Last weekend saw Rock am Ring’s 30th edition kick off at the Mendig-based Flugplatz. With headline performances from Die Toten Hosen, Foo Fighters, The Prodigy and Slipknot, the German festival has once again proven to bear one of the strongest line-ups of the summer. It’s the first time that the festival has taken place in Mendig, with the previous 29 editions all taking place on the famous Nurburgring race track. Our reporter Helena and photographer Natasja were present for the duration of the festival, and you can read their round-up of the first day by reading on.
It’s the first day of Rock am Ring’s 30th edition! The campsites opened on Wednesday afternoon, yet today is the first full day of music. It’s also set to be the warmest day, with temperatures hitting 30 degrees. Rock am Ring boss Marek Lieberberg kicked off the festival with a small speech on the Seat Volcano Stage, sharing with everyone that he would be turning 70 next year. He also welcomed everybody to Rock am Ring’s new location, the Flugplatz in Mendig.
Donots kicked off the festival by doing what that they always do – making the crowd go wild! They played in front of a large crowd, even though it was more than 30 degrees and early in the day. However, this didn’t stop everyone from jumping and singing along.
Yellowcard were up next on the Seat Volcano Stage, kicking off their set with the energetic Lights and Sounds. You could instantly tell that Yellowcard knew how to party, getting the crowd going immediately. The show itself wasn’t very spectacular, despite violinist Sean Mackin doing a backflip with his violin.
MOTIONLESS IN WHITE
There was a 20 minute delay during the day, which meant that Pennsylvanian band Motionless in White arrived onstage later than scheduled. The band, fronted by the pale-faced Chris Motionless, walked on stage wearing long dark clothing and their usual, demonic make-up. Their live show wasn’t very good, with the band not looking like they enjoyed it. The crowd in turn also weren’t very loud, probably because they weren’t feeling a lot of energy from the band.
A DAY TO REMEMBER
A lot of people flocked to the Seat Volcano Stage for A Day to Remember’s mid-afternoon set. Their hour-long set featured the likes of fan favourite The Downfall of us All, ballad Have Faith in Me and a lot of pyrotechnics. For every time that frontman Jeremy McKinnon asked for a mosh pit, he received approximately 6 in return from the crazy crowd. The pyrotechnics certainly made the show good, but the live performance in itself was also impressive.
WHILE SHE SLEEPS
With new album Brainwashed having just come out, While She Sleeps are touring relentlessly. Their performance was very strong, with vocalist Lawrence Taylor joking around a lot with the crowd, throwing his mic stand up in the sky and even attempting to train his abs with said mic stand. The crowd screamed along enthusiastically, with plenty of mosh pits and crowdsurfers present.
Rise Against followed on the Seat Volcano Stage, with fans of the Chicago punk/hardcore having waited a bit longer for the show to start. When the Tim McIlrath-fronted group came on stage, everybody was singing along loudly, with the band being full of energy. You could say that their live performance was almost perfect, performing a set which featured older cuts, as well as songs from 2014’s The Black Market. They did a good job in warming up the crowd for main stage headliners Die Toten Hosen, who followed.
DIE TOTEN HOSEN
Die Toten Hosen were the first headliners to grace the stage in Mendig. The German band, who are very popular in their homeland, got the whole crowd involved during their two-hour set. Their show was very impressive instrumentally, with the track Stehn Auf Wenn Du Am Boden Bist being dedicated to former drummer Wolfgang Rohde, who is currently battling cancer.
Over on the Beck’s Crater Stage, Marilyn Manson headlined the opening day. A thunderstorm started at the beginning of the show, with plenty of lightning hitting Mendig during the night. Manson walked on stage to plenty of smoke and church-like music, letting the crowd wait a bit too long for him to show up. Once he finally made it to the stage, he spent quite some time with his back turned to the crowd. Once opening track Deep Six kicked in he turned around, posing rather arrogantly for the packed crowd. His live performance, though, was very strong.
Asking Alexandria headlined the Alternatent at 2am, playing just before the thunderstorm fully hit Mendig. Even though there was heavy rain and lightning outside, the tent wasn’t full. Everyone that was present, though, was there to see and hear Asking’s new vocalist – Denis Shaforostov. The band took to the stage one by one to the sound of 2011’s Welcome, with Danny Worsnop’s replacement emerging last. As soon as Shaforostov kicked off the opening notes of Closure it was very evident that this doesn’t sound much like Asking Alexandria anymore. He sings and screams merely half of the lyrics, but was he Breathless? You can see that Shaforostov is very insecure onstage and that the band aren’t working together on stage (yet). New single I Won’t Give In featured, with the crowd already singing along.
Fritz Kalkbrenner was the final act of the day on Friday. His DJ set started earlier, just before Mendig turned into an epic centre of thunder. Not long afterwards, people had to leave the two open air stages for their own safety. Marek Lieberberg took to the stage and told the crowd not to panic and go to the campsite quietly. The thunderstorm reached Mendig not long afterwards, with a total of 33 people falling injured, 12 of which ended up in hospital.
Edited by Jack Parker.
Click here for more pictures from Rock am Ring 2015.