Fredericia Hardcore Festival 2007

author PP date 11/08/07

Fredericia Hardcore Festival 2007 enjoyed the kind of weather Roskilde should have had. With clear blue skies (almost) and plenty of warmth and sunshine, it was an ideal weather for camping, and wellingtons were just a blurry memory somewhere on the other side of Denmark. It was also a very different festival from Roskilde in almost every conceivable way. First off, as the RF.net group was arriving to the festival, we suddenly realized that perhaps red, yellow and green weren't the ideal T-shirt colors of choice at this festival, as in front of us, right in the centrum of Fredericia, appeared a somewhat worn building known as Ungdomshuset crowded by overly-pierced, tattooed youth. Hairstyles were as vibrant as during the London Fashion week, only that nearly every hairstyle was of the sort you tend to get shocked over when they blend back into the rest of the society from hereon known as 'normal people'. Even your favorite emo-scribe Tim looked unfitting in the sea of nose-rings, cheek piercings. The fitting theme for the festival could've been "Black is the new red". If you've ever seen Pablo Sanchez's comedy show where he makes fun of people who 'clink' on every step - this would've been his worst nightmare audience.

There were two camping areas. The first one, located within the walls of Ungdomshuset, was overcrowded by the time we arrived. This meant we had to walk 500 meters up a hill (which KS would later roll down while being 'slightly' intoxicated) to a tiny grass area, where there was more space. It became imminent this wouldn't be a festival where we would merely sit in our camp drinking beer for most of the day. Indeed, most of the daylight hours were spent on the outside bar at Ungdomshuset, pointing and laughing at the ridiculous piercings and hairstyles of the scenesters. But this wasn't such a problem given that the festival had promised us a 10kr bar all weekend. Staying true to its vegan and hippie values, the festival only served ecological beer brewed locally, as well as vegan and organic food. After having a quick look at the menu, most of us meat-eaters who oppose veganism as a waste of time and good food decided that the local Pizzerias and Kebab-eateries offered better food for about the same price. Thank god for the central location of the festival, because otherwise at least the undersigned might have chosen a beer-only diet looking at the food on offer. And we even found a nice Irish bar in the centrum...

Contrary to our Roskilde Article, I decided it would be a waste of time introducing each of the three days to you like blog-entries. Instead, here's roughly what happened every day: 1. We would wake up between 9 and 10 due to the Sauna-like temperatures in our tents, with massive hangovers (Saturday morning!), after which KS would proceed to pour a beer down his throat while lying down, followed by TL and PP taking a walk to the beach and swimming in the 16-degree warm ocean. By this time, Tim would be itching to get back to his teen-emo friends at the festival, all seemingly competing in the "which of us can be the most ridiculously drunk, retarded and worst dressed" categories simultaneously, while the rest of us would drink beers at the festival terrace. But I won't hold you longer. Here's what REALLY happened.

Thursday 2.8

Nuclear Death Terror [DK] @ 19:20 on Indoor Stage

I understand that this is a hardcore festival, and I understand that local acts need to be promoted as well. But there is a border of what kind of bands the festival should book, and Nuclear Death Terror should be a hundred miles on the other side of that border. They simply suck more than any other band I've ever seen in my life. First of all, their music is boring, growled vocals about anarchy and that sorts, built around three-chord hardcore/punk riffs and repetitive drumming. I can tolerate that to a certain extent, and even though they mostly stood still it shouldn't warrant for a review less than, say, the 3-4 ratings. But when a band has written a song called "Police Funeral", and they dedicate the song "to all the people who fought the police at Ungdomshuset", their rating instantly drops to the worst possible and forces me to leave the show immediately. While I agree with the whole Ungdomshuset ideology to an extent, the whole throwing rocks at police and setting fire at cars is fucking ridiculous and hands down retarded, showing stupidity of the kind you don't normally meet on the street. Contrary to what you might think, you idiots at Nuclear Death Terror, the police is here actually to help you, to protect you from crime. Encouraging people to fight against the police is not acceptable on any level in a welfare country like Denmark. I hope you all get thrown to jail.[0] PP

