Groezrock 2010

author PP date 11/06/10

Armed with a convoy of three cars jam-packed with punk rock fans and readers of this magazine from Copenhagen and beyond, for the second time in as many years proceeded to make our way from Copenhagen to Meerhout, a rural Belgian town hosting the annual Groezrock Festival. Lest some of you have forgotten just how amazing the Groezrock lineup is every fucking year, the 2010 edition hosted bands like Bad Religion, Millencolin, Pennywise, Strike Anywhere, Glassjaw, This Is Hell, The Bouncing Souls, Lit, AFI, Dance Gavin Dance, Sum 41, Face To Face, Alesana and other ridiculously good and/or hyped names. What other festival are you aware of where you can shrug your shoulders and seem oblivious to missing out on bands like Funeral For A Friend, Haste The Day, The Bronx, 88 Fingers Louie, Story Of The Year or H2O cause you had something better to see? Let that thought linger for just a moment before you can truly appreciate just what kind of punk, hardcore and scene music-lover's paradise this annual event is.

Last year a rainy weather caused problems on the first day, this year's enemy was the cold. If one of your friends suggested to go camping when it's -1 degrees Celsius outside during the night, you'd look at him like an idiot for a moment and then say something along the lines of "fuck no, what's wrong with you". Yet thousands of happy festival goers braved the conditions where you'd most definitely gain hypothermia and die if you passed out drunk outside, and cuddled with each other or slept in full outdoor clothing inside their sleeping bags to keep warm. It's not fun camping outside when you can see your breath steam in front of you when you wake up in the morning to take a piss, trust me. As if the cold wasn't enough, Iceland had clearly misunderstood Europe's demands for sending us cash that was lost in the Icesave bankruptcy as send ash, effectively blocking the entire European airspace for nearly a full week, resulting in Saves The Day, Hatebreed and Sunny Day Real Estate canceling their planned performances this year. Shame, but then again, with a star-studded lineup like this, no (big) harm done. Coupled with great daytime weather (sunshine and 20+ degrees both days), some stupid ash cloud and arctic night temperatures weren't going to ruin the experience for us, or any of the other 15,000 or so participants this year.

Just before I hop onto the reviews, here's a little info on how the festival area looks like. It's divided into three tents of different sizes as seen above. The Main Stage houses about 18,000 people, the Eastpak Stage can probably fit around 7,000 people or so, and if you shove the public into a giant pile, around 2,500 people can cram into the Etnies tent. You exchange your money to drink and food tickets, which you can in turn exchange at the booth's for whatever suits you best. You've got pizza, hot dogs, spaghetti, vegetarian food and pretty much everything you'll find at a usual festival, priced at reasonable (though still a bit pricey) levels. There's no need to babble on more because our article from last year goes into considerable detail about the look and the feel of the festival and the camping area, so check that out if you're interested. It's time to check out our opinions on this year's bands, enjoy the read. PP


The Swellers @ 18:00-18:30 on Main Stage

Opening a festival with as star-studded lineup as Groezrock is no easy task, as Kid Down got to experience in last year's edition. Anyone watching The Swellers rip the stage a new one complete with sing alongs and even a rather large circle pit will agree that they were just the perfect choice this year. An up-and-coming band carrying a significant buzz underneath their belt as a result of an extremely solid album, they won the crowd over straight away with an energetic performance. Having such a large stage sometimes means young bands spread out and sacrifice the perceived tightness of their band, but The Swellers stuck to a triangular area near the center of the space, thus artificially enforcing that 'tight band' idea around themselves. Combined with a bouncy performance, they put most people in a good mood to start this year's Groezrock Festival, even if it did feel like people were anxious to get on with the bigger names later on. These boys will be much higher up the bill next time around. [6½] PP

The Real McKenzies @ 18:50-19:25 on Main Stage

On paper, having such a cheerful and bright band like the bagpipe-driven The Real McKenzies perform so early should be a virtual guarantee of putting everyone in a party mood for the rest of the festival, as witnessed several times before by this scribe in numerous Flogging Molly performances around the world. Their celtic street punk songs offer almost infinite potential for a massive dance party, but only a small portion of the crowd seemed to be into it at all - the ones standing smack on in the middle. Those of us observing from the sides / back were treated to an awfully static and anti-climactic live performance, where the band was content to just standing still, despite having six people on stage. The singer wasn't particularly charismatic either (in comparison to the dudes from Dropkick Murphys or FM anyway), so either you had to REALLY love the songs and know them by heart to enjoy the set, otherwise you were left just standing and waiting for the dance-fest and party-mood to start. Even the wooah-ohh beer song "Drink Some More" failed to lift the band's rating above just average. [5½] PP

