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Pukkelpop, Hasselt, Belgium
August 19th 2005
Nightwish, Marilyn Manson, Apocalyptica

It's Friday afternoon when we get in the car to drive off towards the warm south to pick up a friend and drive on to the Belgian music festival Pukkelpop which is celibrating it's 20th aniversary. Unfortunatelly we'd only been invited for the Friday so we had to skip quite a few interesting bands. Due to another appointment that day we had to miss Bad religion but at least we were able to review three nice bands again.


First band of the night on stage that is of any importance to us are our Finnish friends of Nightwish. What is left to say about the band that we have reviewed before and hasn't been said before? There is really no real need for a further introduction. They are no dark chest of wonders to us, for more insight I recommend the interviews featured on our site.

Nightwish has only one hour so their setlist contains a large amount of furious songs, no ballads, just plain female fronted powermetal to overwhelm the audience. The band starts with 'Dark Chest of Wonders' and ends with 'I Wish I Was an Angel' with mainly songs of their latest album 'Once'. Tarja's voice is ok, but not the best I've heard so far, and this goes for the entire band with the exception of Marco whose voice is again good. They are just not as good as they normally are, still able to blow away most of the competition, but we do expect more from a band at this level. Again this was not a bad show at all, the audience is very enthusiastic about the band and their music. If you can make fans and innocent bystanders enjoy themselves when you are not achieving your normal high standards, you've done a good job. The sound system used multiple speakers per side some halfway down the grass making sure the sound levels were not too high.

Like at Wacken, Tarja enters the stage in a yellow/black outfit and both her mic and mic stand are painted in yellow. Her first outfit is a long knitted robe over black clothes; she later changes into a black top and pants with a yellow see-through cloak. While the audience is mainly focussing on Tarja the rest of the band is working hard to get in touch with them. Tuomas likes to stare into the audience when not playing, smiling. Marco runs up and down the stage while Emppu is going the opposite way. While Jukka, high on his drum stage, is trying to show some real powerful drumming, Emppu is throwing picks in the audience after he made them scream for it. One of the minor downsides of the concert was the light; there was a lot of smoke on stage at times just to have some effect from the light during the daylight. Not the spectacular show with fireworks we are used to see, but it proves Nightwsh can do without as well.

01. Dark Chest of Wonders
02. The Siren
03. Ever Dream
04. The Kinslayer
05. Planet Hell
06. Slaying the Dreamer
07. Wishmaster
08. Nemo
09. I Wish I Had an Angel

Music: 7
Performance: 7
Sound: 7
Light: 6
Total: 7

Marilyn Manson

What to say about this androgynous person who likes to shock people with his very different perception of the world and his gender. His music has been popular for a while with a big audience, but today he has to convince this audience full of non-fans and sensation seekers.

The music of Marilyn Manson is well known, it's aggressive at times and most certainly most of the lyrics are controversial. On stage we see Manson on vocals, and the rest of the band is formed by Ginger Fish (drums), John 5 (guitar), Tim Skold (bass), Madonna Wayne Gaycy (keys). The music sounds solid though it's not convincing, there's this spark missing. Most of the fans in the audience don't notice any of this and are enjoying the concert feeding themselves on the feeling it gives them. All the big hits played, 3 covers (all of the originals are great hits in their own right), setlist complete. The music sounds ok, but the vocals of Brian Warner (Marilyn Manson) are not really convincing at all times. The sound was louder than the other bands, it was harsher and at times the instruments out powered Manson's voice. All in all not the best you can get.

Ok now it's time for Marilyn Manson to show his true colours, this is his trade. Without any expectation and being used to much more daring performances nothing is too shocking. And as a matter of fact so is this show, not bad at all with all the changes of clothes. It would take a long time to actually describe all the outfits but most eye catching were the army uniform and his stilts outfit, walking around in it he looks like an human version of one of Dali's thin legged elephants. A gallow with two ropes is a nicely designed alternative for a keyboard stand, both guitarist and bass player wearing female clothes, lots of smoke, plenty of light on Manson and most of all a lot of dramatic moves on stage while kneeling of even lying on the floor. There was just nothing shocking which might have disappointed many reviewers and especially those non-fans who wanted a spectacle or visual orgy. It was still a nice show to look at however.

00. Intro
01. The Love Song
02. Disposable Teens
03. (M)obscene
04. Tourniquet
05. Personal Jesus (Depeche Mode cover)
06. Great Big White World
07. Tainted Love (Softcell cover)
08. The Fight Song
09. The Nobodies
10. The Dope Show
11. Rock is Dead
12. Sweet Dreams (Eurythmics cover)
13. The Beautiful People
14. Outro

Music: 7
Performance: 7
Sound: 6
Light: 7
Total: 7


Although we need to consider Marilyn Manson to be the headliner when it comes to the festival, the final minutes of this Friday are reserved for the 4 mean cellos players and a vicious drummer. Apocalyptica show that cellos are no instruments just for nerds, they started off with Metallica songs but their own songs as well as classical pieces are their repertoire, as long as it suits the metal appearance.

Hey it's a cello, what else can you do but make cello sounds? Why do you need 4 of them anyway? Well take one to do the bass parts of the song, one to take the vocal lines and have the other two play the melody lines while the drums keep everything tight and you have the answer. And that is just what Apocalytia did this night. The roar when they entered the stage set the mood for the rest of the night, with a very good setlist the managed to provide the energy to stay awake, there is no time to relax and many people feel like singing along the Metallica covers, which does give you a special feeling when you are in the audience. For the first time it was possible to actually understand Eicca Toppinen when he announces songs are just makes a casual comment. The balance between the instruments as well as the sound level was excellent, other sound engineers could most certainly learn from this. The playing of the band itself is phenomenal, full of dedication, flawless and powerful. This was the best concert I've seen of them so far; I fear the next time... will be hard to beat this show.

Four big wooden chairs, one to the right of the drum kit the other three on the left. Three rough looking metal guys with a cello and one impeccably dressed with sunglasses and a hyperactive drummer enter the stage. The band plays from their chairs the first few songs, Paavo Lotjonen is meanwhile trying to persuade the audience to cheer and sing along. The one by one the band members get off from their chairs to play standing. The first to start with this is Perttu whose long dark hair is flying around while he combines headbanging and cello playing. The further the show progresses the more energy the band seems to get feeding on the enthusiasm of the audience. Near the end of the show Eicca goes down on his knees while frantically playing his cello, the others lift up their cellos from time to time to cheer up the fans. With a great encore the band has to leave the fans screaming for more, time is up however, too bad, and it looks like the bands feels the same way. The show has a lot of ambient light but in order to achieve this the light engineer has pumped a lot of smoke on stage, though the longer they are on stage the thinner the smoke gets leaving a well lit stage when the guys go berzerk.

01. Path
02. Master of Puppets
03. Somewhere
04. Nothing Else Matters
05. Quutamo
06. Life Burns
07. Betrayal
08. Bittersweet
09. Seek & Destroy
10. Inquisition Symphony
11. Enter Sandman
12. Hall of the Mountain King

Music: 9
Performance: 9
Sound: 9
Light: 8
Total: 9

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