Saturday. After having heard the not very inspiring Metalcore/Deathcore from both Buried Verona and Atilla, and the hard-hitting hardcore from Six Ft Ditch, the real fun begins at 13:40 with John Coffey. The good friends from the Netherlands played the MacBeth stage at Groezrock last year and upgraded to the Etnies stage to defend their great debut album Bright Companions. The least we can say is that the show was explosive! By the second song, the audience completely went off and started a wall of death. Very energetic and filled good humour, their set was just remarkable! The musicians themselves were smiling ear-to-ear during the set, even more when a human pyramid was forming in the pit. The 40min performance flew by, and John Coffey was officially the first pleasant surprise of the festival!
On the MacBeth Stage was another Dutch band playing afterwards. All For Nothing is here and the public is present too to catch their female fronted strong Hardcore. Singer Cindy gives everything and invites the public to invade the small stage. After having thanked the audience and their fans to vote for them in the competition, the band delivered songs from their latest album To Live and Die For, without any downtime. Certainly a band to follow.
“Brutal shit”; that’s how the speaker introduced Obey The Brave. And by hearing the striking force of the band, no one can contradict him. The Canadians started with ‘Lifestyle’ and it did not take long for the crowd to unleash their fury. The sound was huge, very clean and the group crushed everything in its path, inviting festivalgoers to come on stage for more and more stage dives. The charisma of Alex Erian (ex-Despised Icon) makes the difference and songs from their album Young Blood are certainly well fitted for live shows. The band thanked the crowd for making their concert “the best show of the tour”. They also played ‘Garde la Tête Froide’, a song in French, before concluding with ‘Live and Learn’. Solid.
Right after, AC4 took over the Etnies Stage. There was a lot of curiosity around this band fronted by the legendary Dennis Lyxzen. AC4, also described by the ex-Refused as “a bunch of old guys playing old school Hardcore” delivered ultra energetic and full speed straight-up songs. Those present we’re not mistaken; the quality was here. And if Lyxzen discussed so much between songs (for instance about how they recently lost their drummer), it was because, he said, “the songs are not long enough for a 45min-set!” The group ended up their pleasant performance 5min earlier after playing 17 tracks!
It’s around 17h when The Story So Far lands on the Etnies stage. It felt like all of Groezrock was talking about the young Californian band on Saturday, and the packed tent confirmed that feeling. When the first note hit, the audience exploded! Stagedives and massive singalongs were the norm for show with songs from their two albums as the soundtrack. ‘Quicksand’ from Under Soil and Dirt will cloture the band’s first performance at Groezrock and their tour in Europe. Success.
Trapped Under “motherfuckin” Ice recently announced their indefinite hiatus and this concert at Groezrock was the only opportunity to see the band in Europe for quite some time. The crowded tent reflected the anticipation behind this concert. Justice Tripp and his fellow musicians took the stage with ‘Pleased To Meet You’. The perfectly executed classics from Big Kiss Goodnight (‘Born To Die’, ‘Outcast’) and the whole ferocity of the sound made the show go wild but at some point, violence took over the excitement and some excesses happened in the pit (a girl was hit in the face). Altogether the performance of the band was really powerful and might be considered as the most savage show of the day.
“Besides seeing tons of friends on Groezrock : TUI was HUGE. Kid Dynamite was AWESOME. Backtrack’s set was a pleasant surprise and seeing (and hearing) Comeback Kid performing just songs from their first two albums was the cherry on the cake.” – Ernst Smits, All For Nothing
Still shocked by TUI’s enormous performance, we went to the Monster Stage where Hatebreed was about to make their entrance. For many years, the band has toured Belgium and this episode at Groezrock was not their first. The band began their set with ‘To The Treshold’ and picked up in almost all their discography to deliver a very solid set list. As Jasta recalled it, the group was also here to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the release of Rise of Brutality. They closed their classic but real professional set with the anthem ‘I Will Be heard’.
Back at the Etnies stage, we’re waiting for the highly anticipated Title Fight show. Like the two previous concerts in the same tent, the audience was very receptive from the very beginning of the concert. No surprises as the quartet started with ‘Numb, but I Still Feel It’ and ‘Secret Society’, which words where shouted by the entire crowd. It was their first time at Groezrock and although they look like quite shy musicians, they sure took the time to warmly and repeatedly thank the audience for their presence. Title Fight concluded with ‘27’ from their debut album Shed, in the same atmosphere as they started. It was brilliant.
Change of style at Impericon Stage: It’s 22h when the newly reformed Texas is the Reason take place on a stage decorated with garlands. The tent is far from full, probably due to the band’s music style, being quite different from the rest of the programming. However, the music delivered by these New Yorkers is very elegant and appreciated by the small audience, which also had the opportunity to hear a new song.
