"Nothing should be left to an invaded people except their eyes
Prince Otto von Bismarck
CONCERTS SEEN UP CLOSE
by Richard Karsmakers
The past few months I've been to a few concerts that I'd like to
share my experiences with you of...
Rijnhal, Arnhem, Netherlands, October 31st 1993. Featuring
Channel Zero, Damn the Machine, Freak of Nature, Riverdogs,
Paradise Lost, Warrior Soul, and Dream Theater.
Together with the enormous Dynamo Open Air festival, the almost
annual "Aardschokdag" (translates to "Earthquake Day") is a
concert experience the whole Dutch metal fraternity looks forward
to. And most rightly so, for the Aardschokdag so far had already
featured bands the likes of Metallica, Venom, Megadeth, Vicious
Rumours, Queensryche, House of Lords, Flotsam & Jetsam, Fear of
God, Sepultura and Obituary.
This year's Aardschokdag was possibly the softest ever. Channel
Zero sounded a bit like Pantera and was therefore OK, but most of
the bands on the bill consisted of nothing more than a load of
commercial crap. As a matter of fact if it hadn't been for Dream
Theater I wouldn't have gone. No matter how excellent Paradise
Lost are, I wouldn't have spent 50 Dutch guilders on an entire
concert ticket just to hear them playing for 45 minutes. As it
was, however, I had both Paradise Lost and Dream Theater to see -
the latter of which I had missed when they played at Utrecht's
Vredenburg venue earlier this year because the show had already
been sold out way before I found out about it.
Channel Zero, as I said, was quite OK - a band from Belgium that
sounds a lot like Pantera. Worth while listening to. I arrived
barely in time to hear the last few songs, however.
Damn the Machine was the band of ex-Megadeth member Chris
Poland. I had hoped perhaps for something like Rage Against the
Machine - or some other kind of radical "we hate the system"
stuff, but ultimately I didn't find the music particularly
memorable. If it hadn't been for Chris I suspect they would never
have appeared here.
Freak of Nature I had already hated at Dynamo Open Air. This
totally overhyped band basically got the female part of the
spectators going (suddenly young girls - and I do mean young -
popped up as if from cracks in the floor). I can't identify with
them, their music is awfully poppy and the guys just look too
handsome (and know it).
There was a Metal Market in the Rijnhal as well. I visited it
for most of the earlier part of the day, browsing through bootleg
CDs, cheap discounts and second-hand offerings. I came back from
that somewhere during Riverdogs. Although I didn't like the
Riverdogs much either, at least they seemed to believe in
themselves. Instead of an appealing image you got some musicians
who worked hard to do their thing. They are the only ones that
don't deserve my lack of appreciation.
Well, next was Paradise Lost. I had in the mean time procured my
usual spot right up front against the fence. Grated steel against
my front, hundreds of smelly headbangers against my back. I was
ready for it. Probably the only band of the day to cause
something like an earthquake. Divers came in twos and threes
(layers, that is) as "Embers Fire" was released at reasonable but
not quite sufficiently earblasting volume. Singer Nick Holmes
proudly proclaimed that they were the "only true fucking heavy
metal band" on the bill. It seemed they weren't satisfied with
the load of posers and lovers of commerciality before and after
them, but they only used the occasion to kick ass thoroughly.
"Remembrance" followed, the second song off their latest CD
"Icon", and the rest of the gig consisted of an excellent mixture
of old and new material - "Gothic", "Mortals Watch the Day",
"Joys of the Emptiness", "Shallow Seasons", "Eternal", "Your Hand
in Mine", "Widow", "As I Die" (one of their very best), "True
Belief" (the single release) and "Pity the Sadness". If only all
bands on the bill could have been like this!
Next was Warrior Soul. Apart from a few OK riffs, what it
basically came down to was an hour of trash (not thrash). I was
definitely not giving up my spot right up front. I would have to
suffer through Warrior Soul so that I'd still be where I wanted
to be when the headliner, Dream Theater, was going to kick off.
