It’s Friday, June 24th. 2011 and we are on our way to Montabaur in the Westerwald, just 120km away, to ring in this year’s festival season with the Mach1 Festival. In the following, the festival will only be referred to as the M1 Festival, as there are legal difficulties with the current name. The festival crew was forced to change all the old lettering to M1 – a hell of a job!
While the campsite is already well filled and the party is in full swing, we reach the area shortly before the first band, THE GRANDTRY, enters the stage. Unfortunately this time the weather god seems to be everything, but certainly not a metalhead. The weather shows its uncomfortable side, the sky is bathed in a wonderful monotonous gray and every now and then it rains more or less heavily – after all, there has been so little rain in the past two weeks… Well, these locks will eventually be closed, so that the weather turns out to be friendlier during the day apart from a little drizzle.
The first impression of the area is positive – everything can be reached without long distances (except for the campsite): on the right merchandising stands, on the left food, from pizza to Asian to burgers, various beverage stands and in front the two large stages right next to each other (KIA Power Stage and EMP Stage). Further back on the site, near the entrance, in order to minimize sound clashes, the smaller monster tent stage for newcomer bands. The two main stages made the festival a damn relaxed affair, because theoretically it was possible to simply stand in the middle and turn to the respective stage, because both were played alternately so that no gaps (should) arise. However, this had the disadvantage that you sometimes heard the soundcheck of the other stage rather than
After 7 EYED OWL, which somehow seemed a little out of place, ADEPT entered the stage and slowly you can see more and more festival visitors wandering to the stages. They have to walk a long way from the campsite to the stages. Back to the Swedes, they put on a clean performance and clearly seemed to have fun. After all, it was Midsummer in their home country that day and they celebrate the day there, as they said, with a lot of alcohol. However, before we could really have a cup of coffee, the audience was really heated up and the sun even dared a tentative glance from between the clouds, finally! A few circle pits later the fun was unfortunately over.
BLACKOUT ARGUMENT had it a little harder to keep the masses happy afterwards, they presented a decent setlist with a focus on the current pieces from the latest album “Detention.“ The Munich Postcorelers can also be said to have had a clean stage show, even if the audience didn’t seem to be quite as willing to go along as before. The following AFTER THE BURIAL struck completely different tones, which went to work quite brutally with their deathcore. However, we only followed the gig from afar, because at some point our growling stomach wanted to be filled and the evening would ultimately be damn long.
If that wasn’t enough beating, you could walk over to the other stage and have your ears blown by the next deathcore troupe BLEED FROM WITHIN. No one was cold anymore and the occasional drizzle didn’t really bother us anymore. While a lot of the fronters showed themselves to be extremely agile this weekend, singer Scott Kennedy was apparently the most acrobatic of them all. Jumping into the crowd was apparently just too boring in the long run, the stage apparently not big enough so that towards the end of the set you could see him climb up the side of the stage and continue singing from there. An extremely fun gig. Enough death and metalcore? But can it still be core? Here you go, TERROR. It was their turn and served a good load of hardcore, new school to be exact, and the Californians also made a decent plank. Fronter Scott Vogel jumped around the stage like a rubber ball to cheer on the fans in front of the stage and that seemed to ignite, although the crowd in front of the stage was quite manageable, but those who were there had pieces from the current album “Keepers of Faith.”
There weren’t any big breaks and that’s why we hike straight back to the left to the other stage where DEEZ NUTS was about to start. The Australian hardcore faction had a lot of fun and it quickly jumped over to the audience, which has now grown stronger again. This was followed by a band for which a whole bunch of people had been waiting, considering the influx alone. SUICIDE SILENCE pounded straight away in nasty deathcore manner and singer Mitch roared his lungs out and raved over his pedestal, as if it were his declared goal to completely dismantle it by the end of the gig. Some fans in front of the stage seemed to see it similarly, because things were really going in the pit. Circlepits were demanded by the skinny-looking singer and he got them. The crowd was really hot now and the weather seemed to be getting a little “hotter” – well let’s put it that way, at least it wasn’t raining anymore.
EMIL BULLS picked up the crowd where SUICIDE SILENCE left them after a frenzied gig and turned the crowd into a party. Instead of wild thrashing, there was now a change from hard guitars to almost soft clean vocals. For my part, I had lost sight of the band a little over the years and I have to admit that I was extremely pleasantly surprised by what was on offer here. Singer Christoph quickly got hold of the fans and the request that everyone should kneel down and jump again shortly afterwards was (almost) all of them willingly. A great picture!
For the on average quite young audience, which seemed to be more at home in the core than in the metal area, a rather blatant break followed. Not only did this band have more years under their belt than several of the core bands put together, the style was also more different than it could have been. Singer Zakk Wylde started to “Crazy Horse” with Indian jewelry in the 90-minute gig and delivered a formidable show. Although the ranks thinned out a little, the atmosphere was still brilliant. It became quite clear that the singer and guitarist is a born solo entertainer and he really enjoyed that at the climax of the show when he played his guitar solo. Played, maybe not quite the right word in this case, he celebrated it a lot more and with so much devotion that towards the end it was actually too much of a good thing. 5-minute solos are certainly not uncommon, a little more is certainly also possible, but just under 15 minutes are already beyond the patience of a passionate solo fan. I think everyone in attendance knew how well Mr. Wylde masters his instrument, but towards the end of the solo there was a noticeable sigh of relief when the whole band finally got back on the boards to “Godspeed Hell Bound” to continue the rest of the gig. Four more songs were left and the evening was approaching in no time its end. The band said goodbye exuberantly and with it most of the visitors towards the campsite to either find a well-deserved sleep or, like many, to continue partying for a while, regardless of the frosty temperatures.
