Dynamo Metal Fest 2017

Arriving minutes before doors, there is already a line of hundreds of people! Previous editions didn’t draw that many people that early, so the party is going to start early. Inside the venue there are hardly any lines yet and many people sit or lay down on the lawn to enjoy a bit of sun and chatting with acquaintances. This years line-up has some pretty nice names on it. Of course Vuur with Anneke van Giersbergen and her being on the same bill as Devin Townsend raises the expectations some more as they tend to do a few songs together. Along with other big names from abroad, this festival is going to be again a nice one! White Boy Wasted (NL) The field in front of the stage is filling up quite nicely en with people still pouring in, Dutch band White Boy Wasted has the honour to kick off this years edition of Dynamo Metal Fest. Their raw and melodic punkrock kind of music without any fancy frills is very enjoyable and so think a rather large group of spectators who bang their heads. Although it doesn’t come to a pit yet, there are a lot of bobbing heads for an opening band. Towards the end some slower songs are played too, which I didn’t expected, but the sound good. Personally I liked this set quite a bit, especially the sharp guitarsolo’s which were numerous.

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Vuur (NL)

I guess 4.000 – 5.000 people are already in the venue when Annke van Giersbergen’s Vuur is up next. Since the try-out of Vuur in Neushoorn a few weeks ago, it is noticeable that the band is even more attuned to each other after a few more live shows. To be honest I think it is quite formidable for a band with only one(!) song formally released to draw such amount of people. For sure, each and every member of Vuur has their impressive track record and with the ever smiling and radiating Anneke fronting Vuur it can’t go wrong. And it didn’t… The whole band is quite at home on the stage and moves about, interacting with the crowd. Of course the only published song “Days Go By – London” is performed and some tracks from the Gentle storm too. The Gathering has a place in this set too, with “Strange Machines” being the big finale. If you know the PinkPop video of this song back in 1996… that crowd, stood still compared to the crowd of Dynamo Meta Fest. I can’t wait for the album and a full live set of own songs. It must be even more mindblowing than this set already was!

Toxik (USA)

Now this is an old band too. Around since 1985 and thrashed ‘till 1992, to be awaken again in 2013. Too bad the first part of the set the sound wasn’t optimal, but cheers to the band who kept playing without complaining visibly. The second part of their set sounded way better and the technical part of technical thrash was now very well audible. I was positively surprised singer Charles still reached those high notes quite easily and kept them! Toxic is fast and varied and I just loved the fiddling on the guitars during the solo’s. Eighties all over again and surprisingly a lot of youngsters knew the lyrics by heart and sang along with the “oldtimers”. Metal fraternizes!

Prong (USA)

This isn’t the first time Prong played on the Dynamo Festival. In 1994 Prong played on the Dynamo Open Air festival and was then more of the “modern” metal bands. Prong is a crossover type of band with hardcore, industrial, metal influences. When reading that back it seems a hodgepodge, but on the stage it sounds fucking awesome! That is, after the first few songs when suddenly a guitar pops in the mix. Prong plays straight up metal with hardcore/metalcore-ish breaks and heavy powerfull beats. I love this kind of crossover stuff especially when it is done in the way Prong does. Of course “beg to differ” is played too and this makes the crowd goes berserk! Front man Tommy Victor interacts quite a bit with the crowd which is fun. With a new album coming up too, this band can be seen many times in The Netherlands hopefully.

Entombed A.D.

Before Entombed A.D. could start there set, there was quite some ado about a gas tube which ran over the barrier in front of the stage. At one point they even tried to remove a part of the barrier, but when that didn’t succeed a digging didn’t seem to work either, the tube was ductaped to the barrier and covered with a rubber mat, just about the way it was. With a lost lawsuit over their name, Entombed A.D. is still know as Entombed A.D. and whatever (if ever) the name is changed, it will not change the energy of this band, nor the songs. In my opinion, Entombed A.D. is way better than Entobed at the moment. There is a lot of interaction with the crowd and when singer Lars-Göran asked if the crowd is having a good night, he suddenly realised it’s still broad daylight. He quickly adds, that the mind of a metalhead is always dark, which causes giggles from the band and the audiecen. The band is having a good time and joke a lot with each other and the people in front. This never influences their playing. That is from start to end tight as hell and on key. Kudos! Despite the deep dark death metal, it is getting pretty damn hot on the ice rink. How’s that for a contradiction!

