Sölvesborg, Sweden, June 5, 2009


Well, who would’ve believed? But there he was: the mighty Canadian, Thor, onstage and put in Sweden. At long last in Scandinavia, and the Norse mythology of which his entire image is based. His onstage antics would cause amusement and laughter amongst observers. Indeed, the cheese factor would go overboard on a couple of occasions – most notably so during the fight with an unusually silly interpretation of Loki, which served as downright mockery if anything. As it happens, the man does have enough Old-School Metal carried in heavy luggage to overlook the charade side of things. All in all, enjoyable. (“St” Patrik Gustavsson)


LTo see Jon Oliva take to the stage with the aid of a stick, slowly and painstakingly, is worrying. Then the man comforts behind his keys and all worry was lost. A surprisingly Savatage-heavy laden set was being served, kicking off the proceedings with early classics “City Beneath The Surface” and “Sirens”. And the magnitude of greatness builds from there, as the likes of “Hounds”, “Believe”, “Through The Eyes Of A King” and the bombastic “Chance” made the rain hardly noticeable with ease. Even Gutter Ballet classic “Of Rage And War” was being let out on this tour, for the first time since the sad passing of Jon’s brother Chris 16 years ago. People who cry out for a Savatage reunion need to wake up and realise Savatage is still basically around; it just happens to called Jon Oliva’s Pain. (“St” Patrik Gustavsson)


Up until last year, Lita Ford had been a run away from the music business for years. This would have served as an excellent excuse if the Sweden Rock show would’ve been one of the very first shows since her reclusive life on the Caribbeans. But gigging has been underway since last summer, and surely Lita and her band should have been tighter by now. Opener “Larger Than Life” feels very shaky, to the point of even awkward. Offerings from the self titled 1988 hit album Lita naturally represented a majority of songs performed. For what seems to be unrehearsed, a cover of Sammy Hagar’s “There’s Only One Way to Rock” was chosen as the final encore, during which the bassist was absent. Needless to say unity and tightness weren’t the greatest. Lita surely has some chops to come back from retirement, but this was disappointing. (“St” Patrik Gustavsson)


LIn 1983 a, then, somewhat unlikely union took place; guitarist Robert “Robbie” Robertson of Thin Lizzy fame joined rowdy loud Rock N Roll merchants Motörhead. The short lived line-up’s sole release, Another Perfect Day, would meet with mixed reactions amongst Motörheadbangers. Despite front man Lemmy Kilmister’s habit of often speaking in high regards of said album during years that would follow, seldom, if ever, were songs performed from it. However, forward to 2009 and the band play both “I Got Mine” and even more oddly, the title track. The Motörhead live experience is always a good one, bettered even more so these days as the band keep the volume at a reasonable level, which in return bring out the nuances in Motörhead’s music, which are plenty more than has often been given credit. The bluesier likes of “You Better Run” and “Just Cause You’ve Got the Pöwer” which follows a nice change of pace to the fast-paced opener “Iron Fist”, the anthemic “Killed By Death” and the return of the likeable “Metropolis”. Always good draws at Sweden Rock Festival, the good ol’ bomber was of course present to further impact the trio’s powerful music.  (“St” Patrik Gustavsson)


LWill there ever be a perfect gig? If so, In Flames was pretty darn close this late Friday night in the south of Sweden. This was one of the nights where everything – e-v-e-r-y-t-h-i-n-g – just seemed to work; from the massive lighting and movie screens on stage, to Anders Friden’s constant joking with the crowd (and on the crowd’s behalf, for that matter) and seemingly uncontrollable urge to sing Foreigner’s ”I Want To Know What Love Is” in a true, 80s falsetto in between the songs. And yeah, the music didn’t sound too bad either – the sound was perfect throughout, and with a setlist spanning most of the band’s carreer this was a true feast for both new and old fans of the Swedish titans. (Torgeir P. Krokfjord)


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