Lacking that X factor

When it's festival time and the bill is chock full of quality acts then someone is guaranteed to come away with a musical bloodied nose and going to earn the wooden spoon as far as entertainment goes. It grieves me to say that Cloudscape were that band which is a little unfair because they were ok but compared to the rest of the bill the band came across as uninspired and lacking any real direction.

It was Cloudscape's first trip to the UK and I wished all through their set that they'd shown us all how excited they were to be here. Only vocalist Mike Anderson demonstrated any enthusiasm as he strode about the stage in his black pants and inappropriate shirt. In fact if it wasn't for Mike Cloudscape would have struggled to make any impression during their 40 minutes, as it was they only really perked up for the last song and it was only then did they manage to capture the audiences attention.

Following the tasty Heed and playing to a post-lunchtime crowd isn't the easiest of tasks, and having a mix that was lacking in guitars didn't help matters either. But the band lacked a purpose and seemed a little pensive on the large stage, perhaps this was caused by nerves and even the odd technical problem but whatever it was the desire to play metal at a festival was sadly absent.

Gathering opinions after their set it was a general consensus that the band seemed restrained and unwilling to let it all go. Guitarist Patrik Svard in particular crooned his way through each solo without really letting his fingers whip up and down the fret board. I stood near the front barrier watching the guy, who could obviously play, keep his solos controlled and succinct and I kept thinking, 'c'mon dude you're in a metal band, you have a license to burn'. Second guitarist Bjorn Eliasson stood and occasionally turned around on the spot but for most of the set he was like a heavy metal living statue and I felt like throwing 10p into his flat cap.

The band chugged out their mid tempo power metal for thirty-five minutes until their last song, that I never caught the title of, which upped the tempo and started to waken up the crowd. Suddenly within thirty seconds the atmosphere changed and the crowd was being won over. Sadly it was too little to late but at least the Swedish quintet left to a tidy cheer from the onlooking metalheads. I trudged back to my base camp feeling unfulfilled and thinking how great it would've been if the whole set had the same energy as that last song...if only I could remember its name, oh well.