Aahh Graspop, the most awesome metalfestival in Belgium. Especially this year when Graspop celebrated its 20th birthday. It had an awesome line-up with new, upcoming bands and old school rockers. Even at the camping the party continued. It’s just one big metal family. The Graspop experience is: hearing raindrops on your tent, toilet doors that sound like fireworks and having a good time with all the new people you meet at Graspop. Ow, and don’t forget an inner body massage that you get from the bass and the bass drum.
The first day of Graspop I didn’t really check out the whole festival. I ran to the main stage and stayed at the front row the whole day. The fact that there were 2 main stages made that you had a non-stop flow of good music. If you stand in the corner of one stage, you’re able to see both of the stages. Time really flew by. Today’s headliners were Slash, In Flames, Kiss and Marilyn Manson. Slash gave a real show as he was playing 2 different double neck guitars. The famous double neck SG with 12 strings on the top and 6 on the bottom, and one with an acoustic guitar on top and a 6 string electric guitar on the bottom. Nobody expected that he would play ‘Sweet Child O Mine’ and ‘Paradise City’. The devil horns raised and everybody sang along.
After Slash, In Flames from Sweden overwhelmed the crowd. Because there were 2 main stages, the crowd was also divided in 2. Some artists only payed attention to the one that was standing in front of them. In Flames really paid attention to both sides of the crowd.It was my first time seeing them live. I was very impressed by their accomplishment. Sometimes I thought that de singer would lose his voice, but he didn’t. I would lose my voice!Crowd surfing was forbidden, but the people didn’t pay attention to that. The vocalist asked for crowd surfing and he got it! Circlepits were forming regularly and it was a lot of fun.I didn’t know many songs, butI got totally up in the concert.
When it was done, the band members threw some drumsticks and guitar picks into the public.
Then the rock legends from KISS gave a huge show. Gene Simmons showed his famous blood spitting solo and Paul Stanley flew over the crowd to the sky deck, a higher platform in the middle of the 2 main stages.The crowd went crazy on these moments.
The show started instantly good! The costumes were amazing and very warm, I think. When I was enjoying the show, I kept an eye on the crowd. The crowd was enthusiastic about the show of Kiss.On one moment the band said there were 65 000 people on GMM listening to them.The joy was the most important thing for these men and you saw it.The show was like a pearl. They made use of firework, tricks and the finishing touch confetti.They ended the show with some of their famous song like ‘I Was Made ForLovin’ You’ and ‘Rock ‘n Roll All Night’.KISS was very good and I’m happy I got a chance to see these rock legends play live, but I could also see that they’ve already reached their highest point in performing live on stage.
It was up to Marilyn Manson to close off the first day. He turned the stage to a metal theater. He really got the crowed exited and thrilled for his show. A normal mic isn’t good enough for Manson, he needs a knife to sing with. That made the crowed even more thrilled for his show.
Other bands who played at the main stages today were Asking Alexandria, Epica, Life of Agony, Calavera Conspiracy and Body Count.
The L.A. Gangsters from Body Count also paid attention to both sides of the crowed and really got us with them.
Epica is a Dutch band, and they decided to start their own festival called Epic Metal Fest, in Eindhoven, The Netherlands. Read more about it here: http://darkview.be/nieuws/metal/2037-epica-announces-own-festival-epic-metal-fest
I see them for the second time live on GMM.
There was a cheerful mood in the crowd. When Epica started, they were singing along with all their songs.The singing of Simone Simons was sublime. She was enjoying her own concert and hit her notes. The only thing that was unfortunate was that the sound of the singing was gone now and then.The music and the singing were good trimmed. The music itself was nice too. The others of Epica enjoyed themselves as well and did their very best. The set list was good. They brought older songs and songs of their latest album: “ Quantum Enigma”.
At the end of the concert their show got better and better.
Their concert was done before you know. My start of GMM was very good.
On the second day I checked out the festival surroundings.At first sight, there is a lot of people already on the festival site. Then I remembered that today the festival was sold out.
