31st May to 2nd June 2019
Metalfest Pilsen with Amorphis, Hammerfall, Powerwolf, Beast In Black, Stratovarius, Amon Amarth, The 69 Eyes, Dee Snyder, Arch Enemy
The Metalfest in Pilsen takes place in an ancient amphitheatre in Pilsen since 2010. You will find yourself in a really unique location and decide if you want to rock with the crowd in the pit, sit on one of the benches further up or place your blanket on the slope. Wherever you may roam, the sound is always good and you have an excellent view of what is happening on stage. No festival can match Pilsen in these points.
Whenever I’m at Metalfest, I marvel at the fact that the organizers somehow manage to make the bands to keep the schedule and the techs to work fast enough to build up the set just in time. The atmosphere was fantastic, everyone was relaxed and the whole thing a understanding between nations. You could meet people from Finland, Sweden, Switzerland, Poland, Russia, Great Britain, Germany and of course from the Czech Republic. The locals were always ready to help, since some of the staff spoke neither German nor English and I really appreciated that no matter what problem occurred, there was always someone to give a hand.
The Security was the most polite I ever met at a festival, although they did their job properly, you never had to wait long to get access to the venue. A big plus point is that in Pilsen you can bring a “real” backpack instead of a small clear bag. You can either store your bag for a small fee or you can take it to the venue, after it was approved by security. Near the entrance there a several food stands, selling stuff like grilled meat, burgers, langos, fries, noodles, trdelník, pancakes or doener. The Czech Republic is not a vegan’s paradise but Blondie’s downtown Pilsen has really good vegan food.
If you are used to “festival prices” for food and beer from Germany or Austria, you will find yourself in paradise in Pilsen, a beer costs app. 2€ a coke app. 1.60€. There are no drinking-water stations at the campsite, only at the venue, so you better bring enough water or buy it at the local supermarkets (open on Sundays, too).Now you may ask yourself, if there is nothing to complain about? There is...
1. The path to the campground is not illuminated, so always make sure you’ve got a flashlight or enough power for the own in your phone.
2. There is no security on the campground
3. The toilets. There are a few on the campgrounds but not enough and the ones inside are few and usually closed for cleaning whenever a gig ends (but there is a “workaround” go outside and pay app 0.40€ for a real toilet near the shower-containers)
4. There are only a few showers
If you want some comfort, simply go to a hotel in downtown Pilsen, Tram. No.1 takes you directly to the festival.
My biggest THANKS go to the local fire brigade, who regularly gave the people in the pit cold showers, with 27 degrees Celsius in the shadow and app. 50 degrees Celsius in the sun in front of the stage, this was a welcome “cool down” and to the bands who had to perform in the afternoon, lights over their heads and the sun shining directly in their faces. Nobody gave in and every band rocked as if you would attend one of their shows in a club or music-hall. Metalfest was the perfect start into the festival season, it was hot, it was sweaty, it was loud, it was peaceful and people really rocked. So let’s have a look at the music…
Friday, 31st May 2019
My festival-weekend started with AXXIS and SEPTICFLASH, I had never seen them perform live, before so I cannot say if their performances were good or not. Then the arena started filling up significantly for people obviously had a high interest in seeing AMORPHIS.
When the band went on stage, I was really surprised because Waltteri Väyrynen (PARADISE LOST) sat behind the drums. After a few songs Tomi Joutsen informed us, that Jan Rechberger was ill and Waltteri had jumped in with less than 24 hours’ notice and no rehearsals. Following AMORPHIS for a long time I must say that Waltteri did a fantastic job and a big thanks to him, for saving AMORPHIS’ gig so many people (including me) had been looking forward to.
Listening to Esa Holpainen’s solos is always a pleasure and it seemed, Santeri Kallio had a very good time behind his keyboards. The vibes in the band seem to be really good, since Olli-Pekka-Laine came back, we got a firework of songs with fantastic vocals and growls form Tomi. AMORPHIS really rocked. Before he performed ‘Black Winter Day’, Tomi made an announcement by the song with the anecdote, that when the song was written their current drummer was not born, yet. I really hope AMORPHIS will come back to Germany after their tour in the US.
