Groezrock 2011

author PP date 25/05/11

Groezrock is the best festival in the world in terms of music. You will not find another one like it with a lineup so packed with interesting and amazing bands that you'll have to do some seriously painful decision-making regarding which of your favorite bands you're going to miss just to be able to eat lunch and dinner on a given day.

Think about that for a second.

No matter what festival you regularly attend, be it Roskilde Festival, Glastonbury, Rock Am Ring, Nova Rock, Provinssirock, Reading/Leeds, or Primavera, can you recall a single instance where you've considered skipping a meal just because having one would mean you're missing yet another band on your must-see list?

Perhaps if you don't follow the music scene as intensively as myself, the Editor-In-Chief of Rockfreaks.net, you won't agree with me, but for me personally? That's a statement I can stand behind with confidence each year, as the Groezrock booking crew gathers an awe-inspiring mixture of up-and-coming talent, hyped medium-sized bands, and established giants within the fields of punk, hardcore and scene music, with the occasional odd one out (Twin Atlantic, Danko Jones this year, for example). Such an approach to booking simply never fails because it attracts just the right combination of fans who know all the bands, those who know all the songs by the biggest bands, and those who like a select few acts but are open-minded to checking out bands because of the quality that Groezrock stands for year after year. It's a festival directly catered to the tastes of every punk, hardcore, and scene music fan on the planet.

It's like the Warped Tour from the days before it sold out to crunk-core and mainstream music.

Here's a lengthy reportage of our crew's (PP, AP, TL, Jill, Lykke) experiences at our third Groezrock Festival - the 20th anniversary edition - in a row.

Camping Site

In the past, Groezrock has always separated itself from other festivals in the sense that camping has never been a priority for the festival rather than just being a means to an end solution for people wanting to stay for the full two days of the festival. It doesn't identify itself with a vibrant and diverse culture like the campsites at Glastonbury, Roskilde and a few other festivals in Europe, instead relying on a tried-and-true "book the music and people will come" approach instead. But given the extra half-a-day in this year's band schedule, the organizers decided to expand the festival with an extra day.

So instead of opening the campsite at around noon on Friday a few hours before the first bands are on, the festival decided to allow people in already on the Thursday at 6pm. The 47-strong contingent of the Rockfreaks.net-organized festival bus from Denmark was of course present already far prior to the opening, and duly noted that the volunteers opening up the campsite bit-by-bit were perfectly happy to accommodate bigger groups arriving this early so our tents could be set up relatively close to each other. Neat.

As for the camping facilities, not much has changed since the 2010 edition. The toilets are still spread in three corners of the campsite, with an opportunity to get fresh water, brush your teeth and even take a shower in one corner of the camping area. Should the festival consider expanding the camping experience further, they do need to consider an alcohol sponsorship deal with one of the local beer brands to sell cases of cans to thirsty festival goers. After all, those who arrived by plane, bus, or train had to walk all the way to the supermarket at the city center to purchase beverages for the long night. Fortunately though the festival had taken extra measures to ensure you could buy some fast-food shortly after the opening of the campsite for those that didn't bring along their own good. Thumbs up. Oh, and an extra thumbs up for the simply excellent ham-and-cheese sandwiches served at a reasonable price each morning at the breakfast area.

Festival Site

The festival site wasn't much different from our original description of the area, with three real stages accompanied by the talent stage ("MacBeth stage") where up-and-coming artists from around Europe were voted in to showcase their abilities. Of course, instead of a massive Jäger area they now had a mechanical bull where brave cowboys could try their skills for instance after the Old Man Markley show, which really set a rodeo-like mood (scroll down for the review) during their early Saturday set.

As something new this year the band had a club-like DJ tent in one corner of the festival, which featured mostly electronic music but also classic rock/punk hits. I had the chance to peek into one of these during the Hatebreed set and it looked a lot like a festival club should look like: bunch of drunken, drugged up festival-goers partying and dancing the night away, finding new girlfriends/boyfriends, and that sort of thing. Basically, a frenzied dance party at a punk rock festival. It doesn't get much more punk than that. Well, except of course listening to Rebecca Black on the festival, but lets not get into that....

Unless my memory fails me completely, it felt like the festival had doubled - if not tripled - the amount of seats available smack down at the center of the festival area near the food stalls, a convenient meeting point after concerts for a couple of cold ones or a warm meal. This was a problem in the past if you were looking to catch a bite to eat and just wanted to sit down and relax on a real chair/bench while doing so.

But what in my books counts as the very best addition this year was the inclusion of pint-sized glasses at the stall right in between all of the stages. In previous years (unless we've been blind), the thirsty festival goer has only had two options: either purchase a tiny 0,3 litre glass of beer which runs out after the first four songs, or buy two of them at once and prevent yourself from moving close enough to the stage to fully enjoy the show. With the addition of larger mugs, it was now possible to just buy one excellent Jupiler which would last well into a set for any given band. Lord knows how many trips that saved the festival attendees this year.

Finally, before we get to the reviews, we have to pay special attention to the pricing level. Whereas in most festivals the price of beverages, food, etc goes up, at Groezrock it seems to do the opposite, or at the very least stay the same. Everything is reasonably priced and you can buy a nice (on festival standards) meal for what seems almost like nothing (especially when you are travelling from Denmark). You have to respect the festival for making that choice even if it meant that the overall price had to be nearly doubled to make it work out financially, another thumbs up from this magazine. But now, let's get to the main purpose of this article, the reviews. PP

FRIDAY 22 APRIL

Army of Freshmen keyboardist

Army Of Freshmen @ 13:15-13:45 on Main Stage

Disregarding the hilarious ensemble paradoxically called music, also known as Impending Doom, Army Of Freshmen had a mountain to climb: to kick-start the greatest and by far the best music festival on the planet, Groezrock 2011, on its main stage capable of housing close to 15,000 people. Now, when I think of a festival openers, the best ones always fulfil certain criteria. For starters, they are fun, mood uplifting, and energetic on stage. Secondly, they are unashamed to fully embrace the task at hand, which is to warm up the audience for a weekend of awesome music. Though much can be said about Army Of Freshmen's punk/street credibility, at least they fit all of the former description. Their vocalist may throw in more than what is necessary in terms of cheesy showmanship and the occasional rap while trying to amp up the crowd but at least he's entertaining to watch. That the band sugarcoats their pop punk melodies and surrounds their set with positive energy throughout makes it all the better. Besides, how many of you didn't get back chills when he paused in between songs to read out ALL the bands playing on Main Stage and Eastpak Stage for the next two days? Sure, the keyboard was inaudible, and the tent was nearly empty, but it's difficult to deny it wasn't a fun show foreshadowing things to come. [7] PP

