Rock Am Ring 2008 Preview

author PP date 05/06/08

As most readers of our magazine are aware, Europe's summer is full of wonderful festivals, each boasting with different qualities: some with their lineup, some with the weather, others with simply the atmosphere. Rock Am Ring / Rock Im Park festivals belong indisputably in the first category, year after year booking a lineup that'll bring tears of extreme jealousy on the faces of those who can't attend, and 2008 is no exception. The two festivals are held simultaneously, allowing the organizers to hold it in two locations on the opposing sides of Germany, one in Nürburg and the other in Nürnberg. Together the festivals attract a combined 150,000 visitors over the weekend at a sold out capacity, and looking at the lineup last year and this year, there's no wonder Rock Am Ring has been sold out for weeks in advance now. The festival kicks off tomorrow, and what better way to precede it than a full preview article on what bands we think you should be seeing, although writing one of these for Rock Am Ring is easier said than done, when pretty much every name on the list is worth seeing.

So despite the gloomy weather forecast (light rain on all three days), both myself and TL are extremely excited about taking off and seeing some of our favorite bands of all time. And which ones should you see, considering there are some time table clashes about (although generally the festival has done a great job separating the interesting acts into one long schedule)? This article will explore the band list, and give you a detailed look at which ones we think you should be seeing if you're coming to the festival this weekend. The bands that are tagged as **MUST SEE** are those that you should consider rather ending your life than missing, no matter who else is playing at the same time.

Bands we think you should consider seeing

36 Crazyfists [USA]

Stage: Coca Cola Soundwave

Genres: Metalcore, Screamo

I recently saw a website citing 36 Crazyfists as "Alaskan metal titans", and to an extent they are right. Brock Lindemann's barking screaming style is encompassing live, and you can expect him to throw himself into the crowd several times during the show. I've witnessed these guys live a few times, and they always put on a good show. Nothing fantastic, but enough to keep you entertained for the duration of the show. If you can't stand screamo, don't go see them. If you don't mind it, they are one of the best bands the genre has to offer today.

Predicted Grade: [7½]

When: 21:45 on Sunday (Jimmy Eat World plays at the same time)

Listen: Myspace

See them if you like: As I Lay Dying, A Static Lullaby, From Autumn To Ashes

Against Me! [USA]

Stage: Coca Cola Soundwave

Genres: Gypsie punk, punk rock, pop

In any other festival, Against Me! would be among the **MUST SEE** bands on our list. But it's been a while since their last release and they are fighting in the big leagues at this festival. Nonetheless, you can always expect to have a great time at an Against Me! show. The guys never waste precious time on any corporate crowd control bullshit, but just play song after song after song without any break, creating one of the tightest set ups you'll see in a while. If the stage is small enough, these guys will play lots of fast songs and will rock. If the stage is huge, expect big songs like radio hit "Stop!", and they'll still be alright. Don't miss them.

Predicted Grade: [8½]

When: 00:05 on Saturday Night

Listen: Myspace

See them if you like: The Lawrence Arms, Anti-Flag

Alter Bridge [USA]

Stage: Centerstage

Genres: Alternative rock, Hard rock

In case you didn't know, Alter Bridge rose from the ruins of Creed, containing all the old band members minus the annoying singer. That hasn't changed the band too much, although they are much more 'metal' than Creed ever was. However, they are still used to playing arenas, and the massive centerstage will suit them well. I have a feeling though, that we'll be seeing a lot of standing still except for the fast songs like "Ties That Bind". Lets hope they prove me wrong, it will be either a magical set or a complete failure.

Predicted Grade: [5]

When: 15:20 on Saturday

Listen: Myspace

See them if you like: Creed, Pearl Jam, 3 Doors Down

Bad Religion [USA] **MUST SEE**

Stage: Suzuki Alternastage

Genres: Punk, melodic hardcore, political punk

A quick listen to a song like "Anesthesia", "You Are The Government" or "Flat Earth Society" should be enough to convince you why you should see these living punk rock legends. Fronted by a man who has a PhD and writes lyrics more intelligent than 80% of the population can understand, you know they'll rant a bit in between songs, but when they play, nearly every song is a timeless classic. Their latest album is in the top three of their 20+ year career, which is all the more reason to go see them now. The guys are so old now that you never know when they'll stop touring, so go see them when you have the chance, even if you can't expect a show as energetic as, say, 10 years ago.