http://www.AMORPHIS.net // Setlist: AMORPHIS gave us a fireworks of songs - 01. The Bee / 02. The Golden Elk / 03. Sky Is Mine / 04. Sacrifice / 05. Silver Bride / 06. Bad Blood / 07. Wrong Direction / 08. Daughter of Hate / 09. Hopeless Days / 10. Black Winter Day / 11. Death of a King / 12. House of Sleep
The band brought a fantastic stage-decoration and delivered a fantastic performance. The Metal heads from Sweden opened with a song they had not performed live (‘Legion’) for several years. We also heard the live premiere of ‘The Sacred Vow’. Of course the audience asked for an encore and HAMMERFALL really rocked the crowd that had gathered in the pit and on the ranks. // Setlist: 01. Legion / 02. Hammer High / 03. Renegade / 04. (We Make) Sweden Rock / 05. Blood Bound / 06. Any Means Necessary / 07. Hero’s Return / 08. Riders of the Storm / 09. Hector’s Hymn / 10. The Sacred Vow / 11. Last Man Standing / 12. Let the Hammer Fall / Encore: 13. Templars of Steel / 14. The Dragon Lies Bleeding / 15. Hearts on Fire
All in all.... HAMMERFALL were the perfect band to get us ready for the musical and visual fireworks of POWERWOLF. Flying hair, raised fists a chorus of the audience, whenever required, POWERWOLF raised all the power we had, to leave us happy and exhausted looking forward to the next two days. // Setlist: 01. Fire and Forgive / 02. Army of the Night / 03. Incense & Iron / 04. Amen & Attack / 05. Let There Be Night / 06. Demons Are a Girl’s Best Friend / 07. Killers With the Cross / 08. Armata Strigoi / 09. Blessed & Possessed / 10. Where the Wild Wolves Have Gone / 11. Resurrection by Erection / 12. Stossgebet / 13. Sanctified With Dynamite / 14. Coleus Sanctus / 15. Werewolves of Armenia / 16. We Drink Your Blood / 17.
Saturday, 1st June 2019
My festival-day started with a meet & greet with STRATOVARIUS and I made it just in time to the stage to attend the gig of a band that means 100% fun and power:
Beast In Black
The band did a fantastic mostly sold-out tour in Germany earlier this year and will be back in November. I still cannot figure out who enjoys the shows the most, BEAST IN BLACK or their fans? Although it was really hot, Yannis was wearing his long black leather-coat and was running and jumping on stage as usual. He really frequently came to the fans at the barrier and rocked with them. Máté and Kasperi were posing and shredding together while Anton played several amazing solos. Atte obviously had fun behind his drums, juggling with his sticks and having Yannis as an assistant occasionally while the guitars had their solo-parts.
‘Crazy, Mad, Insane’ always means a funny performance and the formation dance of Anton, Yannis and Anton was really cute. Then the command “Get your hands up in the air” came and it was time for ‘End of the World’. Raised hands and rocking people were the reward for a fantastic gig. One more thing: BEAST IN BLACK’s meet & greet time was partly during STRATOVARIUS gig, so several fans of both bands faced a problem. But BEAST IN BLACK simply stayed longer than the schedule announced, talking to their fans and signing items.
This was the second time after Helsinki BEAST IN BLACK showed, that their fans are really important to them. After the sold-out gig in Munich in March, the band promised to come back soon and they kept their promise! Make sure you get your ticket, soon! // http://beastinblack.com // Setlist: 01. Cry out for a Hero / 02. Unlimited Sin / 03. Beast In Black / 04. The Fifth Angel / 05. True Believer / 06. Heart of Steel / 07. Born Again / 08. Repentless / 09. Die by the Blade / 10. Crazy, Mad, Insane / 11. Sweet True Lies / 12. From Hell with Love / 13. Blind and Frozen / 14. End of the World
Time to line up for a drink and head back to the stage, since the next guest from Finland got on stage. STRATOVARIUS had fantastic news for us: The band is in the studio and there will be a new album next year (and hopefully a tour). STRATOVARIUS opened with ‘Eagleheart’ and immediately had a grip on the crowd. ‘Phoenix’ and ‘Oblivion’ followed suit.
Song by song you could marvel at the skill of every single member of STRATOVARIUS, Lauri and Matias delivering solo after solo, Jens giving us the perfect intro to ‘Black Diamond’ with one of Timo’s best vocal performances of the song at festivals so far. Rolf has a really busy job as the drummer of this Power Metal band, but he really seemed to enjoy giving us the rhythm to raise our hands.
Timo addressed the crowd frequently and treated us with an extended (app. 8 minutes) and “active” session with raised hands of „Hunting High and Low“ forcing us to show, that we could be louder than a drunk Finish crowd and a freaking out crowd in Portugal. Time really flew by and the gig was over, too soon. It’s definitely time for a new STRATOVARIUS tour in Europe. // http://www.STRATOVARIUS.com // Setlist: 01. Eagleheart / 02. Phoenix / 03. Oblivion / 04. Shine in the Dark / 05. SOS / 06. 4000 Rainy Nights / 07. Destiny / 08. Black Diamond / 09. The Kiss of Judas / 10. Unbreakable / 11. Hunting High and Low
While standing at the meet & greet with BEAST IN BLACK I heard the sound of what was announced as CRADLE OF FILTH. To make it short, I decided, not to attend the show. The sound was awful. Dani Filth’s vocals couldn’t match their fantastic gigs 10 years ago. Maybe Dani Filth a bad day, for the music sounded well compared to his too high and squeaking vocals.
