Tuesday, 9 August 2011

Wacken Open Air 2011 - A Review

Wacken 2011 has come and gone and to put it blunt – it was fucking fantastic. It was a superb weekend with very little for me to complain about. This review will cover all the bands that me and Dave saw over the weekend with little stories along the way. I reckon it would make sense to start on day one, that being Wednesday.


Last time I was at Heathrow and went to Wetherspoons for a pre-flight breakfast, there was an incident involving a flying egg and a change of trousers. Thankfully, this did not occur again and I was able to avoid embarrassment before getting on the plane. With no flight delays, we left the UK just before 9am and touched down in Germany at 11.25am local time. After looking at each other, somewhat clueless, it became apparent that neither of us really remembered what to do when we got to Hamburg Airport. We knew we had to get to Itzehoe, but that was about it! After much debate (and much walking around Hamburg Airport) we got the train from the airport to the hauptbahnhof (central station – but what a great word) and from there we were able to get a train directly to Itzehoe. The bus from Itzehoe was fairly quick to arrive and aside from constant staring matches with my suitcase, was fairly painless (it may only have been 16kg but if that fell on my head, it would have hurt!) Anyway, we arrived at the festival to relatively short queues to get wristbands & full metal bags and headed to set up. We had a great spot in 2008 for camping and this year we were just as lucky I think. We found a great spot for the campsite and set up. I later discovered my tent was ever so slightly downhill which I think explains the water my tent let in. I also had a nice patch of solid mud directly under where my back would lay. Other than that, the spot was fantastic and close to the arena. No more than a 5min walk unless a stop at the supermarket occurred.

Once set up, we ventured into the village surrounding the arena and had a look around. There was a massive queue at the merch stand (always the way on the first day) so we decided to come back tomorrow when the queue would surely be shorter. After watching a few of the games in the football tournament, we ventured into the arena briefly to have a look at the W.E.T Stage. In 08, we only ventured in there once due to not liking it basically. I wanted to rectify that this time around. The entrance to the tent was much bigger which helped matters. It was also brighter inside so you could see where the spaces in the tent were much easier. Anyway, there was no band playing (or at least I don’t remember if one was playing – awkward!) so we left fairly quickly and headed off to a new part of the festival site (or at least new for us) – Bullhead City. This was a tent outside of the main arena which had a stage and a wrestling ring set up in it – with a walkway linking the two. It was a bit strange, but it was also quite cool. On this visit, we didn’t actually go into the tent, but instead looked at the screen outside. There was a big crowd outside the tent of people who couldn’t get in. The confusion surrounding this was cleared up soon enough when we realised the first of the two Miss Wet T-shirt contests were taking place. What essentially took place was for this contest, the festival had hired strippers to get soaked with water and dance around topless while making out with each other. When that finished, we headed back to the football tournament, having decided that any festival that hires strippers for entertainment can’t be bad! The conclusion to the football tournament was very entertaining and we saw some fantastic goals being scored on the small pitches.

We headed back to the Bullhead City tent for the football awards ceremony but also for some of the other evenings fun on the stage. When we arrived, there was something called Masters of Comedy on. Now, this is where being English and not speaking German at a German festival does let you down somewhat. However, despite that, it really didn’t look funny. There was someone pretending to be a dog, someone pretending to be riding a motorbike and generally people acting “crazy”. This intertwined with stand-up comedy and Mambo Kurt equalled me and Dave looking at each other, wondering if this was a practical joke on us. It was awful. There was another stripper in this show though who attached sparklers to her breasts. That was different. We moved ringside for the football awards and stayed there for the wrestling. The wrestling started with 5 of the girls from the earlier Miss Wet T-shirt contest dancing provocatively with each other. After this, the wrestling actually started with a battle royal type match. I am a fan of wrestling and quite enjoyed what I saw although thought some of it was a touch lame. One of the wrestlers had Rammstein – Du Hast as a theme song. The atmosphere in the tent when that played was electric. Must see Rammstein in Germany one day. Anyway, I liked seeing Robbie Brookside, an English wrestler, although his appearances were limited. After a few short matches, the wrestling ended with a wrestler called Herman the German ripping two women’s tops off. It would seem that female nudity was a constant theme of the Bullhead City tent and this continued with the next Miss Wet T-shirt contest. It would seem this time that the girls were not strippers but girls from the Wacken crowd. That didn’t stop some of them stripping mind. We vacated pretty quickly after this contest as according to the running order, it was time for another Masters of Comedy session and to be frank, fuck that! We headed off to see the only real bit of live music of the day.


