Wacken Open Air - Wacken, Germany, 2nd August 2007

Event: Wacken Open Air 2007
Written by: Baz Anderson
Published: 15.08.2007

Galleries:

Wacken Open Air 2007 - Wacken, Germany, 02-04 August 2007 by Promonex (4)
Wacken Open Air - Wacken, Germany, 2nd-4th August 2007 by Baz Anderson (110)
Introduction

Jerry: Welcome to Metal Storm's review of what is most likely the world's biggest metal event this year - Wacken Open Air 2007! Barry, Daniel and I spent 3 wonderful days seeing some of the best bands the scene has to offer and hanging out with some of the most fun people you can ever meet. Wacken, as a festival, is well known for its legendary amount of tolerance, generally very friendly atmosphere and lack of violence of any sort. As a matter of fact, so enjoyable is the festival's excellent atmosphere that it is more than normal for people to attend even if none of their favorite bands are playing! Either way, what follows is a dialog-based concert review of all of the bands that we managed to catch at Wacken this year (sadly, our team wasn't big enough to cover all bands, perhaps things will be better next year?). Please enjoy this review and if you also attended this year, feel free to comment and include your own observations as well!

Pre-Festival

W:O:A Firefighters

Daniel: Having arrived two days earlier than the others I was able to catch the two openers of the festival on Wednesday night who year after year get the crowd really into the mood, even though neither of them plays metal. The first ones were the W:O:A Firefighters, the marching band of Wacken's fire brigade: a bunch of elderly men and women playing typical German folk tunes on brass instruments and hundreds of black-clothed long-haired metalheads constantly cheering, singing along and yelling "Wacken Wacken Feuerwehr!" surely is a sight you don't get everyday!

Mambo Kurt

Daniel: As I didn't see anything at all though with people partying on the tables and the benches I decided to go to the W.E.T. stage instead where Mambo Kurt was going to give his appearance. The self-declared "King of the Heimorgel" is one of Wacken's fix institutions. The man, who looks a bit like Bono as if he was stuck in the 70's, rocked the tent with his unconventional covers on his 20 year old Hammond organ which "once cost 2000 euros and can be acquired for 50 euros on eBay by now". Imagine AC/DC's "Thunderstruck" played on an organ with the preset samba rhythms of such an old instrument (adequately renamed to "Sambastruck") or Slayer's "Raining Blood" as mambo paired with those... let's call them unusual vocals and that strong German accent and you have a guarantor for loads of metalheads having a great time. And so it was no surprise that the festival's first moshpit occurred during Kurt's first song, his rendition of Van Halen's "Jump" and that people were dancing waltz to Metallica's "Enter Sandman"!

Thursday

Barry: The eighteenth edition of the Wacken Open Air festival is finally upon us. Over sixty bands, four main stages, sixty-five thousand crazy metalheads from around the world all gathering in one small German village making this the capital of the world for heavy metal. This is as ultimate as it gets, there is only one Wacken Open Air in the world.

The week running up to the festival was utter chaos, rain, rain and more rain day and night. The festival site was turned into no man's land, vehicles got stuck in the mud and had to be dragged out. It would have been an absolute hellish experience if it wasn't for the fantastic, experienced organisation the festival has. Five thousand square meters of special carpet was laid over the mud the day before the festival along with a whopping one-thousand-five-hundred tons of wood chippings and six-hundred bales of hay, of course not forgetting the low flying helicopters to dry the camp sites ground. You would have never known it had rained at all, especially after the three days of festival were complete with blistering, searing, unrelenting heat.

One absolute gigantic festival ground and plenty of fields in the surrounding area occupied by campers this was nothing like I had ever seen before. A huge beergarden, metal market, shops selling food and drink all around the festival site. Police and firefighters constantly on duty, a multitude of cameras rotating and moving around capturing everything that happened on both the stage and in the audience. This isn't just the biggest metal festival in the world with the largest gathering of friendly people, but this is also the best run and organised. Everything ran so smoothly, and when there was a problem for example the hay caught fire in front of the True Metal stage on the second day and it was dealt with immediately and all the bands still got to play their full time. It is clear the organisation are highly experienced and so enabled us to have the best festival possible.

After getting lost on the way there, as all the Wacken signs get taken down to prevent them being stolen, I get there just in time to interview Nibbs from Saxon, and then straight on to watch the opening band of the festival!



