Archive for the The Great Tour 2020 Category

Brothers of Metal @ Z7, Pratteln, Switzerland 18/1-20

Posted in Concerts, Music, The Great Tour 2020, Uncategorized with tags , on January 28, 2020 by Sara Hammerzmith

So, off from Zürich I went around 12, having Monika accompanying me halfway. I was starting to get sick due to the long queueing that went on yesterday in the cold rain, but what am I if not a warrior and keep going despite whatever illness I have. OK, if I had a superbad illness that would be incredibly contagious, then perhaps but a common cold? Never.

Arrived alive and well in Pratteln, I head over to my hotel and then out and about to catch something to eat. I heard it can be good to eat. Got back to the hotel, got ready for the show and walked down to the venue. I’ve been here before, so it’s relatively easy for me to just find my way around.

I arrived around half an hour before Elvenking hit the stage. From what I understood, this is a co-headline tour and they take turns being the “headline” band, so for this evening, of course, Elvenking was first. I had kind of hoped – and no offence to them – that Brothers of Metal would be first in case the sickness got worse. But oh well, I survived worse stuff.

Elvenking

So, right on scheduled time they started, and came out with a raging energy. I’ll admit that I don’t know much about this band prior and never found the time to properly check them out, so I regret to inform that I can’t do a proper rundown of them, BUT, I did, however really enjoy them!

They put on a good and energetic show, although you could relatively early tell this was a primarily Brothers of Metal kind of audience. Thank you, Elvenking!

And then the wait began, and soon enough, the intro started to roll…

Brothers of Metal

They all came on stage, and announced “The Death of the God of Light” and they all rushed on stage and opened up this show in the most energetic way possible.

Straight up after this intro, the thunder and flutes came out of the speakers, witnessing that “Njord” was about to be next on the list, so from one death straight into an adventure we went. Very well recieved, and a perfect execution from the band themselves. The audience was, as already stated, clearly a Brothers of Metal oriented one, and then “Prophecy of Ragnarök” came on. This song is all the rage, isn’t it?

And I say it again – if one can windmill through the entire song of that, one truly is a metal warrior, am I right or what.

“Tyr” was next on the list, letting us pay tribute to one of our Gods, before paying tribute to ALL of them in “Gods of War”. And this song too, is all the rage. This band is all the rage, I’d say. “Brothers Unite” from the new album followed tune, and I just love how they switch to Swedish in the midst of it.

And again, the flawless and energetic execution always gets me. These are some well talented and skilled musician, nailing everything from start to finish without even backing down on the energy they radiate, which reflects back onto them from the crowd. Without energy on stage, it’s hard to get it from the crowd as well, you know?

Everyone on stage sat down except from the speaker, who started to go over the tales of “Concerning Norns” before they played probably their most popular song “Yggdrasil”. And this song still gets to me, every time. It really is, the best metal song ever written. At least that’s my current feeling anyway.

“Chain Breaker”, the little odd one on their recent album “Emblas Saga” came next. It surprised me a bit, but I don’t even complain. They asked prior if we knew how wolves sounded, and it took some time for the audience to get it, but they became quite the wolfpack!

Party time is up as “The Mead Song” was next on the list, and sitting down and jumping up NEVER gets old. Ever. Party through and through. The primary speaker on stage made some jokes about it being only one song left, when in reality, he meant the song “One”. And you know..

There are many songs were Ylva shines, and she always does. But she shines just a little extra in this song, and if she isn’t just the greatest, I don’t know who is.

Party time again as “Defenders of Valhalla” came next on the list, and the whole room was in one giant party. Sadly, all of it was about to come to an end with “Siblings of Metal” and “Fire, Blood and Steel”.

And this show was nothing but PURE amazingness. Seriously. This was perfection beyond anything else, and I’m so happy that I fit all of this into my tourschedule. So far, this might actually be the highlight of the tour. And it can be hard to beat that.

After the show, I headed back to the hotel and pretty much just crashed.

Tomorrow, back to Zürich and onward to other endavours.

// Sara

70.000 Tons of Metal: Day 3

Posted in 70000 tons of metal, Concerts, Music, The Great Tour 2020, Uncategorized with tags on January 21, 2020 by Sara Hammerzmith

Ah Mexico!

It really was a crime comitted upon all of us cruisegoers to not have Alestorm perform on this years cruise considering out point of destination. We got up around 9 and then headed to the Windjammer for some breakfast before it was time to pack up our beachbag and hit Mexico, ready for a day at the beach.

But, upon walking ashore… It started raining. Of. Fucking. Course. Had brilliant weather in both Cockburn Town and Haiti, so why should I have it in Cozumel? Of course not, am I right?

