Friday, August 26, 2011

Suomi Finland Tourkele part 7: I'm Never Gonna Shave My Beard

8/6 - Wacken

Pretty sure I'm not sick any more, at least as sick as I was yesterday. I'm blaming the fucking mayo on breakfast sandwiches and not eating them any more: choccy bread and coffee, like when I was living here for real. After like an hour writing up last night, it's getting on promi time; Crashdïet goes on in about two or three hours, and I've got a new coatful of stickers to move.

Under CDs, things have been about as slow as expected. I've moved nearly all of the Kinzel material, though, due to being extremely aggressive with it. I can't really take that into Party.San, where the expectations of extremeness are much higher; Wormwood Prophecy I might, but I'm likely to clear their remaining discs by the end of the day, and the main issue at Party.San is probably going to be keeping adequate stock of the BCS and FA "core competencies"....that and finding a bad enough dude to take the Blessed Offal record.

While in line for the ATM -- 100 euro Erstärkerung will get me through the day and likely to Berlin -- I ran into one of the guys from Aeon Throne. Unfortunately, I don't know shit about the band, and made the connection (artist pass, stage wristband) too late to pass him any of my promistuff. Oh well; it's all getting out one way or another.

video5: Dudes with a mobile stereo wagon for a personal soundtrack.

That video did a number and a half on the battery. It's been pretty good about regenerating, but it's got to be all normal pictures till I get to Berlin and a wall socket tomorrow.

369. Impromptu metal Scrabble game.

So far, I've done one survey and one live interview with the festival info staff. Maybe, the anticommercial, anti-tech, pro-DIY, pro-local-integration message is getting through, but it'll probably get lost as a view from terminally outside the target audience. Any German festival lives and dies on Germans between 16-25; us oldies and Ausländer are just bonus.

370. Hefeweizen bee trap. This is the second bee I've had drown in a glass at this fest. You'd think that the local population'd evolve an avoidance response, but I guess not.

Notice: as long as the Wacken newspaper follows Bild in page-1-ism, it, like Bild, will not get bought, because it will be presumed to be, like Bild, full of shitty journalism that needs tits on the front cover to foist itself on readers. There are enough good-looking girls just walking around the festival, there's no need to slap T&A on the paper just because.

Bulletbelts are weird. They obviously have bullets in the cartridges, at least most of the time, but the primers are all struck, at least those I've seen so far. A bulletbelt with "unstruck" (empty, of course) primers would be significantly more threatening, provided you're close enough to notice and know anything at all about guns. Ok, stupid idea, strike that.

Moonsorrow [7/7]
"Kivenkantaja" into "Sankarihauta" -- it gets better only with "Jotunheim", and this was an opening set, without a lot of room for a 20-minute song, even one that incredible. This wasn't as magical as '09 in P.SOA, but it's about as good as an opening set is ever gonna get. Two mugs may be making a positive filter, but a lot of beer and an amazing set is kind of standard operating procedure here, even at 11 in the morning.

371. Moonsorrow setting it off.

372. "Kivenkantaja" - simply perfect.

373. The Fenni are still unconquered.

Crashdïet [5.5/7]
No "Ticket to Hell", but we did get "Riot In Everyone", and that they're back at all, and on this stage, is a minor miracle in and of itself. They're still ultimately a Swedish riff on Motley Crue, but they bring enough punk energy in the package to make it work.

374. Crashdïet hit the stage.

375. ...and there's a "Riot In Everyone".

376. Simon takes it to the crowd.

377. The band collects plaudits from the audience.

Now it was time for a long-range quick-switch: out to the Bullhead tent for Onslaught, with a stop en route for food. To avoid undercooked meat problems, like last night, I grabbed a bowl of pasta, and used my Italian racial ability (Devour Pasta, 1 lb/round, the other being Garlic Immunity, Full) to completely scarf it down before getting processed in.

Once inside, I met a dude with a Ramming Speed patch on his rig. He wasn't a huge fan, but described them as "a drunker, less professional version of early Metallica", which I think Ricky, Jonah, and the boys would be very proud of.

Onslaught [7/7]
Not better than Moonsorrow only by a matter of degrees, this was an amazing set that fell, really, under the Heathen Rule: when a band that has no business being back plays an awesome set, you're not allowed to complain about their song selection. All that was missing was "Fight With The Beast", but a full hour of classic Onslaught old and new will get full marks every fucking time.

378. Onslaught smashing out.

379. "Metal Forces" united.

380. Blasting out the thrash...

381. ...with "Power From Hell".

Very little of these came out, but it was wicked awesome, I promise.

Dir En Grey [4/7]
I saw the end of their set while waiting for Knorkator, and like the Japanese, I can't understand why they are "big in kaigai". Give us Barbatos in this slot, or at least Aphasia if you want to go more mainstream. Or Jesus Christ, what the fuck is wrong with Metalucifer? They don't suck any more, and this is a country that goes nuts for HammerFall and Manowar.

Knorkator [6/7]
The pictures don't do this set justice. No still images, and probably no words, really can; Knorkator demands to be seen and heard in full motion to even be identified, let alone appreciated, because any kind of understanding is out of the question. "NDH gone a-trolling", maybe, for the uninitiated, but that doesn't capture half the mayhem that was on offer, from either the band or the audience. At least one crowdsurfer in a fursuit, and another toting a kiddie pool: that's a partial picture right there.