Blitzkrieg

Barry: New wave of British heavy metallers Blitzkrieg opened the festival on the black metal stage, the only main stage that would be used on the Thursday. You can imagine the enthusiasm that myself and a number of other people were finding themselves with, when I stepped out into the festival site for the first time the sheer size just blew me back, and the looking at the stage so big as well you finally realised that you were going to be a part of a momentous occasion. Blitzkrieg opened the festival in fine fashion, this isn't the first time they have played at Wacken but even still the band looked taken aback by the whole experience again. The band seem to be making some kind of fresh start as of the last few years, quite a fair bit of what they played was from newer albums, the best song coming across has to be the great "Escape From The Village" from which they have also written the prequel to this song to be released on the upcoming album, they played this for us as well. Blitzkrieg were never going to be right at the top of bands people want to see with a line-up of bands like the festival had, but they put on a great show and opened the festival in a suitably metal fashion.



Rose Tattoo

Barry: After arriving at the festival just in time to carry out my interview and then rush off to see Blitzkrieg, I had left all my belongings at the camp site under the supervision of some friendly people and so it was about time to go and put the tent up, etc. I did however manage to see a good chunk of the Rose Tattoo set and inevitabely heared pretty much all of it as the sound from the two main stages gets everywhere they are so powerful. Angry Anderson is such a small guy but he has such an awesome stage presence, it is so obvious that this guy has been and rocked all around the world, this band has so much experience doing this thing, and so know how to do it right! It was sort of strange seeing a rock band playing at a true metal festival but they were very enjoyable nonetheless. The swagger, the attitude, the music was just great solid, hard rock and the audience really appreciated it as well. I would definitely be interested in seeing this band again in a more focused environment, they really brang their music to life in the live environment, just great great stuff.



Neaera

Daniel: Having seen them as support act for Kataklysm earlier this year I've decided to go watch Neaera instead of Rose Tattoo. Even though I had initially discarded them as just another metalcore band I was extremely impressed by what they had pulled off back then. And they didn't disappoint me this time either: their fresh blend of death/thrash metal with modern core influences definitely got the crowd going. The sound wasn't as great as it was in the closed venue, but at least they could pull off the infamous Wall of Death this time. They've also treated their fans with a preview of the title track of their upcoming album "Armamentarium", which was very positively received by the audience, just like the rest of the band's gig.

Sodom

Barry: This was always going to be a special show for Sodom after what they had planned. This is where the festival really picked up. This was Sodom's 25th anniversary celebration show and they had an hour and three quarters to thrash us like never before. The set opened with the three current members of the band and with a number of songs from the latest self-titled album, not forgetting the explosions of fireworks and whatever else might have been exploding. Then one by one ex members of the band were introduced to the stage and played their part of the show. There was a second drum kit and plenty of guitarists making their guest appearances as well in a set designed to go through the years and tell the story of Sodom. At the time I had never seen pyrotechnics so extreme as these at any metal show or anywhere so close. Flames spraying into the air and all the rest of it, when they started "Ausgebombt" it really was like a bomb went off on the stage, crazy explosions of fire and metal. When I listen to Sodom now and a song comes on that they played at here, I am cringing waiting for the explosion as the songs kick in, it was just crazy! I have never been familliar with the full Sodom discography and so a number of the songs I had never heard before, but I want to hear them again now, the band gave an extreme metal experience that would have been suitable for a headlining slot. A real fantastic show of extreme thrash metal.



Letzte Instanz

Daniel: Somehow I've managed to avoid Letzte Instanz over all those years. The German electro folk/goth rock combo belongs to the most well-known and critically acclaimed groups of this genre, alongside bands like Subway To Sally, Tanzwut and Saltatio Mortis, but nonetheless I haven't heard a single tune of theirs so far. So bearing no expectations at all I tried getting a good place in the far too small tent of the W.E.T. stage, and I must admit - I've got totally blown away! From the very first tune on the cellist and violinist had the crowd totally enchanted and as soon as the rest of the band made their entrance everyone was jumping and singing along. Letzte Instanz radiated an enormous amount of energy and verve, so that even people who weren't familiar with the band (like me) couldn't hold themselves back and just had to chant along! Definitely one of my personal favorite gigs of the entire festival and one of those bands I'll definitely look more into in the future.