Well, we started our day off with hitting pretty much every single tourist shop there was in the city before grabbing a cab out to one of the beach resorts. The rain stopped, and we figured that it might break up. Which it did, we had a nice couple of hours at the beach before taking a cab over to a museum of Mexican arts and culture and a Mini-Mexico kind of thing! Similar to Mini-Europa in Brussels.

Since I’m a Scaredy Squirrel and also want to wash my hair in time, we went on board the boat again about an hour before call time, and we felt pretty finished anyway so. Got washed up, and then hit the Ice Rink to catch a few songs of Ereb Altor, you know that band I missed out on earlier before heading to the Theater to see Leaves’ Eyes.

Leaves’ Eyes

Again, sadly, not a huge turnout but that can again have several reasons, but yeah, more space for me am I right? Again, the folk intro started and “Sign of the Dragonhead” set off this show as well, and again moved on with “Serkland” and “Across The Sea”, which still is like the best song for this cruise (since we don’t have Alestorm).

They then continued with “Edge of Steel” and there is something I always kind of felt that I don’t really.. Haven’t adressed before. How needy sometimes Alexander can be. He always, constantly, asks for the audience to clap their hands and it’s like ok, that is amazing, but all the time? Throughout the entire songs? Nein.

“Edge of Steel” followed suit, and then.. Elina left the stage and reappeared with an outfit best described as something similar to the Black Swan, and it was time for them to play “Black Butterfly”… And that was such a beautiful moment! And with her dressed up like that. Wow. What a moment.

Just as I thought, just like two years ago, “Jomsborg” is assigned to the Theater show, and I really love this song though so I don’t mind at all! “Swords in Rock” followed suit and then again wrapping it all up with “Beowulf” and “Blazing Waters”. We also participated in a real nice rowpit for this one. Amazing.

Another amazing show amazingly executed, if I may use those kind of words, and thank you for this time, Leaves’ Eyes!

After this, we took to the cabin to rest, wandered about the ship and caught a few songs of Michael Schenker Fest before making our way down to the Ice Rink to catch another set of Bloodbounds!

Bloodbound

So, I don’t know exactly how much detail I’ll go into it here, as it was exactly the same setlist as previous, but I’ll talk about it overall at least!

The band came onto the stage to the intro and opened strongly once again, with “Battle in the Sky” as the opening song, straight into “In The Name of Metal”. The show was really good this time around. It had been flawless last time around, but something in the energy was just mindblowing here. Maybe it’s because of the slightly smaller venue gave everything a more intimate feeling and crowd felt bigger giving it an over all better feeling, I do not know for sure. But damn, what a good set it was. Absolutely amazing! Thank you, once again, Bloodbound! And yes, this time I stuck around to see “Nosferatu” which as normal was the closing song.

Thank you for this cruise, Bloodbound. You were truly amazing, both times!

After this show, we headed straight to bed, so we could get up in time to attend Trollfest’s 3am show. That’s the thing with this boat you know. You gotta kind of sleep when you can.

So, 2.45 the clock rang, and off we were to the show. Gladly for us, the Ice Rink is just around the corner from our stateroom. Just making everything so much easier, you know?

And… When the singer entered the stage with a balloon crown I realized righ away. He’s setting the bar for this years dress up extremely high. Higher than anyone. And it was another party and fun set, and this time instead of one long congaline, we had as many as possible. Still a survivor of that!

After their maniac, back to bed and prepare for the last day.

// Sara

70.000 Tons of Metal: Day 2

Posted in 70000 tons of metal, Concerts, Music, The Great Tour 2020, Travels, Uncategorized with tags , , , on January 19, 2020 by Sara Hammerzmith

So it was upon us! The second day of the cruise was upon us, and it started pretty early with a merch sleepover. Thankfully, it was all worth it as we got all the merch we wanted.. How great, huh? And then, Trollfest already starting at 10. But you gotta go hard, not at all, am I right?

They put on a real fun show, and I’m officially a survivor of the worlds longest congaline! Or at least this cruise longest congaline. After the show, we decided to go grab something to eat and work out a little bit before getting ready for the highlight for us on this cruise, or at least the first thing for us: Bloodbound

Bloodbound

They opened up strongly (as always, am I right?) with “Battle in the Sky” and then quickly continued on with “In The Name of Metal”. Amazing as always. I have a feeling I dont see this band even half as often as I hope to. After having a little chat with the audience we continued on with “The Warlocks Trail” which is a song they live premiered on Sabaton Open Air last year, and I’m SO. SO. SO. happy that they continue to have this song in their live roster! It’s fucking amazing, and probably even the best song on the album, despite what I might have said before, and the crowd seemed to love it as much as I did.

“Stand and Fight” was next song on the list, tightly followed by a common crowdpleaser in “Moria”. I love the fact that they’ve “chaged” the lyrics to “Show me the HORNS of Moria” instead of Roads. Loving it.

