This weekend Tilburg is the capital of Ayreon land with huge banners starting at the station and fans from all over the world selling out 013 four times. Now I am not a huge fan of rock operas, but probably would have liked the spectacle if I was bothered to attend one show. Fans of metal knew that the place to be in Tilburg for them would be Little Devil as is so often the case. Mario the man who brings so many great bands to Holland had a birthday weekend and while I could not attend the Friday I was in almost from the start on the Saturday Fest. Five great bands 10 Euro, beers reduced to Eur 2 so even Baroeg Open Air was no competition for me. The program needed some updates after unfortunate cancelations by Leather and Syren, but the substitutes performed well.
Upon arrival GRZLY was already playing. First band of the day with a female vocalist and luckily no angelic sopranos but singing with balls and this all guided by an obviously experienced band. The music was heavy hard rock and turned out to be a perfect opener for the day. Next on Thoughtless were the only Dutch band on the bill, so I saw them a few times before. Also female vocals and again of the good kind. They play heavy metal which goes thrahsy at times and is full of nice guitars. I even remembered drummer Axel's name this time and shall see him again in Baarlo in three weeks, not on the stage but in the audience though. During Metal Experience Fest I could hardly see them in the overcrowded small hall, now watching the full set was a joy. Good band.
The next band on was the one that definitely made me decide to go down to Tilburg: Spirit Adrift. I only recently discovered them through their great CD Divided by Darkness. Their doomy metal definitely sounds like something I would love to see live, so this opportunity was not to be missed. Well that did not disappoint. Sounding live a bit rougher in general and vocals mainly this was an energetic set of doom (if that is possible) Playing songs from DbD and their previous one Curse of Conception we got a good idea on what they are about. This set deserved a purcahse of CD and Tee afterwards and was a highlight of the day to me. Not sure if the huge Tattoo Born Too Late on the vocalists chest was a message to Mario, but guess not. Highlight of the set Angel & Abyss, check that song out somewhere online. Spirit Adrift are currently touring Europe for the first time with Sanhedrin, so that was the next band. Now up front I heard and read some positive buzz about this band, but I decided to not prepare and let them surprise me. Well that was a nice surprise. A power trio with for the third time today female vocals gave us one heavy set. The strenght to me lay in the building of atmospheres of power. Great voice suiting the music and yet another highlight of the day with obligatory CD purchase afterwards. As this tour is only just starting I can recommend highly to catch them somewhere in Europe. I shall later be able to say that I was there during the first victorious visit to Holland by Sanhedrin.
Closer of the evening were Tysondog in quartet formation as Steve Morrison was enjoying holidays in Crete. Remember they were a last minute substitue so this was to be excused and in the end did we suffer the loss? No not really as what a party these guys build for us. I am close to Mario's age so starting to get tired I thougt maybe taking an earlier train more towards the end of their set. Well no such early departures as we got a party to close the day. Tysondog are from the NWOBHM era, but I must admit I did not have their LP's at the time. Still I recognized several songs, so must have heard them around. Even if songs were new to me their catchiness made them instantly bangable. We even got some sort of moshpit and I am not sure what the huge drunk german was about looking to hang over the vocalist and the stage. Well a very enjoyable end of a great day came with the song about French cuisine: Dead Meat. So next year I am turning 55 myself and this day gave an idea on how to celebrate that in style. Maybe I should have some talks in Musicon next year and pull of something. Congrats Mario and thanks for the party.