In my preview, I said we failed to see him in 2008 and that seeing him this time would be a necessity. He was a part of Masters of Comedy where he played along with their theme and played Highway to Hell. When we saw him on the Beergarden stage, we saw The Final Countdown and Engel. It was moderately entertaining to hear music that everyone knew played on the organ but truth be told, it wasn’t fantastic. I would go so far as to say it was ok. I won’t bother seeing Mambo Kurt again as I’m going to guess I don’t get it. That’s fair enough I think.


The start of this day made us aware of the fact that we were in for some weird weather over the course of the weekend. It rained quite significantly over the night but yet the sun was out and it was hot. This was the first day of bands all day and would start at midday, so we decided to head into the arena and get some festival merch before seeing bands. Sonisphere had plenty of merch stands all over the place and had an option where you could pre-book the merch before the festival and collect it on site. Wacken had 3 merch stands by the looks, all of which were swamped almost all weekend. I won’t say this often, but Wacken could learn from Sonisphere here. More merch stands or put photos of the merch up online and arrange pre-booking. It took 90mins for me to get served and even longer for Dave. I ended up with a hoodie which I really like. Would have preferred a couple of the T-Shirts but no matter – I’m relatively easy to please when it comes to festival merchandise. Anyway, after the 90min wait we went back to the campsite and shot the shit for a little while before heading back into the arena. This meant missing Ski’s Country Trash, but getting to the arena in time for the Metal Battle Winners.


The MB winners from Latvia did a good job on this stage. They were quite enjoyable.


MB winners from Portugal were just as enjoyable as Sacramental.


I enjoyed their set the most of the MB winners (granted I was slightly more partial to them as they were from the UK). One thing though, the growling laughter and speech in-between songs was completely unnecessary and made it really quite difficult to know what song was coming next.


A band with music as horrible as their name. Got some serious Job For A Cowboy vibes from them. That is not a compliment

Deciding that it wasn’t worth watching the whole of Exquisite Pus’s 25min set (yeah...), we walked around the arena, getting a feel for the place. As we walked over to Bullhead City Stage to catch Kvelertak, we noticed that we couldn’t get into the tent. We decided to watch from outside but before we did, we walked over to see that a heavy metal marching band known as Blaas of Glory were playing in the crowd. We heard them play Highway to Hell before we moved on. They were quite entertaining.

KVELERTAK (8) – Due to being outside we didn’t watch the whole set but caught the first few songs. They sound like a genius live band who I hope to see live again at some point soon.

In my preview of the festival, I said I might go and catch some of Skyline. What with not being able to get in the tent at all for Kvelertak, we went and watched all of Skyline.


We arrived in time to hear Skyline covering Gary Moore’s “Over The Hills and Far Away” which was pretty damn good. They then introduced Doro Pesch as their first special guest who sang 3 songs with them including what I believe is a Wacken hymn or something like that (We Are The Metalheads). The other special guests included Chris from Grave Digger, Onkel Tom and Udo Dirkschneider from U.D.O. This was a cool set and introduced me to a number of different artists I want to see live now.


Back at Bullhead City, Severenth were taking to the stage. I had no idea these guys were from the UK. They had a very enjoyable set with the lead singer loving the walk way between the wrestling ring and the stage.

