September 2-3, 2016 | Leeuwarden – The third edition of Cityrock is slightly different from the previous two. First of all, it’s not the day after Into The Grave and second of all there is a new location just outside the citycentre in the ‘Rengerspark’. Instead of an afternoon and evening full of rock, people can now enjoy two days of hardrock and heavy metal. All picture are made by Oscar Anjewierden
FRIDAY: DAY 1
This day starts later in the afternoon, giving people the chance to come straight out of work and right into a festival. Calling the lineup impressive might be somewhat of an understatement, with names like John Coffey, De Staat and The Hives. Finding the entrance is a bit confusing, but once you enter the grounds it’s like you’re not even in the city anymore.
The local heroes from Leeuwarden Abdomen have the honor to kick off the show. Where there is a lack of audience, there is definitely no lack of energy from the band. Recently they’ve won “De Kleine Prijs van Friesland” and had the opportunity to play in Amsterdam. This is where singer Peter had an unfortunate fall of the stage, trying to smash a balloon. Luckily nothing was broken and he is now moving across the stage like a wildling. The crowd of spectators grows slowly during the set and the response to their old-school garage rock seems to grow with every song. A perfect start of the day!
Time for some alternative rock. Less energetic than Abdomen, but still enough excitement, Paceshifters is basically a kind of Nirvana cover band. Even the tone of voice of singer Seb has some resemblance to Kurt Cobain. The band is going to play a few Nirvana tribute shows in the near future and they give us a little preview by playing a Nirvana cover. Drummer Jesper plays his heart out, but not coming even close to Dave Grohl. The band has potential, but they haven’t found their own sound yet.
The Sore Losers (BE)
In matching outfits The Belgian band The Sore Losers appear on stage. They play heavy metal combined with some blues influences. Singer Jan Straeteman has a high pitched voice and screams a bit. The volume is not as high as the previous acts, but Straeteman’s voice almost makes earplugs necessary. There are a few fans in the front but the rest of the spectators are chilling on the hill in the park. When they play the cover Radar Love there is some excitement going on, but their own songs don’t seem to impress the audience.
John Coffey (NL)
The Dutch punk & rock ‘n roll band John Coffey always knows how to start a party and today is no different. Finally there is some movement in the audience and the first crowd surfers fly by. This performance is part of their farewell tour, but they still seem to enjoy every moment of it. Singer David talks a lot in between songs and really goes out of his way to get as much attention as possible from the audience. From start to finish John Coffey gives straight on punk & rock ‘n roll making this a perfect start of the evening.
De Staat (NL)
The Dutch government granted rockband De Staat reasonably high funds last year, which raised a few eyebrows here and there. Tonight is a good showcase for them to show what they did with the money. The stage is transformed into a work of art and visual effects go alongside with every song. The audience seems to really enjoy it, and their music is prominent as ever. They are not the headliner, but they look and feel like they are. The whole show is consistent and they are rewarded with the appreciation of the audience.
The Hives (SWE)
The biggest name of the day, The Hives show up in black and white suits whilst the tune of ‘Jaws’ is roaring on the stage. This Swedish band is mostly known for one song hate to say I told you so. Are they more than a one day fly? They play their hit at the beginning of the set and continue to play less known songs. They do however manage to play a diverse set surprising the audience with their enthusiasm and jokes like ninja’s on stage. Especially during A get together to tear it apart, which has a different sound than the other songs, the audience goes wild.
SATURDAY: DAY 2
The skies are clear this morning and it promises to become a day fully packed of impressive acts, mainly acts who have been at for several decades now.
The day starts off with Black-Bone, a formation from Eindhoven. The vocals can hardly be called singing, it’s more yelling! Their first song ‘You’re Not The Enemy’ seems to please the few spectators who showed up for the first act of today. They play like the grounds are filled with thousands of spectators. This is a young band and the quality of the guitar solos is fine, but not spectacular. With a little more experience and depth they definitely have the potential to become great!
A lot is going on when Helhorse arrives on stage. Four half naked men, a fully dressed singer and a Hammond fill the stage. Their enthusiasm is contagious and with their more dark and heavy stoner rock they surprise the audience. A lot is happening, from stoner rock they divert into heavy metal and rock at times and they make the atmosphere light up.
De Hunekop (NL)
The grounds are now full with people, enjoying the sun and enjoying some ‘rock for the people’ from De Hunekop. With lyrics completely in Frisian, they tend to leave a smile on people’s faces. That’s on Frisian people’s faces, because Dutch people don’t understand a word of what they are saying. It’s nice to hear some songs that aren’t about love and heartache for a change. Instead it’s about shitting in your bosses’ time, brunwurkers (I don’t translate this one for you) and cluggs. Pure entertainment.
One of the more melodic/psychedelic bands of the day, DeWolff begins their set. We have watched them grow up these last few years and we’ve watched their music grow as well. They made the stage smaller so they can really interact with one another. Beautiful songs and nice jam sessions make this performance very interesting, a lot of people came out just to see this band and they deliver.
Berlin based band Kadavar starts off immediately with their heavy metal set. On stage we see a lot of hair and beards. They play a tight set, but seem to be more involved with what they are playing than with the presence of the audience. They play straight on heavy metal, including gripping guitar solos. Within a few minutes people seem bored already, and they are not impressed.
Vandenberg’s Moonkings (NL)
It is time for a golden oldie, guitarist Adje van den Berg (ex-Whitesnake, ex-Vandenberg) is back with his Moonkings. The beginning is a bit sloppy, with poor sound and hesitation but soon enough they manage to regain control of the stage. The vocals remind us of Chris Cornell and that combined with the beautiful guitar work of Adje is impressive. So far they have only made one record, so it doesn’t take long before the Whitesnake songs ‘Here I Go Again’ and ‘Allright Now’ echo on the grounds of Rengerspark. Also the Vandenberg hit ‘Burning Heart’ is part of the setlist. It might have been a nice surprise two years ago, but they should try to lean on their own material more.
This rockformation has been around for quite some time now, and after numerous changes of bandmembers they’re back with a new album, where they go back to their roots. The audience is definitely older than yesterday, so the band gives them what they want: songs from the albums Emperor and Operation. Either way, they prove that Queensryche still has it and they play a terrific show.
Mother’s Finest (USA)
The first frontwoman of the festival is an interesting appearance. With her white hair and her amazing voice she demands all the attention. Mother’s Finest has been around for 46 years now and they still play like youngsters. Unfortunately the rain prevents them to connect with the audience and the speeches about love give some of the spectators goosebumps.
Uriah Heep (UK)
The heaven has really come down during the last show of Cityrock 2016. The rain is pooring and during the 45 minute wait people have become quite cold and irritated. Nevertheless the visitors stay to watch another legendary band. They’ve been around since the seventies, but haven’t lost any of their skills and enthusiasm. The rain is quickly forgotten and Uriah Heep takes the audience on a journey of rock and roll and reassures its name as one of the best live acts.