Warrior Soul? Well, they must be the guys with the worst dress
sense in the known multiverse. Golden trousers, lots of red and
green, I don't know. Terrible. What was more terrible is that
their clothes left more of an impression on me than their music.
Some people really like them, but they're just not me kind of
Last, but most certainly not least (and after a bit of a long
break) Dream Theater started off for what would be an hour and a
half of technically and musically outstanding music.
They kicked off with "Metropolis - Part I", certainly their most
complex and brilliant song to date. I have seen brilliant
guitarists aplenty, and I've seen a brilliant guitarist and
bassist once (Satriani and Hamm), but this time what I saw was a
first class John Petrucci (guitar), a most excellent John Myung
(bass), a human rhythm machine (Portnoy), a great singer (LaBrie)
and a keyboard player (Moore) that was excellent but faded away
somewhat compared to the other members. Dream Theater must be the
most technically and musically gifted bunch of people ever to be
in one band on a permanent basis. I was glad the divers kept
quiet. Dream Theater needed every bit of attention in order to
get the ultimate enjoyment. These guys are just absolutely
amazing. They played all of their insanely amazing "Images and
Words" album, as well as various songs off their debut (the track
list mentions them as "Ytse Jam", "Puppies" and "Eve", but I
haven't got that album so I don't know the full song titles) as
well as a new song by the name of "To Live Forever".
Dream Theater is no doubt one of the best bands currently in
existence. Rush are excellent, and so are Queensrÿche, but Dream
Theater is just so much better.
When I went back home, I knew it had been a day and 50 Dutch
guilders well spent. But surely next time I would try harder to
be on time to see Dream Theater play on their own tour.
Ahoy, Rotterdam, Netherlands. November 3rd 1993. Support act: A
Girl Called Johnny.
Surely a band must lose its last shred of credibility if the
most successful line-up reunites twice. Some years ago Ian Gillan
had been kicked out of the reunion Mk.II to be replaced by Joe
Lynn Turner and make the positively mediocre "Slaves and
Masters". However, he could come back to do their latest "The
Battle Rages On" - an album that isn't exactly mediocre but not
quite up to their old standard. As a matter of fact at several
instances it sounded as if the musicians (or at least Gillan and
Blackmore) had never been in the same studio at the same time.
Anyway, this re-reunited Mk.II Deep Purple is what the audience
got to see once the totally unknown local support act departed
from the stage and it had been cleaned up and rearranged a bit.
If only I had been born, say, 15 years earlier. I would have
seen Deep Purple in their prime, in 1972, around the release of
"Machinehead". Perhaps Jimi Hendrix too, now I come to think of
it. The Deep Purple I saw, even though the members were the same
(OK, a bit older and saggier), was nothing more but a shadow of
its former self.
For starters I haven't heard one Blackmore live solo that wasn't
sloppy, not since after his Rainbow days. He also plays
needlessly loud, using some sort of preamp (or Roland guitar
syntyh, whatever) attached to his guitar that he sometimes cranks
up ruthlessly to wipe Gillan's vocals clean off the stage.
Gillan's voice was much better than I had feared, even though he
didn't quite get through all the tough bits in "Child in Time".
Good thing the audience was more than willing to help out.
If it hadn't been for the legendary status and impressive past
that Deep Purple carry on their shoulders, it might actually have
been quite a bad concert, or at least a mediocre one. But before
me stood the grandfathers of hard rock, toiling. Well, they
weren't exactly toiling actually. Not that much.
Apart from the fact that the audience was exceedingly quiet and
extremely irritating (people raised a lot of eyebrow when they
saw me bang my head) I still had quite a good time. The lightshow
was good, and all golden oldies were played - "Highway Star",
"Black Night" "Space Truckin'", "Hush", "Lazy", "Speed King",
"Smoke on the Water" and even "Anyone's Daughter", as well as
some newer stuff such as "Knocking at Your Back Door", "Perfect
Strangers", "The Battle Rages On", "Talk About Love" and "Anya".
