Arriving at Nova Rock on day 3 we found the place had a slightly more relaxed atmosphere, people sitting around and generally moving at a slower pace compared to the last couple of days. A lot of the bands that were performing were new to me until later on in the day, so it was a good time to sit back and watch the crowd’s reactions and activities that were going on around the arenas.
Our first band of the day was Donots, a punk rock band from Germany. There was a good crowd forming around the Red stage, and a huge cheer as the band came on. Throughout the entire set the crowd were jumping and singing along, proving how much of a following they had.
The next band on the Red stage was The Last Internationale. The crowd had thinned, however it didn’t stop the band’s energy throughout their set. With powerful vocals from Delila Paz during every song, the band from New York definitely impressed with their songs full of socially charged lyrics.
We made our way over to the Blue stage where we stayed for the next few bands. I wasn’t sure if more people were just hanging back due to tiredness and hangovers or if we were following the more unpopular bands of the day, but there was a fairly small crowd waiting for Baroness to take the stage. Even though I didn’t know the band, the first song of the set, “Take My Bones Away”, definitely sounded familiar to me. Throughout the entire set it was obvious that the crowd that had gathered were fans as most were singing and nodding their heads.
Now it was time for probably my least favourite act of the whole festival, Body Count ft Ice T. With a statement against racism which went down well with the crowd, Ice T later make a comment about there being “a bitch in the pit” which came across as fairly offensive and slightly sexist considering his earlier comments about discrimination. It might just be that the genre of music isn’t what I like but we didn’t stay around for more than the songs for which our photographer was in the pit.
After a break for food, we found ourselves at the Blue stage again for a band our photographer had wanted to see since he was 15 but couldn’t due to illness. Bullet for my Valentine brought in the crowds, and the arena was packed. Throughout the entire set there were mosh bits and it seemed like everyone was singing along to their well-known tracks like “Your Betrayal” and “Scream Aim Fire”. There was a good selection of tracks from all albums during the set, but they played a few too many songs from their latest album Gravity with three songs in total; a high number considering the album isn’t released until the 29th June. Fans had clearly been listening to the tracks on YouTube as “Over It” in particular had the crowd singing along.
It was time for the headline act on the Blue stage. Volbeat returned to Nova Rock and their following was huge – the arena was full from start to finish. There was a sense of anticipation in the air as the bright spotlights shone on Volbeat’s giant banner. After a short intro, the lights dropped and the banner fell revealing a smokey stage and the band members set back from the front of the stage.
They kicked off the set in the same way they had done a few weeks before in Manchester with “The Devil’s Bleeding Crown”, “Heaven nor Hell / A Warrior’s Call / I Only Want to Be with You” and “Lola Montez” up first. During the set there was a shout out to music legends Elvis Presley and Johnny Cash before a brief cover of Cash’s “Ring Of Fire” seguéd into “Sad Man’s Tongue” which mentions both of these great musical influences. Throughout their set the band seemed shocked to have such a huge following here in Austria and made a couple of mentions about the sea of Volbeat t-shirts in the audience. The band were simply blown away when they played one of their songs in their native tongue and the crowd knew every line.
At a time when most 62 years olds would be tucked up in bed, Billy Idol was headlining the Red stage at Nova Rock. With the day having run like clockwork so far, Idol’s appearance on the stage bucked the trend with a fashionably late arrival and a delayed start of around 15 minutes, but it was definitely worth sticking around for this late-night headliner.
He kicked off the set with “Shock to the System” and “Dancing With Myself” before deciding that the temperature on stage was a little too hot and taking a few moment to remove a couple of layers. The rest of the set featured tracks from every era of Idol’s back catalogue with at least one track off every studio album he has released. Of course, the two biggest track of his career were saved until last with “Rebel Yell” being the final song before Idol and band left the stage for a short time, then returning to play a short encore of “White Wedding”.
Idol has had a couple of weeks off after a brief US tour in March but after the performance tonight it is clear that the UK fans he will be performing for in Manchester, Birmingham and London next week are in for a brilliant evening of classic rock.
Photos by Jack Barker Photography