Groezrock 2016 – the report

Fuck You Thor! You would think the god of thunder and strength would make sure that one of Europe’s best punk and hardcore festivals could bath in sunshine, warm temperatures and cold beers… The beer was cold, for the rest of it, he did a terrible job!

Groezrock 2016 was wet, cold and muddy. Thank you Dr. Martens for keeping my feet dry, I love you… Oh well, enough with this silly talk, all shoe brands, deities and weather jokes have being shared during the festival. Let’s talk about the music, the bands and the fans.

We’ll start with the music. For being known as a punk and hardcore festival Groezrock offered us a very versatile line-up. They have always done this, but this year I had to scratch my head more than once about this or that band on the line-up. But maybe I’m just getting old. “Punk” is not what it used to be, a friend of mine told me this weekend, and he’s right, but then again, punk from the 70’s didn’t sound anything like punk in the late 80’s, so who are we to judge…

Let’s get to the bands, that’s the main reason we go to these festivals, no?
If you visit this page more then that one time your friend in that one band was mentioned here, you know that Coma Commander from my hometown, Diest, is a band that I hold very dear to my heart. And this year they where invited to open the Watch Out Stage! I was able to shoot most of their show, and because I’m a nice guy I’m not going to talk about their show and just show it to you… Enjoy!

After Coma Commander it took me some time to check out an other band, I was wandering around the backstage of the festival and it gave me a nice inside of what’s going on on these festivals. For most of us, Groezrock is just another show, a weekend of fun and boozing. But behind those stages there are so many people working their ass off so the bands and everyone else working their ass off is taking care for. From catering, security, sound and stage-crews… All these people need food and drinks, a place to warm up, a place to relax and let me tell you, that money you pay for your ticket is well used. All these folks deserve your respect, without them… NO GROEZROCK!

The next band I got to see was Less Than Jake, earlier that day I got the chance to interview their drummer Vinnie, who is a real nice guy and was happy to answer my questions. They played a real fun show and had the crowd eating from their hands. Check out the interview, the sound isn’t that good, the press-room was filling up and with sound-checks going on it got a bit noisy…

Besides Coma Commander there was one more band (Rancid not included) that I could not skip. Siberian Meat Grinder from Russia! With their mix of trash metal, hardcore and hip hop we where in for a treat! The sound at the Back To Basics stage wasn’t that great, but the band put on one hell of a show. It took the crowd some time to let go, but once they did, so did the band, and the result was one of the best shows all weekend!!! HAIL TO THE TSAR!!!

We’rewolves, another band with roots in my hometown had to go up against the hardcore legends Terror who where playing the Back To Basics Stage at the same time. It was so great to see that the field in front of the Watch Out Stage was packed with folks ready to rock out! We’rewolves is one of those bands that with their sound don’t fit into any genre and that makes them so damn good. No idea who made this video, but thank you!

I hooked up with some old friends to check out Hatebreed, never being a fan and never will be… I do understand why people like their music, but it’s just not for me…
We where all waiting for Rancid, so it was time to just hang around, walk from one bar to the other, have some drinks and laughs, check out Youth Of Today while walking by and joke around why we could not enter the tent with beer in our hands… But we’re fearless! So we did. Sadly enough the youth of back in the days isn’t what they used to be. And even with all my hatred towards straightedge, I was sad about this. I really liked their music. And before you nail me to your vegan cross, this is my opinion, maybe you liked it, I didn’t. So go suck a carrot!

RANCID was next with “Out Come The Wolves”! And that’s all I have to say about this… You didn’t like it? I did…

With Rancid done, we headed back to the press-tent for some final beers and warmth before we embarked on our long journey to the car.

Saturday morning hit me pretty hard, the beer from yesterday took it’s toll… Or maybe I’m just getting old… Because of bad planning, not from my side, I arrived at the festival later then I wanted to. But my mood quickly changed when I walked in on Night Birds. Holy Crow!!! What a band! Raw, fast and angry with a authentic old-school feel. I forgot to pick up their album “Mutiny at Muscle Beach” and I still regret it. I hope to run into these guys again damn soon!

If Friday was mostly wet, Saturday was COLD! The icy winds raging over the field dropped the temperatures to almost freezing and that didn’t add to a “happy happy joy joy” festival feeling. I decided quickly that I was not going to stay for very much longer, but not before I had seen SNFU. Ken Chinn looked lovely in his little gold dress, and together with his band, was in a great mood. It wasn’t one of the highlights I hoped it to be, but still a damn good show.

So now it was time to head home, right? Well no, because for some strange reason we walked the other way and bumped into Me First & The Gimme Gimmes… I have a diabolical hate towards cover bands, but can you really call these guys a cover band? I guess we can call them a “Hey I like this song, I wish somebody would play this faster and make a joke out of it” band, if that’s a thing? With their last song, so ended my 2016 edition of Groezrock. I was done… Cold, tired and beaten.

Now the long wait begins for next year, dreaming and hoping for that perfect line-up and SUNSHINE. Thank you Groezrock crew and congrats on this great 25th edition.

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