Raismesfest 2006, Raismes, France, 10th of September
wrathchild: First band to play on this second and last day of festival was Atlantys. Under such a generic monicker is a more or less pop rock band, whose particularity is that a girl is playing the drums and singing at the same time. The music wasn't bad, quite catchy in fact, but I had the feeling I was listening to the same song over and over again.
wrathchild: Manticora playing "only" 30 minutes? Ah well, that's because they were added as a bonus, as they were touring with Andromeda. We should not complain since a bit of Manticora is better than no Manticora at all.
Those 30 minutes were filled with crushing power metal! The Danish guys delivered an energetic performance, especially Lars - their singer. Let's say he's mad, crazy on stage! Running everywhere, throwing CDs and T-shirts, climbing on the speakers, etc. And using his powerful voice, of course. The others were also impressive, first musically and then because they seemed really happy to be playing (the 3 axemen did pose together more than once). The band played Gypsies' Dance from their new album and had a good sound, although by the end of the show, Martin Arendal had some problems with his amp. An excellent show, a good slap in the face to wake us up!
Jeff: Despite a sound that was a bit average and a really short setlist, the Danish band proved one more time that they are "stage beasts". With their "offensive" Progressive Metal and their really charismatic singer, Lars F Larsen, Manticora was just a perfect start for this beautiful sunny Sunday. When I think about it, and since the band was already at Raismes the Saturday, I don't understand why the Raismesfest team didn't reschedule them to take Green Carnation's place. With the show they performed this Sunday, I can tell you that they were the perfect potential replacement.
wrathchild: Ready for some good old hard rock? What Lonewolf Corp. offers is not ttat "hard" but still very enjoyable and we were even able to sing with them on some choruses (for example, the song Hell Heroes). The bad thing is that everybody was mesmerized by the flashy shirt the singer was wearing.
wrathchild: At first, I wasn't very excited when V8 Wankers were confirmed on the bill, simply because I wasn't aware of what they played. I imagined something more or less punky... and got some good heavy/rock instead! On their second concert in France, the Germans and their tattoos made a great impact on the crowd - not only because or their physical appearance but also due to the great music they played. Each member had his own solospot while the singer introduced them to the audience. A girl threw a plush moose on stage and managed to get it back as the band threw it back to the crowd (it will reappear later, don't worry). Another anecdote was that Axxis had to cross the festival area in their minibus, fighting their way through the crowd while V8 Wankers were still playing.
Jeff: V8 Wanckers, it's a bit like the German Rose Tattoo. Not only because of their numerous tattoos, of course, but also because of the musical similarities between the two bands. They were not really serious and it was more like a friendly show, but their Hard Rock was nice and even though I regret that they didn't play the excellent song "Acceleration Nation", it was a good show. A lot of people enjoyed the performance of the band. Note by the way that they were all really friendly and easy of access after their show.
wrathchild: Time for something "sober" now. Valkyre is a gothic/folk metal band featuring a violinist as well as as a female singer and a female keyboardist. Why do I specifically mention "female"? Because that's a fact, it's easier to gather people that way, especially when they're as beautiful as the girls of Valkyre. Actually, we were quite amazed by the number of bands with female members at this year's Raismesfest. A great step towards diversity in metal, and Valkyre proved it even though their music is neither revolutionary nor excessively good. It was a nice discovery, no doubt we'll hear about Valkyre in the future.
wrathchild: Let's make it clear: I've heard a few songs from Leaves' Eyes and didn't like them. I've also heard a few songs of Theatre Of Tragedy and didn't like them too, mostly because of the vocals. That's why I was hoping that Leaves' Eyes could impress me live, just like other bands I didn't like did in the past. But there was no miracle, and I found their show and their music to be boring. Actually, the boring part comes mostly from Liv. The most impressive effort she made was to keep on smiling thoughout the entire show, while on the other hand, her husband kept on headbanging, jumping, as he was standing by his beloved. The music was soft to heavy but even so, I found it very hard to get into for being so "nothing special". Perhaps attending an indoor show rather than an afternoon outdoor show can convince me that Leaves' Eyes is a good band... but I don't think I'll go.