Miss May I @ 13:50-14:20 on Etnies Stage

To be honest, I'm becoming such an old and jaded asshole that most of the new generation of scene bands - the one I consider Miss May I to belong to - seem like shallow shades of their genre's golden days. But at this time of day, nothing else is on that tickles my fancy, and BL has given MMI's album a relatively favourable review, so I decide to head to Etnies stage to give them a chance anyway. As I arrive, my first impression is that the show reminds me of last year's Asking Alexandria show. Plenty of people have gathered, and crowd-surfers are already diving from the stage, while MMI encourage people to party in between their songs of fairly cookie-cut metalcore. The Etnies stage, it seems, is trying to compensate for being the smallest 'real' stage, by being stupidly loud, and MMI's music sounds rather blurred and unpleasant for it, especially if you aren't wearing earplugs. While people around me seem to be generally enjoying things casually, the show is, both sonically and visually, generic as hell, with a typically over-active frontman doing screams, and a guitarist straining to provide formulaic clean vocals. So I see a few songs, note that this isn't entirely awful, yet not very exciting either, and then head elsewhere. [5½] TL

Craig's Brother

Craig's Brother @ 14:05-14:40 on Main Stage

Each year Groezrock hires a couple of re-union bands to pay tribute for the good ol' days gone by. One of the lesser known units today is Craig's Brother, whose sunny Lagwagon-inspired, albeit slower tempo skate punk drew legions of fans to the band more than a decade ago in California. As such, the amount of people in front of Main Stage has more than doubled since Army Of Freshmen as many people are curious to check them out. But as is all too often the case with bands that haven't been around for this generation to know of/remember them properly, their set is a typical old band performance: great songs but really not that much to look at on stage. In other words, a nondescript show with only a few glimpses of former passion, signified by the almost complete lack of movement from anyone but a mere handful of people at the very front. As such, the band spends their thirty-five minutes in complete acceptance that people are just going to watch and nod their heads in acceptance, while failing to stir up or create any sort of atmosphere whatsoever. At least the sound was excellent. [6] PP

We Came As Romans

We Came As Romans @ 14:40-15:15 on Eastpak Stage

Everything I said to introduce my paragraph on Miss May I, can be re-used for this one: We Came As Romans' performance at the Eastpak Stage. How anyone can stand their horribly auto-tuned generi-core on record has puzzled me in the past, but again, I decide to give the band the benefit of the doubt...and again, I don't really get a worthwhile experience to show for it. The crowd, although respectable in size, is as lazy in their response as is the band on stage, all of them striking their contrived poses during appropriate moments of music. It is almost exactly the same story as with Miss May I, except the sound isn't entirely as awful. However, this only makes it more noticeable that clean singer Kyle Pavone sounds as robotic here as he does on record, and when it isn't his turn to sing, he seems to wait for it rather impatiently, appearing as un-excited with his band's music as I am. Again, I spend three to four songs trying to find something to appreciate, only to give up and move on to bigger and better things. [4½] TL

The Acacia Strain @ 14:45-15:20 on Etnies Stage

Much like TL's experiences with the scene bands earlier today, my idea of venturing towards the Etnies tent for The Acacia Strain's set was one of mild curiosity over the band's infamy as the heaviest band ever or something like that. Well, that and the fact that Rufio wouldn't be on for another ten minutes given the early finish of Craig's Brother. Anyway, with a few minutes to kill it's mostly in disbelief I stand right by the edge of the tent and experience a four minute song which seems to consist entirely of one-chord, down-tuned breakdown from start to finish with brutalized growling on top. Is this what modern music scene has become? Apparently, as the huge crowd seems really into it while they headbang and mosh in unison. No grade though given I only saw a few moments of the show. PP

Rufio

Rufio @ 15:00-15:35 on Main Stage

Rufio have never been to Europe prior to this tour, the band proclaims on stage, which makes it unbelievable for the band to have so many people singing along their songs. They are visibly overwhelmed by the strong response, and return the favour by not only playing a brilliant (albeit short) setlist (incomplete by the way) but also by displaying a superb amount of energy and showmanship to capture the crowd. After hearing "Science Fiction", "All That Lasts", "Little World" and "White Lights", the only thing I've been able to scribble down into my notes is "outstanding technical pop punk", which hits the nail right on the head regarding Rufio and their show tonight. A hit-parade designed for us European fans that have waited for over a decade for Rufio to come in town, and what a glorious one it is, a true lesson in how pop punk can also be played: without any hardcore, but also without overtly poppy and sugar-coated melody. [8] PP

Twin Atlantic

Twin Atlantic @ 15:35-16:15 on Eastpak Stage

Looking at the festival's line-up, it's pretty clear that Twin Atlantic are definite odd men out, and it seems frontman Sam McTrusty knows this, as he comes on stage and dryly remarks "I'm sorry, but we're not a metal band". It's sort of an away-game for him and his band, as seen by the number of people cautiously assuming the classic 'position' (arms crossed, standing still), in the Eastpak tent which is only at half capacity, and noticeably less populated than it was for We Came As Romans. This shows on stage, as the band seems to employ a no-nonsense approach to their set, at least in the beginning. As one song follows another, however, McTrusty and friends do open up a bit, hammering their instruments with increasing enthusiasm, while their anthemic alt-rock gathers positive nods from the crowd. Things never quite reach any sort of triumphant state, but at least Twin Atlantic seem like the first act I'm seeing here, that's more of a real band than a cliché, even converting the skeptical AP to eventually express enthusiasm for the performance. Solid performance. [7] TL

Cute Is What We Aim For

Cute Is What We Aim For @ 15:55-16:35 on Main Stage

Although Cute Is What We Aim For was one of the bands on the lineup that I was most familiar with, I had been somewhat cautious when it came to becoming excited for their show due to them not having the best of reputations online. And as I make it to their show at the main stage, I get a fairly accurate sense of why that is. Performing in a fairly low slot on the bill, for a still somewhat widespread afternoon crowd, CIWWAF sound far from the crisp and cute emo-pop of their recorded material. Okay, so for one thing, they're trying to make their songs sound more rock-ish, with more noticeable guitars and more energetic drumming, but it does them more damage than good, seeing as the sappiness and naivety was what was appealing about their music in the first place. Frontman Shaant Hacikyan is putting in what I perceive as an overly try-hard performance for the audience, and his vocals have an annoyingly sharp sound to them, which isn't helped by a somewhat blurry mix. So I watch a few songs, then give up and move on. [4] TL

