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Paaspop 2003 - With The Exploited, Dropkick Murphys, and more
This year's edition of the Paaspop festival in the Dutch province of Noord-Brabant had quite a cool line-up, with enough MetalRage material to pay this Festival a visit!

An exclusive interview with The Dropkick Murphys can be read elsewhere on this site!


SATURDAY

Arriving way too late to check out this years opening act Astrosoniq, I was just in time to check out the Belgian Rap Metal band Gazzoleen. I never heard their music before, but having read the enormous amount of great reviews and reactions, I was curious to watch them.

But I'll have to disappoint the kids who absolutely loved this formation in The Masters Of Rock tent. To me it was boring and so NOT original. Sorry kids, but I have seen this kind of "everybody jump" music way too many times before, and frankly, I'm fed up with it.

Gazzoleen is a band that consists of 5 members, one being totally useless (the "DJ"), probably being one of the band members' younger brother. The guy just stood there on stage and looked like excess baggage to me anyway.

But the problem isn't the fact that the singer probably stood in front of the mirror checking out his own cool moves all morning, it isn't the fact that the band is annoying to watch, it isn't the union jack boxer shorts the singer is wearing to attract the ladies nor that dumb DJ..

..It's that damned music that annoyed the hell out of me. Deftones, Rammstein, Linkin Park, Korn, Limp Bizkit... yes they are all here! To me Gazzoleen is the world's greatest Remix band. They take a popular style and make it not quite there own.

Besides that the music I heard was disgustingly predictable. 1 2 3 JUMP! Every break, every kick... It was all too easy to detect. All those ingredients make the band Ideal for your father to ROCK OUT to, aswell as your ugly Goth kid brother or your cross-eyed mohawk 12-year-old sister. Not too impressive.

Next Eindhoven RockCity Punkrock formation The Spades came as a total relief. The 70s style punk band that evolves around fat bastard Denvis are complete assholes, as I understand it, and frankly I the sight of all that sweaty Rock N Roll attitude on stage is a great experience.

Now that Peter Pan Speedrock is close to being Holland's biggest Rock act, a lot of interest goes out to the Eindhoven scene. The Spades are among the bigger acts, and they've earned that title rightfully. The band doesn't feel the need to ask the crowd to "jump the fuck up", but simply stand there and play like a fucking tornado. I don't know what the fuck that meant but it seems to best way to describe a The Spades live-show.

The material is RAW and DIRTY, Denvis is an amusing entertainer, the band delivers a tight sound and turns the place upside down. A large amount of visitors is going bezerk, some heads are banging, and within 2 minutes the Tent smells of beer and sweat. The way it should be, right? Great performance, and If you ask me, the next big thing in (Punk) Rock.

After all that smelly rock n roll music, a whole hour of top 40 Goth Rock might be a bit disappointing. Especially if Within Temptation is the band we are talking about.

Don't get me wrong the guys and gal have some great performances on their resume, but I'm afraid that all those great performances lie far, far away in the past. The band has become popular very rapidly, and toured all the big festivals and almost every damned club in Holland after that.

The result? Utter and extreme over-exposure. Too bad, because the show they did at Paaspop wasn't all that bad!

The band did their best, and with a new stage scenery they played a mixture of the old (The Dance, Enter), the stuff we heard way to many times before (Mother Earth, Ice Queen), and some new material. And I'm sorry once again to see the band not climbing out of the negative downward spiral, because the new stuff that was announced was disappointing, and frankly... quite boring.

The audience doesn't seem to be impressed by the band anymore, as near to no one replied to remarks such as "how are you doing" and "I can't hear you". A shame to see a band going down after that enormous success. Best thing this band can do is stop touring and lay low for a year, or two maybe. For now, myself and the other 2000-3000 people in this tent were totally fed up with the formula we know all to well.

In the Masters Of Rock stage a new and quite successful band was playing. Face Tomorrow. These guys have been touring a lot, and the critics have been great so far.

Exclude MetalRage.com for that one though. Cause yep, I have something to bitch about again. Or should I say nothing? Because this stuff was so boring I had problems staying awake! I'm not sure what these guys think they are playing, but I do know it sounds the same all the bleeding time, and that the singer needs a big kick underneath his ass. Stop wining Chino Moreno style, start singing aight? You sound like frigging Green Lizard. No score for this boring live act, with a half empty Rock Tent drinking beer, or talking. A bit of a mistake, programming this band so high on the bill.

What a switchback to Peter Pan Speedrock that was! Billed at quite late (the gig started at 1 am), the tent was packed, the band rocked the fuck out of the visitors as we are used to of Peter Pan. This is simply the best rock act we have in The Netherlands, and tonight the band didn't let me down, as to be expected.

For our foreign visitors/readers, let me explain a little bit about this garage punk rock band of which you'll hear soon enough in your country. They fucking rock! Their sound is so universal that it attracts every kind of hard music lover. Yes your dad will love it, yes your kid brother will understand it too, but at least this music will withstand time. It's timeless and powerful, and seeing a band like this gives me goosebumps. A performance so professional and thrashing is rare these days in the Dutch hard rock scene!

The set list consisted of instant rock classics such as Resurrection, Gotta Get Some, Mesdaditas, Rock City, Big Toy, Kings Of Speed and between that and the immortal anthem Donkey Punch, the audience got a side order of new material from the forthcoming new album. And believe me, it sounds promising! It sounds like the Peter Pan mania can continue without delay as soon as this new record is released!

