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Alive 11
For the last decade, I've spent a couple of weeks every summer working for our 
local music festival called LES EUROCKEENNES. Though a nice  experience I have 
to say I have not enjoyed so many gigs, mostly  due to the  kind of music that 
was  presented. In spite of its name  this  rock festival has  become more and 
more mellow and true metal bands have become a rarity :( Sure we had big names 
such  as Metallica, Slipknot, Soulfly  and  even Sepultura back in 1996, right 
before the band split... 

In the meantime, a newborn festival started to rise, this time MAINLY based on 
metal bands and  after missing the 2004  edition, my brother  and I decided to 
attend the 2005 edition of the FURY  FEST held in Le Mans from June 24th-26th. 
For the 5th  time this  growing festival offered  about 90 gigs over the three 
days and there  were an awful  lot of big names : Megadeth, Motorhead, Slayer, 
Obituary, In  Flames, Dark  Tranquillity, Samael, Napalm  Death, Dimmu Borgir, 
The Exploited, Anthrax and many more ! Time  to  get started with that delayed
report !

 This event required some  preparations : first buy the too expensive three day
 ticket (ouch 110 euros !),  prepare the route plan, book a hotel and above all
 get there ! We decided  to opt for the hotel since we thought that the camping
 site was a bit too much for old people like us and we had no regrets :)

 Everything  was ready, I  even  cancelled  some lessons to  make sure we could
 leave early on Friday morning. Some 600 kms -and 8 hours- later we were there.
 It surely took us a lot of time to reach our destination but we had decided to
 drive free roads only, hence  avoiding heavy taxes on  French highways. My old
 polo did it well in spite of a weird noise in a tyre :(

Friday - Day One

 After so many - boring hours on  slow roads  filled with fucking trucks - we
 reached Le Mans at about 4 in the afternoon. Luckily it didn't take too long
 finding our hotel which was about 6kms far from the Conference Center turned
 into hell pit for 3 days. After dropping our gear in our room, we drove back
 to the hot spot and plunged into real things.

 The  place  was  quite small - especially  compared to  the EUROCKEENNES - but
 organizers  expected "only" 33,000 attendants  while the former can welcome up
 to 90,000 freaks ! Open areas  offered the usual shops selling different kinds
 of food, from the plastic smelling sandwich to real and tasty stuff. Of course
 there were many bars set  here and there selling -not so- fresh beer, coke and
 even cheap water what proved quite cool considering the unbearable heat ! Gigs
 spread over 3 stages, all set in closed halls unfortunately :(

 Nothing special happened on  that day : we met  some friends whom we knew were
 to attend the festival too and I even met Hervv of MJJ PROD ! I was aware that
 many Atarians like  metal hence I thought I  would eventually meet one of them
 and I wasn't disappointed :) Too bad C-Rem did not  attend since he is a total
 metal freak as  well (do NOT  get abused  by his "childish" look, he is a TRUE
 monster ! :)

 There was no real big name that drew us here on the first day, still we walked
 around, talked to many cool people esp. from the  Tattoo shops and here I have
 to thank that nice girl who offered to give me some ointment for my burnt arm.
 Stupid thing when you drive 8 hours with  an arm hanging out of the car window
 since you  end up  with a red  arm while the  other's still white like chicken
 skin :)

 We could see ALL kinds of  metal  lovers : people who looked... normal, others
 with metal tshirts and long hair and many goths with strange outfits. I really
 loved the goths women and even considered abducting one of these succubas :)

 We stayed there till the last gig, namely Anthrax as we knew the band at least
 from name :) The show was pretty cool but we didn't know their songs therefore
 it was quite hard to follow the crowd of supporters.

 At about 2 in  the morning, we walked back to my car, stupidly trying to go
 another way which proved more a maze than a shortcut ! In the hotel we were
 pretty happy to  have a shower since the day had been  VERY  hot and closed
 stages even added more dust and heat to it. Our friends were staying at the
 camping site but from what we heard, things were quite messy : showers were
 not working and there  wasn't a SINGLE  tree around ! Needless to  say that
 sleeping in an overheated tent was something we were glad to avoid !

Saturday - Day Two

 In early afternoon, and another  shower, we were  back where things happened !
 Oddly most bands we were waiting for were to be seen on Sunday, still we had a
 good time meeting our  friends again. It seemed to be even hotter than the day
 before and the lamers at the entrance took  our bottle of coke "mixed" whisky,
 something we had to accept...

 We could see  traces from the first  day as many  glasses were  lying here and
 there  on the floor. Sure, some  people did not care  move their lazy ass to a
 trashcan but I can also understand them since trashcans weren't emptied in day
 time :(

 Something I didn't get was the organizers  point of view : oki they offered 90
 gigs, hence the very high  ticket price but... Earliest gigs  started at about
 10 in the morning ! Who would be crazy enough to get up as such insane time of
 the day ?? Sure we did  not and I guess that the "non professional" bands that
 played in the morning did not face  big audience... Fewer  bands and a cheaper
 ticket would be a treat for next year if you ask me !

 Unfortunately I couldn't get drunk since I had to drive back to the hotel but
 I think it was a good  thing  since some  people we saw  would  surely  never
 remember they attended the metal festival. Hey I didn't drive 8 hours to drop
 dead on the spot !

