The Anniversary edition of Groezrock is over. For the 25th time this festival was held at the holy ground of Meerhout (B). I am a Groezrock regular for many years now. I’m not sure when I visited Groezrock for the first time but it must been somewhere around ’98, ’99 or ’00. Since then and only missed a few editions or days. Groezrock is just one of those yearly traditions and this year it was a muddy one. During the days prior to the festival it rained a lot, there was even hail and the t° was a few degrees below the usual for this time of the year making it a muddy and cold edition. But nevertheless the show must go on.
Big thanks to Hans and his crew to make it happen and big thanks the press crew, you guys rock.
I arrived around 18u30 at the festival ground and just missed the Muncie Girls and Off The Cross set. I Could not come much earlier due to babysit duties, some small traffic jams on my way to the festival site and getting pushed out of the mud at the Groezrock guest parking.
What followed were bits and pieces off Less Than Jake, Siberian Meat Grinder, Frank Turner and The Sleeping Souls, Walls Of Jericho, We’rewolves and Mad Caddies. The We’rewolves are a rock band from Diest with a dirty rock sound. They broke down the Watch Out stage, it was the best thing I saw so far. Frank Turner was nice to. Still don’t know what to think about the popular Russian act Siberian Meat Grinder. These guys certainly produce an unorthodox sound which is always great but they did not convince me totally. Youth Of Today was next. The key ingredients were there: a lot of talking that takes the vibe out of the set, the screwed up voice, … so business as usual but it is always great to see YOT again. From YOT to No Fun At All, my favourite punk rock bands who took me to a nice trip to memory lane, they are always a real joy to see.
Up next was THE headliner of the day RANCID playing one of the best or maybe THE best punk album ever: And Out Come The Wolves. I just saw the first half of the show (+heard a few songs on my way to my car), but what I saw looked and sounded great. Like I said, I left a bid earlier in the hope to get myself out of the parking lot without getting stuck in the mud again, boy was I wrong.
With no intention to get stuck in the mud again I parked my car on a safe spot a few kilometres from the festival site, got my bike out of the trunk and biked to Groezrock for day 2. I arrived in time to watch Not On Tour play, great punk rock band from the Middle East, straight outta Tel Aviv, Israel. Afterwards I went to see some Rozwell Kid and Teen Agers songs before doing my planned interviews with Not On Tour, Munchie Girls and Night Birds.
Bad Cop Bad Cop was a pleasant surprise, as was The Movielife and Burn. Burn are NYHC legends and seen as one of the 90s most influential hardcore bands. I liked what I sas but in a way I expected more from it. Up next to my last interview sessions with Pete from Sick Of It All. The interview ended just in time to see some Juliette and the Licks. Juliette and the Licks is the band from Hollywood star Juliette Lewis (Natural Born Killers, From Dusk Till Dawn, …). With here band she brought some chick’n’roll to Groezrock, you can find it an odd choice but hey maybe that is what Groezrock needs.
Night Birds was up next. This hardcore punk version from Agent Orange gave it their best at the Watch Out stage and were the best thing I saw so far. Note to Groezrock: more bands like this please. Saw a good show by SNFU, the high octane punk’n’rock band with its eccentric frontman. Me First and The Gimme Gimmes are always in for a great party but gave me a big been there seen that feeling. Face To Face is always a winner but the second highlight from day 2 was Dillinger Four who gave it their best: great show, great vibe, great band … great Everything. Afterwords Sick Of It All … this band celebrates their 30 years of existence and are one of the best NYHC bands. They delivered quality as always. Just saw the first part of the show because I wanted to catch me some No Use For A Name & Friends. They just gave me goosebumps and played a unique and emotionally loaded show that every punk rock fans should have attended. This was the next highlight of the day. Also the Dag Nasty show is worthy to mention they just killed it and Groezrock couldn’t end better. Ooh … I almost forget the Hollywood punk rockers from Sum 41 played too, which was a nice-to-see.
In conclusion, Groezrock did it again and although I had a been there seen that feeling at times, it is always a great spot to hangout. Let’s hope that the next edition will be good as well with a new batch of great ‘Watch Out’ bands and who knows some great and or not so ordinary (headlining) bands.