Rusty Cage Anniversary Fest

Event: Rusty Cage Anniversary Fest
Written by: Marcel Hubregtse
Published: 22.03.2007

Rusty Cage Anniversary Fest Flyer

To celebrate their first birthday Rusty Cage Records decided to host a festival in the best known metal club of the Netherlands. The revamped Dynamo club in Eindhoven. Metal club since 1982 and of course also renowned for hosting all-metal open air festivals when no-one dared to.
But enough about Dynamo. This is of course Rusty Cage Records' birthday party.
The anniversary fest only consisted of bands featured on the label's roster. And to make it extra special half of the bands would hit the stage for the first time in about 17 years. What we got were Dutch golden oldies L.W.S. Inc., Defender (in three line-ups), and Jewel. These three bands had material re-released in the Dutch Metal Cult Series by Rusty Cage Records. The other three being the Dutch young hopefuls Non-Divine and Cypher, and English guitarist Paul Clark.
With three such oldies you could of course expect half the crowd come strolling in with their zimmerframes. Well, no zimmerframes spotted but the average age of the headbangers present must have been around forty. Yes, finally not the oldest person at a metal concert for a change. The friend I was with felt extremely young with his 26 years, hahahaha.
Not entirely sold out but close enough, so all ingredients for a nice afternoon and evening of old school and current metal were present.

First to kick off proceedings was Paul Clark. An English guitarist reminiscent of Satriani, Vai, and Howe. His set was more of a showcase than a concert since he played along with a backing tape. So, only Paul Clark showing his skills on stage. Although I am not familiar with his material, Clark did come across as a very proficient guitarist who's able to write some nice tunes. Apparently I wasn't the only one not familiar with his music because he only got a very lukewarm response from the crowd. Most people were still socialising and hogging the bar. A shame I think for the guy did give it his everything and did look a bit intimidated by the non-responsive crowd.

After a short break it was time for the first oldies to hit the stage… Defender… 80s power/speed/thrash with some Iron Maiden and early Queensrÿche influences. Not really surprising Defender was featured for Remco Bouwens of Rusty Cage Records is the drummer in this band. The best known band member must be red-haired bassist Harm Noort of Goddess of Desire. Halfway through the set he was relieved of his bass duties by Arwin Vergers. Earlier one of the guitarists was already replaced as well. So what we got were three line-ups playing.
Back to the music. It was all played as tight as a duck's ass but heavier than on their 1987 City Ad Mortis mini, now more thrash than speed/power. These guys showing that they could still rock with the best of them and clearly having a lot of fun on stage. Pyrotechnics going off all over the place scorching the heavily balding first couple of rows in the crowd. Own songs as The Redeemer, City Ad Mortis and the Metal Church and Alison Hell covers being played as if there was no tomorrow with Simon Menting coming eerily close to David Wayne's voice once again. To end the set we got treated to long time crowd favourite Defender with all seven musicians on stage, so one drummer, one vocalist, two bassists, and three guitarists.

Next up were LWS Inc. (Lunatics Without Skateboards Inc.) without their old time guitar player Joost who is in Curacao, but of course with Rusty Cage Records' Manfred van Zadelhoff on bass. What to say about their set? Old school eighties US thrash avant la lettre. Not as tight as Defender, but was that surprising? Not really, being one guitarist short and only having practised a couple of times after not having performed in about 15 years time. But these guys were enjoying themselves immensely on stage as well. Showing all the camaraderie part of the eighties Dutch scene was known for. Great interaction with the crowd and lo and behold Freddy Kruger himself live on stage during 1428 Elmstreet. Other crowd favourites of yore such as L.W.S. inc., Crystal Lake, Curse Of The Creeps, Chop Till Death, and Condemned Property also weren't forgotten. After about 40 minutes proceedings came to an end and the crowd once again flocked to the bar for much needed refreshments during the short break.

