2 – 8 August 2012
Wacken Open Air, Wacken
By: Colin en Nick
Wacken Open Air is the festival where every metalhead must have been once in his lifetime. When you’re there for just an hour, you know, you want to return every year.
Still feeling a bit out of place when you’re at home of at school, with your long hair, black shirt and army boots? In this little village in Northern Germany you’re mainstream for almost a week together with a modest 90000 visitors. To avoid traffic we came a day earlier in Holy Wacken Land.
On Wednesday we go to exchange our tickets for bands, well not as easy as we thought it would be. After a 4 hour walk we finally had our press-bands and we could take a dive in the swimming pool.
In the evening it was time for the first act in our full program.
One of the reasons I went to holy Wacken land this year was Vogelfrey. When I discovered they wouldn’t perform once but 4 times for 45 minutes, I couldn’t be happier. Because there was nothing very interesting at the moments they were playing, I decided to see them all 4 times, which gave me a good image of this band
4 times Vogelfrey? Than you’re filled up with it, you think? No, not at all! Vogelfrey fascinated me all four times, with every time a different setlist. They also managed to keep their show varied, with nice elements like trowing a big ball in the audience at ‘Ball der Gehängten’, biting off the head of a barbie-doll at ‘Feeenfleisch’ and the alter-ego of their bassist, Knut, who also came along to sing a song. Despite the fact there was a false note every now and then, Vogelfrey managed to keep a grab on the audience with a entertaining humurous well thought set.
Score: 8/10 (Nick)
After Vogelfrey it’s time for Santiano. A name when you don’t know what to expect with a description as sailor songs, you can expect everything. A little asking around learned it was a typical Wacken band. When you expect this band in a retirement center they’re performing for a bunch of wild metalheads. And who would expect this Dubliners-like folkband would become THE act of the festival. They kick off with ‘He’s a pirate’ (intro ‘Pirates of the Caribbean’) to go one with ‘Men with beards’ But after this “Leinen los, Volle fahrt Santiano!” which can be heard all over the camping-site for the whole week. And then they play even “Es gibt nur Wasser, Wasser, Wasser überall, doch wir haben nichts zu trinken” (There’s Water, water, water everywhere, but we have nothing to drink), what a hit and very appropriate the day after on this very very wet WOA. At the end of the festival the CD’s of Santiano are sold out on the whole festival area!
Score: 8/10 (Nick & Colin)
After Santiano we went with a group Dutchmen to the tent where Mambo Kurt shows he can ruin popular songs with nasty singing and an electric organ. The whole crowd gets loose on this weird fellow, because … everyone like ruined song.
After a short night we’re ready to go on! On the Tuesday there are also a lot of nice things on our schedule.
In the morning we look around a bit on the grounds. And then we start with one of the first bands on this day.
This Russian band is touring the whole summer long to entertain everyone with their happy dance-able ska-like music. It’s a pity the terrain is already a big muddy mess due to the rain and a couple of thousand feet. But they manage to break our morning mood with their happy music. The party really starts when we are going to work as a ‘collective’. The song where everybody is waiting for ‘Psycho traktor”. After a nice round of circle-pitting where are going back to our tents.
Score: 7/10 (Colin)
Then it’s the turn of one of my favourite bands on Wacken this year, the winner of the Norse Metal Battle, Faanefjell. A troll black metal band which is busy to expand. It’s immediatelly noticed they didn’t bring a violinplayer along, and the violin can be heard on their album and can be seen in live movies of the band. They don’t mention a reason for this, but it does diminish the music. Still the terrain is a muddy mess which results in a lack of moshpits. The vocal aren’t loud enough. What remains is a singer who can perform well and some ray guitar-parts, of which the music is full of. It’s nice for headbanging, but I seem to be one of few doing this. The audience wasn’t warmed up at 13.00 hours and they didn’t get warmer by Faanefjell, a pity, I’d expected more off them.
Score: 6/10 (Colin)
After lying down for a few hours we go to Sepultura, they were trying to give a nice show with a performance together with the percussion group Tambour du Bronx. The stories of people in the front and our ‘home-reviewer’ Michel watching streams on internet, are enthusiastic. I was in the back and heard nothing off this addition. Just seeing Sepultura with a few thousand people in front of you.
