Live review: Baroeg Open Air 2019 at Zuiderpark, Rotterdam, The Netherlands, September 14th, 2019

On Saturday September the 14th it was time for the 12th edition of Baroeg Open Air in Rotterdam’s Zuiderpark. There were four stages to be found on the festival area in three different places, one place hosted two different stages. Those two stages were the Electronic Stage and the Talent Stage. The other two stages were the Main Stage and a stage called Plee Sessies. As you probably already understand, since there also is an Electronic Stage, there are different musical styles to be found on Baroeg Open Air. Those different musical styles are the heavier and more alternative music styles in different ways, from metal and punk to party folk and electro pop.

The area of Baroeg Open Air opened around 12 o’clock, while the first band kicked off the festival half an hour later. That’s up to the Dutch thrashers of Hallowed Fire and is taking place at the Talent Stage. They won Battle4BOA, Baroeg’s (Rotterdam’s concert venue) band contest for kicking off Baroeg Open Air. It’s still quite early, especially for people that had to travel a while to get here, so Hallowed Fire is a good opener. With their heavily pounding thrash this is an ideal workout for the neck muscles as well as to get more awake. There already are quite a lot of people that came early to see this show, but most of them aren’t going crazy yet. In front of the stage some people already are though, resulting in today’s first moshpit and first wall of death. The sound is still on a bit of a low volume, but that doesn’t prevent a front of one of the speakers from falling down, fortunately nobody is getting hurt by that. The sound might be a bit on a low volume, Hallowed Fire surely pounds very heavily and delivers a strong show in which frontman Rob Mandjes delivers very nice old school thrash screams on top of the battering music. Unfortunately Dani Ruiz Cardo’s guitar is on a very low volume in the mix during his first solo, but later that’s fixed and he plays another few nice solo’s.

Then it’s time for the opening band on the Main Stage: the Rotterdam punks of Disturbance. This show is, just as the shows of Gold and PRSPCT Assault, made possible by Popunie Live to promote bands from Rotterdam. Unfortunately here on the Main Stage the sound is also quite on a low volume, while it’s also quite shrill during Disturbance’s set, that’s why the power they deliver isn’t coming out that well. Later on the sound gets less shrill. Despite that Disturbance is performing a show that really pounds and includes a lot of energy on stage. Especially frontman Rob shows a lot of energy by jumping across the stage and his at times somewhat shaky movements. Vocally he delivers very raw vocals, while the backing vocals by guitarist Dim and bass player Jozz sound much more like clean typical hardcore backing vocal shouts. Besides his big dose of energy and his cool appearance, Rob unfortunately is quite busy with how he is holding his microphone, or its stand. That surely adds to his performance and looks cool and fitting, but unfortunately at times it is at the expense of his vocal performance.

The alternative rockers of Boskat performed at the Talent Stage during a part of Disturbance’s Main Stage show. After those shows the Dutch Metal Battle winning band Terradown is performing on the Talent Stage. Luckily the sound is way better compared to the sound during Hallowed Fire’s show. So, Terradown is grooving and pounding very heavily and a huge amount of power is coming off of the stage. Of course, that isn’t only due to the better sound, but also due to Terradown themselves. Their groove metal brings a very nice and powerful vibe like it should with groove metal. That also makes that quite some physical energy starts moving, for as far as that wasn’t the case already, resulting in quite a lot of headbangers. In addition to this very strong show, there’s something else standing out: the fact that frontman Nick Brouwer is appearing very self-assured. He carries this show in a very masterful way and clearly shows, together with the other members of Terradown of course, why Terradown won the Dutch Metal Battle.

A few minutes after Terradown started their show at the Talent Stage, the Rotterdam band Gold started their show at the Main Stage. However, Gold is playing a longer set than Terradown does, so after Terradown we were on time for the second half of Gold’s show. That needs a bit of switching though. While Terradown was pounding and grooving very heavily, Gold’s music is way more quiet, atmospheric and progressive and their songs are quite a bit longer to go completely lose yourself in. Gold’s show is also very nice though, making this switching a lot easier. That atmospheric effect of their show is mainly due to the high guitars by Thomas Sciarone, Jaka Bolič and Kamiel Top and the dreamy, atmospheric vocals of frontwoman Milena Eva as well as the aforementioned guitarist Kamiel Top. This atmospheric effect makes that, despite Igor Wouters’ mainly very pounding drums, Gold’s show is more a show to watch and enjoy than a show to get crazy on.