Young Dutch hopefuls Non-Divine hit the stage next in their trademark white psychiatric ward uniforms. First noticeable thing was that half of the crowd that was there during the Defender and LWS inc. sets had mysteriously vaporised and the average age had gone done considerably. A large portion of the crowd had apparently only come for the golden olden bands and were now either having a quick snack in town or a couple of beers in the Dynamo Café in the basement. Well, sorry to say for them but they did miss a great performance by what is in my opinion one of the brightest Dutch metal prospects for the coming years. Never having seen them live I wondered how Non-Divine would come across live, especially so short after releasing their debut album which has up to now only received raving reviews from yours truly and Aardschok magazine (album of the month) amongst others. On the way to Eindhoven I was talking about them in the car and said that live it could go either of two ways, the songs could be played really compact and heavy or could go off into a jam. Luckily Non-Divine opted for the former, so what we got was a compact, tight, rocking, grooving, swinging set played with an intensity as if to prove that those reviews weren't a one off. The people watching it could clearly appreciate it and also see why Non-Divine was the rightful winner of Metal Bash 2005. After about 40 minutes, which were up before you noticed it, they finished the set with a blistering version of Machine Head's Davidian. Machine Head could learn from this rendition, hell, the couple of times I have seen Machine Head live they didn't come close to the intensity of Non-Divine's cover. So, all in all, a great performance which didn't disappoint me one single second.

And now the heavy monster show. Jewel, for a one off concert after 17 years. Back in the days this was the hardest working live band in Holland heavy land. One of the questions that had been spooking me for days before the festival was, would Jewel use all their live gimmicks, and then especially the trampoline that was used at the time to help stagedivers dive even further? Some of the famous gimmicks, like confetti spray and cardboard signs, were used, but unfortunately not the trampoline. Damn, apparently can't win them all. Here too the fun dripped off the band and they were enjoying themselves immensely and vocalist Rick Ambrose constantly talking and joking with the crowd as usual. The crowd lapping up every single second of it, but what would you expect with crowd pleasers such as La Morta!, Blacque Moon, Warpaint, Excalibur and a fun rendition of the Stones' Sympathy For The Devil? At the end of the eighties they had already developed a heavier live sound compared to their albums but now they had become even heavier. No-one would have minded Jewel playing on for a much longer time, but unfortunately time was up after about 45 minutes and still one band to go.

To close off the festival we got Cypher, another bright prospect on the Rusty Cage Records roster. Somehow their brand of death/thrash didn't hit home as well as I'd expected it to do. Could it have to do with the crowd? Once again half of them had vaporised. Okay it was clear that most of them had come for the reunion concerts of Defender, LWS inc., and Jewel, but at least have the decency to watch the other bands and show your appreciation. But to be honest, I didn't enjoy it as much as I thought I would. Somehow not being able to recognise which song was being played and also not recognising an At The Gates cover. Could it be I am getting too old for this sort of music live, could it be the beers of that day finally catching up with me, or me just getting tired after quite a long day? I don't know, but I suspect it to be the beer factor. Mental note for next festival… only start drinking when the work s done. So, though I didn't recognise a single song I did enjoy myself immensely during Cypher's set, they did play tight with a great sound and gave it their full 100% which was clearly appreciated by the people still present. To be fair to Cypher I need to see them live again some time soon (sober, I might add) to pass a fairer judgement on their live capabilities, which are no doubt there.

To sum it all up. Rusty Cage Anniversary Fest was a great day, especially nostalgia-wise, seeing bands I thought I would never see live again. And also a great way of showing which bands are on the label. Hopefully this will turn into a yearly event. Well organised and every band started and finished on time (which is a rarity for a small festival).

Thanks are due to Manfred van Zadelhoff & Remco Bouwens (Rusty Cage Records), Non-Divine & Cypher (for the interviews before the festival), and last but not least Roel Frakking for driving me so I could see all the bands and have a couple of beers, cheers mate.



Comments: 1   Visited by: 14 users
31.01.2010 - 20:25
Underpaid M.D.
I know what do you mean Marcel, alcohol can be really bad during festivals, when you are really drunk it's hard to tell the difference between songs. Still seems you had a good night, it's always good to see local bands.
"Les vers savent qu'ils n'ont pas d'ailes, c'est pour cela qu'ils se cachent sous terre"

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