Predicted Grade: [7½]

When: 18:50 on Friday

Listen: Myspace

See them if you like: NOFX, Lagwagon, Rise Against, Pennywise

Bedouin Soundclash [CAN]

Stage: Coca Cola Soundwave

Genres: Folk, reggae, acoustic, indie rock

In a festival filled with metal, punk rock and derivative genres, something as soulful as Bedouin Soundclash will surely bring a welcomed change for the eardrums of many. Their folksy rhythms will surely get people dancing in the proper way - this is the band to go see if you want to avoid the karate kids. The occasional ska beat should lift your mood even on a rainy day.

Predicted Grade: [7]

When: 16:20 on Friday (Seether plays at the same time)

Listen: Myspace

See them if you like: Sublime, Attack In Black, Hot Hot Heat

The Black Dahlia Murder [USA]

Stage: Coca Cola Soundwave

Genres: Death metal, black metal

The Black Dahlia Murder are one of the heaviest bands on the bill. Taking their impressions from modern death metal, these guys know how to write blinding solos and technically proficient serpentine guitar riffs, whilst the shrieking/growling vocalist monstrously dominates the stage with his voice. They aren't renowned for being fantastic live, but their crowds are known to be the death of many weaker concert goers.

Predicted Grade: [6]

When: 19:05 on Sunday (Eagles Of Death Metal plays at the same time)

Listen: Myspace

See them if you like: Bring Me The Horizon, Job For A Cowboy

Bullet For My Valentine [UK]

Stage: Suzuki Alternastage

Genres: Metalcore dressed in a pink outfit

This magazine isn't too fazed about all the emo-related criticism this band has acquired over the years. Their EP and debut were excellent, the latest sophomore album less so. That doesn't change the fact that with their big-money major label backing, their set is usually filled with massive production and rockstar like antics . But today, they are playing at the worst possible time, 20 minutes after RATM starts their set. My prediction? Suzuki Alternastage will be nearly empty as the crowds flock to see Tom Morello & co on their re-union tour, which won't make for show with good atmosphere.

Predicted Grade: [4]

When: 22:30 on Friday (Rage Against The Machine plays at the same time)

Listen: Myspace

See them if you like: Atreyu, Avenged Sevenfold, Trivium

Cavalera Conspiracy [BRA]

Stage: Suzuki Alternastage

Genres: Thrash metal with groove

The reunion of the Cavalera brothers has been one of the biggest news surrounding the metal scenes this year. The guys are playing together for the first time in 12 years since their split from Sepultura, and from what I've heard, the guys have re-gained the chemistry they had and are playing harder and faster than ever. Headbangers wet dream. Expect a few Sepultura/Soulfly classics thrown in for good measure.

Predicted Grade: [7]

When: 21:10 on Friday

Listen: Myspace

See them if you like: Sepultura, Slayer, Exodus

Coheed & Cambria [USA]

Stage: Suzuki Alternastage

Genres: Progressive rock meets emocore

Coheed & Cambria are the masters of the big stage. These guys know all the tricks, from machine-gun guitar to the soloing behind your back. Add to that a collection of anthems capable of breaking the biggest stadiums ("In Keeping Secrets of Silent Earth, anyone?"), anyone who hasn't seen the band before should join in for massive singalongs and chilling moments when Claudio is at his best. However, should their setlist be focused more on the progressive wankery of their last two albums, they might not do as well here. Their timeslot is terrible, coinciding with Incubus on the mainstage, which will assure that they won't have as big crowd as they otherwise would.

Predicted Grade: [8]

When: 20:00 on Friday (Incubus plays at the same time)

Listen: Myspace

See them if you like: 3, Circa Survive, Dredg

Danko Jones [CAN]

Stage: Coca Cola Soundwave

Genres: Rock, Alternative, Hard Rock

These Canadian rockers have slowly been building up hype in Europe, partly because they have easy-going, accessible songs, partly because they have an aura of rock and roll attitude surrounding the band. Don't expect anything exciting on stage though, as their music relies more on the feel-good factor than stage destruction, but go for the attitude, anyway, if you're not into The Verve.