No long solos, no showcasing. They just played the songs,
sometimes even medley-esque short versions, and that was it.
I am confident Blackmore can do it still, but he appears not to
want to. Gillan should be banned from doing it but does anyway.
Lord, zealously sweating and quite flabby, still does all his
tricks faithfully, including the obligatory "Für Elise" and a bit
of boogie woogie. Only Paice and Glover were still quite
identical with the pictures I recalled from the old albums.
In the mean time Deep Purple have split up again. Or, actually,
Ritchie Blackmore has left them. Joe Satriani was hired to stand
in to wrap up the Japanese leg of the tour (now that's one
bootleg recording I'd surely like to have!). I really doubt
whether Deep Purple will be any good with a second Tommy Bolin.
Only Yngwie Malmsteen might perhaps fit in, but I doubt the clash
of the egos would make this possible. Blackmore is said to have
contacting Joe Lynn Turner to reform Rainbow (why not Dio?).
The music business is certainly strange.
At least I am somewhat happy I saw Deep Purple in their classic
line-up. Now they can - and should - wither away in peace.
My Dying Bride
Willem II, 's Hertogenbosch, Netherlands, November 7th 1993.
Support act G.G.F.H.
I have no car. I am quite poor. So I welcomed the fact that My
Dying Bride - my favourite avant garde metal band - did an
afternoon concert at 's Hertogenbosch. Evening concerts usually
make it impossible to get back home by train unless they're in
Rotterdam or Amsterdam. I was lucky this time. I was in time, had
my camera with me, and got to stand right up front from the
The beginning was G.G.F.H. That's an acronym for Global Genocide
Forget Heaven. It's what you get if you put together Napalm Death
and regular metal, take away the drummer and replace it by a
heavy duty drum computer that is specialised at playing a fair
bit of house. All in all I can safely say I didn't particularly
like it, and that's an understatement I use because the
Peaceville guys may just read this. Basically it was three TV
screens and a singer that walked to and fro. The TV screens
showed every bit of gore and filth possible to put together.
People blowing their brains out, sect members eating shit falling
out of a live cow's ass, documentary material shot at autopsies,
that kind of thing. Had me nauseated for a while.
After what I guess must have been something like 30 or 45
minutes, the stage was cleared and the smoke machines ceased
A rumour went round that what we had seen wasn't G.G.F.H. It
wasn't. Brian J. Walls was in hospital with acute appendicites,
and singer Ghost had been deported back to the U.S. on accounts
of violiting some pornography act. We had seen G.G.F.H. roadie
Loz Danzig. Didn't make much of a difference. The song I knew
from a Peaceville sampler sounded the same, and the other stuff I
didn't know nor like very much.
Anyway, up next was the band I had come for, avant garde metal
pioneers My Dying Bride.
They played a lot from their latest album, "Turn Loose the
Swans". At the time I hadn't listened to that album much so I
found much of the songs they played a tad inaccessible. I am sure
I would have liked the gig even more if the new songs had already
grown on me. They hadn't. My fault.
They started with "The Songless Bird", followed by "The Snow in
my Hand" and "The Crown of Sympathy". Excellent songs, but it
would have been so much better if I had already known them
better. As I said, my mistake. The first song that found me
flipping out properly was "The Thrash of Naked Limbs", not long
after which they did their first ever song, "Symphonaire Infernus
et Spera Empyrium". Unfortunately it changed into "Turn Loose the
Swans" halfway - I would really have liked hearing the whole
song, especially because the last half contains some really good
riffs to bang your head on. The concert got a lot slower when
they did "Sear Me MCMXCIII". For all I care they could have
skipped that. Adrenalin surges settled quietly while everybody
waited until the song would be over. "Erotic Nightmares" was
next, quite a contrast, following by "Your River". They came back
for an encore, "The Forever People".
