Living on the edge!

Dynamo Metal Fest 2019 (Festival review)

June19th& 20th2019 | EindhovenThis years version of Dynamo Metal Fest is an other step up over the previous one. Was the very first version in 2015 small, the later versions grew to larger crowds and bigger bands. For the 5th anniversary there was added an extra day.

The organizers called it the pre-party, but with bands as Eluveitie, Avatar and Airbourne, you can hardly call it that!

So, I booked a hotel, drove to Eindhoven and submerged in the world of the heavy metal festival of the south of The Netherlands which was going to be EPIC in many ways.

It takes a few walks back and forth to get my pass and when I clear security I enter the almost empty Ice rink of Eindhoven. I walk around and check everything out. I grab a cold beer now there are no lines and enjoy the buzz of people working hard to get everything ready for a great metal evening.

It is pretty humid and warm, but that makes no impression on the guys of BAEST. These Danes use the whole stage to run around and even go to the edges of the stage to fire on the small crowd gathered already in front of them.

Singer Simon Olsen, jumps a few times on the bass speakers in front of the stage, to get closer to his fans. They, the crowd, in return appreciate this a lot and cheer loudly when he does.

To be honest, BAEST is not a band you book, to get your festival visitors into a mellow start. BAEST is a kick in the face when you walk in to the ice rink straight from your day time job. And that is how we like it!

I’m very much surprised by this bands energy, craftsmanship and I really enjoyed the melodic parts a lot!

Jungle Rot (USA)
The one stage concept at Dynamo is perfect, so there is time to take a breath of air after the assault of BAEST. Next up is Jungle Rot and they simple start off, where BAEST left.

Their pumping death metal is received pretty well by the rapid growing crowd. The sun is hot, but the beer is cold and the metal is loud!

And loud is Jungle Rot absolutely! Hair is flying and I sense some movement in the middle of the crowd, indicating a pit of some sort and size.

Grand Magus (SWE)Before Grand Magus can start their set, Jacco de Boer, the host of the festival, has something to say.
In the days running up to the festival some environmentalists raised some dust to prevent the campsite of the festival. There even had to come an contra research and in the end it turned out ok, but to ensure that there would be no complaints, Jacco asks the crowd to keep it quiet on the campsite.
With that out of the way, Grand Magus can start their set and that is a nice one too!

The genre is completely different than the first two bands; heavy metal with a bluesy twist and old farts like me are loving it! There are no moshpits or wild stuff, but a lot of nodding heads in appreciation of the performance of these three gents. Perfect music for a warm festival afternoon!

Eluveitie (CH)
Normally folk metal is not the mos wild genre of metal, but Eluveitie has their own opinion on that. With nine(!) people on the stage it is busy! It is great to see, they are changing places when their part of solo is up, so everybody can see what is going on.

There are a lot of instruments in this band, which aren’t very common in a metal band like a Celtic harp, mandolin, flute, violins, bagpipes, gurdy, mandola and so on.

The proof that this can produce a pretty heavy sound, is being given by Eluveitie. It is impressive how this is done live. The sound is full and varied and a big part of the audience loves it.

The front rows are mostly filled with youngsters, who are having the time of their lives!
This kind of folk metal is impressive to see and to hear!

Avatar (SWE)
To be honest, there isn’t always that much to say about a gig of Avatar. The performance is solid, musically it is clockwork, interaction with the crowd perfect and it is entertaining as fuck!

Singer Johannes Eckerström is doing the most interacting with the audience, but his band fire on the crowd too. I love the way this band is doing their shows and how they build up to a climax.

Again, there a lot of youngsters in the front rows and that is just awesome. Metal lives and bands like these are the next gen to take over from the aging bands. After three songs I walk around and see the show from a distance and have a chat here and there.

When I walk back to the stage during the last song, “Smells Like a Freakshow” I see they have changed their jackets into white ones… Straight jackets? It wouldn’t surprise me ;-)

Airbourne (AUS)
Before these Aussies can start their set, there is another plea to keep it quite on the campsite and with that out of the way, the mayhem broke loose.
This time not a wall of fake Marshall amps like at Into The Grave, but a smaller wall of real Marshall amps and it sounds!
It is obvious Airbourne is not here just to end a pre-party, but to slam down the complete ice rink!

A show of Airbourne is always adrenaline fueled and filled with action and with “Ready to Rock” as first song, the ice rink is set ablaze!
Pity of the poor lighting, mostly form the back, that keeps the stage rather dark, but that doesn’t take away the great show they give.
The crowd is loving the Aussie-rules-metal and are going at it pretty wild. A lot of the songs of Airbourne are perfect to sing along, and that is what a large part of the crowd is doing.

The atmosphere (which was being great all day long) heightens even more and there is not a body in the venue, who’s sitting or standing still. Heads are bobbing, feet are tapping, fists are raised and even a couple of girls dance to “Heartbreaker”. I decide to walk in front of the grandstand where I can see the stage and the crazy fans having a blast. During “Live it Up” I finish my drink and I walk to my car.

