Nova Rock starts with Nostalgia, Hollywood and Green Day

Green Day headlined the Blue Stage on Friday night, not for the first time at Nova Rock, as a perfectly rehearsed (and live amplified) band. Billie Joe Armstrong, still looking youthfully rugged at 52, and his peers opened with “The American Dream Is Killing Me” from current album “Saviors” and then delved into the classics “Dookie” and “American.” Idiot” dedicated to those who appeared 30 years and 20 years ago, respectively. For the anniversary, the first was presented almost completely, and the second in all its glory. Songs like “Burnout,” “Know Your Enemy” (with a female fan as an onstage singing partner) and “Brain Stew” (including a brief Black Sabbath tribute) from ’95’s “Insomniac” typify the punk, gritty style. First act page of American creation.

In the second half of the show, Green Day bowed themselves out by enthusiastically celebrating their highly complex and broadly effective master’s thesis, “American Idiot.” Songs like “Jesus of Suburbia,” “Holiday” or the downtempo pieces “Boulevard of Broken Dreams” and “Wake Me Up When September Ends” never get old. Like drummer Trey Cool’s energy, he sets the tone with power — in perfect rhythm with bassist Mike Dirnt. “The anthemic Good Returns (Time of Your Life) capped off a decent performance from Green Day over the years – with a changing setlist.

Green Day is not just a mix of music between pop, rock and punk, but a show including columns of fire and explosions. An (inflated) plane similar to the one on the “Dookie” album cover flew over fans and dropped “bombs”. Armstrong repeatedly animated the crowd and used call and response. He takes this to extremes, which has long been a Green Day ritual. In the second stage, on the Red Stage, Gloryhammer went a step further: singer Sosos Michael used a huge hammer from which he plucked a green ogre. Parody of power metal clichés attracted a sizable and enthusiastic audience. Sisters of Mercy acted as bouncers.

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For a record-breaking seventh time, Billy Talent took the stage at Nova Rock: “It’s the biggest festival in Austria, it gave us a breakthrough in this country,” guitarist Ian D’Sa said in an interview with APA. “We’re here again, and it’s still exciting.” The same goes for the audience, who didn’t let the band down and created a great atmosphere with numbers like “Surrender” and “Try Honest.” The crisp “Red Flag” is considered a secret festival anthem anyway – even a minor power outage didn’t matter, people were still jumping and singing along.

Since the Canadians didn’t have a new album to promote this time, the hit had a full-on show, of which “Fallen Leaves” couldn’t be a bigger highlight. “I hate rehearsing this song,” said bassist John Gallant. “We’ve played it many times. But when I’m on stage and feel the reaction of the crowd, I love the song over and over again.” Either way, the band is “a very powerful way to perform rock’n’roll,” Gallant said. Added with a wink: “We’ll be back in two years.”

Fans in Austria had to wait a long time for Jane’s Addiction: a cult rock band around singer Perry Farrell and guitarist Dave Navarro, offering psychedelic sounds that didn’t attract a huge crowd, but were incredibly powerful. New material has already been promised several times, but Farrell was cautious about it with APA. “Just a few songs now. It’s always about compromises. Being in a group is harder than marriage. “It’s a wedding season four,” the charismatic singer laughed.

He received a standing ovation from a big name in Hollywood cinema: “Matrix” star Keanu Reeves was a guest at Noah’s Rock with his band Dogstar, and he didn’t miss a beat, except for his performance of Jane’s Addiction. A little tip in the crowd, wrote he patiently signed autographs and posed for a few selfies. He didn’t cut a bad figure as a bassist, although his band’s music might not be remembered as a sweet mix between Pearl Jam and U2.

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Thrash icon Kerry King took a more difficult approach: the former Slayer guitarist came up with his own project, which in addition to his debut “From Hell I Rise” also featured some classic songs from his regular band. Backed by experts like Phil Demmel (X-Machine Head), cutting riffs, powerful drums and pillars of fire were there to experience. King “felt like a fish out of water” at the first concerts, the 60-year-old told APA. Only one thing was missing: the chains King used to dangle from his pant legs at every Slayer show over the years. “I sent them to rest.”

According to their own statements, German post-rockers Long Distance Calling presented a “contrast program”. “We really need darkness and atmospheric light, and then our music works completely differently,” drummer Janosz Rathmar laughed in an interview. “A festival with a lot of party music and punk rock is not easy for us.”

There was plenty of movement at Hot Milk: the British band around singer Hannah Mee and guitarist Jim Shaw were allowed to open the festival musically and took the main stage by storm. The songs from last year’s debut “A Call to the Void” received a lot of recognition with their entertaining mix of pop, punk and alternative. Hot milk is the only way to go, right? “You have to be brave about it,” Mee said. “I always go to festival promoters and say to them, ‘Oh, we’ll get a headline slot next time, right?’ You should be leaning out the window.

Overall, the first Nova Rock day can be seen as a complete success: according to the organizers and the emergency services, the trip was mostly trouble-free: “everything and everyone was very relaxed,” was the brief conclusion. 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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