Great Times At Graspop Metal Meeting 2019

After a month since to our visit to Graspop Metal Meeting 2019 it’s about time for a little throwback. We had three great days of screaming guitars and wrist-fracturing drumbeats… felt like heaven on earth!

Just to make things clear. I don’t see my event blog posts as reviews. I would describe them more as some kind of journal (diary-like post), in which I write about my actions, thoughts and feelings. Now you might picture me as a teen girl, laying on her bed with her feet waving lazily through the air and writing about her crush in her diary. But, what the hell… that’s fine by me.

Enough small talk! Let’s go back to our visit to one of the best metal festivals of Europe. For those who don’t know, Graspop Metal Meeting (often shortened to ‘Graspop’ or ‘GMM’) is a Belgian (three-days) heavy metal festival held in Dessel each year since 1996. It’s known the world over for putting on a very very very nice display of iconic metal acts, attracting thousands of international fans.

This years edition was completely sold out! But, the festival field “Stenehei” in Dessel, Belgium, offers Graspop’s approximately 200.000 visitors plenty of room to enjoy and dance on your favorite music in the sun. Or, like we did, to just sit, relax and enjoy the music.

Graspop offers plenty refreshments to take care of the inner metalhead. You can buy cold beer, soft drinks and a variety of snacks (read: junk food) at the stalls around the festival area. For those who are not eating animal meat, human or alien meat, there are also many vegetarian options. My personal favorites are churros and pancakes. But, don’t expect high food quality!

Why I love Graspop so much? Well, definitely not because of the food. It’s because of the unique atmosphere. For three days, thousands of metal fans communed in an atmosphere of friendship, understanding, tolerance and an unwavering love of heavy music. Numerous of visitors from different countries are partying together in peace. 

Again, it was one hell of a festival, with multiple highlights and, of course, some disappointments as well. It was also a weekend of goodbyes. A number of bands will bid farewell to the stage with the end of the 2019 (festival) season and performed at Graspop Metal Meeting as a part of their ‘final tour’.

With five stages (Main Stage 1 & 2, Marquee, Metal Dome, Jupiler Stage and Classic Rock Café) and so many bands performing, it’s almost impossible to see every single show, but here’s a short summary of what we did see:

Lynyrd Skynyrd (Friday, Main Stage 1, 19:15)
Southern rock band Lynyrd Skynyrd is in the midst of what they’re calling the Last of the ‘Street Survivors Farewell Tour’. It is intended to be the final tour cond
ucted by the band. It was my first time, and also last time, seeing this band perform live, and I have to say it was quite a good show.

Slayer (Friday, Main Stage 1, 23:30)
After the slightly disappointing show by the Dutch symphonic metal band Within Temptation, it was time for Slayer, which was definitely the main headliner of this festival Friday. Like Lynyrd Skynyrd, the American thrash metal heroes are calling it a day in 2019. They played their final Benelux show, which is part of their ‘Final World Tour’, at Graspop.
And what a great show it was!

Amon Amarth (Friday, Main Stage 2, 20:40)
One of the bands that I really wanted to see. Amon Amarth is probably one of, if not the most famous viking themed band in the metal genre… and for good reason. And, they are definitely part of my top 10 favorite bands. Their show was really spectacular,
 filled with fireworks, viking battles and implacable guitar violence. Vocalist Johan Hegg definitely knows how to control a crowd and make them part of the show.

By the way, I recently bought tickets to the Amon Amarth concert next december in Amsterdam, The Netherlands. I’m so excited!! 

HammerFall (Saturday, Main Stage 2, 13:50)
Another one of those pleasant Graspop surprises. This was my first acquaintance the Swedish band and I have to say I liked what I heard. Perhaps because some of the band members are also involved in other projects I like (Niklas Sundin & Mikael Stanne, both Dark Tranquillity). HammerFall is definitely a name to remember for the near future.

KISS (Sunday, Main Stage 1, 23:00)
Another band which is about ready to “throw the towel”. After a stellar career spanning four and a half decades, Detroit rockers KISS are calling it quits, but not before treating thei
r millions of loyal fans to one last scintillating tour aptly called ‘End of the Road’.  To be honest, KISS is not one of my all-time-favorite bands and the music hasn’t changed much over the years, but this was one of the last opportunities to see this the legendary hard rock band perform. And I must confess, it’s impressive to see these guys perform at their age.

