VENOM - Live at Earthshaker Fest - Review by SITE OF THE HYDRA
Here we go again....
It's the morning of July the 22nd 2006, and we are about to embark on a long and very hot journey to see the mighty VENOM perform live at the Earthshaker Festival in Germany. First up, we drive to meet up with 2 of the Evil-Istein Legions - Alex (aka Aliminator) and Elias. Alex has been handed the driving duties this time, and Elias is coming with to witness V live for the first time. So, with the car packed with water, beer, vodka and red bull, we set off...
Several hours later, we arrive at the festival site. The sun is burning down, and obviously has been since the festival started a few days earlier, judging by the burnt-red bodies that we see in the camping / parking area. First up, we go into the festival site and down a lot of cold water, with only the odd alcoholic beverage in between. Although it was still several hours until VENOM were due to hit the stage, there was already a healthy amount of V Freaks on show. We were on the lookout for some great people who we know through our website / forum, so the wearers of each V shirt was checked out to see if we could recognise someone. We noticed a guy with his denim covered in VENOM patches, and we thought that this may be Stephan (aka Mortal). Just to be sure it was who we thought it was, we edged closer to inspect the tattoo on his left forearm. Yes, it was indeed a VENOM tattoo... so hello Mr Stephan Wessling!! Stephan gave us the low-down on the festival, and a few shopping tips (Thanx for pointing us in the direction of those 6 cool V patches!!!!!). We spent the next couple of hours browsing all the stalls, etc, and having the odd drink to try and stay cool - the heat really was something else!
Although it was unconfirmed, several posters had VENOM on the list of bands that would be doing an hour of autographs. So, at 7:30, we thought we had better go to the tent where the signing sessions take place, just in case....
Fuck Yeah!!! VENOM were indeed gonna do an hour of autographs, so we joined the line of excited Freaks. HELLo's and Hell Yeahs were exchanged with ANTTON, MYKVS and CRONOS, and the guy's signed all the stuff we had brought - cool!! We stayed and watched the rest of the session. There were a lot of children aged between 7 and 12, and they were all lifted over the barriers so they could have their photograph taken with VENOM. Fuckin' cool!! And we also met another of our forum friends at the signing session. She was easy to recognise, due to the VENOM tattoos.... Hi, Juliana!!
VENOM tattoos were actually a bit of a theme of the day at Earthshaker. Apart from Juliana, Stephan, Mrs Hydra and myself having VENOM in our blood, we also bumped into another couple of Dude's with V tattoos (Hi to Herbert and Fabian!!)... check the Tattoo section of Site Of The Hydra to see their V tatt's!
Anyway, by now we were about 2 hours or so away from the time VENOM would be raising Hell live. VENOM were due at 11pm, so we could relax with some food and alcohol until showtime, right? Wrong!!!
As the evening progressed, we had noticed the rather worrying build-up of black thunderstorm clouds on the nearby hills. And the wind was blowing in a direction that would take the storm directly through the festival site. We made the odd joke that if the storm hit, the lightning would only add to VENOMs huge pyro show, etc, but deep down, we were a little worried that if a proper thunderstorm did hit, that the whole event could be in jeopardy...
As the band Opeth were approaching the end of their set, the wind started blowing hard, and by the time the stage was being prepared for the band called Edguy, the first drops of rain were falling, and the flashes of lightning were becoming more and more regular. Tents and rubbish were blowing all over the place, and the people running the stalls were furiously trying to pack away / tie down their tents, etc. The organisers of the festival knew what was coming too, and they announced over the PA that everyone could shelter from the storm in a massive arena that was situated next to the festival site. Well done to the organisers of this festival - it was a nice change to attend a festival where there was actually some consideration for the paying public, very cool indeed!!
