- by Christophe Vanheygen
Believe it or not, but the legendary rock ‘n’ roll festival Sjock is holding its 44th edition this year. Really: one independent festival running for 44 years straight, that’s pretty insane and unique. Did you know that Radiohead even played Sjock once? Yeah, well, either way: we have come up with two handfuls of reasons why you should go to Gierle (that’s in Belgium) from July 12th to July 14th.
3 crazy C’s: Cozy, Cool and Cheap
Where most festivals want to get bigger and more expensive, Sjock has made the conscious and wise decision to keep the whole thing somewhat small-ish and cozy. Three stages, about 2.500 people per day and plenty of room to just “hang out”.
All for cheap prices, y’all! A full, 3-day weekend ticket will set you back no more than € 80. Camping is another € 10. Parking is free.
There’s plenty of cool stuff to do and see at Sjock too. There’s some good food, old timer cars, a cute little market with vintage stuff for sale and… ehm… cocktails that can destroy an elephant in three sips. True story, seen it happen.
Apart from those three crazy C’s, there’s also three m’s. As in: “Mmm that’s some good music”. So let’s talk about that killer line-up, shall we?
The Holy Trinity of Scandinavian rock ‘n’ roll
Sometime around the turn of the century, garage rock was all the rage. And, as per usual, the Scandinavians were better than anyone else at it. Notable bands: The Hives, The Helllacopters and Gluecifer.
What are the odds that you can see all three legendary acts in one weekend? Any other weekend? Not good.
During Sjock Weekend? Most definitely!
Gluecifer reunited in 2017 for some festival shows and now share the headlining slot on Saturday with the also reunited and always amazing Hellacopters.
The Hives never broke up and they even have some awesome new songs ready for you. They are headlining the main stage on Sunday. Perfect way to end a killer weekend and wake up on Monday with a horrible hangover and some strained muscle you never knew you had.
Some kind of Electric monster
It’s hard to talk about Gluecifer and The Hellacopters without mentioning Electric Frankenstein. These legends basically designed the blueprints for both Scandinavian top acts back in the early 90s. If you’ve never seen them before: the time is now!
Question: was Electric Frankenstein really the very first band in the world to have a website back in 1991?
Submit your proof to [email protected] or find your humble Punk Rock Theory representative at the festival and earn one free beer.
I know, I know… Folky stuff kinda sucks. But we’re not talking Mumford and Manbuns here. If you happen to have seen Flogging Molly at Sjock a few years ago, you should know better. Everyone at that show was hopping along to those upbeat punky folk tunes.
If you can’t make it to that Flogging Molly Cruise, you can make Sjock a boatless one instead.
Flogging Molly somehow succeeds in turning every gig into a huge party that’ll have you waking up with a hangover and some strained muscle that you never felt before.
Night Birds? Night Birds!
I have no clue how they pulled it off, but Sjock is flying in Night Birds (get it? Flying, birds…hah!) for an exclusive European show!
The New Jersey surfy punks are without a doubt one of our favorite “newer” punk bands since emerging onto the scene.
They’ll be celebrating their 10th anniversary this summer. Will there be cake? Not sure, but there will be a mosh pit party that’ll have you waking up with a hangover and some strained muscle that you never felt before.
Yep … That makes it three hangovers and three strained muscles in one weekend. Go hard or … eh … Don’t and just enjoy the show and a refreshing non-alcoholic beverage. All good. Just don’t miss Night Birds, okay?
The Titty Twister
The Titty Twister is the name of the rockabilly stage at Sjock. And really, the name alone is amazing.
Yes, it was named after the legendary dive bar in Robert Rodriguez’ cult movie ‘From Dusk Til Dawn’. And no, you will find neither “pussy” nor Cheech in this tent. You will however find stunningly dressed people with impeccable hairdo’s swinging to some of the world’s finest rockabilly and rock ‘n’ roll bands. It’s a sight for sore eyes, alright. And the music’s good too.
Now, it’s not really our expertise here but we sure do enjoy the tunes of The Delta Bombers, who coincidentally had a song on an episode of the ‘From Dusk til Dawn’ tv-series.
The local talent
We love the idea of internationally recognized festivals programming plenty of local bands. There’s always a couple of gigs that turn into something… special. Last year, for example, local punk rockers Captain Kaiser had a dude literally crowd surfing while standing on top of a picknick table. Not very responsible, but very memorable
This year, we’re expecting some noteworthy insanity during one of the following local talents:
The party-hard psychobilly bluegrass punks The Grave Brothers
The recently reunited local garage rock heroes Crackups
The royally bizarre psycho garage punks Prince Beastly.
Don’t just support your local scene. Support ours as well.
Ramone, two, three, four …
Seriously, there is a Ramone on the bill. How could one omit that from a preview list? It’s a RAMONE! And he’s alive!
And this guy still puts out some of the most fun pop punk records around.
And on top of that, it supposedly his last European tour?
He just released the hook-filled, amazing record ‘The Holy Spell’. Go check that out.
King Khan & the Shrines
I can’t believe I’m saying this, but I’m finally getting to see King Khan & The Shrines. According to people who have witnessed King Khan, it is one of the most exciting and rowdy live shows.
Safe to say I’m really looking forward to this one.
Keep it alive
This may sound a bit cheesy, but it takes people like you to keep festivals like these alive. In a time when every festival is becoming an excuse to “Instagram your fancy new Coachella-look while sipping on watermelon-infused spring water and eating gold-plated ravioli in the VIP lounge”, initiatives like these need to be cherished.
Sjock is still all about what really matters: the music and the atmosphere.