In addition to the above, we also saw great shows of a.o. Halestorm, Trivium, Disturbed, Godsmack, Slipknot, Whitesnake, Rob Zombie, Def Leppard and Sabaton.

After three days partying in sunny Dessel I was quite exhausted but satisfied. But, as they say, all good things must come to an end and so, and so it was time to pack up and go home with nothing but great memories… and a mild sunburn. Note to self: never wear fishnet stockings on a hot summer day!

Final thoughts:
⊗ Was it worth the visit? Hell yeah!
Did we get to hear some great music? Hell yeah!
⊗ Do we want to visit next year’s edition? Once more, hell yeah!

 

BEARDsterdam 2019

My sweet bearded boyfriend Count vlAD and I went to BEARDsterdam 2019, which was held exactly four weeks ago today, on the 11th of may 2019, at Pakhuis West in Amsterdam, The Netherlands.

This was my first time visiting the event BEARDsterdam and I really had a great time; good (and in the majority) bearded company to spend the day with, sunny weather, fine background music and some really cool performances. To cap it all, I had the honor to meet some of my sisters of The Villainettes Sisterhood (also for the first time)… how cool is that?

What is BEARDsterdam?
For those who don’t know, BEARDsterdam is Europe’s Biggest beard-event for beards and beard-lovers, hosted and powered by the Dutch Chapter of the Bearded Villains.
This year’s edition of BEARDsterdam was in the interest of doing good for the KiKa Foundation, the only charity in the Netherlands that raises funds for innovative research and other activities in the field of all forms of childhood cancer, aimed at less pain, more cure and a better quality of life. Furthermore, KiKa focuses on providing information. I think supporting the KiKa Foundation is a great initiative!

There were many fun things to do and see during this year’s edition of BEARDsterdam:

  • Beard care and barbering.
  • Tattooing. Some of the best tattoo artists of Europe were ready to to ink you up!
  • Merchandise stands with different unique products from all over the world, among with various Beard Villains Chapter merchandise. I managed to buy myself some nice new chapter patches to sew on my “patch corset”. 
  • Pin-up contests.
  • Live music.
  • And, of course, a beard competition. Because a beard event cannot be without a beard competition. Europe’s best beards took the challenge of becoming Best European Beard!

Bearded Villains, BV-supporters, beards and beard-lovers from all around the globe visited BEARDsterdam and I have seen and met a lot of interesting people this day.

Talking about meeting people, it was truly amazing meeting some of my beautiful sisters of The Villainette Sisterhood during BEARDsterdam 2019, including my scout and guide during my journey to become an official Villainettes Member. I have completely embraced all of these wonderful women in my heart, which is how deep the sisterhood goes. I hope to have the opportunity to meet them, and even more of my sisters, again someday. 

To conclude: BEARDsterdam 2019 was well worth the visit and is a great place to hang out with friends. I am already looking forward to next year’s edition!

More information about BEARDsterdam can be found on the website beardsterdam.com.

Black Label Society: The Grimmest Show On Earth

Last Friday, 30th March 2018, my sweet boyfriend Count vlAD and I went to see Black Label Society’s Grimmest Show On Earth Tour. This was my second time seeing the master shredder Zakk Wylde and his Black Label Society in concert and again I was totally blown away by their awesome performance.

The Black Label Society played a sold out show in The Melkweg, Amsterdam, The Netherlands, along with their opener Monolord. The gig is part of their latest album “Grimmest Hits”, which was released on 19th January last.

For those who have never heard of Black Label Society, Black Label Society (or short ‘BLS’) is an American heavy metal band from Los Angeles, California, formed in 1998 by Zakk Wylde. Wylde has a long history in heavy metal. He is best known as the former guitarist for Ozzy Osbourne and for his use of Gibson Les Paul Custom model guitars. Members of the band are Zakk Wylde on vocals, lead guitar, and piano, John DeServio on bass, Jeff Fabb on drums and Dario Lorina plays guitar and piano. During the show, Wylde introduced each of the members of the band with a long introduction riff.

The venue was packed to the rafters with enthusiastic fans, providing a non-stop energy that enhanced BLS’s brilliant showmanship. Zakk stood on his trademark platform playing blistering guitar, while the rest of the band were completely entertaining pros.

The band played a good mix of old and new material, including one of my favorite songs “In This River” (played by Zakk Wylde on the piano). Lorina was able to step in and also play piano. Wylde changed his guitars several times during the show and he wowed the crowd with with his bullseye guitar.