Predicted Grade: [6]

When: 01:00 on Saturday Night (The Verve plays at the same time)

Listen: Myspace

See them if you like: Neil Young, The Hellacopters, The Ark

Dimmu Borgir [NOR]

Stage: Coca Cola Soundwave

Genres: Black metal, Symphonic Metal

Rock Am Ring couldn't have chosen a better timeslot for Dimmu Borgir - they are closing the Coca Cola Soundwave stage at midnight on the last day. This is the time when haunting, gloomy melodies will be at their best. When you're tired, the last thing you would want is a band who holds the pedal down for the entire set, so Dimmu Borgir's painstakingly slow symphonic melodies are the perfect match for your probable mood at this point of the festival. Too bad the artistic world of QOTSA might be a little bit more attractive end to the festival, but catch half an hour of "The Dark Fortresses" (Dimmu Borgir in English) before that!

Predicted Grade: [8]

When: 00:00 on Sunday night (Queens Of The Stone Age plays at the same time)

Listen: Myspace

See them if you like: Cradle Of Filth, Dark Tranquillity, Satyricon

Disturbed [USA]

Stage: Centerstage

Genres: Nu-metal, Hard Rock

Disturbed have refused to die even though nu-metal is long gone. Today, they are four albums strong, with their latest album "Indestructible" cited to be their best yet. If that's true in any magnitude, then we're in for a great show. Who doesn't remember songs like "Voices", "Stupify" or "Liberate" from their debut album "The Sickness". It might have been nu-metal, but it was one of the best albums in that genre. We've seen the band recently get involved in feuds with The Dillinger Escape Plan about their allegedly scripted stage show, but that to me promises that they're gonna put on a rock show with a colossal R. Aside from TDEP's comments, I've only read good things about this band live, but somehow I'm still skeptical.

Predicted Grade: [6½]

When: 16:20 on Saturday

Listen: Myspace

See them if you like: Drowning Pool, old Linkin Park, Godsmack

Fair To Midland [USA]

Stage: Suzuki Alternastage

Genres: Experimental, Hard rock, Progressive, Alternative

Along with Disturbed, Fair To Midland are another wild-card band in my opinion. On record, these guys impress with their musical experimentation and progressive overtones. Live, I'm not sure if the songs will work as well, but if they do, expect something akin to a Coheed & Cambria show in terms of magnitude and epicness. Their timeslot means, however, that they are playing only half an hour after The Fall Of Troy starts their set, and only 10 minutes before Kid Rock does. Don't expect a lot of crowd to their set.

Predicted Grade: [6]

When: 16:45 on Sunday (Kid Rock and The Fall Of Troy are playing at the same time)

Listen: Myspace

See them if you like: System Of A Down

The Fall Of Troy [USA]

Stage: Coca Cola Soundwave

Genres: Experimental, Technical Metal, Screamo, Post-hardcore

If one band knows how to put on a blinding liveshow, it's The Fall Of Troy. Despite the incredibly technical fretwork that both bassist and guitarist demonstrate live, they are bouncing everywhere, screaming in your face, or moving frantically in the crazy light show. Don't miss one of the best live bands at this festival, even if you're not the fan of the genres.

Predicted Grade: [8½]

When: 16:15 on Sunday (Simple Plan plays at the same time)

Listen: Myspace

See them if you like: The Blood Brothers, Heavy Heavy Low Low, Fear Before The March Of Flames

Filter [USA]

Stage: Suzuki Alternastage

Genres: Alternative rock

With songs like "Take A Picture", Filter gained a near legendary status in the alternative scenes of the late 90s. While never really catching fire on this side of the pond, over in USA the band's dreamy alternative rock was a regular visitor on MTV, back when the channel actually played music videos. Expect a trip down the memory lane during the show as well as some previews from their highly anticipated new album (the first one in over six years), but the question is, has it been too long? I think it might have.

Predicted Grade: [6]

When: 17:50 on Sunday

Listen: Myspace

See them if you like: Nine Inch Nails

From First To Last [USA]

Stage: Centerstage

Genres: Emo, Screamo, Post-hardcore

Sonny Moore was one of the most recognizable voices in the emo/screamo genre, even though the band has claimed that their debut album was simply a parody on the pretentiousness of the emo/screamo genre. This attitude combined with hard hitting screamers like "Note To Self" won them truckloads of fans, whom they consequently disappointed on "Heroine". Shortly after, Sonny departed the band and the band is now back with a third album and their first European tour with the new vocalist. The new album rocks, but will the new vocalist stand the test of the desperate screams of the debut? We'll see, but I have a bad feeling about this.