For whatever reasons, Daniel Sjögren couldn’t attend for this show, so instead former Follow The Cipher drummer Karl Löfgren filled his shoes, which is kind of half ironic considering Daniel is the new drummer in Follow The Cipher (as well as Bloodbound).  He was doing an AMAZING job filling in, don’t believe anything else!

“Dragons are Forever” was the next song they ripped off before diving into the epicness that is the titletrack of the latest album, “Rise of the Dragon Empire”. And what a RAGE this song is live? It’s the absolute bomb. More of this please!

At this point, sadly, I had to leave as Leaves’ Eyes were starting the same time Bloodbound was set to end, and them being on the Pooldeck, which is you know, 8 floors up from where Bloodbound played, it’d be quite the run. But, I made it just as the intro started rolling.

Leaves’ Eyes

The epic nordic folk kind of intro rolled as the band then headed straight into “Sign of the Dragonhead”. It was quite a small turnout, but I’m guessing this could have to do with the Liv drama, or early in the day, or Bloodbound. Either of the ones, but I don’t exactly complain, more place for me to be honest!

They continued on with the new single “Serkland” which I’m assuming will be on the upcoming album before continuing on the previous path with “Across The Sea” which simply just is the perfect song for this cruise, am I right or what?

And also, can we talk about how perfect Elina Siirala is? Seriously. It’s such a shame for her that this bands suffers so from the drama, she doesn’t deserve that because she is AMAZING.

“Swords in Rock” was the next song on the list, before staying on the same album and doing “Edge of Steel”. A part of me had hoped Simone would join them, but that was hoping for too much I guess.

And.. You know it’s funny. Besides the addition of “Serkland” I can swear this must be pretty much the same setlist they had when they played the boat two years ago as I could even predict them playing “Riders of the Wind” on the pool deck, much like they did then. But I don’t mind, that song is just a party.

“Hell to the Heavens” followed afterwards, before wrapping up with “Beowulf” and “Blazing Waters”. Another amazing set was made by this amazing line up, and I am so happy that I got to see them again. So far, highlight.

After Leaves’ Eyes we headed down toward the Playmakers sportsbar again to attend some signing sessions. I was really lucky actually, all of the bands not only me but both of us wanted to attend happened to be on the same time, or at least closely related. Lucky, huh?

So, we went down for the first signing, which was Epica. It was a bit of a line when we arrived, but much to my surprised they worked very quickly through the line, and after a mere 20 minutes it was my turn actually. Was relatively uneventful, except from the bandmembers complimenting my collection of festivalbracelets as well as Mark greeting me by name which he knew from reading my stateroom card which happened to be placed in a very visible way.

Right after this, we started lining up for Bloodbound, and it was just like, one person ahead of us, so no problems. Ivan had a clinic he wanted to attend, so he was a bit stressed. But it turned out to be no issue, as the signing moves along quickly. So, quickly grabbing the autographs of Bloodbound and Edenbridge before hitting up pool deck.

A lot of running back and forth yeah. Haggard was a band I had gotten a little hooked on when listening for the bands before the cruise, so I figured I’d grab a few songs with them before Leaves’ Eyes signing at 17.

They experiences some issues and were late with the soundcheck and had to redo the first song twice, but such things happen you know? The little timeI did watch them though, was pure magic. I remember especially the moment when they played “Awakening the Centuries”. THAT, was NOTHING but pure magic. I was really sad that I had to leave relatively early to attend the signing of Leaves’ Eyes, but it is what happens.

So imagine how disappointed I am… to see that the band, or more to be exact, Alexander, arrives late. First and foremost, there was barely any line. There was technically no one before me but I let someone pass because I’m shy as hell. And then Alexander was like 10-15 minutes late. Which means that I could have easily seen all of Haggard, and still had my signed vinyl in a reasonable time. Goddamnit.

But that aside, it was nice meeting the band and getting the signatures! After this, back to the cabin for a quick clothing change, you know, it’s getting late and colder, and then off to the Theater for Epica’s first set.

Epica

We made it there pretty good on time, not too early and not too late. Perfect timing, if you like. The intro rolled and they started off with “Sensorium”. I can tell that is has been what at least feels like ages since I saw them, and I guess more importantly since I saw them in this kind of intimate setting.

The band delievered as they always do, and the crowd was just as much on fire as the band continued on with “The Obsessive Devotion” which is really, and excuse me for overusing the word, but the bomb. “Storm the Sorrow” was next before it was time for the ever beautiful “Cry for the Moon”, and it’s about this time I realize how much I missed seeing this band live.

