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Posts tagged metaltown 2008

European Summer Music Festivals

metal town 2008 satyricon gothenburg sweden

My random desktop image of the day was this one, Satyricon at Metal Town 2008. I have become a bigger fan of Satyricon since then and hope to see them again this summer when I return to Scandinavia. While there are plenty of summer music festivals in Europe, I prefer to see bands in smaller venues, doing longer sets, and with fewer bands. Festivals are exhausting, crowded, and never as good as the sum of the parts.

However, I’m still thinking about Roskilde (mostly because I really want to see Mastodon). Maybe I’ll happen to catch another festival in Finland, Sweden, or somewhere.

Where should I go on my four-day weekends while living in Copenhagen? Currently I’m thinking about spending one in Norway for sure. Beyond that some options are Switzerland, Finland, Iceland, Sweden (again), Estonia (Baruto!), and Germany. Which would you choose, what towns should I visit in those countries, and why?

Metaltown 2008 pictures

I’m pretty sure my Mom is clamoring for more photographs from Metaltown 2008 in Goteborg, Sweden. So, Mom, this post is for you.

Just kidding. Actually, my Mom, and anyone else who knows me (expect probably David, Eric, and John), should ignore this blog entry and come back tomorrow for something more to their tastes.

Martin Henriksson of Dark Tranquility at Metaltown 2008

You’ll want to click on these images for a bigger view or right click on them and save them to your computer if you want to use them as desktop images. My wife is looking forward to seeing these on a daily basis as our home PC desktop background. 😉

Mikael Stanne Niklas Sundin and Michael Nicklasson of Dark Tranquility

Compared to concerts in the U.S. the Swedish crowd was well behaved on average. I unintentionally ended up in the mosh pit for Dark Tranquility before fading into a more enjoyable position. Some bands had no mosh pit and others only had a small one develop for certain songs. This was a welcome change as you could be up front without being uncomfortable. That’s not to say the crowd wasn’t enthusiastic. Near the stage the crowd was very engaged without being rude to their neighbors–something some U.S. concert goers have failed to learn.

I always imagined that of the Gothenburg scene bands Dark Tranquility and In Flames would be about equally popular in their hometown. It turns out that In Flames is far more popular.

Gothenburg movement Dark Tranquility

Most bands started and finished within a minute of their scheduled start and end times. For some unknown reason DT left the stage with more than 5 minutes available to them.

Just before landing in Copenhagen last week, DT’s “The Wonders at Your Feet” came on my ipod. Needless to say a large smile crossed my face at the poignancy of the timing. They did play that song at Metaltown too (although not as the opener as they did when I saw them in Eugene, Oregon).

Fintroll at Metaltown 2008

As you can tell from this shot of Finntroll, the wind was extreme on this day. 😉 (not really–sometimes one must make their own extreme wind)

Finntroll Finland Finish Metal

Soilwork actually played between Dark Tranquility and Finntroll, but I wasn’t very close to the stage so the pictures are nothing special; I am not posting them here.

Few things in life are quite as fun as men in skirts. Finntroll, like Amon Amarth later, seemed to be having a great time. Finnish metal, or at least Finntroll’s version of it, is quite different than the Swedish variety.

Mathias

Had Opeth been playing next, as scheduled, I would have vacated my prime Finntroll position to get a good spot for Opeth. As it was I stuck it out to the end of their set which was enjoyable from beginning to end. If you like heavy, melodic music and haven’t listened to Finntroll before I strongly encourage you to check them out.

Satyricon at Metaltown 2008

This was the time slot I was waiting for since Opeth was due to play. I suppose as fill-in bands go you can’t do too much better than Satyricon. Satyricon, hailing from Norway, made the balance of acts go to 2 from Norway, 2 from Finland, and 5 from Sweden.

The only band that spoke in English between songs was Dimmu Borgir (from Norway). All the songs were in English (except a couple of songs by Satyricon and Finntroll who have lyrics in Swedish even though they are from Finland). Some of the bands spoke a lot between songs (like Opeth does and which is rare for non-Scandinavian metal bands). However, it was all in Swedish (I think) so I couldn’t understand a word.

Satyricon had a few really good songs (near the beginning and at then again to wrap up their set with “Mother North”). The rest seemed a little too similar and needed more variety in sound, but maybe I would feel differently if I were more familiar with them. I don’t have any of their CDs but do have a few of their songs on my ipod. I also hear them pop up on Pandora.

Amon Amarth at Metaltown 2008

I have recently gotten into Amon Amarth. They did not disappoint at Metaltown. In fact, they jumped into my top 10 favorite bands with their performance.

Another interesting thing about Swedish fans in comparison to fans in the U.S. are the number that wear ear protection. In the U.S. I’d guess less than 10% of the audience wear ear protection. At Metaltown 2008 I’d guess that percentage at over 50%. Even after I made it back across the river I could hear Nightwish fine once I pulled my plugs out.

Amon Amarth gothenburg sweden 2008

I thought my camera ran out of batteries after the above picture. Lucky for you, I tried it later, and it still worked.

Dimmu Borgir at Metaltown 2008

The Dimmu Borgir t-shirts people were wearing had some interesting slogans on them. Just in case my Mom is still reading this, I will not post them here. 😉

Nightwish at Metaltown 2008

Last, and least in my opinion, was Nightwish. Actually, In Flames was last, but see yesterday’s post for information on that.

