Flights of The Electribird

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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.