Paaspop 2009 - Opening the festival seasonFor several years the opener of the Dutch festival season has been the Schijndel based festival Paaspop. Metalrage started visiting this festival in 2003 and like always we were present this year to see some nice acts, enjoying the amazing weather but most of all experiencing the great atmosphere at Paaspop.
The honour of opening the festival at the Masters Of Rock stage was reserved for the Rotterdam-based indie rock band Face Tomorrow. Unfortunately they couldn’t totally convince the crew why watching bands perform was the best activity to do during this festival, instead of drinking beer at the camp site. Especially in the beginning of their 45-minutes lasting show, they were way too tame. At the end of their set they played some older songs like ‘Sign Up’ and ‘Worth The Wait’ which were of the level we had hoped the whole show would be. It’s not that the newer songs are total crap; their latest single ‘Overpowered’ for example is a really good song. The thing is just that the contrast between the older and newer songs is too big and due to an unbalanced setlist they clearly emphasised it themselves.
One and a half year ago I saw The Blackout on the Rockstar Taste Of Chaos tour with bands like Rise Against and The Used. Back then they didn’t impress me at all, but at least there were a lot of young people enjoying their emocore. On Paaspop the music was equally awful, but the young audience wasn’t there to scream and clap along. Most people were more attracted to a cold beer, while enjoying the beautiful weather, instead of listening to some very predictable music. Can’t blame them.
There’s hardly an edition of Paaspop where BZB hasn’t been present on the lineup and there's a reason for that. This band, which plays a mixture of folk and rock ‘n roll, is a typical party band with the ditto lyrics. At the beginning of the set it was already very crowded and hot in the main stage tent. With the first tones of ´Ik Leer Het Nooit´ from their latest album 'Bart' the shit hit the fan and the crowd went wild. From there on it’s just one little step further for another great show of BZB. With both old and new songs, that are both chanted along by a lot of people in the tent, they manage to start the party and hold it on for the entire set. Just like the usual another great party.
Action in DC
To be honest I’m not the most dedicated AC/DC fan. Of course I have an album of them somewhere and I did see one or two shows on the TV but that’s about it. This didn’t stop me to go and see the best AC/DC coverband that Holland's got to offer. With a lot of oldies but goodies they immediately stole the hearts of the audience. Of course every thing is better with the real thing but considering the fact that the real deal is very hard to see live these days I can say that this is a great substitute. Of course all the hits where played and they even pulled out the big guns during their encore of ´For Those About To Rock´
Paaspop would not be Paaspop if there wasn't at least one extreme metal band on the bill. This year marked the return of a certain Dutch death metal legend called Pestilence, making way for giggling stuff like 'hihi, Pestilence and Novastar playing the same festival'. You gotta admire the festival organisation for this bold kind of programming. A decision met with a lukewarm audience representation; after two songs most of the attending folks walked out again with a look on their faces that read 'this is too much'. The longhairs who stayed inside enjoyed the return with a smile and an occasionally raised beer in between songs, headbanging to one of Holland's finest. Not for the easy listening music fan, the complex and harsh metal divided the attending audience into two groups: those who were disgusted and those who were eating it. Unfortunately for Pestilence; the latter turned out to be the minority.
Tenement Kids is a Dutch band that consists of four guys from Utrecht. They play energetic punk-orientated rock, but the audience at Paaspop seemingly couldn’t care less. During the performance of another band - Drive Like Maria, half an hour earlier - the place was overcrowded. During Tenement Kids it was almost empty in front of the stage. In Belgium they are way more popular than in their own country, so this probably must have felt as a rehearsal for their gig at the Groezrock festival next weekend for them. Hopefully then they do get the attention they deserve.
Peter Pan Speedrock
When the first names for the Paaspop festival start drizzling through around January, there's always one band you can put your money on: the 'house band' Peter Pan Speedrock. This three-piece band from Eindhoven is the only band to play the festival every year, never failing to entertain the crowd with their solid and still underrated classics. Standing there, seeing the band play Paaspop for the millionth time you start to wonder: why is it that every CD player on the campsite and every DJ that plays the music in between bands still bothers us with 'Highway to Hell', 'Killing in the Name Of' and 'Bro Hymn', when the Dutch have their own 'Resurrection'? Why? The Germans love their own shitty Toten Hosen and Artze, and know their songs by heart. Still, in Holland it takes a live gig in the Masters of Rock tent to remind everyone of the excellence the band's material and the just live reputation. Peter Pan Speedrock should have been one of the biggest bands around by now. The fact that they aren't doesn't seem to bother these guys by the way, as they still play their nuts off, no matter if it's ten or a thousand people attending. Same thing for this millionth Paaspop show; a perfect atmosphere of drunk and crude singing of home baked lyrics and air guitar fun. With - as ever - 'mascot' Dikke Dennis being the light of the party, trotting the stage with his butt crack exposed delivering the shows only small surprise: a brand new song that sounded alright. Until Paaspop 2010, I guess.
Every year it’s obvious that Paaspop is booking a wider range of bands. The result of that development was the programming of 4 hiphop acts in one row. Indeed I said hiphop. This means that all the narrow minded readers can skip this part. The first hiphop act to climb the Extrema stage was Zo Moeilijk. At first sight it looked pretty okay but after a while they kept doing the same trick over and over again. Next to this was the fact that the sound was way too loud which caused the lyrics to drown in the beat.
