Flights of The Electribird

Through Games, Events and Multimedia


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Metallica Preparty by Metal Monarcs

Last weekend, Metallica went to play live at Ullevi in Gothenburg, Sweden. Since I wasn’t able to get tickets on time, I had to settle for one of the several preparties that was held that evening before the concert instead. After all, when a Heavy Metal tribute band like Metal Monarcs invites you to come AND allows you to bring a real camera to their concert (some artists and concert event holders are against photography), you accept with a “HELL, YEAH!” and show up!

It took some time for me to find the place, to be honest. There were so many people there already wearing suits and fancy dresses, you never guessed a metal band were planning to play there. Then I spotted that one indicator that I had indeed reached my destination.

Thank goodness, I thought I was lost!

You know you’ve reached the right place when you spot the name of the band somewhere.

With time, the amount of fancy people were being replaced with rockers. The huge bar, which was inconveniently placed a few metres from the stage, was constantly surrounded by people. Music was already playing loudly through the speakers as more and more people wearing old T-shirts from previous Metallica-concerts appeared every now and then in small groups, all coming to see Metal Monarcs. Then the stuff on stage got their final tweekings and configurations and a Go-Pro camera was being set-up to face the stage from the roof of the bar. Then the band began to rock some well-known songs.

I thought these kinds of entries ended with Elvis Presley...

The concert starts with the singer facing the drums…

HELL YEAH!

… then hit the notes with full flare!

I take it that these gentlemen must look familiar to some people. That’s because they are all famous to the most knowledgeable of rock fans. All 5 of them are known from other well-known metal bands and have been in the business of rocking people’s socks off for years.

No drummer can hide from me nowadays!

Jesse Lindskog from Dragonland on drums.

Sunlight in the eyes couldn't stop these guys from rocking!

Eric Rauti and Mats Rendlert from Dreamland on guitar and bass.

Just seeing him there made my day!

Oscar Dronjak from Hammerfall on guitar.

He's just as awesome in person as he is on stage, I promise!

Jonas Heidgert from Dragonland and Destiny on vocals.

Just like any other tribute band, Metal Monarcs’s repertoire consisted of other people’s songs, like “I Want Out” by Helloween, “Run to the Hills” and “Wasted Years” by Iron Maiden, “All We Are” by Warlock, “Mr. Crowley” by Ozzy Osbourne and several more. But since this was a preparty for Metallica, their songs were of course played here too (“Enter Sandman” and “Seek and Destroy”).

Since alcohol and rock go hand in hand, you can count on that some odd stuff caused by the audience occurred, both during and between each set.

Someone's always show-boating when there's a camera nearby.

This man played air-guitar during the first few songs.

He had to get down to give room for the band.

This guy hopped up on stage just before the second set.

But the entire event was mostly peaceful (even if I did almost punch a guy for pushing past me and shoving his elbow on the back of my arm) and none of the shenanigans caused any interruptions for Metal Monarcs. They just kept rocking and the crowd loved it!

ROCK AND ROLL!

The more songs the band played, the more of a party the audience had.

And just like any good party, a lot of people were present at the event. As a matter of fact, the place was so packed, I was stuck where I was about an hour after the concert ended. At least this introduced me to a first – I’ve never seen a band pack their gear before that evening.

Who needs roadies on small events like this?

The band help each other pack their own gear.

Once there was no trace of the band left on stage, I decided to find my way out of the crowd. This wasn’t easy at all, since the place was packed like cars in a traffic jam and some of the possible exits had been blocked to prevent even more people from getting in. I ended up using one of those exits anyway, because the only one allowed was nowhere to be seen or found through the crowd.

Packed like a sardine can...

The crowd was huge when I finally got out of there…

How desperate could they have been for a drink!?

… and still growing bigger and bigger!

But in the end, this Metallica Preparty gets a 4/5 easily. Metal Monarcs were awesome from start to finish and really good sports among the visitors. My only issue was the choice of location. This place wasn’t made for concerts. Whoever decided to place a bar so close to the stage should get sued, because the damn thing took up a lot of space and blocked the view for a lot of people. I was also annoyed over that the exits were blocked. I understand that it was necessary to keep people from getting in, but they shouldn’t make it harder for people to get out. After all, when the party’s over, there’s no need to stay, especially when you’re on your way to a Metallica-concert afterwards. Lucky for me that I wasn’t, huh (I couldn’t get tickets, remember)? Well, “SCREW YOU!”, I say! I love Metallica…


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The Hiatus is Over When the Hammer Falls

Damn, what a hiatus! Reassignments, trips overseas and death in the family sure take time to deal with, don’t they? Well, no matter the excuse, I owe you something good to read after being away for so long. How about a concert review? Last Friday, I had the honour of spending the evening in front row of a band that’s been on a hiatus too (2 years, to be more precise). If the title wasn’t a good enough hint for you, Hammerfall are back on stage and headbanging their way loud and clear for every soul to hear.

