Groezrock Festival preview feature

groezrock2012The time is nearing when a significant contingent of English punk fans will de-camp to Meerhout in Belgium for Europe’s premier punk festival GROEZROCK.

Scheduled for the end of April, the event will see the cream of the crop descend on a field in the sleepy village of Meerhout once more. A mixture of old-school punk stalwarts (including Rancid), re-united greats (including Refused) and up-and-coming buzz bands (including The Menzingers) will play on a number of stage over two days.

Having become regular attendees of the festival, Winegums is excited to get over there again this year. Here is the Crossfire rundown of some top picks at the festival. It’s pretty hard to narrow them down, mind.

28th APRIL

Yellowcard

Currently working on a new album, Yellowcard make a welcome return to Europe for select performances this Spring, Groezrock being one of them. Bouncy, violin-embellished pop-punk to get everyone singing along.

Lifetime

Reformed hardcore legends will be bringing the old-skool to Groezrock this year. Expect stage diving and lots of it.

The Dillinger Escape Plan

Consistently legendary in their festival performances, let’s hope this particular set is lacking in human shit.

Set Your Goals

Best served with sunshine, Set Your Goals’ unique dual-vocalled brand of pop-punk will hopefully bring out the good weather in Belgium this time around.

None More Black

Continuing Groezrock’s theme of booking cult acts on their inimitable bill, None More Black will be showcasing frontman Jason Shevchuk’s unique gruff vocals leading punk rock fun for festival-goers across the event.

The Wonder Years

Literary references and wry autobiographical anecdotes abound in your average Wonder Years set but you can count on their delivery being anything but average. The most fun of fun pop-punk bands. Without the dumb lyrics.

Gallows

Now on the road with new vocalist Wade McNeil, formerly of Alexisonfire fame, Gallows will serve up their usual vigorous 1-2 punch of rock and roll hardcore, no doubt.

I Am The Avalanche

Following the release of last year’s astonishingly brilliant ‘Avalanche United’, I Am The Avalanche continue their campaign to play in Europe as much as humanly possible with their Groezrock slot. Get ready for fists in the air and rousing singalongs.

The Menzingers

Having just released their critically lauded album ‘On The Impossible Past’, The Menzingers have a lot to live up to. We’re convinced their live set at Groezrock will be the perfect festival event.

29th APRIL

Refused

What can we say? One of the comebacks of the year, this is surely the most highly anticipated set of the festival. When those first notes of New Noise ring out, all hell is going to break loose.

Thrice

Sadly this will be their last turn on European soil as the band announced their decision to call it quits at the end of last year. Make sure you don’t miss out on seeing one of the best bands to emerge in the last decade.

Gorilla Biscuits

More classic hardcore on the bill here, these guys are sure to be a popular draw of the festival! “Let’s Start Today” please.

Hot Water Music

With an amazing new album on the way, HWM will undoubtedly be premiering new material but you can be sure they’ll be bringing out the classics too. Maybe even that Bouncing Souls cover that they pulled out at Reading fest last year?

The Bronx

The Bronx never ever disappoint. 100 % always a must see band for optimal smiles and party potential.

The Dangerous Summer

For something rather more mellow, head to The Dangerous Summer’s set. You’ll find expertly crafted melodies oozing with heartfelt sentiment.

groezrockfestival2012

Set Your Goals live

Bristol O2 Academy 2
16/05/11

Before their appearance at the punk rock shindig of SLAM DUNK, Set Your Goals rolled up into Bristol bringing along some friends and hopefully some fresh tracks to entertain the masses that have ascended upon the venue.

The fresh faced horde crammed up against the barrier seemed quiet unresponsive tonight and was quite noticeable for the support bands. I managed to miss Decade, who opened up the night, but caught the start of This Time Next Year who despite churning out some cheery and buoyant pop-punk failed to lift the atmosphere.

Massachusetts’ quintet A Loss For Words were up next and faired a tad better. AL4W have been on the scene for a while and with the band being added to Rise records roaster it seems they are now getting some reverence from their peers. The band possesses an abrasive edge that is flawlessly surrounded by huge melodies and really stands out on ‘stamp of approval’. Their performance tonight AL4W have potentially gained some new fans. Its tonight’s headliners the crowd are eagerly waiting for and Set Your Goals finally take to the stage to a boisterous reception.

Opening up with a brand new track, Set Your Goals blast into action and soon enough front men Jordan and Michael immediately charge towards the front, clambering on the monitors and getting right up against the crowd in unified force. Several times I had to dodge Jordan as I was crammed in the nonexistent photopit space between the monitor and barrier while also trying to photograph the band. Being so close I experienced the full force of the band, and I wasn’t surprised when they exploded into ‘Look Closer’ that it really took off, with both the front men thrusting their mics to the crowd who were enthusiastically singing word for word.

The bands energy sustained further playing old favourites such as ‘Goonies’, and from Mutiny! ‘Work in Progress’ that seamlessly progressed into ‘We Do It for the Money, Obviously!’. It was infectious to see the contrasting figures of Jordan and Michael, synchronising the vocals seamlessly, switching from mellifluous melodies to hardcore shouts, and conveyed perfectly when the band went through tracks from ‘This Will Be The Death Of Us’ such as the fiercely sharp ‘The Fallen’, the singalong anthem ‘SummerJam’, and the dynamically potent ‘Our Ethos: A Legacy To Pass On’. With the eminent release of their new album ‘Burning at Both Ends’ Set Your Goals played another new track titled ‘Start The Reactor’ which on the surface may lack the same punch that the band are known for in previous releases, however it did still retain that contagious melody so prevalent so many of their songs.

Their penultimate and heaviest song ‘Gaia Bleeds’ we even get to see guitarist Audelio Flores stepping to roar out Jon Gula’s part. The band finally ends with crowd favourite ‘mutiny!’ which gets the best cheers tonight, and also the most raucous reaction. Even with the timid atmosphere at the start of the show, it was the sheer energy of Set Your Goal’s delivery that really shined through tonight.

Words and photos Lionel Taplin