Maybe I am getting spoiled too much. I had expected more,
certainly some other songs, and definitely the original "Sear Me"
instead of the rehash. If I saw them again I think I would enjoy
them more, what with my having listened to "Turn Loose the Swans"
more adequately now. Well, I did get a a pick from Andy, one of
My Dying Bride, by the way, had also had problems during the
tour. Their van had been broken into with Martin's violins
getting stolen, and two other occasions the van crashed. It seems
bad luck was with them all the time, but all in all they didn't
miss any dates. And that's what matters most to us mortals.
Batcave, Tilburg, Netherlands, February 5th 1994. Featuring
Seven's Even, Inquisitor and Excision.
Every year the three major Dutch Student Heavy Metal
Appreciation Societies (E.S.H.F.B., T.S.H.V. Scarabee and
V.I.R.U.S.) organise a so-called Festacle. These usually take
place late winter or early spring, each society taking turns in
organising the venue in their home town. This time Scarabee got
the honours, causing the event to take place at the Tilburg
Batcave. A Festacle consists of an afternoon of member-only
games, after which the evening becomes sortof a free-for-all orgy
of heavy metal mayhem.
I was part of the organisation on behalf of V.I.R.U.S. so I
missed most of the first band, Seven's Even. What I heard from my
position at the door where I had the first shift I didn't hear
too much that I liked. I saw the last ten minutes which were some
sort of jam. I didn't like that either, although it could be seen
that they weren't too bad technically. Seven's Even is sometimes
described as "an alternative version of Kong, with vocals". Well,
I didn't really see any similarity. And, as I said, I didn't like
it too much.
"You were part of the organisation," I now hear you ask, "why
was it selected?" Well, the band was dead-cheap and they were
from Tilburg so they didn't need travel expenses. Many visitors
liked them a lot anyway so I guess they weren't a bad selection
Second was Inquisitor. This is a four-piece thrash band from
Harderwijk, Netherlands. Their lyrics question religion and that
kind of thing, and their music is very fast - like early Napalm
Death often - yet quite melodious with a singer unlike any other.
There was a lot of audience response, most notably to their "Cry
of the Christians", which was also the second song of their
encore. There was a reasonable mosh up front, of which I might
modestly claim to have been an active part. The first bruises
were sustained, and Inquisitor's general speed rapidly assured
knackered neck tendons. They played for an hour which to some
people was a bit repetitive. But if you're caught in a mosh you
don't notice that kind of thing. People flipped out aplenty, and
I think the band enjoyed it too. When they finished I went to get
their second demo, "Your Pain Will be Exquisite" (reviewed
Last, but certainly not least, was Excision. This band has
already gained critical acclaim in the Heavy Metal press on
account of their excellent demo "The Drowning Tear" (reviewed
elsewhere in this issue). Not as fast as Inquisitor and with a
singer more regular to the genre, Excision gathered a much larger
mosh pit. After having spent the first fifteen minutes at the
door for a second mini-shift, I joined the throbbing and jumping
collection of near-humans in the front with renewed zeal. I had
refueled and was ready to kick some serious ass. Excision was a
most proper headliner for this year's Festacle. Apart from the
fact that they had made certain a large number of paying
spectators which in the end made sure we got out all the money
that was put in, the audience was most responsive. Looking from
the stage there were about a hundred wildly banging heads, with
about two dozen more fanatic people moshing in the front as if
haunted by some utterly evil being from the most nasty of
At midnight Excision disappeared off the stage, during which I
got both the drummer's sticks. It was only the start of two
further hours of, for lack of a better word, a metal disco. It
might just have been the best of the three annual Festacles yet -
I had to spend the better part of a week nursing bruises and
moving my neck very carefully indeed. My back even ached. I must
have appeared like a near-invalid during that time.
Sad Whisperings, Anathema & My Dying Bride
Noorderligt, Tilburg, Netherlands, February 19th 1994.
Noorderligt is a sortof famous concert venue in the South of the
Netherlands, just about as popular as the legendary Dynamo Club.
