maanantai 15. kesäkuuta 2009

Rock Hard Festival 2009 coverage

Children Of Bodom started their 2009's summer festival run in
Gelsenkirchen, Germany last weekend. Gelsenkirchen's neat Amphitheater is a really cool setting for the annual Rock Hard Festival, named after German's leading metal magazine and organized by Continental Concerts, who also book and offer management services for Children Of Bodom in Europe.

As we all know, COB had to drop off from their recent US tour with Lamb Of God due to Alexi's broken shoulder, rib and internal bleeding.

Rock Hard took place just a little over three weeks after Alexi had to give in during the band's NYC show and head back home to rest, after having played ten shows against doctor's recommendation in great pain from all the injuries he suffered after coming crashing down on his bunk in the band's tour bus.

A representative of the festival announced the band on the stage telling everyone about Alexi's condition making the point clear that he is not 100%. However, if you hadn't seen Children Of Bodom live before, there was no way of telling that something was wrong and that his rib was still hurting while he was singing.

For those who were familiar with his usual stage antics, it was quite clear that he wasn't moving and jumping around as much as usual, but still playing with the accuracy he always does.

I was rather sceptical and thought that the band probably hadn't got the chance to rehearse any songs they haven't played in a while to add to their set due to Alexi's injury, but to my surprise they had really mixed up their whole setlist from their recent shows.

After the Big Lebowski intro the band introduced already on the Lamb Of God tour, they launched their set straight into Needled 24/7 which they haven't played in a long while.

It was closely followed up by Bodom Beach Terror, a song that has never been played in the first quarter of the set before. Other positive surprises included Smile Pretty For The Devil - a fantastic live song COB has been playing from time to time but been a little uncertain about due to mixed crowd reactions -, Are You Dead Yet?, yet another song they haven't played in two years, and most importantly Kissing The Shadows, a very welcome return for many fans who enjoy the lightning fast solo sections in the song.

Roope's new ENGL Amplification endorsement was also showing, as he played the show in front of a wall of 9 ENGL Amps.

Children Of Bodom's setlist @ Rock Hard Festival 2009

Intro: The Big Lebowski - The Fucking Short Version (YouTube)

Children Of Bodoms Setlist, Rock Hard Festival 2009.
(Photo: K-Man)

Needled 24/7
Bodom Beach Terror
Smile Pretty For The Devil
Living Dead Beat
Are You Dead Yet?
Banned From Heaven
Hate Me!
Kissing The Shadows
Bodom After Midnight
Angels Don't Kill
In Your Face
Bed Of Razors
(Outro: Wild Side (Mötley Crüe)

The German Hate Crew at the Amphitheater seemed to be loving every minute of the show. Although the record of 2000 crowdsurfers over the fence from COB's Wacken 2008 appearance
wasn't broken, there was a lot of action going on and I even got to witness the first Wall of Death, totally improvised by the crowd and not called for by the band, I've seen at a Children Of Bodom show in the beginning of Blooddrunk!

The band seemed to be on a good mood and Alexi and Janne were trading off their trademark remarks throughout the set. Before Downfall, Janne started to play Van Halen's Jump and as Roope and Jaska joined the jam, Alexi told them to stop because "I'm sure they like that shit more than our own songs" to which Janne wittily replied "well, who fucking doesn't?".

All photos by A Lund

All in all, it was a relief to see that the band could deliver a solid show despite Alexi's condition and that they have taken the time to mix their setlist up which is something they haven't always been so good at. Be sure to catch COB this summer on one of their upcoming festival dates! Whether you're a new fan or an old school hardcore fan, rest assured - you're in a for a treat!

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