The Black Pacific

The Black Pacific @ 16:55-17:35 on Main Stage

With Jim Lindberg of Pennywise fame at the helm, The Black Pacific are one of the most quintessential and appropriate bands at a festival like Groezrock: manly punk rock with beefy riffs, lots of attitude, and countless whoa-ohs in just about every song. It's not the most novel trick in the book, but it gets the crowd involved, and with Jim's strong voice the cocktail becomes the antithesis of a pina colada. Now that his rib has healed, too, Jim is in ace condition, showing plenty of enthusiasm, appreciation and passion and throwing himself and his guitar around at every opportunity. Not that any of the remnant crew should be left unaddressed in this regard - just watch the abundance of videos available on YouTube, and you will see that The Black Pacific is a band that means business, and is out to entertain. And since their own material hardly stretches 40 minutes, there is a mutual understanding that at least one cover shall be played, whether it be a Pennywise song or some other classic. Alas, just as the last time I had the opportunity to see these guys live, the choice lands on the Ramones and their famous "Blitzkrieg Bop" - not a bad song by any measure, but almost too predictable in the context of a punk rock festival. It feels like a forced crowd control trick - even when the singer from Flogging Molly joins in on stage. But no matter, because the likes of "System" and "Living With Ghosts" stir up maniacal sing alongs and it is clear that nobody is having a bad time (except, naturally, the people who by some inexplicable stroke decided that Whitechapel would be a good way to spend the 40 minutes instead). [7½] AP

Veara @ 16:45-17:25 on Etnies Stage

Those interested in checking the pop-hardcore outfit Veara were faced with a tough decision: should you stay and watch the entire set, or jump ship after fifteen or twenty minutes to move back to the main stage where Jim Lindberg's The Black Pacific would be performing. Given that the Etnies tent is only about half full at this point, it's clear that most people have chosen skate punk over the hyperactive pop-hardcore of Veara. Their loss, I think at first, as the band shoots into a frenzy of bouncy jumps, killer hooks and catchy gang shouts, inciting a surprisingly large circle pit right in the middle of the tent. The crowd control techniques mid-song are on the same cheesy level as for the Army Of Freshmen set earlier, with plenty of "LETS GO" and "CIRCLE PIT" shouts fitting comfortably in between the lyrics, but at least Veara looks like they're having a ton of fun on stage. Their bright and melodic pop hardcore gets the crowd going proper, even manifesting a surprisingly loud chant-a-long to "We Have A Body Count", but soon after you are distracted by the gazillion crowd surfers overwhelming their stage presence. It's a good set, one that's fun to watch given the extraordinarily bouncy stage presence that the band exhibits, but it still feels like some character is missing. [6½] PP

The Blackout

The Blackout @ 17:35-18:20 on Eastpak Stage

When it comes to The Blackout, I actually had a fairly high expectations for their show, considering the ridiculous amount of energy they exhibited when last I saw them, and also because I have found at least a couple of likeable songs on each of their albums. Today, however, they provide fodder for the nay-sayers that claim that they are a rather shallow band, compensating for their simple music with on-stage shenanigans. Vocalists Sean Smith and Gavin Butler sound like untrained amateurs, and spend more time running from one side of the stage to the other, trying to excite the crowd, than they do trying to get their harmonies right, and considering how their flat-sounding voices dominate the instruments in the soundscape, this certainly isn't a very pleasant experience for the ears. Fortunately for the band, they do have a couple of songs that incite a bit of activity in the crowd, but overall, it is fair to wonder if The Blackout doesn't prove to be a band that it is much more fun to look at than to listen to. [6] TL

Grey Area @ 17:50-18:30 on Etnies Stage

A few days prior to setting off for Groezrock, I spent a few hours picking at the line-up for potential discoveries and quickly identified one such band in NY hardcore punk outfit Grey Area, whose raw yet melodic take on anarchistic anger is surprisingly easy on the ears. On stage the band conforms to punk rock stereotypes, injecting the odd jump amidst an otherwise uninteresting performance. Despite the dull stage dynamics, however, Grey Area work through a decent number of solid hardcore punk tracks, including the fantastic "Insomnia" and "Before Me" from the band's self-titled 1998 album, that seem to go down well with the sizable crowd assembled under the Etnies canopy. It might not the most exhilarating punk rock show in my memory, but it does represent the values of the genre with seldom seen passion, and offers a nice sneak peek into some of the older establishments therein. [6½] AP

Thursday (playing "Full Collapse") @ 18:45-19:30 on Eastpak Stage

It's oddly fitting that Thursday's 2001 classic "Full Collapse" is to be performed not on the Main Stage, but on the slightly smaller and more intimate surroundings of the Eastpak Stage. It's a nod towards the band's roots before they achieved mainstream success, when they were playing smaller venues, laying down the groundwork for pretty much every emo band to have existed ever since. That's why the "Full Collapse" performance feels so special to us old timers, it's a moment of nostalgia taking us back to the days before fringe haircuts took over, to the times when pure, raw, unadulterated emotion is what mattered above anything else. Though it can be argued that Geoff Rickley & co aren't able to display a similar level of intense emotion any longer considering their evolution as a band, they still put on a magnificent display of emotionally charged post-hardcore, a true lesson in the origins of the quiet/loud dynamic. Their stage presence is also much more mellow and less frenetic than is the norm at a Thursday show, which is good, because it helps craft just the right atmosphere required for a successful rendition of the album from start to finish. That's also why it's good to not see any mosh pits or similar emerge within the crowd, because this is an album that has to be enjoyed in full, with every detail and tortured vocal line absorbed in its full power. That said, you still see the occasional emotional eruption from individuals in the crowd who clearly rate this album among their favorites of all time. And although it's wrong to argue that the "Full Collapse" show is one of the best shows you've ever seen, it's still one of those back-chilling "hey, I was there when it happened" moments you'll take away with you even from a festival as packed with high-profile names as Groezrock 2011. [8] PP