While “Running Wild” is started I step into my car and roll the windows down to hear the last notes when I drive to the hotel. I can still hear the audience yell “Hey! Hey! Hey!” on the road which lead me of the parking lot.

I hope Airbourne is planning more European tours and bring some light, because this is just an awesome party not only to hear, but to see too!

The forecast for today is not the best; There will be several showers with an occasional thunderstorm, but on my way to the festival ground the sun is shining and I see quite some hungover metal heads, but some fresh ones too. Walking in to the ice rink I have some 10 minutes to spare, so I walk around and see how little rubbish is lying around. Of course it’s cleaned, but those hard cups are saving a lot of trash and causing a much cleaner sight and I must admit, these hard cups drink better than the soft plastic ones. But it is not time for beer yet, as Alien Weaponry is about to perform and I don’t want to miss a second of that!

Alien Weaponry (NZ)
In the days before Dynamo Metal Fest I listened to some of the bands performing and Alien Weaponry was definitely one of them. I put them on more often than any other, because in a way it as catchy as hell. The magic of the Maori language combined thrash metal is intriguing as fuck!

My first wtf-moment is, when the band walks on stage. These youngsters can’t be the band… Well in fact they are and the set starts with an original Haka done by the band, which is the second wtf-moment. I’ve never seen a Haka live and it is mighty impressive, seeing it done by these guys.

This band is a three piece and I must admit, that this is probably the first time I didn’t really notice that fact. There is so much going on and the speed is just amazing!
Not all songs are in Maori; some of them are in English too, and that makes singing along a bit easier for the Dutchies.

It is striking how busy it is already in front of the stage and afterward I hear a lot of positive remarks about this band. The popularity of this band on Dynamo Metal Fest is shown by the line of people wanting something singed shortly after their set; it is huge!

I guess there is some Dutch ancestry in this band; singer Lewis, drummer Henry and manager Niel (their dad) have “De Jong” as last name, so hopefully the have some extra warm feelings for The Netherlands and do an extensive Dutch club tour! But first they can be heard again at Into The Grave in Leeuwarden. I so much look forward to that!

Tribulation (SWE)
After the thrash violence from New Zealand, it is time for the horror death metal of Tribulation with the inimitable Jonathan Hultén on guitar. Jonathan is every photographers dream on the stage, but in clubs it is always rather dark, so I am happy their set is during daylight!
This band is nothing short of awesome. The set kicks of with “Melancholia” and soon followed by other great songs like “The Lament”, “The Motherhood of God”, “Strange Gateway Beckon”, it is not hard to imagine that this was a very, very strong performance of Tribulation.

Again I am impressed by the performance, the music and the stage show of this band.
Just Stellar.

Armored Saint (USA)
The first time this band was in Eindhoven on Dynamo Open Air was 30 years ago and there are quite some metal heads present today, which were at that occasion too!
It is no surprise, that these gents are not the youngest of the day, but with that they bring a ton of experience and that shows!

Personally I think it is great bands like these are still touring the world. Although the time slot is far to short to play all their highlights, the setlist is well balanced and I am not the only one singing along with some of the songs. I simply love this old school feeling of Armored Saint and after I took the pictures, I grab a cold beer and stand for a while to enjoy thoroughly songs like “Seducer” and “March of the Saint”

Philip H. Anselmo and the Illegals (USA)
It is now time for the crowd to go mental; Philip Anselmo is entering the stage and not even a king or a pope could get the crowd to go that mental! In his turn, Philip is waving affably to the people gathered.
Almost immediately Philip asks if the audience wants to hear something Illegal or something different. I guess a lot does not understand what he means with “Illegal” (his present band) and “something different” (Pantera), but when he asks it again, it is clear they want Pantera stuff and Philip remarks that he doesn’t mind, as long as they make a clear choice.

In return, he wants the crowd to sing along as loud as they can, as his voice is a bit raspy and it is the end of the tour, so he can use all the singing support he can get.
With “Mouth for War” the tone is set and the people in front of the stage are going mental! Large dust clouds rise up from the large pit and it doesn’t stop until the last note is played.

At the start of “Yesterday Don’t Mean Shit” it start to rain a little, but these drops are getting bigger and bigger rapidly and before the song is halfway through, all mayhem breaks loose!
It is raining extremely heavy now and hailstones as large as marbles falling down. The field behind the sound booth is empty now and everybody there is taking shelter from the hailstorm under the roof of the ice rink. In front of the stage, almost nobody has left and even Philip is daring to stand in the hailstorm on occasion.

Stagehands are covering the monitors and other electrical equipment and clearing the water of the stage, while the band continues top play.
Everybody on the field is now soaking wet and the rain and hail doesn’t stop for the next three songs.
Then, when “Walk” is started, the sun comes out and as sudden as the rain started, the sun is shining bright again.
A big roar goes through the venue, because EVERYBODY knows the first few notes of “Walk”. A lot of people run to the field and join the loudest singalong of the world!