Of course there was a merchandise stand where you could buy t-shirts and hoodies from the artist who played at Graspop. Merchandise of the headliners could be bought throughout the whole festival, merchandise of the smaller bands only were sold on the day they played. Besides that, they also sold merchandise of GMM like towels, bags, shirts and hoodies of the 20th edition. But that was not the only shop on the festival. Close to the entrance, there was a whole ‘shopping street’. They sold merch form bands who didn’t played on GMM, patches, water guns, jewelry, accessories, …
I also checked out the Ducks of Trash. This is an awesome idea from Graspop to get people to recycle their cups and bottles. Normally when you collect plastic bottles, you can only get gadgets. Most of the time, you can’t even use these gadgets. Graspop had really cool gadgets like guitar picks, wristbands, headbands, lighters, … . And those were only the gadgets. You could also win a free ride in the Ferris wheel (called The Fly) and the bumper cars (called Graveyard). On top of that you could win a fastline ticket so you didn’t have to wait in line for a band to sign your stuff. 2nd prize was a sky deck ticket. Sky deck is a higher platform in front of the 2 main stages. You have an excellent view of the artists and the crowd if you go up there.1st prize was a backstage tour. They even gave you a choice between a few bands if you won. So basically you had to collect 20 plastic cups or bottles and bring them to the recycle stand. There they threw it in the trashcan and as a reward you get a Ducks of Trash ticket. There you could give them that ticket and you were allowed to go ‘duckfishing’. You had to fish for 3 plastic ducks and there was a number on the bottom. The number said which prize you had won. Because you had 3 ducks it sometimes happened that you could choose which prize you wanted. It was a really cool idea and it had me recycle up to 140 plastic cups and bottles. And normally I’m not recycling on festivals, but the prizes where so cool that I just had to.
At the market and metalfaire there was a cosy activity. Everyone was friendly and happy and this with or without a beer in his or her hand.
After I checked out the non-music stuff at the festival, I went to see Hollywood Undead. It was their first time in Belgium so the crowd was really excited to see them. And they didn’t disappoint us. With songs like ‘Usual Suspects’, ‘Everywhere I Go’ and ‘Bullet’ they got everybody singing along.The band showed that music styles can be combined. The combination of rap and rock was very good. The crowd was enthusiastic. They were singing along with the songs the band brought.A friend of mine told me that they were as good as live as on CD. And I defenately have to agree. If you like music style combinations, than is Hollywood Undead something for you! I’m convinced!
After that it was up to A Day to Remember. They played some hit songs like ‘All I Want’ and ‘Right Back At It Again’. Plus they threw inflatable balls in the crowd which made that everybody could lose some aggression on those balls. And it was a nice view watching it form the front row. Meanwhile, Arch Enemy was playing in the Marquee. Because there were some changes in this band, I was introduced to the new vocalist.The show started with a enormous lightshow. Sometimes it hurtmy eyes, but it didn’t disturb me. Alissa White-Gluz gave the best of herself and the tone of the concert was settled. The fans were so enthusiastic, that the band had no trouble to get the crowd along with the music.Again the show was far too soon over. The public was shouting for an encore, but it didn’t work.
Next up was Exodus. They’re an American trash metal band.
Godsmack blew the stage with ‘One Thousand horsepower’. Their new album. They also played some classics like ‘Awake’. After them we got to hear Sonata Arctica and Five Finger Death Punch. Everybody screamed along with ‘Burn MF’ Then it was up to Alice Cooper to show Belgium his awesome show. He started with ‘No More Mister Nice Guy’, later in the show he played ‘Frankenstein’. An actual Frankenstein came on stage and sang along. Also the famous guillotine was there. Alice’s head got chopped off. His head fell into a basket, got taken out of the basked and showed to the crowd. Later Alice himself came back on stage with his own head in his hands. Also songs like ‘Poison’ and ‘School’s Out’ where part of this awesome show.
Next up was Korn on main stage 1. To be honest, they didn’t really interact with the crowd. So their performance didn’t really get to me. They are good live, but the performance needs some work if you ask me. Later, the British Judas Priest gave a huge show. Lead singer Rob Halford drove a motorcycle up on stage. A lot of interaction with the crowd and a lot of devilhorns were raised. Then, after waiting for so many hours, it was finally up to Slipknot to show Graspop what they had. It was their 6th time on Graspop this year. The band members had other masks on, that I never saw before. But the masks were very impressive.They played some old classics like ‘Psychosocial’ and ‘Spit It Out’. Also their new song ‘Killpop’ was part of the setlist. The stage looked awesome as they had 2 percussions on turning platforms. The platforms could also go up and down so it looked really cool. Lead singer Corey Taylor referred to everybody as one big metal family. And I absolutely agree with him. While they were playing ‘Spit It Out’ Corey asked us to sit down. The whole crowd sat down and rested for a moment. Corey explained that he wanted to create an earthquake. When he said ‘Jump the fuck up’ everybody had to jump the fuck up. That’s what we did, and it was awesome. For people who went to bed early, Slipknot played loud and clear so you could still enjoy the music form your tent.
The last, but definitely not the least day of Graspop. I woke up with the music of my neighbors. This is something else than the sound of the birds. To be honest, I would like to wake up like that every day. It was a rainy morning, and I got up early to see Like A Storm. They’ve just released their new album ‘Awaken The Fire’. I reviewed that album and got so blown away by it, that I would love to see them live. Well, I can say that they also blow you away when you hear them live. They gave an awesome show. Lead singer Chris Brooks jumped into the crowd and started singing with us. They also made the didgeridoo a metal instrument, which is very cool. After their show they had a singing session, which took place next to the main stage. They gave an awesome show and they’re very down to earth.
