Last weekend, 40.000 punk, hardcore and metal fans from all over the world traveled to Meerhout, Belgium for the 24th edition of Groezrock. This years bill yet again offered a great mixture of bands; new and old; big and small. Unfortunately we had work obligations on Friday so we only arrived on site around 9pm, so we missed out on some great performances (so we heard) by The Hotelier, Cold World, Stick To Your Guns, Iron Reagan and Ceremony. We rushed onto the terrain, quickly said hi to our friends at Evil Greed, Kings Road Merch, Shield Recordings and Reality Records at the festival market, and went to see the first show: Trash Talk.
If you attended a Trash Talk show before, you know you’re in for some violent dancing. The Los Angeles outfit already had to cancel their performance at Groezrock twice so in order to catch up for these previous cancellations, they decided to launch the heavy artillery. Led by a completely unbridled Lee Spielman, they performed lots of tracks from all their releases in a fast pace; needless to say the pit was on fire. The show ended with most of the audience moshing on stage while Lee was crowdsurfing on top of them. No other words than complete mayhem.
Title Fight was up next. Even though I was eager to see them, I felt a little apprehensive about this show. I love the new record, but many live videos I saw of the new material just weren’t that great; off-key, lousy crowd interaction etc. However, Title Fight’s show killed any doubts within minutes. They mixed songs a sublime order so people were still stage diving during the slower new songs straight after faster old songs. They kept the pace up and Jamie and Ned’s vocals were very steady. I’m looking forward to see them again this month.
It’s been 5 years since Defeater last came to Groezrock. If the band had to mark a pause following Derek’s health problems, there is not the shadow of a doubt that they returned on stage more motivated than ever. Their headlining set on the Back To Basics stage was a good summary of their discography, the sound was perfect (which was not always the case during their previous shows), the tent was packed and the audience responded really well to their classic tracks such as ‘Dear Father’, ‘Red, White & Blue or closing track ‘Cowardice’. Derek didn’t forget to thank the fans for their support and promised to return real soon. Clearly one of the best sets of the weekend.
We started our Sunday with overpriced, gross coffee, while enjoying the sun with our friends. Off With Their Heads was the first band on our list and they absolutely killed it on the Monster Energy Stage. They’re one of the best punk rock bands out there – make sure to get your hands on their latest record Home.
No Turning Back took on the Impericon Stage at 14:40pm, an odd stage for a DIY hardcore band as a huge barrier separates the band from the crowd which makes interaction hardly impossible. Still, the Dutch kings of hardcore played a great set mixing old songs with ones off of their new record Never Give Up. Highlights were definitely the huge circle pit around the two poles and Andrew Neufeld’s guest performance for ‘Destination Unknown’. Shout out to Andre as it was his last ever performance with No Turning Back; he’ll be passing on bass duties to Joel McKay and he’ll be playing drums for Risk It.
Turnstile’s show was all we expected it to be and more; a non-stop array of stage dives, sing-alongs and moshing. The intro tune kicked in and the crowd set off immediately, producing the biggest dust cloud Groezrock saw this weekend. However, this didn’t effect the band’s performance one bit; vocalist Brendan Yates was treating the crowd with his explosive energy and provide himself as an excellent frontman once again. Turnstile’s show was definitely one of the highlights of my weekend. Make sure to pick up their record Non-Stop Feeling if you haven’t yet!
Angel Du$t smashed it on the Back To Basic Stage after every caught their breath from the intense Turnstile show. Justice Tripp’s vocals were a lot better compared to the band’s performance last year at Ieperfest and there was a tight-knit group of enthousiasts that took care of non-stop stagediving. The tent was filled up completely so the new (and possibly temporary) project of Trapped Under Ice members can be marked as a success.
Word was out for a few months now that hardcore legends Bane decided to bow out. This year’s line up was to be marked with their last performance ever at Groezrock so it was not a moment to be missed. From the symbolic opener ‘Final Backward Glance’ to their classic anthem ‘Can We Start Again’, their set brought joy to everyone who came to see them at the Revenge Stage. These guys reminded us why they had such an important position on the hardcore scene and its a shame to see them go. Thanks for everything Bane, it was a good ride!
Basement came out of hiatus last year and they’re back stronger than ever. With a new release under their belt, Further Sky, the band’s live performance seems to be better each time I see them, and Groezrock wasn’t an exception. A packed tent gave the UK quartet a warm welcome as they played a wide spectrum of songs from Colourmeinkindness, I Wish I Could Stay Here and earlier work. I’m excited to find out when the band will come out with new material.
While checking (semi-) reunion shows from American Nightmare and Refused with friends and enjoying our drinks, we rounded up another great edition of Groezrock. Next year is the 25th edition and I can’t wait to find out what bands will be on the bill. Till then!
Written by Alex Tabankia & Tim van Reyswoud
Pictures by Anne Carolien Köhler – Facebook