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The Metal Diary: Novarock, You Rock!

Metal-Head Mathew’s exclusive metal tour blog!

Sunil Matthew Jun 25, 2011
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The story of this head-banger starts 50 kms east of Vienna, on the Austria-Hungary border with the intention to watch one of the best line-ups of any modern day metal festival – Novarock.at (one of the largest festivals in Europe) ”“ which has an ear ringing line-up to boot on June 13, 2011.

Travelling on from a business trip to Prague, the metal journey starts in the wee hours of the morning with a train ride to Vienna. After a quick look around Stephansdom (St Stephens Cathedral) which houses one of the oldest catholic cathedrals – I get into a Novarock shuttle bus with about 40 other metalheads. The one difference being I didn’t have a ticket to get into this sold out show, being the last day of the festival. After
bidding for a ticket on e-bay and the ticket never arriving in Paris (where I had a stop over enroute) – I decided to explain this to the festival team, and this to them seemed unbelievable – the idea that this metal-head had made the long journey from India for a sold-out show with just a belief that I would get in. After having spoken to few of the organizers, and realizing the ticket mess-up – they handed me a ticket to get in to the grounds – and as one of them said, “Now, Just go party man!”

So with the festival-band on, I headed right into the massive festival venue around lunch. Having travelled for the Download Festival (UK) and Graspop (Belgium) – this was quite a large area with the bummer being the two stages were almost a kilometer from each other! Anyway, time for a quick beer and catch the first act Adept – a grind core band from Sweden and had the crowd doing the circle pit with their hit ”˜The Ivory Tower’.Yashin from the UK, had the crowd on the Red Stage going ballistic. Now to the Blue Stage, to catch Bring Me the Horizon, a British metal-core band, which was creating quite a buzz in the metal scene with hits like ”˜Blessed With a Curse’.
This was followed by one of my modern day favourites – Inflames (I first saw them in 2005 at Download, UK). The show started on a bit of a staggered note with the sound system playing havoc but the band with Andres Friden (vocalist), kept the crowd alive by almost ripping ”˜Cloud Connected’ and ”˜Trigger’ without the sound on! This, as he said, was probably the most bizzare show, where the entire audience of nearly 40000 stood silent hoping that they could get a listen to something from the stage! Respect.
With their hit ”˜Alias’ starting off, on came the sound, which was received rapturously. Inflames flared up the crowd for the next 45 minutes with ”˜Pinball Map’, ”˜Deliver Us’, ”˜Only for the Weak’, ”˜The Mirror’s Truth’, ”˜Where the Dead Ships Dwell’, ”˜The Quiet Place’, ”˜Take This Life’, ”˜My Sweet Shadow’. Sweet.

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Time to move to the Red Stage, and with the 10 minute band change over time, I literally had to jog with the liquids in my belly to catch Alter Bridge, one of my next favourites with Myles Kennedy already tearing away with Mark Tremonti, the Creed axe-man and rest of the bunch. Playing their riffs to perfection – the quartet blew the crowd away with hits like ”˜Slip to the Void’, ”˜Find The Real’, ”˜Buried Alive’, ”˜Brand New Start’, ”˜White Knuckles’, ”˜Come To Life’, ”˜Ghost of Days Gone By’, ”˜Ties That Bind’, ”˜Blackbird’, ”˜Metalingus’, ”˜Isolation’, topping up the show with ”˜Rise Today’.

Time for another quick guzzle. Austrian beer in and Lemmy Kilmister & Co. are ready to take stage on the Blue Stage, jog back the km and this time I would need to put my old school hard rock boots on. And rock did they ”“ Motorhead screeched in with ”˜Iron Fist’ and belted out hits like ”˜Stay Clean’, ”˜Get Back in Line’, ”˜Metropolis’, ”˜Over the Top’, ”˜One Night Stand’, ”˜The Chase is Better than the Catch’, ”˜In the Name of Tragedy’, ”˜I know how to Die’, ”˜Going to Brazil’, ”˜Killed by Death’, the classics ”˜Ace of Spades’ and ”˜Overkill’. Motorhead, simply blew the hair off my head. Intense. Surrounded by old school rockers with the slight grey-hair-fellas in between, the one and fifteen hour set just whistled past as Lemmy reminded the crowd from time-to-time – ‘”We are Motorhead, Do remember us.” Till our grave, I almost heard every fan out there breathe.

One of the Headliners of this year, Iron Maiden had flown in the entire juggernaut on their Flight 666 for the Final Frontier Tour and this was a cool half an hour before they set stage, allowing me to down a few pints and make a few friends most of who couldn’t believe where I was coming from.
Bruce Dickenson let go on stage with the ever familiar energy and exuberance going through one track after the other, ensuring that the crowds bring down their heads down banging to each of their classics starting with ”˜Satellite 15’. ”˜Final Frontier’, ”˜El Dorado’, ”˜Two Minutes to Midnight’, ”˜The Talisman’, ”˜Coming Home’, ”˜Dance of Death’, ”˜The Trooper’, ”˜The Wicker Man’, ”˜Blood Brothers’, ”˜When The Wild Wind Blows’, ”˜The Evil That Men Do’, ”˜The Fear of the Dark’, ”˜Iron Maiden’, ”˜The Number of the Beast’, ”˜Hallowed be Thy Name’, ending crisply with ”˜Running Free’ – a rare track as he said, never played on any of their previous shows. It was literally two minutes to midnight when this gang brought down their two hour show – time to head to the Red Stage for one my classic modern day acts ”“ System of a Down.

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Need to have that bite with the liquid, and join the crowd as almost the entire 40,000 moved from Blue Stage to the Red Stage. Just in time with almost three forths of the crowd already set for the act, Taking a good position but not quite realising what I was in for – waited with baited breathe for Serj Tanakin and gang to lift the curtains. Starting with the Prison Song which was followed by 26 more songs ( yes, I repeat was a 2 hour fifteen minute set of a total 27 songs!) Respect. Classics included ”˜Soldier Side’, ”˜B.Y.O.B’, ”˜I-E-A-I-A-I-O’, ”˜Needles’, ”˜Deer Dance’, ”˜Radio/Video’, ”˜Hypnotize’, ”˜Question’, ”˜Suggestions’, ”˜Psycho’, ”˜Chop Suey’, ”˜Lonely Day’, ”˜Bounce’, ”˜Kill Rock ‘n Roll’, ”˜Lost in Hollywood’, ”˜Forest’, ”˜Science’, ”˜Holy Mountains’, ”˜Aerials’, ”˜Tentative’, ”˜Cigaro’, partial rendition of Dire Straits’ ”˜Sultans of Swing’, ”˜Suite-Pee’, ”˜War’, ”˜Toxicity’ and ended this special night with ”˜Sugar’. SOAD sounded almost the same from when I first saw them at Download, UK in 2005. With the same energy, they literally had the entire crowd create one big mosh pit.

Exhausted. Worn out. Satisfied.

Time to pick my bags and head back to Vienna. The shuttle bus back leaves by 3 am.

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