Sick Of It All

Sick Of It All @ 19:10-19:55 on Main Stage

The NY hardcore legends are already well into their festive set when the Rockfreaks.net contingent arrives, but it does not take a full set to fathom why Sick of It All are held in such reverence. Celebrating their 25th anniversary this year, Lou and Pete Koller, Craig Setari, and Armand Majidi, are seasoned veterans of the live setting, knowing exactly which strings to pull to enamor the crowd. Lou and Pete are in particularly high spirits, the former dashing across the stage, and the latter engaging in his signature jumps, without pause or sign of exhaustion. Indeed, some bands own the festival setting better than others, as it takes a certain kind of authority to execute as engaging a performance as this. The crowd is euphoric during what is a veritable best of offering, featuring modern classics like "Death or Jail", "Take the Night Off", and "Scratch the Surface", and in gratitude for this bewildered response, Lou wraps the evening off by inviting it on stage for a very visual rendition of empowerment anthem "Us vs. Them" accompanied by a storm of confetti; but not before we have witnessed what is undoubtedly the biggest circle pit at the festival, stretching around all four steel pillars supporting the canopy. [8] AP

Circa Survive @ 19:55-20:45 on Eastpak Stage

Now, if you would like to read a detailed and objective review of Circa Survive, I'm afraid I will prove inadequate as a journalist when it comes to such a task. Ever since I first heard Anthony Green sing on Saosin's "Translating The Name EP", I have waited anxiously for the chance to see him live, and whether it be because I was drunk with the magic of the moment, the awesomeness of the performance, or cheap Belgian beer, I am not too sure. All I know is that I struggle to remember more than a small hour of ecstasy, during which my eyes are glued to Green and his band mates, as they rock through a generous selection of songs from their two most recent albums. There are a fair share of fanatics, who stand up front with me, as we all ruin our voices trying to sing along to Green's ridiculously high-pitched vocals. The passionate frontman sounds piercingly accurate, and the movement shown by him and the rest of the band, is in stark contrast to some of the younger scene-related bands that have already played, as it appears to be guided more by the flow of the music, than by the latest trends from the moshpit. All in all, here is a band that sounds good, plays brilliant music, and performs with personality and conviction - a rarity which you pretty much have to appreciate. [8½] TL

Millencolin (playing "Pennybridge Pioneers") @ 20:20-21:10 on Main Stage

Millencolin are becoming a Groezrock household name, having performed in lieu of Sunny Day Real Estate last year due to volcanic ash disruptions and twice before that. As such it was imperative that tonight's show would not be a mere rehash, so rather than unleash a wealth of fan favorites from their extensive repertoire, the Swedish foursome decided to unload their 2000 breakthrough, "Pennybridge Pioneers", from front to back. It turns out this is a wise choice, facing a hardened punk rock crowd. Given the limited set time, there is little room for theatrics and small talk, but if you ask me, it suits Millencolin fine simply to race through song after song with the conviction of a true punk rock band. The audience loves it, of course, so the main stage transforms into a bellowing mass in no time; and this rejuvenated enthusiasm compared to last year gives Millencolin that extra amount of enthusiasm required from a band that spends most of its performance standing still. And having expedited their performance by holding few breathing breaks, there is even room for a hurried encore in "Mr. Clean". [8] AP

Every Time I Die

Every Time I Die @ 21:10-22:00 on Eastpak Stage

Every TIme I Die are performing in front of a jam-packed tent despite clashing with Shai Hulud and Further Seems Forever. No wonder, considering how the band commands the crowd with a powerful and aggressive stage presence, with constant movement from everyone in the band rivaling those by the pretentious scenecore bands earlier on during the day. As such, a massive circle pit erupts during "Bored Stiff", highlighting just the kind of band Every Time I Die is: intense, in-your-face, and a perfect hardcore name for a festival like this one. Why-oh-why must they clash with two other bands I'm not willing to miss out on, so grading the set based on only a few songs seems a bit unfair to me, but it looked like it could've been one of the best sets at this year's festival. PP

Shai Hulud @ 21:15-22:00 on Etnies Stage

Metalcore pioneers Shai Hulud's visit to mainland Europe is a rare sight, so it is unfortunate they have been rewarded with what is quite possibly the worst timeslot in the entire festival, overlapping not just Every Time I Die's set but also a significant portion of the Chris Carraba-reformed Further Seems Forever. As much as I love Matt Fletcher & co, I'm able to watch only two songs of their immensely heavy and aggressive wall-of-sound before my attention is turned elsewhere. From between the dozen or so crowdsurfers dominating the stage, it looked like Shai Hulud were performing a solid set, though. PP

Further Seems Forever @ 21:35-22:25 on Main Stage

Never having gotten into Further Seems Forever, I tried listening to a few songs prior to this festival, and as I liked what I heard, I was actually cautiously excited to see what Chris Carabba could do with this band, supposedly a more noisy one than Dashboard Confessional. Unfortunately, unless you've been waiting since he left the band to hear him sing their songs again, there's nothing exciting to FSF's performance. There's a clear visual disconnection between the somewhat sizeable instrument-wielders, all of them looking most like people who settled down and became family men, and Carabba, who looks like he wakes up in the morning instantly ready for a Rock magazine photo-shoot. In their favour, it must be said that everyone seems to enjoy themselves on stage, even Carabba, who impresses with pop-star quality singing, while looking like it's as easy to him as breathing. It just all feels a little pointless, due to the band seeming like they've lost their common identity years ago, and haven't yet found it after reuniting. [6½] TL

Hatebreed

Hatebreed @ 22:55-23:50 on Main Stage

Hatebreed, too, are capable of handling festival crowds better than most. Vocalist Jamey Jasta is a formidable face for the metallic hardcore veterans, exerting a terrifying authority over the throng of camo shorts gathered under the main stage canopy. Clearly the idea is to mow us down with the heaviest and most renowned picks from the discography, including the obvious choices "Defeatist", "Destroy Everything", "Live for This" and "I Will be Heard", which engulf the pavilion in countless pockets of violent head banging and boiling pits. All this while Jamey Jasta expends all his energy and enthusiasm running from side to side, jumping at every opportunity, and screaming his lungs out at a maddening crowd. It is difficult to explain what makes Hatebreed so impactful, but it might be the uncompromising volume, attitude and conviction that governs the band's music. Hatebreed truly believe in the things they preach and compel the crowd to also believe it with frightening intrigue. [8] AP

Underoath @ 23:50-00:50 on Eastpak Stage

It's weird, but despite the fact that Underoath has released some of the very best music I've heard, and despite the fact that I've only seen them slay live, I still never saw this show as a priority. I guess after four shows, I'm thinking the novelty is wearing off. That thought is blown from my mind as soon as I see them again though, because it really doesn't seem like there's any decrease in the intensity of their performances. Lights and sounds align to a performance as dominating as ever, and it doesn't take long till the band harvests rapturous response from the crowd, via their classic "It's Dangerous Business Walking Out The Front Door". In the absence of departed drummer and clean singer Aaron Gillespie, former screams-only man Spencer Chamberlain gets to step up and show some versatility, and boy does he manage it. One of the most enjoyable aspects of this band was always his otherworldly mastery of harsh vocals, but when it comes to some painful strained singing, it seems his skill set is hardly much less impressive. I do eventually leave the set short, wanting to catch Flogging Molly's good times music, but only because that is more suitable for my aim to be drunk and happy, and because I know I'm seeing Underoath soon again at Roskilde. For their show in itself seems as granite solid as ever. [8] TL