A Skylit Drive @ 19:25-20:05 on Eastpak Stage

My first reviewing task at Groezrock is A Skylit Drive's show, and while the scenester six-piece draws a decent sized crowd, the hour of day taken into consideration, I witness their performance mostly disbelieving that this is the same band AP applauded in a live review from last year. ASD are bad. Quite frankly, they are really bad. Not only is the sound generally sub par, but singer Jagmin's Cyndi Lauper-esque squeal momentarily sounds like torture on your ears coming unproduced through the speakers. Not only does the band seem to have little faith in their new songs, relying mainly on stuff from "Wires And The Concept Of Breathing", but the amount of contrived crowd-interaction and gimmick guitar spins also makes it look a great deal like ASD are mechanically performing a script, rather than having a good time playing songs. Watching them today is utterly pointless, what a waste of time. [3] TL

This Is Hell @ 20:10-20:50 on Etnies Stage

Next up were This Is Hell, a Long Island, New York-based hardcore/punk hybrid who have enjoyed quite a bit of critical acclaim in recent years. But today, they were faced with a terrible sound that rendered their set into a horribly monotonous affair, although they are largely like that on record too with a few exceptions, so I guess it was to be expected. Musically, it was brutal yells over a simplistic hardcore punk platform, and performance-wise, the set mostly consisted of the vocalist doing a typical hardcore marching-stance from side to side. That said, the band plays with passion and pours their hearts into the performance, which leads me to believe that this type of set would work so much better in an enclosed, tightly-knit club environment than at a couple thousand strong outdoor tent. Instead of getting trapped in the venue, the sound travels and expands into directions it was never meant to when the guys wrote the material. So as a result of the echoing sound, I took off after just four tracks in search of food and more beverages, frankly because I felt a little bored. [6] PP

Millencolin @ 20:45-21:30 on Main Stage

I think I've seen Millencolin four times now, and time and time again it surprises me how terrible they are live despite a hands down amazing collection of songs to choose from. Usually, they stand completely still, seemingly oblivious to the fact that they are playing many people's favorite songs EVER, thus failing to capitalize on the potentially massive crowd momentum. Tonight, at least 3/4 of the band are making an effort, given the surprise one-time performance replacing Hatebreed (thanks a lot Iceland), but vocalist Nikola still looks like he'd much rather be somewhere else than on stage in front of a jam-packed main stage tent. How he can possibly emit such lack of passion and -interest when treated to echoing sing alongs as a response to a modern Millencolin fan's best-of setlist is beyond me. "No Cigar", "Mr Clean", "Foxy", and many other brilliant songs make an appearance in the setlist, but Nikola's boring stagemanship recalls The Offspring's Dexter Holland and then some. But even if he couldn't ruin the songs for this scribe, then the complete absence of lead guitar did. Don't come telling me I didn't stand in the right place, cause I stood in perfect location right in the middle of the tent, directly in front of the sound booth, but it was nearly inaudible in the mix. I keep going to Millencolin shows with the attitude "THIS time they will be good", but I don't know how long I can keep up with such optimism. [3½] PP

Alesana @ 21:30-22:15 on Eastpak Stage

Ever since seeing Alesana for the first time changed me from a hater to a full-fledged fan of the band, I've been dying to see them again. Groezrock gives me the opportunity, and Alesana seizes it by taking further steps towards eradicating past rumours of dodgy performances. They are the polar opposite to A Skylit Drive, as their music seems like a constant stream of over-the-top awesomeness, breakdowns and melodic guitars embracing each other in a sweet flow, and the show generally appearing to be in another league. Alesana anno 2010 are a band of elaborate, charismatic and constantly engaging performance, moving about their stage with energy and swagger, making sure that every beat and strum in their songs are accentuated so the crowd knows the band means business. Their love for dark glam and corny lyrics might still earn them the hate of fans of more generic neon-coloured outfits of the screamo scene, but let me tell you, when it comes to live shows, it's plain for all to see that most of them are eating Alesana's dust. [8] TL

