Estimated reading time: 8 minute(s)
I realize now I failed to include any negative comments in my earlier Loud Park reports. That was probably partly due to positive bias caused by the immediate post-show high, but I like to think my choices about which acts to watch also had something to do with it. However, as is always the case with festivals, there were some problem areas:
- Sound Mix Problems: Although Loud Park @ Saitama Super Arena is generally known for its excellent sound, this year the mix for the bands on one of the two stages, the Big Rock stage, had problems. Drums and bass were way too high in the mix, with vocals mostly at acceptable levels but guitars way too low. It made it difficult to recognize songs before the first chorus and was particularly a problem for Soilwork and Kreator. Ventor’s kick drums were so comically high in the mix it was like experiencing a heart punch each time he hit it (which, let’s admit, is like a thousand times every song). Painful!
- Strange Voices: On recent records, Within Temptation has done collaborations with Tarja (formerly of Nightwish), Howard Jones (the black one), and the rapper Xzibit (also the black one). In a short festival set list, they played all three of these songs with the collaborator’s voice on tape and Sharon singing her parts live. I was okay because I know the songs, but it must have been confusing to people checking out the band with no prior knowledge.
- The Food: It’s always the same fast food crap and stomach-corroding Thai curry. Can we please have some variation?
- Old Park?: Some fans complain that Loud Park favors older bands and is too stingy at giving young acts the opportunity to expand their audiences. I’m too lazy to find everyone’s age, but, with some google and estimates(?), I assembled the ages of the person I see as the “band leader” of each of the 22 acts that played this year. 8 are in their 20s or 30s, 10 are in their 40s, and 4 are 50 or older. The average for the whole festival was 41.6 years old. In addition, the average age of the “band leaders” for the first day was exactly my age (43). Since I am, to quote Phil, “old, fat and fucking deaf,” I am slightly concerned by this result. Is this just a Loud Park thing? Is it a festival booking thing? Is heavy metal growing old? Should I be worried? Discuss.
Battle Beast: Anton Kabanen (27), Marty Friedman (51); Vandenberg’s MoonKings: Adrian Vandenberg (60); Loudness: Akira Takasaki (53); Soilwork: Bjorn Strid (36); Amaranthe: Olof Morck (32); Down: Phil Anselmo (46); Rage: Peavy Wagner (49); DragonForce: Herman Li (38); Arch Enemy: Michael Amott (45).
Day 1 Average: 43.7
Arion: Viljami Holopainen (20?); Periphery: Misha Mansoor (29); Glamour of the Kill: Davey Richmond (27?); The Gazette: Ruki (32?); Belphegor: Helmuth Lehner (45); Thunder: Danny Bowes (54); The Haunted: Patrik Jensen (44); Riot: Mike Flyntz (49); Death Angel: Rob Cavestany (45); Within Temptation: Sharon den Adel (40); Kreator: Mille Petrozza (47); Dream Theater: John Petrucci (47).
Day 2 Average: 39.9
Average Age on Stage (“Band Leaders” only) at Loud Park 2014: 41.6