ONKEL TOM (8) - As I said in the review, this couldn’t be anything but fun and that was the case. His band does thrash versions of drinking and Christmas songs and we got that in the tent. A great deal of fun. I only just learned we saw Tom Angelripper (the guy who is Onkel Tom) with his other band over the weekend, Sodom. During this set, a German guy came and sat next to me, declaring he was drunk as a pig and had been awake for 3 days. That is impressive, it has to be said.


Hayseed never fail to impress me live. They had an hour set and were great throughout the whole thing. The set list had most of my favourite songs in it. Not a great deal (if any, thinking of it) from the newer albums but that’s ok. They did a great job and got a big crowd considering Helloween were playing on the True Metal Stage.

HELLOWEEN (6) – Only caught the bit of their set after Hayseed Dixie. They were very good from what I heard but I don’t think I can score them more because I didn’t hear any more.


A superb set by a superb band. The set never felt boring or too long. They essentially joint headlined the Thursday night at Wacken (what with having the same length set as Ozzy, although playing more...) and they did a fantastic job of it. It makes me wonder how this band isn’t playing to crowds that size in this country. This is the first time that I wondered about that over the course of the weekend but certainly wasn’t the last. The set closer, Mirror Mirror was sublime.


One of the reasons I ended up going to this festival was Ozzy Osbourne and I was pretty happy with what we got. We got a best of set list which was the best of Ozzy’s solo material and arguably the best of Black Sabbath. Ozzy genuinely looked happy while performing and we did get a good performance. I do have a couple of complaints however about the set though. In between every song, Ozzy told the crowd “I can’t hear you!” which got a massive response each time. For me though, this was fine at first but quickly got annoying. Another thing, Ozzy had a 90minute set, which as far as a headliner goes, is fair enough. 90mins is a perfectly acceptable length for a headliner. About half way through, he disappeared off stage and his band took over. On setlist.fm, this part of the set is called Rat Salad (a Black Sabbath instrumental). I have no problem with this, or would have had no problem if this two minute song didn’t take up about 15mins of the set. There were guitar solos and drum solos along with the song Rat Salad before Ozzy came back out and did 3 more songs before going back off stage again so an encore could be done. With the breaks in the set and the banter between songs, he probably did about 60mins out of his 90min set (I am discounting Rat Salad as I only found out today that’s what it is. That to me was the band jamming). 60mins for a headliner is not very good. I have said this to a number of people since who have all said the same thing – “he’s getting on a bit now”. I can’t argue that – but I would suggest that perhaps the time has come to stop being a festival headliner if you can only do 60mins a night and need to take a 15min break in a 90min set. The performance we got was solid and I am very happy to be able to say that I have seen him. It just annoyed me a touch that the set was as short as it was.

Ozzy finished at midnight and he was the last band on the open air stages for the day, thus concluding the day as far as we were concerned. There were other things going on into the night but we had a long day planned for the next day so decided to get sleep not long after getting back to the campsite.

Band of the Day – Hayseed Dixie
Honourable Mentions – Blind Guardian, Ozzy Osbourne, Skyline
Moment of the Day – The mass sing along to Black Sabbath – Paranoid.


Another night of rain and what seemed to be another day of baking hot sun. While it was hot throughout certain parts of the day, others were surprisingly cool. It was a very confusing day weather wise but a very good day music wise.


A very good start to the day. Nothing like a bit of power metal to wake you up in the morning (or in this case, very early afternoon). They played a very enjoyable set and finished on the crushing “Metal Is Forever”.


They were enjoyable but at the same time they got a touch dull as their set rolled on. They played a few songs of theirs I knew (including You Can’t Bring Me Down, War Inside My Head and How Will I Laugh Tomorrow) but they didn’t play the main one I was hoping to hear, which was Institutionalized. I’m not entirely sure why they extended the songs they were playing, beyond the applause they got for it. It was like they would finish, get clapped/cheered etc and then start it back up. Oh well no matter, they were quite good.