You can really tell that Hammerfall’s been missed after being away for so long. Eager fans had already begun to flock the front row by the time I arrived – over 2 hours early! I was still lucky enough to secure my usual spot, though, which was something I learned to regret in the end… I had a little mishap while moving the images from the camera to the tablet, causing some photos to go missing. Thank goodness I found them in the end, because one of them is the best shot I could get of Hammerfall’s drummer, Anders Johansson.

Hammerfall's drummer, Anders Johansson, checking the drums before the concert.

Hammerfall’s drummer, Anders Johansson, checks the drums a few hours before the concert starts.

After two hours of waiting and sound-checking, Hammerfall finally kicked off – and goodness, did they kick off big! The soundwaves from the on-stage speakers nearly caused an earthquake, fireworks sparkled up from the edge of the stage and smoke sneaked up from behind the band. The combination of these things made it hard for me to get good shots of the band early on, but things got a bit easier after disaster struck. If I heard Joacim Cans, Hammerfall’s current singer, correctly, he’s allergic to sulfur, which caused him to lose his voice halfway through the concert. After a 5-minute-break, he was able to sing again and notifyed the pyrotechnician backstage to stop activating the fireworks for a while. As Joacim’s voice got better, he later told the audience to beat up the pyrotechnician if the fireworks went off again. Just as well, the fireworks were mostly blocking my view anyway…

Hammerfall performing with the stage on fire!

Hammerfall performing with the stage on fire!

After that, it became easier to take pictures of the rest of the band.

Joacim Cans with a large hammer.

Joacim Cans, holding a large, heavy hammer.

One of the guitar players, Pontus Norgren, and the electric bass player, Fredrik Larsson.

One of the guitar players, Pontus Norgren, and the electric bass player, Fredrik Larsson.

The other guitar player, Oscar Dronjak.

Apart from their well-known songs, like “Bloodbound”, “Let the Hammer Fall” and “Last Man Standing”, if I remember the titles correctly, Hammerfall also performed some songs from their knew album, (r)Evolution, for the first time. I wish I could post the videos I shot of them. Too bad the soundwaves from the speakers messed up the sound recording, turning the music in my videoclips into noise. Well, at least the photos that survived the vibrations were enough to serve their purpose as mementos and visuals for this blog post. Then the fireworks went off once more after the last song, which makes me wonder if the pyrotechnician got beaten up in the end after all…

Hammerfall finishes their last song with fireworks.

Hammerfall finishes their last song with fireworks.

Then, after the concert was over, Hammerfall signed autographs in a tent nearby.

The tent where Hammerfall signed autographs to a VERY long line of fans.

The tent where Hammerfall signed autographs to a humongously huge line of eager fans of all ages.

All in all, Hammerfall earned a 4/5 easily. Don’t get me wrong, they deserved top score, but if I have to choose between a good performance from the artists and visual flare, performance ALWAYS comes first. The extra flare on stage isn’t worth it, if it’s going to affect how the performers do their gig in a negative way. A rocker’s life is normally known to be short, so why let them risk their health for our entertainment’s sake? Allergies should never be taken lightly, because most of them can cause all kinds of hell if they don’t kill you first. Luckily, Joacim Cans seemed fine by the end of this concert. Hopefully, he and the other members of Hammerfall will remain in good health for the rest of their lives.


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Chugging Metal at Rockstage Festival 2013

Noticed the changes? I figured that I needed to leave the nest once in a while to get better at what I do and decided to do some people a favour and listen to some music. Nothing puts me in a working mood more than Heavy Metal, so when I was told about this new local band, I couldn’t resist the temptation to cough up some money for tickets and fly to the location of their gig.

Since I’ve never been to a nightclub before in my entire life, the scene was entirely new to me. I’ve never been on a list to a place like this before and never thought I ever would be, but this time I was. My companion for the evening and I went in, payed the coat-check woman and went casually into an almost half-empty partyroom with a small stage and a slightly-lit bar, where you could buy drinks that costs about as much as the value of gift certificates at any posh store in the nearest mall. The second band, Maleficio, was already playing, because we arrived a bit late. What a shame, I was curious about the first band, Lost Seconds, but there’s nothing I can do about that now. Still, Maleficio was a good way to start my evening, so I can’t complain, even though the bottle of fake blood the singer covered himself with made his guitar a bit too slippery for him to hold steady.

A Bloody Good Start!

Maleficio – not bad for a bloody mess!

I noticed that the next few bands made the same mistake before entering the stage. Their singers forgot to prepare their voices well enough before singing (or roaring), because their vocals where a bit off during their first songs. The singer in Eta Carinae started off as a tiger kitten and ended the performance like a panther…

Eta Carinae - nice kitties!

Eta Carinae – nice kitties!

… the singer in Oak sang like Tarzan most of the time…

Oak - Tarzan would be so proud!

Oak – Tarzan would be so proud!

