it is one that makes you remember this band. Of course the band does not cease to play their most known tracks as well which concludes the whole show.
Finally, Circus Maximus. The band was supposed to play much earlier today but since their equipment had not arrived with the plane they were on, the band was stuck at the airport for a while. It is perhaps a bit of stranger here today, the band plays a quite calm sort of music, very progressive. And their first couple of songs start very calm the win some intensity during the track. That intensity that comes out of them, the waiting for the climax, is not something that a new audience gets into fast but it seems that the people give them the benefit of the doubt. Ok, the tent was not that full but it looks like the band manages to get people on board. With some appreciation for the Dutch shown the band ends the show, it was by far the most remarkable act of the day.
Mayan, the band of Mark Jansen, seem to be one of those bands you either hate or love. Not much of a choice in between. Where fanatic fans are filling the front rows and the announcer mentions the many t-shirt of the band that have been spotted there, outside of the tent people are not that enthusiastic. The band has some females along to work their magic but if you were standing just outside the tent people were shouting ‘Smack that bitch up’ each time the girls could be heard. That inspired by the song playing on the party stage outdoors.
Hate or love, whatever side you are on when it comes to this band, you cannot deny that the band has comprehensive structures and are putting a lot of effort in these songs. A fully crowded stage where loads is going on is sometimes a bit too much perhaps. A band that is made for mayor festivals with huge stages, that is where this show comes alive completely. Here the band does well but if they reach up to their full potential is to question and it is not even their fault in that matter.
Folk metal coming from Russia, it is Arkona and you won’t forget it fast when you have seen it. Femme Masha is a remarkable woman. She’s wild, wears a dead animal around her neck and can not stop moving. Besides that, she has a voice you cannot fail to notice and when the ladies lets these grunts coming out you will be impressed. The girl know what she is doing. Now that is a metal chick with attitude and power, the way we like it. With instruments as flutes and bagpipes the whole gets mellowed down a little, to keep that fury Masha on a leash for the safety of the audience. And gosh, this band is enjoying themselves here! I mean we have seen others having a great time here, but Arkona is surpasses that all. Yes, it is obvious that this band made their name clear today. One you won’t mind seeing again. Great job Arkona!
Napalm Death, who haven’t seen them around at a festival? The band pops everywhere and usually does what they are always doing; playing a decent show. The band has been around since 1981 and never really took a break. That results in them being around everywhere and an endless list of releases on their name. The band has a love for small releases as many, many splits and EP’s have been released but of course the band has a whole bunch of long players on their name as well. Today the band played a varied set and with the needed energy. Consistency suits people and with Napalm Death you always get exactly what you expect. Napalm Death is Napalm Death.
Poor Gamma Ray, they had to miss the soccer match because they had to play at Dokk’em Open Air. Life can be so hard when you are in a band. No mercy from the audience after their comment on it. Some were shouting ‘zero’ for Germany as they could have expected that. It does not really give people the image you really care for the fact that they want to see you play by saying such a thing. Good, when the band got over the fact they have to miss it, we finally could start enjoying it.
When getting a cover of Helloween’s “I Want Out” presented the atmosphere comes back into the tent. It’s a song that many could sing along and the band encourages that. In between they give it a little reggae-ish touch where the audience repeats them constantly. After that the band moved back to their own hits and especially the most known tracks. After 9 songs played the set is over and the guys can rush off to see what the scores are for Germany. Not that would make them happy.
Death DTA. A show that many have been looking forward to. At Neurotic Deathfest earlier this year we have heard so many Death covers (by diverse bands!) that we pretty much had a whole concert already, but now it’s played by the band self we get the originals. The band returned to the stages to give a honourable memorial to Chuck Schuldiner who passed away years before.
It must be said the band plays an impressive set. The songs that the band play are obviously very influential for many other bands and when standing in front of the band seeing them playing it you discover why. With finesse the band plays those riffs, with precise care those drums come in, into the finest details the guys know how to impress. They don’t seem to settle for less than perfection and that is why these songs come alive so much. It is wonderful that the band decided to do this tour, in honour of Chuck and not just took another singer to move on but let him not be forgotten. One and a half hour of Death perfection, what a show!
Metal Church would be the closer of this festival. They have been around for many years Heavy/Thrash and when they start with the classic “Tons of Bricks” the tone is set. Although the band have released at the end of last year, they prefer to bring the audience those songs that they got their name with. When the band does come to a more recent song like “Generation Nothing”, the title track of their latest album it comes to notice that the guys did not have much of a radical change through the years. These songs perfectly fit in line of their earliest work and that makes the whole set become a good unity. At the end of the set the band has a little encore for the fans in which they bring a Deep Purple cover alive and with fair glance they leave the stage.
A day that started a bit slow, and the schedule got messed up by some unforeseen circumstances have come to an end. The relaxed atmosphere that is over this festival makes that everything goes so easily and with a good communication towards the visitors about the changes everyone accepts it all as is. In Friesland they know how to create a little party and even better how to supersize that to a festival like Dokk’em Open Air. The dates for next year have been announced: 19 and 20 June 2015. Put it in your calendar and make sure to get an early bird ticket as soon as the sale starts!
Photo’s by sabinevangameren.com
The review of day 1 can be found here
Dokk’em Open Air website