They were pretty damn good. Didn’t hang about for the whole set as I decided to go see some of the band on the Party Stage as well but what I heard I enjoyed. I also managed to hear “Where The Slime Live” after the band on the Party Stage had finished, which was a big plus for me as it is my favourite Morbid Angel song.


I really enjoyed the set from these guys. Only saw the last few songs but in that time, they covered some of Master of Puppets and all of Fear of the Dark, which was superb. Dave put it best by saying this was a fantastic idea and it was. I don’t know if I could have watched the full hour if I’m honest with myself, but seeing a small bit of it made it really cool.


Hey its Tom Angelripper again. Can’t believe this was the 3rd time of seeing him over the course of the weekend. Sodom is quite similar to Kreator in their style of thrash metal which appeals to me quite a lot. They also played a quite a few of the songs I knew of theirs which made me happy. No Surfing Bird though, alas!


This was a very good set from AILD. I really enjoyed what I heard and thought they did a very good job on the Black Stage. I really enjoyed them according to my 2008 review but couldn’t remember them. As soon as they started, they sounded familiar to me which was probably my brain waking up. The crowd were absolutely fired up for AILD, delivering circle pits on command. They talked about having friends in the next two bands, both of whom I saw.


They were absolutely stunning. The older material sounded better than ever (including the two best tracks from Shogun – Down From The Sky and Throes of Perdition) and the stuff from the new album In Waves sounded fantastic. It sounds like it is going to be a great album. It was somewhat surprising that there was no material at all from The Crusade. They were very good in Portsmouth in 2010, which was just a few weeks after Nick Augusto had joined the band. Over a year on and Trivium are once again a dominating force live. I will go so far as to say this is the best time of the 6 that I have seen them live.


An awesome set from an awesome band. They played the two songs I was hoping to hear (though they made me wait until the last one for one of them). They had a backdrop to start the set but utilized the video screens behind them for bizarre videos and putting their name up in a variety of fashions. Good music + a good stage show + an arse load of pyro = vast enjoyment from me. So so close to a 10, but Trivium were just that bit better.


Aside from a flawless performance of Metal Gods, I thought they got off to a fairly slow start. I was a bit concerned that we would get a lacklustre performance. After disappearing for 30mins to see Sirenia, I came back and any fears of a lacklustre performance had all gone. They were absolutely superb. When it came to the end of the set, the atmosphere was electric, and I was at the back of the crowd, as in the very back of the crowd (aside from when I walked off to get some photos). It absolutely smoked their Wembley set from 2009 and I was delighted to hear them play Living After Midnight. The only possible complaint I could have about the set was Halford not singing at all during Breaking The Law. I know the crowd knows the words but we want to hear you sing it, Halford!


Absolutely stunning (and I’m not just talking about Ailyn). Since getting into metal, I’ve always liked symphonic metal, especially when the bands have a female singer. I like Nightwish, Lacuna Coil, Evanescence, Leaves Eyes and so many others. Sirenia had a sublime set and I don’t regret missing 30mins of Judas Priest to have seen it. I really need to see this band again. Please come to the UK!

Just after I came out the tent after Sirenia, the next band in their started and I decided to check them out briefly. It was Tsjuder. They sounded alright. Doesn’t this fellow look happy?

Based on the layout of the arena (and how many people had packed it out), we decided it just wasn’t practical to walk to the Party Stage after Judas Priest to see Kyuss, to then walk back to the W.E.T Stage. So instead we decided to head straight to the W.E.T Stage and see whoever was on before Skindred. I was pleasantly surprised to see it was Accuser, a band who I ruled out seeing when I realised they clashed with Kyuss.


I really enjoyed this set. Considering they were up against Kyuss and Triptykon, they drew a pretty good crowd who were very responsive to them. I am happy to have caught them.


