* October 23, 2010 *

Saturday, October 23rd, 2010

Manifesto, Hoorn, The Netherlands

At the end of the month Rocktober, the Heavy Metal Maniacs celebrate their annual get together with a classic metal festival at the Manifesto in Hoorn. This year, Hoorn turned once again into an old school metal town, attracting a lot of die hard metalheads from all over Europe. Which isnít that strange, when you take a look at the bill of this old school heavy metal festival. The real connoisseur will surely lick his fingers by seeing the names of the bands, that will play here tonight. The maniacs return back to their roots and the bill contains bands, that you will hardly see at any other festival. All the more reason to attend one of the coziest festivals of the heavy metal movement in HollandÖ. The bill of this 2010 edition consisted of Steel Horse, Emerald, Warrant, Bitches Sin, Tokyo Blade and Vicious Rumors - all names, that pleased yours truly very much. So what more can you ask for? I grabbed my patches jacket out of the closet and went rocking in Hoorn on a very rainy Saturday.

Steel Horse did have the honour to go on first tonight at the Manifesto. And very successful indeed, because they had brought along a whole legion of Spanish headbangers, some of them being regular visitors of the Heavy Metal Maniacs festival. Obviously, the first rows were very crowded during their show. The fans were treated like kings and next to playing own-penned material like "Night Terrors", "Winds Of Time" and "Raise Your Fist", they also did a good version of the Judas Priest classic "Rapid Fire". What a smashing opener!

Emerald is the only Dutch band on stage tonight. However, they deserve to play with the very best and like no one else, they know exactly what the maniacs want to hear. The band is focused and the main theme of their set is the twenty-five year jubilee of their debut album "Down Town". We hear songs like "D-Day", "Shadows Of Allmighty", "Iron On Iron" and title track "Down Town" of course. But we also get a preview of one of the new tracks, called "New Dark". The band also tells us the story of "Robin Hood". A very emotional moment in the set is, when the band plays a great version of "Suicide", obviously in honour of Thijs Bruijns of Hammerhawk, who committed suicide only a few weeks ago. You could sense a lot of emotion in the hall. A very brave thing to do of course. Emerald convinced me once again this afternoon, but hey what would you expect from musicians of this kind of caliber? I am ready to hear their new album, even more than ever!

The show of Warrant is definitely a lot more straight forward. Iíd already seen those German speed metal giants at the Keep It True festival in April of this year (where Emerald kicked the ass of almost every other band!!). Here they relived their show one more time. They started out with "Satan", which was followed by "Nuns Have No Fun". The executioner swayed with his axe, but nobody was hurt. In between, the band kept playing all those flashing riffs. The fans were even treated with a new song, which is called "Keep Me In Hell". They close their show with classics like "Betrayer", "Scavengerís Daughter", "Enforcer" and crowd-pleaser "The Rack".

The audience was heated up very well indeed for the British invasion by Bitches Sin. We have been waiting for this moment for a long time. In 1982, the band were supposed to be playing at the Effenaar in Eindhoven on the Aardschokdag, after being chosen as Ďthe most promising band of that yearí, before bands like Exciter, Jaguar and Weapon. Twenty-eight long years later, we finally get what we have waited for so long. Hoorn gets a full hour of Bitches Sin to deal with. The band opens with "Always Ready" tonight and continue their attack with "Selling Paradise" taken off the album "Uduvudu", released in 2008. "No More Chances" is another highlight for the long term fans of the band. While "Mr. Toomey" is taken from the "Uduvudu" CD again. Guitarplayer Ian Toomey is the biggest eye-catcher in this song. Warning: donít try to copy his solos at home in your own private study, because you will end up with a lot of frustrations. This man is so damn fast! Bass player ĎMaccaí is the new guy and he celebrates his twenty-first birthday today. What a way to celebrate your birthday party! "Overnight" is a golden oldie and the version of Simon & Garfunkelís "Sound Of Silence" has gained a lot of power in the live version, especially at the end of the song. "Down The Road", "Invader", "Fallen Star" and especially "Ainít Life A Bitch" are all classic headbangers to me. You listen to them with your mouth wide open. Itís a real treat for the fans, that want to hear all the old material of the band. "Strangers On The Shore" is one of the most well-known songs of Bitches Sin. It opens in a different way, but when Ian plays the well-known opening riff, the roof of the Manifesto gets lifted up for a second or two. After this, all that remains is a tribute to one of the most beautiful rock radio ladies from the eighties; Hanneke Kappen of the radio show Stampij, where Bitches Sin were guests once. Some people have tried to get Hanneke on the show tonight as a very special guest, but unfortunately they didnít succeed. The song "Hanneke" remains a real classic to me and it ends with a short drum solo by Steve Turton. Now I know, why they call this man the ĎStixslayerí. Obviously, John Bonham has been a big influence to this sympathetic woodchopper. "Ice Angels" is another highlight in the set of tonight. In this phenomenal version, the Ďice angelsí personally visit you with a giant box of goosebumps, which gives you the shivers all over! Man, what a treat! "Strangers On The Shore" turns up for a second time as an encore for the Dutch fans. And so the full hour of Bitches Sin is over, before youíll know it.

