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Flugplatz Borkenberge, Lüdinghausen, Germany
17th – 19th August 2012
Area4 Festival 2012 Day 3: Beatsteaks, Slime, Sportfreunde Stiller, Good Riddance, Me First & The Gimme Gimmes, Kylesa, Kettcar, Norma Jean, Dispatch, Graveyard, Sick Of It All, Letlive, The Bots, The Crookes, Nations Afire, A Wilhelm Scream

The third day of Area4 Festival probably had the hottest day in the history of hot weather for us in stock. Clocking in at 37 degrees (Celsius) and peaking at around 39 this was literally one hell of a day, and one you'd better not spent drinking alcohol.

The space in front of the main stage was only sparsely filled with people when we got there to see the first band A WILHELM SCREAM. Even at that time o f the day, it was unbearably hot, but duty called. The history of the band extends way back to 1993 when every thing's started under another moniker. Even though names may change over time, the energy of the band didn't fade and they showcased some of it to the people. I suppose I have to give them credit for laying down such an energetic show with lots of high speed punk-ish tunes and whatnot, and I do. At the time though I was pretty much busy keeping my focus and ignoring the heat. Anyway, a real good start of the day. // Rating: 7 / 10 // /

So after that much needed break we returned to the stage to watch NATIONS AFIRE. IT seems like Punk/Hardcore bands have a natural resistance against heat, or they're simply ignoring it. Wherever the truth lies, it couldn't keep the band, which is kind of a super group with members of IGNITE and one ex member of RISE AGAINST, from rocking the hell out. They brought a kind of passion to the table that is irresistible if you're exposed to it longer than a few minutes. I gotta say I'm impressed they even managed to get people to dance, so guys you have my kudos. // Rating: 6 / 10 //

THE CROOKES were the first band to play the club stage inside the tent which proved to become even hotter than a Finnish sauna during the day. TE CROOKES started a few years ago in Sheffield and over time grew to become a very popular and renowned act. On That Sunday they were the first to bring a rather poppy flavour to the festival, classic indie pop with a hint of THE SMITHS to be exact. I must say it was a welcome diversion to the high-speed punk stuff that was played so far. Not only did the band enjoy themselves very much on stage, the audience followed them suit, even if not in an exaggerated manner as they would do usually.// Rating: 8 / 10 // /

Next at the main stage started a little sensation in the most literal sense. THE BOTS who were taking over the slot of BARONESS who couldn't play the festival for unknown reasons, basically is composed of the two siblings Mikaiah and Anaiah Lei, 18 and 14 years old. The guys started their band a couple years ago and quickly gained a large following by unleashing a plethora of videos on YouTube as well as playing a lot of local shows. You gotta hand it to these guys that they are technically brilliant in what they're doing. They instantly got the crowd hooked on their high-octane mix of swirling drum figures and at times freaky elements at all times steeped in the unbridled energy the boys put up on stage. Surely a surprise, and certainly not a bad one! // Rating: 8 / 10 // /

LETLIVE were competing for the title "Craziest Thing On A Festival 2012", not so much for the band, who didn't seem to know the word slow at all, but for the front man or demon. The latter may be more suitable to describe the acting of singer Jason Aalon Butler. As if possessed by a something unspeakable, the guy was constantly in a state of raging ecstasy that made him completely freak out, destroying the clock at the stage and nearly the microphone, as well as bleeding a little. If you get a "I've seen a lot of things as a photographer, but this lad topped it all" after the show you clearly know what the rock is cooking. The music itself wasn't anything short of angry, full of screams and blasting rhythms which encouraged the crowd, even at this temperatures, to go kind of nuts. Not so much my cup of tea to be honest! // Rating: 5 / 10 //

SICK OF IT ALL formed in 1986. Once the line-up was completed, a first demo was recorded the same year. The renowned and now defunct CBGB'S became their first live playground where they would gather first public attention. Years later they'd one of the spearheads of the hardcore punk scene. The crowd at the main stage was as large as expected with a band of such calibre and they were taking no prisoners, directly doing it full steam ahead and I can't make this clear enough, they managed to get the party started with people going berzerk and lose at least half of their weight in sweat while dancing. The band was no less in the heat of the moment and especially guitarist Pete Koller catered for some very nice stage action during the show. // Rating 6 / 10 // /

GRAVEYARD we had seen last back in the cold November days of 2011 when supporting MOTÖRHEAD on their tour for their then-new album. Might be worth to mention that all band members have been involved in other bands long before anyone did even think of GRAVEYARD, so the show at least from a technical pint of view would be superior. The heavy blues elements within the band's music were even more prominent to me than back when I first saw them playing This time they definitely worked on the movement department since the action could be called stage action now and even the choice of tracks catered for more diversity now that quite righteously raised applause. Both thumbs up! // 8 / 10 // /

DISPATCH were up next in the heat wave that was the third festival day at Area4 and I must say it was an extreme style switch we were experiencing coming from the tent stage before where GRAVEYARD were still doing their thing. DISPATCH are doing it with a distillation of root music, a little bit of reggae and a slice of rock music. Even if I would say that I'm not much of an enthusiast on this particular genre, you've got to give them credit for the technical proficiency they laid down their performance with. Last but not least, yo might not want to admit it but the aforementioned clash of styles is some of the best means to get the people into action. // Rating: 7 / 10 // / 

Well, you can righteously ask yourself whether Marilyn Monroe would've been proud of that upcoming band at the tent stage giving themselves her birth name NORMA JEAN. Why is that? Because I think as open-minded as the lady may have been I doubt she'd appreciate the thrashing and violent nature the band was putting on the table here. The supposedly Christian lyrics could just as well have been Russian. Same difference. You couldn't understand a single word of the screaming. A small group of people however went completely crazy for that mixture and so you could at least spot some dancing. I think that in essence it was too dissonant for people to get into it quick enough while the show was lasting. That goes for me as well. // Rating: 5 / 10 // / 