This band never ever disappoint me live. Seeing them at a festival in a smaller environment was a change but a welcome one. It was a show similar to their ones at the Wedgewood Rooms which are superb. A fantastic set list mixed with some amazing crowd banter equalled a stunning set by Skindred. I am always impressed at how easily Benji Webbe can control, a crowd and how entertaining he is. His abilities to make a section of a crowd laugh and cheer after telling them to fuck off is amazing. He also told us we better be fans of James Brown, which got a surprisingly loud cheer considering where we were.


Didn’t catch much of their set due to the fact we got shepherded out the arena with the rest of the Skindred crowd. We watched 2 of their songs from outside and saw Joel climb and play on top of the stage. We listened to the rest as we walked to the tent. They sounded bloody good. I would have stayed and watched the whole thing but my feet were killing me!

Band of the Day – Judas Priest
Honourable Mentions – Trivium, Sirenia, and Skindred
Moment of the Day – The crowd responses to Skindred and Benji Webbe’s natural ability to control a crowd. The hip-hop arm swaying before Destroy the Dancefloor was unbelievable.


Oh did it ever rain very early Saturday morning? But again, the sun was out so it was unpredictable weather. Transpired the rain would come and go all day. This day would include two bands which helped sell me a Wacken 2011 ticket as well as others I was looking forward to seeing. I was also really looking forward to avoiding Dir En Grey (if you haven’t guessed, this is a running joke. However I really don’t like them).


I’ve often thought that symphonic metal, without a massive stage show, is better suited to a tent stage at a festival. When I saw Lacuna Coil at Download 2006, they weren’t great and would have suited the then indoor 2nd stage. Visions however dispelled this theory by opening the Party Stage with a very good set. I was pleased to hear At The Back Of Beyond and Passing Dead End. They fared much better than I thought they would in the open air environment and their set was a very enjoyable one.


I didn’t enjoy this set. This is the first one from one of the main stages to have disappointed me. When I listened to them before the festival, I thought they were a watered-down Motley Crue or Guns N Roses. Live, they are a significantly watered down version of both of these bands. Their set was packed with songs that all sounded similar, making it sound like one large song. The reasons Crashdiet have got a 4 is because a) they used a harmonica for one song (you’ll always win me over with a harmonica) and b) they used pyro. All I can say is that they were not worth the watch, and if it wasn’t for the fact I wanted to go straight back to the Party Stage after; I would have gone to see Triosphere.


One of the bands that helped sell me a ticket and they did not disappoint. They were superb. The set highlights for me were the songs 99 and All Against All. Was hoping to hear Moronic Colossus but can’t win them all. Thought the on stage banter from the lead singer was quite entertaining, especially the bit about coloured shirts. Really glad to have seen this band again and once again, they did not disappoint. I would have liked to have seen them have a 75min set like in 2008 but no matter.


Only managed to catch half their set by the time we made it to the W.E.T Stage from the Party Stage. They seem really good. One thing which was really cool was they seem genuinely blown away by the reaction they received during their set and talked about how playing Wacken is a dream come true for them. Granted, they played in 2008 so it’s a dream already accomplished, but who says you can’t accomplish your dreams more than once? (Or is that showing off?)


Considering how pitiful of a crowd they got, they were very good! I said in the preview I thought they reminded me of Iced Earth but live, they remind me more of Iron Maiden. This was a very good set and I am pleased that the lack of crowd did not take away from the performance. Also, they’re from Ireland which is cool.


Yeah...what the fuck was that? I don’t mind some black metal. My favourite band in the genre is Dimmu Borgir (which I guess is probably because they are more symphonic black metal). Anyway, this to me was literally a wall of noise and a bloke screeching. There was very little variation between songs which didn’t help as it wasn’t good noise. I’d made the call to see these over Hamatom and seriously regretted that call within about 10mins of their hour set. People surrounding us and all through the crowd loved it so I guess I don’t get it. People crowd surfing and generally when appearing on the big screens looked possessed. It was quite strange. Bloodstock has got some of the bands that played Wacken playing their festival this weekend. Mayhem is not one of them – be grateful for that. All I knew was after the 2nd worst set of the weekend that I had seen. I needed something special to follow it up with.


