The neckbreakers ball started amidst confusion - not everyone was aware the venue had changed from the forum in Kentish Town to the Relentless Garage so some fans (and press) went to the wrong place and were late arriving as a result.
The band I was looking forwards to most, Death Angel had unfortunately dropped out and the replacement wasn't announced till the night.
The night kicked off with Omnium Gatherum. Being on very early they played to a small crowd of maybe 70 people. Poor lighting meant they played in near darkness.
They put in a good energetic performance and their heavy music and growling/screaming vocals went down well with the audience.
Gurd came on stage in front of a slightly larger crowd - maybe 150 people, but as with Omnium Gatherum the lighting engineer appeared to be asleep judging by the total lack of any decent lighting in a venue well equipped with lights. Gurd put in a good performance but to me failed to stand out from the crown on this packed bill.
As soon as Varg came on stage they gave the impression of being Turisas clones - the outfits and red face paint just screamed "Turisas wannabe". In practice they are quite different to Turisas - they were heavier - more thrash than folk metal. They got a good reception from the good sized crowd - by this time the venue was fairly full.
venue fairly busy
Mercenary put in a fairly good performance, but like Gurd were fairly forgettable really. They may have suffered from the packed lineup - with this many bands on the bill then the sets are short and don't give a band much chance to really stand out.
My highlight of the night was Swiss folk metal band Eluveitie. With more members than many bands they struggled to fit on the stage. Using instruments like violins is getting more common in folk metal, but a Hurdygurdy? That's probably unique in metal, and these days that's saying something. With great songs and a great performance from the bands this was a fantastic set and the highlight of the evening for me.
Dark tranquility were the headliners and had projectors beaming images onto the screen behind the band which made a nice change from the usual band logo banners. The singer was particularly animate, charging around and generally putting on a great show. The band definitely impressed - if Eluveitie hadnt played these would have been my top band of the night, but in the end they came a very close second.
The neckbreakers ball was a great night - lets hope it returns next year, but with Death Angel on the bill.
Viel Feind Viel Ehr
Wir sind die Wölfe
Links 2 3 4 (Rammstein Cover)
In a river of madness
Through the eyesof the devil
The black brigade
On the edge of sanity
Firesoul/The endless fall
Everything remains as it never was
Quoth the raven
The song of life
Your Gaulish war
Kingdom come undone
The sombre lay
Dark Tranquility setlist:
In my absence
Lost to apathy
Wonders at your feet
Mundane and magic
Blind at heart
Sun fired blanks