Living on the edge!

Groezrock 2017 (festival review)

April 29-30, 2017 | Meerhout, Belgium – Every year Groezrock returns to Meerhout, Belgium in the last weekend of April. A festival packed with hardcore, punk and metal. For me a huge opportunity to check out this festival again and see a lot of great bands, like Pennywise, Parkway Drive, The Menzingers, Brutality Will Prevail, Underoath and Stick to Your Guns.

—– DAY 1 | SATURDAY —–

Due to the long trip I wasn’t able to make it on time to check out the first bands. I also didn’t find some time to check out the area and the three stages, but I would find out later that day. For now I have to go check out the bands on the first day!

Swingin’ Utters
The first band we see is Swingin’ Utters on the Monster Stage. There aren’t much people on the field yet, so you can just walk to the borders. This punk band looks pretty normal, except for one of the guitar players. He’s the only one with dyed long hair. The singer is walking like a spastic on the stage. Every song is dedicated to a group of people, like junkies and skateboarders. Haha… It’s energetic too! A good band to start with. Groezrock officially started for me!

Trade Wind
Heading over to see Trade Wind’s show at the Watch Out Stage. It’s their first European show ever, so they’re doing their bests to enjoy the crowd. But it’s a lot different than Swingin’ Utters. A few songs are up-tempo but the others aren’t. That’s when a few people walk away to see another band play. Too bad, because they’re amazing. Guess it’s to much of a difference for most of the crowd. Let’s hope this won’t happen to the other bands. But for now: well done!

On to the next one: MeWithoutYou. They’re playing the Monster Stage this afternoon. Some fans were sitting on the field long before the show started to have the best spots. Nobody knows why, because it’s still very quiet. The band looks like surfer hippie and the music’s almost the same. Sometimes there’s a scream, but most of the times it’s music to relax on. After every song there’s applause and sometimes a yell. This band deserves more than just a polite applause. But I think it’s still to early to act crazy.

While entering the ‘Back to Basics Stage’ you have to get through a lot of people. Looks like everyone is waiting for Oathbreaker to begin. No wonder. This female fronted band is amazing. Too bad you can’t hear all of the vocals because of the bad sound. But nevertheless everyone is throwing a party with this mysterious band. When you finally can hear the vocals it’s pretty clear she can sing.

The Menzingers
Put a bunch of punkers on the stage and you definitely have a party. The bad vocals are long forgotten at the crowd. Everyone’s yelling and dancing. The songs are catchy, Blink 182 look-a-like songs. A good moment to grab something to eat and enjoying the show. Hands are all up in the air, fans are screaming along with the lyrics. Some even crowdsurf and end up in front of the borders. But before they can even take a picture, the security lead them to the exit.

Brutality Will Prevail
Loud, louder, loudest. That’s the subscription of Brutality Will Prevail. From the beginning there are moshpits everywhere and they ask the crowd to jump of the stage. No one is safe during the show. If you don’t want to lose your head: dive to the ground! No wonder they named their band that way. This hardcore (?) band is jumping, kicking and screaming. Some people even run out of the Back To Basics tent to save their lives. Yep. That’s what Groezrock is!

Strike Anywhere
A whole other band is playing on the Monster Stage right after Brutality Will Prevail. The singer looks like he comes straight out of a ska band. Dreadlocks, baggy clothes. It’s even a lot softer. But it’s a party. No one can stand still during the show, even the band members. Nice one!

He Is Legend
Moshpits, broken noses and again moshpits. First you think it’s gonna be emocore, but later on it looks like hardcore. Some songs are up-tempo, some aren’t. Singer Schuylar Croom has dyed his hair in a lot of colors and covered in a skinny jeans and hoodie. But he doesn’t like people on stage. He even kicks their asses to go off. He wants to have all the space by himself. That guy can sing! I’m amazed by his reach and even by his dance moves. He’s dancing like a spacing rainbow.

Bouncing Souls
Even though a lot of people came to see this band, they couldn’t grab my attention. It was a little boring. The singer looked like he didn’t have that much fun on stage. They are founded in 1989 and still releasing albums. But in my opinion it isn’t the best performance of this festival. Time to check out the merchandise!

A fully loaded Back to Basics tent, even at the sound check. Deafheaven has a lot of good reviews lately on different sites, so I went to see them play. From the beginning it’s a mix between a party and just people listening. Even though it’s an amazing band, it isn’t my kind of performance. But I must admit: his screams are incredible.

