Location: Dokkum (Netherlands)
By: Sabine van Gameren
The weather is a bit more friendly today and with some more bands ahead the weekend looks promising again.
Folk Metal band Baldrs Draumar is opening the stage just as they did a couple years ago in 2011. They are local and not only sing in Frysian but also speak that language to the audience in between the songs. Of course the rest of Netherlands has no idea what it is about which results in the quote of Kenny B ‘s current (Dutch) hit “Parijs” : ‘praat Nederlands met me’(‘speak Dutch to me…’ said in a warmhearted way). Anyway, regardless the language, the guys are not taking it easy. They are showing an energetic approach and with a couple of fans at the frontrow they easily entertain the audience on this early timeslot. Well done by these guys!
Up next we get some Sludge from the Dutch act Herder. The guys got their sound ready but perhaps the timeslot does not work for them, thick sounds rather heavy are maybe more up for a later slot.
Yet the guys are convincing enough. Vocalist Ché is a charismatic personality that brings all the mimics into working to make you believe every word they want you to hear and with the rest of the band taking care of the heavy sounds brought onto you, the guys make sure they are seen and I hope we can see them again at Dokk’em in a couple of years.
Iron Reagan. Well where to start. At first the guys tell us this is the very first time they play in Netherlands. Straight after that they voice their doubts about the early timeslot. Good, the guys have been known from other bands but we really wonder why they expect to be headlining the first time they go somewhere. What an attitude. Good, they think they are hilarious, if you think so that is obviously a personal thing, but with their set filled with a lot of short songs, some only a couple seconds long, they make their way through the timeslot faster than expected. Hardcore Punk brought with the skills there, but it is really a band you love or hate. Not that much in between.
Masterplan played their show here today. Jorn Lande has left the band some years ago now and vocalist Rick is on board. Unfortunately it was quite hard to hear him, a problem he suffered himself from as well. The rest of the sound came out rather loud and therefore the vocals were not as prominent as we would have hoped for. As a stage personality Rick does not really stand out that much either, but for the band that is an excellent opportunity to showcase the rest of the guys a little more. The guys do not step back from bringing some classics to the stage which is pleaser for their fans, but for some reason the show does not really come off. The audience seem to float off a bit, seeking the party stage, the merch or beer instead. A pity, but Masterplan did not play their best show here today.
The Finnish Moonsorrow has no problem in getting the audience on their hands, enthusiastically they run onstage and bring their music. It has been a while since the guys released something and although that guarantees some good old classics being played today, the guys are sharing the story that they won’t be out there for a while as they are diving into the studio to record a brand new album. For today we are getting some music of their first three releases mainly. The song sthat are most known and for the fans a good chance to hear these again. Obviously some of them know the lyrics closely as they are singing along to the Finnish lyrics. It is good to see that Moonsorrow puts some energy in putting the show down here regardless the fact that they have the audience on their hands already, such a delight.
Melechesh is a Black Metal formation from Israel. They have been around since 1993 and earlier this year the guys released their sixth full length album called: “Enki”. The guys make a quite impressive entrance at the stage and let their Black Metal with Arabic influences reign all over us. The guys are giving a strong show, not only with the guitars overwhelming you with great riffs but also the fact that they seem to want people to have something to think about. For example the song “Multiple Truths” gets a bit of an introduction and it is clear that they want more than play some rage for their audience. Since the guys have relocated to Netherlands the guys were able to speak Dutch to the audience which got widely appreciated! The strength of the band is the way they make their sound come across so overwhelming and solid on a very humble way. An excellent experience, seeing these guys live.
Death/Thrash formation Legion of the Damned has 10 years on the counter just as the festival itself. (before they were known under a different name though). In these ten years they released 6 full length albums and toured a lot but never made their way to the festival. About time for them to show their faces and when they finally are onstage they do it with style. The audience have been awaiting them and the choice they made with their setlist is much appreciated. A lot of activity is going on and one crowd surfer after another passes by. The band goes back to their very first album and a classic is always appreciated. They close it off with “Legion of the Damned” which won’t be a surprise for anyone ever seeing them before.
It feels like you are into a church, the stage is looking like one at least. All doings of Powerwolf, the German Power Metal formation that has been growing substantially the last couple of years courtesy their releases “Preachers of The Night” and “Blessed and Possessed”. The songs are supercatchy, Im sure I did not hear any Powerwolf since last year Tuska but at the first tunes the lyrics are in my head. And since they all have an energetic vibe, combined with the show the guys bring it is really hard not to like them at least a little bit. Even Falk Maria Schlegel (keys) is never stuck at his stand, he grabs each occasion to run upfront and hype up the audience. Yes, with Powerwolf you are surely getting a show!
Tonight another Dutch (Blackened) Death formation that serves us Dokk’em visitors. God Dethroned originally had split, but brought back to the stages again. On high demand as it seems on the amount of people watching their show today, but it is an exclusive show again. A strong set is played in which the years of experience come forward. Songs like “Nihilism” and “Villa Vampiria” are standing out, but in general the whole set is brought with a certain precision and consistency that you can safely say that they overruled pretty much any other act playing on the festival.
Whether the band will continue and make another album we do not know, but today was a good show for the fans and surely a memorable one for the festival.
My Dying Bride is known as a rather theatrical act. It is much more than the music. Doom, Death and drama. Never forget the drama! Yet, one can see all the development the band has going through in all the years. From where the whole could be a bit overdone for one who wasn’t into the band, they now come with a little more hold back performance. Not going over the top with it, which benefits them in so many ways that the whole show and the music comes forward much more. The drama that comes with each song is dosed and at the end of the set it is still interesting to see them.
Interesting to see the contrast with a band like God Dethroned which bulldozers over people and impresses this way, where these guys bring it all much more calm and impress with the atmospherical elements also.
In the end it was a beautiful ending to a great weekend that was full of exclusive shows and acts that surprise you. Dokk’em Open Air 2015 has ended and it was a damn fine edition!
Photo’s by sabinevangameren.com
Dokkem Open Air website