Saxon

Barry: Wacken is somewhat a home away from home for Saxon, this was the bands fifth time playing in this very northern German field and it soon became obvious that they were really pushing to make this the best one. The band had two full hours, longer than any other band playing at the festival over the three days and were to be closing the shorter, first day of the festival. The band were in fact recording this show for a DVD release after the DVD that is just about to be released and so there had been so much effort put into everything. The backdrop of the new album hung for a few songs and was then dropped to reveal a backdrop of lights that had been programmed to show all kinds of patterns and things according to the song they were playing, for example a motorbike for "Motorcycle Man", etc. There were so many fireworks, so many flames, I could feel it from the stage down there in the audience. And also just to put the cherry on the cake Tobi from Edguy/Avantasia came on the stage and sang with Biff during "747 (Strangers In The Night)". This was also the loudest the band had ever played before apparently, I don't know the statistics but apparently it was going to be the loudest Wacken Open Air in history, and believe me, it was loud! Everything the band could control was perfect, everything went right, they played a great set including many great songs we all wanted to hear; "Princess Of The Night", "20,000 Ft", "Denim And Leather", "Strong Arm Of The Law" just to name a few and of course we had a number of newer songs as well, "Witchfinder General" and all the favourites from the new album. The only thing that let the show down was the audience, they just didn't know the words to the songs, and so when Biff tried to get the crowd to sing along it all ended in a rather sticky situation. But as the song went; "The Bands Played On" and on and on for two hours and like I said, apart from the lax audience co-operation the band played a fantastic set that probably could not have been better.



Electric Eel Shock

Daniel: After getting bored with the first twenty minutes of Saxon I decided to return to the W.E.T. stage again. The crazy Japanese rock 'n' roll power trio Electric Eel Shock had just taken the stage and set out to rock the tent. With their humorous stage antics and speeches - which at times were quite hard to understand though - they got the crowd into a great mood. Highlights of the gig certainly were when bassist Kazuto Maekawa climbed the framework of the stage wielding his instrument towards the audience and when some guy in an Incredibles costume entered the stage and surfed the crowd with a rubber dinghy. Unfortunately they didn't manage to keep in time with their schedule, so when they were still playing minutes after the stage supervisor told them to bring it to an end the crew just pulled the plug. Wordlessly the band apologized to the fans, raised quite some cheers and left the stage. Some seconds later frontman Akihito Morimoto returned, apologized once again and raised even more cheers. This resulted in the supervisor walking up to him, packing him onto his shoulder and carrying him half-way out reaping some more laughs within the audience. A very nice gig which left you with a smile, may it be due to the upbeat music, the band's antics or the unusual final.

Overkill

Daniel: While Saxon still were playing I headed over to the Party Stage. Overkill were something like the surprise act of the year as they were confirmed two weeks before the festival, that is when the festival was sold out already and no one expected another band to be added, let alone a top-class band like Overkill. The speed metal veterans had quite a good gig with loads of fan favorites like "In Union We Stand", "Fuck You" or "The Wrecking Crew", which was dedicated to a fan who appeared to have traveled all the way from South Africa. Unfortunately Overkill didn't keep on schedule either, which normally shouldn't be much of a problem as there was no other band playing on the stage after them. Nonetheless the organizers cut off the power when Overkill's time was over, in my opinion a sacrilegious deed! If a young band overruns their time and threatens to steal the time of the following bands or endanger the whole running order, then I'm all for pulling the plug. But doing that to the headliners of the stage who didn't steal anyone's time?! In my opinion absolutely overly rigorous!

Thursday, 02/08/07 / Friday, 03/08/07 / Saturday, 04/08/07



 



Written on 15.08.2007 by
Baz Anderson
Member of Staff since 2006.
More articles by Baz Anderson ››




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CyGuy6587 - 15.08.2007 at 15:33  
Um, Tobi sang Strangers in the Night with Saxon, not Wheels of Steel
Ellie - 15.08.2007 at 16:56  
I read most of this and I just wanted to thank you guys for existing! Haha anyways I think Sodom and Saxon were my favourite shows from the entire festival. Some random German started making out with my sister in the audience of Saxon..all I could think was.."Well, it's Wacken!"
Promonex - 15.08.2007 at 19:01  
Somehow I found all bands on the mainstage rather boring that night. Blitzkrieg weren't my cup of tea, neither were Rose Tattoo and Saxon (their performance was awesome though, with all the lights and pyros and stuff!) and Sodom just didn't rip the way I thought they would. Which was quite fortunate for me as I'd else not have gone to see Letzte Instanz, indeed one of those bands I just can't stop listening to by now! And their next concert in my area is already on my schedule. So if anyone reading this happens to be into any of the related bands mentioned in the article, give Letzte Instanz a try, you won't regret it!!

@Ellie: Thanks for having been there as well! Was great to meet the two of you and it's great to read that your long travel obviously was worth the hassle

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