Being one of my favorite bands ever, The Hellacopters’ live at Gröna Lund in Stockholm was not just highly anticipated, but it could be characterized as the gig of the year (until next one). And someone feels lucky participating on a high energy rock n’ roll party at the band’s hometown, on a beautiful August evening.

Impressive was the sound of the helicopters approaching, as a backdrop for the band’s entrance on stage, heating up the crowd and setting the levels of attention to red alert, like the backdrop of the stage, with the Hellacopters logo in flames. “Hopeless case of a kid in denial” started everything, and here we have a band massively starting the show on full throttle. Nicke in the middle of the stage with his white Gibson SG electrifying everyone possible with his amazing performance. Dregen, one of the original members of course, has been in contact with the public all night long, playing solos and rhythm guitars his own special way, reminding us how much we like the first Hellacopters records, and his energy and motion, a trademark of each one of the members throughout the band’s years. Dolf De Borst (an old friend of the band, since 1998), has already replaced Sami Yaffa, who toured with the band the last period, and who also replaced the all-time bass player of the band Kenny Håkansson, did great, both on bass and also on backing vocals on several occasions. The other 2 members of the band, Anders “Boba” Lindström (keyboards) and the mighty Robban Eriksson (drums) were just awesome... Either taking over Dregen’s guitar (Boba) and doing a Sex Pistol’s cover (‘Bodies) which was a highlight of the night, or being one of the most massive, awesome and trademark drummers out there… Magic!

Set-list wise there cannot be anyone left unhappy, as they played a really good bunch of their whole career, including their most recognizable hits but also some not so expected ones, which was a very welcomed thing!

It feels so great to see Nicke & Co. live on stage, playing their tunes, giving an exceptional show, giving it all for the crowd and proving one more time that this bunch of dudes are one of the best act to see live! No question about it! We are talking about the original High Energy Rock N’ Roll act, one of Sweden’s finest musicians, but also band to make us wanna see them soon again, but also record new songs soon, why not?! In 2008, we had “The Tour Before the Fall”, drawing the curtain down as a farewell, but, but… You never know what comes next and we were always wanting this to happen, a Hellacopters reunion, that might lead to record new stuff...! So, bring it on boys! Skål till nästa gång! (Cheers till next time!)

Antonis Mantzavinos

 

King Crimson was one of the greatest bands of the 70s progressive rock scene. They have released classic prog rock albums, which were ahead of their time and influenced a lot of music genres and musicians, from the 70s until now. For example “In The Court of the Crimson King” and “In the Wake of Poseidon” are considered to be innovative works of art, monuments of pure inspiration and musicianship. But apart from the peerless technique, King Crimson always expressed their feelings through their music and as a result, music journalists include them in the “sentimental” prog rock class. Indeed, I personally grew up with the music of King Crimson and so did countless other music aficionados, who support the band even now, 50 years since the formation of the band - King Crimson may not release new albums frequently, they are still touring now all over the world. Imagine my surprise, when I learned that King Crimson have included my town, Rome, in their tour schedule. We have the luck to see several artists/groups in Italy, but the news of a King Crimson show is always special news. I bought my tickets and I picked with anxiety my old King Crimson vinyls from the dusty shelves of my record collection! A night of nice prog music would follow.

The Rome concert would take place at the Auditorium, a perfect place for sophisticated gigs since there are only numbered seats for the audience and no arena. I can’t think of another, more suitable place to enjoy King Crimson. We arrived there on time, and took our seat, waiting eagerly for the show to start. During the waiting time, you could hear strange sounds from the speakers, obviously selected by the band itself, good enough for us to get in the right mood. We couldn’t help waiting for the band to appear on stage - and when the musicians did so, the audience burst into a big applause. We couldn’t believe it, Robert Fripp was right in front of us!

The band selected an ideal playlist, which included all its classics. We had the chance to listen to great prog rock songs, which the band performed excellently. You can’t ask for more, when you listen to such legendary songs as “In the Court of the Crimson King”, “Moonchild”, “Epitaph”, “Starless”, etc. It was a blast to listen to King Crimson play all this stuff, with their remarkable technique, with their true passion. We witnessed a flawless performance, which sent shivers down our spine and will never be forgotten.

