I didn't go to this festival in it's first year 2010, because I had already bought a ticket for the much bigger German metal festival Wacken Open Air. So 2011 would be my first visit to this two day event in Copenhagen for all fans of metal and hard-rock.
The festival takes place in the middle of fucking nowhere on Refshaleøen just outside of Copenhagen. It's quick and easy to get to using public busses or taxi and you can even choose to sleep out there in a tent, if you really want to. The festival has 2 stages, well 3 in fact, since this year also had a very small stage for upcoming bands. There is also a large biergarten tent and a Dox:Hell film tent, showing metal and horror movies.
The first thing that springs to mind about this small festival (appx. 8000 tickets sold, I believe) is that it is very well organized (because of it's small size). Everything is within reach in a quite small area, so you don't have to walk many kilometers a day and you can always find your friends. The atmosphere is extremely friendly and everybody is just there to have a great time and hear some awesome metal and get fucking drunk and stupid.
A highlight for me in 2011 was meeting Gunnar "Leatherface" Hansen at the Dox:Hell tent. I had a good long chat with him and he signed my "The Texas Chainsaw Massacre" DVD and a photo. He turned out to be a very friendly man and it was great to meet one of my biggest heroes from my teenage years and to hear him telling stories from the Texas Chainsaw shootings. He later introduced a new Icelandic slasher movie he starred in and I stayed and watched it. It's called "Reykjavik Whale Watching Massacre" and is alright for a low budget slasher. The day after he introduced Texas Chainsaw and it was great to hear more stories from one of my favorite movies ever.
A highlight just as huge was to meet GWAR's Oderus, Beefcake and Flattus at a signing session. I got a picture of me and Oderus and I even managed to get an autograph from his Cuttlefish. I doesn't get much bigger than that. It took several days to wipe off my smile again. Actually it comes back now when I write this. I mean fucking hell, I met Oderus Urungus and I touched the Cuttlefish of Cthulhu?! It's absolutely insane. My life is complete.
Musical highlights for me were:
GWAR played an awesome gig with lots of celebreties being slaughtered on stage and Oderus even raped a bastard dog. Obviously we all ended up covered in blood while laughing ourselves to death. Not to mention we enjoyed their great music and hilarious lyrics. Several reviewers butchered them afterwards, but same reviewers are obviously born without humour and ears. Fuck 'em all, because this gig was surely the highlight of the festival and we felt blessed to have witnessed it and to have been covered in GWAR's blood, piss and Jägermeister. When I left the festival I must have scared a few taxi drivers and bartenders on my way home looking like a red fruitcake out of Hell.
Judas Priest played a fine goodbye gig and if this really turns out to be their last tour then they went in style. It was the first time I caught Judas Priest live and no surprise they turned out to be a great live band. The crowd was loving it and did some impressive sing-a-long especially in "Breaking The Law" where the crowd sang the entire song. Judas Priest was a great way to end the first night at Copenhell 2011.
The Burning were awesome because of their frontman Johnny Haven, who made some incredibly funny introductions to their songs. It was a fucking standup comedy show and we laughed a lot. The music was however great as well, so it was not only words. The band could surely rock too.
Deicide were interesting. I kinda liked their hardcore music and their frontman Glen Benton seems to be a genuinely evil bastard and such people are always interesting to observe on stage. Many people seemed to think it wasn't their best gig ever, but it was my first so I had no reference, and I liked what I heard and saw.
Mayhem are always great fun to watch. It seemed a bit odd to have them playing in full daylight, but I've always liked them live and a bit of light didn't spoil the experience for me. I only caught a little more than half of the gig, since I had to run to Dox:Hell to hear Gunnar Hansen's introduction to The Texas Chainsaw Massacre. But what I heard until then was a great gig and singer Attila had fun performing various satanic rituals dressed up as some kind of Dracula/Satan priest.
Morbid Angel were probably quite good too, but I was a bit distracted by the fact that I wanted a really good spot at the GWAR concert coming up next on the other stage, so I can't remember too much from that concert.
Artillery were brought in as backup band and took over when Kyuss Lives! had to cancel. I think Artillery did a very fine job, and I think they could be proud to deliver such a great gig on such short notice. Respect for that!
I deliberately skipped bands like: Korn, Opeth and Bullet for my Valentine simply because I think they suck. I skipped Anvil because it was a bit too early for my body.
One thing is certain: I will be back for more next year. Fuck about the wind and if it rains now and then. This is Denmark, ffs. Copenhell is an awesome festival and I hope it doesn't grow any bigger than it is now, because the size is absolutely perfect. It is so much more fun to be at Copenhell than at a huge metal festival like Wacken Open Air with way too many people and over-crowded areas. Actually it doesn't get any better than Copenhell. It is simply perfect!