Live report: Wildfest – De Kuip, Ninove Belgium – Saturday May 13th, 2017.
Wildheart is a melodic rock band from Belgium, who released their debut album last year. Wildfest was the first of his kind in Belgium, because all bands came from the glam, sleaze and hard rock genres. Due to a knee injury I couldn’t attend the first edition last year. But I was going to move heaven and earth to visit the second coming. I arrived a half hour before the first gig started and it felt good to see a whole bunch of people already standing at the venue.
Nightmare had the difficult task to start this party. The band was formed in 2011 by bass player Krikke, singer Zan and guitarist Jasper. They released an album “Dirt” in 2015. I didn’t hear any music from these guys before, so I was curious how it all would sound. The band plays hard rock with a punky attitude. Singer Zan has a slighty raw voice and it fits their songs perfectly. The guys displayed a lot of energy and the audience was easily convinced to join the party. Drummer Vassili (from Greece) was a real skin basher. Their energetic set produced the first sparks among the crowd and they succeeded gracefully as the festival opener.
Second on the bill was the Norwegian quartet Suicide Bombers. When the band came on stage their outfits stroke my eyes. Chris Doll looked like a mixture of Rob Halford and Motley Crue. Lead guitarist Lazy Leather could have been a lost brother from Michael Monroe who borrowed Slash’s hat. C Slim was the ultimate bass torturer and drummer Lyle came straight of the 80’ties with his bandanna.
They brought us sleaze with dirty sounding vocals. I heard some snippets on YouTube from these lads and was very eager to hear more. But somehow they could not bring the explosive action from their albums on the stage. The band tried hard to please the crowd and they partly succeeded. They had tons of attitude and Lazy granted us some lovely fretboard action. All in all wasn’t this bad at all, but somehow I expected some more fireworks.
Organizing band Wildheart came on stage and got a welcome applause. The band hailed from this small city and immediately they got the crowd going. They sound great on their debut album, but they sound even better on stage. Both Juice and Foxx served us sparkling guitar work and Stevie D threw some pumping bass vibes in the audience. Thunderberck delivered a strong rhythm on his skins and Farty’s slighty nasal high pitches vocals encouraged the glamrockers to sing along. The band decided to display their brand new selfmade video for the song ‘Lovehunter’. Due to some technical problems this video came to a quicker end (ow I hate bad WiFi) and the band played the song in full in stead. We even got a new song with ‘A Stranger’s Eye’. This seemed to be another cracking tune, which made us very curious for the next album. The naughty ‘Stone Cold Fox’ raised the temperature in the venue with some degrees. They closed their set with a cover from Whitesnake. Their version from ‘Still Of The Night’ was simply awesome and many (myself included) shouted the chorus until their throat hurts.
The Belfast based dudes from Maverick made a big impression on me when they opened for The Poodles in Belgium. Their second album “Big Red” earned a spot in my top ten list of the year 2016. Besides their great music, the guys are always in for a great chat. These guys stand for monstrous riffs, big hooks, powerful vocals and catchy choruses. ‘All For One’ gets this party started and the band decided to bring mainly songs from ‘Big Red’. The über catchy and contagious ‘The One’ makes we wanna play air guitar while standing in the photo pit. David displays his vocal extravaganza during ‘Beyond The Gates’ and my favorite ‘Mademoiselle’ is very well received due to the furious guitar work from Ryan and Terry. Blonde Terry seems to be enjoying himself on stage and gives the term ‘hairbanging’ a new meaning. ‘Whiskey Lover’ gets great response from the crowd and set closer ‘In Our Blood’ from their first full album “Quid pro Quo” sets the stage alight. The band gets better with every gig and the audience confirms this with a warm and heartfelt applause.
When I saw The Amorettes perform last year on Skullfest, they sure got my attention. There steaming hot no nonsense rock set made me an instant fan of these ‘fun girl three’. I was curious if they could do that same stunt at Wildfest. The furious riffs from Gill’s guitar sounds very promising during opener ‘Stealing Thunder’. The girls where on fire, because it was like a ride on a steam train in overdrive. They came to rock and let the crowd strike dumb. This trio produces a huge wall of sound and can be seen as the ultimate blend of Airbourne with chunks of Motorhead and AC/DC on steroids. The McKay sisters build the rhythm section that forms an indestructible foundation where Gill can poor her sparkling and infectious riffs at! We got a dozen tracks taken from the albums “Game On” en “WhiteHot Heat”. Their energy spread over the crowd and many (myself included) picked up the air guitar and shouted along with the choruses! The set was one burst of hot and steamy energy and the fitting titled ‘Hot and Steamy’ closed this temperature raising set!
The guys from NiteRain only released two albums. The debut “Crossfire” was released in 2013 and last year they dropped “Vendetta” onto mankind. I was very fond of their latest effort. I particularly liked the huge dose of attitude on that album. They started their set with the title track from “Vendetta” and we sure did get tons of attitude. Singer Sebastian reminded me of a young Vince Neil. He didn’t stand still for a second on stage! He was a real challenge to photograph! The principal part of the set consisted of songs from the second album and this guy and many in the audience seemed to like those crunchy tracks! A highlight was definitely the fast and naughty rocker ‘#1 Bad Boy’! But the catchy as hell riffage during ‘Romeo’ was simply mindblowing. When you love the sound of the “Too Fast For Love” album from Motley Crüe, you simply adore these guys! Guitarist Adrian knows how to produce a relentless galop of sleazy riffs and besides that he’s a real entertainer as well! His stage performance is kick ass! I bet these Norwegian guys surprised many people and to me they complete fulfilled my high expectations! They concluded their set with a blistering version of the ultimate party cracker ‘You Gotta Fight For Your Right’. And a party it was… a real bomb that set closer.
Top of the bill this year was the German Kissin’ Dynamite. The set began a half hour later due to a long set up change and following sound check. The quintet kicked off with ‘Generation Goodbye’, the title track from their latest album. Singer Hannes emphasizes on the raw edge in his voice. The powerful ‘Money, Sex & Power’ follows an the crowd goes wild. ‘DNA’ is injected with dance elements, but is above all a real atmosphere bringer. The band grants us with ‘Love Me, Hate Me’ a taste of the older records. I would have loved to hear ‘Steel of Swabia’ of the debut album, but is lacking to grant me my wish! The furious version of ‘She’s A Killer’ makes up for that. The band mainly brings songs from the latest two albums.
They show their sleazy touch wit ‘She Came, She Saw’ and the über heavy ‘Somebody To Hate’. The single ‘Hashtag your Life’ raises the temperature and a perfect version of ‘Ticket To Paradise’ gets backing vocals from the whole venue and the funny ‘Six Feet Under’ concludes the first part. The finale consists of ‘I Will Be King’, where Hannes wears his scepter and his King’s robe. The set closer is a shot in the bulls eye! ‘Flying Colours’ is my favorite track from “Generation Goodbye” and combines and addictive build up with a magnificent solo spot for both axe slingers Ande and Jim. The band and especially Hannes knows how to let the crowd eat out of his hands and they always bring a powerful show filled with a wide range of different song styles and sub genres. The boys proved that they are more than ready to headline a festival.
Wildfest was all fun and games and besides the music we all love, it’s a place to see ‘old’ friends again, drink a beer! But most important, it’s a place where you can have a good time and forget the troubles from modern day life!
Text and photos by Rik Bauters