What happens next is sending goosebumps all over my body and multiple shivers down my spine; a few thousand people sing along with “Walk”, completely drowning out the sound coming from the sound system of Dynamo Metal Fest. Even when Max Cavalera joins Philip to sing “Walk” with him, they do not top the crowd in front of them.
With Domination the set ends and although Philip’s voice is not the best and he is constantly chewing on something, which makes him inaudible at times, this is still one of the most epic performances I’ve ever witnessed.

Metal Church (USA)
It is noticeable that after the rain and hail, the setup of the stage is changed. The monitors and mic stands are pushed back for about two meters and that is of course due to the rain that is still expected.
The folks who were on de field during the previous gig, are now wringing their clothes dry under the roof or in the sun.

After 3 pictures of Metal Church, the rain starts to fall again and this time it is only rain but it is quite a lot. There isn’t a lot of people in front of the stage now. The majority is taking shelter for the rain and I decide not to stand in the pouring rain with my equipment so I go and find a good spot to see the show.
Metal Church plays some newer stuff, but it is striking to see that it is the old stuff that gets the crowd going! The rain is getting less and less and during “Beyond the Black” the sky opens up and the sun is back, drying all the wet fans of Metal Church.

Soulfly (USA)
It seems the band is pushed back even more, but there is no more rain expected.
The voice of Max is not in the best shape when he starts the first song of their set. It is even more raspy than usual and although it is obvious he has some trouble with his voice, it doesn’t sound bad at all. It takes some time to get used to.

Max asks for a circle pit several times and gets it instantly. Although the crowd is going at it, the dust clouds are not happening again today I guess, after all the rain. The set is decent, but not impressive.

The “ie-ja-ja-jo” near the end is something I personally would have skipped.
There is enough Soulfly material to play which match the status Max better than this simple sing along game.

Carcas (UK)
The best thing about this performance of Carcass is the length of their set; an hour of dissecting, death and all things evil in a extreme melodic death metal style.
As always, Carcass is playing their music like a forensic doctor; meticulously and precise.

Singer and bass player Jeff Walker is not the most active front man of today, but his stances are ok and his angry looks are impressive as I had the honor to experience!
“Exhume to Consume” is done perfectly in my opinion and during “Death Certificate” I decide to get something to drink and find a chair to sit down for a while and listen to Carcass.

Steel Panther (USA)
Probably the most controversial band of this festival is Steel Panther.
I think Steel Panther is fucking hilarious and I know firsthand that they don’t take themselves too seriously, so people should too!

During the signing session of Steel Panther at the Metalfan booth is clear what is the most popular band of the day; the line is long and wide and it is obvious not everybody is getting their signature. There is even security present, but besides ordering a few to not hold up de line, there were no problems at all. Not even when the majority of fans didn’t get a signature when the band left to prepare for their performance.

But back to the gig… Steel Panther is over the top and that is what their fans want. The lyrics are not the most female friendly, but still the first rows consist mostly of women who sing along with Michael Starr.

The play in between songs is toe curling uncomfortable to watch at times, but then again; that is the whole purpose of these plays.
Of course is there a Van Halen cover “You Really Got Me” (actually it is a Kinks cover) as a reminder of the Van Halen tribute band Michael Starr was in. The other cover which is played is “Crazy Train” of Ozzy Osbourne, where Michael Starr impersonates Ozzy to perfection! It is awesome and hilarious at the same time!

During “17 Girls in a Row” beautiful female fans with large breasts are invited on the stage, but the ones who are not that beautiful and doesn’t have large breast, but are willing to have sex with the band are invited too! It is jaw dropping how much girls run to the backstage area to dance on the stage with Steel Panther.

After “Death to All but Metal”, it is time for me to hydrate myself with a cold one and take a break from the hilarities. There is so much one can take ;-)

Arch Enemy (SWE)
Arch Enemy has a large following in the Netherlands and it is packed in front of the stage when the band is preparing to start their show.
When the introduction “Set Flame to the Night” sounds, the action is about to begin. And the action is spectacular! Alissa is running around during “The World Is Yours” and huge flame columns shoot up in the air. Arch Enemy knows how to start a show and the audience is encouraged to go wild.

Alissa is having fun and is twirling her mic on several occasions and is pretty close at the flames at times.
When “War Eternal” is over, I leave the photopit and see (and feel!) the flames go up again.

Arch Enemy is getting better and better in putting down an awesome show, but the only point of critique is, that there is little light on the stage. The band members are mostly shadows and silhouettes and that is unfortunate.

Besides that, the show is awesome en musically it is what you might expect of a second day headliner.

The fifth of Dynamo Metal Fest is a huge success on several levels in my book. The hailstorm during Philip H. Anselmo and the Illegals and the huge shower during Metal Church were deviations in further perfect weather. The friendliness, comradery and tolerance which is so typically for a metal festival were all present here.

To be honest, on forehand I thought the two day setup was unnecessary, but I must admit, that this edition the smaller bands made the most impression, with Alien Weaponry as absolute winner. Hands down.

The one stage concept is something that should not change. I love it to have some time to talk to friends and drink a beer without missing too much of the bands.

I know for sure, that I will be present next year! In fact I already booked my hotel! See you all next year!

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