But you will understand what I am describing, only if I mention that the band played with three drummers, whose drum kits were in front of the rest of the band! The drummers performed at the same time and in turns - it was a strange and beautiful spectacle.

Watching King Crimson playing live, it was a dream that came true. I almost shed tears of joy and excitement because of this wondrous live show. It isn’t an exaggeration to say that our jaws were dropped off during this fantastic live show, which ended with the heavy prog epic “21st Century Schizoid Man”.

Every moment of what we experienced this evening will live in our hearts forever. And when King Crimson said goodbye us, we thanked the mythic band with a long standing ovation. Only true music lovers can enjoy such state-of-art concerts, from a band which prefers to speak through music and lyrics. These things happen once in a lifetime!

Giuseppe Caprani

 

The great day had come! 20th July 2018! A date that is already written in the history of the Greek metal world! Before we continue, there are some things that should be mentioned … Firstly, just put your mobile phone down! As it can be seen in several YouTube videos, most people in the audience didn’t bang their heads or just enjoy the bands, but were holding their mobile phones up, trying to shoot photos or capture the show in video … that’s tragic! Take some photos, record a small video, and that’s enough! Put it down! I experienced some frustrating moments, when during the show a lot of people were trying to pass through the audience, holding their mobiles, only to shoot photos! That’s a pity! Secondly, are you nuts? You want to see Iron Maiden, like 36,000 other people, and you come five minutes before the official beginning of Maiden’s show? We were packed in like sardines, we have been standing there for hours in order to have a decent view of the stage and you get to the venue, demanding to seat in front of the stage? Should we also let you seat upon us or what? Come on you guys, snap out of it! Thirdly, stub your cigarettes out! I don’t know how many cigarettes you were smoking, when you were in concerts in your home village! We all had attended a festival, not a small coffee shop, there were 36,000 people, we couldn’t even breathe and you light your cigarette! I saw people around me getting burned by cigarettes – I wonder how that didn’t happen to me! Is it so difficult for you to restrain yourselves? If you can’ t enjoy the music and you prefer your cigar, well, leave the space for us and go to a coffee shop and light as many cigarettes as you want! We can go on now with what we saw that day in Rockwave Festival …

We arrived at Malakasa around two o’ clock – the heat was unbearable, the hot sun didn’t show any mercy for us and the two stages were ready to welcome the six bands, which were scheduled to play.

Rollin Dice: The Greeks would open this marvelous day of loud, heavy music. With their personal sound, which mixes heavy metal music with blues elements, Rollin Dice gave a nice show of 45 minutes and pleased everybody, especially the older ones, when they covered The Beatles’ “I Want You (She’s So Heavy)”! If you haven’t seen them on stage, you should check their tour program immediately!

W.E.B.: The baton was passed to the second Greek band of the day, W.E.B. To be frank, this band plays in a dark metal style, which I am not fond of. Despite that, the guys were flawless, justifying why they are one of the biggest names of the Greek metal scene. They were unmistakable, not only technical wise, but also as a stage act. Their outfit and face make-up were impressive, just like their performance, especially if you consider the heat – they deserved our applause. However, W.E.B.’s extreme metal sound didn’t fit with the other bands of the Festival – not to mention their black metal visuals at the noon! What I am saying is that if they were playing at night in a small venue, we would enjoy them much more! Nevertheless, we must focus on their excellent performance.

