UNT - July 9th, 2011

(July 09, 2011)

Originally Published: July 09, 2011

Nice by Alice Cooper

Author: Andreas Jakobsson

Alice Cooper put on a show more driven by his experience than his joy for performing. The visual aspects saved the concert, according to Andreas Jakobsson.


Alice Cooper, Doctor Midnight and the Mercy Cult, Ghost, Graveyard amongst others...
Getaway Rock Festival, Gävle
Best: Alice Cooper's finish
Worst: Doctor Midnight and the Mercy Cult

When you have been on the road since the late 60's and you can call yourself the father of shock rock without over exaggerating one bit, you deserve respect. That also means that the artist in question has had the chance to accumulate quite a lot of experience, which can be both good and bad. You will never see Alice Cooper and his backup band do a really bad show, but at the same time that also means you won't see them fired up and surprise you. It's also a long time since the music felt relevant.

Alice Cooper has continued to experiment with different sounds and band constallations during the 2000's, but the albums haven't really worked commercially or artistically. Something Cooper seems to believe himself since only one of the songs in Gävle was less than ten years old.

There was never talk of anything else other than an unshakable trip of nostalgia. A live boa constrictor around his neck, a rapier in one hand, and the same makeup he was wearing in posters in OKEJ during the 80's, he put the weight on the 70's material.

Songs like "The Black Widow", "Billion Dollar Babies" and "No More Mr Nice Guy" were mixed with later hits like "Hey Stoopid" and "Poison", and newer material like "Wicked Young Man" and "Brutal Planet". You almost wished he had taken the concept all the way and played only songs from the 70's. They were the ones that rocked the most and sometimes they sounded surprisingly like the old recordings, the only difference being the better technical aspects of concert sound today.

Just as last year, you are immediately impressed by how well organized Getaway is. Everything from sound to queueing and entering the area, even the beer tents worked without any friction. The only real miss during the festivals first day was the shows by much hyped artists, Ghost and Graveyard, took place on the small stage inside one of the gas clocks, thereby reducing the audience possibilities by almost half.

Musically Hank von Helvete's new project was the low point of the evening, leaving us with a strong feeling that a Turbonegro reunion isn't far away. Doctor Midnight and the Mercy Cult won't last more than one festival summer on the main stage, if nothing drastic happens. An untight mess of synth-, punk- and industiral rock spiced with silly talk between the songs, actually makes you long for von Helvete's watery versions of Cornelis.

"I can hardly understand why the organisers are letting them go onstage," says one guy to his friend.

The five people headbanging in the front are probably the only ones not agreeing with that.

Even when keeping in mind, the energy that Alice Cooper's 70's songs were presented with, it was hard to shake the feeling that musically the show felt more like a routine performance than truly joyful experience. But just as is the case with later disciples such as Marilyn Manson, the visual aspect of the show is just as important as the music, and that was what saved the concert from going stale during the middle part. Cooper gave the audience in Gävle a huge Frankenstein doll, the obligatory guillotine execution, and he was fencing with his rapier and changed his clothes between almost every song. But nothing of that was anywhere near the magnificent ending where "School's Out" slided over into Pink Floyd's "Another Brick In The Wall", and Cooper impaled a giant balloon with his sword.

(Kindly translated from the original Swedish language article by Christian Strandell, January 2015)