Near the end of the show, fans were treated to a super Zakk Wylde solo, where he came down from the stage and walked among the audience, giving those nearby an up-close demonstration of his shredding chops. Very cool!

Of course I couldn’t leave without buying some cool “memories” at the merch stand. So, I got myself a signed edition of Black Label Society’s killer new album “Grimmest Hits”. And my sweet boyfriend Count vlAD bought me this awesome new girly BLS shirt. How sweet is that! It’s matches the album cover perfectly. So cool! 

 

Evanescence’s Synthesis Live 2018: A Fenomenal Musical Experience

I visited Evanescence’s concert Synthesis Live 2018 in Düsseldorf, Germany, on Monday 26th March last. And it was abso-freaking-lutely amazing! I literally enjoyed every second of it.

Synthesis Live is a concert tour by American rock band Evanescence, one of my all-time-favorite bands, in support of their fourth album Synthesis, which was released on 10th November 2017. The album includes reworked versions of the band’s previous material, like their mega-hit singles “Bring Me to Life” and “My Immortal”, with an orchestral arrangement and electronica music elements. 

This will be the first tour where the band includes an orchestra. The tour includes 29 concerts in different cities across North America in 2017, 4 concerts in Oceania and 18 concerts in Europe in 2018.

During the show the group played a total of nineteen of their original songs, accompanied by a local symphony orchestra (under the direction of conductor Susie Seiter). The orchestra started the night with six classical songs from Mozart, Beethoven, and others.

I was really impressed by Amy Lee’s magnificent performance. Her powerful voice’s pairing with the orchestra turned each song turned into masterpiece. I’m just beyond ecstatic to have been so lucky to be part of this once in a lifetime magical event. 

Synthesis Live is different then their past concerts, but it’s absolutely amazing. As dynamic and compelling as Synthesis is on record, it’s even more so live. Especially with Amy Lee’s charismatic performance. Synthesis Live is definitely one of those concerts you cherish your entire life. I would see it again in a heartbeat. 

 

 

Setlist:

Orchestra Opening:
   1. La Chasse (Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart cover)
   2. Moonlight Sonata (Ludwig van Beethoven cover)
   3. Lacrimosa (Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart cover)
   4. Sally’s Song (Danny Elfman cover)
   5. Zelda’s Lullaby (Koji Kondo & Asuka Ohta cover)
   6. Together Again (instrumental)

Evanescence with orchestra: Synthesis Live 
   7. Overture
   8. Never Go Back
   9. Lacrymosa
10. End Of The Dream
11. My Hearth Is Broken
12. Lithium
13. Bring Me To Life
14. Unraveling
15. Imaginary
16. Secret Door
17. Hi-Lo
18. Lost In Paradise
19. Your Star
20. My Immortal
21. The In-Between
22. Imperfection

Encore:
23. Speak To Me (Amy Lee Song)
24. Good Enough
25. Sweet Home

 

Graspop Metal Meeting 2017: The Aftermath

A throwback to my visit to Graspop Metal Meeting 2017; good memories of an amazing time rocking Dessel’s festival fields. For three days, thousands of metal fans communed in an atmosphere of friendship, understanding, tolerance and an unwavering love of heavy music.

For those who don’t know, Graspop Metal Meeting (often shortened to ‘Graspop’ or ‘GMM’) is an annual three-day heavy metal festival, that has taken place each year since 1996. The festival has been held at the ‘De Stenehei’ site in the Belgian town of Dessel since 2009. With a lineup that spans several generations of heavy music, Graspop Metal Meeting is the devil’s favorite playground.

This was my second time visiting Belgium for Graspop. But, it was my first time to attend the full festival, from Friday evening until Sunday night. Three days of screaming guitars and wrist-fracturing drumbeats… who said that heaven on earth doesn’t exist?

It was one hell of a festival, with multiple highlights and, of course, some disappointments as well. We haven’t seen every single show, but here’s a short summary of what we did see:

Rammstein (Friday, Main Stage 1, 00:00)
The main headliner of this festival was definitely Rammstein. Friday tickets were all sold out in no time after Graspop organization announced Rammstein’s attendance on Friday evening. And of course the Germans of Rammstein never let their fans down. Their show was really spectacular, filled with fireworks, implacable guitar violence and a diversity of outfits that you couldn’t have imagined even in your wildest dreams. They sang their most famous songs from each and every album, but the popular album ‘Mutter’ was the most present.