Glassjaw @ 21:50-22:40 on Main Stage

I've only seen Glassjaw once before today, and their albums are far from the ones I've listened to the most in my collection, yet when I arrive at their show little under halfway through, I already feel like I know exactly what I'm in for. Maybe it's what being an underground legend does to you, but Glassjaw are just so retardedly confident that they seem to be performing more for each other than for the audience. Each performer coolly rocking to the groove in close proximity to his own personal monitor, while Daryl Palumbo puts on the spectacle that's responsible for the one half of his reputation that his unique and charismatic vocals aren't. He tears shit up and makes most would-be passionate performers look like shoe-gazers, and all in all, his band displays their music and their identity as solidly and impressively as ever. A performance of great format that likely earned Glassjaw's cult even more followers. [8] TL

Banner Pilot @ 22:15-23:00 on Etnies Stage

The small Etnies tent is pack to its limits for the Banner Pilot performance, no doubt a consequence of how superb their latest album "Collapser" really is, even 10 months after its release, as well as the ongoing rumour that they are one of the tightest and most passionate punk rock bands around at the moment. These two points are what they set out to prove tonight, as they emit pure unadulterated passion while playing without needing to move much around their stage set up. It's like watching how old Against Me! used to perform their sets, dripping from sweat due to a constant, non-stop stream of music. The pits are full of people dancing (karate moshers, this is what having ACTUAL fun is like), and songs like "Central Standard", "Bender", "Skeleton Key" and many others make it worth missing the rest of Glassjaw's set in favour of Banner Pilot. People are pouring onto the stage and diving off it in a little too high proportion to my liking, as it quickly becomes difficult to follow the band because there are more people on stage than actual band members most of the time. Otherwise, tight and solid set, and one of the best dance-pits I've seen in a long while. [7½] PP

Face To Face @ 23:05-00:00 on Main Stage

I was pretty wasted at this point of the night (11pm at a festival, c'mon), so the details of the Face To Face show are a little hazy, but here's what I remember: Face To Face were funny, uplifting, emitted a feel-good vibe, and were a great band just to watch live, and I was dancing like crazy towards the back of the tent and feeling like this band put me in the greatest possible moods given how tired I was after not having slept for close to 36 hours. You didn't need to know their songs because the band is just so good, both in terms of energy, song quality, and the way they appear on stage. You only need to have a brief glimpse of the horrible audio but great video of this clip to get an idea of just how convincing they are live and the amount of confidence that only comes from a decade plus worth of touring. Just superb. [8½] PP

Funeral For A Friend and Mighty Mighty Bosstones both played afterwards, but no scribe was able to hold themselves awake for the late night shows so no reviews of them are possible. Other reviews say both sets were quite good, and Mighty Mighty Bosstones sounded great from the camping area as well. You be the judge.


Asking Alexandria @ 10:30-11:05 on Etnies Stage

Ignorance is bliss when it comes to bands like Asking Alexandria, something that the band’s vocalist Danny Worsnop gladly admits when facing an alarmingly large crowd in the Etnies tent: “this band is stupid, and you’re fucking stupid for liking us.” Some might mistake such comments for sincerity; however, this is a band that feeds on all current scene fads, including being as controversial as possible. The show that the band puts on starts and ends with enormous breakdowns and… in fact, the music of Asking Alexandria renders the concept of a breakdown meaningless, as the music simply strolls along at that tempo with occasional lapses (breakups?) of infuriatingly simple staccato riffs and wailing clean vocals (which aren’t all that bad, I must shamefully admit) breaking the flow here and there. The performance is riddled with coordinated jumping, still jogging, crabcore stances and death-defying somersaults into the crowd, not to mention questionable banter about impregnating the underage girls in the crowd (who, unsurprisingly, comprise the majority of the packed tent as a show of hands orchestrated by Danny reveals) and other such devastating controversy. It probably came across already, but let me just emphasize that it is impossible for me to take this band seriously – after all, the lyrics of their hit single “The Final Episode” consist almost entirely of screaming “Oh my god!” atop dissonant chugging. And it is perhaps for this reason, that I absorb the music as amusement – something to laugh at, not with – that I walk out of the tent with a strange sense of satisfaction. The effort that Asking Alexandria put into being as controversial as humanly possible nears Bring Me The Horizon like dimensions, and because this insanity translates into an extremely animate live show, it is difficult not to enjoy at least on some primal level. [7] AP

