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HELLFEST OPEN AIR 2023 - DAY 1


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LIVE REPORTS
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OTHERS EXTREME



Now it's time for Baptiste, our festival-goer friend who's been treading Hellfest's soil for several years, to give you his loyal feedback and his assessment of the atmosphere, with a new mosh pit rating!
PHILX - 06.07.2023 -
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Pictures are good, but fury experienced from the inside is better. So while PhilX pored over the stages and VIP areas in search of images, yours truly played with his shoulders and shared his sweat with strangers in the middle of the mosh pits.

With no intention of being exhaustive or rigorous, here's the account of a festival-goer assessing the various bands he saw and the quality of their mosh pits.

First of all, as physical appearance is important here, you should know that I'm just over 1m80 tall and weigh around 75 kilos. What's more, I'm pretty used to pogos, having been to quite a few concerts over the last 20 years, and this is my 5th Hellfest in 10 years.

Tips and tricks: there are a few rules to know before jumping into the fray.
1: remove all jewelry and anything else that might fall off (caps, sweaters, glasses, etc.) and put it in a bag.
2: get rid of anything of value and put it in your bag. At Hellfest, pickpockets are in the pogos.
3: if you have piercings, remove them or protect them under clothing (typical cases are nipple piercings, which are regularly ripped off bare-chested people)
4: give your bag to a friend who stays behind, or put it in front of you and tighten the straps.
5: choose your shoes: sneakers for endurance and speed, or DocMartens for protection. It's up to you. 
6: you're good!

Grading scale: as a mosh pit is based on sensations, I like to compare their intensity to ski slopes. Green: typically little or no movement
Blue: moving, perfect for learning tricks (circle, wall, etc.)
Red: moves hard, fast and for a long time, for a succession of style tricks.
Black: moves hard and fast, plus there's a crowd or special conditions.
Of course, your physical condition will have an influence: if you're 2 metres tall and weigh 150 kilos, you'll see things differently from someone who's 1m60 tall and weighs 50 kilos.

Having said all that, let's get on with the festival! One useful note: I was staying in the Nantes area and driving on the way back, so my blood alcohol level was low throughout the festivities, except on Monday when I tested the train. My analysis was therefore not clouded by drunkenness. Most of the time I was in a duo with a buddy, but our group numbered around ten members.


Blackbraid

Arriving around midday in the beautiful city of Nantes, I took it easy to get to the festival to see Blackbraid, proposed by my buddy on the Temple stage.

I got my wristbands back quickly and efficiently, just like last year, but there was a huge queue to get past the cathedral, with a 45-minute wait in the sun. I take the opportunity to chat to other festival-goers and come across a similar soul!

I'll have you know that before every Hellfest, I listen to all the bands announced (between November and June), evaluate them and put comments in an excel spreadsheet to find the nuggets and know what to listen for. Often the target of ridicule for this analytical approach, I was delighted to discover an amateur doing the same thing.

My schedule for the day was as follows: Blackbraid, Coheed and Cambria, I Prevail, Poésie Zero, In Flames, Architects, Hypocrisy, Behemoth, Parkway Drive. What about KISS? I don't listen to their music, and this is the third time I've seen them at Hellfest and the show never changes.

Blackbraid @ Hellfest 2023, Clisson | 15/06/2023

Blackbraid @ Hellfest 2023, Clisson | 15/06/2023

PhilX: I'm taking up the pen again, because I was at Blackbraid and I really enjoyed the few tracks I saw ("few" because I couldn't miss Hypno5e's performance, which I'd already missed when they came to Paris and who were playing in the same slot at the Temple...).

Blackbraid @ Hellfest 2023, Clisson | 15/06/2023

Blackbraid @ Hellfest 2023, Clisson | 15/06/2023

The native Americans, led by Sgah'gahsowáh, present themselves in ceremonial garb, with a gentle folklore tinged with black. The costumes are impeccable, and the music is a real blast: a great start to the 16th edition of the festival, with more to come...
 
Blackbraid @ Hellfest 2023, Clisson | 15/06/2023

More pictures in HD here.


Hypno5e

NdPhilX: Before handing the feather back to Baptiste, who's still struggling to get past the cathedral, I'm off to see the second part of Hypno5e's short set, scheduled at the last minute to our great delight...