Monument: 15:45 … Terra Stage is ready to welcome Monument. Despite the hot rays of the sun, most people don’t hesitate to gather before the stage to enjoy Monument (some call them “the new Iron Maiden” or “the new Running Wild”, you can call whatever you like …). Guitarist Dan Baune and drummer Giovanni Durst appear first on stage, and the crowd is going wild! Suddenly, as the first notes of “Hellhound” can be heard, Peter Ellis, the singer of the band, who comes from Greece, can be seen running on stage like a hurricane! I won’t tire you with my words – with the exception of a minor sound problem at the beginning of their show, during which the sound of the bass guitar and the drums was covering Peter Ellis’ voice, the guys were perfect!   The audience was roused by Peter Ellis’ amazing vocals and generally, all the guys’ incredible performance! You could tell by their every movement, every expression in their face how much fun they had playing live and that energy passed to us, throughout their gig. The Brits said goodbye to us with the song “Lionheart”, having left everybody satisfied, having proved how good they are on stage, having shown to everyone that they are worth checking out (if you haven’t already done it). Of course, their influences are obvious (Iron Maiden, Saxon, Running Wild), but they also have their own personal touch in their songs. The only thing that we are waiting for their next show is that they will play the songs “A Bridge to Far” and “William Kidd”, which were requested by many fans and are two of their best tracks. We would like to mention that Monument were also wronged by the time they played, since most of the fans started to fill Terra Vibe after six o’ clock in the afternoon due to the hot weather.  Yet, imagine what would happen, if they played later, with more fans before the stage! We thank them so much, for their outstanding performance, our neck and vocal chords were already in pain after their show!

The Raven Age: I will be frank… As long as I listened to their music at home, I was thinking that they would give a nice live show. However, their actual gig in Malakasa was a disappointment for me. I was already tired after their first two songs and I decided to hang somewhere else, far from the Vibe stage and have a rest. You can’t say that The Raven Age are bad, they are indifferent. It’s the case of a band, which you prefer to listen to through the speakers of your home stereo, not live on stage. Was it maybe, because their new singer, Matt James, seemed to take care more of his ego and less of his voice? I don’t know, I want to see them again at another live concert, just to see If I am misjudging them.

Tremonti: They don’t need any introduction! Having served a lot of years in metal and having released four studio albums, Tremonti are considered as a powerful modern metal band, which is kicking ass in its live shows. Mark Tremonti, their lead guitarist/singer, of Creed and Alter Bridge fame, is a guarantee, both in the studio and on stage. Their latest album, “A Dying Machine” rocks big time, and during the title track, everybody seemed to have a good time. Nevertheless, I found them a little monotonous. Technical wise they were perfect, their energy was remarkable, but I didn’t like all the songs on their setlist. Don’t get me wrong, the fans liked what they saw on stage and Tremonti were worth of the fans’ applause.

Volbeat: The Danish band managed to excite everybody! Their mix of Metallica’s “Black Album”/”Load” sound with southern rock/rockabilly influences was original enough for everybody to have fun! This live show revealed all the reasons why this band is beloved in Greece and the rest of the world. Most of the fans knew the lyrics and sung the songs together with Michael Poulsen (vocals, rhythm guitar). Even the doubters understood how good this band is! I personally am not a Volbeat fan, but their songs made us shout, shake and bang our heads. Songs like “The Devil's Bleeding Crown”, “For Evigt”, “Seal the Deal”, “Let It Burn”, “Black Rose” and “Still Counting” are real rockers, an amalgam of power and melody! But Maiden’s show was approaching, so we left Vibe Stage to reserve a nice seat for what would follow!

Iron Maiden: The moment that all the fans were waiting for months, since the first announcement, had come! We were all there, so anxious, so nervous for the big show! 36,000 people had paid their ticket to see Iron Maiden. At this point I would like to make a mention – Terra Vive isn’t a place for so more than twenty thousand. There was no space to stand, many people couldn’t have a view of the stage, you couldn’t even hold your glass and drink. Comfortable isn’t a word, which can describe the whole place. It was obvious that the organizers wanted to make some more money and sell more tickets than Terra Vibe could host. But that’s another story, the story of an organizing company (Didi Music), which obviously didn’t care about the people’s security and health. Let’s get back to …the Irons! According to the announcement, the show would start at 21:00 o’ clock, but the minutes were passing and the only music was coming from the decks of the DJ. And suddenly, we listen to “Doctor Doctor”, one of the favorite songs of the Steve Harris. It’s Maiden time, my friends! Everybody is yelling, as we understood that the time had come … “Aces High”! Everything is now chaotic, as the band is playing its classic songs and everybody in the crowd is headbanging, singing and playing air guitar! An impressive Bruce Dickinson is running on stage, fronting a legendary band, which is giving its 100% for the fans. The sound was perfect and the setlist ideal! I would like to emphasize on the following fact; Iron Maiden may have grown up, may have white hair now and wrinkles, but they managed to make us feel like small children! And apart from their great performance, the sextet’s show included a fantastic show with lights, videos and special effects. It is the first time we see such a heavy metal show in Greece. That’s phantasmagoria! Everybody in the band was flawless and in an ecstatic mood. Of course, some minor vocal mistakes won’t spoil what we saw, heard and felt! Dickinson didn’t speak a lot to the audience, except for in the beginning and the end of the show – his communication with us was superb (“Scream for me, Athens!”). We all wanted to listen to “Alexander the Great”, but Dickinson sang only the refrain a Capella – you can imagine how we felt when we thought for a moment that Maiden would play also this classic opus! It was a big honor for us to listen to all these Iron Maiden songs, like “The Flight of Icarus”, “Two Minutes to Midnight”, “Revelations”, “The Clansman, “Hallowed be thy Name” etc. Iron Maiden promised that they will come back – they presented a gorgeous live show, which is maybe the most complete and touching show we have ever witnessed in Greece! There are so many feelings now, after the show… We close our eyes and we are still there, in Terra Stage! We can’t believe what we experienced, not even now, some days after the event … Can you believe it?