After the punks of Forbidden Wizards opened the Plee Sessies stage and the Electronic Stage (there are no more Talent Stage bands from now on) is opened by the dark disco of Cabaret Nocturne, we go to the Main Stage. There the stoner rockers of Komatsu are on stage. Compared to the last show I saw today, Gold’s show, Komatsu’s music is quite a bit more straightforward, while it’s not extremely fast. Quite straightforward and not very fast, stoner like stoner should be. This doesn’t mean that Komatsu is performing a boring show though. There is a lot of power coming off of the stage, with Jos Roosen’s stomping drums and the gritty guitars of Mathijs Bodt and frontman Mo Truijens standing out the most. In addition to that gritty guitar work they also play quite a few very nicely roaring solo’s. Komatsu’s show, including a few a bit longer instrumental parts, has a very nice vibe and is brought with a lot of energy, resulting in a very loud applause. Komatsu also knows how to build a nice party, besides their musical and performance-wise qualities, by for example inviting some people on the stage to go crazy together with the band.

While Vive La Fête is performing at the Electronic Stage, I went to the show of the thrashers of Downcast Collision on the Plee Sessies stage. Downcast Collision is also pounding as fuck, especially due to Peter van Toren’s pounding drums, the nice powerful sound of Matthieu van Egmond’s and Casper vd Woord’s guitars, with the last one also performing quite a few nicely roaring solo’s. Frontwoman Monica Janssen delivers, besides her bass work, mainly very raw vocals with at some moments some cleaner vocals. Unfortunately her vocals aren’t always audible very well, which is a downside to this furthermore very brutal show. There’s another downside, but that’s far less important and that’s that there is a crisping sound coming out of the speakers, which looks like it’s coming from the microphone’s connection.

After Downcast Collision’s show the pace is going down drastically with the next show, by the Icelandic band Agent Fresco, on the Main Stage. This band’s music is very progressive and very special with a lot of things standing out, such as the high vocals of frontman Amór Dan Amarson and the proggy basslines by Vignir Rafn Hilmarsson. Something else that stands out for sure is that there is piano but no specific band member playing only this instrument. Guitarist Þórarinn Guðnason as well as drummer Hrafnkell Örn Guðjónsson play this instrument, while changing between this and the guitar or drumkit, even within songs. Looking at the audience it’s clear: you either get completely lost in Agent Fresco’s music, you watch their show and applause enthusiastic or this isn’t your thing. That Agent Fresco is doing what they do perfectly and deliver a very strong show is something that’s surely true.

After that show the garage rockers of J.C. Thomaz & The Missing Slippers are performing at the Plee Sessies while I am going to watch to a very special show on the Electronic Stage, the only show I am going to watch on this stage. Once arrived there it becomes clear very soon that many people waited for this moment for quite some time, based on the many people already there and quite some people pushing to get the best place in front of the stage. An Eurovision-act at an alternative festival, that of course is quite special. Of course, I am talking about Hatari, who also come from Iceland. The moment many people waited for, the start of Hatari’s set, needs some more waiting though. However, when drummer Einar Stefánsson is taking place behind his drumkit 20 minutes later than planned and vocalists Klemens Hannigan and Matthías Haraldsson enter the stage there clearly is a lot of enthusiasm unleashed from the audience, especially in terms of the many screams by the female part of the audience. Those screams are regularly returning during this show though, that means every time Klemens or Matthías is pointing at the audience. However, that probably isn’t, at least not only, because of their music, but has more to do with their BDSM-outfits, which are pretty revealing, combined with their movements that of course accentuate this even more. Einar’s drums are hammering from the stage, while Matthías’ harsh vocals and Klemens’ high vocals are coming together as quite a special combination, that’s amplified by their intense lightshow. That Hatari started their show 20 minutes later than planned seems to be forgotten quite fast due to their intense and strong show.