Hypno5e @ Hellfest 2023, Clisson | 15/06/2023

Hypno5e @ Hellfest 2023, Clisson | 15/06/2023

It's the first time I've seen them in this configuration, following the latest replacement of the rhythm section. It's Charles Villanueva on bass and Pierre Rettien on drums. It's fair to say that the latter plays particularly hard and has a slight tendency to add fills whenever he can! A slightly different performance from the studio version, but very enjoyable.

Hypno5e @ Hellfest 2023, Clisson | 15/06/2023

Hypno5e @ Hellfest 2023, Clisson | 15/06/2023

The tracks from "Sheol" are of the finest effect, and the accuracy of Emmanuel Jessua and his partner Jonathan Maurois is perfect. Although the musicians aren't the most expressive, the atmosphere of their music, even played in the middle of the morning, is well conveyed, and the audience listens with an almost religious discipline.

Personally, I got a huge kick out of the first hour of the festival thanks to this band, who deserve a much longer set...

Hypno5e @ Hellfest 2023, Clisson | 15/06/2023

Hypno5e @ Hellfest 2023, Clisson | 15/06/2023

More pictures in HD here.

Setlist :
Sheol – Part I – Nowhere
Sheol - Part II - Lands of Haze
On the Dry Lake
Lava from the sky
Acid Mist Tomorrow


Coheed and Cambria

Baptiste: Finally I arrive for the second concert: Coheed and Cambria (well noted according to my file), I find some of my mates lying down recovering from the night's festivities at the campsite.

Coheed and Cambria @ Hellfest 2023, Clisson | 15/06/2023

Coheed and Cambria @ Hellfest 2023, Clisson | 15/06/2023
In the end, I was rather disappointed, it was flat and mawkish, I was expecting a little more dynamism, 2.5/5. I just sat on the sidelines, chatting away without getting caught up in the show.

Coheed and Cambria @ Hellfest 2023, Clisson | 15/06/2023

Coheed and Cambria @ Hellfest 2023, Clisson | 15/06/2023

Coheed and Cambria @ Hellfest 2023, Clisson | 15/06/2023

Coheed and Cambria @ Hellfest 2023, Clisson | 15/06/2023

More pictures on HD here.

Setlist :
Beautiful Losers
Shoulders
No World for Tomorrow
A Favor House Atlantic
The Liars Club
In Keeping Secrets of Silent Earth: 3
Welcome Home


Aephanemer

PhilX: Because Baptiste doesn't run around the stages like I (want to) do, here's a look back at the performance of southerners Aephanemer, whom I'm enjoying discovering, thanks in particular to a death growl from a cheerful frontwoman whose pleasure at performing at Hellfest is betrayed only by an omnipresent smile...

Aephanemer @ Hellfest 2023, Clisson | 15/06/2023

Aephanemer @ Hellfest 2023, Clisson | 15/06/2023

There was no change in the Altar and Temple tents, which for some years now have been devoid of all the pomp and circumstance befitting the music being played there.... Gone, then, are the inverted cruxifixes and other pentacles that used to adorn the ceiling and the suspended spotlights.

Aephanemer @ Hellfest 2023, Clisson | 15/06/2023

Let's get back to Aephanemer's performance, which saw Laure, their new bassist, take to the stage for the first time in a highly professional and perfectly prepared performance.

Aephanemer @ Hellfest 2023, Clisson | 15/06/2023

Aephanemer @ Hellfest 2023, Clisson | 15/06/2023


More pictures in HD here.
 

I Prevail

Baptiste: I'd been moderately excited by my listening, but as soon as the concert started, I felt a good energy running through the crowd and I stepped forward, tracing a line through the crowd, followed by two friends to start warming up.

I Prevail @ Hellfest 2023, Clisson | 15/06/2023

I Prevail @ Hellfest 2023, Clisson | 15/06/2023

The band also felt the atmosphere and went from one angry song to the next, without slowing down or losing their rhythm. I really enjoyed the moment, and went to the front to start the circles, pogos and even the wall. It was a great atmosphere, and you could tell that the festival was starting for many people.
 
I Prevail @ Hellfest 2023, Clisson | 15/06/2023

I Prevail @ Hellfest 2023, Clisson | 15/06/2023

Mosh pit evaluation: well-made blue track

I Prevail @ Hellfest 2023, Clisson | 15/06/2023

I Prevail @ Hellfest 2023, Clisson | 15/06/2023

More pictures in HD here.

