BOSPOP - WEERT, NETHERLANDS, JULY 14 2001
Despite weather predictions more or less to the contrary, when I think back to Bospop 2001 I think of rain. It didn't rain all the time, but most of the time there was at least a drizzle. Nonetheless I had a really good time.
Now to the bands, main stage first.
The first band I caught at the main stage was Nashville Pussy. I had heard of the band, but nothing by them. As it turned out, they were a kind of AC/DC on steroids...or should I say oestrogen? Eye-catching guitarist Ruyter Suys (pronounced Rider Sighs) constantly banged her head most enthusiastically, definitely the focal point of the band. And that was before she started taking some clothing off, or sucking a beer bottle similarly. This act was not necessary, however, in order to convince everyone that this was as rock-and-roll a band as you can get.
Paradise Lost, up next on the main stage, left a thoroughly uninspired impression, especially vocalist Nick Holmes. He didn't smile or even grin, and the band concentrated on their new material (including synth and industrial-sounding percussion tapes). The encore was "As I Die", they also did "True Belief" ("Icon") and "Forever Failure" ("Draconion Times"), but everything after that was from "One Second" and later. The fact that Nick found it necessary to change part of the lines of "As I Die" ("I'm not real" was changed to "I'm a twat/prat") confirmed that this band doesn't stand behind their older material anymore, never mind how much superior it is to the stuff they've recorded the past five years. Not exactly a climax.
De Heideroosjes are a local band, playing after Paradise Lost. They play, well, punk I guess. Part of it is in Dutch or even the Dutch Limburg dialect. I am completely unfamiliar with their material, but they were much more entertaining than Paradise Lost, quite sympathetic. Pretty cool music.
Later that day (after Pendragon, which I thought was overrated) Living Colour played their first European gig after their reunion. They kicked off with "Time's Up", after which they played a miscellany of tracks from their various albums ("Elvis is Dead", a very long "Type", "Go Away" and even a new track) before I left to check out Apocalyptica. I had never seen them play before, and it was great to see Vernon Reid seemingly effortlessly play his part, whereas the other musicians and front man Corey Glover excelled as well. I met Vengeance (and former WCW) bass player Barend Courbois in the audience and he said, "Doug Wimbish, that's the best bass player in the world." I can see his point.
When Savatage took to the stage it was finally beginning to get dark - and the rain had disappeared, too, thankfully! I like that atmosphere more - it needs to be dark with concerts, so the band can use their light show. Savatage have released their excellent "Poets and Madmen" and have been touring several festivals since then. A lot of the singing is done by Jon Oliva, hidden behind his stacks of keyboards, with 'official vocalist' Damond Jiniya like a taller version of Dani Filth, sometimes just running around the stage physically emphasizing syllables, playbacking. In my opinion he does not fit. They played most of the title tunes from their various albums ("Sirens", "Gutter Ballet", "Edge of Thorns", "Power of the Night", "Dead Winter Dead", "The Wake of Magellan", among others). I think they also played at least "The Rumor" from their latest album. Again I left before the end of their set to check out After Forever in the rock tent.
Headliner on the main stage, perhaps by dint of the size of their stacks of Marshalls, was Megadeth. I left after they had played about 20 minutes, during which none of the tracks from the Marty Friedman albums were played. It was getting chilly, and I had seen them several weeks earlier at Graspop. I consider myself lucky for having them during their "Rust in Peace" tour...
The first band I actually saw at Bospop was Toyz. I hadn't expected much, but boy was I impressed! Most of the tracks were good rock tracks with a female vocalist, however the instrumentals showed the shred talents of Peter van Heijningen playing his Fender Elite. This guy just rules, he is really going to be heard of more in the future! I for one will check them out in a club somewhere some day soon.
Vengeance was not originally on the festival bill but got in a replacement. And a good one, too! I don't really know their music, but their stage performance is good fun to watch. They played "Arabia", "Crazy Horses" (cover), and there was space for master bass player Barend Courbois to do his thing, which ultimately lead to a small part of Herman Brood's "Saturday Night". Good stuff, definitely. I liked them more now than I did back in 1989 when they were still together with their original line-up. The singer is as crazy as he is cool :-)
Two weeks before I'd seen Apocalyptica play at Waldrock, but to see them in the much more intimate atmosphere of the rock tent was much more enjoyable. They played the same songs, performed the same stage antics, and it was extremely good fun once again. Only Max Lilja, whom I spotted back stage with his hand bandaged, was probably not having a good time. His place on stage was taken by former Apocalyptica member Antero Manninen, tastefully dressed in a tux.
In 2000 I had unfortunately missed my chance to see After Forever play at Bospop, but this year they headlined the tent and I was glad to be able to attend. The music is a bit like Within Temptation, only a bit heavier and perhaps more experimental. Vocalist Floor Jansen has a most awesome voice, and that is not the only thing she has in common with the lovely Sharon "Within Temptation" den Adel. The band played most of the tracks from their debut album "Prison of Desire", as well as two or three tracks from their forthcoming album. "Beyond Me" featured a guest performance of Astrid "Ambeon" van de Veen, though mike problems initially caused her angelic voice to sound like a sick version of Dani... I am looking forward to the next album, and seeing them again some day.
Bospop remains an excellent festival. The organisation is excellent, for one. However, perhaps it would be a good to do the programming more like that at Graspop, where the overlap between bands is usually no more than a few minutes. As it was, I now had to miss several tracks that I would have liked to see.
Written July 2001
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