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Paaspop 2014 - Musical entertainment and more
Every years since 2003 the Metalrage crew did attend the beautiful Paaspop festival during the Easter weekend. And since it’s way better than having some sort of brunch with family we didn’t skip this year’s edition as well. Since we’ve been coming here all these years we have seen the festival change a lot. It has grown a lot bigger and the presentation of the festival ground has become more and more important. Several stages and music areas where added and it is starting to turn more and more into a circus instead of a music festival. The total “Paaspop experience” has become way more important. Also, the line-up wasn’t really top-notch, but with names like Terror, Hatebreed, And So I Watch Your From Afar and DevilDriver it still promised to be a blast as always. With The Prodigy they furthermore caught a really big fish to headline the festival , so let’s see what this weekend brought us.

Birth Of Joy – Jack Daniels Stage
The Dutch band Birth Of Joy had the honour of opening the Jack Daniels stage. A stage that has become bigger at this year’s edition. The band played at the infamous South By Southwest festival and even got the attention of Alice Cooper who played them at his radio show. From the first couple of tones it’s pretty obvious why they got the attention of Alice. Their blues-rock with some psychedelic hints impressed me and a lot of other people in the tent. A descent solid show that sounds promising for their future. (Niamen)
26 – Thunderbolt
Since it’s already twenty years ago that Kurt Cobain blew his brains out, a special show was presented by Twenty Six. This rockabilly band also played a cover set last year in the infamous Thunderbolt bar. Although it looks like a great idea to cover the entire Nevermind album it didn’t turn out pretty okay. First of all not all the songs are suitable for this and the combination of rockabilly and grunge sounded very sloppy from time to time. (Niamen)
Pro Wrestling Holland – Restolounge
After being a bit late at the festival due to my work I wanted to start with something to eat before drinking and partying with for example the guys from Terror, later that night. Entering the Restolounge, a tent with all sort of food stands, I saw a boxing ring in the middle of it. Looking at the program I found out there would be a couple of Pro Wrestling Holland demonstrations during the whole weekend and first one was about to begin. What I was about to see was the worst acting I’ve ever seen, but it all was highly entertaining. Like we said in the introduction, Paaspop is becoming more and more a festival that’s about entertainment, not specifically musical. (Gilles)
Hoffmaestro – Jack Daniel’s Stage
With a packed Thunderbolt where an AC/DC coverband was playing I decided to walk randomly towards the Jack Daniel’s Stage. What I saw was an energetic, funk- and electro-orientated ska act from Sweden. Hoffmaestro knew how to create a party and it resulted in more feet in the air than on the ground. Sometimes maybe a bit too condescending, but on the other hand: they did deliver. And with the Top Gun theme as an outro they ended their show aesthetic. (Gilles)
Terror – Jack Daniel’s Stage
Local hero Guus Meeuwis was headlining the Apollo main stage, but almost every rock/metal/hardcore fan headed over to the Jack Daniel’s Stage to see the mighty Terror perform. This Los Angeles hardcore outif has a tremendous live reputation and with every show they play they seem very eager to magnify this. Especially frontman Scott Vogel knows how to interact with a crowd. A Terror show is not just some form of one-way communication. Vogel gives everyone the opportunity to do whatever they want to do. Whether this is the roadie singing ‘Keepers Of The Faith’, or by throwing the mic into the audience to give them a voice. And when the audience isn’t able to join him on stage due to barriers, like today, Vogel does it the other way around and joins them in front of it. This all, in combination with a great set full of classics that cover their whole career it was the perfect ending of the first day of the festival. Christ, when all the bands this weekend would’ve played with this kind of passion I wouldn’t have survived it. Literally. (Gilles)
Paceshifters – Vinyl Mania & Thunderbolt
After having survived an afterparty during our first night at the campsite, the Saturday started with some crate digging at the Vinyl Mania record store. Today being Record Store Day this seemed obligated to do. The prices were ridiculously high unfortunately. Luckily there were also some instore sessions by several bands that play the festival, so I caught a glimpse of a stripped set of Paceshifters. Above all it was very loud in this small setting, but that was just what I needed. We watched them again when they played their normal set in the Thunderbolt and both sets were highly entertaining. These Dutch alternative rockers are rough diamonds, but definitely rising stars. Already played the famous SXSW festival in Austin, TX, USA and will be performing at the Pinkpop festival in a couple of months. Keep an eye on them. (Gilles)
Candybar Planet – Thunderbolt
These reunited stoners from the city of Eindhoven have released their second album last September. This piece of art called Timelapse was enough reason for me to check them out at the Thunderbolt bar. Probably the best place for the band on Paaspop, where the owner is probably also the president of the local Hells Angels chapter. You can drink your beer from a glass bottle instead of a plastic cup and ladies are pole dancing on the bar. As for the band, they played a real tight set with the accent on their latest album. Although the entire stage was constantly filled with smoke and you couldn’t see much it was pretty obvious that the band had a lot of fun onstage. Great show, great band. The only small problem was that the chairs outside in the sun where calling my name. (Niamen)
Halestorm – Phoenix
Brother and sister Halestorm are on a quest to take over the world with their typical American arena metal. Every rock cliché is present during their show and it’s just all about entertaining the crowd. Even huge ass drumsticks of 1 meter long. The only problem is that if you lose all those extra’s and you’ll only listen to the songs there’s not much left. Of course it’s nice to see a woman onstage in a metalband. Especially since it’s a well-shaped woman. But when it’s exploited like this I certainly lose my interest in the band. Next! (Niamen)