This year it's 10 years ago that it got built, something that was
celebrated by many concerts and other activities, among which was
this special one-off occurrence of Peaceville recording artists
Anathema and My Dying Bride supported by the Dutch band Sad
Whisperings. Even though I had seen both of the major bands
within the last half year or so, I decided to grasp this occasion
with both hands. Andy of Peaceville even got me on the guest
list, so that I could get in for free and could take photographs
as much as I wanted (in the end something went wrong with the
guest list but I got in anyway).
Before the gig started I went backstage with Darren (Anathema
vocalist) and interviewed them as well as My Dying Bride. By the
time I got back, Sad Whisperings has already finished up, just
about. I got to see about five minutes, which left a very
positive impression. I think I might one day check out their CD,
"Sensitive to Autumn".
At well after 9 o'clock, Anathema got on stage. No incense this
time, but the same set they had played at Dynamo about half a
year ago. The atmosphere was less intimate this time so I
couldn't get into the sad mood as proverbly as on that previous
occasion. The audience was a lot more responsive this time, as a
matter of fact I had genuine trouble keeping both my camera and
myself safe from the stage divers and other moshers from my
position right in front. Anathema had played for virtually
exactly one hour when they disappeared off stage after their
encore, a repetition of their most excellent "Lovelorn Rhapsody".
There were about twenty enthusiastically headbanging people on
stage by that time, who all hurled themselves back into the
general masses (and/or onto the concrete floor) as the last notes
It had been awesome, but I had genuine reason to feel
uncomfortable about my camera and stuff if the audience response
to My Dying Bride was going to be anything similar - or, worse,
As it was, however, it didn't get a lot worse when My Dying
Bride took the stage. They played the same set as at Willem II
last year, with an added "I Am the Bloody Earth" (excellent song
released on EP about a month before) and "Erotic Literature"
omitted due to the drummer having hurt himself somewhere during
the concert ("Erotic Literature" is one of their fast songs).
Yes, they also played "Sear Me 1993" again, which got tremendous
applause in the end even though most people were just about
asleep by then. Why not the original "Sear Me"?
During the middle of the last song and encore, "The Forever
People", vocalist Aaron suggested people get on the stage know or
forever be silent forever. His call was heeded by many. About
half a minute later the whole stage was a crawling mass of human
flesh, a miracle that the band could actually still play at all.
It was about a quarter to midnight then, and I had spent most of
the concert alternately flipping out utterly and moving around
the hall and to strategic spots at the sides of the stage to make
some pretty excellent pictures.
After the whole thing had ended I joined the fray to hunt for
souvenirs. A guitar pick was quickly obtained, but I was too late
to get any of the two drum sticks. A few minutes later I got back
stage again, though, and procured a drum stick that had been
dropped earlier during the gig.
The whole concert experience, with added memorabilia (My Dying
Bride drum stick and a pick of Calvin, their other guitarist) and
the fact that I had met the guys and interviewed them, made this
one of the best days in my recent life. I think I could really
like being a rock journalist.
If you're interested in reading the interviews, by the way,
please refer to the appropriate section of ST NEWS.
Tivoli, Utrecht, Netherlands, March 11th 1994. Support act
As soon as I knew Paradise Lost were playing Tivoli I went to
arrange the biggest joint concert visiting experience ever set up
by V.I.R.U.S. (the Society of Intensely Rocking Utrecht
Students). In the end a massive 62 people - members and friends
of members - joined. I had arranged 6% of all people visiting,
quite a feat if I may be so dishumble (?!) as to say so myself.
After the interview (a very interesting one, I think, which is
covered in full elsewhere in ST NEWS) I got to the bar where we
tend to hang out and play darts on Friday nights. I still had to
sell the last few tickets to people who had ordered but hadn't
fetched their tickets yet. Nick Holmes and Aaron Aedy of Paradise
Lost knew that this bar sold Guiness - I had mentioned it during
the interview - so they also popped up early in the evening, and
Aaron even got the chance to play pinball with a few of our
Anyway, at 20:20 we went to Tivoli concert hall. Half an hour
later we were inside. Erwin (the dude that had made photos at the
interview that afternoon, also a member) and me had talked the
guys at Tivoli into giving us a photo pass each, allowing us A)
To sell our tickets at ludicrous prices to Germans who had found
the concert sold out, and B) To get into the utterly comfortable
press pit right before the stage where we could freak out and, of
course, make a few photos as long as the first three songs took.
