KEEP IT TRUE Festival 5th edition
4th & 5th November, 2005.
Describing this event typically invokes the use of descriptive phrases such as old
school, classic metal and even NWOBHM. Germanys Keep It True
festival seems to have a knack of unearthing bands whom metalheads might be forgiven for
giving up hope seeing live.
But, as the saying goes, never say die and the young and not so young
2000-something metal fans that attended the 5th edition of this event in the first weekend
of November lived Metal in its stripped-down, honest and wildest glory.
Apart from some light showers, the weather was relatively pleasant during this weekend.
Not that it would otherwise have affected my spirits of course as I was really looking
forward to the festival and determined to enjoy myself. Well these are my views focusing
on each band that played
Friday 4th November - Warm-Up show Sporthalle, Dittingheim.
STRIKELIGHT - Unfortunately an unexpected train
delay caused me to miss the performance of this Greek band. Strikelights music is
heavily influenced by 1980s British bands and this was their first German adventure.
Check out the official band-site listed at the end of this Report for more info on the
EMERALD - Best described as Iron Maiden
with Kai Hansen or King Diamond-style vocals, Emeralds show was well received.
The vocalist has a great voice although with a somewhat limited range.
This was supposed to be Emeralds swansong and the band should be
satisfied that they bowed out on a high note (no pun intended).
POWERGOD - Why Powergod decided to forge a
career as a cover-band Ill never understand. But judging their performance at KIT in
its own merits, the band really put on a great and entertaining show. Covers played
included I Am A Viking (Malmsteen) and Burning The Witches
(Warlock). One of the surprises for me was the cover of
Stars by Hear N Aid - a project Dio had organized many years ago
as Heavy Metals response to Bob Geldofs Live Aid. Another cool surprise was
the cover of Ravens Mind Over Metal for which Raven vox John Gallagher
came onstage to contribute lead vocals, much to the frenzied enthusiasm of those present.
ANVIL - The tangible anticipation that had
gripped the Sporthalle theatre before the performance of one of Canadas most
legendary Metal outfits morphed into a crazy moshpit during Anvils show. An amazing
show thatll undoubtedly be mentioned for a long time to come. The
natural performer that he is, vocalist / guitarist Lips was evidently touched by the
audiences enthusiastic reaction and this further electrified the atmosphere. Anvil
thrashed through old favourites such 666, Smokin Green and
the obligatory Metal On Metal as well as more recent songs such as You
Get What You Pay For. A gobsmacking drum solo by Rob Reiner was really the
proverbial cherry on the cake. This is as Metal as Metal can get.
Saturday 5th November - Main Festival Tauberfrankenhalle, Lauda.
IGNITOR - If every festival has its surprise act
then Ignitor were the revelation of the 5th edition of KIT. A professional stage-attitude
and solid execution of their repertoire characterized their 45 minutes. Admittedly
Ignitors music isnt overtly technical but what they do they do very well, and
thats what counts most. Although this was the first time this USA
band performed in Europe it certainly wont be the last if the band plays its cards
right in the immediate future.
FORSAKEN - Ive always maintained that
Forsaken are best appreciated when performing live, and this Maltese bands
performance at KIT amply justified my stance. Being the only band on the bill with an
inclination towards Epic Doom Metal probably earned Forsaken some welcome extra attention.
Vocalist Leo Stivala gave one of the most dynamic and emotional individual
performances of the entire festival as Forsaken regaled us with a selection of their
repertoire. Particularly effective were Carpe Diem, Daylight Dies,
as well as a cover of Black Sabbaths Symptom Of The Universe.
STORMWARRIOR - A restless performance from this
young old-school Metal band. In spite of this, I felt that Stormwarrior lacked
an amount of assertiveness when communicating with the crowd. The band
line-up featured recent recruit Alex Guth (alias Firebolt) who took over
guitar duties from Lars Ramke (alias Thunder Axe) who was thus able to
concentrate on vocal duties.
SKULLVIEW - Apart from the static presence of
some band-members and some vague-sounding guitar solos (at least to these ears),
Skullviews show was tight and the set-list included their strongest songs.
Also meriting specific praise was the excellent voice of recent recruit
Eric Flowers quite melodic but also very powerful.
SLOUGH FEG - Slough Feg oozed confidence and
tightness. This bands music is hard to define but the influence of Iron Maiden could
be sensed very clearly both from the music as well as from the tendency of guitarists to
confuse the stage with a racing track! Irish culture, Progressive Metal
and Jazzy time signatures also found their way in the set-list.
INTRUDER - An electrifying performance from
these Tennessee Thrashers. Monstrous guitar riffs were adorned with amazing solos and even
at breakneck speed, Intruders tightness never waned even for one moment.
Similarly great were the falsetto-style lead vocals courtesy of Jimmy Hamilton
pity he didnt move about the stage with more confidence. Guitarists Arthur
Vinnett and Greg Messick provided some vocal grunts.
RUFFIANS - Raw Heavy Metal is the trade of
Ruffians who gave a totally crazy performance. I felt that the vocal style was more
pertaining to melodic Hard Rock than the Thrashier music of Ruffians which
isnt necessarily a bad thing at all.
Ruffians earned a few more fans tonight, one of them being the author
of this report!
JAG PANZER - While being one of the headliners,
I cant say Jag Panzer let anyone down. The Colorado dudes proved what huge
musicians, performers and songwriters this quintet still is. JP offered quite
a comprehensive set-list that included: Iron Eagle, King At A
Price, Burning Heart and Take To The Sky amongst other both
vintage and recent successes.
RAVEN - Raven are one of those bands that have
to be seen live to be fully appreciated. The energy, showmanship, tightness as well as the
fun atmosphere this legendary NWOBHM trio created at KIT made Ravens performance one
of the best of the entire festival. In particular, Mark Gallagher possesses one of the
most inhumanely unique voices in Metal. It was a joy hearing the band
effortlessly go through classics such as: All For One, Hell
Patrol, Dont Need Your Money as well as a cover-medley.
VIRGIN STEELE - As much as I admire this band,
their performance was a bit disappointing. On the positive side, the showmanship Virgin
Steele displayed was one of the best of the festival. The band used various props such a 2
huge excaliburs at the sides of the stage, a bloodied head under Dave DeFeis
keyboards (!), handling of burning swords, etc
One of the highlights of VSs
show itself was a drum solo by Frank Gilchrest. The 90-minute set-list
included A Symphony of Steele, Invictus, Twilight Of The Gods,
as well as various instrumental interludes such as Pyre Of Kings.
Towards the end of VSs show, the enthusiasm of the
Tauberfrankenhalle Metalheads succumbed completely to exhaustion, painful necks and German
beer. Of course all these superficial expressions of pain belied happy people.
Apart from some sound problems which affected most bands but especially Forsaken, Slough
Feg, Skullview and Virgin Steele, the overall verdict of this edition of the Keep It True
festival is a loud brilliant. One of the nicest things of these German
festivals is the family atmosphere that reigns throughout the event.
Already some interesting bands have been confirmed for the next edition of the
festival. All true Metal bands of course!
The author would like to thank Oliver Weinsheimer, all the bands involved in the festival
and the record labels that offered their co-operation.
Official Festival Website: www.keep-it-true.de
List of band websites:
--Chris Galea - firstname.lastname@example.org
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