Wacken Open Air (WOA), probably the biggest metal festival in the world, celebrated its 20th anniversary from July 30 - August 1, 2009.
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WOA featured a ‘best-of’ line-up including of at least one band from each of the past festival editions plus it branched out from the usual additional festival activities such as a metal market and big screens with a complete medieval market annex village. Below\'s a review of WOA day 2.
Vreid First band on Friday was Vreid from Norway. They got to open the Black stage at 11 o’clock in the morning. Even though there weren\'t that many people present at this early hour, drummer Jørn Holen and the rest of the band gave everything they had. It was a good show that got heads shaking in the audience.
UFO Drummer Andy Parker, one of UFO\'s three original band members with Phil Mogg (vocals) and Paul Raymond (guitar, keyboards), has been rocking for decades on his Premier Signia drum set. UFO experienced a peak in the seventies but proved that their transition between early hard rock and heavy metal / NWOBHM was still worth enjoying anno 2009.
Gamma Ray In particular in their home country Germany, power metallers Gamma Ray has been going strong for a long time with their the speedy melodies. Drummer Daniel Zimmerman used his Premier kit and Paiste cymbals once more to show he\'s a very skilled timekeeper and a propelling force for any band.
Walls of Jericho Fronted by female screamer Candace Kucsulain, metalcore outfit Walls of Jericho had come all the ways from Detroit. Featuring Dustin Schoenhofer on a custom set by C&C Drums, the group delivered an intense, brutal show with a number of circle pits, and the so-called wall of death. What an energy!
Nevermore Nevermore were one of the first bands to be confirmed for 2009\'s edition of Wacken but performed as a quartet, missing a second axeman. Still they did well with skinsman Van Williams kicking off viciously, only stopping the gravy train for an incidental ballad. Van, a long-time endorser of Pearl drums and Sabian cymbals, pours his heart and soul into every performance, and never lets down an audience.
Airbourne Drummer Ryan O\'Keeffe and the rest of these Australian hardrockers have never tried to conceal that they are in fact an AC/DC tribute. And who cares? Not the many fans who were treated on a deafening hard rocking party.
Bullet For My Valentine From the very first note, Welsh band Bullet For My Valentine came across as self-assured and confident. Drummer Michael \"Moose\" Thomas and co were good, pounding with finesse and passion, and soon the audience turned into a frenzied melee of thrashing bodies.
Motörhead \"We are Motörhead and we play rock n’ roll\" is frontman Lemmy\'s standard introduction with every live show. How many times would he have spoken those words? Mikkey Dee and his crew kicked off with the classic song Iron Fist, immediately putting everybody in the right mood. Mikkey Dee displayed his flowing technique with an amazing solo on his Sonor kit and Paiste cymbals during In The Name Of Tragedy.
Insidious Disease A group without record contract yet playing on WOA. Quite special indeed, but Insidious Disease is not your average group. They\'re a kind of all-star band featuring members of Dimmu Borgir, Napalm Death, Old Man\'s Child and Morgoth. To make things even more amazing: the band had recruited drummer Dariusz \"Daray\" Brzozowski to step in for Tony Laureano, who was unable to join due to touring commitments with All That Remains. And boy, did they come up with a convincing show! They blasted each and everyone down to their knees with an amazing performance, making it the biggest surprise of the festival.
Epica Epica\'s sticksman Ariën van Weesenbeek featured on his Tama set and Amedia cymbals played spot on, leaving the rest of his band no option but to follow his grooves. Epica left quite an impression with a highly professional show including great lights and pyrotechnics. Well done!
In Flames Headliner this day was In Flames. Their solid performance - perhaps a bit of revenge for their mediocre show at WOA 2007? - mainly focused on the band\'s more recent efforts. Drummer Daniel Svensson, playing Tama drums and Meinl cymbals, plus the rest of the group had a surprise for the audience as they had brought guest vocalist Lisa Mykovsky for the song Dead End. This was only the second time in the history of In Flames. A nice bonus to an entertaining show.
Amon Amarth Would there be anybody left at two \'o clock in the morning to hear the thundering tunes of Amon Amarth? You bet! To make sure nobody would fall asleep, sticksman Fredrik Andersson (playing on Pearl drums and Meinl cymbals) and the rest of the band had brought plenty of stage props including a Drakar ship and a bunch of vikings who battled on stage. A perfect way to end this awesome day.