In Fear And Faith @ 11:25-12:00 on Etnies Stage

Whoever decided that In Fear And Faith was to be reviewed by me clearly hoped that I was sober enough at these early shows on Saturday to be able to remember details from them [Editor note: jesus christ...] . He was mistaken. But whether that’s because there was too little blood in my alcohol is debatable, because if my memory serves me right, In Fear And Faith are neither interested nor interesting. Their 35-minute set is tailored into just four songs which occupy all of 20 minutes – and out of these four songs the only one that strikes a chord with me is a cover of Coolio’s “Gangster’s Paradise”, in which Scott Barnes’ incredible range finally comes to its own. Still, if your leverage is a rap song that is not even your own, you’ve got some changes to make. Judging from the thin(ning) crowd, I am not alone with my sentiments, and consequently I am left with no other option than to label this brief encounter a huge disappointment. [5] AP

Pour Habit @ 11:35-12:10 on Main Stage

While TL and AP spent their morning watching scene metalcore, this scribe hung out with some readers and drank a couple of beers to get into the mood for 'the main event', a term used by some people in reference to the big Saturday at Groezrock festivals. A good choice in retrospect; the Pour Habit set thus acted as the perfect party starter for the rest of the day. They're an interracial band (50/50 black and white), and while race normally plays no importance in music reviews, Pour Habit make an artform out of pointing out the cultural differences between the two races using comedy as their main weapon. On one song, they play full fledged reggae, and next song, they collapse into breakneck speed hardcore punk. To say that the two genres are liberally fused together would be an understatement, and on top of that you have their extremely charismatic vocalist using hip-hop like gestures, barrel-rolling across the stage, even standing on his head at one point screaming the lyrics to a punk rock song. All of this is done on purpose to show that there really is no difference to what your background is, whether you're from Africa or central London, punk rock is a uniting force that doesn't understand such superficial boundaries set by the ignorant. On top of that, Pour Habit are hilarious, and act as a positive kick-start to the day. Go see them wherever you can! [7] PP

The Ghost Of A Thousand @ 12:20-12:55 on Etnies Stage

The Ghost Of A Thousand weren't supposed to play Groezrock this year. As updates regarding bands canceling tours as a result of the Icelandic ash cloud began pouring in a few days before the festival, they were booked as an emergency back up to replace those bands who weren't able to be here (Saves The Day, Sunny Day Real Estate among others). The downgrade from Eastpak stage didn't seem to bother them, because the band were easily the best band at Groezrock this year, giving us a performance that will be remembered for years to come. Frontman Tom Lacey simply did what he pleased today, being all over the place tonight, launching himself from left to right on the stage, climbing on structures, and disregarding any norms to live performances much like Dave Grohl during some of his most rock'n'roll moments in Foo Fighters. At one point he decides that the ferocious mosh/circle pit isn't quite enough in the crowd, and proceeds to scream his way through the crowd - with the mic stand firmly in his hand - stapling it smack down in the middle of the crowd and pronouncing "LETS HAVE A CIRCLE PIT". The resulting chaos is something even the mighty Dillinger Escape Plan would've been proud of - just try and picture it in your head: Lacey is screaming his lungs out into his mic stand 10-15 metres from the stage into the crowd, with at least 80 people circling around him like maniacs, somehow avoiding the microphone cable in the process. On top of that, he keeps offering the mic to eager participants at the front to scream into, initiates a wall of high fives (like wall of death, except with high fives), and generally acts like Mr rock'n'roll himself. Musically, the new songs from the critically acclaimed "New Hopes, New Demonstrations" record take the crowd like a hardcore-fueled rock'n'roll storm should, driven on uncompromising riffs and a rowdy attitude that leaves no one cold tonight. Fucking impressive. [9] PP