SUNDAY

The Sunday bill looks a bit tacky with musical vomit like Kane and Krezip high on the list, but seeing names such as Dropkick Murphys and After Forever made it alright in the end.

Being a lazy bastard, I slept my way through the Shandon gig, missed out on the psychedelic tones of The Riplets and didn't feel like being bored out of my brain, and therefore skipped Holland's most overestimated band, Green Lizard. Sorry about that. Now for some good music.

I had to miss half of the gig of one of the best Dutch metalcore acts, Agresion because I had an interview planned during the show, but what I did see was kinda cool.

Agresion is a band with members both from Holland and Venezuela who play down to earth metal core with quite a melodic side to it. I missed out on some of the older (and in my opinion better) material so I only heard the newer stuff.

The crowd consisted of mainly younger kids with weird hairdo's (look who talking huh?) who went absolutely ape shit. To these kids Agresion is the best band in the world, and I guess there is nothing wrong with enjoying yourself, so I won't bitch about what these kiddies think what a moshpit looks like or the fact that headbanging looks kinda dorky is you've dyed your hair blue. It's all innocent fun I guess.

Anyway the show was quite cool, the only main downside that I can recall were the long pauses between the songs. Nice one.

After nearly peeling my skin off listening to Krezip, I stood in the front row of the Masters Of Rock tent to check out another favourite of mine in the Dutch rock and metal scene, After Forever. This is one of those Dutch acts that deliver every time they perform, with a hot chick for a singer to make it all alright.

There I was, surrounded by totally weird Goths who have yet to discover Clearasil. Weird looking freaky kids with crooked necks, dorky glasses and way to black clothing. All enthusiastic about seeing their jerk off dream number one: After Forever's Floor. A bizarre experience seeing these kids bang like mad.

Despite that After Forever gave these nerds and everyone else in the tent what they wanted. An hour of absolute Goth supremacy. The great tracks from their latest album (the band is heading for the studio any day now) sounded satisfying, the new shit sounded decent and the standard Iron Maiden cover rocked me to say the least. Near the end of the set I had to leave my new nerdy friends in the front row to get a good place at the Dropkick Murphys, but what I heard sounded good, as always with After Forever. And oh yeah, mister sound man, try turning down the drums next time. This way the second guitar player is playing for John with the short surname.

Dropkick Murphys have a reputation for making the crowd go crazy nomatter where they turn up. It's always cool to see so many subcultures as Punchers, Bikers, Metalheads and Skinheads joining in the music and singing along the songs. The Paaspop gig was no different. A full hour of great punk music and a "Let's go Murphys" chanting audience. A very good mix of the older material, the recent Sing Loud Sing Proud music and the newer, more Hardcore Punk based songs. The drunken and sedated crowd loved every minute of it.

During their sing a long classic The Wild Rover the band stopped for ten seconds to let the audience sing the lyrics, and the sound created by the crowd gave me Goosebumps. I wouldn't be surprised if more than half of the fully packed main stage tent was singing the words to the song. Really cool.
Leadsinger Al Barr took the time to credit the Dutch scene by thanking names like Discipline and Onno Cro-Mag, before the band blasted their new more punk orientated material through the Paaspop speakers, and once again (or should I say still) the crowd danced and sang like hell.

This band has it made, and I'm sure that no matter where they perform, the audience loves them. Their working class look is not just an image or a statement, they ARE real and the music IS real. I think we are looking at a living legend right here! After inviting girls on stage for the final, as always the Spicy Mchaggis Jig (despite the absence of Spicy himself), where those ugly and annoying kids I saw at Gazzoleen and Agresion didn't quite understand the word "girls" as most of the kids who climbed on stage were guys, the show came to a little early end. Thousands of people chanting "let's go murphys" for an encore didn't help at all, the band stayed backstage. Too bad, but a great experience once again to see this band do their stuff on stage.

Though I didn't feel my legs anymore, I still went back into the Masters Of Rock tent to check out The Exploited. Now I have to reveal a terrible fact. I hardly new The Exploited's music before their Paaspop gig, the only things I knew were "legendary band" "punk rock" "go see it or regret it". So I went and definitely didn't regret it! To me this band was a whole new experience. The old singer on stage with his shirt off and his belly hanging out, the long pauses between the songs played that night, it all didn't stop me from thinking "FUCK YEAH" every time the band kicked in another amazing track.

"FUCK YEAH" would be the only way to describe the songs, and not only because 80% of the track titles seem to start with the word "fuck". Their latest album "Fuck The System" (how surprising) is now in my possession and it fucking rocks! Fuck yeah, this fucking band from fucking Scotland fucking gave away an a-fucking-mazing fucking show. I'm sorry once again, If I would have been more familiar with this punk legend (something I regret not being after seeing them) I would have told you what songs they played. "Fuck ..." is one of them, anyway.

All I can tell you that this band seems to have earned their name as a legend more than rightfully, that they kick major ass on stage and that the music fitted nicely on the Paaspop bill along with The Dropkick Murphys, The Spades and Peter Pan Speedrock. Great show.

At that point Paaspop more or less came to an end. The conclusion is that this is quite a fun festival to visit! The only big bummer is that the Dutch weather can be so damned unpredictable so early in spring.
Low priced beer, nice atmosphere and a whole lotta drunk people.

And let's face it, you don't need much more than that on a festival except some good music now do you?