Wolf Down
In the meantime Wolf Down is playing on the Watch Out Stage. This Hatebreed look-a-like knows how to fuck people up. People are kicking and smashing in the air. Some even go on stage to do it with the band and then jump off. But all attention goes to a crew member of Groezrock who is moshing on his own at the side. He has an amazing time and so does everyone else who’s watching the show.

A fully loaded tent is waiting for Underoath. This American band has a lot of material to entertain Belgium this evening, so it’s promised to be a good one. They play old and new stuff. With the old stuff you can see that a lot of people are familiar with Underoath. The whole tent is singing. Hands are up, girls are staring at the band members and Underoath entertains the press. Definitely a highlight of Groezrock so far.

Stick to Your Guns
For me the evening ends a little early because of a blow in my nose in a moshpit. So I went to see Stick to Your Guns in the Back to Basics tent. Again there are crowdsurfing people, a lot of moshpits and maybe a few elbows in someone’s face. If your life is sacred to you, you have to go outside. Circle pits, walls of death. Nothing is left behind. Amazing to end the first day of Groezrock this way!

—– DAY 2 – SUNDAY —–

The second day of Groezrock was promised to be great again. There were a lot of good bands planned and most of them always have amazing shows and parties. So I prepared myself for a lot of hands and feet in the air and a lot of air beds and –animals.

With Zebrahead it’s always one big party. So I didn’t expect it to be different this time. From the beginning a circle pit started and people were crowdsurfing. Zebrahead played a lot of old stuff this afternoon to warm everyone up for the upcoming bands. As always the vocals are a little bad. But who cares? At the end of the show one guy in a beer costume jumps in a rubber boat to surf to the other side of the tent. Day 2 has started.

Call it Off
Heading over to Call it Off on the Watch Out Stage. This Dutch pop punk band brought a lot of fans who wants to jump and mosh. Before the show starts, the band wants everyone to sit on the ground. It’s never too early to start like this. Halfway they even throw balls, crocodiles and air beds in the crowd. People are crowdsurfing on it and throw everything in the air. Call it Off proves they’re no less than the headliners today.

Choking Victim
Back to the Monster Stage for Choking Victims. There aren’t a lot of people to check this band out. The people who are there are standing still and just watching the show. Everyone is still enjoying the shows on the other stages I guess. So room enough to just do crazy. The talking between the songs makes everyone lose their attention. And the band won’t get it back during the show.Except for the drunk people who are always throwing a party.

Heading over to the Back to Basics Stage. Counterfeit is about to start and it’s promised to be good. After a few songs I realize that it’s not good, but amazing. Singer … jumps off the stage to be part of the crowd. Everyone is running around him and he has a hard time to keep his mic with him. Even a wall of death is set up this show. Definitely a highlight of this day. Too bad they aren’t headlining Groezrock.

Undeclinable Ambuscade
We stay at the Back to Basics to check out Undeclinable Ambuscade. This Dutch band has a lot of fans with them today and the tent is full. … voice is amazing, the guitar riffs and drums are good and everything falls in place. This band knows how to perform and interact with the crowd. Everyone is yelling and a lot of people sing along with the band. Let’s keep up the good work guys!

Cock Sparrer
One of the bands I was looking out for. Overall it’s very quiet at the Groezrock field, even at the Monster Stage. But Cock Sparrer is full with energy this day. The guys are smiling the whole time. Their vibe is contagious, because the crowd is having fun. Overall a good show, but we have to move to the Back to Basics to check out H2O.

Run for your life! That’s all we have to say about this show. From the very first moment everyone is climbing the stage to jump off again. Your head isn’t safe, sunglasses break and the band has no space anymore. But what are these guys awesome! Wow!

Another band I’ve been waiting for today: Pennywise. At least your head is safe this time. Everyone came to see the band play. A lot of people are even standing outside. The up-tempo songs make the crowd run, mosh and jump. And at the end we’re all covered in beer. Yep, that’s part of this festival and definitely part of a show of Pennywise.

Blood Youth
I had to choose between two bands I didn’t know. I decided to go to Blood Youth on the Watch Out Stage. After all a great choice. What an amazing band it is. Good vocals, a wonderful show and an amazing crowd. A lot of people find the stage to dance and bounce along with the band. After all a band you definitely have to check out someday.

Parkway Drive
The band everyone is waiting for: Parkway Drive at the Monster Stage. A lot of people have to stand outside the tent to catch a glimpse of this energetic band. From the beginning there’s a lot of pyro and carbon dioxide. The first rows have free heath this cold evening. Parkway Drive proves they’re a justified headliner of Groezrock. They end the festival in style with a set of more than one hour.

Thanks Groezrock, you were great again! Hopefully till next year!

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