Sölvesborg, Sweden, June 7, 2012


It’s been a while since San Francisco’s finest Thrash outfit Exodus visited Sweden Rock. 2012 was to be the year where they presented their current line-up of Rob Dukes and Lee Altus, but due to Gary Holt’s stint with Slayer they also brought back a familiar face from the Exodus family.

Enter Rick Hunolt, who hasn’t been seen with the band since 2005. But he sure hasn’t lost his chops, and even though fans missed Gary Holt, the five-piece of Dukes, Altus, Hunolt and drum section Jack Gibson and Tom Hunting delivered the goods. The did it of course with “The Toxic Waltz,” “Piranha,” “Bonded By Blood” and “A Lesson In Violence.” All of their early songs that helped to define their genre of Thrash Metal, and many line-up changes later, they still deliver.


Mastodon SRF 2012

The Sweden Rock Festival audience has been asking for Mastodon for many years now. So, when they finally joined the bill, nobody showed much interest.

They are still out promoting one of last year’s best Metal albums The Hunter, following Crack The Skye, which made Mastodon a household name. Maybe the success has gotten to their head, at least the head belonging to guitarist Brent Hinds, who told the Sweden Rock crowd that they were pathetic and that they should all fuck off.

This, of course, was a cold shower for everyone involved, leaving the audience quite stunned even though Mastodon delivered masterpieces like “Black Tongue,” “Curl Of The Burl” and “Blood And Thunder.” Next time boys, a little respect please.

Night Ranger

Night Ranger 2012Surely a huge American phenomenon, Night Ranger has done little or nothing in Europe during their soon-to-be 30-year old career.

Going back to 1985. Night Ranger spent a week in Europe supporting Foreigner on the latter’s Agent Provocateur tour, while they were promoting 7 Wishes. That’s it for Europe folks, until 26 years later when they toured through central Europe with Journey and Styx.

But with three out of five original members, Brad Gillis, Jack Blades and Kelly Keagy are still loving every minute of playing together in front of a crowd. And it truly shows, when they are ripping through “Sing Me Away,” “7 Wishes,” “The Secret Of My Success” and “(You Can Still) Rock In America.”

In the ’90s, Jack Blades left to form Damn Yankees with Ted Nugent and Tommy Shaw, and from that catalogue fans got “Coming Of Age” and the power ballad of all power ballads “High Enough.” But, it was the energy that caught the audience mid-day, and a visit from Dee Snider on stage for “(You Can Still) Rock In America” gave the crowd an extra boost as well.

Not that they ever needed it.


Soundgarden SRF 2012One would think that 16 years after their last album, Down On The Upside, Soundgarden would pass as a “Classic Rock act” in 2012. Not so.

Even though they delivered an outstanding set as the closer of the first day of the festival, the crowd during Soundgarden’s show was the smallest maybe ever for a headliner at Sweden Rock Festival.

And, of course, when billing up against Twisted Sister and Mötley Crüe (both ’80s Rock ‘n Roll/Glam bands), Soundgarden did not fit the bill. “My Wave,” “Outshined,” “Spoonman,” and “Black Hole Sun” did indeed rock the hell out of the crowd that was attending, but this surely wasn’t Soundgarden’s festival.

Sadly enough, because with more and more of the ’70’s and ’80s bands having played multiple times at SRF (Scorpions, Judas Priest, Whitesnake) they don’t have much to choose from in the coming years if not including ’90s acts like Stone Temple Pilots, Faith No More, Tool, Nine Inch Nails, and Alice In Chains.


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