That is exactly what I needed following Mayhem. Iced Earth was stunning. A set that was packed with their best songs and fair representation of the new album meant for a great hour of live music. Matt Barlow is an absolutely phenomenal front man who I am sure will be missed by Iced Earth, as Wacken was his last show with the band. The end of the show was awesome as they all hugged Barlow goodbye (with one of the guitarists wearing a Matt Fucking Barlow shirt) and played Iced Earth. A perfect send off and a stunning set.


I really enjoyed Sepultura. They seemed genuinely happy to be playing Wacken for the first time in the bands career (which considering how long Sepultura have been around is quite surprising). It was a very good set. The song Convicted in Life was absolutely crushing live. When the songs were played from Cavalera’s era, I did find myself thinking that it sounds strange without Max singing them (having seen him sing them a number of times). However, in all fairness to Derrick Green, he does the songs very well.

It was at this stage they announced the first 7 bands for Wacken 2012.

Scorpions got a huge cheer, and it will be their final open air show in Germany before they call it a day. Gamma Ray was next and also got a good cheer. Cradle of Filth didn’t get much of a cheer but I guess they’ve been booked as they had to pull out the 2011 festival. HammerFall got another big cheer as did Amon Amarth. Ministry got a fairly massive cheer as I don’t think anyone expected that they would be announced. The final announcement made at this time was U.D.O was playing and that again got a massive cheer. Me and Dave had seen adverts throughout the day for the Xmas Package and had thought seriously about coming back. All discussions about 2012 festivals though ended with the same sentiment – it all depends on the line-up. This was a superb first announcement in my opinion, and having now been to two Wacken festivals – this festival is only going to get better and better. When the announcement was made, the fruit machine which announced which band was on stage next showed this.

To say I was excited would be a slight understatement.


OH. MY. FUCKING. GOD!!! They were absolutely stunning. They started their set with a curtain hiding the stage. From behind which they played the opening riff of Twisted Mind to a massive roar from the crowd. I would list highlights but it was all stunning. The live band that forms Avantasia are flawless live. Every time a new song started, the atmosphere was sheer electric. I don’t know if I could say for sure that I had a favourite moment, but the sing-a-long to The Story Ain’t Over and Lost In Space were something else. I could talk at length about how great every song was because honestly, there was not one weak part of the set as far as I am concerned. It was just amazing. Everyone that came on stage seemed to be having a laugh with each other and having fun performing. They were truly mind-blowing. Enough with the superlatives now though. It was the last ever Avantasia show (granted in any form of entertainment, “last ever” should be taken with a pinch of salt). However, if it transpires that this was the final ever performance from Avantasia, they went out with a bang. I am really happy to have been there for the final show, and am really happy that it was that good. This was so far the best thing I have seen this year. At any festival or any gig, this is the best set I have seen a band do.


I think the best way to describe this entire set would be crushing. It was absolutely superb. A set list packed with thrash favourites, they opened with Hordes of Chaos. The highlights of this set (aside from the aforementioned Hordes) would be Violent Revolution, Enemy of God, Phobia and Reconquering the Throne. Kreator do not fail to disappoint in both live performance and stage show – taking advantage of the same video screens that Heaven Shall Burn used to display some very graphic imagery along with Kreator imagery. It was a superb set and a fitting close to the festival.

Deciding that an early-ish night was needed so that we didn’t sleep late and get caught up in the bulk of people leaving the festival, we opted to leave the arena at this stage. As we were leaving, Motorhead started.

MOTORHEAD (10) – They sounded so much better than they did at Sonisphere. I know Wurzel had died and that had to weigh on the minds of the guys at Soni, but Wacken blew the Sonisphere set out the water. Truth be told, I wasn’t even in the arena and it blew the performances of the headline gigs I’ve been to out the water. It was a fantastic performance and despite the fact I wasn’t there, looking at the band playing it, the performance (and how damn loud it was) made me feel like I was there.