But the British invasion isnít over yet, because Bitches Sin makes room for Tokyo Blade, who will be on next. Now hereís another band, that made me grab my air guitar many times, when I was still young of age. And even today, they know to rock out loud, in the most original line- up possible. Only vocalist Nicolaj Ruhnow (Domain) is a new member and he did a terrific job. Who came to hear classics like "Night Of The Blade" or "Break The Chains" has come to the right place tonight. The twin axe attacks of John Wiggins and Andy Boulton are breathtaking and the crowd really seemed to enjoy themselves with songs like "1000 Men Strong" and "Black Abyss". In the early days, Tokyo Blade was a regular visitor of the well- known Dutch festivals and maybe thatís why they feel like a fish in the water. They close their set with the fantastic "If Heaven Is Hell" and "Midnight Rendezvous". This version of Tokyo Blade sounded so much better than the one at the Keep It True festival in Wurzburg. Not that strange, if you play with an almost original line-up instead of a line-up with only one original member (Andy Boulton). The waiting for the new cd is almost over and a few songs of this new album were played here already.

After Tokyo Blade, there was only one more band, that would hit the stage and thatís Vicious Rumors, who were the headliners of the 2010 edition of this festival. Brian Allen is a newcomer in the band, who replaces Ronnie Stixx and therefore James Rivera. Brian already sang with Malice and Wild Dogs. So he has got a lot of experience, which shows. Geoff Thorpe and Larry Howe are almost Dutch citizens and they have come to Holland many, many times. Itís here, where the long lasting career of Vicious Rumors started to take shape. The show starts off with "Worlds And Machines". Their songs - consisting of old and newer stuff friendly next to each other Ė was very well received by the hungry metal maniacs. The crowd shouts out loud during "Digital Dictator". The band is in killer shape and a big thumb up for guitarist Kiyoshi Morgan, who acts like heís the mad axeman himself. "Minute To Kill", "Ship Of Fools" and "Abandoned" are played in the most energetic way. The band even has a nice surprise in store: a brand new song. Well, if the new cd sounds as fast and heavy as this song "Razorback Killer", then we are in for another killer album by Vicious Rumors. "Lady Took A Chance" and "Down To The Temple" get the well-known heavy metal maniacs choir treatment. Suddenly, the amplifier of Geoff Thorpe breaks down and it looks like this is going to be an unexpected ending of a very impressive show. Larry Howe gets the instruction to start a drum solo, but the patient (read: amplifier) is diagnosed as being officially dead. With a new amplifier, the band manages to play some encores, which is good of course, because "Hellrazor" and "Donít Wait For Me" make this perfect gig complete. What a marvelous ending of a marvelous day!

Outside itís still raining cats and dogs, but nobody cares because at the Manifesto the temperature has reached its height. Both horns up for Stefan and the Maniacs for another fantastic edition of one of the nicest festivals in Holland. If you handle your business like that, you donít need this whole crappy Mojo empire. Let them choke in their own vomit. Finally, I would like to take the opportunity to thank all the volunteers, the masters of ceremony Paul and Eggo and the people of the mobile snack hut outside the Manifesto, splashing in the cold and rain all evening. You all did a wonderful job!! And they did it, without moaning. This, plus the fact that the bands were absolutely amazing once again, turned this eleventh edition of the Heavy Metal Maniacs festival into a real highlight. Old school metal relives in Hoorn and we can be proud of it! For a true heavy metal maniac, the old statement: If you ainít a metalhead, you might as well be dead, is still a true fact. \m/\m/

*Written by: Toine van Poorten/December 2010
*Photos by: Rita van Poorten/www.metalmaidens.com

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