Live Reports

In the Brakrock War, The five shows that turned us around: DAY 2

After an emotional first day, we woke up to the pleasant surprise of seeing our friends the Lucky Trolls replace the unfortunate Austrians from CF98 who couldn’t make the road. How about some early-morning Irish punk ?

The second day promises to be a busy one for us, given the line-up and the increasingly gloomy weather, but there’s nothing to stop us telling you all about the five bands who swept us off our feet on the second day of Brakrock !

  1. Lucky Trolls

Authority Zero @ Brakrock Festival 2023 – 5th of august 2023 // Maxime Dumont for Ctrl Alt Music

A little whisky in the coffee, and that’s it! The Lucky Trolls took their place on a rather quiet lunchtime to open the Woodstage, still strewn with the lost shins from the day before. Known for their ability to set the right mood, it didn’t take long for the “Liegeois ” to attract the curious with their hit “City Of Iron“. On the same day as The Rumjacks, the Belgians put on a solid show at a moment’s notice and got the early arrivals moving to the sounds of their album “Raised Fist and Rebel Songs“. We won’t be chauvinistic, but it’s with surprise and honesty that we place The Lucky Trolls in this Saturday top !

2. Authority Zero

If surprise is a quality, it’s one you’re unlikely to find in an Authority Zero set. Yet, despite this factor and their presence on last year’s bill, nothing stopped us from rushing to the front row of this band’s highly effective concert. As my colleague would say, there’s something reassuring about an Authority Zero set. First of all, you know it’s going to be well played and that the vocals are going to be good. We also know that the energy will be there and that the hits will be played with passion. In fact, Authority Zero is the cherry on top of this edition. We still don’t understand why “Mexican Radio” isn’t part of the set, but Jason‘s band was kind enough to offer us a set full of surprises and nuggets from their discography. With their positive, natural energy, the band is aging but not wasting away, the show being on from start to finish. With moments of ecstasy like “Revolution“, we let ourselves go for this second consecutive encounter with the punk rockers from Mesa. Unsurprisingly, we’re delighted.

Authority Zero @ Brakrock Festival 2023 – 5th of august 2023 // Maxime Dumont for Ctrl Alt Music

3. Get The Shot

We put down the beers for the protein shakers. Jean-Philippe Lagacé has come to set us straight with HxC from the guts. No soundcheck necessary for him, as from the very first track, the philosophical gorilla comes to beat us in our mouths in a Riverstage plain turned into a giant circle pit.

Get The Shot @ Brakrock Festival 2023 – 5th of august 2023 // Maxime Dumont for Ctrl Alt Music

It’s clear that we’re holding back a lot from the frontman, but without a square band behind it musically, JP wouldn’t be able to wander across our faces the way he allows himself to. Touring in support of their latest album, 2022’s “Merciless Destruction“, the setlist will be heavily influenced by this project. Finesse was forgotten for a show fileed with testosterone and crowdkilling, all in a fun, good-natured atmosphere. From “Deathbound “and “Survival Denied” to the violent “Blackened Sun“, Get The Shot succeeded in bringing out our dirtiest emotions and transforming them into an endless source of positive energy. If you weren’t lucky enough to catch them a year ago at the Legia , the Quebecers will be back in December 2023 with their colleagues from Stick To Your Guns and the current HxC revelation End It in Ghent ! Get The Shot is our Brakrock revelation, and has put us all on the same wavelength for a purely human and profound experience. We’ll be in Ghent and everywhere else to relive this unforgettable moment… Thank you !

4. DRAIN

The HxC phenomenon straight out of California had the onerous task of transforming the Ruinstage mud puddle into a pool party. So yes, we’d been warned by the various videos of the crazy energy that the Triple B records label band had in their guts, now to experience it is different.

All it took was one note for an elbow to land in my face, like a bell announcing the start of hostilities. At the same time, by opening with their hit “Feel The Pressure“, the band chose efficiency to get everyone on the same wavelength. Like any good concert of this style, the stage is quickly shared by sweaty fans who know the lyrics by heart. What a union. The audience clings to the roof of the Ruinstage, which magically becomes a furnace rather than a ruin. Calmed by the famous Descendents cover “Good Good Things“, which will soon become a DRAIN cover, so much the quality of this one surpasses the original. A little pop moment before the destruction, in songs a little older in their discography (which remains fairly recent). DRAIN is a total slap in the face of this Brakrock, and we’ll end up on stage with them to immortalize a unique moment, which will prepare us well for the legends of …

DRAIN @ Brakrock Festival 2023 – 5th of august 2023 // Maxime Dumont for Ctrl Alt Music

5. Madball

Of course. But of course. It was them. Madball, a true hardcore legend and godfather of the little Get The Shot or, more closely, DRAIN. When you start gigging at the age of 7, like singer Freddy Cricien, you’ve certainly got the bottle. Roger Miret’s little brother has undoubtedly surpassed the master with an HxC that has aged better than the likeable Agnostic Front. Let’s get on with the show!

And it’s in the rain that the New Yorkers get the crowd moving (which is often the case at Brakrock, as the festival knows its audience). From the classic “Set It Off“,” “Can’t stop won’t stop” to a few rarities like The Animals cover “It’s My Life“. Freddy‘s gang are having a ball, and we immediately feel something special in this show we’ve been waiting for so impatiently. The various two-steps launched by the different “stage-dives” on “Freight Train” set off the fire on a stage that was just waiting to welcome them.

Madball @ Brakrock Festival 2023 – 5th of august 2023 // Maxime Dumont for Ctrl Alt Music

Having discovered Get The Shot and DRAIN, and tasted a little Death Before Dishonor and TERROR the day before, the kings came to lay their crown, as a tribute to this new generation, punctuated by “Pride (Times Are Changing)“, all accompanied by the singers of the aforementioned projects (DRAIN and DBD). The Liquid Death will have flowed on stage, the Jupiler in the audience. A great moment of hardcore that marked the end of this edition for us, as the fireworks didn’t go off in the sky, but in our hearts.

Conclusion

Two days in Duffel, often in the rain or drizzle, and we pack up our bags, our hearts full of memories. If we’re to find fault with this edition, we’ll note that the Brakrock was a victim of its own success. The site was quickly filled with festival-goers, and in the wake of last year’s events, we felt that security had been stepped up a notch, which to the organization’s credit did nothing to detract from the fun felt and the freedom given to spectators. It was sometimes hard to get around or to find a good spot, and certain choices of stand placement were sometimes questionable, but to be honest, there’s not much more we can say. The Brakrock Ecofest 2023 once again lived up to its promise, with a veritable burst of freedom and celebration. With a line-up that once again featured a mix of promising and established performers, we left the event happy and rather curious to see how Kim and his team will be able to surprise us again in 2024… For us, there’s no arguing about it: the date is already set. Adults, young and old mingled with children in this saga of generations that made up the bill, punk-rock still has a future and thanks again for everything.

Dog Eat Dog @ Brakrock Festival 2023 – 5th of august 2023 // Maxime Dumont for Ctrl Alt Music

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