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Groezrock 2009 - 2 days of Hardcore enjoyment
With an impressive bill, if you like metalcore, hardcore and punk that is, Groezrock succeeded in welcoming people from all over the world at their annual festival. With 55 bands, divided over three stages in one-and-a-half day, Metalrage obviously couldn’t just stay home and let the 18th edition of this growing circus pass by.
United Nations
When a band has to remove their pages from Myspace and Facebook for violating copyright laws by using the “real” United Nations logo, and no one knows exactly who all the members of the band are, you’re definitely punk enough to play at Groezrock. Because the band members hid their faces behind Ronald Regan masks on promotional pictures, the act attracted some attention for curious people who wanted to know the real faces behind this project. In one of the talks between the songs, the only singer Geoff Rickly, who is the only revealed member, from the band Thursday, claims to not sell t-shirts because “we don’t believe in merchandise”. Another nonconformist statement is set. Their chaotic “emopowerviolence”, as they describe their own music without being all too serious, sounded fresh and entertaining. I was hoping for the song ‘Say Goodbye To General Figment Of The USS Imagination’, with an impressive saxophone solo, but it never came… Overall, the performance was quite entertaining! (Mordecai)

The description on the Groezrock website mentions Enter Shikari and as a fan of the concept electro combined with hardcore/metal, I was immediately interested. Although this band is from the USA and is musically much lighter than the aforementioned, it sounded surprisingly good. There wasn’t a very large crowd, but the people that were there, surely couldn’t stand still. Next time, the keyboard guy should try to mess a little less with the mic effects, and try to stage dive into a denser crowd more. (Mordecai)

Bring me the Horizon
Personally I’ve never been a big fan of these guys. But they are popular and the music is quite “danceable”. A good atmosphere was therefore almost guaranteed. Their popularity, and in particular that of idolized front man Oliver Sykes, was once again verified in the first seconds. From the moment he appeared on stage the, overall youthful, crowd went nuts. The great opening track ‘Diamonds are Forever’, with a catchy sing-a-long intro, was a beginning of a well chosen (kinda subjective) set list, which contained mainly newer tracks. A well documented wall of death completed the set. (Mordecai)

Bullet for my Valentine
Crap. The cover of Metallica’s ‘Creeping Death’ was pretty decent, but mostly it was just crap. (Mordecai)
After arriving at the festival I directly went to the Core Stage to see Bane perform. With Bane I don’t mean the villain in the Batman comics, but the hardcore band from Worcester, Massachusetts that began as a side project of Converge’s Aaron Dalbec. Due to Dalbec’s devotion to Bane he was asked to leave Converge, which turned Bane into a full-time project. For this time of the day it was pretty crowded and the band played a great show. With their energetic performance they definitely had woken up the audience for all the great bands that still had to play. (Gilles)
Misery Signals
Let's start this review negative, the sound was utter crap at the Eastpack Core Stage. And that is quite a disappointment when there are hundreds of people watching you play. Misery Signals was hard to watch due to this major problem. Even though they did manage to entertain the first 10 rows which resulted in quite a mosh pit. Their live reputation is quite good and today they proved the fact they can play their songs. (Buzzin Hornet)

Walking the face of the earth since the beginning of this century, Emery is the fourth band on the Eastpack Core stage. The emo (core) band does manage to entertain the diehard fans present. But once again the sound is too bad to get a clear vision on their performance. It was mainly the visuals which entertained the present Metalrage crew. The band has got a duo on vocals, one looking posh and the other one is a metalhead in skinny jeans. The majority of the vocals are handled by the posh guy and during this the metalhead walks around the stage like he doesn't belong there. And when he did his parts it was pretty bad. Better luck next time guys. (Buzzin Hornet)