Rico & Sticks
The same problem occured with the next act Rico & Sticks from the Dutch rap group Opgezwolle. Luckily enough this problem was solved very quickly and with the start of the second song, ‘Hoedenplank’, the vibe turned awesome immediately. This instant classic will even turn your local library into a hip hop partyzone. So after this it was on with much more songs from the same album Eigen Wereld and the show was over before you knew it. Personally I thought it to be one of the better acts of Paaspop.
After the great show of Rico & Sticks it was time for The Fringe. A Dutch rap group that has its influences from the Beastie Boys. The energy was pretty good on stage: The members were constantly making contact with the audience, and the music just screamed for a little party onstage. Finally in the end the party turned to the dancefloor. It was just a shame that The Fringe had only a lousy 15 minutes playing time. I loved to see more of them live.
De Jeugd Van Tegenwoordig
The headliner of these couple hours of rap was the famous Dutch rapgroup De Jeugd Van Tegenwoordig. Considering the crowded tent it was obvious that a lot of people were there to check them out. Starting with their first hit ‘Watskebeurt’ gave a lot of good response from the audience. After this it was more of the same hits of De Jeugd Van Tegenwoordig. The only problem was that the same songs that sounds so funny on the radio didn't convince me live. The longer I stayed to see them, the more I started to think about a nice cold beer and some food in my stomach.
When I first read about this band I immediately got curious. Sadly I didn’t have the time to check them out earlier so I was quite pleased that Elle Bandita did open the second day at the rock stage. The only sad thing is that I had to rush myself to the rock stage considering they would start at one o clock in the afternoon. With the first tones I knew I was right I had to check this one out earlier. With their no nonsense grooving rock the band immediately stole my heart. Or maybe it was the smelly skinny porn chick that is the centre of the band. It doesn’t matter because the band gave a great performance that still didn’t get a lot of reaction from the audience. At the end of the set the tent was half filled with people and Elle Bandita finally got the response they deserved.
Walls Of Jericho
Female fronted hardcore act Walls Of Jericho is not a band which you can often see on a main stream festival. On the second day of Paaspop they are the second act in the Masters Of Rock tent where they face a more main stream audience than usual. This doesn't affect their performance, starting from the first second the band goes full throttle. Front woman Candace changed her weird dance moves into her own, on stage, mosh pit and she is constantly asking the crowd for more. Overall the act was one of the better shows during this edition of Paaspop. When they left the stage after 35 minutes in stead of the planned hour the majority of the people seemed to be pleased.
One of those bands that you have to admit you don't give them the credit they deserve is Belgium's Triggerfinger. The hardrock ensemble is the type of group that you have to see live to remind you of how good the last show was you saw. Why is that? Maybe there's too many great bands out there allready. Whatever the reason maybe, Triggerfinger definitely deserve more credit and attention than they enjoy these days. Not just great songwriters - mastering the art of balancing between heavyness and melody like the Foo Fighters and Queens of the Stone Age - the threesome knows how to present the material live: with conviction, balls out tough and flawlessly cool. Paaspop seemed to agree, as the band drew a large crowd. More than the major compatitor that day: the sunny weather outside. Time to dust off that cd you bought a long time ago when Triggerfinger were playing that support slot. Awesome band, remember?
Yet another one of the gothic acts hailing from the Netherlands. After a crappy introduction from MTV host Dennis the band enters the stage. The band had prepared a calmer set for the Paaspop audience present in the Masters of Rock tent. Luckily the band still included some heavier material. Due to a bad mix there is too much bass in their sound which causes the sound to over steer on a regular bases. The set included songs like Solitary Ground, Sancta Terra and the last song was Consign To Oblivion. The die hard fans present clearly enjoyed the set, for the rest of the audience it was entertaining.
Creature With The Atom Brain
It takes a lot to scare our esteemed colleagues Gilles and Niamen. These musical omnivores are not of the closed minded sorts of folks, but a certain band called Creature With the Atom Brain, playing the Jack Daniel's Stage on Sunday night seemingly did the trick. After about one and a half songs the two left the tent, shaking their heads in disinterest. Well, in a way not surprising. These sludge rockers from Belgium are not quite the typical Paaspop band; you're more likely to find them at festivals like Dour or Roadburn; where the musical preference is a lot closer to Neurosis, High on Fire and Mastodon than it is to BZB and Volbeat. Judging on the very empty tent in Schijndel; music this heavy wasn't most people's cup of tea. Shame, but the four-piece delivered a decent mind- and earfuck all the same. With the volume cranked up slightly too high and the band members looking down at the stage for ninety percent of the time it's not quite the show stomper that Paaspop wants, but musically the hypnotising riffs and ultra low groove it turned out to be a band to look out for if you're into noise, sludge and headmusic. Guess if you are, you weren't there to see it at Paaspop. But that's alright, Creature With the Atom Brain get the attention they deserve on their own strength. Just not at a festival where beer tossing and shouting cuss words are the headliner.
Volbeat has been playing over and over again in Europe the last couple of years. Add to this the fact that they released three albums during those years and you could consider them a hardworking band. Next to this Volbeat knows how to build a party that is worthy of the rockstage. With Michael Poulsen as the charismatic frontman they only need about one song to bring the entire tent into party mode, especially in the front regions of the tent where it’s practically raining inside. Considering they’re doing their trick over and over again you could question yourself if it’s original. On the other hand they do manage to give a great show where the audience goes insane. So Paaspop wasn’t very original when they decided to give the Headlining slot of the rock tent to the Danish rockers, on the other hand they did manage to build a great party with a packed tent.