MC Lars @ 12:30-13:05 on Main Stage

Even though "MC Lars is more punk than you", as is declared in his last song "Hot Topic Is Not Punk Rock", and even though that song starts a massive circle pit, most of his performance does feel a bit weird, what with being hiphop act at a punk rock festival and all. Coming on stage with a supporting MC and guitarist, drummer and bassist added, Lars has expanded on his original post-punk laptop-rap show, and it shows in his confident engagement of the audience that he's probably getting used to having a good crowd. Fair enough, the main tent is far from half way full this early, but he still keeps telling us that we're an awesome audience. The show rollercoasts between rather flat stretches of rapping that hardly make any impression at all, and catchier moments often combined with crowd-interaction. It's far from exhilarating, but it's still enjoyable enough to keep even curious bystanders around rather than having them darting for the other stages after a song or two. Not bad for an 'away game' I guess. [6½] TL

Winds Of Plague @ 13:05-13:40 on Eastpak Stage

Winds of Plague were the most metal band at Groezrock, which I suppose says something about the target audience that the festival caters to. Their music blends symphonic black metal with grassroots hardcore and garnishes it with the kind of obscene lyrics most often associated with rappers – but since the immense wall of sound unleashed by drummer Art Cruz systematically drowns out the fucks and motherfuckers courtesy of gorilla vocalist Twizzy, this simpleton side to the band is hidden from my ears and I find myself rather enjoying the performance. The music sounds genuinely threatening (thanks to the black metal influenced riffs), and Twizzy’s calls for indiscriminate violence in enormous circle pits and walls of death are roared with conviction – this band is here to rip shit apart. As such the show is by no means incredible, but it does leave something of a lasting impression. [6] AP

Zebrahead @ 13:25-14:05 on Main Stage

The one conclusion I am able to draw from this year’s Groezrock is that all the bands that I was looking forward to checking out were disappointing in one way or another, and that the performances which I merely stumbled into see by accident provided the greatest memories (well, musical ones anyway, because nothing beats that Parkway Drive guitarist-debacle). Zebrahead belongs in the latter group, and even though at this point my level of intoxication is off the charts, I recognise that what I’m watching is one of those bands that sustain my interest in music. Zebrahead’s rap-infused pop punk is catchy and spirited, and provides the perfect backdrop to my inebriated state. The performance itself is equally energetic, with vocalist Ali instigating circle pits the size of the entire pavilion, not to mention a wall of death big enough to receive his bulging girth – and that’s big, at least if anything Ali says is to be taken as fact. Songs like “Hell Yeah!”, “Rescue Me”, “HMP”, “Anthem” and… hell, the whole damn show is met with enormous sing-alongs and approval – even when the band decides to cover “Oops, I Did It Again” – and it is impossible not to smile at how lighthearted and fun-loving this band is. It is impossible not to like them. Zebrahead’s performance restores my interest in pop punk and permanently inscribes itself to my memory as one of those shows. [8] AP

Dance Gavin Dance @ 14:05-14:50 on Eastpak Stage

In my mind, Dance Gavin Dance have recently enjoyed the position as one of the world's very best bands on record, however, I always felt like they had to deliver live as well, for me to fully idolize them. Hence they are the main reason for my being at Groezrock this year [Ed note: shame on you, they're good but look at the lineup!!!], however, right from the moment they get on, I get a bad feeling about them. From the way lead guitarist Will Swan strides on over to a microphone standing distanced far away from the rest of the band, looking smug in his black jacket and shades, you get worried, and as soon as the band launch into their stuff, it's noticeable how he's doing his best to look like a rock star over there, while the remaining band crowds the other side of the stage somewhat more cautiously. The visual impression is somewhat handicapped by this of course, with the remaining two axe-wielders appearing almost ashamed to play here. Singer Kurt Travis makes attempts at keeping things together, pulling some very Anthony Greene/Cedric Bixler-ish moves, but just as it goes for the sound all together, his singing is nowhere near as poised and seamless as DGD's recorded material. Simply put, the performance feels really lackluster, and it gives you the feeling that DGD need to stop rotating members and find a solid group identity to present live, if they are to earn higher grades than those around the mark of [6] TL

Strike Anywhere @ 14:30-15:15

"What's up Groezrock we're Strike Anywhere from Richmond, Virgina, come the fuck forward, help us sing these songs!!!" screams vocalist Thomas Barnett precisely at half past two, marking the first 'big name' performance of the day, before launching into the excellent new song "Hand Of Glory". The crowd goes into a frenzy characterized by some of the most intense mosh pits I saw at the festival this year - the undersigned was all over the place during their set, crashing around in the pit while singing along to some of the great songs the band played today. The chaos is equally reflected on stage, where Barnett & co engage in their usual bouncy and energetic performance, drawing massive sing alongs to new songs like "I'm Your Opposite Number", and even larger ones from the old classics. But even whilst having a great time in the pit, I couldn't help but think that Strike Anywhere shows are best experienced from such intense environments. So although they utilize the large stage to their advantage, they're still much better in small club atmospheres. Great show, nonetheless. [8] PP

