Copenhell - 2017

Text: Tobias Nilsson Photo: Lunah Lauridsen

Copenhell was once again upon us, and to properly open up a festival, you need a band who will do a proper job of getting the action going.
For us, that band was DevilDriver. They weren’t the first band to play, but they were the first one on the Hades stage, and that was good enough for us.

“Are you ready? Are you ready?! ARE YOU FUCKING READY?!”
- Bradley James ‘Dez’ Fafara (vocals)

In front of an impressively large, still squeaky clean and fresh, festival audience, the band stepped on stage with fury (the good kind) and energy flowing. They were feeling it, and so was Copenhell going to – I mean, hell, the first thing to come out of main man Fafara’s mouth was “Open up the pit!”, and after this, the gauntlet was tossed, so to speak.
Musically, DevilDriver has never been a favourite of mine (I don’t mind them, they’re just not on my top ten), but one thing I neither can nor want to take away from them, is that they are a formidable force on a live stage. From the first second to the last, the band was giving it everything they had in them. Well, most of them anyway – bassist Diego ‘Ashes’ Ibarra was performing at an ok level, but never before has anyone looked so utterly bored whilst playing in such a lively band. Odd!
The rest of them performed with aggression and vitality though, and there was even a hint at humour at some (few) times. Just take that one time, when Neal Tiemann got thirsty, and while still strumming, he had his guitar technician do the chords, so that he could have one hand free to drink beer with! Although, none was as wild as drummer Austin D’Amond – even though he was ‘just’ sitting down, he was still ripping it up behind his kit, smiling and headbanging, and was a large part of making the show as powerful as it was!
DevilDriver was also a diverse crew to behold, as the pictures will tell you – it’s been a long time since Fafara changed his Coal Chamber nu metal look for that of a regular metal look, mighty beard and worn t-shirt and jeans, but Ibarra looked like more glam/sleaze, like he’d fit in with something like Mötley Crüe or Skid Row, while Tiemann looked more like something out of the ‘Seventies retro wave that’s been flooding the scene in recent years. Nothing wrong with it of course, just interesting to watch. Then you had Mike Spreitzer, with a head full of dreadlocks. Dreadlocks are awesome for headbanging, which is something Spreitzer didn’t mind doing, let me tell you.

“I love this fucking shit! Just fucking look at this, man!”
- Fafara (vocals)

No doubt the band was making a powerful impact, but don’t think the Copenhell crowd wasn’t ready for it. It didn’t matter that we were still squeaky clean, and just getting started – the Copenhell reaction was almost that of a crowd watching the headliner of the day!
Even before the band took the stage, people were loudly chanting its name, and as soon as Fafara had said his opening statement, it was obeyed without delay. The crowd kicked off in a wild mosh, beating the rust out, and for the second song they were ready with a wall of death. There were surprisingly few crowd surfers for this show, but something tells me this was due there not being possible to crowdsurf, since everyone was busy running around in the large circle pit that ripped the middle of the grounds up. The crowd was feeding off the energy of the band, and vice versa.
Fafara mentioned that their latest album, Trust No One, was their highest charting yet, and with the positive response the band was getting here, it’s not hard to imagine that their popularity is still on the rise.
In short, DevilDriver delivered a damn near perfect opening for Copenhell. Their hard-hitting music was the optimal soundtrack for kicking this festival into gear, and the crowd ate it up. I can’t imagine how this could have been done better than it was.


End Of The Line
Not All Who Wander Are Lost
Cry For Me Sky (Eulogy Of The Scorned)
I Could Care Less
Before The Hangman’s Noose
Clouds Over California
Meet The Wretched

Latest uploads: