Friday, August 21, 2009

European Tour 2009 part 5: Wacken warmup


Day 5
29 July 2009
København - Hovedstaden - Denmark to Hamburg - Hamburg-Hesse - Germany

241. Wait, water? I thought this was a train stage? It is -- as later pics will show, the train drove into the ferry to cross between Rødby and Puttgarden.

242. Some distant ships at full zoom.

243. Windmills coming into the German side.

244. Train inside the ferry. Awesome.

On the ride in to Wacken, I fell in with locals as usual, and gave out my first Parasitic Extirpation CD. It didn't work in the dude's radio, though; if cosmic rays fucked it up, I'll be pissed.

Wacken - Schleswig-Holstein - Germany

With my tent up and crap in, it's time to go get some dinner and a beer or so, hang with some peeps, strew some merch, and then get back and rest up. Dunno if Onkel Tom is worth staying up till 11 tonight for.

Is it me or are there more chicks here than previously? Weird; one wonders if such was a consideration in when the fest sold out....

Victims of Madness [4/7]
Maybe the higher profile this year convinced them to rehearse more; maybe better technology allowed it; maybe they just played easier covers while I was listening. Whatever the reason, they did generally better with their covers, and the original "Wacken Song" wasn't half bad. We'll see how it goes with Doro fronting Skyline tomorrow.

245. A better VoM lineup doing "Ace of Spades".

246. VoM doing the Wacken song.

247. Borat-Abteilung in the beergarden. If you're not comfortable with dudes' junk hanging out, this may not be your festival. Wacken, man.


Day 6
30 July 2009
Wacken - Schleswig-Holstein - Germany

My favorite part of Victorian novels is whent he protagonist(s) inevitably fall in with bad company. Falling in with bad company is fun shit.

After the above notes on Victims of Madness, I got rolled into the international table; Norwegians, Dutch, Swedes, Danes, French, etc, and me, translating occasionally. This led to heavy drinking and going back to the Norskies' buscamp to drink some more. The party started before seven and wound down well after midnight; I did get some real sleep, though, before waking up to pull my boots in from the morning rainstorm.

248. Morgengrauen in Wacken.

Yesterday was Ipsissimus and moderate distro success; hopefully the Dysentery shirt will help me clear the rest of my pocket loads before the close of the day.

249. Jägermeister, taking bad decisions to literally new heights. This is the Jäger hanging bar discussed earlier.

250. Hier kommt die Sonne. The morning's rain was pushed away by strong winds; we'll see if there's more moisture trailing. (There was.)

Last year's A-line setup has taken a bit of a hit that can be described in two words: No Water. As I ambled lightheaded through the campground this morning, I noticed a complete absence of the water tanks of the previous couple years. Were they really such vandalism magnets? I can't see any other reason for them to get pulled. Unless, of course, they figured on 69,999 others, like me, buying a 2e iced-tea box instead of pouring themselves a hat or Masskrug of free, clear, delicious, water.

The beergarden staff is currently hauling out what seems to be a ton of broken benches and tables. It doesn't feel like the aftermath of a riot, though; my money's on the usual combination of heavy people and heavy drinking.

251. From the original '92 shirt to Fape hoodies; 17 years, how much culture. Since no earlier festival shirts exist, maybe I should whine less about NEDF not doing festival shirts in their first year either.

252. "Wind 1, Jägermeister 0!" Their tents got fucking jacked up over the wall from the infield into the midway. Hope my stakes held.....

They didn't. Tent got flipped. All contents ok, under-sail removed, tent re-staked, where it would stay the rest of the weekend.

I eventually bailed on the merch line and hit the Metal Market. Picked up a couple of patches, including a ~parody one for Composted, and also a couple black metal demos on tape. After picking these out, I got to peek at the dude's secret stash of NSBM; nothing especially interesting, so I didn't bite. Still, the almost literal under-the-table aspect was kinda cool.