Flogging Molly being...Flogging Molly

Flogging Molly @ 00:20-01:20 on Main Stage

Watching Flogging Molly for the first time, I am suddenly convinced that the band happened somehow by accident, as a result of some drunken conversation at the local Irish pub during which one of the members - presumably vocalist Dave King - picked up a guitar and improvised a ranting boozer of a song. That song probably was the basis for "Salty Dog", the first song off the band's debut album, "Swagger", as well as the humble beginning of the cult Celtic punk band. Given the accessible, drunken, and festive nature of the music, Flogging Molly was a perfect choice for the Friday night headliner; the crowd is as rowdy as it is ecstatic. And because there are no less than seven members on stage simultaneously, picking away at instruments ranging from traditional rock instruments to bodhrán, banjo, spoons, fiddle, tin whistle, uillean pipes, accordion, mandolin, and banjo, the band is a sight to behold on stage. There is no shortage of things to gaze at in inebriated wonder, just as there is no shortage of anthems in the band's choice of setlist - "Drunken Lullabies", "Devil's Dance Floor" and "If I Ever Leave This World Alive" go down especially well. But still, the best part about a Flogging Molly show is evidently the amount of feel good the band exudes, and I believe I speak for most of the audience when I say we leave feeling good, intoxicated, and exhausted from an hour of beer fueled dancing and moshing. [8] AP

SATURDAY 23 APRIL

Dead To Me @ 11:00-11:30 on Main Stage

Ah, the dreaded Saturday morning opening slot. I don't know a single band that can muster a performance strong enough to cure everyone's hangovers and at the same time put on a solid performance warranting a high rating. Fat Wreck no-frills punkers Dead To Me are no exception. Though they own excellent songs, such as "Cruel World" and "Don't Lie", which are both aired today, the tent is too empty, and the stage far too big for the band to make an impression. They thrive in small club venues because of the intimate, no-bullshit approach they surround their show with, but when there's half a tennis court between each player and no significant activity going on in the crowd, their set appears all too static and uninteresting even to the most seasoned Fat Wreck Chords-punk fan. It could've been worse, but let me ask you this: what, if anything, do you actually remember from their Groezrock performance? [5½] PP

Social Suicide @ 11:20-11:50 on Etnies Stage

Another promising small band to be featured on this year's line-up is Norwegian hardcore crew Social Suicide, who, like most bands from that part of the world, introduce much-needed variety to a genre that seems to have run out of ideas long ago. The music draws inspiration from the chaotic imaginings of Path of No Return, but distills it into far more straightforward songs, often with a well-defined chorus. In this respect, Blood Command is another obvious influence. On stage Social Suicide look like what Converge must have looked like in their younger years - they mean business. Given the low experience of the band, it is only natural that the vocalist should assume such a central role in the band's performance, twitching, jumping, climbing on the scaffoldings, and charging into midst of the scarce crowd to offer his raspy screams at point-blank range. The remnant musicians prefer to keep their feet firmly on stage, but where they lack in movement, they compensate by playing to the absolute fullest of their abilities, their faces lit up from enthusiasm. Being on tour with Comeback Kid, The Ghost Inside, Grave Maker, and not least Kvelertak, must have put enormous pressure on this band to prove their worth, and if the passionate delivery of the likes of "Broken Pilgrims" and "5th Man on a Dead Man's Grave" is to be considered, then Social Suicide cash in on the expectations and then some. [8] AP

Blacklist Royals @ 11:30-12:05 on Eastpak Stage

In between the Dead To Me and the upcoming Bottlerocket performance, there was some time to check out Blacklist Royals, a tiny folk/punk band out of Nashville, Tennessee. A good choice, it turns out, as their heartfelt, unassuming performance was perfect to start out a warm Saturday morning. The band didn't mind playing so early, in fact it seemed to actually suit them, given the laid-back moods and harmonica/keyboard-driven arrangements that characterizes their material. The stuff is danceable in a good way, though without any extra bullshit or clichés, just in a good, relaxing, chilled out way, which is precisely the atmosphere Blacklist Royals cook up out of very little. Songs like "American Hearts" and "No Looking Back" set the stage for a surprise performance that nobody was expecting to be this good - kind of like how I imagine watching the very, very early stages of a young Gaslight Anthem to be. [7½] PP

Teenage Bottlerocket @ 11:50-12:25 on Main Stage

Judging by the great response and the numbers of the crowd in front of the main stage, Teenage Bottlerocket could've easily played much later on in the afteroon. If there's one band that defines the "no-frills" punk rock scene, it's this tight-ass, old school pop punk outfit on the Fat Wreck roster, with a repertoire of amazing sing-a-long songs. They waste minimal time in between songs or on unnecessary crowd control techniques, and just let their songs speak for themselves: they are high-tempo, circle-pit friendly, intense, but yet big enough to feel comfortable on a stage as large as this one. It's not that the band moves much - they don't need to - they look and feel just fine standing in their respective spaces. Rapid head banging, and small movements show that the passion is there, and it rubs off to the crowd, thanks to a series of fantastic songs that, among other things, incite a massive, un-called for circle pit right in the middle. Sometimes, that's all it takes to play a great song. [8½] PP

Old Man Markley @ 12:25-13:00 on Eastpak Stage

Old Man Markley were the perfect continuation to the fun-times Flogging Molly set from the night before. Except, if you take Flogging Molly's Irish folk punk, and twist it into a wild-west, country format instead, then you'd have Old Man Markley. Hence you'd see people clinking their arms and dancing in circles, and screaming high pitch "yiiiiaaah" shouts all around the Eastpak Stage, effectively creating a rodeo atmosphere out of the blue. It's as if everyone was taken back to redneck America where a cowboy hat and boots are a must for street cred, and big barn dances are the highlight of the Autumn season. In fact, a massive barn dance, that's exactly what Old Man Markley's set was. [7] PP

