Saturday, August 22, 2009

European Tour 2009 part 9: Party.San buildup


Day 12
5 August 2009
Berlin - Berlin-Brandenburg - Germany

Looking at how the running order is, I could probably have taken another day and gone down tomorrow...but the itinerary is what it is, so down the tent I go; hope I find some cool peeps or a place to buy a case of local beer while inbound - best both.

I've still got large chunks of Schleswig-Holstein stuck to my boots, despite all the hiking yesterday. It's looking more and more like I'll explicitly have to hose them off to get back through US customs.

561. The cursed (?) track 13 at Potsdamer Platz. I had to go through this station quite a bit when I was going around in Berlin, and got stuck there a while on a couple occasions. Despite the time spent, I never saw a train slated for this track. Spooooky.

Bad Berka - Thüringen - Germany


562. Noch bequem. This festival is capped at 10,000; nice and small and quiet.

563. Over to the main part of the campground.

Some nice views of Thuringia on the way in; got to come back here sometime. The ground's harder here than in Wacken, probably due to the drier climate as much as the lack of immediate rainfall, but the tent went up without a hitch; let's hope it stays so.

No bands today, and nothing in the festival area open; after exploring around the site a bit, I tried despite the suffocating heat to get some daytime sleep. Once the bands start, there'll be little opportunity for such.

564. Tower on a distant hill.

565. Bone Ritual shirt with the sleeves cut off. Because I promised the band, and because there isn't shit else to do. The beerwagon (conveniently located less than 100 yards from my tent) isn't even open yet.

566. A full moon over British dudes helping Spanish girls with their tent.

567. Are metalheads perched like ravens on these distant hay bales? This area did get camped up later, after more people arrived, but this just looked spooky in the dusk lighting. I have no idea if anyone was really out there.

The lack of anything to do meant that I probably could have taken another day in Berlin and gone down earlier in the day Thursday without difficulty. However, this would mean tighter train connections as well as having to set up at the ass end of the campground. Sweating buckets and boredom is an acceptable tradeoff for a 2-minute stumble to beer and breakfast, and a five minute hike to either the festival entrance or the shuttle bus.


Day 13
6 August 2009
Bad Berka - Thüringen - Germany

568. Dawn through mosquito netting.

The ticket says something about cameras being forbidden; we'll see tonight if this is actually enforced before trying to lug this through and potentially losing everything I've piled up so far.

569. Mexican flag. Mostly Germans here, but people will come from all over; this is the biggest all-extreme all-metal fest there is.

570. Pfandmarke and Schwarzbier. Good: 0.4 liter of Köstriker black for 2 euros. Bad: ridiculous deposit system. There was a 1e deposit on each weak plastic cup redeemable only with a cup and chip together. This caused no end of confusion, and by the end of the weekend, I (along with other regulars) was no longer getting charged the deposit at the local beerwagon because we were going to drink standing there, then give over our last cup, and go to bed or go watch bands.

Five good beers and breakfast for 15 euro; this is the good life.

571. Down the hill to the stage; about six hours left to kill.

This is very much death metal date night; while Wacken in places is a family affair, this is a lot of young couples - and quite a few women on their own. Extreme metal is usually like this, but here more so than most places. To sum up: if you like extreme music, loads of hot metal chicks (or, in fairness as well as PC-balance, fit dudes with their shirts off), and good, cheap, beer, Party.San is your festival. You do have to get pretty deep into interior Germany to get here, which may be tough for non-German speakers, but it's worth it. A guide will follow at some point.

572. Lunch/dinner in progress. I told you this festival was wicked interior German. If you have a grill or, hell, a can opener, you will not have to eat sausages cold with your hands, or potato salad like it was poi. However, you'll be a lot more comfortable here, in a general sense, if you can.

If it's not raining, the dust from the road covers everything. Bands are about to start, and none too soon.

573. The official injunction against cameras. It wasn't enforced, but my wariness kept me from trying off the bat and this unfortunately means no pics from Thursday night.

Postmortem [4.5/7]
Pretty nice thrash with touches of deathcore, but they went on a little longer than probably was necessary. This is a feature, not a bug; every band up to the headliners gets 45 minutes, with 15 minute set changes, allowing the schedule to be wicked, wicked simple and easy to keep track of.

As will be seen in later pics, the infield, ringed with merch stands and food vendors with a bar and a single PA tower in the middle, is basically equivalent to the 2007 Wacken Party Stage, giving plenty of room for the up-to 10,000.

Azarath [5/7]
Though I can legit claim that I've been following this band since their demo, nobody here cares, so it doesn't matter. There were some problems with the sound at the start, but the band persevered and laid out a nice set of slightly blackened blasting death metal. Hells yes.

Psycroptic [6/7]
This was the first band to not feel like they went on too long, but this is probably because Psycroptic is awesome and I, like most death metal fans, could happily hear them play forever. They did a nice mixture of new and old, and dues were pumped throughout. This was, according to the band, the first Euro festival run for these Tasmanian Devils, and one expects that they'll be back again in the future.

Still mindful of my pack capacity, I limited the merch run I did before these guys to a festival shirt and a handful of bootleg patches featuring Dark Angel and Master's Hammer. We'll see how this self-limiting bit holds up.

Destroyer 666 [6/7]
Those seeing this band at Club Hell, or any of their other US club dates, are in for a treat. They brought a great intensity live, and even without the fire effects, a full headlining show indoors is going to be the balls. Absolute total black thrash devastation.

Protip: the "666" in the name is silent, like all those xs in xhardxcorexbandxnamesx. If you don't pronounce it, you may be able to fool others into believing you've seen them live too.

Marduk [6/7]
As always, all-dominant christraping black metal, and in a much more appropriate setting than the last time I saw them, at Wacken in '05 with the sun still out. I saw a little bit, then heard the rest from my tent, conveniently located (as a result of when I got in) a mere 400 yards away from the stage and right on the stage right PA's axis of fire. I got a smashing Marduk set while relaxing, and the knowledge that if the Saturday bands after Brujeria don't suck, I'll be able to hear them just fine.

Hell of a festival, hell of a first day.

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