And So I Watch You From Afar – Jack Daniel’s Stage
With the change of the festival there are less heavier bands than a couple of years ago, with this in mind it was a bit strange DevilDriver ,And So I Watch You From Afar (ASIWYFA) and the Metallica cover band Imitallica were programmed around the same time. With in mind a great show of the band back at the Paaspop festival of 2011 I decided to go to ASIWYFA. Although their last album is a bit too “happy” and catchy in my opinion they delivered a great show once again. This time with some incidental, polyphonous vocals as well. With great post-rock and an energetic performance they  delivered a good show. Eventually even one of the guitarists ended up in the middle of the audience. (Gilles)
DevilDriver – Phoenix
Like I said before there wasn’t a lot of real metal present at the festival so I was pretty bummed out that they put DevilDriver next to And So I Watch You From Afar. Well I had to do my work so I visited both shows. I was quite surprised to see the tent not even filled for 50%, while Dez Fafara and his men were taking down Paaspop. But luckily for the guys the real fans in front of the stage where in for a party and that’s exactly what they got. Not one of their best shows, but still a descent one. (Niamen)
The Prodigy – Apollo
The local bars in the villages surrounding Schijndel were empty tonight, ‘cause everyone was at the main stage to watch the much anticipated performance of The Prodigy. Personally I let Peter Pan Speedrock’s performance slip to get a somewhat reasonable spot to watch this electronic dance act. In a fully loaded, sweaty tent The Prodigy gave away an entertaining performance. If people had any room they were dancing, but mostly it was just too crowd and only room to watch. And watching their show wasn’t a punishment either. With a badass light show and the numerous hits that were fired towards the crowd this was a very good investment of the Paaspop organization. It weren’t all positive experiences by the way. The end of the set was a bit abrupt and musically they weren’t at their best either. The biggest part of the audience didn’t seem to notice or just didn’t care at all. They were just here for a party and that’s what they received. (Gilles)
The Fortunate Sons – Thunderbolt
While The Prodigy was still performing, I decided to head over to my favourite hangout on festival ground. Indeed, the Thunderbolt Bar. The fact that A Creedence Clearwater Revival cover band was playing at the same time was a nice extra. It’s always nice to listen to some tunes that you’ve grew up with. Especially with a cold beer in my hand and all the great memories in my mind. (Niamen)
Black Bottle Riot – Thunderbolt
Just like the day before we started at our meeting place, the Thunderbolt bar. Today it were the guys from Black Bottle Riot to kickstart this last day of the festival. Their sleazy, bluesy rock ‘n roll is maybe a bit too cliché, but nonetheless it lets you start the day with a smile. The whole place was packed from the first moment, but whether this was due to the band or due to the bar I honestly don’t know. (Gilles)
DeWolff – Phoenix.
The youngsters from DeWolff have come a long way on their own with as a result a collaboration with Mark Neil, who you might know for his work with The Black Keys. Their latest album is not yet released but a small teaser with the name ‘Evil Mothergrabber’ is already released. Indeed noting new, but it’s typically DeWolff. Same goes for the show. Of course the boys are a bit cocky, but that does add something in their live show. Great show of a band that has a bright future! (Niamen)
Sleepy Sun – Jack Daniel’s Stage
The psychedelic rock band Sleepy Sun has already played some major festivals, but when they were announced the tent was awkwardly empty. The guys didn’t seem to be thrown off their game by this and played a very tight set. Their music was just too dreamy and maybe even a bit dull though for this hour of the day (17:30) and with the sun still shining bright outside. Furthermore there were a lot of “party”-bands today and this isn’t one of them. A bit misplaced unfortunately. (Gilles)
Drenge – Jack Daniel’s Stage
Still no big attendance at this stage, and the two-piece band Drenge weren’t really trying to give the crowd something extra. True, with just a guitar, a drum kit and one voice they produced an nice wall of noisy grunge, but they lacked the real fire to stand out. Prior to this show I didn’t know the band and I’m definitely going to give their self-titled debut album a spin, because although it wasn’t overwhelming, their songs did sound interesting. (Gilles)
VandenBerg’s Moonkings – Phoenix
My first impression when I heard that Ad VandenBerg had recorded a new album was quite simple: did he run out of his money? The Dutch guitar player that was responsible for classics like ‘Burning Heart’ and ‘Here I Go Again’ has a new band called Moonkings and to be honest, he did make me curious. From the first couple of tunes my scepticism went away very easily. The guy fortunately still knows how to play and write good rock songs. The fact that he surrounded himself with 3 other very capable musicians made it for my very clear that Moonkings is certainly a must see band. (Niamen)
Hatebreed – Phoenix
Just like the edition of 2011, Hatebreed had the honour of closing the Phoenix (back then it was called the Masters of Rock by the way). This year they celebrate their 20 year anniversary and what better way to do this than to tour your ass off. Great to see this band is still in shape and keeps mixing up their set to keep it entertaining for those who go and see them regularly. And it’s not very difficult to catch multiple shows a year. Last December they played the Speedfest festival and during this performance they announced they will be the headliner of the Jera On Air festival in June. They also promised they will perform an entire different setlist than today. Today they were mainly focused on the old stuff, but not forgetting their more recent work like ‘Boundless’ and ‘Honor Never Dies’ of their latest record called The Divinity Of Purpose. This band knows how to fire up a crowd and seeing the numerous circle pits, fists in the air en headbanging people I wasn’t the only one enjoying. Can’t wait to see them in June. (Gilles)

More pictures can be found here