Streetlight Manifesto mucking around

Streetlight Manifesto @ 12:45-13:20 on Main Stage

From one feel-good concert to another we go. The light ska-punk of Streetlight Manifesto is just what the doctor ordered on halfway drunken Saturday afternoon, especially when the band lies on us a highlight reel of their best songs in a playful, toying attitude. Whether it was the jokingly played trombones, the deep tuba, or the overall happy and joyous atmosphere, their set was thoroughly enjoyable and danceable throughout. After all, Groezrock is probably the best place in the world to mix lightning speed punk tracks with horns and a fun atmosphere, which showed in the ecstatic atmosphere across the crowd in the by-now almost packed main tent. [7½] PP

Asking Alexandria @ 13:20-14:00 on Eastpak Stage

Asking Alexandria managed to overturn my cynicism last year by putting on an entertaining performance. Of course, it has since been revealed that back then, vocalist Danny Worsnop was most likely under the influence of at least two psychoactive drugs as well as alcohol, so his demeanor was not hindered by shame or integrity. Fast forward to this moment: Danny has groomed his hair and is wearing a blazer, looking awfully nondescript and disinterested at the center of the stage. The remaining members, bar the drummer, are engaged in synchronized headbanging on either side, in the infamous crab stance, and the set progresses in this manner for the next 15 minutes, the breakdown seeming to never end. At this point I head over to the main stage to catch Piebald, so grading Asking Alexandria might not be considered fair. But I have a feeling that the show did not see any significant improvement as it progressed. AP

Piebald all emotional

Piebald @ 13:40-14:20 on Main Stage

Piebald used to be one of the most celebrated names in emotional rock of the kind that later spawned bands like Anberlin, Armor For Sleep and the likes. They belong to the same group of broken up, then re-united 90s bands as The Get Up Kids, Lit and others before them who have been hand-picked to perform at Groezrock Festivals on a yearly basis to give the people a glimpse of how music used to sound a good ten years ago. In other words, shows which on paper should be classic from start to finish. And just like others before them, the re-united Piebald didn't have much to show for despite owning an enormously strong back catalogue of songs. Not only did the band possess a disappointingly static stage performance, but given the many years that have passed since their previous studio output, this generation of music fans simply doesn't know the band enough to create that magical atmosphere that once reigned in each and every one of their shows. So today, we are watching a band with incredible songs that sound flat and uninspiring instead, with most people waiting for the one or two hit songs from "We Are The Only Friends We Have" without much regard for the other material. It's a shame, because I love this band, but the show simply doesn't warrant a higher rating, it just wasn't very interesting because of an almost complete lack of crowd response. [6] PP

Dear Landlord @ 14:15-14:55 on Etnies Stage

It's strange how the same elements can make one show great and another show less so. Whereas Bottlerocket's simplicity and no-bullshit approach was part of their charm, the same works against Dear Landlord in the fifteen minutes that I managed to witness of their set. Because of the ridiculous number of stage divers, the band disappears into the crowd in the same way as Banner Pilot last year, because of their intimate and passionate stand-still performance, thus rendering most of their performance nondescript for everyone else except those standing within the first five to ten meters from the stage in a packed tent. It's not that it was awful - the songs alone ensure that - it just wasn't particularly striking or memorable, that's all. [6½] PP

Sugarcult. Pointless show.

Sugarcult @ 14:45-15:30 on Main Stage

Okay, hands up who loves Sugarcult's "Start Static"? I thought so. The majority of the crowd in front of the stage were expecting a prolonged set of "I'm bouncing off the walls again" style pop punk fun, and what did we get instead? A little over half an hour's worth of some of the most anemic, boring, "I'm giving up my band sucks today" type of performance from a band that once used to charm everyone through their mainstream, but undeniably enjoyable brand of pop punk. You'd have to go back several years to find a performance as nothingsaying and irritatingly boring as that by Sugarcult today. Not only did they ignore the vast majority of their superhits, they also looked like they wanted to be anywhere else than on a stage in front of ten thousand+ people. What the hell is wrong with these guys? Most people would kill to play songs off "Start Static" or the earlier albums in front of any audience. And they pull off this stunt of mainstream mediocrity at a punk rock festival? I felt like throwing my beer at them after only four songs - such was the level of disinterest from the band today. [3] PP

Goldfinger

Goldfinger @ 15:55-16:40 on Main Stage

Goldfinger, on the other hand, were the polar opposite of Sugarcult. For starters, they understood to play a greatest hits-type setlist, though with their solid back catalogue that's of course a not too difficult a thing to do. But more importantly, Goldfinger were clearly having fun on stage. They looked passionate, they had a ton of energy, and they knew exactly how to handle a ten-thousand strong crowd. With pausing the vocals in precisely correct places, they stirred up huge sing-a-longs during songs like "Counting The Days", "Here In Your Bedroom", "Superman" and countless other hits that made an appearance tonight. Plus there's something epic about seeing a man in a nice suit jumping around catlike in the vein of a teenage while singing along to classic ska-punk songs from the 90s/early 2000s. Combined with the ecstatic, dance-happy mood of the crowd, Goldfinger's performance made up for one of the best sets at this year's festival, for sure. [8½] PP

Comeback Kid intense screaming

Comeback Kid @ 16:40-17:25 on Eastpak Stage

Comeback Kid were one of the major pulling names for me this year, so naturally the expectations are high. Just as in 2009, the tent is packed beyond its limits when the band enters and launches straight into "Broadcasting". No introductions needed. Despite having released a new album late last year, the band opts to include no more than three songs from it, "Do Yourself a Favor", "Because of All", "G.M. Vincent & I", leaving the rest of the set for ploughing through fan favorites such as "False Idols Fall", "The Trouble I Love", and naturally also "Wake the Dead". Speaking of the latter, the band runs into unfortunate bass problems after the third song, resulting in a lengthy break, during which the crowd spontaneously erupts into chanting "we said, we said, we said / this time was gonna be different / wake up the dead". Once the problems have been solved, the band collectively tease us by playing the first two seconds of that song, before vocalist Andrew Neufeld shakes his finger and tells us we have to wait a little longer. At this point the level of intensity has gone through the roof; the entire front of the tent has transformed into a violent moshpit; and a steady current of crowdsurfers is flowing from the back to the front of the stage, including yours truly. During poppier produce like "G.M. Vincent & I" it is difficult to even describe the volume of the crowd reciprocating every lyric Andrew sings, but it is not until the fantastic, if expected, finale with "Wake the Dead" that Comeback Kid once again prove their might. Even as the band wraps things up, the crowd continues to chant the chorus for what seems like an eternity - something that Andrew readily acknowledges by returning on stage to film the spectacle. Intense, gripping, and emotional, Comeback Kid ranks as one of the absolute best shows at this year's festival. [8½] AP