Setlist :
Bow Down
Body Bag
Self-Destruction
Bad Things
Come and Get It
Chop Suey! (System of a Down)
FWYTYK
Judgement Day
Raining Blood (Slayer)
Choke
Gasoline


Generation Sex

Baptiste: Finally a little tired, I listened to Generation Sex from afar and went for a drink so I could be there at In Flames.

Generation Sex @ Hellfest 2023, Clisson | 15/06/2023

Generation Sex @ Hellfest 2023, Clisson | 15/06/2023

PhilX: If this fusion of Generation X and the Sex Pistols sounded good on paper, it would have been even better if Billy Idol had been at the top of his game, punchy and uncontrollable. But if the performance didn't leave a lasting impression, it wasn't due to the musicians, who played their part to perfection, smiling, fair and with that easily recognizable hint of madness. It was the frontman who prevented the electric atmosphere from exploding.

Generation Sex @ Hellfest 2023, Clisson | 15/06/2023

Generation Sex @ Hellfest 2023, Clisson | 15/06/2023

With his eyes glued to their prompter at all times, his vocals just right and their immobility rubbing off on the audience, we recognize the songs, but it's impossible to get into them. A first disappointment which, fortunately, will soon be forgotten.

Generation Sex @ Hellfest 2023, Clisson | 15/06/2023

Generation Sex @ Hellfest 2023, Clisson | 15/06/2023

More pictures in HD here. (compléments à venir au fur et à mesure)

Setlist :
Ready Steady Go (Generation X)
Wild Youth (Generation X)
Pretty Vacant (Sex Pistols)
Problems (Sex Pistols)
Black Leather (Sex Pistols)
Kiss Me Deadly (Generation X)
Dancing With Myself (Generation X)
Silly Thing (Sex Pistols)
King Rocker (Generation X)
God Save the Queen (Sex Pistols)
Your Generation (Generation X)
My Way (Claude François)


Nightfall

PhilX: Before rejoining In Flames, I quickly head off under the tents once again to see the Greeks of Nightfall, who kick off their set with a poignant 'Killing Moon' in which Efthimis Karadimas moves with slow, mystical gestures emanating great muted violence, brandishing his dagger-handled microphone and shearing the air around him at every interlude.

Nightfall @ Hellfest 2023, Clisson | 15/06/2023

Nightfall @ Hellfest 2023, Clisson | 15/06/2023

The show unfolds in the same spirit, blending solemn violence and aural butchery without frills or artifice.

Nightfall @ Hellfest 2023, Clisson | 15/06/2023

Nightfall @ Hellfest 2023, Clisson | 15/06/2023

Only their charming new bassist (well, almost, because it's already been two years), Vasiliki Biza, breathes life into what could have been a monotonous set...
 
Nightfall @ Hellfest 2023, Clisson | 15/06/2023

Nightfall @ Hellfest 2023, Clisson | 15/06/2023

Nightfall @ Hellfest 2023, Clisson | 15/06/2023

More pictures in HD here. (compléments à venir au fur et à mesure)

Setlist :
Intro (She Loved the Twilight)
Killing Moon
Ambassador of Mass
As Your God is Failing Once Again
Darkness Forever
Giants of Anger
Witches
Lesbian Show
Ishtar (Celebrate Your Beauty)


In Flames

Baptiste: A band I know well, having seen them several times at festivals and in concert halls. Always high energy, great atmosphere and some pretty hard pogos, they're a sure bet and an emblematic part of the festival. I'm still a little surprised that they were given a slot of barely 50 minutes to make room for Hollywood Vampires.
 
In Flames @ Hellfest 2023, Clisson | 15/06/2023

In Flames @ Hellfest 2023, Clisson | 15/06/2023

In Flames @ Hellfest 2023, Clisson | 15/06/2023

I inevitably went to the front with two buddies, who quickly got lost in the huge, rather messy crowd movements that took place at the first few songs. The show paid off, and although I felt the singer was a little tired or ill, he was less slack than usual. In my opinion, this band is the essence of the festival.

In Flames @ Hellfest 2023, Clisson | 15/06/2023

In Flames @ Hellfest 2023, Clisson | 15/06/2023

In Flames @ Hellfest 2023, Clisson | 15/06/2023

Mosh pit evaluation: black/off track: particularly anarchic crowd movements, with many people not mastering the pogo codes and just looking to let off steam. Not forgetting, of course, our pickpocket friends, who made a superb harvest of cell phones! In my group of friends alone, out of 5 people who entered the pogo, two phones and a gold chain (mine, ripped from my neck) were stolen. Every year it gets worse and worse. It's another reminder of rules 1 and 2, but it's a pain.

