Having A "Crazy Time In The Swedish Woods"

November 8, 2017, 15 days ago

Jennifer Bartram-Schmitt

gallery heavy metal hard rock

Our first time in Sweden brought us to Skogsrojet, a festival whose name roughly translates as “Crazy time in the woods.”  That’s about right!  Smaller and more intimate than the Sweden Rock Festival, this 2+ day event offered a camp site for those who wished to stay over, food trucks, some scheduled band meet & greets, and an incredibly friendly staff.
 
Thursday was a bit of an “open house” / warm up.  It provided a day for the campers to set up their temporary homes, press members to obtain their passes, fans to shop all things rock at the merchandise booths, and time to become familiar with the layout.  Getting the party started in the beer tent was Sator’s Kent, Chips, & Heikki, playing an acoustic set which had everyone dancing around and singing along to their catchy songs.  The rain poured and the spirits flowed to Mike Tramp’s acoustic finale.
 
Friday was too much fun for one photographer to cover with the unfortunate necessities of eating, bathroom breaks, etc.  But I did capture as much as possible.  Notable performances not shown include Narnia, Smash Into Pieces, Amaranthe and Liv Sin.
 
One of our personal highlights of the day was Loudness, whom we were denied seeing at home when they were refused visas and had to cancel their American tour. Their set list was a dream come true for a U.S. fan, comprised mostly of songs from their American hey-day, which was fine by us!
 
Mike Tramp & his Band of Brothers played a roots-rock / Americana flavored set of career-spanning material including, of course, White Lion.  Still a great performer, he and the band clearly loved what they were doing, which made it all the more enjoyable for the crowd.  Mike also made the audience laugh a few times with some jokes in Danish (?), which this American literally did not understand.  It went over well with 99% of the crowd and seemed funny, though!
 
Sator was back, this time with full band, and their powerful attributes were only magnified wh­en plugged in!  Switching off lead vocals, killer harmonies, and an all-around fun-time vibe made them one of the best parts of the weekend.  Hopefully, North America will eventually learn what Sweden has known for so long.  These guys rock!
 
Last In Line were on hand to help us celebrate the memory of Ronnie James Dio.  Playing a handful of originals from their strong album Heavy Crown, they united the crowd who were eager to finally hear their beloved DIO classics once again.  Andrew Freeman did an admirable job, singing those timeless songs well without mimicking Ronnie. Vivian, looking happy and healthy, was my favorite guitarist of the entire weekend. In my opinion, no one since has ever quite filled his shoes in DIO. The songs simply “came to life” once more.  A magic moment, indeed.
 
Hardcore Superstar played to their home crowd, showing us that the underground sleaze metal revival is alive and well in Sweden!  A new generation of teenagers in makeup; too young to have experienced Motley Crue for the first time, have new heroes in Sweden’s own Hardcore Superstar!  Their high-energy set consisted of a stepped-up stage production, including plenty of smoke and confetti. The cameras rolled, capturing all the footage for a proposed upcoming DVD.  At one point, they invited several fans onstage to drink from their bar and carry on all while the band played “Last Call For Alcohol”. Look for their soon-to-be released album featuring the single, “Have Mercy On Me” and hopefully a new DVD that includes some scenes mentioned above.
 
Thunder is another band that has rarely journeyed to this side of the Atlantic, so it was a treat to finally see them perform.  They did not disappoint us newbies or the loyal following on hand.  Bringing a distinctive touch of class to the event, they’re clearly seasoned professionals who still sound great, and have a clear quality standard they adhere to.  It’s obvious they’re well into their career yet there’s no sign of “phoning it in”.  Hopefully there’ll be more Thunder shows for us in the very near future!
 
The Maestro, Yngwie Malmsteen was Friday’s closer, but D-A-D marked the end of a long day for us. Disneyland After Dark indeed! Another bucket-list band for us, the iconic locals brought their full spectacle.  Stig Pedersen, dressed as an astronaut with his full collection of 2-string basses in tow, launched into a pyro-filled orgy of rock & roll mayhem. We left happy and exhausted, and ready for another day.

 

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