A Wilhelm Scream @ 15:15-16:00 on Eastpak Stage

A Wilhelm Scream probably should've been on the main stage as the Eastpak stage was packed to its limits to catch a glimpse of the kings of technical punk rock. The setlist was great, drawing on material from all albums, including all the hits like "The King Is Dead", "These Dead Streets" and many others, and so was their on stage performance. Their vocalist in particular was in constant motion, leaping from one side of the side to another, holding the crowd at the palm of his hand. Unfortunately, the sound was downright awful. The set felt like one massive distortion which drowned all clean(ish) vocals and intricate passages underneath it, so it was a difficult one to fully enjoy. [6½] PP

The Bouncing Souls @ 16:50-17:35 on Main Stage

The Bouncing Souls last played at Groezrock only two years ago, but that didn't prevent a great turnout and a fantastic party atmosphere during their show. Their vocalist was a continuous source of entertainment, ranging from hilarious poses on stage and funny jokes to spending large amounts of time down at the barrier, which cooked up a real feel good atmosphere. The sing alongs for these guys were predictably huge, so far the loudest of this year's edition of the festival, for which the reason can be found in an incredible setlist. These guys have written so many good songs in the past that they belong to that elite club of groups who can play pretty much anything and people will love them. [7½] PP

Lit @ 18:00-18:50 on Main Stage

The reunited Lit more or less corresponded to this year's version of The Get Up Kids. When those guys played, it felt more like a showcase performance, with curious bystanders silently checking out an old school band who have recently reunited in an attempt to recapture past glory. It's not that their set was bad, the band actually seemed like they were enjoying the hell out of themselves, it's just that Lit were never really THAT good of a band, so most people here came to see "My Own Worst Enemy" and maybe a couple of other famous singles. All in all, a very forgettable set. [5] PP

Sum 41 @ 19:15-20:15 on Main Stage

If your reaction to hearing the name Sum 41 is humming the opening riff to "Fat Lip" in your mind, then you're also one of those people who were excited to see what these Canadians have been up to in the last couple of years. Then you're also one of those people who left the show disappointed and maybe a little angry at how their mainstream success has clearly gone to their heads. Whenever the band played songs, they were excellent to watch, playing with passion and pride, with the tent echoing from deafening sing alongs to songs like "In Too Deep" and "Still Waiting". It's just that there wasn't very much playing going on. Too much was spent on theatrical crowd-interaction and completely unnecessary breaks and extended versions of songs instead of just playing six or seven extra numbers. "Makes No Difference", for instance, lasted for more than ten minutes, large amounts of which singer Derek used to pretend like he was Billie Joe Armstrong running the Green Day show. I felt like I was taking part in a commercial endorsement than a punk rock show. In addition, the band played two cover songs ("Master of Puppets" and "Paint It Black"), which would be okay if the band played more than just 13 songs overall (although a huge plus is that no songs from mediocre "Underclass Hero" made the cut to the setlist. What a disappointment. [6] PP

AFI @ 20:45-21:45 on Main Stage

Though many of the punk fans assembled for Groezrock will likely disagree with me, I'm going to go ahead and declare AFI my personal band of the festival. The punks disagree with me because AFI have not yet reverted to playing only songs off their first three to four albums live, instead of generally playing a mixture from their entire discography with focus on their most recent album. Thank God that they haven't though, because the more open minded fans can probably agree from watching this show, that AFI are so much more than just another punk band these days. Every style they sample from the many they've tried on over their long career sounds confident, sweet and brilliantly molded into the band's strong identity. Add to such an experience an impeccable sound and a performance which you could probably film in super-slow with the result being every single frame featuring one band-member or another looking cool as fuck. That's a winner of course, and it seems to me that AFI have come so far as a band, that they do things with both strength, poise and class completely beyond the grasp of the vast majority of the world's other bands. So let's see, we are watching a band which have excelled no matter what sound they've tried on for size [Ed note: REALLY depends on who you ask], who don't look or sound like anyone else, and who don't seem a bit worn by their many years of being around. I've seen far more bands than I could care to count, and still I wonder how few of them could ever match that. [8½] TL