The stage was dominated by the Viking helmet that served as a drum-podium. It was pitch-black outdoors and so the fantastic light and fire show with thundering guitars powerful vocals and growls were the perfect end of a fantastic festival day. // Setlist: 01. The Pursuit of Vikings / 02. Deceiver of the Gods / 03. First Kill / 04. The Way of Vikings / 05. Asator / 06. Cry of the Black Birds / 07. Crack the Sky / 08. As Loke Falls / 09. Legend of a Banished Man / 10. War of the Gods / 11. Death in Fire / 12. Shield Wall / 13. Raven’s Flight / 14. Guardians of Asgaard / 15. Raise Your Horns / 16. Twilight of the Thunder God
Sunday, 2nd June 2019
I woke up and wanted the festival not to end today, one of my favourite bands on stage in the afternoon and three further promising gigs on the schedule. My afternoon started with the second half of DEATH ANGEL, before I got ready for the “Helsinki Vampires” aka THE 69 EYES
The 69 Eyes
Roughly two weeks ago, I had seen the band live in the US and in the meantime they had released ‘27 & Done’ the first single from their coming new album, ‘West End’ (release Sept. 13th 2019 (Yes, it’s a Friday...)). For me ’27 & Done’ is a perfect “back to the roots” 69 EYES song and I was curious how it sounded live. THE 69 EYES opened with ‘Devils’ followed by ‘27 & Done’. It’s definitely a song you can put on a live-setlist, although I might have placed it not directly after ‘Devils’ which is a really powerful song, so ’27 & Done’ kind of stood in ‘Devils’ shadow a bit.
It took me by surprise, how many people around me already knew the lyrics by heart. The setlist was a kind of “best of” and was highly appreciated by the fans. ‘Wasting the Dawn’ marked the half-time of the set and although several people had to be pulled out by the security due to the heat, THE 69 EYES performed flawless no matter the heat. ‘Dolce Vita’ was the only song from their last album, ‘Universal Monsters’, and song by song we rocked via ‘The Chair’, ‘Framed in Blood’ and ‘Gothic Girl’ to meet ‘Brandon Lee’. The 69 Exes showed their “love my Job” attitude during the whole show and it was fantastic to see the band in so high spirits so short after a long US-Tour.
Jussi69 could be seen standing on chis chair and being obviously pleased by what he saw from his “premium seating”, while Arzchie and Bazie came front to the barrier several times and Timo-Timo jumped and rocked while playing as if it was not 50 degrees Celsius in the sun. ‘Feel Berlin’ was definitely the highlight, the audience was dancing and singing, while THE 69 EYES delivered a fantastic performance. I don’t know who rocked more during ‘Lost Boys’ the crowd or THE 69 EYES? After a big applause the band came front to give drumsticks and picks to the fans.
THE 69 EYES will be on tour in Europe in November and release several singles from the new album during the summer, the gig in Leipzig already had to be moved to a larger venue, since it was sold-out, so you better get your tickets soon. // http://69eyes.com // Setlist: 01. Devils / 02. 27 & Done / 03. Perfect Skin / 04. Never Say Die / 05. Dance D’Amour / 06. Wings & Hearts / 07. Wasting the Dawn / 08. Wrap Your Troubles in Dreams / 09. Dolce Vita / 10. The Chair / 11. Framed in Blood / 12. Gothic Girl / 13. Feel Berlin / 14. Brandon Lee / 15. Lost Boys
I still stood outside the venue in the shadow, when DEE SNYDER started his show, but as soon as I heard the first riffs of ‘You can’t stop Rock’n’Roll’ I had to go back to the venue immediately. DEE SNYDER still rocks and he was at his best, when he performed the TWISTED SISTER songs. My ultimate highlight was his cover of ‘Highway to Hell’. I really hope he will be touring Europe with his band, soon. // Setlist: 01. Lies Are a Business / 02. You Can’t Stop Rock ‘n’ Roll (TWISTED SISTER cover) / 03. Tomorrow’s No Concern / 04. American Made / 05. Burn in Hell / 06. The Kids Are Back (TWISTED SISTER cover) / 07. I Am the Hurricane / 08. We’re Not Gonna Take It (TWISTED SISTER cover) / 09. The Beast (TWISTED SISTER cover) / 10. I Wanna Rock (TWISTED SISTER cover) / 11. For the Love of Metal / 12. Highway to Hell (AC/DC Cover)
The headliner on Sunday were ARCH ENEMY and the arena was filled to the last place. There was no fire that night, but a show that was nearly two hours long and still seemed to be over, too soon. Amazing light-effects fantastic music and incredible growls really proved ARCH ENEMY are a worthy headliner for a festival. // http://www.archenemy.net // Setlist: 01. The World Is Yours / 02. Ravenous / 03. Stolen Life / 04. My Apocalypse / 05. The Race / 06. You Will Know My Name / 07. Under Black Flags We March / 08. Dead Eyes See No Future / 09. The Eagle Flies Alone / 10. First Day in Hell / 11. As the Pages Burn / 12. No Gods, No Masters / 13. Dead Bury Their Dead / 14. We Will Rise / Encore: 15. Avalanche / 16. Snow Bound / 17. Nemesis
Then the festivals was over and I’m sure I will be back again if the line-up will be as fantastic as it was in 2019.
All Pictures by Munich Vampire