Live Review: Groezrock – Fender Acoustic Stage

As most punk and hardcore fans know, last weekend was Groezrock. In the small town of Meerhout-Gestel in Belgium about 40.000 people from all over the world showed up for two days of good clean fun. And for the first time in the history of Groezrock, an Acoustic Stage was put down with the likes of Mikey Erg, The Bouncing SoulsDustin Kensrue and many more.

DAY 1 - SATURDAY 28th
First thing that is noticable about the Fender Acoustic Stage is the big chandelier in the middle. The smaller chandeliers on the side have see-through drapes over them and red (and very soft looking) curtains make the stage more impressive than the other (bigger) stages.

With that, the organisation really did their best to make this stage stand out. And with the bands playing, the line-up speaks for itself. Starting out with Mikey Erg of The Ergs and Off With Their Heads, who looks a bit geeky when getting on stage. However, due to his short punkrock songs this quickly takes place for pure energy. And with the tent almost filled to the brim, the Acoustic Stage is immediately a succes.

Less than an hour after Mikey Erg, the tent is overloaded with people. While there is a queue outside the small entrance of the tent, The Bouncing Souls start playing on the Acoustic Stage. There isn’t really all that much to say about this band. The unique sound of Greg Attonito’s voice even pleases the people that can’t see the band play. The Bouncing Souls never were that hard, but songs like Sing Along Forever and Lean On Sheena are beautiful when stripped down to acoustic versions. (IS)

Long before Yellowcard enters the stage, the tent and the surrounding area are packed to see a glimpse of frontman Ryan Key and co. From start to finish, they even have the shiest boy in town singing along to poppunk-anthems like Only Once and Ocean Avenue. A particular highlight is the violin of Sean Mackin, being way more present than usual in this torn down session. Mackin seems to be enjoying being louder than the rest. And even though the band was slightly late on stage, they’re not rushing anything and are taking the time for every song on their setlist. (HZ)

Dustin Kensrue, frontman of Thrice, fills the room with his charismatic smile. With only fourty minutes to play, he doesn’t waste a lot of time talking, but shares a few welcome words and starts out with I Knew You Before. It seems everyone is waiting for Kensrue to play an acoustic Thrice song, because when he plays Stare At The Sun, he finally gets everyone to sing along. At least clapping is something everyone is able to do, so Kensrue gets a lot of applause during Blood & Wine and Consider The Ravens. One thing is certain: this frontman will stay around when Thrice has played its last show. (IS)

photo by Ian Schram

Face Tomorrow starts with what sounds like a soundcheck for the drummer, but when everyone else  comes on stage, it appears to be their first song, Move On. The Dutch band then says hello to a not so crowded tent. Is it the fact that they are Dutch or because there are other great bands playing at the same time that the tent seems so empty? Either way,  Face Tomorrow seems to have no problem with a small crowd. Their normally so energetic play has been replaced with a timid, easy going vibe that makes you hold your breath, not wanting it to interfere with their play. This might just be a show where Dutchmen came to, but Face Tomorrow has shown they deserve a bigger audience than this. (IS)

Have you seen Vienna or Garrett Klahn? Tell us your review! Because no matter how we love acoustic music, there were other great bands on Groezrock as well that we just had to check! Oh, and check back tomorrow for day 2 with Chuck Ragan, Dave Hause, Tommy Gabel and more!

Written by Ian Schram (IS) and Hugo Zwier (HZ)

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