The Dynamo festival went back to basic in this new millennium. They went back to a one day only event. But this time with two stages and sixteen bands. In the late eighties the festival was a must for every devoted metal head. Now it has become a melting pot of alternative and heavy bands, with KORN and SLIPKNOT on one side and IMMORTAL, TESTAMENT and IRON MAIDEN on the other side. And a lot of names inbetween. After some days of corresponding with the organisation, it was finally possible to write a review about the festivities on this day. A review that will first take you across all the bands that played at the tent stage. After that we'll tell you all the details about what happenend on the main stage. All the pictures that go with this article were taken by my wife Rita. We both want to thank Ricardo (ROCK BRIGADE) and the organisation of Dynamo Open Air 2000 (Rogier & Helga) for making this review possible. But let's not keep you waiting any longer and read on for all the facts we both gathered for you……
Nijmegen is about a one hour drive from our home. We already were at the Goffert park in September 1991, when the Monsters of Rock tour was there with THE BLACK CROWES, QUEENSRYCHE, METALLICA and AC/DC. The organisation was pretty well done this year. There was enough parking space backstage and we had our backstage passes real quickly. I've seen this differently at other festivals. We arrived at the festival site at around 10.15 hour. ZEKE would be opening the festival, on the main stage, at 12.00 hour. Reason enough to have a look at the Metal Market, a record fair that is organised with every big festival in Holland. We met a few record dealers we know and even some local bands promoted their activities like PLEURISY, HAMMERHAWK and GODDESS OF DESIRE. After we ate something, it was time for ZEKE to open the festival, but you can read all about that in the section about the main stage.
The first band that appeared on the tent stage is ENGINE. A collaboration of Ray Alder (FATES WARNING vocalist) with Bernie Versailles (AGENT STEEL/FATES WARNING) on guitar, Joey Vera (ARMORED SAINT/FATES WARNING) on bass and Pete Parada (FACE TO FACE) on drums. Although we find back three FATES WARNING members in the line up, the band doesn't sound like these prog kings at all. ENGINE is a very powerful rock outfit that blends heavy riffs with emotional vocal lines. They open with "Monster", just like on the CD. The crowd seem to love it. Then they continue with "Alone" and "Taste". Vera is wrestling with some gear problems, which will only be solved at the end of their thirty minute gig. "Don't Need", "Teach Me" and "You're Awake" complete their too short set, leaving behind an impressed crowd.
SENTENCED started out as a death metal band but slowly changed their style to metal with influences of IRON MAIDEN and METALLICA. Frontman/singer Ville Laihiala is a real show man while the rest of the band just play their instruments. Nonetheless, I liked what I saw and from opener "Broken" on, I knew that they would please the audience with this style of music.Their set consisted of songs like "Bleed", "Bleed In My Arms", "No More Beating As One", "Sun Won't Shine", and the only song they did from their album "Amok" called "Nepenthe". They closed their set with "Noose". The guitar work of Miika Tenkula and Sami Lopakka was okay, but not really smashing. It was SENTENCED second appearance at the Dynamo festival.
P.O.D. stands for Payable On Death. Their star is rising very fast in America and in Europe they toured with KORN. Their RAGE AGAINST THE MACHINE like sound was picked up pretty easy by the crowd. The band spreads a possitive message. You can almost label them as a white metal band new style. Although I didn't know the band until today, I must say that they know how to get the crowd crazy. You'll definately hear more about this band in the future!
The only ladies performing at the festival were the all-female band KITTIE. With their debut album "Spit" they got the attention of a lot of people, which resulted in their appearance at the Dynamo festival this year. When we payed attention to this band with our magazine METAL MAIDENS, everybody said that they were nothing special. It's great to see that we were right by saying that these ladies do have a lot of talent. They showed this by getting on stage with a sort of "Fuck You" mentality. And.....it worked. From the first notes of opener "Spit" they convinced us with a strong set which contained one new song. I must admit that I like the band much more on CD, but these girls are certainly ready for the big job. They played songs like "Suck", "Paperdoll", "Raven", "Johnny", "Charlotte" and highlight of the set "Brackish". It was nice to see an all female band gaining so much success at this male dominated festival. For those who do not know KITTIE, I can tell you that their sound is influenced by bands like KORN and COAL CHAMBER.