Back at the main stage we were facing again a stark contrast, even if a good one was up on the schedule. German band KETTCAR were drawing a large crowd to the stage. The backdrop on stage already promised something of the new album 'Zwischen den Runden' would be part of the setlist and indeed. After the intro had faded, the song 'Rettung' kicked the show off before the band was going back to a little classic of their catalogue 'Deiche'. Needless to say it moved the crowd in more than one way. During the show the band never tired of throwing some much needed bottles of water into the audience to cool things down at least a bit, even if they hit one or the other attendee the thought is what counts. The band ended a hailed gig with the emotional 'Balu' to leave the stage for the next act. Definitely a highlight of the day. // Rating: 8 / 10 // /

Oh, I remember KYLESA very very well form the last time they were playing the Area4 festival when we thought they were doing just an experimental set and it turned out as the sound check. Well, speaking of the sound check: That took quite a while,. 15 minutes longer than planned to be exact. It didn't make things any better, actually. I was rather underwhelmed by what was blowing in my face and ears from up there, so I decided very quickly that I wouldn't stay here for long but instead head for the main stage and wait for the next band. // Rating: 3 / 10 //

Following that little disaster it could only get better and ME FIRST & THE GIMME GIMMES promised to be a good choice for the main stage. Other than most bands on the festival, their program consisted entirely of new takes on old hits, that is, putting a punk hat on a pop track. Taking off with 'Leavin' On A Jetplane', originally by JOHN DENVER, that guy who wrote the evergreen 'Countryroads' which by the way was adapted later on as well much to the likes of everyone in attendance. But first i was 'Jolene' that got a fresh new and most of all speedy face If you thought then that the band wouldn't drive it any further, you were proven completely wrong when LED ZEPPELIN classic 'Stairway To Heaven was made a roller-coaster into space. They wouldn't even spare R. KELLY's 'I Believe I can fly' and last but no least declared Germany, Italy and Japan would form the "Axis of Fun". One part of the mentioned now thanks the band for an incredibly funny performance. // Rating: 9 / 10 // 

The stylistic march route for the tent stage definitely was set for speed and energy this day. GOOD RIDDANCE from Santa CRUZ were joining the tradition of pop-inflicted hardcore, noisy stuff which at times was just too much for your ears, or for mine for that matter. It was just too much volume and bass in there for you to be able to fully enjoy it. If they had given it a little less it could just as well have become a really good show. Instead, and with the promise of a little relief for the auditory channels, I opted for leaving the tent earlier than planned. // Rating: 5 / 10 //

Now at the main stage, the preparations for the next band were already in full swing and the promise of seeing SPORTFREUNDE STILLER live soon lured a healthy amount of people there where a curtain still hid the stage from your sight. What the guys had in stock for us was soon to be revealed after the introduction with the first song 'Wunderbaren Jahren'. The stage was given a kind of second floor complete with furniture in the background while the band was playing at the front end of the stage. Oh and I almost forgot to mention the video screens behind the second floor. With the third song 'Ein keiner Schritt', the second floor was then occupied by a complete second band to accompany the guys. Peter then mentioned how he was impressed by the security who weren't hesitant to encourage the crowd to dance and clap. Besides they were righteously honoured for doing a great job and not being the child-eating type with a grim face that tugs down a crowd surfer from the top. The song 'Wunderlied' was their song . Following was what I'd like to call a fun party of waving hands, guys who put their girls on their shoulders or to cut it short everyone just having a great time. If they had put them on the headliner's slot it would've been the icing on the cake. // Rating: 9 / 10 // /

With SLIME headlining the tent stage you would get to see a real veteran of the punk scene. Formed in the late 1970s, they would go on to define the attitude of a large part of the punk movement. It was basically a must-see for everyone who had even the slightest interest in punk music. Te problem was that the tent couldn't provide enough space for everyone and soon the security just blocked the entrance. While I couldn't say that there was much in the music to drag me into it it is a simple fact that SLIME are more real than most of the punk bands you see today. It's not something you can actually see. It's more like an aura that surrounds them. Well, i guess that this wasn't something anyone really cared about. They al came to celebrate good old times and take in lyrics that despite of their age have relevance. Still, I wouldn't stay for too long and head to the main stage for the last time that day to wait for BEATSTEAKS. // Rating: 6 / 10 //

Speaking of which: At the estimated time nothing really happened. The sound check just took a while longer. While that normally is nothing out of the ordinary I saw the seconds running through my fingers this time, for I had to catch the shuttle bus to get to the train station in time for the last train. But finally the BLACK SABBATH intro sounded and the band entered the stage to kick off the set with 'As I Please' that set the audience on fire immediately. The sound at that time still needed some fine-tuning which was done by the time 'Soljanka' hit the crowd. The jumping contest to 'Milk & Honey' was the last thing I saw before leaving the festival grounds for good. // Rating: 8 / 10 // //

It was a really hot day and at times made me want to just sit down and stay where I was. if I would've I'd missed one or the other surprise that was in stock. Generally, you can say that the festival organizers have done a stellar job once again. Actually, they even went one better with almost non-existing queues and much more clean festival grounds. Big kudos goes out to the friendly and helpful security. Always a pleasure. We're already looking forward to next year's edition.

Written by Sebastian Huhn in cooperation with Ulrike Meyer-Potthoff

All pictures by Daniela Vorndran ( / / /

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