253. Wacken, rain or....well, mostly rain.

After reviving my tent and tossing my merch in, I ambled back through a rainshower to the beergarden through a mostly empty midway. Dudes were scattering and ponchoing up, but my all-weather kutte saw me through. Thick and rain-repellent! Insulating! Cools easily in case of sweat!

Unfortunately, all this extra time-to-live bought me was more standing in line. Weatherpussies had crowded into every inch of space under every available awning, making it impossible to get a goddamned beer. Soon, though, enough of them manned up and left that I was able to get to the bar, grab a beer, and go back out under the drying sun. Bands start in about 2 hours.

254. Let's see how long this holds up.

255. The new infield.

Skyline [4/7]
A few originals, a lot of help; a nice look into the past, but you can kind of see why they weren't able to get an open-air slot anywhere else and had to make their own fest.

256. Skyline jamming out.

257. Doro leading Skyline.

258. Doro & Sabina on "We Are The Metalheads".

259. The piper from Subway to Sally makes an appearance.

Onkel Tom [5/7]
A surprise 2-song outing at the end of Skyline's set, this was a nice Zugabe for those (like me) who missed his set the night before.

260. It's everyone's favorite drunken German uncle!

261. Onkel Tom & band thrashing.

262. Herr Angelripper auf brüllen.

Schandmaul [5/7]
Another good performance, and a fucking amazing response. However, it's still not completely clear how they separate themselves from other mittel-alter bands. No Subway to Sally or In Extremo yet (though both are on the bill), so good stuff.

263. Schandmaul demonstrates that there is "Kein Weg zu weit".

Der W [5.5/7]
Good stuff, of which some I'm a fan of (yay "Heiss", "Geschichtenhasser", and "Gewinnen Kann Jeder"), but for all the quality, it's doubtful that he'd get this slot, being such a pure rock band, if he hadn't been in the Onkelz and helped save the festival so long ago.

264. Der W - Weidner takes command of the mic.

Shut up, dumb awards show, moar Running Wild!

The good things about this dumb awards show:
1) Slipknot getting booed after winning Best Website.
2) Heaven Shall Burn coming out after winning song of the year and simultaneously dissing the award, talking their own music down, and fanboying for Running Wild to the exclusion of all other activities. This is why they will survive after the wave that has put them to the top of the charts starts cutting their hair differently.

265. Stage set for Running Wild.

266. The set opened with a pirate skit (probably stumping for the Hamburg Dungeon that Rolf's involved with now) that ran on about a minute and a half longer than optimal.

267. Pirates continue fucking around.

268. Chick with some dude on a chain.

269. Finally, Cap'n Rolf!

Port Royal
Bad To The Bone
Riding The Storm
Prisoner of our Time
Black Hand Inn
Battle of Waterloo
(drum solo)
Raging Fire
The Privateer
Draw The Line
Tortuga Bay
Branded and Exiled
Raise Your Fist
Under Jolly Roger

That's it. Running Wild will never play another show as a full band again. Note: I ran into another under-30 "alter kuttenträger" on Saturday morning, and we had about a 45-minute discussion of how this set could have been improved, mostly by adding in several of the dozen or two classic songs we identified as missing, and by removing the pirate skit and the bogus wait before the encore. This is how real fans roll.

Running Wild [7/7]
No "Little Big Horn". No "Ballad of William Kidd" or "Treasure Island" -- not even "Chains And Leather" or "Victim of State's Power". But yes, 17 Running Wild songs, front row, and that at least will last. With my personal history as a metalhead, I had to see this; I did, and it made the trip worth it, even adjusting for the weather.

270. The band rips through "Port Royal".

271. Rolf Kasparek, front and center.

272. Same song, running low on light.

273. Throw some sand on the decks, mateys, we'll ride out this squall yet! And we did.

Heaven & Hell [5/7]
Really good for an old band heard from a quarter mile away. I was more watching a live concert feed than seeing the set, courtesy of the video walls, but I heard it live, which is what counts.

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