Confronto [BRA] @ 20:25 on Indoor Stage

Brazilian quartet Confronto wasn't a band I was planning on watching, but after a brief discussion regarding why a Brazilian band would bother to tour in Europe if they weren't any good, and because things to do at this festival were scarce, I decided to give them a go anyway. This turned out to be a splendid decision, because these Brazilian boys really delivered. Watching the show from the balcony ensured a nice overview of the entire stage as well as the crowd, and from up there it was inspiring to witness the degree of crowd control the band's front man was able to exercise. There were moshpits, circle pits and a wall of death; there was head banging; and there was stage climbing and stage diving. Confronto's front man struck everyone as a man with intellect, pausing in between songs to describe living conditions in his home country with genuine concern and sympathy, but showed he had raw energy to consume, too. There was no stillness in his person, no mercy in his vocals, while the band ground through what I suppose was their entire resume. While the riffs and melodies - considering that the band had just one guitarist - were as well written as they were delivered, it was obvious that you had to have heard of this band in advance to fully appreciate their set. Regardless, this was one of my favorite shows at the festival. [7½] AP

No Trigger [USA] @ 21:35 on Indoor Stage

No Trigger. How has this band passed by my radar unnoticed for so long? Their brand of ultra-melodic punk rock in the vein of their label mates A Wilhelm Scream pushes all the right buttons for me, and seeing they are from the US I should've spotted them long time ago on one of the punk news sites I regularly follow. Having only heard two tracks on Myspace before their show, I was expecting a singalong fest and a dance floor full of people jumping up and down. Such was not the case however, as the band suffered heavily from the mediocre sound quality and much of their ear-catching melody slumped into (mostly) unrecognizable distortion. But if we ignore the sound, the show was otherwise good. I'm glad to finally see a punk band taking full advantage of the speed and melody of their songs on stage, as the distinguishing feat of No Trigger's show was their hyper-energetic vocalist jumping all over the place. This is a band that is playing the kind of music they passionately wanna be playing. Too bad about the sound. [6½] PP

Set Your Goals [USA] @ 22:45 on Indoor Stage

For me, Set Your Goals was the main attraction of the day, if not the entire festival. Their pop-punk and hardcore fusion, dubbed by some as pop-hardcore, just pushes all the right buttons on me, starting from the hard-hitting social criticism in the lyrics and the upbeat, posi-hardcore atmosphere in all of their songs. From what I saw, only about 13-15 people knew the band well enough to sing along to the lyrics, but that didn't prevent the formation of an intense circle pit right in the middle of the venue. Though the band suffered from horrible sound problems, especially in the guitar and Jordan's vocal departments, the gang vocals echoed across the venue when people shouted "MUTINY! This is a FULL BLOWN ASSAULT!" back at the band. The fact that they have two vocalists allowed them to continuously allow the crowd to singalong without distracting the band's vocals at all. Wave after wave, vocalists Jordan and Matt traded turns into crashing towards the crowd, living from the energy of the people at the front, visibly happy about the response at such a hardcore/metal oriented festival. "This Song Is Definitely Not About A Girl", "Echoes" and "An Old Book Misread" were best received, but they suffered heavily from the aforementioned sound problems. [7½] PP

Municipal Waste [USA] @ 00:00 on Indoor Stage

In the preview article to the festival, I had hyped up Municipal Waste's shows quite a bit without actually ever having seen anything more than a few YouTube clips from their shows. Turns out, I was right, as the flavor of crossover thrash / punk instigated something comparable to a riot inside the indoor venue. Crowd members invade the stage constantly with body-boards, waved them in air for a while on stage, and proceeded to crowd-surf with them. Overall, the show seemed like something pulled straight out of a Spinal Tap DVD, from the massive beer-bongs being down on stage to other ridiculous stunts. The following sums up the show nicely: The band plays "I Want To Kill The President", a track fitting into 17 seconds on record, and someone in the crowd shouts "FASTER!". Frontman Foresta goes "Alright then", and the band plays the song in 11 seconds. Another chant from the crowd, and the band fits the 17 second song into roughly 7 or 8 seconds. Fantastic show. [8½] PP

Friday 3.8

The Ocean [GER] @ 19:30 on Outdoor stage

I just arrived at the festival when The Ocean stepped on the outdoor stage and thus everything was a little rushed. They started out brutal but none the less they made little to no connection with the audience. As far as I remember 2 of the members were also missing on stage - normally they're a seven-piece band but this night only five feisty Germans were on stage. Front man Nico tried to make up for this by being quite frantic, jumping around everywhere but really to no avail at least to us. We got bored with it and thought it would be smarter to go and set up my tent and then go watch All That Remains. This really isn't a fair grade, since it was a little hectic just at the time but this was nothing more than average from the little that we saw. [5] KS

