Nova Rock: Nostalgia, Hollywood glamour and Green Day as showmaster

Nova Rock: Nostalgia, Hollywood glamour and Green Day as showmaster
Nova Rock: Nostalgia, Hollywood glamour and Green Day as showmaster

According to the organizers and emergency services, the journey went largely without problems: “Everything and everyone was very relaxed,” was the brief conclusion.

The 90s heroes from Jane’s Addiction were back in Austria after more than 30 years. Green Day put on a typically entertaining show at the end. Overall, the festival kick-off showed its friendly weather and musical variety.

Green Day presented themselves as headliners on the Blue Stage on Friday night as a perfectly rehearsed (live-amplified) band at a Nova Rock. Billie Joe Armstrong, who still looks like a youthful rogue at the age of 52, and his colleagues started with “The American Dream Is Killing Me” from the current album “Saviors” and then devoted themselves extensively to the classics “Dookie” and “American Idiot”, which were released 30 years ago and 20 years ago respectively. To mark the anniversary, the former was performed almost in its entirety and the latter in all its glory. Songs such as “Burnout”, “Know Your Enemy” (with a female fan singing on stage) and “Brain Stew” (including a short Black Sabbath tribute) from the 1995 album “Insomniac” represented the punky, harsher side of the US formation in the first act.

  • Read also: Nova Rock: Hard sounds, lots of energy and a weather mix to kick things off

Green Day: Perfect rhythm combination

In the second part of the performance, Green Day paid homage to themselves by celebrating their more complex and broader masterpiece “American Idiot” with verve. Songs like “Jesus of Suburbia”, “Holiday” or the slower-tempo pieces “Boulevard Of Broken Dreams” and “Wake Me Up When September Ends” simply don’t age. Nor does the energy of drummer Tré Cool, who set the tone with power – in perfect rhythm with bassist Mike Dirnt. The hymn-like “Good Riddence (Time Of Your Life)” ended a decent performance, the kind we have seen from Green Day over the years – with a changing set list.

Green Day is not just about music, which is a mixture of pop, rock and punk, but also about a show, complete with columns of fire and explosions. An (inflatable) airplane like the one on the “Dookie” album cover soared over the fans’ heads and dropped “bombs”. Armstrong repeatedly animated the crowds and started the call-and-response. The fact that he takes this to the extreme has long been a Green Day ritual. On the second stage, the Red Stage, Gloryhammer went one step further: Singer Sozos Michael swung an oversized hammer from which he had snatched a green ogre. The parody of power metal clichés attracted a very impressive and enthusiastic audience. Sisters of Mercy acted as the bouncers.

Billy Talent and the festival anthem

Billy Talent performed at Nova Rock for the record-breaking seventh time: “This is the biggest festival in Austria and it gave us our breakthrough in this country,” said guitarist Ian D’Sa. “We’re here again and it’s still exciting.” This also applied to the audience, who didn’t let the band down and got the crowd going right from the start with numbers like “Surrender” and “Try Honesty.” The catchy “Red Flag” is considered a secret festival anthem anyway – even a brief power outage didn’t matter, they still jumped and sang.

Since the Canadians didn’t have a new album to promote at the moment, they played a flawless hit program, which of course included “Fallen Leaves” as the big highlight. “I don’t like rehearsing this song at all,” said bassist Jon Gallant. “We’ve played it so many times. But when I’m on stage and feel the people’s reaction, I love the song all the time.” In any case, the band is “the most powerful way of presenting rock’n’roll,” said Gallant, who added with a wink: “We’ll be back in two years.”

Psychedelic sounds from Jane’s Addiction

Fans in Austria had to wait much longer for Jane’s Addiction: The cult rock band around singer Perry Farrell and guitarist Dave Navarro delivered psychedelic sounds that didn’t attract a large crowd, but were presented with incredible force. New material has already been announced several times, but Farrell was cautious about this when speaking to the APA. “At the moment it’s just a few songs. It’s always about compromises. Being in a band is harder than a marriage. It’s a marriage times four,” grinned the charismatic singer.

Hollywood in Nickelsdorf

He also received applause from a Hollywood cinema great: “Matrix” star Keanu Reeves was a guest at Nova Rock with his band Dogstar and, in addition to the performance by Jane’s Addiction, he also took a little dip in the crowd, patiently signing autographs and posing for a few selfies. He also cut a good figure as a bassist, although his band’s music is unlikely to be remembered as a pleasant mix between Pearl Jam and U2.

Thrash icon Kerry King took a much harder approach: the former Slayer guitarist had traveled there with his own project, which, in addition to songs from the debut “From Hell I Rise”, also served up some classics from his regular band. Supported by experts such as Phil Demmel (ex-Machine Head), there were cutting riffs, powerful drums and pillars of fire to experience. King “felt like a fish out of water” at the first concerts, the 60-year-old said in an interview with APA. Only one thing was missing: the chains that King had dangled from his trouser leg at every Slayer gig for years. “I’ve retired them.”

The German post-rockers Long Distance Calling delivered a “contrast program” according to their own statement. “We actually need darkness and atmospheric light, then our music works completely differently,” laughed drummer Janosch Rathmer in an interview. “A festival with lots of party music and punk rock is not exactly what is easy for us.” But the band still delivered on the Red Bull Stage, with a lot of joy in playing and songs that were presented in a way that was both powerful and atmospheric.

“Everything and everyone very relaxed”

There was a lot of movement at Hot Milk: The British band around singer Hannah Mee and guitarist Jim Shaw opened the festival musically and took the main stage by storm. Songs from their debut “A Call to the Void”, released last year, were met with great approval, and the mix of pop, punk and alternative was entertaining. The road can only lead up for Hot Milk, right? “You have to approach it with a cheeky attitude,” said Mee. “I always go to the festival promoters and say to them: ‘Oh, next time we’ll have the headliner slot, right?’ You just have to go out on a limb.”

Overall, the first Nova Rock Day can be considered a complete success: According to the organizers and emergency services, the journey went largely without problems: “Everything and everyone was very relaxed,” was the brief conclusion. And if you want to plan ahead: the first acts for 2025 have already been announced: Slipknot, Electric Callboy, Wanda and Lorna Shore.

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