SPIRITUAL BEGGARS from Sweden is really something for the die-hard metalheads. Their sound reaches back to the glory days of bands like PURPLE, MOUNTAIN, RAINBOW and SABBATH without overdoing it. You might call this stoner rock, but hard rock would be a simpler description for this very successful band. It was their third appearance at the Dynamo festival. And although they came to promote their latest album "Ad Astra", they also played a lot of material from their previous album "Mantra III ". They even played a new instrumental song. The band members are great musicians and the use of the Hammond organ gave an extra dimension to the sound. They played songs like "Lack Of Prozac", "Monster Astronaut", "Homeless Of The Betrayal", "Euphoria", "Wonderful World", "Left Brain Ambassadors", "Angel Of Betrayal", "Sedated", "Until The Morning" and the encore "Broken Morning".
Officially we were ready for ENTOMBED now, but they cancelled their show. The organisation came up with DESTRUCTION to fill this gap. And hell, did they kick some ass here!The butchers were back and they really blew everyone off the stage. They opened with the first DESTRUCTION song ever: "Total Desaster". The first headbangers were spotted. Their set became the perfect blend between old and new songs. From the new album, they played "Tears Of Blood", "Machinery Of Lies" and "The Butcher Strikes Back", which was transformed into "DESTRUCTION Strikes Back". Schmier already impressed the crowd at the Wacken Open Air festival last year and this time it was time to invade Holland again after so many years. The older songs made the biggest impression on me, like "Eternal Ban", "Curse Of The Gods", "Life Without Sense", "Invincible Force", "Bestial Invasion" and of course "Mad Butcher". They played with so much power, passion and devotion that it was a shame that there was no more room on the main stage for the come back of these German thrash legends. They would have deserved it after all.
I was less impressed by THE KOVENANT and I must admit that I missed a lot of their set, because we also had to find something to eat. They're not the black metal outfit that they used to be. They played songs like "The Sulphur Feast", "The Last Of Dragons", "Mirror's Paradise", "In The Name Of The Future" and "Jihad". And although it isn't wise to judge a band on a few songs, I must say that I didn't really like this blend of black metal and techno a lot.
MAYHEM can be seen as one of the most important black metal bands throughout the years. They now mix their black metal with industrial and experimental sounds and move away a bit from their black metal attitude. Maniac is a great stage performer. And what can go wrong when your drummer is called "Hellhammer"? MAYHEM played a fine show, but I do think that people (including me) expected more from it. Of course there were some highlights like "Deathcrush" and "Carnage", but the crowd seemed to like it anyway. The knife cutting act, in which Maniac would cut himself to offer the public some real blood, didn't work out well too and so MAYHEM became a bit of a disappointment for me.
Last band on the tent stage was IMMORTAL. It was a real shame that these Norwegian black metallists had to deal with some major problems with their amps. They tried real hard to fix it, but obviously it didn't work out and after two songs Abbath left the stage. For a short while only, because he decided to ignore the problem and make the best of it. And it worked. The problems didn't go away, but while IRON MAIDEN was playing at the main stage already, IMMORTAL played for a jam-packed tent. And this was not only due to the fact that the rain was pouring down from the sky already. No, it was because of the enthusiasm of the band which was reflected to the audience. The band were treated like real heroes and that's what they deserved. Songs like "Solarfall", "Mountains Of Might", "Battles In The North", "Unholy Forces Of Evil", ""Triumph" and "Damned In Black" made the crowd go wild and some of them even forgot the pouring rain outside. IMMORTAL are the new kings of black metal and tonight they showed why.
Resuming the tent stage we can say that it was good to have DESTRUCTION back and it was great to see SPIRITUAL BEGGARS and IMMORTAL. These three acts can count on a place in the first division of the heavy metal music, while others still have to wait for a place there. Now read on to know what happened on the main stage this day.