Predicted Grade: [7]

When: 14:30 on Friday

Listen: Myspace

See them if you like: Senses Fail, Saosin, A Thorn For Every Heart

High On Fire [USA]

Stage: Coca Cola Soundwave

Genres: Sludge, Prog Metal, Experimental

Ever liked Mastodon but didn't like their last album "Blood Mountain"? Welcome to High On Fire and their new album "Death Is This Communion", featuring some of the sludgiest, dirtiest progressive metal you'll come across. It'll either be all-dominating live, like Mastodon, or it'll be terribly boring and make us fall asleep, kind of like Pelican sometimes.

Predicted Grade: [8]

When: 20:50 on Sunday

Listen: Myspace

See them if you like: Mastodon

HIM [FIN]

Stage: Suzuki Alternastage

Genres: Love Metal

Finnish 'love metallers' HIM and their heartagram are now a world wide movement. Although the music is extremely dark at times, the lyrics often revolve around love and hope - an undeniable formula for attracting suicidal teenage girls as their fans. Nonetheless, the band's latest offering was as good as their seminal "Love Metal" album, and they're known for putting a great, although extremely arrogant live show on. Ville Valo, the star of the show, often smokes at the front, and rarely addresses the fans directly. The late night slot fits them perfectly - this is an excellent warm up to Dimmu Borgir or Queens Of The Stone age.

Predicted Grade: [7½]

When: 23:00 on Sunday

Listen: Myspace

See them if you like: The 69 Eyes, Negative

In Flames [SWE]

Stage: Centerstage

Genres: Melodic Death Metal, Gothenburg Metal

Sweden's notorious melodeathers In Flames have undertaken the role of bringing the Gothenburg metal sound to Rock Am Ring, even if they have changed lots over the years. Much focus has been placed on Friden's vocals live, with people suggesting he isn't capable of screaming like in the old days anymore. Nonetheless, this band has more classic metal songs than today's derivative metalcore bands combined, so they're always worthy of being checked out. And with the crowd being mostly German, where the band has a huge following, the show is likely to be very good indeed.

Predicted Grade: [8]

When: 17:30 on Saturday

Listen: Myspace

See them if you like: Children of Bodom, Darkest Hour

Jimmy Eat World [USA]

Stage: Suzuki Alternastage

Genres: Alternative rock, classic emorock

Having witnessed Jimmy Eat World live three times now have taught me to be excited every time, mostly because songs as good as theirs never fail to make you feel good. That being said, frontman Jim Adkins is usually alone in his attempt to rock a good stageshow, with the remaining band members imitating statues in the mean time. Predicting the show's grade is about as difficult as can be, as I've seen them both own Earls Court but also fail miserably at Roskilde's Orange stage. Most likely the show will be good without being great, and if you're any fan of the band at all, you'll know not to miss them, and in either case, this is at least a show you can bring a girl to with scaring her shitless.

Predicted Grade: [7]

When: 21:30 on Sunday (36 Crazyfists plays at the same time)

Listen: Myspace

See them if you like: Motion City Soundtrack, Death Cab For Cutie, The All-American Rejects

Kid Rock [USA]

Stage: Centerstage

Genres: Hard rock, Southern Rock, Country, Mainstream Rock

Don't worry if the only Kid Rock songs you know are "Badawitdaba" and "Devil Without A Cause", welcome to the club. Although Kid Rock is these days more known for his PR disasters involving other celebrities, no 90s rock fan can deny the effect his early material had on the 90s mainstream rock scene. Since then, the hard rock undertones have been dropped almost entirely in favour of a southern/country rock vibe - and I have a feeling playing these will bore the shit out of the crowd, not to mention the 95% probability that he will stand nailed to the stage throughout the set. Go for nostalgia's sake, but not before The Fall Of Troy have finished playing, and even so only for a few songs, before you should stroll to see Fair To Midland instead.

Predicted Grade: [3]

When: 16:55 on Sunday (Fair To Midland plays at the same time)

Listen: Myspace

See them if you like: Limp Bizkit, Saliva, Adema

Lostprophets [UK]

Stage: Centerstage

Genres: Alternative rock, post-hardcore

If there's a band that seems to have built their sound around the big stages lately it is Lostprophets. Their latest release "Liberation Transmission" was almost exclusively made out of super-catchy stadium rockers and with hits like "Rooftops", "Last Train Home" and "Last Summer" the only thing that might prevent this party from taking off the ground is the early time. What remains to be seen is whether or not Lostprophets can avoid sounding like an inflated mainstream bullshit act. My money is on their side, but it's fair to say there's room for reasonable doubt.

