GETAWAY 2013 – Day 1 – Gävle, Sweden

GETAWAY 2013 – Day 1 – Gävle, Sweden

Getaway Rock Festival is held at an old gas distribution plant, with two large round buildings that were used for storing gas in huge balloons in earlier times. But not anymore as on this particular weekend the larger of the two brick buildings was used for beating people’s brains in (Black Stage). The other of the two ‘Gasklockorna’ was the designated artist area, a neat idea as the bands playing can relax indoors.  That was a particularly good setup this year as the rain was relentlessly pouring down on Thursday.

The two outdoor stages, Red and Green, was set up quite far apart, so there was virtually no interference by bands playing simultaneously. In reality the bands were alternating playing on these stages with no overlap. However, having to walk the 200m in a crowd meant that you had to make a choice whether to leave a concert early to get a good spot (especially on the smaller Red stage) or to see the full concert playing. A drawback of the Red stage was that one had to walk past the mixing tower and that the space there was limited creating a bottleneck. In addition the festival had – in my opinion -allowed sales tents to be put up too far towards the mixing tower on the right hand side, limiting the space for people to pass. In all fairness to the festival this was only a problem on a couple of the more popular concerts. The main stage had no such problems and even if the ground had an upwards slope towards the Green stage this was not a problem visually. Since the festival is held at an abandoned industrial area, re-made for cultural use, the ground was solid and even though it had rained for twelve hours straight there was no evidence of any mud. I recollect another big festival held in Germany where you are instantly standing up to your ankles in mud when it rains.



As it turned out it never ceased to rain, not for a single second on this first day of the festival. I was told that the weather is usually nice and the temperature can be in the 30’s but there was no comfort in knowing that, quite the contrary.

First out for me was Katatonia with their trademark gothdoom. Playing in the pouring rain suddenly seemed very timely for this kind of music. Even though I was standing to the right I got a feeling of something that turned out to be repeating on almost all concerts throughout the three days:  great sound from the two outdoor stages.  There is no doubt that the musicianship of the guys playing in Katatonia is excellent, add the typical melancholic low-dynamic vocals of Jonas Renkse and you cannot fail to know who is playing. I would have enjoyed more to see them in a club, though.

Nashville Pussy @ Getaway 2013
(Photo: Andrew Robertsen)

Off to see Nashville Pussy playing on the main stage. They must have felt like outsiders, since Mr. Blaine Cartwright uttered words of thanks to the festival for having them. Sometimes attitude goes a long way when being an artist, even though the music might not be the most intricate, they are still enjoyable to watch.

I went to see Cult of Luna next, but this really is not my cup of tea, and I had a hard time understanding what is appealing about this style of music. I had to confer with one of my peers who also is a die-hard metalhead and we was happy (maybe it was the beer) so I guess they made a good appearance.

Back again to the main stage and there was… silence. Ten minutes passed, then fifteen. After 20 minutes, Kai Hansen apologized for the delay as they apparently had technical problems that needed resolving.  I must admit that I have seen Gamma Ray a lot more on fire earlier (Earthshaker Fest 2008 with 6000 bark raving mad Germans) so with that concert as reference this was not very inspired.

Hypocrisy @ Getaway 2013
(Photo: Andrew Robertsen)

At Sweden Rock I thought Hypocrisy did a good show but this was a clear notch up. Maybe the fact that they hadn’t played live for a while prior to Sweden Rock was a factor in this. As always they play high precision death metal guided by the excellent drumming by Horgh.  They served up a mix of new and old songs as can be expected, starting with the latest album and finishing off with classics like Roswell 47 and Eraser. Unfortunately (for me) they did not play Obsculum Obscenum this time either – but that is just another excuse to see them again. All in all a cool show but I have a feeling they can play a few notches better if they had more time to play more old songs, there were quite a few I wanted to hear, especially from The Fourth Dimension. I would definitely go and see them indoors this autumn because they are bound to get better (vocals in particular) the more shows they play.

Iced Earth @ Getaway 2013
(Photo: Andrew Robertsen)

Due to overlap, Iced Earth had already started playing when I got back to the main stage and being an admirer of Matt Barlows’ great voice I must admit I felt that this could not possibly be as good. How wrong I was. This was such a positive surprise to hear a full-bearded Stu Block sing – it is almost scary how alike he is Matt Barlow at times. A great vocalist, there is no doubt about it. Also notably John Schaffer seemed to have gotten younger from getting fresh blood in the band because the last time I saw him play his hair was grey, not dark brown. Hm. There is something about Iced Earths music that captures and moves people. Watching the tears roll down on people’s faces when they performed A Question of Heaven and Watching Over Me is proof of outstanding songwriting.  I know they are playing support for Volbeat this autumn, so there is opportunity to go and see them here in Europe.

Trivium played next and clearly they connected very well with the audience, one of these occasions where you see a two-way feedback and the musicians are really enjoying playing. A lot of people had defied the rain to come and see Trivium play and they were not disappointed by the look on their faces.

In Flames @ Getaway 2013
(Photo: Andrew Robertsen)

The last band out was In Flames and again they prove themselves as a great band for playing outdoor live gigs. Sometimes one might not be into – or fan – of a particular band but seeing them live can still be very enjoyable. It is the trademark of a great live band, to be able to capture all the people. Everything technical was top notch, too. For this concert they had rigged two huge arrays of lights on each side of the drums in order to instantly evaporate any water on stage from the rain outside. The sound was just stunning and it was well worth the wait for all the thousands that were there.