The Groezrock 2013 Live Report: Day 1

John Coffey Groezrock

Saturday. After having heard the not very inspiring Metalcore/Deathcore from both Buried Verona and Atilla, and the hard-hitting hardcore from Six Ft Ditch, the real fun begins at 13:40 with John Coffey. The good friends from the Netherlands played the MacBeth stage at Groezrock last year and upgraded to the Etnies stage to defend their great debut album Bright Companions. The least we can say is that the show was explosive! By the second song, the audience completely went off and started a wall of death. Very energetic and filled good humour, their set was just remarkable! The musicians themselves were smiling ear-to-ear during the set, even more when a human pyramid was forming in the pit. The 40min performance flew by, and John Coffey was officially the first pleasant surprise of the festival!

On the MacBeth Stage was another Dutch band playing afterwards. All For Nothing is here and the public is present too to catch their female fronted strong Hardcore. Singer Cindy gives everything and invites the public to invade the small stage. After having thanked the audience and their fans to vote for them in the competition, the band delivered songs from their latest album To Live and Die For, without any downtime. Certainly a band to follow.

“Brutal shit”; that’s how the speaker introduced Obey The Brave. And by hearing the striking force of the band, no one can contradict him. The Canadians started with ‘Lifestyle’ and it did not take long for the crowd to unleash their fury. The sound was huge, very clean and the group crushed everything in its path, inviting festivalgoers to come on stage for more and more stage dives. The charisma of Alex Erian (ex-Despised Icon) makes the difference and songs from their album Young Blood are certainly well fitted for live shows. The band thanked the crowd for making their concert “the best show of the tour”. They also played ‘Garde la Tête Froide’, a song in French, before concluding with ‘Live and Learn’. Solid.

Right after, AC4 took over the Etnies Stage. There was a lot of curiosity around this band fronted by the legendary Dennis Lyxzen. AC4, also described by the ex-Refused as “a bunch of old guys playing old school Hardcore” delivered ultra energetic and full speed straight-up songs. Those present we’re not mistaken; the quality was here. And if Lyxzen discussed so much between songs (for instance about how they recently lost their drummer), it was because, he said, “the songs are not long enough for a 45min-set!” The group ended up their pleasant performance 5min earlier after playing 17 tracks!

It’s around 17h when The Story So Far lands on the Etnies stage. It felt like all of Groezrock was talking about the young Californian band on Saturday, and the packed tent confirmed that feeling. When the first note hit, the audience exploded! Stagedives and massive singalongs were the norm for show with songs from their two albums as the soundtrack. ‘Quicksand’ from Under Soil and Dirt will cloture the band’s first performance at Groezrock and their tour in Europe. Success.

Trapped Under “motherfuckin” Ice recently announced their indefinite hiatus and this concert at Groezrock was the only opportunity to see the band in Europe for quite some time. The crowded tent reflected the anticipation behind this concert. Justice Tripp and his fellow musicians took the stage with ‘Pleased To Meet You’. The perfectly executed classics from Big Kiss Goodnight (‘Born To Die’, ‘Outcast’) and the whole ferocity of the sound made the show go wild but at some point, violence took over the excitement and some excesses happened in the pit (a girl was hit in the face). Altogether the performance of the band was really powerful and might be considered as the most savage show of the day.

“Besides seeing tons of friends on Groezrock : TUI was HUGE. Kid Dynamite was AWESOME. Backtrack’s set was a pleasant surprise and seeing (and hearing) Comeback Kid performing just songs from their first two albums was the cherry on the cake.” – Ernst Smits, All For Nothing

Still shocked by TUI’s enormous performance, we went to the Monster Stage where Hatebreed was about to make their entrance. For many years, the band has toured Belgium and this episode at Groezrock was not their first. The band began their set with ‘To The Treshold’ and picked up in almost all their discography to deliver a very solid set list. As Jasta recalled it, the group was also here to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the release of Rise of Brutality. They closed their classic but real professional set with the anthem ‘I Will Be heard’.

Back at the Etnies stage, we’re waiting for the highly anticipated Title Fight show. Like the two previous concerts in the same tent, the audience was very receptive from the very beginning of the concert. No surprises as the quartet started with ‘Numb, but I Still Feel It’ and ‘Secret Society’, which words where shouted by the entire crowd. It was their first time at Groezrock and although they look like quite shy musicians, they sure took the time to warmly and repeatedly thank the audience for their presence. Title Fight concluded with ‘27’ from their debut album Shed, in the same atmosphere as they started. It was brilliant.

Change of style at Impericon Stage: It’s 22h when the newly reformed Texas is the Reason take place on a stage decorated with garlands. The tent is far from full, probably due to the band’s music style, being quite different from the rest of the programming. However, the music delivered by these New Yorkers is very elegant and appreciated by the small audience, which also had the opportunity to hear a new song.

New York’s Backtrack had the honor of playing three songs before Comeback Kid’s set at the Etnies Stage. The guys have been on tour in Europe for the past weeks with Trapped Under Ice and Comeback Kid, but weren’t booked to play Groezrock. It was short, but very sweet; the first song kicked in and all fans that new about their appearance set it off right away. Stagedives, singalongs; it was one of the best shows of today.

Comeback Kid had the mission to end the day on the Etnies Stage. The concert was a bit special because it was part of a tour in honor of the 10th anniversary of their cult album Turn It Around. For the occasion, former lead singer Scott Wade took over the microphone while Andrew Neufeld took care of the guitar and backing vocals. The entire album was played along with songs from Wake The Dead.  The vocal performance of Wade could have been better as well as the sound of his microphone, but the audience was already going wild nevertheless. Comeback Kid can live another ten years, and we will be there to support them.

“The best act I’ve seen on Groezrock was Comeback Kid. Although I was really impressed by Pure Love, all the pile-ups, stagedives and sing-a-longs at the CBK show did it for me. I spent the whole show in front of the stage moshing, protecting my head from getting stepped on, and doing an occasional stagedive myself. Scott Wade was killing it and it looked like he never left the band, there was so much positive energy and such a good vibe! The songs from ‘Turn It Around’ and ‘Wake The Dead’ were carefully selected and off course all building up to the big climax; ‘Wake The Dead’, the song everybody was waiting for. By the end of the song there were more people on stage than in the crowd, and everybody was singing a long. Being there in the crowd, witnessing the show gave me goosebumps and they return immediately as I think back of it. I can only hope something like that will happen to us in the future.” – Nick Bek, Meet The Storm.

Written by Alex Tabankia

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