* November 24, 2012 *

Saturday, November 24th, 2012

De Meester, Almere, The Netherlands

Ever watched a Birmingham Sunset? To be honest, we have been in Birmingham once, but never watched the sunset there. Now we’ve had the opportunity to see it in front of our very eyes. And I am glad we did, because BIRMINGHAM SUNSET, the band, proved to be a good Dutch tribute band that brought back the eighties in a very nice musical way. For nearly an hour, it felt like the mid-eighties again. Their set contained the music, that I’ve been listening to in my youth, performed by a band of which the members possibly weren’t even born by then or just very young kids. This didn’t show in their performance tonight. Their metal jukebox started off with ACCEPT’s “Fast As A Shark”, one of the biggest classics of that time, I guess. “All We Are” might be a little bit obvious, because we are dealing with a female-fronted band here. Chicklet Glitter is the dark haired version of Doro Pesch and the audience goes wild, when Chicklet performs her version of WASP’s “Animal (F*ck Like A Beast)”. The first highlight of the set comes, when the band plays the MANOWAR classic “Hail And Kill”, which they do in a tremendous way. And the classics keep coming with RAINBOW’s “Kill The King” and BLACK SABBATH’s “Mob Rules”, both songs from the DIO-era of the aforementioned bands. They rock the house down with these songs, that’s for sure. After that, ACCEPT passes by once again with “Balls To The Wall”. The NWOBHM songs are nice, but especially the ANGEL WITCH classic “Angel Witch” sounds too sweet for my ears. Same goes for the CLOVEN HOOF track “Laying Down The Law”. I’m not saying, that these versions are bad, just a little softer and polished. Of course, it’s very unique, that they choose to do some more obscure songs as well, so the crowd reacts very enthusiastic towards these NWOBHM anthems. The audience sings along every word with “Running Free” (IRON MAIDEN) and “Breaking The Law” (JUDAS PRIEST), because they really mark the metal sound of the eighties. The band closes their victory ride with a thrash classic by ANTHRAX, called “Metal Thrashing Mad”. The crowd goes wild and the ride down memory lane is over and done, before you know it. BIRMINGHAM SUNSET sounds wild and exciting and their outfit has its roots in the eighties, like denim jackets with patches and zebra skin printed trousers. Thank you guys for reliving my youth again, I would almost say. The band gets back for an encore and this time we hear “Red Hot” by MOTLEY CRÜE. After that, it’s over and we are getting tuned up for the Spanish invasion of STEEL HORSE. BIRMINGHAM SUNSET has won my sympathy, that’s for sure. The band consists of Chicklet Glitter (Jamie Nelemans) on vocals, Arno Roos on drums, Heckto on bass, Emerald Kloosterman on guitars and Björn Brusse on guitars.

STEEL HORSE is a true metal band from Spain and the band kicks off with “Live To Rock” and “In The Storm”. The band combines the axe attacks and moves of JUDAS PRIEST, but also has some influences from bands like IRON MAIDEN and HAMMERFALL. Once the first songs are done, they really get their motor running (vroom!!!!) “Burning Soul” continues and the overall reaction of the crowd is very positive. While “Raise Your Fist” brings back some nice memories of a much talked about one off event. This time, it’s the title of one of the metal anthems by these Spanish head bangers. “Under The Chains” and “Land Of The Wolves” are on next and the hall reaches to a boiling point. Then it’s time for the musicians to show their skills in an instrumental track, called “Nemesis”. This is a true highlight for me. I was especially impressed by the guitarist of the band. “Cross The Edge” follows and then the band treats us to a cover of IRON MAIDEN - the second tonight. This time they crank out “Phantom Of The Opera”. Air guitars are plugged in and the volume is tuned up to 10! What can go wrong here? “Thunderdome” and “Night Terrors” put us back to earth again and the people in the front rows are getting more fanatic each song. The band closes their set with “Wild Power” and “Run To Survive”. A good, solid show by a very promising Spanish metal band, that has got a long and very fruitful career in front of them. If it’s up to the heavy metal maniacs in front of the stage, they definitely will. STEEL HORSE consists of Willy Gascón on guitars, Jorge Cortés on vocals, Angel Muñoz ‘Choco’ on bass and Rubén Salvador on drums.