All That Remains [USA] @ 20:45 on Outdoor Stage

Ever since the release of what is in my opinion the best metalcore album of all time, "The Fall of Ideals", I've been looking forward to one day being able to witness these heroes live. When the band's name was announced as one of the headliners for this year's hardcore festival, I couldn't say no to attend for the first year ever. Thus my expectations for All That Remains' show were sky high, eager to witness Phil Labonte's incredible range of vocals and the guitar wizardry of Mike Martin and Oli Herbert. I had certain doubts about just how well such technical music could be delivered live, and those doubts were confirmed by All That Remains' almost tired show. Despite Phil's cold, his voice conformed to the album standard and he frequently orchestrated the crowd to sing along, which we happily did. But even Oli Herbert's ultra-energetic live display of his skill with a guitar wasn't enough to mask Mike Martin's sad, uninterested pose; a pose he remained in through the entire show. It's as if Mike is stuck in the wrong band. Don't get me wrong though, his skill is undeniable; it's that he concentrates so much on wallowing in self-confidence that he strikes as a person too proud to show amusement; too proud to let loose. The set was relatively short, with songs like "Whispers" and "And Death In My Arms" left out. Quite surprisingly, everyone seemed to be familiar with the band and sang along tirelessly to each song. It was pretty clear that the audience never engaged as much as it did in other concerts, partly because Phil pushed stage divers off the stage immediately, while other bands happily accommodated them. A bunch of good songs delivered with skill, but an overall impression of fatigue leads me to give this concert a [6]. AP

Madball [USA] @ 22:00 on Outdoor Stage

Madball has always lived in the shadow of Sick Of It All when it comes to New York Hardcore. I can't think of a logical reason why, because based on their FHF performance, all signs point towards Madball being at least as good as Sick Of It All, if not better. It's incredible to think that a band that was formed when the writers of this site were all knee-length kids can 20 years later be still pulling off a show like tonight, which could best be described as the epitome of a hardcore show. Madball had the biggest pit I saw during the entire festival, and the 40+ old band members on stage showed no sign of tiring from their constant movement and jumps. Frontman Freddy "Madball" Cricien laid down the ground rules straight from the beginning by saying: "This is your stage. Take advantage of your stage", causing a revolutionary amount of stage dives and crowd members hugging him and/or the guitarists on stage, sometimes to an extent where I would've imagined other bands would've called in the security a long time ago. The energy kept building up and bruises were dealt at heavy pace in the mosh pits until the climax point, where the gang vocals "Get Out Get Out" triggered a sea of fists and screams from the crowd. The line between the band's lyrics and the festival's hardcore ideology blurred as you couldn't be sure if the crowd was merely singing passionately along to the lyrics or if they were chanting to the leftist ideology and telling everyone who doesn't belong to get out of the Ungdomshuset surroundings. [9] PP

Saturday 4.8

Mychildren Mybride [USA] @ 18:45 on Indoor Stage

So MyChildren MyBride was pretty much by far the most hyped band by all the scenester friends I have (seeing that they have almost one million profile views in Myspace, I don't wonder why [Ed.]), and thus I was looking forward to being amazed by their performance. Alas, the band indeed succeeded in being incredibly scene by pretty much only connecting with the mentioned scenesters who knew them from beforehand. After checking them out afterwards on Myspace I can find numerous interesting aspects in what I'm severely tempted to smack a mosh/fashion-core label on, but at this show everything was simply tuned up so much in order to make it utterly brutal and obscene, that it also utterly estranged any unwary listener. To the fans it was amazing, but then, isn't a gig always amazing to a fan? [4½] TL

Nine [SWE] @ 19:35 on Outdoor Stage

You'd imagine that at Fredericia Hardcore Festival people would try and pull some pretty rock'n'roll stunts to earn themselves the status of being proper hardcore, but still everyone has just a moment where they're struck by awe and respect when they witness Nine's frontman Johan takes the stage with his arm in a sling, duck taped tightly to his body. And the duck tape is there for a reason because from moment one he's rocking out, not leaving anything left to be desired from his band mates or the crowd. However, as soon as the novelty wears off, it unfortunately becomes clear that musically, Nine isn't an overly interesting live band. Sure they put on a good performance, but it doesn't help much when they seem as unable to make their music connect with the crowd as they are today. [5½] TL

