Belgium is a country full of festivals, all you need is find your music in one of them and some good company. I must say I had both on 1 August at Lokerse Festival, a ten-day summer festival in Lokeren, Belgium, which took place for the first time in 1975, presenting over the years big names as Sisters of Mercy, Iggy & The Stooges, Madness, Sex Pistols, Simple Minds, The Cure. I attended only one day, the “metal day” as one of my friends called it, to see Anthrax, Life of Agony, Panic Cell and Papa Roach. The programme included also Alice Cooper but I needed to catch a train back to Brussels so I regretfully missed that.
I really appreciated the location for being close to the train station and for the festival ground being slightly inclined, so even small people like me could see on the stage.
Panic Cell opened the evening at 6pm. I didn’t know anything about them before. I even thought they are Americans, silly me, but they are a five-member Nu metal band from UK, playing good, powerful metal, favourable to crazy mosh pits. Good vocal with nice hardcore attitude and British humour. After one song of brutal rhythms he asked the audience for chanting something, this time with “some feeling”. Some simple words like: “Hell, yeah!”, “Fuck you!”, “”Motherfucker!” and congratulated us for speaking so good English. They ended their one hour show with a cover after “Crazy” by Seal.
I recently wrote about Anthrax at Sonisphere festival, Bucharest. One of the Big Four are always one hell of an experience to watch. They started with Caught in a Mosh, to continue with Madhouse and then Antisocial. Belladonna was awesome, talking to the public all the time. He always personalises his speeches; this time he congratulated the organisers for the 10-day marathon of music festival. He hasn’t forgotten the recently Big Four event and asked people if they want the Big Four to come play at Lokerse next year. Guess the feedback! Scott Ian had a dynamic scene movement, being all over the scene as in good old times. Also very thankful to the public: “You’re making us feeling fucking great!”. I am very happy for having heard “Only” with Belladonna’s vocals, although the voice couldn’t be heard very well ad he mixed up some of the lyrics. And again, to witness the Dio Moment, during “Indians” when something really touching happened: immediately after Belladonna ended the Heaven & Hell moment, the sun started to shine upon everybody present!
Setlist: 1. Caught in a Mosh 2. Madhouse 3. Got the Time 4. Antisocial 5. Indians 6. Medusa 7. Only 8. Metal Thrashing Mad 9. Efilnikufesin (N.F.L.) 10. I Am The Law
Papa Roach is a band who knows how to warm a place up. They started at 8.30pm and even it wasn’t evening enough at that time, we could enjoy the light show which became more dynamic as it was getting darker. Very talkative, full of energy and considerate toward the public and the co-stage bands, the vocal Jacoby Shaddix put all his energy in the show. Fans could also enjoy him getting off the stage and singing among them. Public sang along all their great hits: Last Resort, Between Angels and Insects, Getting Away with Murder, Forever, Scars.
Life of Agony is always a surprise when they go live… You never know if they would sing well, if the sound would be good, what would be included on the setlist… and this is mostly because of Keith Caputo’s personality, unpredictable as the weather. Soon after they started, we were already wondering what was not usual this time.. As if something strange was going on but you couldn’t put the finger on it. And then we realized that the guitarist was doing all the talking to the audience, Keith was only able to say “thank you” and talk about songs. Drunk? Stoned? Hellishly sad? One could never tell. Disappointing to some, funny to others (he put a smile on my face), we still you could enjoy all his singing, his “Jim Morrison”’s poses, some childish mistakes as asking “Does anyone know what time is it?” after “This Time” when it is obviously a question to be addressed before. One of the best concerts of them, definitely the best I have seen. The voice could not be always distinguished but definitely not of Keith’s fault, this seems to have been a general sound problem of the festival. The only thing that bothered me were the pauses between songs.
They started with “Lost at 22” which is a song from the album Ugly (of 1995 and my favourite as I find it the most emotional one). This fact and the new t-shirts they were selling at the official merchandise booth, make me believe that this concert did not belong to the same tour as the concert I saw this April, the one dedicated to the “River Runs Red” 20st anniversary, although they took place in the same year.
1. Lost at 22 2. Weeds 3. This Time 4. River Runs Red 5. Other Side of the River 6. Bad Seed 7. Whispers 8. Through and Through 9. Love to Let You Down Encore: 10. Underground
Overall impression on the festival: excellent ambiance, nice location, good organisation!
Thank you Omar and Judy for the pictures ;-) and again to both of you and also to Arjan and Kirsten for the awesome company!
As a remark for festivals in general: I do not understand why the audience does not call the bands back for the encore and why the organisers discourage it with playing music right after the show ends or start talking and announcing the next band…