GROEZROCK festival + Positive Mind
Meerhout (???) Belgium
April 25,26 2003

Despites this fest was very well organised and quite cheap (cheap drinks/food, no entrance fee to the market, cheap entrance,…), I still don't understand how these guys can organise such a major event without any single sign on any road!!! Not only the fest wasn't really in Meerhout (actually in a village of the area), but if we didn't see the huge tents we wouldn't have known which direction we had to choose! All people we know lost at least one hour in the area and the first band arrived with some delay! Weird, period.

First day, we mist several bands due to our delay and our decision to finally pitch our tent in the campsite due to the nice weather. Then, we had a couple of drinks with some friends and the guys from LAWSTREET 16 with a couple of quite good bands as musical background. Thus, we only really got 100% into one band that night, namely belgian CIRCLE and I have to admit it was killer! Not only those guys are professional and their Hardcore has a lot of variation, but the crowd was amazing, delivering old-school stagediving like in the early days. Everybody was nuts, doing crazy shit on stage, 2 lesbian girls kissing avidly, 2 other girls kissing the singer at the same time… a really "positive" event!

Saturday was the day all farmers were awaiting after weeks of doing the rain dance in their fields. Personally, I could have wait a couple of days to get that bloody rain, but we couldn't really complain, it wasn't very hard rain, and both stages were under tents (the only bar wasn't!)
I admit we missed a lot of bands, sleeping late, drinking a couple of cheap beers sold by some locals in the street and having some more beers with friends everywhere from the bar to the market (we had actually more beers than rain). For what I remember, the first interesting thing was the end of the set of RANDY whose first album belonged to my faves some years ago, than I saw half of TERROR's show, what a violent hardcore band onstage, very impressive! We left to finally see FLOGGING MOLLY. We've been waiting for years to see this band, not knowing if they would cross the atlantic ocean one day, and then missed them twice last year!
I said this a lot of times I know, but this was really one of the best gigs of my life!!! Hard to describe the intense emotions we got during this gig… if you ever spent some weeks in Ireland, FM' singer match all you would expect from a true irish to be! I knew one member was a native, no doubt this is him. Irish folk played fast by professionals… there's no better music on earth!
Back to the small stage, two great bands were waiting for us (this is an idiom of course!).
First : STAIRLAND a band into industrial Hardcore, very violent and original despites a lack of variation in vocals, but I wouldn't dare saying it to the singer… he's really frightening!
Last band was POISON THE WELL, a cult band mixing post-hardcore violence and complexity with some melodic vocals… Those guys have to be seen onstage, unbelievable, mainly the bassplayer and the drummer are amazing!!! I haven't seen bands such as BOTCH, DILLINGER ESCAPE PLAN or BURNT BY THE SUN, which all have sick drumming, but I swear this one is the most impressive "hardcore" drummer I've seen up to now!
I was nicely surprised by BIOHAZARD who played their best songs with much enthousiasm. We were ready for some US ultra-patriotic bullshit, but we escaped the brainwashed speach…
Then DROPKICK MURPHYS delivered the worst set they ever offered us. Of course, the sound sucked big time which really pissed me off when they did their genius song with that female singer, the reply to an old POGUES track… But it seems the band wasn't as sick as the numerous other times we saw them. Of course a bad DM gig remains something worth… Another thing that really pisses me off comes from the bunch of posers who always invade the stage of Hardcore bands. "We are the friends, we have the privilege, we…" I've been witnessing this for a long time (I understand other bands come support them that way) but in this case, it was worse than anything, a couple of them were only singing the lyrics of the new songs that ain't released yet. A way to show they had the huge chance of hearing the new shit before anybody else… Fuck those pricks who're not doing anything for the scene anyway!
-Steph-