Exodus (USA)

It’s now really packed and I have to walk around the field to get to the photopit entrance. Exodus and The Netherlands are obviously a good combination, because the come here quite often. Singer Steve Souza is over the moon for the fact that people can legally smoke “shit” and drink beer. “This is Holland!” he shouts and the crowd cheers. He repeats multiple times that Dynamo was the start of their career and how thankful he is for that opportunity. Well… what is there to say about an Exodus performance… It’s loud, it’s fast and it is always a good show. With a perfect combination of old and newer songs this set is just great. Even in the back heads are bobbing and horns are raised. Personally I can never get enough of Exodus live. About half way their set, Steve told the crowd they were on the exact same spot in 1988 and he still remembers that day. During the last songs of Exodus I grab a bite to eat and see some kids on the stage holding the instruments and playing with the band. At the end of the set of Exodus, Annihilator is announced as one of the bands for next year. Superb!

Devin Townsend (CA)

Well… how to announce the band of Devin Townsend better, than his famous words on Dynamo Metal Fest: “we’re from Canada and have very little in terms of social skills, so fuck you too!” Devin is quite a character. Besides being frighteningly gifted musically, he has a lot of humour and I guess he was born on a stage, because he is quite good at performing arts too. The band behind Devin looks a bit timid, but with Devin in front of the stage, I guess everybody will look timid. But damn… these guys are fucking good! I stood in front of the soundbooth for some time and every fill and every sub-sound is just there. Awesome! When Anneke van Giersbergen joins Devin on stage for Supercrush and a few other songs, the party is officially on and the fun is contagious. The musical magic between Anneke en Devin is visibly there and lifts the energy to an even higher level. Everybody enjoys the music and is having a laugh when Devin talks. Great show! I definitely go see Devin again sometime.

Testament (USA)

At every performance of Testament there is incense burning on the stage, but this time I think they changed brand, because it is stinging my eyes. But that is merely a detail as there is worse news: the sound check doesn’t work out and has to be done over from the start. Al in all it takes a half-hour before Chuck apologizes for the delay and starts their show, but after 7 or 8 songs the set is over and Testament leaves the stage. The endtime of Testament is fixed and the soundcheck took almost an hour in total, included a bit over 30 minutes of stage time. There were a lot of rumours of why they played so short and why the cancelled their singing session in the last moment, but that was tried to cut short by a press release of the organisation. The time Testament plays and the songs they did performed were very good. A lot of fun on stage and quite some interaction with the crowd. Whatever the real reason was for the delay, most of the fans were excited anyway, except perhaps the fans whom have been waiting for over an hour to get their stuff signed by the band.

Gojira (F)

Headline for this festival is the immensely popular Gojira from France. I never saw so much t-shirts of the headlining band as this day. Musically I was impressed when I saw them on Fortarock 2016, but the performance of the band was a bit of a let down then. Hopefully they worked on that now the are headline material. The field of the ice rink is crammed with fans all hoping to get a glimpse of the band. Before the show started, we -the photographers- were told that we couldn’t take pictures the first song because of explosions, fireworks and flame throwers. This was exciting news, as I stood first row, but there was none of that all during the first song, or the second or the third. Only a CO2 canon went of a couple of times. For a large part of the set the stage was completely filled with smoke and light from the back. From a distance it looked good, because the light was well in sync with the music, but from a bit closer the band was hardly visible; they were mere shadows. There is not much going on, on the stage just like the Fortarock 2016 show. Hardly any interaction with the audience and singer Joe Duplantier hardly even moves. Musically Gojira is something else… that’s near perfect and very tight played. Even I recognized some songs by the first notes and believe me, that is quite unique. Especially when you know I don’t listen to Gojira that much. I have a bit of mixed feelings about Gojira. The music is superb performed, the lightshow is well in tune with the music, but the bandmembers are barely visible even from rather close-up and are busy with themselves. Quite a contrast with the rest of the bands of this day. Near the end of the set I walk to my car and then I hear the fireworks go off…

Conlusion

Dynamo Metal Fest 2017 was the largest version in terms of paying visitors. 10.000 tickets were sold and during Entombed A.D. there were 9.000 in the venue already! I think it was a wise choice of the organisation to grow with the festival which started of with 5.000 paying visitors in 2015. With the announcement of Annihilator next year, it is a no-brainer that you have to be at Dynamo Metal Fest next year. I know I will!