… and it was hard to tell if the singer in Descending Chaos was trying to roar or scream in parcel tongue.

Descending Chaos - chaotic enough for Harry Potter.

Descending Chaos – chaotic enough for Harry Potter.

Still, the music of these bands wasn’t too bad and they did what they could to keep the tiny crowd interested. Since it was Easter Eve, Eta Carinae happily shared an Easter egg with the crowd…

Eta Carinae treats the audience with more than just music.

Happy Easter from Eta Carinae!

… and what kind of rock festival doesn’t have its bunch of show-boaters? If anyone deserves extra credit for this, it’s Descending Chaos, because their singer was energetic enough to do everything from dedicating a song to a girl hidden in a corner somewhere to rampaging off-stage without his shirt on. If there were more people in the nightclub, it might have been a bit more entertaining, but in this case it was a bit much. At least their music impressed a lot of people, especially my companion, who wanted to go to their next gig.

If there was some kind of Heavy Metal that I did not expect to see or hear at this festival, it was something nostalgic. The boys of Shotgun Sally got the attention of several girls (girlfriends, I assume) before their gig even started and attracted a slightly bigger crowd already from the start. Not only did their music have a 1980’s-1990’s style to it, they even dressed like bands from the same decades! Call me old-fashioned, but I enjoyed listening to these guys from start to finish.

Shotgun Sally - too good for my old camera...

Shotgun Sally – too good for my old camera…

Among all of the bands I saw perform at Rockstage Festival, none of them kept things as professional as the next band, Chugger, and it’s no wonder that I’ve been seeing their name pop up daily lately. This band was so balanced, no bandmember outshined the others more than necessary. Even the singer’s roaring could be identified as words, which is great for someone like me, because I’m almost def when it comes to lyrics! This band may be new to the public, but the bandmembers are no rookies. Well done, Chugger!

Chugger - no outshiners, just pure metal!

Chugger – no outshiners, just pure metal!

You always expect the last band on stage to be grander than the previous ones, but this was not the case with As They Arrive. These eager boys acted like complete newbies on-stage after their first song, which sounded like something they ripped off from some mainstream band and slashed to bits. Oddly enough, I can’t help picturing these boys performing at some famous talk-show in the future and it wouldn’t surprise me if they do someday, just to make me eat my words. If they do, I’ll laugh happily and congratulate them personally when the day comes, but at the moment I’m just going to congratulate them for the crowd they managed to gather before my companion and I went to get our jackets.

As They Arrive - in need of more practice, I'm afraid.

As They Arrive – in need of more practice, I’m afraid.

As good as the bands were, I’m pretty sure this rock festival could have been better. But then again, who am I to complain? I had fun! It’s not everyday you get to listen to non-mainstream music and I don’t really care for large crowds. Still, it shouldn’t cost that much to get a drink, no matter if you’re a poor teetotaller or a rich drunkard, and the bands deserved a bigger audience. Other than that, the event was well-planned, none of the bands I saw were booed at (except Chugger by some joker, who chanted “Black Sabbath!” for the fun of it) and the audience – drunk and sober – loved the show. I’d gladly see everyone of these bands live again and hope you get a chance to see or listen to them too.


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The Perfect Way to Enjoy Music

Only a few hours ago, I got to try out 2 music-related games for the first time – Rock Band and Singstar for PlayStation 3 (a game console I’ve never played with before either). I’ve never tried anything related to real karaeoke before, so this was definetely something I refused to miss at any cost. If there’s anything I love more than good music, it’s singing and playing good music. It’s a shame my throat isn’t very keen about singing as much as I am…

Allow me to start off with Rock Band. I got to play drums for the song “Say It Ain’t So” by Weezer, which (according to those who saw me play) was pretty well done for a beginner. The gameplay for the drum did seem like a combination between Guitar Hero and the music games in Rayman Raving Rabbids 1 and 2, where you have to shake the Wii-remote and nunchuck in a certain pace and moment, so that helped a bit. It was a little tricky to play, since I’m not used to keep track at all the things I could hit with the drumsticks or the pedal, but it sure was fun to play! I hope I can get hold of this game with all the instruments, because this game rules! Play it once and you’ll keep coming back for more.

Singstar was quite interesting. Like I mentioned before, I’ve never sung karaeoke before. That’s why I was delighted to give it a shot, because I love to sing! I was surprised over how easy it was and how easy it could have been if there were less noise in the room. I’m used to sing in a choir and therefore listen to what the other sings and sing along, but it was way too noisy to hear the original singer sing. Too bad, because I noticed how well I could ace a song if I remembered how it went…

So, which game spoke to me the most? Rock Band, of course! Most of the songs on Singstar sucked bigtime and were too unknown to me to be able to sing. Rock Band, on the other hand, had plenty of good songs to try out and play with the instrument of choice and was able to be played by 4 players at the same time instead of just 2. But I did enjoy the 2-player-twist Singstar had, though, but as mentioned, that game needs better songs.