Qstock is a large two-day festival offering a lot of different musical styles. Only being able to attend one day, I chose Saturday since I found the selection of bands stronger then than on Friday. There were quite a few interesting metal acts. Megadeth was the headliner on Saturday, but before their gig, one could see bands like Wolfheart, The 69 Eyes, Poisonblack, Bigelf, Soilwork, Santa Cruz, Stam1na and others. Anyway, the large selection of bands and artists seems to be working, because the festival was sold out earlier the same week. 30 000 visitors attended the festival which had no less than six stages. The weather was almost devilishly hot, probably about 30 degrees Celsius.
Wolfheart was definitely one of the main attractions for me, and they played early on the day on the Kooma Stage, which was located in some kind of dance pavilion. From here on, I will refer to it as the Sauna Stage, since it reached that kind of temperature during the day. Wolfheart still managed to deliver a good 50 minute set with a heavy and massive sound.
1. The Hunt
2. Strength and Valour
3. Gale of Winter
6. Ghosts of Karelia
8. Routa Pt. 2
I was kind of hoping that Mr. Saukkonen and his band mates would play a new song, seeing that the band is working on a new album. On the other hand, I had not seen them live before, so it did not really matter much. Having released only one album so far, Wolfheart pretty much have to play through the first album “Winterborn”, now only leaving out “Chasm”. I liked the fact that they played “Breathe”, which came as a nice variety in the set. The song sequence worked very well, and it was a really enjoyable gig. A small moshpit even arose during “Ghosts of Karelia”, despite the heat. The sound was not that great, but it was okay considering the quite weird place the stage was located in. The lead guitar was a little difficult to hear sometimes, so it would have been fun to see them on a bigger stage. Otherwise there was nothing to complain about, and I am really looking forward to the new album!
Leaving the sauna we headed to the Circus Tent, where Poisonblack played. However, I wrote about them in my last festival report, so I will now confine myself to saying that it was fun to see them in their home town, even though the setlist was identical with last time.
After a break, we wended our way to the Kaleva Stage where the Swedish band Soilwork was about to start their gig. They seem to have quite a solid fan base in Finland and thus, the circle pit was soon going strong. Those who were in it are truly worthy of great praise, considering how hot it was there in the sun. If I had been in it, I would probably have fallen and not risen again. As a consequence of the circle pit, a mighty dust-cloud came into existence. It was occasionally so thick that I could not actually see the stage properly. Soilwork did not care but seemed to enjoy themselves and treated us to a well performed set with a good mix of songs.
It has been a while since I last saw The 69 Eyes, so I decided to watch them now. I was getting quite sauna-like in the Circus Tent as well, so I cannot understand how the singer Jyrki 69 could endure having a leather jacket on.
The band played hits like “Dead Girls Are Easy”, “Feel Berlin”, “Kick the Chair”, “Dance d’Amour” and “Lost Boys”. Hearing them live makes you realize how many radio hits they have created. I recognized almost every song although I have never really listened to the band except on the radio. The 69 Eyes do their own thing and they are quite original. Perhaps nothing too spectacular of a show, but it was a professional gig and the crowd seemed happy.
Next up on the Sauna Stage was an American band called Bigelf. They play progressive rock/metal with a hint of psychedelic rock. I assume you understand exactly what the band sounds like based on that description. They are obviously strongly influenced by bands like Deep Purple, Black Sabbath, Queen, Pink Floyd etc. The singer plays keyboard and Hammond organ (I think) simultaneously, which is not anything you see every day. One could tell that they are very talented musicians, because the songs they played were very complex. If you are into prog, you should check these guys out; they are really interesting. It must have been tough to play in the sauna since it was getting hotter all the time. I bet it was about 40 degrees Celsius there by the time Bigelf started to play. Luckily, a bunch of fans had been placed in front of the stage to cool the performers down a bit. Note the ambiguity of that last sentence.
Last out on this year’s Qstock was Megadeth. The perhaps most memorable situation occurred when some dude suddenly came up running around on the stage during “Peace Sells”. It later turned out to be another artist called Musta Barbaari. He was supposed to start playing a short set at another stage at the same time as Megadeth. It has been said that the power had been cut for him for a couple of minutes because Megadeth did not want anyone to play at the same time as them. Musta Barbaari was obviously angry because of that and decided to make his way up to the Main Stage. However, it was not especially dramatic and Megadeth did not take much notice of him. Anyway, the band delivered a decent performance with songs like “Hangar 18”, “Public Enemy No. 1”, “Sweating Bullets”, “Tornado of Souls” and of course “Symphony of Destruction”.
The sound bothered me a little every now and then, because Dave Mustaine’s voice came out a little too loud occasionally, especially when he hit higher notes. Apart from that, it was a good gig. Mr. Mustaine and his companions are tight as leather pants of too small a size, musically speaking that is.
Qstock must have been a real success. Great weather and a lot of people contributed to a good atmosphere and everyone seemed to enjoy themselves. Everything worked well, and what surprised me was that there were so few long queues at the festival area. At some festivals you do nothing else but stand in different queues all day long. The water points were the only places where longer queues developed, and that is not strange since the weather was so hot. I will definitely consider going to Oulu again next year if the band selection strikes my fancy.