Dokk’em Open Air 2019, Dokkum, 29 june 2019

A two-day festival that takes place all the way up north in the country. The line-up wasn’t all that interesting. Except for one particular band, namely King Diamond on Saturday. I skipped the Friday entirely and only went on Saturday, even skipping most of the afternoon, in part because the line-up wasn’t very interesting and in part because it was an extremely hot day.  

The first band I saw was the Dutch Pestilence. Now with a new second guitarist again. The band played a set consisting of only old material, from Consuming Impulse and Testimony of the Ancients. I had expected a bit more newer songs as they just toured with a Consuming Impulse set this spring and Hadeon was well-received. But anyway, great songs still, and despite the heat – Dehydrated seems a very appropriate title – a pretty good set too. Soundwise it was a bit so-so, the guitars were too thin in the mix.  

The smaller second stage had a couple of party bands during the afternoon, which I mostly skipped. And I watched Dool from a distance as the sun was too hot and the band wasn’t too interesting.  

Vivaldi Metal Project sounds like a really good idea on paper. Get some really good musicians and combine metal and classical music. Therion has done this in the past to quite some success. Like the name, the music is based on Vivaldi, but I hardly recognised it. The whole band seemed a bit contrived and gimmicky. The guitarist however was really great tho. I found out later that it is the guy who played a metal version of the Moonlight Sonata on electric guitar. In the end, I can only conclude that Therion did this a lot better.

Cannibal Corpse is a band I could never really get into. So I never watched them live either and wasn’t really familiar with their music. But here the were, and so was I so I watched their gig. They seemed to play on auto pilot mostly. And apparently the first half of the set were mostly new songs. It was actually quite boring, mid-paced death metal. The later songs picked up a speed a bit. The band had very little interaction with the crowd until the very end when the “classic” I cum Blood was played. In the end I thought it was one of the most boring bands I have ever seen.

Then it was time for the King.  After a new intro, King Diamond started with The Candle off the debut album. King’s voice sounded really good, he could reach all the high notes. There was a new stage layout, which surprisingly they could set up in some 40 minutes, that looked really cool and creepy, apparently designed after the forthcoming album. The set was comprised largely of songs from the first 5 albums, with Voodoo and a new song Masquerade of Madness added. The Lake was a bit of a surprise at is was only a B-sides song. Musically it was top-notch, the guitar work by both guitarists was fantastic. Really awesome gig and well worth driving to Dokkum for. Probably one of the 10 best gigs I ever been too.  The King of Diamonds always wins…

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