First up were the support act, of course, Crowbar. Beavis and
Butthead generally refer to them as cool fat dudes, and I guess
they are. I am not all too sure whether they are cool, but one of
them is fat and another is a sortof humongonoidish fatso. Their
music had the aggressive style of Pantera but (another summary
coming up) A) The overall volume was really too much to be any
good, B) The vocals were all the same, and C) Stage presentation
was just like the vocals (i.e. all the same). Not my kind of
band. I only spent one song in the press pit, and took two or
three pictures for the hell of it.
At 20:35 Paradise Lost's intro started. It was different from
their usual one (that was "Desolate" off "Gothic"). I ran to the
photo pit entrance and located myself at a strategic spot.
"Embers Fire" kicked off, spotlights went on, the band became
visible. Nick had kept his word. He was wearing a "VIRUS" T-
shirt. Erwin's camera klicked like mad, mine too. I banged my
head off, evaded divers that launched themselves at the photo
pit. For a moment when I heard the deafening audience response to
Nick coming on and starting to sing, I couldn't interpret it in
any other way rather than that they were applauding for the
"VIRUS" T-shirt. I had a bit of a lump in my throat, and I later
heard of ex-chairman and founder of "VIRUS" that he had had it
too. It's like a milestone for "VIRUS".
But let's get back to the concert. I had never been this close
to this big a band. The whole entourage, the whole afternoon
meeting the band, and now this. Beyond excellence it was, beyond
fucking excellence. Three songs allowed in the photo pit. They
were the best three songs I had ever heard and experience -
"Embers Fire", "Remembrance" and "Gothic". Nick was already bare-
chested after the first song, but I think both Erwin and me
managed to get it on film (I'll know on Tuesday the 15th, but
that's beyond the ST NEWS deadline). Both Gregor and Aaron banged
their heads off for most of the concert, but especially Aaron
seemed like a headbanging dynamo that perpetually charged itself.
He spent the entire concert banging like mad.
After three songs security kindly but determinedly guided us
back into the regular crowd. I had no more photos to take. I only
had to find a spot somewhere not too much in front (to evade the
terrifyingly big mosh - inferior only to the one at the 1993
Dynamo Open Air, but there were 40 times less people present now
- and make sure my camera stayed in one piece) and not too far
away either. I found two fellow "VIRUS" members banging their
head off and playing air guitar at the edge of the giant mosh,
and decided to join them. I spent the rest of the concert - "Joys
of the Emptiness", "True Belief", "Mortals Watch the Day", "Pity
the Sadness", audience favourite "Shades of God" and a total of
75 minutes of great metal - enjoying myself tremendously. By the
end I could nearly wring the sweat out of my camera, and after
spending something like 45 minutes in a mosh-like queue to get
back my coat about a dozen "VIRUS" members and me got back to our
regular bar. At that time the band was probably heading for their
next tour date already, the next day's performance at Tilburg's
And that's this issue collection of audience participation
reports. More to be expected in the next issue, probably with
some stuff at Dynamo Open Air and, possibly Napalm Death at
Tivoli (with an interview?).
The text of the articles is identical to the originals like they appeared in old ST NEWS issues. Please take into consideration that the author(s) was (were) a lot younger and less responsible back then. So bad jokes, bad English, youthful arrogance, insults, bravura, over-crediting and tastelessness should be taken with at least a grain of salt. Any contact and/or payment information, as well as deadlines/release dates of any kind should be regarded as outdated. Due to the fact that these pages are not actually contained in an Atari executable here, references to scroll texts, featured demo screens and hidden articles may also be irrelevant.