Sweden Rock Festival - 2010

Text: Tobias Nilsson Photo: Lunah Lauridsen

Skyclad was on my top-three for bands I was looking forward to seeing at this years’ Sweden Rock Festival, and to be honest, both of the others were more in the line of “have to see before I/they die” whereas Skyclad, whom I had seen before, was merely “have to see”. Again and again.

As I was coming over to the Dio stage after Cathedral’s show I was already in a great mood, and I anticipated it would only be better after seeing the originators of folk metal.
They themselves seemed to be in a great mood as well as they hit the stage, and why wouldn’t they?
The sun was shining for once, there was a good gathering of people (although somewhat more loosely packed than I would have guessed) and the band was celebrating their 20th anniversary with this being their first time in Sweden according to vocalist/guitarist Kevin Ridley.
Skyclad kicked of their energetic show first with the old track Earth Mother, The Sun And The Furious Host which was quickly followed by a jump-along top Spinning Jenny after which the setlist turned in a newer direction with Words Upon The Street.
Even though they had some severe guitar problems in the start (Steve Ramsey worked hard at this throughout almost an entire song), Skyclad performed par excellence and especially Georgina ‘George’ Biddle was extremely playful in her execution of the songs. Heck, during Black Summer Rain in which she did not play she ran down into the photo-pit and headbanged along with the rest of us!

For people new to Skyclad, Ridley tried to explain their sound with the oxymoron “happy doom”, and also named their song The Widdershins Jig the worlds’ first folk-metal song.
For us who have heard them before, no explanations were needed, we were just there to enjoy, however I must add that the setlist was maybe not quite what I had hoped for in a setting such as this. The number of new songs would work fine during a normal tour, clearly promoting their newer material and their latest album In The… All Together, but for a festival people need the songs they know by heart, so that singing along even in a slightly intoxicated state will not be a problem. In other words, the new songs are great, but I would have preferred more classics.
But, then again, this was the only low-point (if I can even call it that) of the gig and both old and new songs were performed with the same energy from the bands side.
In the end The Widdershins Jig was played as a perfect ending anthem, and the band left the stage only a minute short of their scheduled time. Still, they gave us quite the welcome surprise as they ran onto the stage once more and pressed in Still Small Beer before really having to take their leave.

Due to the numerous new songs in the setlist, and the older ones being more obscure than hit oriented at times, this gig didn’t quite live up to the sky-high expectations I had made myself, but on the other hand, the performance as such was a real ten-pointer, so you are not going to hear me complaining about this any time soon!


Earth Mother, The Sun And The Furious Host
Spinning Jenny
Words Upon The Street
Black Summer Rain
The Song Of No-Involvement
The Parliament Of Fools
The Antibody Politic
A Well-Travelled Man
Great Blow For A Day Job
Another Fine Mess
Inequality Street
Penny Dreadful
The Widdershins Jig
Still Small Beer

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