Sylvia Crystal

Rockwave Festival is the biggest rock and metal festival in Greece and every summer the Greek fans are waiting for it with anxiety. People who have been in rock/metal festivals in foreign countries can make their comparisons, nevertheless, it is the only big festival in Greece, where we have the opportunity to see and hear big names of the rock/metal scene. So, at Thursday, 19th of July 2018, we were about to enjoy the live performance of the mighty Judas Priest plus two classic bands of 80s heavy metal (Accept and Saxon), one of the most popular names in the contemporary metal biz (Sabaton) and three Greek acts (Jacks Full, Null ‘O’ Zero and Foray Between Ocean). The billing was great, our appetite big and at 4 o’ clock we passed the entrance of Terra Vibe!

When we got there, Jacks Full had already given their show, so as you understand, I cannot make any comments. Surely they gave their best under the hot rays of the sun, before some fans, who had the ability to be at Malakasa on time. I can also give you some details about this Greek heavy rock band – they were formed in 2014 in Athens and their self-titled debut was released in April 2015 and won raves from the press.

I had the chance to witness the live show of Null ‘O’ Zero. The Greeks have just released their new record (“Instructions to Dominate”), which was praised by fans and critics. Well, I liked very much how they played and can even say that I fancied their songs more in this live performance. We must mention their nice guitars and the powerful vocals – all included in a storming set, which enthused the fans. Nicely done!

Null ‘O’ Zero passed the baton to Foray Between Ocean. This concert was my first encounter with this Greek band since I haven’ t listened to their debut album, “Depression Neverending” – I was nicely introduced to their deathcore/prog black/death metal sound, and yes, I really dig their stuff! Foray between Ocean were very passionate, energetic and had a fine sound, which helped them perform their interesting songs. Especially the singer impressed the fans with his variety of vocal styles. I am sure we will meet again, guys!

As the time was passing, more and more people were arriving and took their seat in front of the main stage. Of course, they were waiting for a classic metal legend – Accept! The Germans entered the stage furiously and their first live song was “Die by the Sword”. The headbanging began with the first song from the past. “Restless and Wild” drove us insane and everybody started singing! The rest was pure metal history; “Metal Heart”, “Balls to the Wall”, “Princess of the Dawn”, “Fast As A Shark”, “I’m A Rebel” plus some of the strongest new tracks of the band, i.e. “Pandemic”, “KoolAid”, “Teutonic Terror” etc. Generally, this Accept concert was a blast, the Germans know how to produce energy and communicate with the audience, and I have only positive things to say! Some problems with his guitar didn’ t stop Wolf Hoffmann to scream and shoot with his guitar riffs and solos, Peter Baltes was a leading figure with his bass and Mark Tornillo shows again how perfect he is replacing Udo Dirkschneider. What a killer show!