On the second day of the festival the weather shows its best side, the sun was shining and … yes … it would have been so nice. THAT was of course not the case. It was still dripping, sometimes more, sometimes less, and that throughout the morning and at noon. After a short snack in Montabaur, the cloud cover had not cleared noticeably, so that we threw all hopes for better weather overboard, were in our raincoats and trudged towards the stage. Apparently, an astonishing number of people saw it similarly – measured by the time of day and the weather. We had missed the first bands MYRA and HORDAK, but we arrived at the site almost on time for the punk rockers NOT AVAILABLE. Regardless of the weather, they tried hard to keep people in a good mood.
WAR FROM A HARLOTS MOUTH were the first band on the second day, which could look forward to a quite respectable stream of spectators. Several times they had already convinced me with energetic shows and today’s performance should not be an exception. The Math / Deathcore Mixture ignited and regardless of the slightly muddy ground, circlepits were instigated here and there. Since the distance to the audience from the stage was apparently far too great, fronter Nico jumped several times not only on the barrier, but right into the crowd. The fact that the microphone almost got lost didn’t bother anyone. The fun the band had at the performance quickly spread to the audience and grinning faces were to be seen everywhere.
CAPTAIN PLANET were then left out for the purpose of eating, so the fun continued with the madmen from CALLEJON. They were also able to deliver a pretty thrilling gig and also shone with German lyrics that are rarely found in metalcore. In any case, the “zombies” instigated further circplits and the weather slowly became a little nicer. Speaking of which when the weather is nice and the sun is out: The following HIS STATUE FALLS showed an extremely sunny disposition and made the crowd dance to their post-hardcore / trancecore mix. If you tried to dismiss the whole thing as Nintendo Mucke or something like that at the first notes, you will have noticed very quickly that the fun the guys have on stage also ends up in the audience very quickly. Even the HSF singer found it too boring on stage and he sang some songs up close in front of the fans, who really went along. Cool appearance!
After all the corigen bands, it was time to have fun with the metallers of the festival and the Swedes SOILWORK had been hired for this. Certainly one of the longest-serving combos of the festival alongside BLACK LABEL SOCIETY and SEPULTURA, along with other bands. It’s just a shame that the metal species, in the sense of long-haired, head-banging etc., was not represented, so SOILWORK had to really work hard. Unfortunately, the vocals were difficult to hear at the beginning and for a long time later, so the sound was not necessarily helpful. Nevertheless, the Swedes knew how to convince with their melodic death lead and for my part I was happy to hear a little metal again.
Most festival-goers didn’t seem to have it that way with old bands, because only a few spectators came to the area for the subsequent US BOMBS, which were certainly among the “grandpas” of the festival line-up. Here it became clear that neither the band nor the few spectators who danced to old-school punk in front of the stage let themselves be taken away from the fun. The strong old school influence in the music probably also prevented more listeners from joining during the course of the concert.
Things looked completely different with the Brazilians from SEPULTURA, who, as veterans, seem to be able to bridge the gap between younger fans who were more attached to the core and the die-hard metal fans. Here it got full again in front of the stage and at the latest with pieces like “Roots Bloody Roots,” which everyone had heard somewhere and could therefore roar along, the party was in full swing. Pieces from the current album “Kairos” were of course not neglected, and there were probably enough fans who already knew this album, judging by the reactions. The only thing you could complain about at this gig was the smoke that was constantly being blown onto the stage, it was really annoying for a photographer!
So SEPULTURA had presented properly and BLACK DAHLIA MURDER should keep this level afterwards and, if at all possible, ideally put another on it. Energetic as always, front man Trevor Strnad stormed forward and heated the crowd again and again, waving both arms wildly. You just can’t help but smile at this fiery enthusiasm. In addition to wildly waving, a happy grin flashes on the face of the frontman and that shows how much fun the troops are having. On top of that, there was a slightly larger circle pit and that could serve as preparation for the grandiose finale of the festival.
Final? Yes, it was hard to believe, but the second day of the festival had come to an end with giant strides and suddenly it was time for the headliner of the evening: HEAVEN SHALL BURN. It got dark again, the tension increased and the place in front of the stage was more than filled. “The Weapon They Fear” rang out and the crowd rose. It almost seemed as if a large part of the fans had saved up all their energy for this gig, because what suddenly could be seen here in flying manes and circplepits was not bad. Singer Marcus announced that he was overwhelmed by the reactions of the audience and it seemed that all fans felt the same. HSB once again confirmed that they belong to one of the best German live bands and logically, neither the oversized Wall of Death (“Voice of the Voiceless” nor the fat circle pit (which had to be started before the band started playing – “ You offer us something and if we like it, let’s play the right music,” says fronter Markus) around the sound tower are missing. Somewhere in the crowd there seemed to be a spectator running around in a rabbit costume, which was just what the singer wanted, because he ordered the crowd to run after the rabbit costume. At one point during the gig, the bassist suddenly disappeared from the stage and, no one knows exactly how, he managed to get a laceration. So the bands played a song without a bass player until he was back and started playing again with a rotating mat as if nothing had happened. That’s what I call commitment! With “Voice Of The Voiceless” the biggest gig of the whole weekend came to an end. There is no doubt that the guys were right to have this headlining status. On top of that there was a fat load of scraps of paper. The crowd went wild!
Overall? Great mix in which established acts created a good atmosphere, but also smaller bands, thanks to the Monster tent stage, did not miss out. The sound was decent apart from a few slips (SOILWORK), the prices were also reasonably acceptable (for a festival), and the security was always in a good mood – you could see that the work was fun despite the shitty weather – thumbs up! In short it was a great party, which actually only the weather gods refused to play. Well, maybe next time! Then under a new name, in the hopefully still relaxed atmosphere with great bands!
Text & photos by Cornelia Wickel