Thrashfest 2010 @ Amager Bio ( Copenhagen, Denmark)

The last minute decision to jump on a train to Copenhagen was well worth it…

I’d been eyeballing this gig for a while. Four established thrash bands on one bill for only 35. I had been too lazy to see Annihilator in Gothenburg a few weeks earlier, and have been kicking myself for it ever since. So on the Sunday evening I jumped online and booked my hotel and ticket, and went to bed with an exciting anticipation of the night to come.

I left work early on the Monday, and managed to avoid paying the 25 fare on the train trip to Copenhagen Central, so was off to a good start. I checked into my hotel, dumped my shit and set out on the 45min walk to the venue. It was a cold and windy night, the temperature hovering around zero, and the combination of icy roads and my lack of preparation (note to self: next time - bring a map) made the trek take longer than it should have. Lucky the Danes can speak decent English!

The venue, Amager Bio, gave the feeling of an industrial warehouse, with high ceilings and large stainless steel air ducts running along the roof and walls. It had a big open viewing area with a low stage, completely separated from the bar and merch area. With a maximum capacity of 1000, there couldn’t have been more than 400 people here tonight, which meant navigating my way through the taller-than-average crowd was a relatively easy task.

The opening act Suicide Angels from Greece are a band I have never heard of before, even though they have been around for almost 10 years. Missing their set didn’t bother me as they were not who I was here to see. Maybe I’ll catch them at a festival in the future.

I arrived a few songs into the Death Angel set. As I walked into the viewing area, the first thing that took my notice was the quality of the sound. It was powerful and crisp, not too loud but suitable for the venue size. This was complemented by a professional lightshow; credit to both sound and lighting engineers on this one. All band members move around the stage with energy, while frontman Mark Osegueda’s constant windmills with his long dreadlocked hair were exhausting, even to watch. My first time seeing the band live, I was lapping up every track, but the crowd didn’t seem to be getting into it tonight. The show not helped by being a placed on a Monday. The band certainly didn’t know (or care) what day it was, and their dynamics on stage really impressed me. My personal favourite was their final song for the night, The Ultra-Violence which flowed into the classic Thrown to the Wolves.

The short changeovers between bands were good, and kept the night flowing. Exodus was up next. To be honest, I’ve never really gotten into Exodus. Everyone’s got a band like this; they play the type of music I love, but I can’t seem to like the band. All I know is I was bored by the set, which meant I spent the last half of it in the bar. The movement of the band onstage was limited, with exception to singer Rob Dukes who tried hard to get the crowd going. Tonight however, it just wasn’t going to happen.

Between the next set the stage was rebuilt into two levels, proving if you didn’t know already that Kreator were the headliners of the night, you soon would. I pushed my way to the front barrier and met Tim, who tells me Kreator have not played Copenhagen for 10 years. We have a chat over a beer, while fiercely guarding our locations as the pit begins to fill.

Before entering onstage, a projector filled the backdrop with hand-held camera footage of the various bands of the night backstage and in their dressing rooms. An effective opening as the suspense in the pit started building. A darkened stage welcomed the opener Violent Revolution, which then built into Hordes of Chaos where it became apparent which band the crowd were here to see.

Having seen Kreator play in Adelaide, Australia just over a year ago, I was not surprised to see the set list almost identical. Not that this was a bad thing. Mille introduced tracks from almost all albums, with a good mix of old and new.

Mille’s introduction to Pleasure to Kill “are you ready… to kill… each other?” is quite ironic when a fight broke out in the pit and he yelled “stop… there will be no fighting at a Kreator concert”. In reality however it was a relatively tame mosh pit, due mostly to the demographic of the audience.

After Coma of Souls, the band came back for a predictable encore. I feel encores in general are overused in today’s concerts, and do not have the same effect when pre-planned into the set. However, the crowd waited patiently for the German thrashers to reappear and burst into The Pestilence, then Flag of Hate and finishing with Tormentor.

Mr. Petrozza showed that even after 25 years of touring he is still one evil and menacing motherfucker. This Copenhagen show was one of the last on the Thrashfest tour, and the band will have a well-deserved break in 2011 to write some new material.

In summary - money well spent. The band that impressed me the most tonight was Death Angel, but for hands-down value it was the mighty Kreator for the win. On a more personal note though; as an Aussie ex-pat, this concert went a long was in proving that the convenience of gigs accessibility can partially compensate for these cold Nordic Decembers. Now fuck off winter! Bring on the summer festivals!

Click here to check out some of the pix Leo took at the show.