Baroeg Open Air Festival in Rotterdam is the biggest free Metal/Punk/Alternative music festival of The Netherlands and again this year it has a pretty interesting line up.Baroeg’s programming is known for their daring combination of metal, punk and electronic music. Because of this daring combination, the people this festival attracts is quite diverse. Punks, metal heads go side by side with hardcore electronic music fans.It must be said, that the electronic stage is not the the kind of electronic music you’ll hear on the radio. This is much more underground and heavy and although I did watch some of the acts and was quite impressed by some of them, but I didn’t feel comfortable to review these artists. Therefore I only reviewed the metal acts.The day started out glorious sunny and the clouds in the afternoon brought some well needed coolness. A perfect day for a festival!
The first band of the day is Extremities on the talent stage. These guys were at Dynamo and Stonehenge and the first thing to be noticed is, that their stage performance is much more relaxed! It’s not as busy as Dynamo, but there is quite some people in front of the talent stage and Extremities rocks them well. Musically it sounds great and the song “Thousand faces” sounds impressive. The quiet parts are very well controlled and the fast and rough parts sound fierce. This is how a band grows by performing and to me the set was way to short. I enjoyed this very much!
Order of the Emperor (NL)
After a quick change over of the talent stage, Order of the Emperor is next and this band plays some old fashion hard rock. As this is a Rotterdam based band, there are a lot of spectators present in the smaller tent of Baroeg Open Air, which is at least half full… at this time of day! The atmosphere is great and if you love old fashion hard rock like I do, you were in for a treat. Order of the Emperor plays a well varied set with audible rock and blues influences and certain parts sounds something like Deep Purple. There is no wild moshing, but a lot of heads bobbing and some girls even throw in some dance moves in the back of the tent.
Next up, at the main stage is Bodyfarm. These guys are the masters of Dutch Death Metal and I wondered if they would nail it again like the last time I saw them. Luckily Bodyfarm never disappoints me and the complete set is tight, fast and everybody in front of the stage is enjoying the hell out of it. The sound settings are perfect; well balanced and perfect volume. On the stage there is a lot of fun to, but not a lot of smiles and giggles, but serious fun. The crowd responds very well to the stomping sound Bodyfarm produces and near the end of the set, the large tent of Baroeg Open Air is filled quite well. Awesome set!
Angel Witch (GB)
These Britons been around quite some time now and I was more than curious how these guys were holding out. Angel Witch was part of the New Wave of British Heavy Metal, which brought us bands like Iron Maiden. Angel Witch played a nice set of eighties metal with some very nice blues influences and really fast parts. It takes me back to to long summers in the eighties with my (then) long haired friends. In the big tent it’s is getting busier by the minute. Older people, young people and even infants enjoy the show of Angel Witch. These “old guys” still know how to entertain a metal crowd. The moshpit is impressive and with the last song “Angel Witch”, the complete tent is singing along whit the chorus. I was not the only one with goose bumps!
While Arkona was sound checking, there where two people already having the time of their lives; an infant (with large ear protectors) was banging her head during the drum and guitar check in a cute way with her mum looking amused at her. The second was an elderly man with orange glasses who was completely in trance and moved in mysterious ways to the sound of the guitars being tuned. Before Arkona enters the stage, the band is announced as party-band. Pagan metal is not my favourite kind of metal, but with this label, Arkona is being wronged. They are nothing like Korpiklaani of or even Alestorm. Arkona performs songs of Russian myths and legends with a lot of theatrical expression, fitting costumes and powerful Pagan metal. It is not surprising that the audience is on average quite a bit younger than with Angel Witch. Singer Masja is all over the stage and knows how to move and express herself. The crowd is going berserk, so this performance of Arkona is one to remember!
Right from the first second, Discharge is meaning business and the energy is massive. Damn! it’s been a long time since I saw a punk band with this much energy and getting their message across in such an aggressive way. Singer Jeff, is walking a marathon during their set and only on a few occasions he crouches down to observe the crowd in front of him. It feels the pace is only getting faster, just like a diesel engine; once heated up, there is no stopping! The energy of the band is picked up by the crowd. There is a lot of moshing going on and the older punks are a bit more in the back, but having as much fun as the youngsters in front.
It almost looked like a contest with Discharge; who was the fastest band of the day. It appears that Caliban has only one gear and that is “overdrive”. During the second song, singer Andy calls for a wall of death and he gets one. It’s almost as big as the tent itself and the clash reverbs through the wooden floor of the tent. From then on, it is moshpit galore and the band is enjoying this a lot. They are standing on the bass speakers, which are in front of the stage, more than they stand on the stage itself to be closer to their fans. The fans at the barrier are having a blast seeing their hero’s nearby and singing a lot every word of the complete set.
Baroeg Open Air is the festival which proves, that the love for music unites people. Regardless of their taste in music. There were no problems at all and even though there was quite some police outside the gates, there were hardly any problems outside the gates either. The weather was great, so that was a big bonus for this leisurely festival. Because of the diversity of music, their fans were evenly diverse. I’ve seen great outfits and hairdo’s. For some reason the organisation had decided that water bottles could be sold with the cap on it. This is a huge advantage, because you don’t have to drink a half a liter of water in a matter of minutes. To prove their good decision, there were no problems with these closed bottles at all! Baroeg Open Air Festival was a very successful festival. I’m looking forward to the line up of next year, which is an anniversary year for Baroeg.