382. Knorkator's, erm, unique stage setup.

383. Alf inside his hamsterwheel.

384. "Der ultimative Mann" ist...blau? (Actually, purple, as I was told by non-colorblind people when they looked at these. Screw your correctly-functioning eyes, I saw what I saw.)

385. Full band, momentarily less crazy.

386. Alf without the camera in the way.

387. Stumpel takes off the gimp hood (the rest of the bodysuit would come off later, of course) for "Buchstabe".

388. Security somewhat unsuccessfully prevents Stumpel from diving into the crowd.

It was about here that we got one of the Teletubbies (see above pic) coming over the rail; he got to dance around for a while before the secus got him out, because the singer of the band on stage was right next to him, doing the exact same thing, in nearly so silly a costume.

389. Alf steps out for some lead vocals.

Mayhem [5/7]
I dunno if I'm seeing them next weekend (answer: no, they weren't playing) or not, but if not, I'll wait to see them inside in the States. The sound was good, but a little too good, a little too precise, to evoke that old feeling. Good to see them, but I need a bigger sample space than the one I got coming back from Knorkator.

The Smack Ballz [3.5/7]
There are some things that don't work on accordion. The intro from "For Whom The Bell Tolls" is one of them, and that this is even mentioned is a strong indicator of the band's compositional sense, or lack thereof. It's hard to lose patience with a beergarden band, but there are gimmicks, and then there are stupid gimmicks. "Average" is probably their ceiling.

Iced Earth [6.5/7]
I went up to check on the video walls in case Matt was singing. Others, I can take or leave (as in '07), but you go in for Barlow Iced Earth. Period. Rather, you went in for Barlow Iced Earth, because this classic, Something-Wicked-trilogy-reviving, vintage Iced Earth set was, at least to current information, Matt's last with the band. It's happened before, but in this case, with this public farewell, it's more likely to be permanent. Darkness and silence, man; another of the heroes of old passes away from the face of the earth, and off into the West.

390. There are the "Burning Times".

391. The only way to actually see the band, really, at this distance.

392. Wide shot; this is about how the infield always is.

393. Brothers of metal, parting the ways.

I had no interest in "Sepultura" with no Cavaleras, and I was tapped out anyways, so I went to grab some more pasta and another beer. Of course, about 10,000 other people were of the same mind.

394. This is what Wacken thinks of modern Sepultura. Everyone's waiting for Avantasia and/or Motörhead, so they're not back in camp, but they're certainly not in the infield.

395. ...and when there is no room in hell, the dead will eat and booze standing up. I eventually found somewhere to sit and write up, but the place is feckin mobbed.

For some reason, I've been running into a lot of Americans today, and numbers of American women completely out of line with prior projections. Good on yees!

With similar sentiments, I found a KTDF flyer that I could actually read, and noted that Funebrarum's playing; good on the band for getting over, and good on the fest that they can cover the flights.

Not pictured: beer mug tattooed on cellulite-filled bare ass, on a table during Hayseed Dixie (again, ratings-wise, pretty much second-verse-same-as-the-first). Half no time to haul out the camera, half concern about potential war crimes charges.

Only in Wacken: I just had a 45-minute conversation in German with a Frisian Dane; my second language, his fourth. We could've swapped languages like kung fu masters in a HK chopsocky flick switching styles (both of us useful in at least four languages, with fairly minimal overlap), but that would've just been stupid.

I'm not putting any ratings on Sepultura, Avantasia, Kreator, Motörhead, Children of Bodom, or Subway to Sally due to extenuating factors: these sets were deliberately "written down" to do promi in the beergarden, and the loss of what I sacrifice to talk to people and pass out CDs and stickers in an environment where they'll get picked up isn't fair to pass on to the end-reader. Good stuff (well, maybe Sepultura less so), but I wasn't listening closely to rate the performances or, more importantly, talk remotely intelligently about them.

I hate to self-promote, but after pushing my death metal allocation on Martin from Norway and talking DIY bass shop with him, I kind of had to pass on at least the name Coelem. Now I actually have to eventually finish that EP. Fuck.

That makes four now that I've seen here at Wacken in the world famous hoops of Celtic FC. That's nearly as popular as Barca and St. Pauli; a certain west of Scotland club should look at where "don't be a dick, seriously" can get you, then take a look at themselves.

In the rain, I met Eric the Swede, who shares my philosophy of life, if a little harder-formulated: you only live once, and you only regret the things you don't do. So do it, and accept whatever comes with no regrets. Drink up, thrash hard; nothing is guaranteed.

396. Still remains; my advertising is getting eyeballs, some way or another, still, two years on down the road.

The clouds opened hardcore as the night wore into the early hours; I ran into Sobo again, along with some other interesting people, and probably gave out an incorrect email address because I was worse for wear and/or drink at the time. It should be noted at this time that despite the debits of facial hair that some people may be aware of from the next week, there are decided benefits as well. Hence ripping off Thundermug for today's post title.

397. The first buses head out in the dark of the morning.

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