TONS OF ROCK 2017 – Day 3 – Halden – Fredriksten Festning
And so it was the last day of Tons of Rock 2017. Thus far it had been a rather good festival, so the question remained if the (rather solid) line up of the third day would be able to keep up the heat of the last two days.
Due to wind, the Huth Stage was sadly closed, and it made it harder to get to see alot of the different bands, but most of the bands were moved into the Tent Stage in order to still make the wheels rotate.
Black Star Riders opened up on the main stage to a somewhat small, but still growing audience. The bands music was a chill way to start off the third day, and the nice weather gave the whole performance a nice and calm energy. Nice and old rock n roll were served to a crowd that seemed to enjoy the stress less band. The band itself did an ok job on stage, but it wasn’t anything spectacular and super memorable. On the other hand – not all bands need to be that either in order to deliver a good or great show. This was a good show.
BLACK STAR RIDERS live @ TONS OF ROCK 2017
(Photo: Andrea Chirulescu)
Virus entered the Tent Stage to an almost non existing crowd. Sadly. The band plays a good form of stoner/doomrock music, and it was delightful to see a so laid back band deliver such a respectable concert. The only issue (and this will be recurring) was the sound. You know there is a problem when the bass drum flat lines every other instrument to such a degree that you almost feel like you are at a rave party instead of a rock and metal festival. This was quite a let down, since the band literally did a great job on stage. Virus would probably have been better at the Huth Stage, where they were originally set to play.
Another band to take the Tent Stage was Sodom. If you like thrash metal, then Sodom is great. If you don’t then they are nothing but the genre you don’t like. Sodom looks and feels like a thrash metal band (of the Slayer school), and their live performance is absolutely nothing special. Yet they do have some sort of charm on stage, but not really enough to save a rather weak live gig, and especially not when the sound is as horrible as described earlier. In the end, Sodom didn’t give a super interesting concert, and it didn’t really push the quality of the festival in either direction – worse or better. For Sodom fans, this was probably fine, but for anyone else, this was more of a footnote.
(Photo: Andrea Chirulescu)
Next up on the main stage was the mighty Satyricon, that recently have been touring with their Nemesis Divina 20 year tour. At the same time, the band has just finished their new album, so there were some hopes of getting a little sneak peak at some new material. The audience did however have to be happy with alot of songs from "Volcano" to "Satyricon". Satyr seemed a bit tired and it looked like he forgot some lyrics at a few different points (probably one of the bi-effects of working so much with new material lately). Other than that, both him and the rest of the band delivered a fairly strong concert. The new guitar player seemed to have fun, and the audience responded (for the most part) at what they got from the setlist and in between songs. Not Satyricon’s best concert through the ages, but even on a low energy day, Satyricon is able to outperform most other bands.
After Satyricon was done on the main stage, the "Norwegian black metal broadcast" continued with Enslaved in the tent, and boy was that bad. Remember the bad sound, described in the Virus section? Well, it completely screwed up Enslaved’s performance. Guitars sounded almost as if they weren’t even tuned right and multiple songs were so scewed by the sound that they were borderline unrecognizable. This is quite sad, since the band itself did a great job on stage, it just didn’t reflect on what the crowd got to hear. Enslaved has a very detailed and complex musical expression, and it is very important for their music that the audience is able to actually hear what’s going on. Sadly, this wasn’t the case at Tons of Rock, and it killed alot of what is good about the band.
TAAKE live @ TONS OF ROCK 2017
(Photo: Andrea Chirulescu)
Now, a band that didn’t take as much damage from the horrible sound… Taake gave an amazing performance. The music is a bit more primitive than Enslaved’s, and thus, Taake managed to survive just fine on stage. Also always fun when Hoest drags one of his friends on stage to do some guest vocals, in this case Jontho from Ragnarok. They both suited eachother nicely and Jontho gave extra life to an otherwise great act. Ending the show with the instant classic, Myr, was also a great idea from the band’s side.
Final band on the main stage was Sabaton, and they gave a super nice and worthy ending to a great festival. Playing the "Carolus Rex" album from start to finish was a fitting gest for the festival, and the songs were performed with energy and few to no flaws. They could have done a little bit like Emperor, and maybe added a couple extra songs from another album at the end, but in and of itself, the performance pushed the album into the realm of "better live". Great show and fun to see the 1700-style soldiers enter the stage. The fireworks from Halden also made this concert feel even more epic.
And to end the whole festival this year, the Norwegian heroes in Vazelina Bilopphøggers. There is literally nothing more fun than to see 2000(ish) people dressed in heavy, thrash, black, death, and power metal band shirts sing along to the songs of this band. It is a strange phenomenon in Norway with bands that come from the countryside. They are always weird, and people always love them.
In the end, Tons of Rock delivered a great festival with alot of diverse bands from different genres and sizes. This festival is definetly worth checking out if you are a fan of the open air styles of festivals!