 There were not so many big names we were interested in this day, tho I have to
 admit I was disappointed twice : first when trying to attend ENSLAVED gig. The
 stage room was so small - for what is  imho a  famous band - that it  was over
 crowded even  30 minutes  before the show  started ! There was NO WAY we could
 get in and when I managed to sneak in, the temperature made me draw back. Also
 when DISSECTION  played on a  bigger stage, I was  very sad to note that sound
 was so crappy that you  couldn't  distinguish  a voice from  a guitar ! Indeed
 bass were  SO  pushed that even 200  meters away from  the stage, you couldn't
 recognize a known song :( That's too bad  especially since the band was trying
 to "come back" after they stopped everything for several years :(

 Our last gig on that  day was a big  time tho since  we were to see MEGADETH !
 The occasion was a bit  special since only Dave Mustain was to remain from the
 original  band, still it was a  GOLDEN  moment being able to listen to so many
 songs my brother and I  had cherished  years ago : anyone who holds "Countdown
 to extinction" into his CD collection would have loved being there ! They even
 played their only song featuring French  lyrics ! Tho a bit "cheap", this song
 still brought a LOT of  atmosphere onto the stage ! Definitely a *GREAT* gig !
 Once it was over, we drove back to our  beloved hotel and after another shower
 we went to bed having cool dreams.

 NB : somehow Megadeth's gig was shouting "farewell" and we noticed Dave's deep
 emotions when he thanked  the audience.  I guess it isn't easy to close such a
 big chapter in your life...

Sunday - Day Three

 THE day ! Above all, my brother and I wanted to attend the In Flames gig since
 we had  gradually  grown  real  fans over the  last months ! And we were quite
 lucky since we could have missed  the concert ! How  come ? Well it seems that
 some band had to cancel their show  at the very  last minute - cannot tell who
 actually - hence  bringing a  * lot * of changes  into the running order. As a
 consequence In Flames  was on stage TWO  HOURS before  announced time ! Unlike
 previous days, this one  was VERY  busy  and scheduled tight ! We moved from a
 gig to another one, making sure we would be able to enjoy most of the show. On
 that day we saw gigs  of Dark  Tranquillity (rules !) but  also Samael (crappy
 sound unfortunately), then we  spotted Napalm  Death  in a very hot hall room.

 At last, In Flames was about to perform !! About 20 minutes before the show we
 got a decent position  into the hall as we didn't know  whether the room would
 be over crowded or not... The  show proved  VERY  VERY  good ! In Flames truly
 rocked on stage  and that's  when you  can make real  bands from wankers ! The
 singer spoke a lot to the audience and  guess what ? For a single song he even
 offered supporters to go on stage and sing the song ! A first volunteer didn't
 have the balls for it, another one did ! Sure he  sang like a  mad cow but the
 crowd - including us - was crazy and we praised him as if he had been the real
 singer ! Later on, I met  the  guy  in the  restrooms where he  was greeted by
 everyone ! Special greetings hence to Benoit  though I doubt he will ever read
 this report :)

 The In Flames gig ended too early - as always  with  good  things - but we had
 stars in the eyes ! While my brother was peacefully "recovering" from a sweaty
 show, I got back into the room ready to attend Dimmu Borgir's performance.

 Not everyone will like  Dimmu Borgir since this is a black metal band such as
 Cradle Of Filth, but that's the kind  of metal I mostly LOVE ! It all started
 with an atmospheric sample before the band members  showed up and blasted our
 ears ! I was happy like a kid on xmas eve ! It was really great and sound was
 soooo big ! After the gig my ears kept buzzing for 15 minutes at least !

 On that very  busy  day we also attended  parts of  Obituary's gig  as well as
 others I have now forgotten :) Last but not least we were to move back to that
 so small and overheated place where  ENSLAVED had played the  day before, this
 time to  meet the  Swedish  barbarians of AMON AMARTH ! To make  sure we could
 enjoy the gig, we were there about 20 minutes before the show...

 Our last gig was no  disappointment since the Earth  started to shake when the
 band played. They were just great, the air was hot and filled with electricity
 while  they  were  putting us on fire ! For  years we had been yearning to see
 them play live, after a few  gigs cancelled, and  really it  was AWESOME ! Now
 dried to the bone, while ironically so  sweaty in our clothes, we made a final
 return to our hotel for our last night...

The drive back home is not worth telling : boring  and too long  if you ask me 
esp. since we both felt dead tired after so many gigs and so much heat! It was 
really worth  spending that  much on a single festival though I wish that next 
editions will offer fewer bands hence a cheaper ticket price :)

Well, that's it, the ONLY  metal festival in France was over ! Definitely a 
GREAT memory since  metal has never been that  popular in France :( Besides 
fewer and fewer gig halls offer metal bands these days as if we were to put 
fire everywhere... Indeed there was NOT a single fight nor ANY trouble with 
the attendants of that festival, most of them  even proved  to be more open 
minded that the average Joe down the street.

Now if you plan to attend next edition of  the FURY FEST then drop  me a mail 
and maybe we can arrange to go there together or at least to meet there. Do I 
have a last word for the * few * people who actually read this report ? Yes : 
STS for Alive, 2005-09-23
Alive 11