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Ανταπόκριση Bang Your Head 2017

 
Bang Your Head - July 13-15, 2017
 
   Όπως και πέρυσι, έτσι και φέτος τιμάμε το μεγάλο φεστιβάλ ΜΕΤΑΛ στη Γερμανία, το Bang Your Head… Μέχρι η ατρόμητη και ακούραστη ανταποκρίτριά μας στη γη των Τευτόνων, η Afa Angelhardt, να καλύψει το «μεγάλο αδελφάκι» του εν λόγω φεστιβάλ, το απέραντο Wacken Open Air, διαβάζουμε για όλες τις μπάντες που πέρασαν από το BYH, χαζεύουμε τις φωτογραφίες και κάνουμε όνειρα για την επόμενη χρονιά. Πολλά τα μεγάλα ονόματα, πολλές οι δυνάμεις του ΜΕΤΑΛ που παρελαύνουν και το ίδιο το φεστιβάλ είναι μια ευκαιρία να δεις πολλά σχήματα χωρίς να χαλάσεις ένα σκασμό λεφτά. Μένουμε υπόχρεοι στην Afa μας για το υλικό και τις απίστευτες φωτό και ανανεώνουμε το ραντεβού μας για το WOA, το οποίο περιμένει υπομονετικά τη σειρά του σε πέντε μόλις μέρες…
 
Κώστας Κούλης
 
   It’s July, and that means the pilgrimage to South-West Germany’s finest hardrock festival is on! The 2017 edition of Bang Your Head (BYH) was again extended to three days plus the indoor warm-up show on Wednesday night (extra ticket needed).
 
   Thursday’s acts on the main outdoor stage consisted of Killcode, Crystal Viper, Toxik, Gloryhammer, Orden Ogan, Slaughter (to appear again later with Vince Neil and make a bit of history), British Venom and Norway’s Black Metal export Satyricon. It seems impossible to not run into New Wave of British Heavy Metal’s working horse Saxon as they have been showing up at all major European Festivals. Being around since 1977, these old men just never get tired to play and Biff Byford presented their hits “Crusader” and “Denim and Leather” on the BYH main stage as headliners.
 
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   It was quite strange that Sepultura was scheduled to perform on the much smaller indoor Messehalle stage, their show starting at midnight. Everyone expected the venue to burst, but surprisingly it was only 2/3 full. We can only speculate if the predominantly hardrock crowd found the music too metal, or if they simply wanted to get on a shuttle bus to the camp site as their feet were tired after the indoor field had closed. Brazil’s finest metal export sent the crowd to sleep with “Roots Bloody Roots” that night.
 
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   Bang Your Head’s surprise highlight was without a doubt 80s “Queen of Heavy Metal” Lee Aaron. After having experimented with jazz music in the past two decades, in 2016 the Canadian singer had released her first all hardrock album in twenty years. She was presenting “Fire and Gasoline” on selected European stages. And let me tell you – this lady still has it all! A beautiful strong rock voice, looking 20 years younger (the lady is - hard to believe – 54 years young!) and a positive enchanting stage presence. You go, girl!
 
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   Lee’s performance was followed by Riot V and Magnum featuring Bob Catley, who is a regular to the BYH and Rock of Ages performing with Tobias Sammet’s Avantasia project. Switzerland’s Krokus featuring charming Maltese Marc Storace on vocals have been around for 40 years and delivered their fun package AC/DC style. Their latest 2017 release “Big Rocks” is a cover album and Krokus presented “Rocking in a Free World” on the BYH stage.
 
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   Australian Rose Tattoo featuring Gary “Angry” Anderson came to fame in the 70s and played their only European show. They had influenced acts like Guns ‘n’ Roses but never reached big fame as bad luck and line up changes had slowed down their career.
 
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   Vince Neil’s headlining gig was cause for many discussions. The Mötley Crüe singer was considered the highlight of the festival as the majority of BYH goers just looooove 80s rock and glam style. Management had long wanted to book the Crüe, but simply could not afford them. So it was with great pleasure that Vince’s show should make up for the loss. Also his show was a rare appearance in Germany promising Crüe classics. But the frustration started when Vince started 10-15 minutes late – hey, no biggie, ryche? Still plenty of time to catch up. The set included fun songs we can all sing along (Girls Girls Girls, Shout at the Devil, Looks that Kill, Dr. Feelgood, Home Sweet Home…) and Vince’s voice was doing okay. Not brilliant and he was sometimes struggling and switching to lower octaves, but considering age and circumstances, a Sebastian Bach or Don Dokken had delivered much worse performances at BYH. The crowd was in the best mood and cheering along, when Mr. Neil left the stage for a whopping 20 minutes, leaving his band (top musicians of the band “Slaughter”) to play a jam of Led Zeppelin’s “Whole Lotta Love” and Dio’s “Heaven and Hell”, followed by “Stairway to Heaven”. Sure, Jeff Blando on vocals and his amazing drummer Zoltan Chaney (nicknamed “The Animal” from the Muppets show) managed to entertain the crowd. And of course there is nothing wrong to honor our beloved Ronnie. But maybe master Neil should participate is HIS gig and not just run off?
 
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   And if people were already startled, Vince cut the set ten minutes short: Just one encore - boom and gone! To quickly do the math: A 90 minutes scheduled headline show cut to 60 minutes leaves a poor 40 minutes of stage time for Vince. Seriously? Within seconds, festival manager Horst Franz took the microphone, really annoyed and apologizing to the fans, saying he would have to contact Vince’s management as this show had gone awfully wrong in many ways.
 
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   The following day, Horst explained his “hot headed reaction” and that afterwards he had had a long talk with Vince. Apparently both were crushed as it had been a huge misunderstanding. Horst insisted that they made peace and all is well, but you wonder how this could have gone down. Two professionals with decades of experience in the business - and they do not have a binding contract? How is there room for interpretation and misunderstanding? Clearly BYH management wants everyone to remember the festival with positive vibes; nevertheless Horst has all the support from his loyal festival visitors and doesn’t have to protect a diva. After all, this is not the 80s where erratic behaviour was considered cool and excused – we are all adults now and expect even rockstars to grow up and to honor and respect their fan base (or at least simply stick to their contract). No need for Horst to apologize - as everyone knows how committed he is.
 
   Saturday’s bands included Vain, Raven, British Diamond Head, US Power Metal veterans Vicious Rumors and Dokken. Don Dokken looked a bit tired and uninspired, never smiling. Don’s voice has obviously deteriorated over the years – he ows it to his band’s charismatic stage presence (fronting original drummer Mick Brown) and good overall sound that the show was…bearable.

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   Michael Schenker Fest featuring bits and pieces from his Scorpions, UFO and MSG past, was considered another highlight of BYH. While he invited his former bandmates Gary Barden, Graham Bonnet and Robin McAuley to the Fest. Michael seemed calm compared to his outstanding 2014 BYH performance. But to be fair - maybe he was just his normal self rather than on overdrive: Doctor Doctor, please…
 
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   Sweden’s HammerFall managed to save the night by performing a worthy headlining show including an illuminating light show and lots of pyrotechnics. Singer Joacim Cans voice was shining and his Gothenburg guys left the crowd in a happy state.
 
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   With just a bit of rain (mostly at night…quite decent compared to the past years), yet another peaceful family festival came to an end with the traditional BYH fireworks.

Bang Your Head 2018 is scheduled for July 12-14. Get your tickets at the Ticket Shop!
 
Review & Photos by Äfa Angelhardt
 

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