Five Finger Death Punch (Saturday, Main Stage 2, 21:10)
With lead singer Ivan Moody taking time off the band, due to his battles with alcohol, former Divine Heresy and current Bad Wolves vocalist Tommy Vext was filling in for Moody. Graspop was only their third show with Tommy Vext on vocals, but it was great!

The Charm The Fury (Sunday, Main Stage 2, 12:20)
A nice surprise on a Sunday morning. It was my first acquaintance with this Dutch metalcore band, but what an awesome show it was!  Playing early in the day, they managed to get quite a crowd to the tent. I just love how front woman Caroline Westendorp combines screaming and singing.
It was an absolute stunner and a name to remember for the near future.

Alestorm (Sunday, Main Stage 2, 14:05)
Another one of those pleasant Graspop surprises. I had never really experienced “pirate metal” before, but to be honest I really enjoyed the atmosphere, the performances and the music itself.

Evanescence (Sunday, Main Stage 1, 19:10)
One of the bands that we really wanted to see. I fell in love with Evanescence from the second I heard Amy Lee’s voice. Their their debut album ‘Fallen’ is still one of my favorites in my music collection. Based on multiple reviews, we were afraid their performance would not do right to the recordings, but Amy Lee’s voice sounded amazing and they were very solid and entertaining. Their show was an absolute success.

In addition to the above, we also saw great shows of a.o. Dee Snider, Epica, Europe, Tarja Turunen, Europe, Alter Bridge, Airbourne and Gotthard.

They say “Life is better with friends”. And so is Graspop. My boyfriend Count vlAD and I had a wonderful time with some of our dearest friends. So, I suggest that if you’re going to Graspop Metal Meeting, better bring your friends with you to make it more fun.

After three days partying in sunny Dessel I was exhausted but satisfied. It was time to pack up and go home with nothing but great memories… and a mild sunburn.

Final thoughts:
⊗ Was it worth the visit? Hell yeah!
Did we get to hear some great music? Hell yeah!
⊗ Do we want to visit next year’s edition? Once more, hell yeah!

 

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5FDP @Tilburg: The Make-up Gig

Exactly one week after their chaotic show in the city of Tilburg, the guys of Five Finger Death Punch returned to play a free show for any ticket holders of the now-infamous 013 performance. And, of course, I was there… again! Like last time, I was accompanied by my two favorite bearded friends and crazy 5FDP-fanatics (just like me).

In announcing the fee (make-up) show of 19th June, Five Finger Death Punch guitarist Zoltan Bathory said: “Last Monday’s (12th June) show was an avalanche of events largely out of our control. We could sit here all day and apologize but our fans in the Netherlands deserve better than that. They’ve stuck with us all these years and helped get us to where we are today. So, we managed to re-route our tour and come back to Tilburg and play a free show on our day off — because actions speak louder than words.

With lead singer Ivan Moody taking time off the band, due to his battles with alcohol, former Divine Heresy and current Bad Wolves vocalist Tommy Vext was filling in for Moody. During last week’s meltdown performance Vext already took Moody’s place for two songs, because of the band went on without their lead singer.

Enough now about the show of 12th June! Let’s talk about 19th June’s performance. It was an insane and absolutely amazing show. There was an overall party atmosphere, complete with mosh / circle pit and people crowd surfing. Tommy was exploding and doing a great job filling in for Ivan. He kept the energy onstage as well as in the crowd high and it really looks like he was accepted by (most of) the fans.

Although we already saw the guys of Fiver Finger Death Punch with Tommy Vext on Graspop Metal Meeting 2017 two days earlier, I am still glad we took the time visiting this unique show. And I sure hope I’ll have the opportunity to visit another concert someday.

To conclude: With their show of 19th June, Five Finger Death Punch really made things right again for lots of fans. So, let’s just wash it all away and start over with a clean slate.

 

Setlist:
1.   Lift Me Up
2.   Never Enough
3.   Wash It All Away
4.   Got Your Six
5.   Bad Company
6.   Jekyll And Hyde
7.   Burn MF
8.   The Agony Of Regret
9.   Wrong Side Of Heaven
10. Coming Down
11. Burn It Down
12. Hard To See
13. No One Gets Left Behind
14. Under And Over It
15. The BleedingSave

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