Predicted Grade: [7]

When: 14:50 on Sunday

Listen: Myspace

See them if you like: The Used, Billy Talent, Story Of The Year

Manic Street Preachers [UK]

Stage: Suzuki Alternastage

Genres: Mainstream Rock

If there's one rock band in the UK that knows how to write epic songs to fill stadiums, that band is Manic Street Preachers. I mean come on, "The Everlasting"? "Tsunami"? "If You Tolerate This Your Children Will Be Next"? Although the band has moved away from the direction of these megahits, there's no doubt in my mind that seeing them will take everyone on a trip down the memory lane, like so many other bands at this festival. Don't miss these guys!

Predicted Grade: [8]

When: 20:15 on Saturday

Listen: Myspace

See them if you like: Savage Garden

Metallica [USA] **MUST SEE**

Stage: Centerstage

Genres: Metal, Heavy Metal, Thrash Metal

You know how a Metallica show these days will free your wallet from 500-1500kr, depending on where you see them? Well here's your chance of seeing the band relatively "for free", considering you probably bought a ticket to see all these other bands as well. If you haven't seen them live yet, you can look forward to meeting the other forefather to today's metalcore bands - it's these riffs that are rehashed time and time again. Judging by the reviews of this tour, Kirk, James & co seem to be on a roll.. and they are one of the biggest bands ever, easily. Only morons and pretentious haters would miss this one.

Predicted Grade: [9]

When: 22:00 on Saturday

Listen: Myspace

See them if you like: Megadeth, Trivium, metal

Motörhead [UK]

Stage: Suzuki Alternastage

Genres: Thrash metal with a dash of punk speed

I love Motörhead in more than one way. First off, it's impossible not to love a band that's still rockin' and rollin' without a hint of compromise while aged around 60. Secondly, it's not going to matter what I write about them. Motörhead sure as hell won't care and neither will anyone who's going to see them. Having been around for as long as they have, playing shows the way they do, they've earned an unwavering fanbase and it's highly unlikely that anyone's going to leave their show thinking they didn't kick ass from there to China. I guess it's possible to imagine that the old geezers might run out of breath faced with all the young competition of this festival, but then again I can't imagine them having anything but laughter in response to such a notion.

Predicted Grade: [7½]

When: 23:55 on Friday

Listen: Myspace

See them if you like: No matter what you like, see them if you know what's good for you. They're like the grandfathers of rock and roll.

Nightwish [FIN]

Stage: Centerstage

Genres: Gothic Metal, Symphonic Metal, Power Metal

When Tarja left the band, the extreme operatic vocal range was dropped from the band's sound. Nonetheless, new singer Anette did an amazing job on the band's new full length, which is incidentally also their artistically most complete record to date, if not their best overall. Expect a magical, operatic atmoshpere and enjoy some of the best symphonic metal the scene has to offer - and they have a massive following in Germany.

Predicted Grade: [8]

When: 18:50 on Saturday (Stereophonics are playing at the same time)

Listen: Myspace

See them if you like: Within Temptation, Epica, After Forever, Evanescence

The Offspring [USA]

Stage: Centerstage

Genres: Punk Rock

Offspring have an unusual quality to them. No other band sounds exactly like them, which is really strange considering how simplistic their three-chord punk rock really is. Maybe this is why they have sold over 30 million records world wide, making them the biggest punk band of all time. They've also written some timeless classics. How about the entire "Smash" album or anything off "Ixnay.." or even "Americana"? Granted, they haven't been too strong on the last two albums, but this is about to (hopefully) change on their upcoming album. Just the atmosphere alone will be worth an 8, surely, and if the band plays their best, a much higher rating is very likely.

Predicted Grade: [8]

When: 20:20 on Saturday (Manic Street Preachers plays at the same time)

Listen: Myspace

See them if you like: old Green Day, Pennywise, Bad Religion

Opeth [SWE]

Stage: Suzuki Alternastage

Genres: Progressive Metal

Mikael Åkerfeldt & his band Opeth are already living legends, having created some of the most beautiful, most haunting metal records of all time. "Blackwater Park" was already epic, but "Ghost Reveries" set the new standard in quality. Åkerfeldt is known to act like a true gentleman on stage, announcing every song calmly, and asking the audience questions every now and then in a manner that some may call arrogant. Somehow it adds elegance to their show as well. There isn't a metal show more majestic than an Opeth show - just listen to "Deliverance", that is all.