After Doctor P. & Krafty MC performed their dubstep show at the Electronic Stage and Wild Romance performed their classic rock show at the Main Stage, I go to the best band playing at the Plee Sessies. That band is probably playing the show with the most fun in it on this edition of Baroeg Open Air: the party folk band Scotch. That their music is less heavy compared to most of today’s bands doesn’t seem to matter to many people. Quite a lot of people came to Scotch’ show where band and audience are building a fun party together. That’s of course something Scotch’ music is perfect for. In the audience there is a lot of jumping, dancing and moshing on Scotch’ very energetic party folk, to which standing still is almost impossible.

After that it’s going to be a lot heavier again on the Main Stage where the Swiss metallers of Samael are on stage. Unfortunately during the start of their show the sound is a bit shrill, but this gets better soon. The only thing that remains a bit bad are frontman Vorph’s vocals that are quite soft in the mix. The rest of Samael, Vorph’s and Drop’s guitars, Zorrac’s bass and the drums, keys and programming of Xy, is pretty heavy and pounding. Especially Xy’s industrial effects and Zorrac’s bass are delivering an heavy and bulldozing effect during this overwhelming show, that’s amplified by the nice, much-adding lightshow that’s adding even more now that it’s getting dark. Of course that bulldozing effect would be even more when Vorph’s vocals would be better audible. This doesn’t make the audience’s enthusiasm any less though, as can be seen and heard by the many fists in the air and the loud applause.

When Samael’s Main Stage show has ended, the Prototypes already started with their show at the Electronic Stage, while Rott’n Damned is starting their show at the Plee Sessies, the last band playing this stage. Unfortunately I didn’t see anything of their hardcore punk show, since this stage is very low and it was already very crowded when I arrived there. What I could see was that there was quite a big moshpit, the audience was very enthusiastic and that there was a lot of energy coming off of the stage. Rott’n Damned’s punk sounds very powerful, while here unfortunately the vocals were also on a bit of a low volume.

The last band on the Talent Stage, Terradown, already played a while ago and now the last band on the stage of the Plee Sessies, Rott’n Damned, also finished their show. That means that unfortunately Baroeg Open Air 2019’s end is coming near. There are only two shows left and than it’s over. The Electronic Stage is closed by a show from PRSPCT Assault with DJ Hidden, The Satan, DJ Thrasher and MC Mike Redman. On the Main Stage it is time for Baroeg Open Air 2019’s headliner. That headliner is the Swedish melodic death metal band Dark Tranquillity. Fortunately the sound during this show is very good for the main part of this show and are frontman Mikael Stanne’s vocals most of the times very well audible. Dark Tranquillity delivers a perfect combination of heavy parts, on which a lot of people are headbanging, and more atmospheric and melodic parts, while at some moments even combining these at the same time, this all executed very well. Due to Dark Tranquillity pounding very heavily during this show that also includes quite a lot of melody, combined with good sound, a tight execution and a very nice, much adding lightshow, this is a perfect headlining show for this edition of Baroeg Open Air. Dark Tranquillity clearly delivers a very headliner-worthy show and they definitely deserve this status, just as the very enthusiastic and loud applause.

After that strong headline show, Baroeg Open Air 2019 is over. In the train back home we can look back on a very nice day with very nice shows in various styles.

You can read our earlier review of Dark Tranquillity, with Amon Amarth and Omnium Gatherum here, as well as our interview with Samael’s Vorph here.

Baroeg Open Air Official Website
Baroeg Open Air Facebook
Dark Tranquillity Official Website
Dark Tranquillity Facebook
Dark Tranquillity Instagram
Dark Tranquillity Twitter
Rott’n Damned Facebook
Samael Official Website
Samael Facebook
Samael Instagram
Samael Twitter
Scotch Official Website
Scotch Facebook
Scotch Instagram
Scotch Twitter
Hatari Official Website
Hatari Facebook
Agent Fresco Official Website
Agent Fresco Facebook
Agent Fresco Instagram
Agent Fresco Twitter
Downcast Collision Official Website
Downcast Collision Facebook
Downcast Collision Twitter
Komatsu Official Website
Komatsu Facebook
Komatsu Instagram
Komatsu Twitter
Gold Official Website
Gold Facebook
Gold Instagram
Gold Twitter
Terradown Facebook
Disturbance Official Website
Disturbance Facebook
Disturbance Instagram
Hallowed Fire Facebook

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