Screamfest 2008

So, Screamfest…a festival I was really looking forward to due the participation of Nightingale and that turned out way way way way better than I ever could dream of.

Few info on it, the main page and for the lineup:
(Norway), Moonsorrow (Finland), Bal-Sagoth (England), Grave Digger (Germany), The Batallion (Norway), Nightingale (Sweden), Hate (Polen), 55 Escape (Norway) and The Zeronaut (Spain).

Full running order:

FRIDAY 7. NOVEMBER
Chateau Neuf
Immortal 21:00 – 22:30

Betong
Bal-Sagoth 19:15 – 19:50
Keep Of Kalessin 22:45 – 23:30
Sodom 00:30 – 01:30

Club Stage
Nightingale 20:00 – 20:30
Hate 23:45 – 00:15

SATURDAY 8. NOVEMBER
Betong
The Batallion 19:00 – 19:30
Moonsorrow 20:20 – 21:05
Borknagar 22:00 – 22:45
Candlemass 00:00 – 01:15

Club Stage
The Zeronaut 19:40 – 20:10
55 Escape 21:15 – 21:45
Grave Digger 23:00 – 23:45

Right, now my side of the story.

I invited a friend to join me since I bought two tickets back in June or so as I didn’t want to go by myself. They initially announced that the first edition of Norwegian Metal Awards would be held during the festival so it would have been really cool to have someone to comment them with. Unfortunately, they decided to start the event next year. And even more unfortunate – at that time at least – few hours before it started on Friday, I am announced that my friend cannot join me. I more or less felt like crying and starting desperately to try to find someone to go with.  No luck so I told to myself  fine, I am going to see my favorite singer so I can enjoy it anyway.

I get to the venue, Chateau Neuf, a students place in Oslo located at Majorstuen. Yes, looks like a students place indeed, rather cozy, not too tidy or to extremly decorated. Just functional and I felt good the moment I stepped in.  I wander around the merchandise area for a little while and spot the Nightingale tshirts. There was a guy in his 40s or 50s selling and he told me he’s friend with the band and that they’d come there after the concert. I thought “so what, what can I ask them anyway?” so I left.

Nightingale started at 8PM. nightingale011I stood in the first row, right next to the speaker. And when they got on stage I just realized that I see one of the musicians I admire the most live, 2 meters away from me. Why do my dreams come true in this country? Anyway, maybe it was my position, but the sound was not the greatest I ever heard. But from the very first second you could tell the guys were there to enjoy themselves and the crowd easily got the same feeling. Not a lot of people as I could see, but those who were there were singing along and enjoying the little show. nightingale02

Playlist: Nightfall overture, Raincheck on my demise, Hideaway, Shadowman, Revival, Black Tears (Edge of sanity cover). Only a 30 mins show (sigh). Once the show is over, I go out to get something to drink, walk around the merchandise area again and decide to buy nightingale tshirtsl, take them to the wardrobe and the head to the hall where Immortal was supposed to play. After that, the fire alarm went off. Initially, nobody bothered hoping it is a fake alarm but after few minutes of an awful sound, the guards started to tell everyone to go out. So the parking lot got full of dark metalheads making the night even darker than it was. The bad part of this was the cold outside and since everyone left their stuff at the wardrobe, we sort of mutually decided to stay packed together in the end as it got warmer. And I was surprised to hear so much English among such a small crowd. I wonder if there were more than 400 people, out of which maybe 50 had press passes. Firemen showed up, went in, came out, God knows what they did and in the end, we were to find out what they decided.

That seemed to be the main hall of the event and only Immortal was playing there. immortalscene

There were posters saying that you have to be seated and when I saw the hall – see the pic – I said to myself that this is going to be some interesting  black metal concert with people sitting. 
immortalhall And as I was prepared to enjoy this, a fat guy comes on stage and started talking in Norwegian. I didn’t get it all, but I understood that Immortal is no longe rplaying adn they’llproject some recordings from Wacken. Then he returned on the stage, repeating everything in English and explaining that the firemen had forbidden them to play that night. immortalmanager I can only suppose that they wanted to use pyro effects and probably the fire alarms were too sensitive for it and I understand the firemen didn’t want to assist the Immortal show. Plus, being interrupted every 5 minutes by the alarm might not have been that cool in the end.

So, after many booooooo’s, people leave. And as I’m part of people, I do the same. I decide ‘Fuck it, I’m going home’ so I go to the wardrobe and grab my stuff. On the way out, I go back to the merchandise area and ask that guy if Nightingale folks would be around anytime soon – at least to have something more to see that night (I was no longer tempted by Keep of Kalessin and Sodom). He told me to go and talk to the girl who sold the tshirts. I did that, she was sitting next to the bassist and I started a little chat with her. Dan Swanö showed up at some point and I asked him few questions, mainly Therion related. But then I asked about the band, how much they’d charge for a concert, about Edge of Sanity. He had to leave for an interview though, but his gf told me that if I wanted to hang around with her, I could since she’s quite bored to sit by herself. So I went behind the counter and sat down with her, ‘selling’ merchandise and talking and listening to many stories, including some related to Blind Guardian. Swanö returned, and funny enough he remembered I was from Romania and told me he kept thinking of Romanian bands but can’t name any. No biggie. I left since she was no longer alone and I already had my part of an amazing night. Didn’t want to push my luck (since earlier that night it made the night look like one of the worst ever).