Saxon was next to hit the stage. Just think of it, my friends: we don’t have every day the chance to enjoy Accept and Saxon back to back… It was a precious moment! Everybody was warm now after the Accept concert, so, when Saxon appeared in front of us, we became delirious! Biff Byford and company were there for us and they rocked big time! The NWOBHM myth of Saxon took us by storm with a selection of old and more recent tunes – “Motorcycle Man”, “Strong Arm of the Law”, “Power and the Glory”, “Crusader”, “Princess of the Night”, “Wheels of Steel”, “Denim and Leather”, “Heavy Metal Thunder” are glorious songs of traditional heavy metal and Saxon satisfied us with their energy, power and melodic hooks! From the more recent songs, I would like to mention “They Played Rock n’ Roll”, this Motorhead tribute, which proved to be a fantastic live number. The Brits played also their popular cover of Christopher Cross’ “Ride Like the Wind”, an amazing moment of their show. In a nutshell, Saxon played like there is tomorrow and pleased every fan, although I would prefer some more old songs instead of the new ones, for example, “Solid Ball of Rock” and “Dogs of War”. Hell on Earth!

A large number of fans went to the other stage, to see the famous Sabaton. I followed the majority of the fans and waited some minutes to enjoy the Sweds. Sabaton had brought all their stage show, that means that they had all their pyrotechnics, the incredible light show, the tank on stage and the video wall behind the drummer’s kit. The quintet gave an impressive show, during which they played all their biggest hits. It was my first time on a Sabaton show and I can frankly say that what I saw and heard was fantastic, although I am not into this “polished” battle metal. “Ghost Division”, “Winged Hussars”, “Swedish Pagans”, “Carolus Rex”, ‘Sparta”, “Coat of Arms”, “The Last Stand”, “Primo Victoria”, “Into the Fire” were some of the tracks of the show and were enough for us to get adrenalized! Sabaton include many elements in their sound, for example, ethnic/folk elements and power metal elements, which were all recognized in this live show. I especially noticed their fine technique and their ideal communication with the fans. What we witnessed was a sonic attack by the Swedish troopers, who proved once again their skills!

The hour that everybody was waiting had come. Hey, Judas Priest, the metal gods, would play for us and our heart was beating fastly. And finally, after the intro of Black Sabbath’s “War Pigs”, the Brits went on stage, with the fans screaming and yelling! The first song was “Firepower” and “Grinder” followed – it was obvious that Priest had a perfect sound and their performance was extraordinary, even better than the studio recordings! The guitar phrases were astonishing, the rhythm section was falling on us like an anvil and the one and only Rob Halford was in an excellent condition, sounding extremely good! He was there singing for us, like there is no tomorrow – he even entered the stage at a moment on his motorcycle! The songs that the band decided to play sent us to heaven – or hell?!, since all these songs were classics. You could see the excitement of the fans, who were electrified by such classics as “Sinner”, “Saints in Hell”, “Turbo Lover”, “Tyrant”, “Night Comes Down”, “Freewheel Burning”, “Hell Bent for Leather”, “Painkiller” and the list goes on! The concert lasted approximately one hour and a half, during which the legendary band from Birmingham, England, didn’t just deliver the goods, but showed us all its power, all its skills, all its high level. Glenn Tipton and K. K. Downing weren’ t there, but Richie Faulkner and Andy Sneap replaced them ideally – the twin-guitar was an unstoppable force, which hit us right between our eyes. Of course, Scott Travis played like a beast and Ian Hill was the humble bass wizard! I would like to notice two things – firstly, Judas Priest didn’t play “Hellion/Electric Eye” – but who can have complaints, after this amazing live gig?! And secondly, the fans weren’t more than a few thousands – maybe because a lot of fans decided to go to the next day’s concert of Iron Maiden. Priest’s said goodbye to us with “Metal Gods”, “Breaking the Law” and “Living After Midnight”. The whole show was phenomenal, without a doubt, everyone who didn’t attend the show, missed a heavy metal inferno!

