Metal DayZ 2000
- June 24th & 25th - Pratteln, Switzerland -
Axxis, Freedom Call, In Extremo, Metalium, Pink Cream 69, Rage, Royal Hunt, Saxon, Sinner, Subway To Sally, U.D.O.
Pratteln's Z7 organized a two days festival called Metal Dayz. Five years ago they opened the doors in a small town near Basel to get some live music to Switzerland. These was a kind of anniversary party... Which also gave some Swiss bands the possibility to play there.
Saturday the first 3 bands been Swiss, but I missed them... I had the chance to listen to Excelsis and Megora while I was waiting for my guest pass. What I heard was pretty good, so I'll try to present these bands later.
The first band I saw was In Extremo. At that time there was a delay in the schedule, coz the bands from the open-air stage been moved to inside ones due to the rain. Unfortunately In Extremo could just play a 45 min. program. Anyway, songs like Imade Tempore, Der Galgen and Das Palästina Lied made the audience dance and sing along. Due to the fact that most of the fans been more into power metal than into medivial metal, they decided to play a heavier program. Nevertheless they used all the 'exotic' instruments they usually use.... Like bagpipes and a hurdy-gurdy! Usually an encore wasn't planned, but it was the first time for In Extremo in Switzerland and so the spontaneously played it. (LE)
After the change over the German Axxis entered the stage. The band of singer Bernhard Weiss opened their set with Shadowman. After it's been a little quite for a while the band returned with Back To ... a few months ago. In April Axxis toured with Pink Cream 69 and Balance Of Power, but I missed them. I heard that they been pretty good, so I was a little disappointed. Probably it was their dog's day... The fans in the first rows soon started partying while the band was playing old and new stuff like Brother Moon, Stay Don't Leave Me, Little War and Kings Made Of Steel. After 45 min. the quintet left the stage and returned to play Kingdom Of The Night as the encore.
Next been the German veterans of Sinner. Personally my first highlight of the day. Mat Sinner's Sinner got joined by Henny Wolter and Stefan Leibing on guitars and on drums by Klaus Sperling (all Primal Fear). On keyboards as usual Frank Rössler. During their almost an hour long set the band travelled through time and presented a few old classics. After several years Knife In My Heart returned to the set and the fans loved to hear this one. Mat Sinner and his band presented an excellent show. I saw them several times through all the years and they still rock. It was cool to hear Born To Rock as well as Judgement Day or the title track of their latest album The End Of Sanctuary. The band seemed to play together for years, even if former Thunderhead guitarist Henny Wolter just joined the Sinners, but touring with Dio a few weeks ago helped becoming a union. For more than 10 years Billy Idol's Rebel Yell is part of the bands set and this won't change. It's a must! Band leader Mat Sinner can be pretty happy with this line-up and hopefully they'll go on! Unfortunately the reactions of the fans wasn't as good as during the Axxis set, even if Sinner been much better than their predecessors!
Again it was time for medieval metal! Subway To Sally hit the stage. Now it was time for Subway To Sally.... The band and especially singer Eric Fish and violinist Frau Schmitt rocked the hall. Due to the fact that they released a live album the band knew what the fans are waiting for and so they played songs like Julia & die Räuber, Maria, Ohne Liebe, Der Vagabund, Böses Erwachen or Die Henkersbraut. The visual effects they use at their headlining shows been partly brought to this festival and I think that the fans of the band and everyone else enjoyed the show. To draw a conclusion.... The Medivial is still alive!!!! (LE)
The last band for today / tonight entered the stage at 1:30! But there still were fans waiting to see Rage! Last years tour kinda was a new beginning. Peavy got joined from Russian guitarist Victor Smolski and American drummer Mike Terrana. A powerful union which started an almost perfect show with From The Cradle To The Grave. From the first second the fans went crazy and started banging and singing. Not just during the new stuff like Back In Time or Wash My Sins, also old songs like Missing Link's Firestrom and Solitary Men been welcome. During the second half of the set it was time for Victor to show his talent during the guitar solo followed by Mike Terrana's amazing drum solo. Usually the fans soon get bored during drum solos, but tonight it was different! When Mike finished the drum solo the fans were shouting for more! Peavy returned to stage and 3 songs later the band finished the set with Don't Fear The Winter. It was almost 3 a.m. and fans won't stop screaming for more and the trio returned for Awakening and Higher Than The Sky. So the first day was over....
Sunday the Swiss band Pertness opened and again I just could listen, coz the guest list wasn't at the entrance in time. What I heard sounded pretty good, so I'll report later about them. Around 11 a.m. Ephemeras Party started, but to be honest, not my cup of tea. I can't tell much about them and probably it's even more fair not to report and give them time to develop....
