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Zwarte Cross - One big mud puddle...
(All pics : Lindsy Bouten)

The Zwarte Cross (Black Cross) still has a reputation by a lot of people as a hillbilly, farmer festival full with rude and drunk yokels. Yeah off course those kind of people are present, but what the hell! Aren’t we all a little bit of a drunk, fuck-up that wants to have fun and party? Anyway, I personally think the Zwarte Cross is one of the best organized festivals I’ve ever attended. The entrance fees are very low and for such a low fee you get everything you ever can imagine to be on a festival. I mean literally every form of music is present (including a metal-stage), a big carnival, theater, cabaret, a big amusing cross with all kinds of vehicles and motor-bikes and much more. Actually that’s probably the only down-side of this festival, there’s just too damn much going on at the same time!
In the afternoon the festival got struck by a terrible shower with lots a thunder and lightning and even hail. In an instant the fields where turned into one big mud puddle. This actually happened last year as well, which had a unique vision of Napalm Death playing, while above the stage the thunderbolts came down the sky! A lot of people didn’t seem to be bothered about the rain and mud and a good, friendly vibe was hanging around the fields.
On the small theater field they had again small tipi’s standing around, for small intimate concerts or storytelling. Denvis the singer and performer of the Spades and Denvis and the Real Deal, was the first in a row to give away an acoustic set with some amusing rock ‘n roll storytelling. Some amusing stories where told about his experiences with the Spades on the road. Or stories about Dikke Dennis attending on his birthday with a disgusting stage-act. He filled up his stories nicely with acoustic songs from the Spades, Johnny Cash, Nick Drake and Husker Du. (RoyBalowski)

The Lucifer Principle
This was the second year the Zwarte Cross had a ‘metal-stage’ and off course we had to attend that. First thing that was noticeable where the amount of metal-heads being there. The number of people had definitely doubled, compared to last year. So it’s pretty safe to say, that this stage seem to be a success and that we have to give it credit, compared to other metal festivals. The Zwarte Cross ‘metal-stage’ is here to stay! First band that had to deflower this stage was the Dutch stompin’ death-metal outfit The Lucifer Principle. After their release of their debut album Pitch Black Dawn, it went quite fast for this good and solid band. They played a lot of the bigger festivals, did some tours, so it was no surprise that they played today. Already after a few songs, they got the people moving in front of the stage. Musically it’s hard to resist to stand still by this band, because they play catchy, mid-tempo death-metal guided by a contra-bass. The fact the bass player uses a contra-bass is also an eye catcher. The set list was filled with songs of the new album Welcome to Bloodshed, but also with a lot of songs from Pitch Black Dawn. Good openings band! (RoyBalowski)

The response for this UK mathcore band wasn’t as good as with TLP, but their energetic and driving performance gained a lot of respect among the audience. After every song you saw they got a lot more people going in front of the stage. In the end they had quite a pit going and good response of the audience. Musically they sounded a bit more like an emo-version of The Dillinger Escape Plan, which explained the emo-fruits in front of the stage. In the end of the set Architects asked the crowd to jump up on down like at a Limp Bizkit show and it worked remarkably good. They got the field moving! Good festival band. (RoyBalowski)

The sound on this festival has been great overall. Loud (sometimes to loud) and very clear, so thumbs up to all sound-engineers! After surviving the first two bands on the metal-stage, I wanted to check out this amazing glam/garage-rock band out of Sweden in de ‘mega tent’. Dollhouse is an energeticsoulrock ‘n’ roll band, which you can see as the Swedish version of the Bellrays. Unfortunately they had to play straight after the party rock ‘n loll band BZB and on a festival like this, a lot of people want to see bands like that. The tent was still filled with stubborn people that just saw BZB and just a hand full of people could care less about Dollhouse. They really had a hard time to convince the people and even during the set some small fights occurred. The show was energetic and good, they really tried to get things going, with the singer climbing on top of amplifiers and stuff like that. I like to see them in a smaller venue soon, because I liked what I heard. Great band if you’re into garage-rock with a lot of soul elements. (RoyBalowski)

After some soul it was time again to get back to the metal fields to absorb some fine Norwegian black-metal from Vreid. This band arose out of the disbanded cult band Windir after their singer died during a winter walk in the woods. Where Windir had a lot of traditional folk influences and instruments, Vreid is a bit more straight forward, atmospheric black-metal. Musically they are very near the sound of their label mates Enslaved. They slowly evolved from a folky black-metal band, to a grown up more progressive black-metal band. Good show with an excellent sound, but not all the songs are sticking. Some songs are just not catchy enough. For the rest a decent show. They played a lot of songs from their last album called Milorg. A decent modest and atmospheric black-metal with some original approaches. (RoyBalowski)

Arch Enemy
After a full day of thinking we were just there with a half a field of metal-heads, Arch Enemy proved us wrong. All of a sudden the whole metal field was filled with metal-heads. Strange, but they managed to pull a lot of people in front of the stage. Is it because of Angela or are they that popular? They opened up with a song of their last album Rise Of The Tyrant and got the crowd going in an instant. They also played a lot of songs of the Doomsday Machine album. Although they aren’t my cup of tea, they are one oiled metal machine. Great show, great sound and just a great performance. And when you attract so many people to your show, I just can say ‘kudos’ to Arch Enemy. (RoyBalowski)


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Details Written on Saturday Aug 8th, 2009
Writer @RoyBalowski

Tags: #Zwarte Cross