Thursday

Thursday @ 17:05-17:50 on Main Stage

As Thursday walk on to the main stage, upgrading their venue compared to last night, strangely for their show that everyone is the least excited for, it becomes clear that they know that people are still somewhat reserved about their new album "No Devolución". Geoff Rickley explains that they were all quite drunk the day before, and that since the crowd is mostly also hung over, this is going to be a more chilled show, in which they want to show off some new stuff that we can all stand back and take in rather casually. This is cool because he is right, that is exactly the attitude that most people here seem to have, but on the flip side, it also kind of settles the fact that the show isn't going to be all that great either. Even though Thursday still rock about as actively as always, with Rickley singing no worse than he did the day before, the new material doesn't seem to excite anyone. In fact, it isn't till classics like "Signals Over The Air" and "Jet Black New Year" are aired that things seem to head in the right direction. This show was never about material from that era though, so for the most part, it becomes as Rickley prophesied: A rather chilled out showcase for the bands newer stuff. [6½] TL

Chris Carraba as solo Dashboard Confessional

Dashboard Confessional @ 18:15-19:05 on Main Stage

I must admit that given the somewhat sappy nature of Dashboard Confessional's material, and the fact that Chris Carabba was going to play it solo on an acoustic guitar, I didn't really expect for him to be able to really light anything up at the festival's biggest stage. The joke is on me though, because from the moment Carabba appears, sporting rock star sunglasses and a confident grin, he sets about dazzling the afternoon audience with a veteran's understanding of the possibilities of an acoustic guitar, and a sublime vocal performance that, technically speaking, is probably the best singing heard at this festival. The singer stamps the beat with his foot (next to a floor mic I'm assuming, considering how audible it was) strums the chords with varied intensity, and leaves the most well-known lyrics for the crowd to sing. Sticking to material from the first couple of albums, this all goes down extremely well with a nostalgic audience, the voices of which echo through the tent, as all join in for the likes of "Screaming Infidelities". Enjoying his reception, Carabba finds time to borrow a red cowboy hat from a crowd member for a while, before eventually ditching it, and proceeding to give a haunting rendition of the classic "Hands Down", which gathers passionate singalongs, sends shivers down all our spines, and has even the soulless PP on the verge of tears. I know it sounds as sappy as does Dashboard's music on record, but the experience truly was one of good songs, excellent musician- and showmanship, and a spirit of fellowship among the attendees. Plainly speaking, it was pretty magical. [9] TL

Madball

Madball @ 19:05-19:55 on Eastpak Stage

Before the highly anticipated Boysetsfire set, the scheduling had left just enough time for anyone curious to check out the forever young New York Hardcore legends Madball, who are always a spectacle live. Given their more than two decade's worth of live experience, you can be damn sure these guys know what they are doing, exemplified by Freddy Cricien's dominating stage presence as he stomps across the stage. He both feels and looks like a military commander instructing the crowd exactly what to do and when to do it, except he's of course more lenient, jumping up and down and displaying just the sort of energy you associate with a great live show. Sure, there's a lot of NYHC background in between the songs, about family, unity and stuff like that, but that's exactly what a Madball show stands for: respecting the roots of the genre in between songs, and some of the best old school hardcore afterwards. No grade though as I only saw four songs of their set before priorities sent me elsewhere. PP

Boysetsfire @ 19:30-20:20 on Main Stage

Sure, I'll admit to lots of fanboyism when it comes to the Boysetsfire set. But then again I've only seen them once - back in 2005 - and that was before I fully grasped just how amazing their records are in reality. So, alongside almost 15,000 others, we await in pained suspense until the band explodes onto the stage in a frenzy of a light show, launching into an energetic release of raw emotion known as "After The Eulogy". There are screams, emotional clean vocals, scaling guitars, and passionate performances from each member, topped by an unbelievable atmosphere in the tent. There are massive sing-a-longs for "Empire", "Handful of Redemption", "Rookie", "Falling Out Theme", and pretty much every song the band plays, thanks to a setlist made out of pure gold if you're a Boysetsfire fan. There's so much raw feeling and emotion in their set, enough to make even a seasoned rock fan like this scribe throw his hands into air in ecstasy of joy song after song. Future reunion bands take note: this is how you want your performance to sound, look, and feel like if you want to make an impression on thousands upon thousands of fans. Furthermore, today's bands take note: this is how post-hardcore sounds when its near its very best. There's no bullshit, no focus on image, just music, music, and more music, surrounded by real emotion. Though my colleagues may disagree with me, BSF was one of the better shows at this year's festival. [8]

Descendents

Descendents @ 20:50-21:50 on Main Stage

Descendents are, for most people at this festival, the main attraction. Following another reunion, this was a rare chance to witness one of the most influential punk bands in history alive on stage, so understandably the main stage canopy is approaching maximum capacity. It is obvious from the opening notes of "Descendents" that Bill Stevenson, Milo Aukerman, Karl Alvarez, and Stephen Egerton, have grown old, grey hair and all, and consequently the show lacks the youthful exuberance that we are used to witnessing from punk rock bands these days. But what it does not lack is nostalgia. Watching these dinosaurs play better music than most bands in the genre can dream of with an endearing, relaxed demeanor, with huge smiles lighting up their faces, is an unparalleled experience. The setlist is riddled with classics dating all the way back to the band's 1981 EP, "Fat", while newer produce from 2004 album "Cool to be You" is kept at a bare minimum, much to the crowd's liking. It is impossible not to feel empowered by the age-old punk ideologies discussed in the lyrics, nor good, courtesy of the instantly accessible vocal style and instrumentation. This is punk rock the way it was meant to be played, brought to us by some of its very proprietors. [8] AP

Saves The Day

Saves The Day @ 21:50-22:50 on Main Stage

After Saves The Day was forced to cancel their appearance at last year's Groezrock, I had only been falling more in love with their classic "Through Being Cool" album, and hence hearing songs from both that, their other albums, and their upcoming album "Daybreak", was one of the things I was looking forward to the most before the festival. Unfortunately though, the actual show is hindered from the word go, as the band experiences unspecified technical difficulties for a few songs, which seems to visibly irritate frontman Chris Conley. Although keeping his between-song banter positive, he can't hide that he isn't exactly stoked, except during the handful of new songs played, about which he admits the band is most excited. Whether due to the technical problems or not however, Conley sings quite badly out of tune on more than one occasion. Couple this with the fact that one of the rows of lights is set to periodically blind the crowd, and you have a set that isn't exactly as triumphant as one would have hoped from a band of Saves The Day's reputation. The classic songs, like "At Your Funeral" and "Shoulder To The Wheel", still provide exhilarating moments though, during which large portions of the crowd jumps up and down, singing their lungs out. Overall, a bit of a mixed and stiff performance though, from a band from whom I personally expected more. [7] TL