Predicted Grade: [8]

When: 17:45 on Friday

Listen: Myspace

See them if you like: Dream Theater, Nahemah

Paramore [USA]

Stage: Coca Cola Soundwave

Genres: Pop punk

Led by the teenage pop star Hayley, Paramore have exploded onto the pop punk scene as the idols of teenage boys around the world. I'm not denying they don't have catchy songs, but the truth is that the same songs have been done much better by other bands in the genre, and one of the biggest reasons for their success is the fact that they have a female vocalist. I've also heard that the quick superstardom has gone into her head, and she acts like a diva these days, so I'm not holding high hopes for their liveshow. Not that I will be attending it anyway, since they are clashing with Metallica.

Predicted Grade: [6]

When: 22:20 on Saturday (Metallica is playing at the same time)

Listen: Myspace

See them if you like: Fall Out Boy, Pinboys, Panic! At The Disco

Pendulum [UK]

Stage: Coca Cola Soundwave

Genres: Live electronics, Drum n Bass with rock undertones

It might be debatable if Pendulum really should be covered by a rock magazine. But others do it as well, plus they do have some rock impressions here and there in their music, and one thing's for sure, a lot of rock bands should take note of their live show which is, at least according to what I've heard, absolutely mental and frantic. It will also act as a welcome break from all the ear-tearing rock we've heard all weekend.

Predicted Grade: [8½]

When: 18:20 on Sunday

Listen: Myspace

See them if you like: Electronic music, drum n bass

Queens Of The Stone Age [USA]

Stage: Suzuki Alternastage

Genres: Stoner Rock, Alternative Rock

Josh Homme is a genius who isn't afraid to experiment with sound. Every QOTSA album sounds different, and their live shows are a combination of instrumental brilliance and hypnotizing soundscapes. Not to mention how rock and roll the band is, complete with the arrogant attitude and their no-frills, all songs approach into a live set. If the sound quality works for them they will be a brilliant grand finale to the festival.

Predicted Grade: [8½]

When: 00:30 on Sunday Night

Listen: Myspace

See them if you like: Kuyss

Rage Against The Machine [USA] **MUST SEE**

Stage: Centerstage

Genres: Hard Rock, Political Metal, Rap Metal

Lets face it, Audioslave was nowhere near the level of brilliance as Rage Against The Machine. This is a band whose reunion has been blown out to the same level as the Led Zeppelin reunion, with entire festivals selling out only because this band was on the bill. The volatility of the band is well known, and this might very well be the last time you'll ever see these guys before the next explosion separates the band members from each other for who knows how long. Also, they will play tracks like "Killing In The Name Of", "Bombtrack", "Bulls On Parade", all of which belong to the category of "best songs written in the 90s". I've also heard they jump on stage with guantanamo bay prison outfits, so the politics haven't worn out from the band's agenda. Expect the crowd to go into a frenzy the like of which you haven't seen, well, ever. BURN BURN!!

Predicted Grade: [9]

When: 22:00 on Friday (Bullet For My Valentine is playing at the same time)

Listen: Myspace

See them if you like: Deftones, Refused

Rival Schools [USA]

Stage: Centerstage

Genres: Post-hardcore

Speaking of re-unions, the post-hardcore legends Rival Schools reunited earlier this year to do a string of festival shows across Europe to a much smaller press hype. In their short existence they released only one album, but it contained songs like "Used For Glue" and "Good Life", which helped to push the post-hardcore into the direction we find it in today. Will they be good live? I somehow doubt it, but lets see.

Predicted Grade: [5]

When: 14:00 on Sunday

Listen: Myspace

See them if you like: Deftones, Refused

Seether [USA]

Stage: Suzuki Alternastage

Genres: Post-grunge, Hard Rock

Seether are one of those bands that keeps re-writing the same album over and over again. The first two times it worked, after that it quickly became boring and soulless. That doesn't change the fact that live, their frontman looks like a huge bear, and thus adds character to their live show. This is the kind of show where you'll be bouncing up and down, with songs like "Fine Again" taking lead and showcasing that back in the day, this band too was excellent. But considering how their last two albums have disappointed, I'm not holding high hopes.