DAY 2

Yey, my friend joined me today to the festival. Neither me or her were dressed up too much like metalheads. Or actually, at all. She was wearing green I had a grey top and blue jeans. Almost everyone else was wearing black, except few girls with red or blue corsetts or socks.

The night started off with Moonsorrow moonsorrow01 (well, with other band but we missed it). I honestly only knew Moonsorrow by name. Had no idea what to expect from them, but the show started really energically and the melodies were so rhytmically pleasant. moonsorrow04 The guys had some red paint on their faces making them look a bit scary for half of the first song moonsorrow02 – after that most of the paint was anywhere but on their faces (clothes, drinks, floor). I can’t name a single song but I am surely looking forward to listen to more and get familiar with this band. And what I also liked was the combination of voices, since for the chorus and some growls, the guitarists took over the microphones. moonsorrow03Few funny moments of the concert were when a girl with a fur hat came in – that was a tad extreme, considering the heat inside and that she was wearing a sleeveless top girlwithfurhat – and a guy so drunk that he was sleeping on the chair. And even a security guy came by to ask him if he’s ok.

We left this one and went to see  55 Escape. 55Uhm, after half of the song when I felt like listening to Linkin Park I asked my friend if she’d rather go and assist to a soundcheck. She agreed. So we headed to the stage where Borknagar was to play and started to comment on the 9 cymbals that the drummer would use for the show borknagar01. And the guitar with the widest grip I ever saw. For Borknagar, I can say that I love the guys voice in his Vintersorg project and one or two of their albums that I have. But when they started to play and he was growling, I got surprised. And when the first 3 songs mainly sounded the same except the nice melodic parts, I got bored. borknagar02So I had a better time looking at the crowd and their headbanging or trying to understand what Norwegians were joking when the singer spoke to the crowd in Swedish. I later on found out they were yelling stuff like ‘Come on, talk like a man already!’. They had some sound problems and actually had to stop in the middle of one song. borknagar03

A funny story before the concert, me and my friend were sitting at a table (yes, there were many tables around the space in front of the stage, they were actually on two levels which made it really cool to watch for everyone) and she got a message from a friend of hers “how’s the concert?” and a photo of a guy looking silly at a party. I told her she should reply with a photo of a guy dressed very metal and say how cool it was. She agreed and pointed at a guy sitting at a table next to us that his photo would do. So I tap the guy on the shoulder, tell him the story (he was sort of big, with a shirt without sleeves and the hair dyed black, his gf had a very gothic look with a short skirt, a corset, red socks and high boots and dark nails) and he agrees to let us take the pic. But despite his evil look, he could hardly help not to laugh.

Finally they end their show and we move to Grave Digger. Before the band got on stage, there was a guy dressed like a monk who went on the stage then left. gd01Which reminds me that before the concert I stopped a guy dressed like a monk and asked him if he dressed like that because of Messiah Marcolin from Candlemass. And he was so proud to tell me that he was wearing one of the few monk suits in the world signed TWICE by all the candlemass members. I don’t know what he smoked or ate before, but I so regreted I stopped him since he was smelling so funny and he insisted on telling me the stories of the signatures. Good thing he was kinda wasted though and since he couldn’t easily find the words, I managed to send him away.  Back to the skeleton diggers. With quite an ancient look (the singer seemed as if he just got his fingers out from an outlet) gd02and with the simplest drumkit I saw that evening (except the Linkin park like band) they really entertained the crowd. They said it was their first performance in Norway and that made them even more famous at the time (Norwegians love when it’s something special about them, including a first one). On songs like Valhalla and Rebellion the crowd was even singing along and during the whole show I saw many people doing serious headbanging (which I didn’t expect to happen in such great number at this concert). gd04Some youngsters tried (or maybe the beer in their bellies tried) to start some moshpit but they were surrounded by a lot of Steins (stein means rock in Norwegian) – some big blokes who wouldn’t move and gave them such cold eyes that they probably regreted to have been borned.

Playlist: Scotland United, Excalibur, Valhalla, Silent Revolution, Knights of the cross, Rebellion, The Grave digger, Last supper, Heavy metal. gdplaylist1

Now for this big name, Candlemass. candlemass01 I only know very very little of their music and I saw Messiah playing with Therion last year. He was awesome on stage but I didn’t know he no longer plays with Candlemass. So my surprise when I saw the singer was…big. candlemass03Anyway, before they started, of course they had the soundcheck and all, but unlike other bands, the crowd couldn’t see it since the curtains were down. Well, could have also been to increase the effect of the intro, but since nobody else did it, it looked a bit ‘poshy’.  They started with energy, the singer has a cool voice but he’s trying tooooooooooo hard to replace whoever was before him and that totally makes him look gay. candlemass04 His moves are so unnatural. He’s so annoying when he talks, his hair has probably more fixative in it than the whole crowd together. And I think he hardly knew the lyrics since you could see he was looking down many times. But again, good powerful voice and cool sound overall (despite the small size of the festival and venues, I am still impressed by how good they sound in this country). But we left after like 5 songs I think since the guy got very annoying. And a doom band to end a festival, hm, not quite the choice I’ve made after the energy I saw in the other bands concerts. candlemass05

Playlist: Mirror Mirror, Dark Are The Veils Of Death, Samarithan, Emperor Of The Void, Devil Seed

That’s all folks! Happy tomorrow!

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