Cafe Nord in the city center of Essen exists since 1991 and musically they focus on rock, metal and alternative. In 2010 they did their first open-air which takes place at the plaza in front of the café / bar, next to a church and it's for free!
As it's located in the city center they have a curfew and so the festival starts at 2 PM and ends at 10 PM. Afterwards it's party time at Café Nord.
Due to other engagements I couldn't make it Friday before 7 PM, but I was there in time for Motorjesus. The guys kicked off with Dirty Pounding and obviously quite a few came to see the guys. At the moment they are playing almost every weekend at a festival or two, so they are like a well-oiled machine. But at the 2nd song - Legion Of Rock - guitarist Guido Reuss had a technical problem... But it was bassist Roman Jasiczak who recognized it and while Guido Reuss took care of it, his mates kept going. It was party time and so singer Chris Birx opened a bottle of beer to have a drink with everybody. Between the songs Chris Birx talked to the people and while he was announcing a song about alcohol he spotted someone in the audience... "This guy looks like Gerre! You know, the Tankard singer! Really!" And he asked the guy to present himself to the audience and the guy made his way onto the stage and took a photo with the Motorjesus front man. The security guys weren't pleased and tried to get him off stage as soon as possible. But well... All the happened before / while they were playing The Church Of Booze. A few songs later they invited a friend to join them on stage and Björn Gooßen of The Very End came on for Howling. They closed the chapter with New War, again they embedded passages of Rock You Like A Hurricane and TNT. Obviously they had fun to rock the stage together, so you might see them together again...
Time for the last change over of the day, even if it was the first one for me. It was like the audience was exchanged... Looks like a lot fans of the hardcore legend from New York came only to see Agnostic Front! Roger Miret and his mates entered the stage and headed into the set with Eliminator. Beside founding member Vinnie Stigma (guitars) Roger Miret is the only one from the early days. The others joined after the reunion in 1998. After Dead To Me they presented the title track of their latest album My Life My Way. Agnostic Front always been a band which haven't been everybody's darling, but tonight they were loved by their fans! The New Yorkers played a lot songs from My Life My Way, incl. Now And Forever and A Mi Manera, but among the 20 tracks they played were also some classics - like Crucified off their Liberty And Justice album. They really delivered! And time was flying, way too soon - for their fans - they ran out of time and so they closed this chapter with Blitzkrieg Bop and Victim In Pain.
The first day was over and I think it was a success for Café Nord... Back tomorrow... A little earlier, but no way to be there for the first bands...
I arrived just in time for Dutch trio Vanderbuyst who looked like came straight from the early 80s! I think they kicked off with Black & Blue, but I might be wrong... KGB should follow, a track from their current release In Dutch. Afterwards bassist and singer Jochen Jonkman addressed the crowd in German and wanted to see some fists in the air for Stealin' Your Thunder off their self-titled debut album - and another one of the debut should follow - Traci Lords. "It's great to be back in Essen! In January we played at Turock, I think many missed us there...." Jochen stated. They continued with Into The Fire and Tiger, and finally they showed their roots with Thin Lizzy's Don't Believe A Word - and Phil Lynott would have approved their version! It was fun to see the Dutch rock the stage. I really enjoyed the show, but too soon it was over. I spotted quite a few Vanderbuyst fans in the audience and I guess, after tonight's show they have a few more...
Next in line were The Very End who caught my attention with 2 great albums. The band is from Essen, so they are the local heroes - okay, Sodom are also from this area and they are headlining -, but it was obvious that many friends and fans came to see singer Björn Gooßen and his mates on stage. Like their last album Mercy & Misery they began with Memento and Ball & Chain. Their groove metal is quite melodic and infectious! At The Leper there was a technical problem with one of the guitars, but they just kept going. A little later, after A Hole In The Sun Björn Gooßen introduced their new member Alex Bartkowski and they headed into Sewn Eye Sleep. For me one of the bands assets is singer Björn Gooßen who isn't just doing a good show, his voice and varying style is making TVE's sound sticking out. More songs of their current album should follow before they ran out of time. The band is soon heading into the studio to record their next album - and hopefully it won't take too long til the album gets out... - or they decide to do some shows before the release, coz it was a pleasure to see them live!
Many metal fans were waiting for the next band... Entombed! The Swedish deanth'n'rollers were for many the highlight of the day. Singer L-G Petrov and his mates entered the stage and the crowd welcomed them loudly. They stormed off with Eyemaster. While the band delivered the basis for their frontman, L-G was running around making faces. A few songs in their set L-G asked the crowd: "Everybody happy? Everybody evil? I hear some Swedish words... What about some Swedish death metal?" and the crowd's feedback made him smile... It was time for I For An Eye. "Alles gut over there? Are you ready for something old school? We want to see a circle pit!" Petrov shouted and the headed into Revel In Flesh. Songs like Stranger Aeons, Damn Deal Done and Chief Rebel Angel should follow. A little later Entombed presented one of their 'classics' - Wolverine Blues. It's perhaps not what you expect from a death metal band, but this is Entombed and they are different! Afterwards they closed the set with Left Hand Path - another classic - and Supposed To Rot. Obviously Entombed is still alive and kickin' - but fans will be happy to get a new Entombed album in 2013. At least they plan to release a new album in 2013... And who knows, perhaps they'll come on tour and stop in Essen for another energetic show.
German thrashers Sodom were chosen to finish the Nord Open-Air. The trio is from a neighboring city, so many friends and fans come to see them. They started a little later, but when they entered the stage hell broke loose. They opened with In War And Pieces from their last album and continued with a classic Sodomy And Lust. Bernemann's youngest son entered the stage to join in singing - and he did very well. His father Bernemann and Tom Angelripper obviously were really proud of him. Songs like M-16, Outbreak Of Evil, Agent Orange, The Saw Is The Law, Remember The Fallen, Blasphemer, Ausgebomt, Bombenhagel and Wachturm - even if in a different order. Between the songs Tom Angelripper stated that Essen isn't their hometown, but that it feels like home, coz Witchhunter lived in Essen... "Actually he lived around the corner at Viehofer Platz near the police station...." Bernemann was smiling and banging all the time, his son was at the side of the stage and sang along. Sodom were happy to play at Nord Open-Air and invited everybody to party with them afterwards. Some fan asked, if they get beer for free and Tom answered with a big grin, that the band will. But I think the fans didn't mind to pay their drinks as it's financing the festival. Before Sodom left the stage they offered a cover version... They chose Motörhead's Ace Of Spades.
During the afternoon / evening the crew had to deliver an endless supply of beer to the booths and so I think the chances are good that in 2013 there will be another Nord Open-Air... But in the meantime the Turock Open-air will take place...