10 minutes later, 1000s of Metal Heads are sprinting into the arena to shelter from the wind, rain and lightning which was now battering the site. Huge crashes of thunder every few seconds told us that this was a biggie. There was a lot of crazy Metallers going loopy on the sand-covered floor of the arena, which was quite entertaining, but we were starting to fear the worst about what this storm would mean. Would the whole event be cancelled, meaning we would not see V at all? When (or if!) the storm passed, would VENOM have to do a shortened show? Plus, the wind was blowing the rain directly into the stage. I was looking out a window of the arena and I could see lots of roadies on the stage desperately trying to cover things in plastic covers, etc. I'm no expert in bombs or pyro, etc, but one thing I do know is they don't work if they get wet! Arrggghhhhhh!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Fortunately, the (Black Metal?) Gods were kind to us, and after an hour or so, the storm had passed and the announcement was made that the event was ready to resume. The band Edguy performed their set, while we enjoyed a few drinks at the bar. The time is almost nigh......
Oh yes - that familiar feeling of nervous excitement as we make our way to the very front to witness the greatest band ever in live form. We watch the legendary VENOM roadcrew put the finishing touches to the thankfully dried-out stage. Then, with the cries of VENOM in the air, the lights go down...
VENOMs 2006 intro tapes roll, and the crowd are fuckin' ready. A huge roar goes up as we spot the band members peeking out over the top of the walls of speakers. The intro tapes finish, and with a huge boom and a flash of lights, VENOM are go!!!
BLACK METAL starts the show, and the Legions are going fuckin' wild! The sound quality is excellent - typical VENOM 2006 - very heavy and brutal. WELCOME TO HELL starts of, then we have a "problem" - The Vocals and Bass cut out altogether. MYKVS and ANTTON are not hindered by the lack of Bass 'n' Vocals, and they continue and give us a instrumental version of WELCOME TO HELL while the roadies sort out the gremlins.
BLOODLUST is next up, complete with classic pyro going off the full length of the front of the stage, fuckin' Hell Yeah!!!!! It was an amazing sight, and the heat and noise from the pyro was unbelievable. More classic VENOM songs follow - IN NOMINE SATANAS and 1000 DAYS IN SODOM - both are played with brutal precision and sound killer.
ANTECHRIST is the first of the new songs, and like the other 2 METAL BLACK tracks VENOM have been playing live in 2006, is worshipped by the Freaks. DON'T BURN THE WITCH leads us into AT WAR WITH SATAN, with the whole crowd clapping along as CRONOS plays the intro chords. Then RESURRECTION, which was heavy as fuck!
COUNTESS BATHORY sees more massive bombs / pyro going off all along the top of the speakers, really stunning! BURN IN HELL is sung by everyone, despite there been so many different nationalities in the audience. WARHEAD and METAL BLACK bring things to an end. Except that neither the fans or the band have had enough yet, and after the crowd has chanted for VENOM to return to the stage for a few minutes, sure enough VENOM re-appear...
So we have the chimes for WITCHING HOUR. The crowd are going crazy, hair flying everywhere as the heads are banging furiously. More explosions bring this classic track to an end.The band gather together at the front of the stage, thank the Legions and say goodnight. I thought that was the end of proceedings, but joined in with 1000s of other Freaks who were chanting VENOM - VENOM - VENOM...
A couple of minutes passes, and the screaming for more VENOM has not relented. Hell Yeah - here they come again, and they launch into a deadly version of IN LEAGUE WITH SATAN. Fists punch the air, and the crowd uses their last drop of energy to sing along. The band again gather to say goodnight for real this time. It's obvious that the band have enjoyed themselves as much as the Legions have. VENOM slowly depart the Earthshaker stage for the final time in 2006. 10 minutes later and there is still 1000s of us who are still chanting VENOM, which just shows how much the fans loved this concert.
This really was a sensational VENOM concert. MYKVS and ANTTON have settled so well into VENOM that it is hard to believe that they have not been playing with V for 20 years at least. This was the fourth time we have seen this band live in 2006, and it is hard to find words to describe just how stunningly brilliant they have been. They truly are The BLACK METAL GODS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Some much needed drinks were gulped down, and we had a final look around the festival site before setting of on the return journey towards Deepest Hell. A great day we had indeed! As well as the fantastic bonus of the signing session and the killer concert, we also met a lot of great people during the day. Everyone was very friendly, including all the people working on the stalls and selling food and drink, etc. Again, well done to the organisers of Earthshaker! Bring back VENOM to Earthshaker 2007 and we'll see you there!!!!!!!!!!!