It’s the third night and Sweden Rock invited German metallic rockers Running Wild to close the Rock Stage. Over the years they earned respect and loyalty from fans around the world but they never managed to reach success on a broader level. The task ahead isn’t easy. Convincing headbangers with your music after a Scorpions gig is harder than one thinks. They present a well balanced mix of old and older stuff. Amongst those are Bad To The Bone, Riding The Storm and Running Blood blended in with four new songs. Band leader Rolf has seen his fair share of line up changes but this particular line up sets the record straight!
Headliner on the Festival stage on the third night are German veterans Scorpions. Announcing their last ever tour a few years ago, they are still performing all around this world. According to the Scorpions they will play until there’s no interest anymore to see them live. All things aside they kick of with Going Out With A Bang followed by the Scorps classics Make It Real and Bad Boys Running Wils. The sound is perfect but they seem to be on autopilot producing hit after hit. Even former Motörhead sticksman Mickey Dee can’t seem to give the band that extra push. Highlight of the show is the seventies medley classics jam including Rock You Like A Hurricane, Big City Nights and Can’t Get Enough. Biggest disappointment is the Motörhead classic Overkill. It’ s pretty much impossible to sing a Lemmy tune and really convince right? Not even Dee, hitting like an animal, couldn’t prevent this song running into nothing!
It’s a very rare treat to see a band like Ratt perform live in Europe but Sweden Rock Festival managed to persuade them to come and rock Sweden. Warren DeMartini is the only band member featuring all line ups. He used to play with Dokken for a short time, embarked on a tour with Whitesnake and even rehearsed with the almighty Dio. Playing with him are the brilliant Carlos Cavazo, drummer extraordinaire Jimmy DeGrasso from Megadeth and Black Star Riders amongst others and of course singer Stephen Pearcy. They present a sort of greatest hits set including Round And Round and Lay It Down with a complete disregard of their latest product Infestation.
Little Steven also known as Steven Van Zandt returns to Europe after a break of twentyfive years! Actor, producer, singer, songwriter, guitar player in Bruce Springsteen’s E Street Band and much more sets the record straight with this fabulous comeback. He and The Disciples Of Soul bring an energetic set of songs played as time stood still. Again Sweden Rock Festival was able to get this phenonemal artist to play in front of a European crowd.
Getting back singer Mike Howe for Metal Church is probably the smartest move American guitarist Kurdt Vanderhoof ever made. He’s without a doubt the best vocalist for this band. Kicking off with Fake Healer followed by some Metal Church classics and intertwined with some new tracks from their latest album with Howe, they offer a well balanced set.
Supergroup The Dead Daisies live at Sweden Rock on one of the smallest stages on the festival. It doesn’t seem right or does it. The band is a gathering of what we call great rock stars. Vocalist John Corabi (used to sing with the ‘no longer here’ Mötley Crüe, Union and ESP both with former Kiss lead guitarist Bruce Kulick), bass great Marco Mendoza (Blue Murder, John Sykes, Thin Lizzy, Soul SirkUS, Whitesnake, Black Star Riders and many others), six sting hero Doug Aldrich (Bad Moon Rising, Burning Rain, Revolution Saints, Whitesnake and Dio), drum warrior Brian Tichy (Whitesnake, Ozzy Osbourne, Billy Idol, Velvet Revolver and even Foreigner) are playing before an enormous crowd that doesn’t fit before this stage. Mistake? Many rockers think they shoul hit a larger stage than this one. The Dead Daisies stand for great songs with great riffs performed with great musicianship. Too bad they cover about five hardrock anthems such as Helter Skelter from The Beatles and Highwire Star from Deep Purple.
King’s X is not your typical American hard rock band. They combine propgressive metal, funk and soul with the addition of gospel and blues sounding vocals. Main songwriter, vocalist and bass player Doug Pinnick is fronting this somewhat odd trio at the Sweden Rock Festival. They start their set with the great track Groove Machine and people gather around the front. This is going to be special. The World Around Me is another fantastic example of groove, only faster. They sound so groovy and dynamic, it’s hard to describe the vibe. Pillow, a song from Dogman, sounds even more groovy thanks to the huge melodic riff. Slowing down with Flies And Blue Skies before hitting it again with Pray and Black Flags. Ending with an old treasure Dogman concludes that King’s X is a band to stay…and hit Sweden Rock again in the years to come!
Kix is an American hardrock band and has four original members in the current line up together with bass player Schenker who’s been with them since early 2000. It’s their first time playing the Sweden Rock Festival and original vocalist Steve Whiteman, original drummer Jimmy Chalfant and guitar duo Ronnie Younkins Brian Forsythe have the reputation of being a solid live band and today they live up to that expectation. Old songs are combined with some tracks from Rock Your Face Off, their latest release of some years. A gig not to be missed!
Dutch rockers Picture hit the 4 Sound Stage early in the afternoon. Their career spans nearly fourty years and they play classic hard rock. You’re All Alone from Diamond Dreamer is the perfect opener and sets the tone for the rest of the gig. The band will focus on the classics and this means tracks from the first four albums. The oldies squirt out one classic after the other such as No No No, Message From Hell, Night Hunter and Night Tiger. It’s a faitly good show but it shows the band doesn’t get onstage that often but everbody seems to be happy and content or is it three days of booze and sleepless night kicking in?
Primal Fear has the most difficult task in festival performances. They are the first band on stage at the most ungodly hour one can image. Noon is often the hour where most metalheads lift themselves out of bed after a good night of heavy metal, singing, drinking and basically having a good time. There’s quite a crowd when Primal Fear kicks off in the highest gear and opens with Final Embrace. The standard for the rest of the gig is set. Ralf Scheepers is screaming his lungs out and both guitarplayers Beyrodt Neumann are giving everything they got. Big surprise when former guitar slinger Magnus Karlsson joined his former mates to perform Nuclear Fire and several other Primal songs from the back catalogue. Everyone, including the audience, seems to enjoy the fire onstage. Fantastic opening act!