Dimitris Zacharopoulos

 

 

 

The relationship between Scorpions and Greece is so warm and tight. The band loves to play in Greece and the Greek fans are always there for the band! So, it was no news that Scorpions would visit again Athens, Greece, for a one and only show in Panathenaic Stadium. Of course, many nonbelievers don’t hesitate to blame the band for continuing to release albums and tour, but who can stop rock n’ roll?! So, I didn’t think of it twice – I would be there in this “Once in a Lifetime” show. And I was sure that the Greek fans would also do the same with me. The attendance was beyond any imagination – 40,000 music lovers showed up in the stadium, where the first modern Olympic Games took place! At this point I would like to make a mention – the crowd consisted mainly of middle-aged or even older people, by parents and their children. That’s a nice thing of course, but where did all the metalheads and rockers go? The families outnumbered the hardcore metal fans, nevertheless, that’s a good thing, if you take into consideration that grown-up people are getting familiar with rock and metal music and that children become rock and metal fans. The disadvantage of this is that the biggest part of the audience wouldn’t’ know the older, 70s stuff of Scorpions and would wait for only the ballads, not the heavy ones. Could you excuse me mentioning another thing? The doors of the stadium would open at 7 o’ clock and the show would begin at 9 o’clock with the Athens State Orchestra opening for Scorpions, instead of that though, there were only a few entrances for thousands of people, and as you can understand, the queue was terribly long. Imagine the terrible frustration and nervousness of so many people waiting there to get to their seats, under the flaming sun…that was a mistake of the organizers. The worst thing is that the performance of the State Orchestra started, before half of the audience managed to get in! That’s a shame – part one!

The Athens State Orchestra started its show and played some beautiful tunes, however, I will be honest, I couldn’t understand if the Orchestra interpreted some pop or rock hits in its classical music style – apart from “Rock You Like A Hurricane”, during which Rudolf Schenker got on stage and played the basic riffs of this Scorpions hit. However, it was nice to hear a State Orchestra performing before a rock/metal show. It was a nice intro, something interesting indeed.

The time had come for Scorpions to enter the stage. Almost all fans had got in, when the German band began its show. As the members appeared before the anxious crowd, you could hear a loud, warm applause and the first notes of Scorpions. I was sitting on the upper tier and in seconds understood that the sound was terrible! What the hell was happening? Well, it was obvious that the sound was coming with a delay at the distant part of the tiers, so, if you wanted to listen to the band properly, you should be in the arena!  That’s a shame – part two; That should not happen in a live show, it was another organizer’s mistake and the only excuse is that this was the first rock show in the Kallimarmaro Stadium. I don’t need to say that I immediately left the upper tier and got into the arena, where the sound was perfect! So, now I can talk about the band and its music.

The first track Scorpions played was “Going Out With a Bang”, off their latest, “Return to Forever” album. The crowd was shouting and screaming, although in my opinion, the band needed a more well-known song as an introduction. After that, Scorpions played “Make It Real” and we witnessed a superb concert! The band preferred to play a lot of heavy stuff, many classics from the ‘70s and not so many ballads – many families would expect to hear more ballads, but it was crystal clear that Scorpions came here this time to rock! You can imagine how happy I was to listen to songs like “Is There Anybody There?”, “The Zoo”, “Coast to Coast”, the miraculous medley of “Top of the Bill/Steamrock Fever/Speedy’s Coming/Catch Your Train”, “Tease Me Please Me”, “Black Out”, “Big City Nights”, “Still Loving You” and “Rock You Like A Hurricane”. We lived dreamy moments, we banged our heads, we sang together with Klaus Meine. It was one of the loudest and heaviest Scorpions shows I have attended, just keep in mind that the band paid a heavy metal tribute to Motörhead and Lemmy, with a monstrous drum solo by Mikkey Dee, following the cover version of “Overkill”. Oh God, I would like to know what the parents who were there, thought and what they said later to their kids! Yes, we didn’t enjoy live classics such as “We Will Burn The Sky”, “Born to Touch Your Feelings” and “Holiday”, on the other hand though, enough with these songs, Scorpions have released so many other great anthems!

If you were a Scorpions fan, you would admire the might and the glory of this band. They gave a show full of energy, adrenaline, fun and melodies, a real hard n’ heavy delivery. I have seen Scorpions so many times, and as always, I wasn’t bored or tired – each time is special. Scorpions burned the Panathenaic Stadium!

Dimitris Zacharopoulos