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Graspop 2009 - Three days of sun, sun, sun & metal!
Friday June 26th

Opener Buckcherry drew quite a crowd, and the first thing we notice is that the sound isn't all that bad on the mainstage. This was something to be excited about, since there have been editions of Graspop where the sound was crap. Buckcherry's typical American rock worked liked it's supposed to work, nothing fancy but just groovy stuff all around. (Carn)

After our unsuccesful search for some Kriek beer it was time for Dragonforce. As always, the guys ran and jumped around, and of course played the song 'that made Guitar Hero 3 famous'. Dragonforce is one of those bands that sound like a complete turd if the sound is bad, but this time we could hear everything fine and dandy. (Carn)

Pestilence is back! And Mameli lost some weight! Pestilence played a nice mix of old and new stuff, and even found the time to let Darkane-drummer Peter Wildoer do a solo. And it's always cool to see an amazing bass player like Tony Choi rock out, since he earns a living with smooth Latin pop music. (Carn)

Papa Roach
It seems like Papa Roach has been around long enough to draw a nostalgic crowd. The band kicked off with 'Between Angels & Insects', and to my (and probably everyone's) suprise, the band sounded tight and energetic. Maybe using/kicking off the drugs and having a new (tight) drummer did the trick. The band played a decent selection of their later work like 'Getting Away With Murder', 'Forever', 'Scars' and 'Lifeline' before playing their classics 'Broken Home', 'Dead Cell' and 'Last Resort'. Probably the first band who got the whole crowd singing along! (Carn)

Mötley Crüe
'The Crue' must have been one of the weakest headliners for Graspop in recent memory. The band sounded bland, hardly any crowd interaction and way too much talking in between. Even a classic like 'Girls Girls Girls' didn't get that many people to sing along, so it was time for us to get some more beers. (Carn)

Probably the best band on Friday for me was L.A.’s industrial metal quartet Static-X. Being a fan of this band in the past I was already looking forward to see them again after 5 years. When the band commenced the tent was already filled - I didn’t expect the band to be this popular (or was it because Wayne’s wife and ex-porn actress Tera Wray danced almost naked on stage?). Yet the sound and show exceeded my expectations the most. Wayne Static and his mates delivered a freaking tight show wherein every aspect was great. The sound was lovely and the samples were really well audible. Wayne’s throat was excellent and the show drummer destroyed his kit completely. The setlist was a bit predictable but good anyways. We heard oldies like “Black And White”, “This Is Not”, “Push It”, “I’m With Stupid” and some stuff that came out a later like “Start A War” and “Destroy All”. From the recently released record Cult Of Static they played the single “Stingwray”. All-in-all a tremendous show that entertained a lot metalheads on Graspop! (Mindsaver)

Saturday June 27th

After Killswitch Engage cancelled their performance due to the passing of a close family member, In-Quest stepped in to play GMM’s mainstage as the first band on Saturday. I already saw this Belgian death metal band live twice a couple of years ago supporting Fear Factory - but since a new album (Made Out Of Negative Matter) is underway I was really excited to see them again. The band gave away a nice 40-minute show in which we clearly got to hear In-Quest’s own sound of industrial influenced death metal. Slower, doomy parts were varied with raging outbursts layered on atmospheric soundscapes. The stuff from their previous album The Comatose Quandaries therefore sounded quite epic, while the new songs were a lot faster with a technical approach. Stuff to look forward too at least! (Mindsaver)

Black Stone Cherry
Saturday's 'real opener' on the mainstage was Kentucky's Black Stone Cherry, and if you have ever seen this band you know that you will have a good time. The band kicked off with 'Rain Wizard', 'Blind Man' and 'Backwoods Gold', and frontman Chris had a fun time hosing water on the crowd. Even guitarist Ben got the water treatment, resulting in some on-stage laughs. The guys also did their solo-thing, which went on a little bit too long. We also got a nice rendition of 'Voodoo Child', so all in all a great way to start this sunny Saturday. (Carn)

One of the odd bands today are rock-legends Journey. They didn't draw many people to the mainstage, but 'new' vocalist Arnel Pineda sounded great and really tried to make a show out of it. Of course, everyone was waiting for tracks like 'Faithfully', 'Don't Stop Believing' and 'Anyway You Wanted', so in the end there were a lot of people singing along. (Carn)

Moshpits. Angry vocals. Crowd Response. Raising fists. (Carn)

There weren’t too many death metal bands on Graspop, so I was of course present when Kataklysm did their thing in the biggest tent. Too bad that their show is becoming less and less interesting everytime I see them, since they pretty much always play the same songs. Most of the material they performed came from the more recent albums, Prevail, In The Arms Of Devastation and Serenity In Fire. I never got to hear great songs like “Stormland” and “The Ambassador Of Pain” live, and today their trademark, the gravity blast, didn’t have as much impact as usual. Not that it wasn’t audible ‘cause the sound was fine and their play tight but it just didn’t flatten me like previous times. (Mindsaver)

Delain played in the Metaldome, which actually ended up being too small for this Dutch act. Tracks like 'The Gathering' got everyone jumping, and it's just a matter of time before we will see Delain playing on the bigger stages! (Carn)