The funny part was that it was warm and dry the whole day, but it only rained when Like a Storm was playing. If you watch other interviews with Like a Storm, it often happens that it only rains when they’re playing. So they really are like a storm.
Read my review about their new album ‘Awaken The Fire’ here:
After Like a Storm I went to check out the Ferris wheel and the bumper cars. It looked like there was a huge line for the Ferris wheel, but it actually didn’t take that long to get in. If you just start to talk to random people time flies. And because everybody is just one big family at Graspop, it was very easy to do so. In the Ferris wheel you had an awesome view over Graspop and the campsite.
It was my first time seeing Papa Roach live, and I have to say that I would love to see them again. They gave a very good show and singer Jacoby Shaddix stood in front of the crowd and hugged as many people as possible.He knows to make his fans happy! And of course, everybody now the lyrics to ‘Last Resort’ and screamed along.I saw them for the first time live. There was a nice atmosphere at the stage. The people were jelling loud when Papa Roach went on stage. I went totally lose on the music.The hyperactivity of the vocalist and the others was so big!They brought a good combination of old and new songs. He asked for circlepits and wall of death and he got it.At the end of the show Jacoby Shaddix told us he is always happy when he can come to Belgium.After the show guitar picks and drumstick were thrown in to the crowd.
After Papa Roach it was up to Airbourne to steal the show. It was my 3rd time seeing them live and they had something to make up to. Last time I saw them at Masters@rock, a festival in Torhout, they really screwed up by not adjusting their sound system right. Nobody could hear them. But this time, they really did not disappoint us. They gave a very good show. Singer Joe O’Keeffe was as energetic as always. He also smashed a couple of beers against his head (again) and ran into the crowd, sitting on one of the security guards shoulders.
I just had to watch Dragonforce. They were the only band where I left my front spot at the main stages for. And they were totally worth it. They opened the show with ‘Fury of the Storm’, and did a cover of Johnny Cash ‘Ring of Fire’ and to close their show they played ‘Through The Fire And The Flames’, which is probably the best known song of Dragonforce. This song is also on GuitarHero 3, Ledgens of Rock. They were awesome live. Meanwhile at the mainstage, Within Temptation was playing. It was my 5th time that I saw them live. I saw on the website it was for Within Temptation their 7th time on GMM.The opening of their show started very good with‘Paradise( What about us?)’ of their latest album.
Sharon den Adel got the public along with the music en the mood the band brought.
They brought a mix of old and new songs. It was a nice combination.Halfway through the show, they brought an acoustic song. The hands of the crowd went from left to right.Within Temptation ended their show with ‘Ice Queen’. Everyone was singing along, also I.
My voice was totally gone after this show.
Then the final headliners of Graspop: Scorpions and Faith No More. I got to view these last 2 from the skydeck, which was such an awesome view that I still can’t believe how beautiful it was. It felt magical. Scorpions played old classics like ‘Wind of Change’, ‘Still Loving You’ and ‘Send Me An Angel’. They closed the show with a blast by playing ‘Rock You Like a Hurricane’.Then, the last band from this awesome 20th anniversary of Graspop, was Faith No More. They had a white stage and white clothes and they used all this white to create a cool light show. Singer Mike Patton sounded a bit sarcastic as he was saying ‘Don’t worry, you only have to listen to one more song’. ‘O no, wait, there are 2 more songs, sorry’. Personally, I didn’t like his style. Faith No More also plays on Werchter this year to replace Foo Fighters, who cancelled their show because lead singer Dave Grohl broke his leg. For me Scorpions was the one who closed this awesome festival. Happy Birthday Graspop, and can’t wait for next year!
Is Graspop worth going to?
YES! It’s an awesome festival. The organization on the festival itself is really good. There are security people to watch over the crowd and make sure nobody gets hurt. Also first aid people were there in the front row to help people who didn’t feel ok or got hurt. Ducks of Trash was a good idea to get people recycling. Graspop said that a total of 253.400 empty bottles and cups were recycled. Also the things you could win were awesome. It was cool that there were a lot of shops, an ATM on the festival, the Ferris wheel and the bumper cars. The tokens were a bit expensive though, but totally worth it.
The organization outside of the festival park could be better. I needed to go to the reception and nobody knew were the right one was. I passed several receptions and they all couldn’t help me. The communication between festival and the people who go to the festival could be better. But that’s really the only thing I have to say that was a bit less. I really needed the 3 days to discover the festival. I had an awesome time and I would highly recommend Graspop to other people. Graspop really let me be myself. I met a lot of great people. Everybody was nice to talk to and I really had a feeling that this festival was where I belonged. It didn’t matter if people spoke English, Dutch, German, French, … We figured out a way to communicate anyway. Corey Taylor from Slipknot said it: ‘We’re all one big family, right’? And I totally agree with that.
Written by Annet and Veerle