Dropkick Murphys

Dropkick Murphys @ 22:45-23:45 on Main Stage

When it comes to Celtic punk, next to Flogging Molly there really is only one other strong act, and miraculously Groezrock had managed to book them, too. Dropkick Murphys are a band that never fail to deliver an exhilarating evening of boozer anthems, folk, and Irish dance tracks. Although this particular set lacks the magic of the band's performance in Copenhagen back in 2008, Dropkick Murphys are still at the top of their game, punching out the likes of "State of Massachusetts", "Citizen C.I.A.", "Fields of Athenry" and "The Dirty Glass" with the easygoing, drunken swagger that has become their signature. Unfortunately the crowd is comparably thinner than Flogging Molly's the night before, most likely due to hardcore punk legends H2O playing at the same time, and this subtracts from the collective party feeling that tends to reign over Dropkick Murphys' shows. But no matter, as those of us who opted for another evening of Celtic punk do our best to compensate and have a blast doing it, concluding the festival on a festive note and getting into the right mindset for what will undoubtedly be an amusing set by NOFX immediately after. [7½] AP

NOFX @ 0:15-1:15 on Main Stage

"We played here two years ago, so we're not going to play a single song that we played back then" proclaims Fat Mike shortly after the beginning of NOFX's headline slot and the final performance at this year's Groezrock Festival. He's not kidding, out of the 21 songs aired tonight, at most a couple of songs make a return to the setlist compared to the NOFX show two years ago. Instead, rarities like "Six Pack Girls" and "Herojuana" make an appearance, and in fact, only four songs from the newer NOFX era ("The War On Errorism" and beyond) appear tonight in what is almost certainly a deliberate nod towards the older punk rock fans in the crowd tonight, who still recall albums like 1994's "Punk In Drublic" amongst their favorite records of all time.

NOFX

And surely enough, the crowd is ecstatic. Not only does each and every song draw a mass sing-along from the 15,000 people gathered at the tent, causing a chilling echo during every chorus and even most verse lines, something only a handful of bands in the world are able to do even in the best of circumstances, but even Fat Mike's vocals are drowned underneath the crowd during the more famous songs. But then again, that's the standard at a NOFX show no matter the venue, but especially here at Groezrock which features the most dedicated punk rock fans in the world.

The humour is what it has always been. A ton of racist jokes, offensive jokes, and random blabber about the drugs takes place as usual, and every song is either going to be awesome, great, or their favorite song. But yet it somehow feels less genuine, less unpredictable, less exhilarating than in the past. Having seen the band five times in the past four years, the jokes are starting to blend in together, and the humour is not being renewed at a fast enough rate. The feeling of "yeah yeah we've seen this all before" starts creeping in - this coming from a scribe who credits NOFX as his all time favorite band for the last decade or so - and one starts to wonder: are they becoming too old for this? Are they so huge in 2011 that they don't feel the need to innovate, the need to surprise, the need to blow the collective minds of the crowd out each and every night anymore? Those are just some of the thoughts going through my drunken mind as the band plows through some of my all-time favorite songs, but without the characteristic crazy stances or the retarded energy I've seen them perform with in the past. They are oddly static, strangely - dare I say it - scripted, a notion confirmed by the Eric Melvin accordion solo-finale where he gets dragged off the stage several times in a row, a feat we saw as recently as during last years Roskilde Festival performance.

Fat Mike and his trusty cup holder

In the past, going to a NOFX show has always meant not knowing what's going to happen next, what Fat Mike would do after he finishes the song in his drug/alcohol-induced haze of insanity together with his merry men of punk rock legends. Tonight, the NOFX show just doesn't display those traits to a sufficient degree. Sure, the sing-a-longs are insanely big for a punk rock band and songs like "Stickin' In My Eye" and "Murder The Government" sound as awesome fifteen years later as they did back in the 90s, but compared to their epic West Coast Riot show in 2008 or even their previous Groezrock performance, something's missing. That said, I'm going to credit it to the fact that it's Saturday night approaching 1am, and expecting NOFX to pass the alcometer test for performing live is, after all, asking a bit too much. [7½] PP

Final Words

Congratulations if you've read this far. It sure is a wall of text, but don't blame us. All fault goes to Groezrock for booking so many amazing bands, like they do every year. This is the part where we'll say goodbye for now, and look forward to the next year's festival, with a few closing comments about what we thought about the experience overall.

No-one can deny that Groezrock has the best lineup in terms of punk, hardcore and scene music this year. They are simply unmatched for that. Which is why it is almost sacrilegious to suggest the following: what was missing this year was a couple of brilliant, stand-out performances for the ages, those that'll stick with you five years down the line. Sure, Dashboard Confessional, Teenage Bottlerocket, Rufio, Comeback Kid, Goldfinger and a bunch of others all played excellent shows, but do they really count for the magical moments this year? The one moment (other than "Full Collapse", obviously) of which you'll tell stories about to your grandchildren when they are learning about rock/metal/punk/hardcore music? I'm sure I'm not alone with this thought at the back of my head, and here's why:

Perspective.

The lineup of Groezrock is riddled with such awesome and amazing names each year, that you'll be running from one great band to another without having the perspective of watching a much worse, much less popular band play. It lulls your mind into a false sense of 'low' standard because every band tends to be fairly good at their trade, otherwise they wouldn't be here, so for that reason many of them appear to be of similar standard live. For example, take ANY four bands from the bill this year, group them together for a tour that comes to your town.

Chances are, you'll be buying a ticket the second they come on sale because you're afraid it'll sell out at a small club venue.

Yet at Groezrock, you don't get that feeling. You tend to underappreciate bands because there is such a great offering of them present, the creme of the music industry, so to say. It is this over-expectation that makes many of the Groezrock shows feel less special, less important in comparison to those small club shows where you'll see one, maybe two of the bands perform that are on the bill this year.

But you know what? That goes a long way to explain just how incredible the booking department at Groezrock is. Year after year. Fucking amazing. See you next year PP

[9]

For more photos, check out the Flickr accounts of our two excellent photographers below:

Julie Weitmann Decome

Lykke Nielsen

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