Ieperfest, as usual, is one of the highlights of year for many involved in European hardcore. Three days in a row, from 11am till midnight, we get to enjoy the crème de la crème of modern day hardcore with a subtle wink to the good old days. This year in particular I was looking forward to see No Warning, Angel Du$t, Turnstile, King Nine, Cold World, Gorilla Biscuits, Kids Insane, Bane and H2O (I wasn’t able to get on site early enough on Friday to catch Bent Life, Expire and Backtrack among others).
So, after driving through an intense rainstorm in my tiny rental car, I arrived just in time to find a good, non-muddy parking spot, pick up my wristband and get in front of the main stage to see No Warning. And what a legendary set it was… The iconic band from Toronto, Canada entered the stage while a hip hop track warmed up the crowd, vocalist Ben Cook covering his mouth with a bandana (the gangster he is). The first notes of ‘Behind These Walls’ kicked in and the crowd got rowdy right away, waiting eagerly to scream along the first words “Our lives are changing and there’s nothing we can do / To stop everything from spinning around, crashing down.” Thankfully, they played most songs off of Ill Blood, their monumental album that still inspires tons of new bands. Terror guitarist Jordan Posner joined the band on stage, nailing rhythm guitars. No Warning played a memorable – first European (!) – show that will be remembered by many.
Anne caught a few others bands on camera as well on Friday:
I have to admit, singing along to No Warning and dancing my ass off at the after party got the best of me, and left me waking up on Saturday morning (later than planned) with a sore throat. The walk to the supermarket was, just like to two years ago, further than expected, which is why we missed out on seeing Ashes and Swamps. That sucked. Anyways, we quickly made some breakfast, recharged with fresh coffee and got ourselves ready to watch Redemption Denied. The boys killed it as usual, however, the crowd response wasn’t as good as I expected it to be in the small Trench tent.
This year I attended Ieperfest with my main girls Anne (partner in crime for The L.A. Journal) and Debbie, and South African friends Pete and Cara, who flew out to Europe just to visit the Belgian fest (and hang out at my place for a few days). I love taking a break from work and getting out to camp, hang out and share food with amazing people. It’s so strengthening to spend quality time with friends you love but don’t get to see a lot. It helps that Ieperfest offers their portion of tasty vegan food and beverages to fill the stomach and keep converstations going around the dinner table. Shout out to Just Like Your Mom for the mouth-watering kebab and chili burger! Standing in line for 10 minutes, with rain or sunshine, didn’t even matter any more once you had a bite of your delicious food. Also, big up to Ieperfest for tripling the amount of eco-toilets. The wooden toilet seat and smell of saw dust made the after-dinner-dump a lot more pleasant. So, back to music…
Manchester’s Broken Teeth played a mind-blowing set, receiving the best crowd reaction in the Trench tent by far. Angel Du$t was up next on the main stage and expectations were high with all the hype swirling around the band at the moment. A big crowd gathered in front of the stage and even though the band started off with ‘…’ and ‘…’, it took them a while to get into it and start moving. It didn’t help that vocalist Justice Tripp was hardly hearable throughout Angel Du$t’s performance. An alright show, but not as great as I expected it to be. I’m looking forward to see them play a rematch on Monday in Tilburg, The Netherlands.
Turnstile took over the main stage an half hour later and absolutely destroyed it. The young band’s performance was marked by an authentic fun-factor, impressing the crowd with their unceasing energy and crazy moves. Turnstile are greater than the hype that surrounds them, with thousands of Youtube hits on their full sets, and are one of the most honest and sincere bands around in modern day hardcore. Go watch them on their remaining two dates in Europe or catch them in January on the Persistence Tour.
King Nine was kicking off their European tour today with Last Dayz. I had watched the full set of their Scared To Death record release show, but still wasn’t sure to expect. Justice from Angel Du$t and Brendan from Turnstile assured me that King Nine is one of the heaviest bands around, and that, even after seeing them more than ten times, they still get excited to see them play live. They were right… King Nine played absurdly heavy set blending mosh part after mosh part without getting boring. Justice was in the pit, Brendan sang along every single word and the crowd was going off. Make sure to catch King Nine live is all I can recommend.
For me, Antidote was one of the big surprises of Ieperfest 2014. During a break in the afternoon, I caught an interview with singer Drew and guitarist Nunzio in the More Than Music tent talking about the NYHC back in the day and them getting back together as a band. I decided to check them out and absolutely loved it. Drew is 51 old, but seemed to be in his twenties by the vibrant way he was moving on stage. A very memorable show for in the books.
Cold World was on at 9:30pm. I never really got into Decicated To Babies Who Came Feet first, but after hearing so many great stories about the band I was stoked to finally see them live. A rowdy crowd was eagerly waiting for the band to get on and set off as soon as Cold World played its first song. They played quite some tracks from their new album How The Gods Chill, initiating a new era for the seasoned hardcore lads. Even though singer Dan Mills had quite some problems with his mic, Cold World played a noteworthy set.
Gorilla Biscuits was outstanding as always. Their positive vibe and incredibly tight set never gets boring. “To everyone who believes that there is no difference between black and white, straight and gay. There is no difference what invisible fucking magician in the sky you believe in. We are all brothers and sisters.”
On Sunday morning we overslept again – due to a great afterparty (!) – which led to us breaking down our tents in pouring rain. However, we got to the festival site just in time to catch the last part of World Eater’s set in the Marquee tent. They played hard and got the crowd going even though it was early. I’m looking forward for their new EP/LP which is slated for release…
Our buddies in Kids Insane were up next and the tent was well filled up because of the rain. The guys looked tired – it may be said that it was the last show of their three-week tour – but gave it their all. It’s always a pleasure to see vocalist Corey run the stage from back to front, from left to right, jumping off of the drum kit and into the crowd. It was a good show, although I hope they get a better crowd response next time.
A Strength Within played a good set in the Trench tent, yet they never really seem to get the crowd reaction they deserve. Cornered played the Marquee shortly after and got the tent going just fine. Both the crowd and the band seemed to be enjoying themselves, but unfortunately one of the stagedivers jumped on singer Niels’ neck when he got into the audience. A quick hospital visit pointed out that he has a hernia. Get well soon dude!
The rain didn’t really stop until later in the afternoon, causing the main stage to close for safety reasons. The good news: Bane moved to the Trench tent. By the time the band was ready to play, the tent was packed and the crowd was clearly enthousiastic to dance. While guitar feedback sounded, Vocalist Aaron came on stage and yelled: “this right here, this right now, this is our therapy!” The 35 minutes that followed were one big mash-up of stagedives, pile-ups and sing-alongs. A typical, perfect Bane show.
By the time H2O came on stage, it stopped raining and the sun carefully started to shine again. The band played an incredibly tight set, filled with everlasting energy from Toby Morse and co. It was the last performance we got to watch, before getting into the car to start our trip back home.
Ieperfest 2014 was awesome. Big thanks to the organization for pulling off yet another great fest and filling up the enormous amount of cancellations. See you guys next year!