New York’s Backtrack had the honor of playing three songs before Comeback Kid’s set at the Etnies Stage. The guys have been on tour in Europe for the past weeks with Trapped Under Ice and Comeback Kid, but weren’t booked to play Groezrock. It was short, but very sweet; the first song kicked in and all fans that new about their appearance set it off right away. Stagedives, singalongs; it was one of the best shows of today.
Comeback Kid had the mission to end the day on the Etnies Stage. The concert was a bit special because it was part of a tour in honor of the 10th anniversary of their cult album Turn It Around. For the occasion, former lead singer Scott Wade took over the microphone while Andrew Neufeld took care of the guitar and backing vocals. The entire album was played along with songs from Wake The Dead. The vocal performance of Wade could have been better as well as the sound of his microphone, but the audience was already going wild nevertheless. Comeback Kid can live another ten years, and we will be there to support them.
The second day started very good, mainly because of the performance delivered by Bastions. The band, which replaced Trash Talk, opened their set in front of a discrete but respectful audience with ‘With Love’, from their new EP (reviewed a few weeks ago). The group gave everything they had and the sound was really captivating, although Jamie’s microphone could have been louder. Hospital Corners tracks are executed with passion and the last two songs ‘In The Shadow of a Mountain’ and ‘Augury’ were terrific. Excellent morning show.
Just after them, While She Sleeps took over the Impericon Stage and even though we only heard a few songs from them (Midnight Souls started almost at the same time), it was enough for us to get a huge slap in the face. The guitars were really loud and sounded impressive. As for the songs of their latest album This Is The Six, they blast hard when performed live. The group has definitely gained a lot of experience in recent months and the big audience noticed it.
Only moments later, Midnight Souls played the Etnies stage. Here again, it was one of the last times we had the possibility to attend a live performance of the quintet, as they are soon breaking up. Most of the songs from their first and last album Going Through The Motions were played. Strangely, the room was very scattered and the public remained really shy to the frontman’s calls to come closer and share the stage with them. Sad. However, the set was running well and the quality of these tracks will always be noticed. Thank you and goodbye MS.
We went back on the Impericon again to watch Stick To Your Guns who really stormed the scene. Like their predecessors While She Sleeps, one thing to say: the sound was huge! The assembly shouted all lyrics from Diamond songs and the band constantly jumps from one space to another! STYG didn’t forgot to thank the public but also two groups in particular “without which they would not be the same band”: Ignite and Terror. Nice tribute.
In the middle of the afternoon, excitement was cleary spreading throughout the festival site as everyone was eagerly waiting for the new project of Frank Carter (ex Gallows) and Jim Carroll (ex Hope Conspiracy). Although the style is quite different from the bands that played on this stage, the audience was here to witness the return of Carter with his Anthems tracks. Once Pure Love entered, the tent transformed into a rock ‘n’ roll show and exceeded all our expectations. Here’s a band that has some amazing audience interaction. Carter and Carroll (while playing his guitar) did a crowd surf race through the tent on air matresses by the crowd when ‘Bury My Bones’ kicked in and there was a huge circle pit that went all the way from the front to behind the front of house, out of the tent and back in. Then, people were doing the rowboat in the middle of the tent with Carroll playing among them and when Carter asked the crowd to take their best friend on their necks they wholeheartedly did. This show was undoubtedly one of the highlights of the weekend. Pure Love was just pure fun!
Narrows was playing next. The crowd was sadly absent at the beginning, even though these were one of the most skilled musicians we saw on stage this weekend, especially the drummer. The sound was remarkable too, altough the band experienced some guitar difficulties during a few songs. And Dave Verellen (ex-Botch) remains a beast on stage. Too bad there was another shy crowd in front of a great band…
On the main stage right after, Strung Out was playing their super-fast Punk in front of a tent that got filled during the set. No downtimes, the band played their songs and thanked the organisation and the Belgian public before announcing going home to record a new album.
Less Than Jake played the main stage right after and delivered their Ska Punk sound to an audience that had put on their dancing shoes. The good mood was set and the classic anthems like ‘The Ghost of You and Me’ are always a pleasure to hear when the sun is shining!
The audience was pumped when Polar Bear Club began their set. Smiling from ear to ear, the four guys were equally motivated throughout the set. The stage diving kids were going off on songs such as ‘Pawner’, first title of their latest album Clash Battle Guilt Pride, and the excellent ‘Most Miserable Life’, played last. Refreshing show.
When the South Carolina hardcore band Hundredth kicked off their set at the MacBeth Stage, they probably attracted the biggest audience at this stage of the weekend. The band played ‘Carry on’ first, and moshing instantly began. Some kids were also screaming back lyrics as Chadwick Johnson shoved his mic into the pit. Then, Hundredth played ‘Weathered Town and two new songs from teir latest EP Revolt: ‘Ruin’ and ‘Free Spirit/Open Mind’. Johnson, front man of the band, admitted himself he hadn’t expected such an audience. This was a band that should have played on a bigger stage.
Written by Alex Tabankia