In Flames @ Hellfest 2023, Clisson | 15/06/2023

In Flames @ Hellfest 2023, Clisson | 15/06/2023

In Flames @ Hellfest 2023, Clisson | 15/06/2023

More pictures in HD here.

Setlist :
The Beginning of All Things That Will End
The Great Deceiver
Everything's Gone
Darker Times (First live performance since 2017)
Behind Space
Cloud Connected
Only for the Weak
Foregone Pt. 1
State of Slow Decay
The Mirror's Truth
I Am Above
Take This Life


Hollywood Vampires

No interest! What a shame to offer more time to an uninteresting band rather than In Flames or Architects.

Hollywood Vampires @ Hellfest 2023, Clisson | 15/06/2023

Hollywood Vampires @ Hellfest 2023, Clisson | 15/06/2023

NdPhilX: I agree with Baptiste, who is bored in the pit, while "Fuck you, Amber" bursts out from the audience, apparently very up to date with the band's star actor. The latter is extremely discreet, tucked away at the back of the stage, jamming with Joe Perry or exchanging a few knowing glances with Alice Cooper.

Hollywood Vampires @ Hellfest 2023, Clisson | 15/06/2023

Hollywood Vampires @ Hellfest 2023, Clisson | 15/06/2023

Hollywood Vampires @ Hellfest 2023, Clisson | 15/06/2023

Fortunately, the show's main attraction is the performance of the excellent frontman, always impeccable, and a Hellfest faithful for several years no

Hollywood Vampires @ Hellfest 2023, Clisson | 15/06/2023

Hollywood Vampires @ Hellfest 2023, Clisson | 15/06/2023

Hollywood Vampires @ Hellfest 2023, Clisson | 15/06/2023

More pictures in HD here. (compléments à venir au fur et à mesure)

Setlist :
I Want My Now
Raise the Dead
I'm Eighteen (Alice Cooper)
People Who Died (The Jim Carroll Band)
Baba O'Riley (The Who)
The Boogieman Surprise
"Heroes" (David Bowie)
Kick Out The Jams
The Death and Resurrection Show (Killing Joke)
Walk This Way (Aerosmith)
The Train Kept A-Rollin' (Tiny Bradshaw)
School's Out (Alice Cooper)


Candlemass

PhilX: Another detour to the tents (easy, there are only two left) to applaud Candlemass, 4 years after we saw them at the Zénith in Paris opening for Ghost...

Candlemass @ Hellfest 2023, Clisson | 15/06/2023

Candlemass @ Hellfest 2023, Clisson | 15/06/2023

Candlemass @ Hellfest 2023, Clisson | 15/06/2023

Candlemass @ Hellfest 2023, Clisson | 15/06/2023

Candlemass @ Hellfest 2023, Clisson | 15/06/2023

Candlemass @ Hellfest 2023, Clisson | 15/06/2023

Candlemass @ Hellfest 2023, Clisson | 15/06/2023

More pictures in HD here.

Setlist :
Marche Funebre
Mirror Mirror
Bewitched
Under the Oak
Dark Are the Veils of Death
Sweet Evil Sun
Crystal Ball
The Well of Souls
A Sorcerer's Pledge
Solitude


Dark Funeral


Dark Funeral @ Hellfest 2023, Clisson | 15/06/2023

Dark Funeral @ Hellfest 2023, Clisson | 15/06/2023


Dark Funeral @ Hellfest 2023, Clisson | 15/06/2023

Dark Funeral @ Hellfest 2023, Clisson | 15/06/2023

Dark Funeral @ Hellfest 2023, Clisson | 15/06/2023

More pictures in HD here.

Setlist :
Nosferatu
Hail Murder
My Funeral
Vobiscum Satanas
Goddess of Sodomy
When I’m Gone
Unchain My Soul
Nail Them to the Cross
Let the Devil In
Where Shadows Forever Reign


Kiss

PhilX: How could anyone sulk at this XXL show, even though it should be their last appearance in France on this farewell tour (obviously in the conditional tense, because we've seen enough examples of them not being able to retire completely...).