Good Clean Fun @ 21:00-22:00 on Etnies Stage

Here comes my personal favorite of the festival, or at least the one band that I had been looking forward to checking out the most. Good Clean Fun rarely make it over to Europe, so the small Etnies Stage was predictably full to the point that it was difficult to even get into the tent - getting close to the stage was out of the question. Setlist was pretty good, most of the highlight tracks like "A Little Bit Emo, A Little Bit Hardcore", "Ex-Straightedge-Ex" and a bunch of older tracks were played, but the band's performance was mediocre to say the least. Issa didn't sound as harsh as he sounds on record, often relying on simple cleans instead of the grating yell he uses on record, and the band did little else than stand still. Sure, he handed the mic to the million or so stage divers several times in just about every song, but he gave off a disinterested vibe and definitely NOT the straight-edge champion who can have fun without being drunk-vibe that most of us were expecting. Top that off with a horrible sound quality comparable to the one by This Is Hell, and Good Clean Fun end up in the "disappointment" basket of this year's festival alongside Sum 41, Dance Gavin Dance and Pennywise. [5] PP

Pennywise @ 22:15-23:15 on Main Stage

Cautious optimism surrounded the Pennywise set before the show, after all, this is their first European show without founding member and vocalist Jim Lindberg. All sorts of questions were in the air prior to the show: the guy from Ignite sounds a bit like Jim, but how much does his different personality affect the band live? Is it going to feel natural? Is it going to be the same? I believe I'm speaking for a large proportion of the crowd when I say that I really, really, honestly tried my best to accept that it's not Jim on stage. But the dude makes it so god damn difficult because Lindberg had an aura of uber-coolness surrounding him, an arrogant attitude fitting to the band's dominating skatepunk sound, and this was nowhere to be found in the new vocalist. He was far too nice and far too excited to be playing in one of the band's that inspired his own band to fit in. It speaks volumes when Fletcher had to do most of the talking to the crowd, as if to allude "this guy isn't Jim, he's not as good, so I'll take over". It really felt like a Pennywise cover band than the real deal, but I guess it goes to say that you can't just replace a vocalist after twenty something years...[5] PP

Bad Religion @ 23:45-00:45 on Main Stage

Bad Religion are on a 30 year anniversary tour spanning most of the planet, so something spectacular was to be expected from the punk rock titans. They kicked off with "Sinister Rouge", and proceeded to puzzle many of us in the crowd used to hearing a best-of compilation whenever these guys play live. For the first 40 minutes or so, the band played rare and unpopular songs mostly from their 90s albums, the ones that almost never get played like "American Jesus", "Sinister Rouge", "Modern Man" and a number of other surprising choices. Interesting, and a treat to the most die-hard Bad Religion fans who have potentially waited for these songs for over a decade now in vain, but the pits never got very intense because so many people were expecting the usual "Suffer" and "The Process Of Belief" material. But it turned out that this was a special show in many ways, as after going through the rarities, it was time for the classics hit parade starting from the title track of "Suffer". "Generator", "Punk Rock Song", "Anesthesia", "Fuck Armageddon, This Is Hell", "21st Century Digital Boy" and a bunch of others transformed the final show of this year's Groezrock to a (drunken) dance-fest. Great times, but I've seen them play much better several times in the past. [7½] PP

And thus concludes another epic manifestation of the Groezrock Festival. Loads of alcoholic beverages were consumed amidst seeing a ridiculous amount of bands both fantastic and disappointing, and with that in mind, it was time to sleep one more night in the freezing cold and start heading home in the morning. A funny incident involving a Parkway Drive guitarist trying to practically rape one of the girls in the camp occurred during the night, resulting in a karate-kick in his face and about 200 jokes about the band on the long drive home ("What's the best part about a Parkway Drive show? The support bands"), getting lost in a Belgian town thanks to a member of our needing sick all of a sudden, and finally arriving back to Denmark just in time to catch Banner Pilot playing in Copenhagen. See you all next year, and here's to hoping that we'll be twice as many people going again! PP

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