The mighty Mastodon gained a spot on the mainstage this Graspop, but had bad luck with the sound. The rhythm guitar wasn’t really well audible and also the vocals weren’t as great as on record. The latter is not really strange since Mastodon’s voice lines by all four members on their latest output Crack The Skye are simply too perfect to copy on stage, but the band still managed to give away a nice show. With Bill Kelliher back on stage after being hospitalized during their latest European tour we finally got to hear new tracks live. The band kicked their set off with the single “Oblivion”, before playing some tracks of Blood Mountain, “The Wolf Is Loose”, “Colony Of Birchmen” and the crazy “Bladecatcher”. Next to more oldies like “Blood And Thunder” they also presented us the beautiful “The Czar”, also from the new album. Besides the not-so-optimal sound we were still treated on an enjoyable show. (Mindsaver)

Legion Of The Damned
Dutch thrash anyone?? Legion Of The Damned performed in a sweaty hot tent which was 34 degrees Celsius at that time, but still completely filled with thrash heads. The band delivered a damn tight set that probably raised the quicksilver to about 50 degrees, but it was worth it. The setlist doesn’t really matter since all tracks are of a comparable (high) level, but to give you some names anyway: “Sons Of The Jackal”, “Dead Head March”, “Cult Of The Dead” and final track “Legion Of The Damned” all passed by. Expect some hot DVD footage from this gig! (Mindsaver)

The Frenchmen from Dagoba had to play in the Metal Dome, that wasn’t even half full. Yet those who were present participated for the largest part in a big wall of death and even bigger circle pit. Their setlist spanned all their albums, including a couple of songs from their most known record What Hell Is About, being “The Fall Of Men”, “The Man You’re Not”, “It's All About Time” and also a new one called “The Nightfall And All Its Mistakes” coming from last year’s Face The Colossus. Too bad of the relatively small amount of people in the tent, with as consequence that the sound was a bit mouthy/sharp. (Mindsaver)

Gojira had some delay travelling from Finland to France, and therefore had to change spots with Death Angel. Luckily enough we knew this in time, otherwise we might have missed one of our favourite acts on Graspop. During headline gigs, Gojira usually performs in studio quality. That’s not really realistic when playing on a festival - in this case the guitars unfortunately weren’t well audible. Yet, I heard the most brutal sound I could ever imagine Gojira would perform. The bass and drums were really pounding and were the basis for Gojira’s victory here today. The crowd went nuts on killer tracks from From Sirius To Mars (“The Heaviest Matter Of The Universe”, “Backbone”, “Flying Whales”) and The Way Of All Flesh (“Oroborus”, “Toxic Garbage Island”, “Vacuity”). Long-time fans were pleased with Terra Incognita’s opening track “Clone” and the amazing “Love” from the same album. The combination of the energetic and convincing performance, the massive response of the crowd and the brutal sound gave me goosebumbs several times. The addition of a new fresh drum solo from Mario Duplantier made it the best show of the day. A top-class run for election for playing Graspop’s mainstage some day! (Mindsaver)

Just like Papa Roach, Korn drew a big 'nostalgic' crowd. Singer Jonathan Davis looked fit, and new drummer Ray Luzier added a decent amount of 'metal' to the band's sound. 'Falling Away From Me' got the crowd going, and tracks like 'Blind' and 'Freak On a Leash' worked like a charm. Hell, I was singing along! The final song was Pink Floyd's 'Brick In The Wall', which surprised a lot of people. Again, a tight show of one of the founders of 'nu-metal'. (Carn)

Volbeat’s success reaches far further than their own country borders. Tonight a packed tent was awaiting these Danish lads to fulfil a great metal party. From start ‘till finish everybody sang along with each and every track, whether it was from their debut The Strength/The Sound/The Songs, its follow-up Rock The Rebel/Metal The Devil or from their latest record Guitar Gangsters & Cadillac Blood. The song “Sad Man’s Tongue” was played in honour of Michael Poulsen’s father who passed away a year ago, causing the only silent moment of the show. As for the rest everybody screamed, played air guitar and danced on all their familiar tracks like “Another Day, Another Way”, “Pool Of Booze, Booze, Booza”, “Mr. & Mrs. Ness”, “The Garden's Tale”, “Radio Girl” and “Hallelujah Goat”. Less predictable were the covers from The Misfits (“Angelfuck”) and none other than 'Raining Blood' from Slayer, which made the tent explode even more! I never expected it to be such a massive party. Volbeat for the win! (Mindsaver)

Sunday June 28th

The Reckoning
The Belgian blackened death metallers from The Reckoning commenced their show at 11.30 AM and so the tent they played wasn’t too crowded at the start. The sound wasn’t really clean and so the first part of their set tended more to a black metal sound with its furious fast play. During the second half of their show we got to hear the, in my opinion, better songs from their latest album Counterblast. The sound became a little better and thus we could enjoy their Vader-like death metal a bit more, although it became a little tedious at the end since there isn’t all too much variation in their music. (Mindsaver)

One of the first big mainstage acts on Sunday was Trivium, which were a bit of a mixed bag. The sound seemed a bit off (Korn sounded much better). Trivium played a decent mix of all their albums, and the large crowd seemed to appreciate it. Personally, I've seen (and heard) them play better shows. (Carn)

Again a band that had their biggest succes in the late 90s. Disturbed made sure to play the tracks everyone knows, which meant a lot of tracks from their first album: 'Meaning of Life', 'Stupify' and 'Down With The Sickness' included. The band didn't shy away from their Genesis cover 'Land of Confusion', so the sing-a-long factor was pretty high during their set. (Carn)

Details Written on Monday Jul 6th, 2009
Writer @Carn

Tags: #Graspop 2009