Live Review: Groezrock – Fender Acoustic Stage (2)

Previously, you could have read about the Fender Acoustic Stage day 1, featuring Dustin Kensrue, Yellowcard, The Bouncing Souls and more. Well, on day 2, Groezrock had almost brought the whole Revival Tour! Chuck Ragan, Dave Hause, Tommy Gabel and many more played on the Sunday. Here’s the report!

DAY 2 - SUNDAY 29th
The politically engaged Anti-Flag always has a few things to say about the situation in the world. Not the whole band, but only the two main voices of the band, Justin Case and Chris #2, will do that today. But even though their talks about things as Occupy Wallstreet may be really relevant, more relevant is how they sound here. Anti-Flag sounds really raw when playing a normal set, but songs like 911 For Peace and Solidarity In The Face Of Anti-Progressives don’t have that “anti-” feeling in their tore down acoustic versions. Thus, the crowds reaction is really mild. The overdone cover of The Clash’ Should I Stay or Should I Go? is the only moment everyone is enthusiastic and singing along. (IS)

Not even three hours after playing a highly energetic set with MxPx All Stars, Mike Herrera picks up his guitar to “play some chords”, as he puts it. Even though Mike tried to convince everyone to come over to see him play acoustic, the small tent is only half full. Full – not empty – because Herrera doesn’t seem to care who came to see him play, as long as he is having fun on stage. He plays several MxPx songs, but also finds time to promote his other project ‘Tumbledown’ by playing some of their songs, pleasing the crowd. Herrera plays a solid set and has enough jokes and banter up his sleeve to keep the show entertaining. Even though it isn’t crowded, everyone seems to have had a good time, but maybe Mike even enjoyed it the most. (NvdE)

The The Loved Ones frontman Dave Hause has to be cheered on stage. Hause hasn’t been in Europe with The Loved Ones since their performance on Groezrock 2008, so everyone is exited to see Hause play some of his band’s songs. Anyway, with the Fender Acoustic Stage filled to the brim, this is bound to be a sing-along session. Stuff like Time Will Tell and Pray For Tuscon gets everyone going, but when Chuck Ragan plays alongside him in Prague (Revive Me), the cheers reach maximum volume. After two The Loved Ones covers – Pretty Good Year and Jane – and promising everyone The Loved Ones will come back soon, Hause closes his set with The Shine and C’mon Kid. But when the crowd wants more, Dave Hause comes back and brings Chuck Ragan on stage as well.  Another The Loved Ones song is played, and The Bridge is the perfect ending this set with everyone singing and clapping along. (IS)

After Dave Hause has warmed up the crowd for the acoustic Sunday night, Tom Gabel sets to the stage. The Against Me! frontman pleases the mass by playing a bunch of the band’s old songs the fans all know by heart. Everyone is shouting along to tunes as Walking Is Still HonestWe Did It All For Don and Pints Of Guinness Make You Strong, but Gabel’s solo material is delivered with equally great passion. To top off the set, Gabel shares his encore with Chuck Ragan, covering Kingston Trio’s Greenback Dollar, leaving the crowded tent with nothing but hunger for more acoustic magic. (TT)

The man has had a busy schedule, playing with his band Hot Water Music, and alongside Dave Hause and Tom Gabel, but Chuck Ragan still has more than enough energy left for his own acoustic set. While the tent of the Fender Acoustic Stage is packed violin player Jon Gaunt and upright bass player Joe Ginsberg already started playing. A loud applause welcomes Ragan on stage when he starts with The Boat.

Dave Hause and Tom Gabel return the favor during several songs, like For Broken Ears (Dave), Meet You In The Middle (Tom). The sympathetic Ragan thanks the two every time they have appeared on stage for a song and seems to be loving every minute of the set. So does the audience, enjoying all songs the Hot Water Music singer/guitarist plays. After a long and joyful set, Chuck Ragan comes back for an encore: California Burritos. When he has left the stage again, the audience calls him back again. For the second encore, he asks Tim Vantol on stage to sing along with Do You Pray. After Ragan leaves the stage for the third time, the crowd keeps calling him back. And so, after a while, Chuck comes back for a third encore, the a capella song On The Bow. With a final, grand applause the audience says farewell for now, but Ragan will be back late this year with the Revival Tour. It is clear as crystal, Chuck Ragan is tonights hero. (IS)

Written by Ian Schram (IS), Nick van den Ende (NvdE) and Tanya Timmers (TT)
Photo's by Ian Schram and Tanya Timmers

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