Karmøygeddon

Festival Report 2012

Text: Sean Pickering Photo: Lunah Lauridsen

Friday:

A few weeks ago held a special weekend for me, I travelled all the way to the small town of Haugesund for Karmøygeddon festival, two of my favourite bands were playing: Pain and Hypocrisy, both lead by the same singer: Peter Tägtgren. Other bands that are playing are Doro, Vader, In Mourning and Evile. In all 16 bands are playing here this weekend, 2 on Thursday and 7 both on Friday and Saturday. There were 2 stages, the small stage called Jimmy Legs was only used for the Thursday concerts and the two first concerts every day, and it has a capacity of 150 people. The main stage called Byscenen has a capacity of 750 people and all of the other bands played on this stage. This meant that there were no clashes in the running order and it was easily possible to see all of the bands.

I only arrived on Friday so I first discovered the place just before the In Mourning concert. I started looking at the merchandising, 250 NOK (33€) for a t-shirt and I think that the sweat-shirts were at 450 NOK (60€), I got myself a t-shirt before they all sold out (they were selling fast! Some sizes sold out before I arrived). One very good point for me is that they handed out ear plugs (there was a bowl of them on the bar actually), in some countries/venues they do not.

The disposition of the small stage was not at all convenient, there are steps everywhere and the entrance to the venue is down the side of the stage and gets easily blocked when there is a concert there as it becomes very crowded. But this is rarely an issue as there is another entrance to get to the bar part, and there are only a few concerts here throughout the weekend. Byscenen, the main stage is just a regular concert hall, there are a couple of bars, a balcony upstairs reserved for people with special tickets (they sold out before we even decided to go to the festival) and this place had the particularity to have an amazing sound for almost all of the bands this weekend! (The only problem for me was Hypocrisy, but this could be because of the style of music that they play). There was also a separate room with just a bar and without loud music.

Inside the venue there are mainly the locals that are here for a normal weekend drinking beer but with a few live bands playing instead of just listening to Metallica at the pub (that seemed to me as being the main band that they played in the pub part of the venue). A lot of the people that I spoke to didn’t know the bands or at least were not here because of a specific band, they were here to have fun, listen to metal and drink beer with friends. Nevertheless, they were eager to ask about what I thought of the local bands playing during the weekend such as Sublime Eyes (that I missed unfortunately).

The first band that I saw this weekend was In Mourning; who played a great concert and was a good way to start the weekend of festivities!
After the concert there is a 25 minute break, enough time to go back to the hotel and grab a coffee as I am tired with the long trip, but it might not have been necessary because on stage next is the Polish death metal band Vader! They give it everything and ended perfectly, but there is still more to come, the evening is still young!
And the next band to come on stage is Pain, the industrial metal band from Sweden. Not as many people in here at this time for Pain, during the break we notice that the staff are collecting the plastic cups and trash from the floor (they did this between each band) to try and keep the place tidy. There were also “Jäger-Girls” walking around the venue selling Jägermeister shots, faster that queuing for the bar! (Even if there were no major queues during the whole festival).

Then Pain arrives on stage, they deliver an electro vibe, growling and clear vocals covered with a couple of guitars and more or less fast drums; it sounded quite good.
The next band to show teach the Norwegians (and myself!) a nice lesson in what metal is all about is Doro Pesch from Germany! The so called “Queen of Metal” and her band play yet another concert with a satisfied crowd.

The last band of the day is Alestorm, but I am too tired to stay as I have had a long day so decide to catch some rest to be more fit tomorrow. And the day has been a great day for the shows, didn’t want to waste it by getting potentially disappointed by the last band but I don’t know them and compared to the great shows that the previous bands put on I think that it was a good idea.

At 1 a.m. the bar suddenly closes and the place goes dead, that signs the end of the evening for everybody.

Saturday:

It is a great day today, the sun is shining so we made the most of it and decided to visit the town a bit. There were a few metalheads walking round, but there were even more at the venue, there were events all day at the pub (they might be strict in the closing time, but they sure do open early enough to compensate), so people could just go there, take part in a metal quiz (that I missed, but it was in Norwegian anyway so I would not have understood much) or just sit down in the sun enjoying a beer! This is exactly what we did.

The first band that I wanted to see today was “Backstreet Girls”, a hard rock/punk rock band composed of four men, as the name almost suggests from the backstreets of Oslo. To understand what sort of music they play “Try to imagine a mix of AC/DC, Rose Tattoo, Angel City and Ramones and you have Backstreet Girls”. They took the stage at 16:50, so we had plenty of time to make the most of Haugesund during the day.
This is my first concert on the small stage and there are a lot of people here. The entrance to the venue goes down the side of the stage, so people are congested there and it makes it hard to access the place. Once I arrive in the place and find a spot where I can get to see the stage (Norwegian people are quite tall!) I start enjoying the music. The band plays simple but festive music and it works! The place is packed and the people are enjoying the concert. It was nothing special though so I didn’t stay until then end.

The next band is black metal band Carach Angren, the first band of the day on the main stage. No big mistakes and very professional performance.
Next to come on stage is Purified in Blood, a metalcore band. Not being a fan of the genre, we decide to skip them and go and have a beer instead.
So the next band we see is Evile, from England! They are happy to be here today, and go down quite well. They end with the song Infected Nations which is a fast one, a nice final touch to wake everyone up before the next band.

The festival is approaching an end now and the second to last band is Evergrey, a progressive metal band from Sweden. In the beginning there are a lot more people here now for this concert than for the rest of the bands today, but as it seems to be usual, towards the end of the concert there are less and less people present.
The band in charge of ending this festival and achieving the remaining survivors is the death metal band Hypocrisy. The concert just flies by and the exhaustion accumulated just disappears during the show. That was one great way to waste the rest of the energy that remained, and it worked for me, as soon as the concert ended I went back to the hotel and called it a day.

To close this review, I will say that I am happy about the festival, good organisation and I think that there was some great effort put into the artists planned over the weekend: the bands that played maybe aren’t the best in what they do, but sure are great live acts! And quite a few different genres are represented, enough to please almost any metal head. The beer was not too expensive (for Norway) and the people that I talked to were friendly and a bit proud to have this festival in their hometown.

Karmøygeddon

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