By Rosine Alleva, José Oliveira, Journalist/Photographers–Rock At Night France


For this last festival day, it was the turn of the fans of Hard Rock and Heavy Metal.

Pretty Maids

PRETTY MAIDS were the first ones to play at the Hard Rock Session. RONNIE ATKINS and KEN HAMMER are the 2 original members of the Danish band created in 1981. They released their last album KINGMAKER last November and played both some new songs but also a few old hits « Love Games » The Colmar crowd sang along and reacted undoubtedly to Pretty Maids professionalism, energy and good humor.

Press conference (after the concert)

What do you think about your concert ?
Ronnie Atkins– We had a great time, everything was fantastic !! The technique, the public, the food, the wine and the sun !
Why don’t we see you more in France ?
Ken Heammer-We would love to ! We used to play in France in the eighties and even the nineties. We love to play in Germany, Switzerland, Scandinavia, we would play anywhere…no problem ! But it is a money problem in France. We don’t want to pay to play. We don’t have money, we drink it all in bars (laughs).
HAMMERFALL is here tonight and covered your song « Back to back ». It would have been amazing to sing it with them !
KH– Yeah, we have a good relationship but we all had many things to do before the gig and had no chance to organize this.
What’s your next project ? What about that cruise early 2018 ?
KH– There are things in the air, nothing concrete yet. Yeah we’ll be part of the Monsters of Rock cruise next February, same one as last year.
RA– And in 2019 the Tom one !…Tom Cruise (laughs).
KH– We love to joke, to laugh at things, it really helps in certain situations!
So…if we get paid, even for a barbecue party, call us ! (Laughs)

Gotthard stage

GOTTHARD was the second band on the Hard Rock Session stage. You couldn’t miss the band 25th Anniversary with the big SILVER letters on stage ! It’s Nic Maeder who is still their new singer since Steve Lee’s death end 2010. They played a few songs of the new opus (Silver River, Stay with me), the cover Hush and some older titles like “Top of the World” after an acoustic moment followed by guitar solos, the concert ended with “Anytime Anywhere” leaving a pleased audience.

Press conference

SILVER is the name of your new album, you celebrate the 25 years of the band.
What has changed since then ?
Leo Leoni – Internet, the music industry evolution. Before you needed an agent, today you can become famous thanks to the social networks. This is the positive side, the negative side is that it depreciates the quality and the work of the artists. Today it’s those big machines who influence the choice of an artist.
In a few days, your movie “One Life One Soul” will be presented as a world premiere at the Locarno film festival, quite exciting!
Marc Lynn – Yes, it’s a documentary about 25 years Gotthard with the good things but also the difficult moments. The objective is to have it in the cinemas next spring.
Last June you played Heaven, with Steve Lee on a big back screen singing live…
Leo Leoni– Steve, our friend, is part of our history, so it was like a way to bring him back to celebrate our 25 years career. A very emotional moment for us and our fans.


Press conference

Will you do anything special for the concert tonight ?
Fredrik Larsson– We will pay tribute to Glory to the Brave but we’ll focus on our new album Built to Last.
Do you intend to party after the show with the other Nordic bands ?
Joacim Cans- No, not really…If it would have been twenty years ago, for sure !


Can you tell what happened in England on your way to the Hammerfest ?
Fredrik Larsson– Our luggages stayed in Amsterdam and we couldn’t get them on time for the show. Luckily we knew some people at the Hammerfest and we could borrow instruments. But we didn’t have our stage clothes either and that was also weird. Finally it worked out really well, it was a fun show !
You changed record company after many years with Nuclear Blast, why ?
Joacim Cans– We needed sort of a change, someone with a plan for the band future how to make HAMMERFALL grow, someone with the same vision.
Any new album planned ?
JC– Not before 2 years, we have tours in South America and then Us. We’ll start recording in fall 2018.


It’s with high energy that HAMMERFALL performed on stage celebrating the 20 years of their album “Glory to the Brave” as well as their last opus “Built to Last” signed with Napalm Records early last year. Oscar DRONJAK , guitarist and founder of the band was quickly joined by Joachim CANS (vocalist) and Fredrik LARSSON (bassist). With a few tracks from both albums they definitely pleased the older fans as well as the new ones. With sustained rhythm, supported by headbanging, the Heavy Metal Swedish put the audience on fire! The crowd was ready to welcome the last band AMON AMARTH!!

AMON AMARTH was the most expected band to close this HARD ROCK SESSION.
Most of the audience was present for them. Amon Amarth formed in 1992 is a Swedish melodic death metal band. The band name is coming from Mount Doom a fictional volcano in J.R.R. Tolkien’s Middle-earth legendarium. The big machine started with the drummer who performed all night sitting high up on rocks. Then the other members joined him. Johan Soderbergh on guitar, Ted Lundstrom on bass, nearly like twins and Olavi Mikkonen on guitar. It’s then the turn of the great Johan Hegg who appeared on stage raising his horn. The musicians and the show were orchestrated with great precision.

Amon Ammarth

With lots of fire and smoke, with red glowing eyes dragons spitting fire, it was an explosive concert. Many people in the audience were not only wearing Amon Amarth tee-shirts but also waving horns throughout the concert. A great metal show to close this -maybe last- HARD ROCK SESSION at MUSIC & WINE FESTIVAL.

Of course, times are changing! But the HARD ROCK SESSION has always been one of the special features of this Festival. In addition, the region loves Hard Rock and Heavy Metal. Five thousand people  came to this 8th edition, it was not bad. It is obvious that for a “Sold Out” evening it would be ideal to bring a higher headliner and maybe more enticing to only invite two different bands (?) It would be a strategic mistake to condemn the HARD ROCK SESSION to disappear!!

Many thanks to Claude Lebourgeois, Christophe Crupi, Stéphanie and all the organisation for this memorable 70th Music & Wine Festival!

                PHOTO GALLERY



Rosine Alleva

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