This year there were seven bands on the main stage. Thinking back at the old times, we would only get a glimpse of the good old days this year. A lot of time and space went to the new bands. In fact it would have been better if they first proved themselves on a smaller stage before putting them on the main stage. But I think I'm one of a few people who thinks this way. The opener of the whole festival began at noon. While a lot of people were still standing in line at the gates to get in, ZEKE started their short but very powerful set. In thirty minutes they played with a lot of enthusiasm, shouting that they were the worst band on earth. They dedicated their song "I Don't Give A F*ck" to MOTÖRHEAD. And for the rest they just played songs from their most recent album "Dirty Sanchez", like it was the last thing on earth they would ever do. On me, they made a very good impression, filling in the bit of space that THE RAMONES left when they left the arena.
A lot of fans were very curious about METHODS OF MAYHEM, the new outfit of ex MOTLEY CRUE drummer Tommy Lee. The band had set up a HUGE drumkit. In fact, it was so big that two drummers could easily play the drums, which they actually did. The band opened with a drum solo, done by two drummers simultaneously. After this spectactular opener, Tilo, the singer in the band, appeared on stage. He looked very colorful and this indicated already that METHODS OF MAYHEM have got nothing at all to do with heavy metal or hard rock. They play rap songs with a strong and very groovy background beat. Don't get me wrong here. The band played a good powerful set, which was very much appreciated. Especially by the younger fans. But if you grew up with MAIDEN, PRIEST and MOTÖRHEAD like I did, it was kinda strange to see a METHODS OF MAYHEM have so much success on a hard rock festival like Dynamo. Of course, they played songs from the debut album like "Get Naked", "Who The Hell Cares", "Hypocritical" and the new single "New Skin". Why didn't they play a MOTLEY CRUE cover? Maybe this was too difficult for these young newcomers. Oh and Tommy, you played in Nijmegen and not in f*cking Amsterdam, which is more than a hundred miles away from here!
TESTAMENT were next on the bill. They played here for the third time already and they seem to become better and tighter time after time. Chuck Billy is of course a perfect frontman. TESTAMENT's line up consisted of Jon Allen (ex SADUS) on drums, Eric Peterson on guitar, Steve Smyth (ex VICIOUS RUMORS) on guitar and Steve Digiorgio on bass. They attacked the public with their brutal Bay Area thrash and they didn't stop until they slayed everybody. Nobody could escape this attack of brutal violence, even not the youngsters who enjoyed METHODS OF MAYHEM just a while ago. Chuck ruled the festival for one hour, opening the set with "D.N.R." and "Down For Life". "Demonic Refusal" and "Low" will follow soon, but first Chuck and his men were welcomed very warm and friendly by the enthusiastic crowd. When the band starts "Burnt Offerings" the crowd seems to be creating one huge moshpit in front of the stage. "The Burning Times", "Into The Pit" and "3 Days In Darkness" continue the set, floating on with "Legions Of The Dead", "Practice What You Preach" and "Over The Wall". With "Disciples Of The Watch" they close their set and turn back time once again. When I close my eyes I can almost see them play at the second edition of this festival, when they played in the pouring rain right before headliners STRYPER. I have deeply respect for this band and I hope to see them back again soon.
SUICIDAL TENDENCIES is also one of the bigger names from the late eighties. 'Cyco' Mike Muir still jumps around like time stood still for years. It doesn't matter how the man calls his band. Whether it is SUICIDAL TENDENCIES or INFECTIOUS GROOVES, the man will always look the same (complete with bandana) and sound the same (groovy). The mix of punk, hardcore and cross over sounds very catchy and timeless. Older fans catch up songs like "Suicidal Tendencies", "I Saw Your Mommy" and "Join The New Army", while the new generation of fans jump around on a new song like "(I Am An) Animal". And with these songs they created the right atmosphere for the headliners of the festival.
Next we had to undergo two bands that were not my cup of tea from the beginning. I'm not into this new crap. My heart is with the old bands, and so the upcoming two bands had to work double as hard to convince me of their strength. First there's these masked figures that call themselves SLIPKNOT. Everybody talks about them like they are the new 'gods of metal'. And I must admit that they convinced me from the start. Their entrance was impressive. During the intro tape, they entered the stage with an attitude that make you fear these masked musicians. The Clown, as I would call him (or should I say no. 6, or just Shawn, you tell me how to call these animals!!!?????), started to bang his head on the drums and stole the cap of a roadie. While the DJ (or no. 0, or Sid) found himself a way in the moshpit in front the stage. The only way to get back on stage was to crowd surf, which he did. To be short, there was a lot of movement on stage, which made it very easy (even if you're not a real fan of the band, like me) to enjoy the band. Oh, and they also made some groovy music as well. Songs like "Spit It Out", "Wait And Bleed", "Sic", "Eyel ESS" and "Sur Facing" turned the people wild. The band was dressed in white overalls and they played their roles perfectly. Just try to jump around on stage for an hour wearing a gas mask. A lot of you readers will start vomitting after ten minutes I guess, including myself. So the mix of heavy groovy music and the very energetic stage appearance made me enjoy SLIPKNOT for the full hour they played.