The gothic scene has also a delegation on Wacken and this shows when we go to see Amaranthe, whe were to lazy to go through security in the tent, we sit down in front of the tent and follow them on the screen outside…., in the rain….
Fortunately this where small showers and after a while we could go on to see Saxon. They put down a good show where everybody got what he came for. We were lucky the grass was still dry and we could sit down and liste to a piece of Volbeat.
The next day starts with a piece of Sanctuary when we’re waiting at the next stage for Kamelot. Kamelot was playing with their new singer and this sounded pretty good. But unfortunatelly: cloud-burst. After a few seconds in the rain, you don’t like this anymore, so we hide underneath a crowdsurger… This is too much we go back to our tent to dry our socks, when we walk back we noticed another disappointment Kamelot played ‘March of Mephisto’ without Shagrath, and this while Dimmu Borgir was playing the same evening.
After this Opeth, a band with humor. The singer was happy with the rain because it added something to their music. He was a little sad because he wanted to see the Scorpion who were playing at the same time, so he wanten to whistle winds of change for 25 minutes. Something he didn’t do. When he saw the sun coming out he apoligezed for this. Besides all this humor they played like you may expect from Opeth.
Then the start off Hammerfall, we don’t like this music a tlot, so we go back to the Wackinger Village for another show of Vogelfrey.
Dimmu Borgir with orchestra, sounds like Dimmu Borgir with an orchestra. Dimmu played well as you may expect from them. And when the Norse glamblack metallers were quiet for a while you could hear a nice orchestra, the mix was bad in the back.
In Extremo ended this day with a tame performance. The whole area was dirty and muddy so there was no pit and no jumping or dancing. But they played almost all their hits. The atmosphere was heavy influenced by the poor conditions of the area but they did everything to create make this up. Unfortunately this was hopeless. But everybody was pleased with their last song Villeman og Magnhild!
Score: 7/10 (Colin)
And after another good rest that night. The day starts a little odd with Delain, the Dutch gothic metallers weren’t on my original schedule, but I have to say it was a very very good performance in which Charlotte managed to get the German guys to move more then In Extremo did the night before. (the reasons for this were obvious).
The next band of which I saw a piece was ‘Blaas of Glory’, a small Dutch orchestra playing a parody on metalsongs. With ugly widgets and funny costumes they make fun of metal, and the metalheads? They love it!
After this a quick bite and hang out a bit backstage and trying to see a bit of Testament every now and then.
A few minutes to 8 I go to the mainstage where Amon Amarth is coming. Unfortunately the gigantic area is FULL and no one can gets through anymore. I have to see the first songs from the gate. But this doesn’t affect the experience, because also at the back of the field and even outside there’s headbanging, screaming, cheering and singing!
I’m lucky after a few songs I can get through the gate and joing the ‘real’ audience. The fire is blowing of the stage when Amon Amarth plays War of the gods, Destroyer of the Universe, Twilight of the Thundergod and all other hits they have. Beautiful moment when Amon Amarth (who changed last minute from stage with the Scorpions) go off stage suddenly, shut down the lights, change the looks of the stage, while Johan Hegg whistles ‘Winds of Change’. And then they come back with ‘Pursuit of Vikings’ after which they confused crowd sings along loudly. Nice self-mockery when Johan Hegg says it doesn’t matter when you don’t know the lyrics in the sing along “This is Deathmetal, so no one will know the difference!” After 75 minutes they stop and ‘Zugabe’ can be heard everywhere, because no one want them to go back to Sweden, but unfortunalely….
Score: 10/10 (never seen such a perfect gig!) (Colin)
I move a stage to the right, when everybody is going to the left. To the left of the true metal stage the Scorpions were playing at the black stage. I went to the party stage were one of my fovourites played, Schandmaul. The band was playing with two replacements while Anna and Birgit where taking care of their recent offspring. Thomas prices the relatively small audience for coming to them and not to the Scorpions. But of course we do Thomas! They played a nice set with a lot of happy party songs and not a lot love-ballads. Another mentionable event was the flood halfway the gig, causing me to decide to go back to our tent. Fortunately after enjoying Herren der Winde, das Teufelsweib and a lot more. A nice performance but a pity of the rain.
After this we didn’t go back to the stage, despite of the fact we wanted to see Watain and Ministry. The weather conditions were very bad and when it got dry, we went back to the Netherlands. Despite of the cloudbursts a very nice festival! We go again next year!