Jeff: We didn't see a lot of this show because we were doing an interview with Bernhard and Lakonia of Axxis. But, the little part of the concert that I saw wasn't so amazing. I mean, Leave's Eyes is not a bad band but it's nothing special too. They played their hit, "Norwegian Love Song", but no, I was just not really attracted by their performance.
wrathchild: After having searched for information about the bands performing on the small stage, I was curious and eager to see Kells' gig. Their music is vaguely gothic rock a la Evanescence, with lyrics (mostly) in French. Unfortunately, it seems that the singer was ill... Her voice wasn't as powerful and expressive as on CD. It was not always easy to understand what she was saying, yet she managed to do her best, constantly twirling around to the music. Their setlist included their own cover of the new wave/pop hit song Such A Shame (by Talk Talk). I wish I can see them again on a better day...
wrathchild: The Swedish (and not Swiss, as the speaker said in his introduction) prog metallers were touring to promote their new album, Chimera. The show logically started with the opening track from that album, Periscope, and the main problem was clear: the sound. The keyboard was a bit too loud, the guitar was not loud enough and even though we could hear the bass, it was hard for me to distinguish the notes. Hopefully, that was enough to grasp the essence of Andromeda, their musicianship. Martin Hedin, Andromeda's keyboardist, was unable to tour (he's father for the second time) and was replaced by Robert Engstrand, whose only mistake was to wear that annoying hood... The concert ended with some of their best known songs, such as Reaching Deep Within. A good show, but not really surprising.
Jeff: A lot of people went to the Raismesfest to see Andromeda (and I must confess that I was one of these people). One more time the sound was a bit average but the show was quite nice. The band played songs from their first to last album. It was a good show, but let's be honest, Andromeda is not something spectacular too. Their music is great, their performance on stage is good but also extremely basic.
wrathchild: Clearly the best band on the small stage, IMO. Like Tronckh on Saturday, Cristal won their "headliner" status at the previous battle of the bands thanks to their neo classical/power metal. Sure, there's a certain lack of originality in their music, but given that the band was founded only two years ago, and with their talent and motivation, the best is yet to come. The only thing that bothered me that night was that the singer wasn't spontaneous in the way he moved on stage, a bit as if he was acting. This will probably be resolved after the band plays more concerts.
wrathchild: After having been blown away by their performance in Gernika for the MetalWay festival, I was eager to see Axxis again on stage in Raismes. Hopefully, my expectations were all met as they once again made an excellent performance. Excellent music, metling traditional heavy metal with more melodic/power metal elements boosted with the talent and the energy of their two singers, Bernhard Weiß and Lakonia. They started with the first 3 tracks of their latest album, Paradise In Flames, and after a couple more songs, Bernhard started to read a few French sentences he had on paper. After that, he picked a girl from the crowd and invited her on stage. Valentine didn't understand English that well, and didn't really know how to play the tambourine either, so it ended up even funnier as the dynamic singer tried to explain her what rhythm she was supposed to play. A good laugh! Then, Axxis went on with some great tracks, including Angel Of Death and ending with Kingdom Of The Night, a song from their first album (released in 1989). Unfortunately, they ran out of time and couldn't finish this song, while the audience booed the organization for not letting this great show continue till its very end. Though I suppose if the show wasn't stopped, the crowd would have asked for a lot of encores! Many people told me afterwards that they had fell in love with the band, and everyone will agree on saying Axxis' shows are always a great moment. Incredible.
Jeff: I will not talk a lot about the German combo. I just have to say that if Axxis comes to your town, you MUST go to the venue to see them! Their music is not so special, it's classic German Heavy Metal but their performance on stage is just amazing. We were all amazed by their show at the MetalWay festival this summer and now I can tell you that wasn't an accident! One more time, Bernhard spoke a lot to the public, one more time he invited a girl from the crowd on stage and we all had a lot of fun… Listen to me again, Axxis live rocks!
wrathchild: I had already seen Adagio live a couple of years ago and they didn't impress me back then. And seeing them right after Axxis' excellent performance was probably not the best thing for them. Nevertheless, I enjoyed their show more than what I expected. Their setlist included many songs from their first and third album, with of course their 2 covers: Fame and The Immigrant Song. I think the only song they played from their second album was From My Sleep... To Someone Else, Stéphan Forté taking on Hreidmarr's original growling parts. With this pretty heavy set, Adagio probably tried to avoid playing too many complicated songs in favour of a better interaction with the audience. Gus Monsanto did well, despite having a slightly lower voice than his predecessor. Everything was good except one thing I found weird: the atmosphere they wished to create. It's probably just me again, but the blue and red lights as well as Stéphan (guitar) and Éric (drums) make-up were awkward.