Tomorrow we will resume our regularly scheduled program. Sorry Mom.

Metaltown 2008

Metaltown took place just over the bridge from our hotel. Although it was an interesting experience, and I thoroughly enjoyed myself at times, there were some problems. The first was that my ticket never arrived so I had to buy another one. The second is that the band I was most hoping to see, Opeth, cancelled due to Mikael Akerfeldt coming down with chicken pox. But the biggest problem of all is that I was sick and running on only about 8 hours of sleep in the prior 3+ days.

The final problem is with festival concerts in general. I think this was my last (of many). It just isn’t the optimal means to enjoy music. Too many bands and too many people in the audience do not make for the best of experiences. I wasn’t the only one spent after just three or four bands. How does one stay up (even with a good night’s sleep) for 10 bands over nearly 11 hours?

Dark Tranquility at Metaltown 2008

I was in the front for four of the bands (Dark Tranquility, Finntroll, Amon Amarth, and Nightwish). During the others I mostly rested. I was favorably impressed by Finntroll. The highlight, for me, was Amon Amarth who call their music Viking Metal. Satyricon filled in for Opeth. Lillasyster, Soilwork, and Nightwish didn’t do it for me. Dimmu Borgir did an amazing job of reproducing their highly technical and heavily produced (in a good way) studio sound live. I was expecting them to fall short in terms of sound, but that didn’t happen.

stages at metaltown in goteborg sweden

I should also mention that in addition to the two stages which almost always had a band playing (one at a time, switching stages, with a 15 minute break in between) there was a third stage which I never visited. Clutch played on that third stage. I met part of the band in the check-in line in Washington D.C. They came to Copenhagen on the same flight. After Metaltown they are playing at Roskilde this weekend in Denmark.

I ran out of Swedish Kronors early in the day and there were no ATMs to get more. This meant I could buy no food (other than a bag of chips). By 10:30 p.m. I had had no sleep, less than 1,000 calories, and had been standing or walking for the better part of 12 hours straight. I was also running a fever and felt like I would be a goner at any moment. With In Flames still to come I didn’t want to give up, but I had to in order to live to see another day. I left in the middle of the Nightwish set (which was boring me to tears).

(Plus, I was going to be very far from the stage when In Flames came on. I’ve become rather spoiled in the past year or so with being in or very near the front for concerts I’ve attended. This has now made the normal concert experience of being far away seem less than satisfactory. I was in the front row for several bands as mentioned above. I was only a few rows away from the stage for Satyricon. So sticking around to be far away to see In Flames just wasn’t going to cut it.)

A quick trip back over the bridge and I crashed on the Viking for the next 10 hours.

Nightwish playing at Metaltown 2008 with Hotel Barken Viking in background

As you can see from the above photo, the Hotel Barken Viking was not far from Metaltown. Although it was after 10 p.m. the sky had yet to darken. This far north, things don’t get dark until very late in the summer.

hot air balloon at sunset at metaltown in gothenburg sweden

Metaltown 2008 Gothenburg (Göteborg) Sweden

I just nailed down our first excursion outside of Copenhagen for our trip. We will arrive in Copenhagen on the morning of the 25th. On the morning of the 28th we are going to catch a train from Copenhagen, Denmark to Gothenburg, Sweden. If you are ever in this situation you should know that there are many train options between the two. You can use the Danish reservation site at dsb.dk, Eurorail at RailEurope (or a number of other sites), or Swedish Railways at sj.se. It turns out that even though you are on the same train the rates vary widely and seem to be changing constantly on the first and last option. We ended up going with the latter because kids under 15 ride free. Round trip tickets for all four of us were about US$200. A few days earlier they were only US$150 so buying early seems to be key.

In Gothenburg we will be staying at the Hotell Barken Viking. If that isn’t the coolest name for a hotel I don’t know what is. But wait, it gets better. This is no ordinary hotel. It is a ship. Unfortunately, it isn’t a Viking ship, as the name suggests, but it looks exciting anyway.

hotel barken viking gothenburg

There are no pictures of the interior on the internet as it was just remodeled in May of 2008, but they sent us these pictures:

barken viking roomgoteborg viking interior

Just across the bridge from where the Barken Viking is docked is the main attraction for the day. While the wife and kids are off enjoying the summer in Gothenburg, I will be experiencing a music festival with a lineup one can only dream about.

If you were to ask me who are the current musical acts, never before seen live that I’d most like to see, I would answer In Flames and Dimmu Borgir. If you were to ask me who are the current musical acts, I have seen live before that I’d like to see again, I would answer Opeth and Dark Tranquility. If you were to ask me where would I like to see them, the answer would be in the heart of The Gothenburg Sound of course. It seems that all of these wishes are going to come true. And for icing on the cake, why not throw in a bunch of other great bands like Nightwish, Finntroll, Amon Amarth, and Soilwork too?

metaltown sweden

I have driven over 1,600 miles round trip to see Opeth on three occasions in Portland & Eugene, Oregon and Oakland, California, but this will be extra special seeing them in Sweden. Of course I won’t be able to understand any of Mikael’s usual between-songs banter in Swedish, but for this experience I can do without it. 😉

This won’t be my first concert out of the United States. Last summer I got to see Rush on their home turf in Toronto, and that was a night I’ll never forget.

I should also thank Morten, from Copenhagen Insider, for answering all of my travel questions so quickly.

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