Band of the Day – Avantasia
Honourable Mentions – Iced Earth, Kreator, Motorhead, Visions of Atlantis, The Haunted.
Moment of the Day – I could pick so many from Avantasia’s set but I’ll go with the first one – the opening riff to Twisted Mind behind the curtain.


Dear god, did it rain? Woke up about 5am the first time and heard a few drops of rain hitting my tent, then a few thousand rain drops. It was bad. However, the sound of rain is quite calming so falling back to sleep wasn’t an issue. I woke again about 8 and started the fun task of taking down my tent and getting ready to go home. Thankfully, the rain had stopped so putting the tent down wasn’t such a horrible task. Although, the tent was an absolute bastard to put away but aside from that everything went smoothly. The ground between where we camped and the festival entrance had turned into gloop, which made walking uphill in it an awful lot of fun. The walk to the exit was a sad one as the post-festival blues kicked in early, and it was sad to already be leaving Wacken. We were able to get on the first bus that arrived which was helpful and not too cramped actually. Arriving at Itzehoe was interesting as there was a guy preaching about Jesus to us. Well, I assume that was what was happening as he had a number of signs. One said “JESUS” and another said something about Jesus and HIV/Aids or something like that. Always entertaining to meet a lunatic. We spoke to someone who looked homeless (apologies sir if you weren’t – but you had pissed yourself) who thought the preacher was a swine. We got the train from Itzehoe and were on the way.

There was a change this time at Elmshorn. This happened both times in 08 so it wasn’t a shock. What wasn’t fun was how busy the train was. Now, this was to be expected but that doesn’t make it any less unpleasant. What didn’t help matters was a family who had a seat decided to get up in preparation for getting off the train in 20mins time (what’s that about German efficiency?) but stopped on the stairs. 2 adults and 2 children taking up more space than there was available. This meant my suitcase was sitting on top of someone else’s bag and I had to support it until this family got off the train. Every time the woman turned, she knocked my case; I’ve never had such a good (or long) triceps work out. Unfortunately as she turned, her handbag met with my genitals. That wasn’t a fun time for me as she had two grandkids (I presume) behind her who wanted to keep talking. So every time she turned, triceps workout and balls get bashed. The kid who was closest to the grandmother kept leaning round her as well to talk. This would have been fine had she not been wearing a rucksack, which also made a connection with my joy department every time she leant round. Basically, this was not a fun time for me or my testicles. When they got off the train I sighed with relief. We made it back to Hamburg hauptbahnhof in one piece and made our way towards the airport. Nothing else really of note occurred other than when I got my ID back after taking a shower, I was confused for someone else on the grounds I had a beard (and I don’t in my passport photo).

Wacken 2011 was a superb festival and I had a great time. I saw a lot of good bands, I saw the odd occasional shit one (Mayhem) and I managed to avoid Dir En Grey! The organisation of this festival is second to none and I cannot wait to go back. Me and Dave have already purchased our tickets for next year’s festival. On top of the 7 bands already announced for the festival, there have since been another two announcements – Axel Rudi Pell and Forbidden – both good announcements. I am hoping for the following bands to get announced now (in no order):

Turisas; Volbeat; Korpiklaani; Saxon; Nightwish; Kamelot; Sonata Arctica; Dimmu Borgir; Testament; Edguy; Oomph!; Doro; Devildriver; Exodus; Lacuna Coil; Malefice; Alestorm; At The Gates; Carcass; Evile; Within Temptation as well as many others.

If any of those get announced, it will become an even more amazing festival. If none of them do, it won’t be the end of the world because the first 9 announced are good, and it will give me scope to discover more bands. Wacken 2011 was awesome. Wacken
2012 is off to a flying start. See you next year Wacken!

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