This UK based hardcore / metal act is one of the more technical acts present at this year’s edition of Groezrock. This results in an audience of which the majority does not understand the more complex songs. Even though the band is playing a tight show today and they are clearly enjoying their set when the audience in front of the stage reacts in a pretty big circle pit. Front man Sam on his end returns the favor by jumping into the front stage pit to sing together with the crowd. Perfect show! (Buzzin Hornet)
True Colors
By far the surprise of the day. These Belgians don’t deliver a very unique sound in hardcore, but damn did they destroy the Back 2 Basics Stage! The smallest of the three stages was the perfect setting for a successful hardcore show and True Colors was the first band to prove it. With a lot of stage-divers and various other visitors moshing around, you felt the intensity that was missing with bands on the other stages. In May they go on an European tour with Bitter End (USA), so my advice: check them out! (Gilles)
First Blood
After drinking a beer at the special beer stand and listening to the drum n bass, hip hop and dance of the Jägermeister-DJ it was time for First Fucking Blood. Due to the cancellation of Jasta, reason still unknown, the organisation asked if First Blood wanted to fill up the gap and they did it with great conviction. The start of the show wasn’t that promising due to the sound in the Core Stage, but it turned out to be one of the best acts of the day. Especially during the last two songs, ‘Next Time I See You, You’re Dead’ and ‘First Blood’, the audience went completely wild. After seeing this performance you wonder why they weren’t on the bill in the first place, but hey, nobody is perfect. (Gilles)
Darkest Hour
Darkest Hour was the first band where the sound improved a little bit. During the entire day the Eastpack Core stage had major sounds problems but it almost looked like the acts were allowed to use their own sound engineer from now on. Darkest Hour has been together for quite some time now and this resulted in a extremely entertaining show where the band is interacting with the crowd constantly. The drummer is standing on his kit in between the songs and the guitarists create a pyramid on stage before starting the next song. The crowd on their end create once again a bigger pit in the tent. (Buzzin Hornet)
Death Before Dishonor
For the fifth time in approximately one and a half year I had the honour to watch a show of Boston’s Death Before Dishonor. Their stop at the Groezrock festival was the first one of their European tour with Nations Afire. After being locked up in a studio for some time to work on their forthcoming yet-to-be-titled full-length they’re now back on the road again. The encounter with these four guys was again a very pleasant one. Their set list didn’t contain surprising songs, but the audience at the B2B Stage couldn’t care less. The lyrics, of ‘Boston Belongs To Me’ and ‘6.6.6. (Friends Family Forever)’ for example, were sung along by the audience at the top of their lungs and the dance floor was overcrowded. They were allowed to play a full hour, but with a powerful performance of 35 minutes I didn’t hear anybody complain. Especially not due to the fact the audience was now able to see the full set of Comeback Kid at the Core Stage. (Gilles)

Comeback Kid
What can we say about CBK that hasn’t been said before? Probably not much, ‘cause they’re getting bigger and bigger and everybody seems to know them by now. This popularity also causes the expectations to get higher and higher with each time they come back to Europe. On Groezrock they proved they can handle a huge stage, while the thousands of people in front of that stage are demanding nothing less than perfection. The intensity of the show wasn’t as high as when they would play a club show, but that isn’t fair to ask in this situation. The most beautiful part of the gig was when they ended with the killer track ‘Waking The Dead’ and the people kept on singing the chorus after CBK left the stage. “You said, you said, you said: this time was gonna be different. WAKE! UP! THE! DEAD!”. CBK is currently at the point where it’s almost impossible for them to do anything wrong with their fans and the number of those fans is only increasing. (Gilles)
Nations Afire
Currently on tour with Death Before Dishonor, Nations Afire received a really high slot on the festival billing, while this is just their first show ever as a band. The members are way more experienced than the band as a whole though. With Chris Chasse (ex-Rise Against, ex-Reach The Sky), Brett Rasmussen (Ignite), Todd Hennig (ex-Death By Stereo), Nik Hill (Ignite) and front man Steve Ludwig, Nations Afire has a really solid foundation. The music they play is a combination of punk, rock and hardcore or as you also could say: the logical junction between Rise Against and Ignite. Due to the unfamiliarity with the band most visitors didn’t go to the B2B Stage to see them perform, but I’m sure there are a lot more people digging their music than there were in front of the stage. The audience that was present did have some problems with getting started though. After approximately 20 minutes most people were convinced by their music and dancers and divers started doing what they are good at. All in all a nice alternative for when Ignite isn’t touring, writing or rehearsing. (Gilles)

Bleeding Through
We only watched a small bit of the Bleeding Through set and it is good to see keyboard player Martha is still using her qualities to impress the audience. This metalcore act is getting a name around the world and gets the crowd up in the tent poles. The band includes new and old songs in their set and the audience reacts to everything. From ‘Love Lost In A Hail Of Gun Fire’ to ‘Love In Slowmotion’, the audience explodes every single time. I must say I am still impressed by the songs and live performance of this act. (Buzzin Hornet)

Rise Against
Several years ago I wasn't that impressed by Rise Against, but over the years the band managed to convince me. Tonight was the biggest show of them I saw so far and I must say it was way too big. I think the main stage had a capacity of over 10.000 people and the emotion and energy in the songs only reached the first quarter of the tent. The band opened the set with the first track of their new release Appeal to Reason followed by classics like ‘State Of The Union’. And since we were too far away it wasn't really an attractive show to watch. More and more reason to leave and watch Backfire! (Buzzin Hornet)
The B2B stage was headlined by the only Dutch band on the bill, Backfire! With Rise Against and Walls Of Jericho playing on the other two stages the band had two big competitors, but the B2B was pretty well filled with people who wanted to hear some nice old school hardcore. Right from the start Backfire! served their “back 2 basic” hardcore loud and rough. With other words: exactly how the audience wanted it to hear.
With the knowledge that the people we left at Backfire!’s show were in good hands, we went home with a satisfied feeling. After Paaspop, also Groezrock left a positive impression. Is there a better way to kick off the festival season? I guess not. (Gilles)