For those who didn't know, Stéphan met David Readman (first singer of the band) at a previous Raismesfest.
Jeff: Adagio's performance was more than correct and for sure, Gus, the new vocalist, is a really good singer (even if his performance on stage wasn't so good imo). On the other hand, with only 60 minutes (compared to the length of their songs…), it was a bit short to appreciate the real qualities of Adagio. I also regret that the band is a bit frozen and not so communicative. Actually, I have nothing to say against their music but the band should be a bit more talkative and communicative with the public but also between them.
wrathchild: After Adagio left the stage, the winner of Sunday's guitar was announced, followed by a brief (but well deserved) presentation of some people from the organization.The sound check wasn't finished when the crowd started chanting the theme from La Marche Des Gendarmes, the cover they did of a famous series of movies featuring French actor Louis De Funes. Before stepping on stage, the band put this song to play through the PA - sign that the night would be funny! And it was, thanks to an overexcited Tobias Sammet. Having already seen two Edguy's shows (including one from their first European tour), I knew he is often joking but sometimes he's the only one to laugh... This time, he was perfect. When the plush moose reappeared (this time, wearing a T-shirt from another French festival, Crescendo) he played with it, trying to hold it on his shoulders so that he could pretend the plush was singing. Tobias was so active on stage that he broke his wireless mic and had to continue with a wired one before the other got repaired. Out of the numerous jokes he made, he started playing Smoke On The Water on Jens' guitar as an introduction to Mysteria. The sound was great as well as the light show and the songs were entertaining, even though I would have enjoyed more "old" songs (but they played Babylon, a track I had not expected them to play). That was exaclty the kind of shows you want to see from the last headliners of a festival. Really great, I don't think anyone was disappointed by their performance.
Jeff: The German Heavy Metal band was a perfect way to close this excellent 2006 edition of the Raismesfest, and when you know that the show started with the famous "La Marche Des Gendarmes", you can be sure that it was a "silly" concert. As always, the show was full of energy and full of humour. I will never say that Edguy is the best band on earth, that's not the case, but their music is just extremely catchy and well, I suppose that you all know how "crazy" Mr Tobias can be… It was once again a big big show of the little (by the size only) singer. I headbanged and jumped a lot on Avantasia, Tears Of Mandrake or Mysteria and the numerous people who were there with us seemed to enjoy the set a lot. No doubt, it was a great show and a perfect way to finish the Raismesfest 2006.
This 9th edition of the Raismesfest festival was a success, since it welcomed twice more people and introduced some innovations (such as that contest to win a guitar). Musically speaking, the only real flaw was to choose Stereotypical Working Class to replace Green Carnation. Of course, there were some problems with the sound but since more or less everything was fixed during the first songs, it didn't ruin any of the 24 gigs scheduled during those two days. Most people were stunned by Pure Inc. and Axxis' performances (as a matter of fact, Axxis official French fanclub was born only days after the festival), many had a great time with V8 Wankers when others enjoyed moshing with Dagoba. The headliners, Freak Kitchen and Edguy, perfectly played their rôle, delivering solid performances while maintaining the friendly atmosphere that characterizes this festival. There are still some things that need to be improved, but no doubt that most of them will be taken care of for next year, for the 10th anniversary of the Raismesfest!
The list could be endless... We wish to thank all the staff at Raismesfest (especially Laurent, Satare, Jeristo, Mimi), some French journalists (Clément, Looner and Odymetal's team, etc.) as well as all the friends we made there (you know who you are)!
Skeptical Minds, Marlyn's, The Outburst, Stereotypical Working Class, Steel Pollution, Pure Inc., Myrrhe, Dagoba, Tronckh, Watcha, Epica, Freak Kitchen
Photos by Jeff and wrathchild. All right reserved, do not use without permission.