Predicted Grade: [5]

When: 16:00 on Friday

Listen: Myspace

See them if you like: Nickelback

Serj Tankian [USA]

Stage: Centerstage

Genres: Alternative Metal

Like SOAD? You'll like Serj Tankian as well, probably because his solo band sounds almost identical to System Of A Down, only with a little less weirdness. The songs are as good as SOAD's, and if people know them, the show will be great. But on the otherhand, SOAD were notoriously boring during their live shows, so Serj could easily fail to meet our expectations as well. Playing at the same time as punk rock legends Bad Religion doesn't help either.

Predicted Grade: [6]

When: 18:35 on Friday (Bad Religion is playing at the same time)

Listen: Myspace

See them if you like: System Of A Down

Silverstein [CAN]

Stage: Suzuki Alternastage

Genres: Emocore, screamo, post-hardcore

What to expect of Silversteins Rock Am Ring is one tough prediction to make. I've seen them suck and rock in the same venue within a span of six months, and what's ultimately going to determine the success of their show is the quality of sound they get, as well as the crowd-response. If the sound is good and a dedicated host of scenekids show up for the set, then Silverstein will easily hold up their end of the bargain, however I have a half-bad feeling about this one.

Predicted Grade: [6½]

When: 16:50 on Friday

Listen: Myspace

See them if you like: Alesana, Senses Fail, Saosin

Simple Plan [CAN]

Stage: Centerstage

Genres: Pop, Pop punk

Simple Plan's new album is made for arenas. So even though it sucks on record, it might translate well live, especially if the band brings back their bouncy live performance from the past. But if they still resort to using a backing track for the drums (and even some vocals!), their show won't be good. Still, songs like "Shut Up" are fun, and sure to get the whole crowd bouncing up and down as if they were on a trampoline.

Predicted Grade: [6½]

When: 15:50 on Friday (The Fall Of Troy is playing at the same time)

Listen: Myspace

See them if you like: Good Charlotte, Sum 41, The All American Rejects

Stereophonics [UK]

Stage: Suzuki Alternastage

Genres: Slightly Indie/garage-flavoured rock

Stereophonics are a big deal in the UK, and while I've only heard their "Language. Sex. Violence. Other?" album, from that experience I can see why. The band has a firm grip around writing the classic rock song, adding enough of an edge here and there to keep you from being bored. I suspect however, that their liveshow might end up being a bit restrained compared to many of the more energetic acts on the bill.

Predicted Grade: [6½]

When: 19:05 on Saturday (Nightwish plays at the same time)

Listen: Myspace

See them if you like: Oasis, Maroon 5, The Vines

Turisas [FIN]

Stage: Coca Cola Soundwave

Genres: Battle metal

In case you don't know of Turisas yet, they're a bunch of Finnish dudes who like to dress up in medieval armor, drink beer from horns on stage and play solos on violins and harmonicas rather than on guitars - all while delivering awesome "battle metal". There's no way I can fathom the idea of a Turisas show not being good. I've seen them once but from what I hear from others, they can make any time of day into a longboat-load of fun. You know how a show by Flogging Molly or Dropkick Murphys can't suck? That's how a Turisas show can't suck.

Predicted Grade: [8]

When: 15:35 on Sunday (Simple Plan and Disco Ensemble play at the same time)

Listen: Myspace

See them if you like: Flogging Molly, Dropkick Murphys, Violin solos, Vikings, Longboats, Raids, War paint, Swords, Mead

The Verve [UK]

Stage: Suzuki Alternastage

Genres: Alternative Rock, Britpop

One sentence: Bitter Sweet Symphony

Predicted Grade: [7]

When: 00:30 on Saturday Night

Listen: Myspace

See them if you like: Oasis, Blur, Stereophonics

Epilogue

The band list already says it all, but if you look at our predicted ratings for the bands on our "go see these bands" list, it re-confirms that we're about to embark on a festival that is made out of only good bands. If there's an ultimate festival this summer judging only by music, it'd be the Rock Am Ring / Rock Im Park combination for sure, with Reading / Leeds following as close second. Since you are reading this now, during the festival, chances are that you didn't make it to this years edition. But don't worry, we'll be back with you in about a week with a full reportage on everything Rock Am Ring.

Written by PP & TL

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