How different would that be when KORN entered the stage. There were maybe even more KORN fans than SLIPKNOT fans in front the stage. Jonathan Davis is the main man on stage, but the only man I knew from their line up was drummer Mike Bordin who used to play in FAITH NO MORE. KORN also played at this festival in '97, but I can't remember that anymore. I guess that the band didn't impress me too much at that time already. The people sang along to songs like "Got The Life", "Freak On The Leash", "Falling Away From Me" and "Make Me Bad", which is their latest single over here. During "Shoots And Ladders", Jonathan played the bagpipes, dressed in a kilt. It sounded impressive, musically spoken, but to me it sounded all the same and it was pretty boring. Please ignore this last phrase if you're a KORN fan. They completed their set with "Faget", "A.D.I.D.A.S." and "Blind". To me they were too new fashioned and I think I'm just getting old.
Headliner of this years festival was IRON MAIDEN, who came to promote their new album "Brave New World". They make an extended tour through all the big European festivals. With three guitar players and a bass player in the front line, they were ready to attack Nijmegen. But rumours were going backstage that they were about to cancel their show due to the heavy thunderstorms. The rain was pouring down for hours already and the backstage area was struck by lightning already. But at 21.00 hours IRON MAIDEN started their set with their first new single "The Wicker Man". The first part of the set was filled with songs from the new CD, here and there mixed with an oldie. "Bloodbrothers", "Ghost Of The Navigator" and titletrack "Brave New World" were fired at the crowd, who were (literary speaking) drowning already. A lot of people went home despite strong versions of "Wrathchild", "The Trooper" and "Two Minutes To Midnight". Dickinson was running from one side of the stage to the other. But he still managed to hit the high notes. He also payed a lot of respect for all the people, who were defying the heavy rain. "Blood On The Worlds Hands" was one of the last newer songs. And it took them a long time but finally the crowd was treated to the songs they were waiting for so long: "The Evil That Men Do", "Hallowed Be Thy Name", "The Number Of The Beast", "Sanctuary" and "Iron Maiden" completed with the appearance of ED HUNTER closed this two hours set. The final encores were played for only a few hundred fans, that were left from a crowd of 19,000 people that visited the festival earlier in the day. IRON MAIDEN sounded fresh and very tight tonight. I must say that the best solos came from Adrian Smith, who was playing very much upfront. Not that the solos from Dave Murray and Janick Gers sounded bad, on the contrary, but I guess it's just a matter of taste. Adrian sounded as sparkling as in the good old days, while the other two played a bit more modest. It was a crying shame that the upcoming thunderstorm ruined everything. Nonetheless, IRON MAIDEN was a good headliner. Here and there, the new work reminded me of THIN LIZZY and/or JETHRO TULL. Listen very carefully to the new CD and I think you'll agree with me.
What started as a wonderful sunshiny day, ended as a pool of mud. But I think that the organisation and the audience can look back at a very successful one day event. Next year, the festival will hopefully be again two days. It will probably move to Assen. I think that the whole intention of the festival hasn't changed all that much. The basic assumption will be a mix of bands that are successful right now. Here and there they will perhaps come up with a name that might surprise you. It's a festival where you can enjoy a lot of music that can no longer be categorised as hard rock and heavy metal only…. For such a festival you'll have to relocate to Germany. To Wacken Open Air for instance, where the bill consists of old school hard rock and heavy metal bands. I hope to do a full report from that festival in one of the upcoming issues for you. The festival takes place at August 4 and 5, 2000. I can't wait to be there after this brilliant warming up. See you there!!!!
Written by: Toine van Poorten
(originally appeared in ROCK BRIGADE, Brazil; July 2000.)