Kiss @ Hellfest 2023, Clisson | 15/06/2023

Kiss @ Hellfest 2023, Clisson | 15/06/2023

A grandiose new show, with a slightly more sober décor than their previous appearance 4 years ago, but still up to expectations, with the poses, the languages, the outfits, the hits that the whole audience enjoys singing along with (instead of?!) the band.

Kiss @ Hellfest 2023, Clisson | 15/06/2023

Kiss @ Hellfest 2023, Clisson | 15/06/2023

Kiss @ Hellfest 2023, Clisson | 15/06/2023

If the musicians' recorded vocals aren't up for debate, it can't be said that the septuagenarians spare themselves on stage, always present for the big dates. Sprinkling a few "Hellfest!!!" between verses, the hardest to hear was Stanley's a-capella part as he arranges the crowd to warm them up on 'Rock and Roll All Nite' with his trembling voice.

Kiss @ Hellfest 2023, Clisson | 15/06/2023

Kiss @ Hellfest 2023, Clisson | 15/06/2023

Kiss @ Hellfest 2023, Clisson | 15/06/2023

Aside from this anecdote, a real highlight was Eric Singer alone at the piano at the very start of the encore, before finishing with an apotheosis, explosions and fireworks worthy of the Rock and Roll greats who left their mark on several generations for this supposedly last one in France.

More pictures in HD here.

Setlist :
Detroit Rock City
Shout It Out Loud
Deuce
War Machine
Heaven's on Fire
I Love It Loud
Say Yeah
Cold Gin
Guitar Solo (Tommy Thayer)
Lick It Up
Makin' Love
Calling Dr. Love
Psycho Circus
Drum Solo
100,000 Years
Bass Solo
God of Thunder
Love Gun
Black Diamond
Rappel:
Beth
I Was Made for Lovin' You
Rock and Roll All Nite


Behemoth

Baptiste: It's only a few meters to go and already a big crowd has gathered under the tent for the Polish band's show. Seen a few years ago on the Mainstage in the middle of the day, I much prefer to see them at night under the canvas.

Behemoth @ Hellfest 2023, Clisson | 15/06/2023

Behemoth @ Hellfest 2023, Clisson | 15/06/2023

Behemoth @ Hellfest 2023, Clisson | 15/06/2023

The atmosphere is on fire and the band launch straight into the assault! Big sound, big show and a superb performance from the frontman, I was thrilled!

Behemoth @ Hellfest 2023, Clisson | 15/06/2023

Behemoth @ Hellfest 2023, Clisson | 15/06/2023 

Behemoth @ Hellfest 2023, Clisson | 15/06/2023

Behemoth @ Hellfest 2023, Clisson | 15/06/2023

Behemoth @ Hellfest 2023, Clisson | 15/06/2023

Behemoth @ Hellfest 2023, Clisson | 15/06/2023


More pictures in HD here

Setlist :
Ora Pro Nobis Lucifer
Malaria Vvlgata
Conquer All
The Deathless Sun
Blow Your Trumpets Gabriel
Once Upon a Pale Horse
Daimonos
Versvs Christvs
Ov Fire and the Void
Bartzabel


Parkway Drive

PhilX: Here I am, watching from the front of the stage as the Americans from Parkway Drive make a theatrical entrance, with torches held by people in togas, before playing a very angry score.

Parkway Drive @ Hellfest 2023, Clisson | 15/06/2023

Parkway Drive @ Hellfest 2023, Clisson | 15/06/2023

Despite the lateness of the hour and a somewhat brutal warm-up, the crowd flocked to the new show, which was completely overhauled from the previous ones. The band are regulars at the festival, making their 4th appearance every 5 years.

Parkway Drive @ Hellfest 2023, Clisson | 15/06/2023

Parkway Drive @ Hellfest 2023, Clisson | 15/06/2023

Parkway Drive @ Hellfest 2023, Clisson | 15/06/2023

It's obviously to defend 'Darker Still', which was released just last year, that the Australians have made the trip and will be delighting an audience already won over to their cause.

Parkway Drive @ Hellfest 2023, Clisson | 15/06/2023

Parkway Drive @ Hellfest 2023, Clisson | 15/06/2023

Parkway Drive @ Hellfest 2023, Clisson | 15/06/2023

More pictures in HD here

Setlist :
Glitch
Prey
The Void
Soul Bleach
Vice Grip
Dedicated
Idols and Anchors
Shadow Boxing
Darker Still
Bottom Feeder
Rappel :
Crushed
Wild Eyes

 
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