Live review: Groezrock 2017 Day 1

Every year, Belgian punk and hardcore festival Groezrock knows how to get a line-up that covers all grounds. Both old timers and new kids on the block are included in the line-up and like other years, acoustic music can also be found if you know where to look. Read our review on the acoustic side of Groezrock below.

Next to the third stage of the festival, the Watch Out Stage, there is a small stand of the Spanish sock brand American Socks. Next to their stand with their special so-called Groezsock, the company has a small stage for acoustic sessions. It seems they have learned a lot from last year, as they now have twice the room compared to last year.

The first session scheduled (Boston Manor) is already moved to the Sunday due to a mix-up, so the first to perform on the smallest stage of Groezrock is Joe McMahon. The singer has just joined Nothington, but also put out his solo album last year. Apparently, lots of people already know the songs, because almost everyone in the tent sings along to songs as “Monsters Among Us”, “Neon Light” and “It All Went Black”. And even though American Socks has twice the room they used to, they barely have enough space to fit all the people inside their tent.

Aaron Gillespie (Underoath/The Almost) was supposed to be up next, but he apparently suffered from a heavy jet lag. Fortunately, there is always something else to do and see at a festival.

Chris Cresswell luckily shows up at the right time for his acoustic session. After an energetic performance on the main stage with The Flatliners, a lot of people have turned up to see Cresswell perform solo. Next to the Flatliners song “Drown in Blood”, he also plays some songs of his One Week Record, including the Dead To Me cover “Arrhythmic Palpitations”. Like with Joe McMahon, a lot of people to Cresswell’s solo work, which becomes most apparent with his last song “Daggers”.

Opener of this years Groezrock, Red City Radio, is the first band to do a full-band acoustic show at the American Socks stand, with front man Garrett Dale is playing guitar and the rest doing the harmonics during songs like “Electricity”, “In The Meantime…” and “Pretend Kings”. You can notice these sessions attract the big fans, because again, almost everyone is singing along. During Green Day cover “Pulling Teeth”, Chris #2 of Anti-Flag joins the band to sing along. Even though Dale says they have not practised the song in quite a while, it goes surprisingly well.

At the end off their set, Tim Vantol has already begun, although you don’t have to walk that far to go see him as he plays on the Watchout Stage right next to the American Socks stand. The Dutchman just released his third album “Burning Desires” and is eager to showcase his songs. With the new band backing Vantol, he has got quite a different sound since his last performance on Groezrock four years ago. Somehow, Tim has managed to boost his music in every way possible to create a heavier sound: more acoustic, more rock, more punk and folk.

New songs “Burning Desires“, “The Hardway” and “Why Shouldn’t You” are definitely favourites in the making, even more with the latter being explained by Tim as a song written for refugees. Tim’s ‘classics’ “Nothing“, “Road Sweet Road” and “Hands Full of Dust” are met with a contagious crowd response, with more and more people joining in jumping, crowd surfing and singing along. The last song of the set “If We Go Down, We Go Together” has everyone chanting the chorus repetitively, making the song last a few minutes longer than usual. Tim Vantol is definitely on the ‘road sweet road’ to success.

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Belgian band F.O.D. plays their regular set on the main stage on Sunday, but gives Groezrock a little taste by playing an acoustic session the day before. It seems the whole stand is filled with die-hard fans – mostly Belgians – making their performance a huge party. With songs like “Carry On” and “41“, Hans Roofthooft and Stijn de Waele make the American Socks tent literally move up and down with everyone jumping.

The same goes for Dutch band The 101’s, who are showcasing some songs of their new album “Counterbalance“, coming out in June. Although the guitars of Andy Vossenberg and Dirk Delisse are just a tad out of tune with each other, nobody seems to pay mind to small details. Even more, with the band putting just as much energy in their acoustic renditions, the crowd is more occupied with creating a circle pit or even crowd surfing in the small tent than listening carefully. New songs “Everything” and “Pieces” give a good impression what is to be expected from the new album. Watch Out Stage material for next year?

Stay tuned for our report of Groezrock day 2!

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