The Casualties [USA] @ 20:45 on Outdoor Stage

The Casualties were probably the most punk band on the bill, not only musically but also because of their mohawks and stage appearance. When I arrived at their set about 10 minutes late, the show was on at full force, featuring simultaneous scissor jumps, jumps off the wall, and pissed off left-wing ideologies screamed in the best street punk fashion. While usually I'd find the style rather generic and cliché, tonight it worked perfectly as the connection between the crowd and the people on stage was vibrant. The band lived off the crowds energy and vice versa, creating a punk show you wouldn't want to miss. The music barely paused, as the band wasted no time on rambling between the songs, but just jumped from song to song straight away, further fueling the rowdy, anarchist mood already present at the festival. Like a cherry on top of the cake, the band converted the Ramones classic "Blitzkrieg Pop" into a street-punk version flawlessly, receiving thunderous "Hey, Ho.. Let's go!"'s from the crowd. As they finished off with "Marching Joe", the crowd kept on singing the "Wooh-oh-oooh-oh-oooooh-oh-oh" background vocals for a long time after the show. Biggest surprise of the festival. [8½] PP

The Haunted [SWE] @ 22:00 on Outdoor Stage

I remember seeing The Haunted back before I got into heavy music and how, back then, they scared the shit out of me. As a result I did not really know what to suspect from them now that I'd gotten a taste for bands like theirs. In any case I was not even close to the superior performance they put on tonight. The band comes on with an attitude and as if on a mission to win themselves a crowd of new fans, and as soon as the music starts we in the audience are hammered a couple of inches into the ground, because it is simply loud as motherf*ckin' hell. Despite the volume the sound is crystal clear though and every riff and beat goes straight to your spine, commanding you to rock out, regardless if you have ever heard the band or not. This is a night where we get treated to a band that plays a load of great songs. A night where we're treated to a band who doesn't have primadonna issues, even tho' the crowd members outnumber the band on stage most of the time (which was refreshing to see after All That Remain's estranging hostility), and as a result. we bang our heads off our shoulders collectively in respect of the highly recommendable live-experience that is The Haunted. [8½] TL

The Psyke Project [DEN] @ 00:20 on Indoor Stage

Denmark's The Psyke Project was, along with Set Your Goals, the band I was looking forward to most this festival, after having missed their shows both at Roskilde and at Stengade 30 during July. I'd heard these guys put on a killer show, and they didn't disappoint tonight either. Vocalist Nielskov's first action was to plunge straight into the crowd during his performance which can best be described with one word: manic. Much like their contemporaries in Converge, who undoubtedly are their biggest influence, the band's performance was unforgiving and relentless, with admirable levels of energy and movement on stage. Mr Lee made an appearance and sang (well, growled) a duet with Nielskov, spending majority of his stage time in the circle pit that surrounded him. For some reason though, the band decided to avoid the majority of the songs on their new album "Apnea", possibly because of the nature of the festival. I would think that the more atmospheric songs like "Creating Landscapes" would go to waste in a mostly hardcore audience as this, so that's probably why. Nevertheless, they once again showed why many of us in the underground press consider them to be miles above Hatesphere when it comes to live shows. [8½] PP

Epilogue

One of the defining moments of Fredericia Hardcore Festival this year was Madball's performance. They demonstrated that you can still rock hard twenty years into your career. Their ideology and appearance was admirable, as they 100% understood that without the fans they wouldn't still be around. You couldn't sense an ounce of the hostile rock-star attitude that All That Remains oozed of on stage, as they allowed fans on stage for stage dives or just to shake hands with the band members. Especially their song, whose title I embarrassingly don't know, with gang vocals "Get out, get out!!" described the feel of the festival. It was a magical moment where everyone in the crowd connected with the band, its ideologies and the whole hardcore way of living life. Shows like these have the effect of making people start bands, or convert into the hardcore way of living altogether. It is also therefore I have nominated to use a picture from their show as the picture on our front page, as that picture best captures the band/crowd energy dynamic and the intensive mosh pits during their show.

On the downsides however, the food was appalling, and (for the most part) the sound sucked in both indoor and outdoor stages. For a better festival experience, the organizers should consider also those who aren't vegetarian, and at the same time order a fancy new sound system if not for both, then at least for the outdoor stage. Too many shows were experienced as worse than they could've been in reality simply due to the horrible sound. Nevertheless, the pros outdo the cons by a thousand times, and we can be certain to see RF.net at the festival next year.

Comments
comments powered by Disqus

Legal

© Copyright MMXIX Rockfreaks.net.