“In All Conscience” was next on the list, before Coen came upfront and started off “Sancta Terra” with his amazing keyintro, and seriously, nothing but perfection.

My personal favorite off “The Holographic Principle” ” Beyond the Matrix” followed and then they wrapped it all up with “Consign to Oblivion”, with a wall of death and everything.

Another amazing show by this amazing band, left us tired enough to drift away to sleep, preparing for the adventures in Mexico… But.. with a little stop in the night, as I just HAD to witness the biggest pillowfight to Origin. Which was epic. I tell you.

// Sara

 

70.000 Tons of Metal: Arrival and Heavy Metal Beach Party

Posted in The Great Tour 2020, Travels, Uncategorized on January 15, 2020 by Sara Hammerzmith

So! Early on enough, it was time for the BOAT again. This year, the boat was laid almost a month earlier than normal, but I guess that was all for the better in the end, considering the normal dates for the cruise would have been midst Sabaton tour, and that would.. THAT would be one for the ages of tour hopping, that is for sure.

Anyway. Off we went. First off to the airport by the shuttle who came when it came, kind of thing, then a loong line to check in, and then finally – finally – on the plane. I love flying Norwegians Dreamliner. Like, we literally traveled from Paris specifically because I wanted the Dreamliner. It’s kind of… haha, I don’t know, obsessive, but I got the obsessive devotion I guess for that (bonus points to anyone who gets that reference, by the way). We had a nice flight. Tried to sleep a bit and I think I did as I made my way through “Toy Story 4” as well as half of “Endgame”. I still haven’t seen “Infinity Wars”, sue me.

And then, we arrived in the states, again, good old Florida. What I didn’t expect this time… Was the long process of the bordercontroll. We supposed it was since we arrived earlier than usual, but we spent a good 2,5 hours in there. I’ve never spent THAT long in a bordercontrol before. But oh well, we survived. Then awaited another long wait for the shuttle to the hotel, and.. finally there.

It was late. I was excited we were gonna arrive early this year, so we could do something. But by the time we were checked in, it was closing in on 21. So we just hit up some fancy restaurant and then went home to go to bed. After all, tomorrow was the day for the beach party so.

But. A disturbing thing was noticed. I had left my little bag of emergency stuff. Like, toothbrush, toothpaste, ALL MY MEDICATION… decided that I liked the dreamliner of Norwegian so much it didn’t even want to leave the plane. Because, it’s not like I needed the meds right? Before people worry too much, it was “only” painkillers and motion illness pills. But I get easy motion ill, so yeah. Great. Great start.

The next day, we went up relatively early, got to the bus station.. earlier than I though. Greyhound apparently lists BOARDING TIME, and not departure time. So we came 40 mins. Beore Boarding time. I wanted to smash my head against a wall. It’s like, not even the first time I go by Greyhound. How have I not learned this?

The busride was relatively uneventful. Gladly, I didn’t get motion ill like I thought I would. From the busstation we made it down to the Clevelander where we could reunite with our heavy metal family, have a nice meal and then the massive groupshot on the beach.

After the photo though, we departed the party and took to the shopping streets of Miami to enjoy our day a little bit more. A little bit of shopping was done, a pair of sunglasses, shorts and leggings. So, not a lot but a little. And a lot of Pokemon.

Busride home was also pretty uneventful, except that we had the most charming busdriver ever. She was amazing. I wish Flixbuses, or Europes, drivers were like her.

Once back, we packed everything up and got to bed. Tomorrow, we embark!

// Sara

 

Burst

Posted in The Great Tour 2020, Travels, Uncategorized on January 4, 2020 by Sara Hammerzmith

And with that, The Great Tour has begun.

This has been long in the making, and a few hiccups here and there has shaped this tour a bit different from what was originally planned, but improvise, adapt, overcome, am I right?

As I’m writing this I’m currently on a bus toward Paris. Two days ago I landed in Belgium as a first pitstop and getting stuff organized.

The flight here was relatively uneventful to be honest. I checked in my two bags (a month and a half long tour, together with a festival in the carribbean requires a bit of a closet) and had a snack before take off. Slept through most of the flight, and then arrived.

Headed home to Antwerpen where I had a few couple of calm days, mostly consisting of me repacking stuff. Stuff necessary for the tour here in Europe aren’t necessary in the US and so on. Looked like something exploded in the apartment.

Today has been slow and stressful, both of it. I had all the day to pack, but exceeding weightlimits is what I do best, but after a few ifs and buts I got it done. I made sure to take everything downstairs and noticed my bag can even slide of the carpeted stairs. PROFIT!

Then.. Going to Antwerp Central Station seemed to be a bit of a difficulty though. For some reasons we ended up on several detours, but gladly made the train in time.

What awaits in Paris, is one good nights rest and Sushi!

// Sara