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Vagos Open Air 2012 | FESTIVALPHOTO

Vagos Open Air 2012


One of the good news this year was that the organization did everything in their power to keep the same ticket prices as the previous year:50€(quite cheap right?) and at the same time they continued to improve the conditions of the festival; the beer had a reasonable price (1, 5 €), there were more portable toilets, wider variety of food and drinks inside the enclosure and finally there was a box office for photographers/press/guests and best of all: the light didn’t went out on stage like last year. The Security staff was a little tight at the entrance but more tolerant/respectful and better prepared to deal with drunkards, moshers and surf-crowders.

Day 1
Enslaved started playing late in the afternoon, the sunset and the cold breeze of Lake Calvão made itself felt through the place. They began with two songs from “Axioma Ethica Odini” and had a fantastic setlist (if I may say so myself), very complete and diverse, with songs from their main albums, such as “Isa” and “Ruun”. Their sound was great and there wasn’t any kind of technical problems that I’ve noticed. Some might say their sound seemed like it was coming out from the studio. In the middle of the show Grutle joked a bit with guitarist Ivar Bjørnson; He also took the opportunity to ask for another beer whichhe seemed quite fond of. Later on he introduced the band members and said he would like to play more often in Portugal (already have been a few times). I think the band feels at home because they always have been welcomed by the Portuguese audience who knows what to expect from the band, although they have always exceeded expectations. Grutle dedicated one song (Ground) to the ladies; in the end they played a Led Zeppelin cover encouraging even more the hordes, closing up with a very old school track “Allfǫðr Oðinn”from one of their first Demos andending with the famous “Isa”.

1. EthicaOdini
2. Raidho
3. Fusion of Sense
4. Ground
5. Return to Yggrasil
6. Giants
7. Ruun
8. As Fire Swept Clean the Earth
9. Immigrant Song (Led Zeppelin cover)
10. Allfǫðr Oðinn
11. Isa

Since this was their first time in Portugal, the expectations were pretty…pretty high for everyone, including me (I’m a big fan). I imagined many times some kind of mystical/theatrical show, with performers just like in the DVD (that I know it would be logistically impossible) but what the heck…one can only dream, right?
Well, they unfortunately started with the wrong foot; many things went wrong in the first three songs.The off tuned Vortex (seems like he had been chatting with his old pal Jack Daniels), the muffled drums and the guitar failing for several seconds left people disappointed. Vortex attitude on stage wasn’t the best; he seemedsomehow uncomfortable, very static andstill, I think the audience “sensed it” and since they’ve been having technical problems their first impression went down the toilet. Don’t get me wrong, the sound eventually improved and there were some magical moments, but it was too late I guess, I know Vortex tried to undo the damage done, always asking people if the music was better but without success even the guitarist tried to cheer up the venue. Then we got more bad news as they were forced to cut down three songs from their setlist probably due to some previous delays. This was really unfair and a bummer for people who were waiting for “Hufsa” or “Raudt og Svart”. Regarding the setlist in my opinion it was well chosen, a little bit of everything, including the best and best known tracks, such as “Ad Absurdum”, “Shipwrecked Frontier Pioneer” and “The Chaos Path”. People seemed to enjoy more the songs from “Le Masquerade Infernale” album.

At the Gates
After 20 years waiting to see them play live, it was worth it. I can say with some certainty that no one was disappointed.It seemed like they never stopped playing; the sound so characteristic of this Swedes brought a lot of nostalgia along with some of the best melodic death metal that was done in the early '90s. I believe Tompa was moved by fans that were eager to see At the Gates. Surprisingly they opened with two of the most famous songs: “Slaughter of the soul” and “Cold” which left people nuts, and ended with more classic ones, such as “Blinded by Fear” and “Kingdom Gone”.

1. Slaughter of the Soul
2. Cold
3. Terminal Spirit Decease
4. Raped by the light of Christ
5. Under a Serpent Sun
6. Windows
7. World of Lies
8. The Burning Darkness
9. The Swarm
10. Forever Blind
11. Into the Dead Sky
12. Suicide Nation
13. Nausea
14. The Beautiful Wound
15. Unto Others
16. All Life Ends
17. Need
18. Blinded by Fear
19. Kingdom Gone

Day 2

These guys have a very eclectic sound, a mixture of melodic black and death metal with a touch of folk and oriental influences. Vocalist Freddy Lim changes vocal styles very easily and had a very strong presence on stage. They stood out for their sympathy, always encouraging the audience and even taught people how to say hello in Taiwanese (although I think nobody remembers!). Towards the end of the concert Freddy said it was an honor to come from the other side of the world to play in Portugal. He filmed the venue with his phone asked them to visit the band in the autograph tent so they could chat a little bit more with Portuguese metalheads.

They were extremely well prepared, as if they never stopped playing although the band focused more on the “Grin” and “Mental Vortex” albums I’m sure no one was disappointed. Highlights to the guitar solos of Tommy are indeed something spectacular. They gave an amazing concert that showed the technical quality of their performance on stage. Some of the songs they played were “Masked Jackal” “Serpent Moves” “Semtex Revolution”. Unfortunately the song “Reborn through hate” was missing.

It’s already been 10 years since the last time these old school thrashers came to Portugal and Bobby Blitz is always in great shape. It was undoubtedly the one of the highlights of the festival. The beginning was incredibly thrashy (no pun intended!) as soon they started with “Elimination” the security staff had in their hands a good deal of surf-crowders and the moshpit grew in a matter of seconds. The new songs and the old ones fit perfectly, their first album Taking Over and the latest “Electric Age” were the most represented. At the end there was something Bobby said that moved the fans, he remembered the audience that “heavy metal is louder, heavier but together”. One funny moment was when Bobby was trying to get the attention of the public before playing the last song (“Fuck you”) so Bobby asked: “Is this Portugal or España? Everybody went mad and shouted in discontent. “It works every time!” he said. Other funny lines were: “Have you ever had your ass kicked by an old man?” and “You make me feel like I’m 50 again!” It was a remarkable show and many people thought that they deserved to be the headliners of this day and should be them closing this edition.

1. Come and get it
2. Bring me the night
3. Elimination
4. Wrecking Crew
5. Electric Rattlesnake
6. Hello from the Gutter
7. Ironbound
8. Save Yourself
9. Necroshine
10. Old School
11. In Union we stand
12. Deny the cross
13. Rotten to the core
14. Fuck you (The Subhuman’s cover)

Arch Enemy
At first I noticed the decline in intensity and euphoria after the riot that Overkill caused. The new guitarist Nick Cordle was up to the task of playing with famous lead guitarist Michael Amott (that always protrudes from the rest with his melodic riffs and solos); Angela was full of energy and a heavy metal attitude, but also Kudos to Daniel the Drummer who played with a broken finger, I know this should not have been an easy thing to do. Highlights to classics such as “Ravenous” “Dead eyes see no future” and “We will Rise” but also for the excellent song “No Gods No Masters” that she dedicated to the audience. One downside of the show was the fact that the band didn’t allow the capture of images of the show on the giants screens. Nearing the end of the concert Angela took the opportunity make a remark about the Portuguese government saying that it was in our hands to change the course of things and take action.

This edition left a really positive balance, with great improvements in many areas; it’s nice to see that the organization actually listens to the public demands and criticism and see this as a source of information that helps create better management and better service delivery. For the next year Vagos will bring new surprises and perhaps a longer enjoyment!

Writer: Claudia Bernal
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