VORTEX is the main reason why we went to Almere. After their show at the Very ‘Eavy festival in Stadskanaal, it’s time for a looooooong showcase here in Almere. Martjo told me, before the concert started, that we would be in for a real treat with some long forgotten oldies on the set list. But he also told us, that he was not feeling too well, so we just hoped that everything would turn out fine with these metal heads ‘uut Grun’. The band enters the stage like true gladiators, welcomed by a hungry crowd in the local coliseum, called De Meester. Martjo looks better than ever. He is very slim and looks like he could have been the younger brother of good old KK Downing. The band starts their show with some old time favorites, like “Attracted To Fire” and “The Beauty And The Teeth”. After “The Unexpected”, it’s time for the first maniacs’ invasion on stage, when they start “Open The Gate”. If there is one song, that will always be tied to the name of VORTEX, it definitely is “Open The Gate”, whether they like it or not. “Riptor” and especially “Welcome To Metalland” are also crowd’s favorites. All songs are being introduced by Jurjen on his own special way, meaning that the introductions have a lot of humor. And if Jurjen overruns the time, Martjo already plays the first riffs to make sure, that he doesn’t make his stories too long. “Land Of The Late” and “Heavy Metal Is King” are next. The young blood in the band profile themselves as dedicated team mates. Guitarist Orion Roos acts like a wild animal and his bass mate René van Zonneveld constantly runs around trying to get in touch with the maniacs in front of the stage. “Rolling To The War” is next. It’s dedicated to Koos Alberts, I guess. A bad joke is a real pleasure forever! “Metal Bats” is another VORTEX classic in my eyes. The late hour has taken its toll and I already see people leaving the hall, which can’t be the meaning of this. Maybe the people are tired or have to catch their train, who knows? Anyway, Martjo is getting tired too, that much I know for sure, because the introductions of Jurjen are getting shorter and shorter each song. “Run Off To The Metals”, “Megalomizer” and “The Curse” are next. The drum intro, done by the Azing Griever of VORTEX in the back, Henk ‘The Tank’ Bosma, introduces us to another highlight for a lot of fans, myself included. There are also some nice pyro effects included, next to the musical firework on stage. The plan for “With Witches Help” will be a bit different though. This time Martjo will not be transformed into an ugly old witch, who’ll be handing out fire sparkles to the audience, but instead VORTEX roadie Eggo will be the personification of the bad witch. You have to climb the stage by stairs and that’s why the transformation takes place in the back of the stage, where Eggo becomes a blood thirsty witch, which is something you can leave up to him pretty easily. This guy only has to smile and I pee in my pants from laughing. His Ed Gein imitation is unforgettable and he is funny as hell with his face expressions. But he is also a guy, that you can rely upon and he’s constantly checking if anybody needs a helping hand. A real roadie in the truest sense of the word! After “Drink Bat Blood”, which is already a true classic on stage, we have come to the final song of tonight’s show, “Livin’ By The Day”. In the meantime, the hall is jam-packed with people, who have been drinking and smoking for a while and just returned. Of course the band can’t leave the stage without doing any encores and they play the JUDAS PRIEST classics “Breaking The Law” and “Electric Eye”. By now, there are more people on stage than in the cozy hall and it looks like the grand final will be “Shout”, the old BODINE song, which slowly gets a well-deserved place at the end of each VORTEX gig…..and I am glad about it. The fire gets poked up so quickly, that it simply can’t be done after this. The crowd keeps screaming and although the band tries to escape to the dressing room at first, Hans Pendavingh tries to call them back and make them play one more final song. What more can they do than play “Open The Gate” one more time? The chaos is complete and De Meester is turned upside down with this one. When the last notes fade away, Martjo unplugs his gear and leaves the stage to take a rest. What a great night and what a memorable gig, we have witnessed here tonight. At one point during the gig, Orion had to play in front of the stage, because there simply wasn’t any more room on stage, because all the maniacs took all the space. VORTEX came, saw and conquered and we all know, that these are the gigs, that will be talked about for a long long time to come.

I wonder, what the fifteenth edition of Meesterlijk Metaal will bring us. I think, that we might be in for something special again. If I may call out some names for future editions, I would certainly go for VANDALE (reunion), BLACK KNIGHT, FITZKIN or OPENFIRE, but any other name will do. The way, that this festival is organized is so professional and I’m really stunned that the atmosphere is always good - no matter which band is on stage. My thanks go out to Jeroen and Hans for another wonderful night to remember. Close The Gate and until the next time, I would say.

*Written by: Toine van Poorten/December 2012
*Photos by: Rita van Poorten/

Fast As A Shark (ACCEPT)
All We Are (WARLOCK)
Animal (WASP)
Hail And Kill (MANOWAR)
Kill The King (RAINBOW)
Denim & Leather (SAXON)
Balls To The Wall (ACCEPT)
Angelwitch (ANGEL WITCH)
Laying Down The Law (CLOVEN HOOF)
Running Free (IRON MAIDEN)
Breaking The Law (JUDAS PRIEST)
Metal Thrashing Mad (ANTHRAX)

Intro - Live To Rock
In The Storm
Burning Soul
Raise Your Fist
Under The Chains
Land Of The Wolves
Nemesis (instrumental)
Cross The Edge
Phantom Of The Opera
Night Terrors
Wild Power
Run To Survive

Setlist VORTEX:
Gotta get Away
Hammer Of The North
Attracted To Fire
The Beauty & The Teeth
The Unexpected
Open The Gate
Welcome To Metalland
Land Of The Late
H.M. Is King
Rollin' To The War
Metal Bats
Run off The Metals
The Curse
With Witches Help
Drink Bat Blood
Livin' By The Day
Breaking The Law (JUDAS PRIEST)
Electric Eye (JUDAS PRIEST)
Shout (BODINE)
Open The Gate

Back to Main Page