Around noon the German melodic speedsters Freedom Call entered the open-air stage. For quite a while it looked like they had to cancel, coz drummer and full-time member Dan Zimmermann hadn't arrived in time. Dan was playing in Belgium the day before with Gamma Ray. They started with We Are One and went on with Tears Falling. Before they continued with Over The Rainbow singer Chris Bay was telling the people that they were happy to play at the Z7 festival, especially that Norbert and Dane gave them the chance to play after being late. It was obvious that they had a lot of fun and enjoyed playing live. At the moment the band is in the studio, but more about that in a small interview I had with Dan later that day. My per;sonal highlight of the set was the Ultravox cover Dancing With Tears In My Eyes. The quintet finished the set with Hymn To The Brave and the audience was shouting for more, but it was time for them to leave... But not without promising a few new tracks in the Wacken Open-Air set!
Next in the running order been Metalium who started with Shout, a track from their debut album. During their 1 hrs set the band presented most of the debut's tracks and 2 new ones beside the Deep Purple cover version Smoke On The Water. The new line-up incl. Seven Witches guitarist Jack Frost who also replaced Chris Caffery (Savatage, Doctor Butcher, TSO) at last years tour. Drummer no. 3 in the short history of the band is Mark Cross. I won't comment the set or the go in detail, coz some people might say I'm not objective and so I just wanna say that the audience' reaction wasn't as good as during Freedom Calls set.
Indoor the fans waited for Royal Hunt and they were the main reason for me personally to go down to Basel! More about the cancellation of shows and other stuff in an interview or more exactly a talk I had with John West after the show. The band kicked-off the show with the title track of their latest release Fear. For singer John West it's the first time being on the road with Royal Hunt in these parts of Europe. The performance was pretty good and they offered a high musical standard as usual. John West fits into the band perfectly and it seems that they been together forever! Everyone who saw John at American Rock Live will be surprised. Even old Royal Hunt tracks like Day In, Day Out and Message To God sound great when John is singing them. Cold City Nights and Voices been highlights of their show, too. Not necessary to mention that Steen, Jakob and André did a perfect job. Soon the 60 min. set was over and I'm looking for;ward to see them again at Wacken!!!!! Well done, guys!!!!
Time for the open-air stage and the German-American union Pink Cream 69. Burn Your Soul opened up the set. After touring with Axxis the band is now playing a few festivals. These days they aren't playing that much and so they sound fresh and powerful, keen on playing live. Singer David talked to the fans between the songs and while his German got better and better, he tried to communicate in German. The set incl. some old stuff as well as songs from Sonic Dynamite. After songs like Speed Of Light, Followed By The Moon and Talk To The Moon where Koffel showed his ability it was after Lost In Illusions when Kosta Zafiriou offered a drum solo. The fans really appreciate that PC69 play also songs from the Deris era like Twisted. The quartet showed a good performance and proofed their reputation as an excellent live act. See you guys at Wacken!
Another band which will be at Wacken are Gamma Ray. Their show support the current release Blast From The Past and so the band made a musical trip through their past. Starting with Lust For Life and Heaven Can Wait to travel into these days and end the regular set with Somewhere Out In Space. Obviously Kai and his mates enjoyed being on stage and passing their history. Many fans waited for the Hamburg-based band and so the crowd went crazy. Due to the fact that this was a festival the band had to cut down the set a little. Before they left stage they played Send Me A Sign. It's a pity that tracks of Helloween been cut off the list due to limited time. Hopefully they play this set in Wacken and that they will have the time to play old Helloween tunes.
At the open-air stage another German metal legend attend... U.D.O.! Udo Dirkschneider and his mates presented the same set as on the Holy tour. I personally think that it's cool that he plays many old Accept songs like Midnight Mover, London Leatherboys, Cold Winter Nights, Restless & Wild, Son Of A Bitch, Metal Heart, Balls To The Wall and as encores Princess Of The Dawn and I'm A Rebel. The crowd went crazy when Udo and his mates played the old stuff. The songs from the last years, the years of his solo years were also welcome. When Udo wanted to get off stage after the encore his mates made him stay. He was wondering why. Dane entered the stage and handed Udo a kind of cup, coz U.D.O.'s show was the 1,000 performance at the Z7 in 5 years!
Last but not least the British NWoBHM legend Saxon entered the stage inside the venue. Biff Byford's gang seemed to be as fresh and powerful than in the early days. The old man can still rock the house!!!! They showed a great performance including old and new songs like Motorcycle Men, Dogs Of War, Song Of Evil and A Thin Red Line make the crowd screaming and singing along. It's unbelievable that after all these years his band know to entertain not just their old fans, also youngsters love the band! With Saxon the event ended and I hope that the Z7 will continue the Metal Dayz next year!