Belgium's Groezrock Festival happened last weekend. We went, we watched some bands, we learned some things.
1. This lot start early
Joyce Manor opened proceedings at the ungodly hour of midday, and were met with a busy main stage tent. Just as well, too, since the California natives played an absolute blinder. There are worse ways to start a weekend than an excellent cover of Weezer's 'You Gave Your Love To Me Softly'.
2. Belgium loves a stage dive
Forty seven. We counted FORTY SEVEN stage dives during Basement's set. Considering the fact that Groezrockers had been flinging themselves from every barrier-less stage they could for over a day and a half at this point, that's some impressive stamina.
3. The UK has a hell of a lot to be proud of
While She Sleeps, Basement, Gnarwolves, The Hell, Feed The Rhino, Turbowolf - *inhales* - Under The Influence, Bad Ideas and Ducking Punches all graced one of the festival's five stages, and every last one of them represented our fair shores brilliantly.
While She Sleeps
4. The world is worse off without The Swellers
Oh. They're actually gone. Forever. There was no moment more poignant than when the chorus of 'The Best I Ever Had' rang out for the final time at the end of their last ever show. Farewell, guys. We'll miss you.
5. Groezrock crowds are a helpful bunch
Whether they were singing along to every word of Frnkiero Andthe Cellabration's set or being extremely patient while Set It Off muddle through a set riddled with technical difficulties, those in attendance here gave everything to their bands all weekend. Lots of praise will go to the stellar lineup, but without fans this passionate, Groezrock wouldn't be as great as it is.
6. Dreams can come true
If you've been following The Hell's recent activities, you'll know the story of Joris From Belgium and his dream to play guitar for The Hell at Groezrock - here's a recap if not...
Right then, all caught up? So, being the benevolent types that the Watford mob are, that dream became a reality as Joris took over guitar duties to close their set with 'Everybody Dies'. Marvellous.
7. Refused are most definitely not dead
The ocean of Refused merch worn at the festival and the sheer euphoria that overcomes the packed main-stage as they step out onto it drives home what a massive, massive deal this latest comeback is. The Groezrock faithful absolutely adore this band - and with a setlist as strong as theirs, it's easy to see why.
Refused. Refused everywhere.
8. Against Me! would steal any show anywhere on the planet
Against Me! registered the set of the weekend. Hearing 'FUCKMYLIFE666' and 'Black Me Out' played to a crowd that stand by every word that comes out of Laura Jane Grace's mouth made for a very special and at times moving occasion. For forty-five untouchable minutes on Friday afternoon, it felt like Against Me! were the only band on the planet.
The 25th Groezrock Festival is set to take place on April 29 and 30, 2016.