We’ve seen bands such as Five Finger Death Punch and Puddle of Mudd have meltdowns on stage resulting in an abrupt set. However, we would never have expected Volbeat. On October 3rd at the Ulster Hall in Belfast, the group were only halfway into their first song, “Pelvis on Fire,” when frontman Michael Poulsen and the rest of the band walked off stage. After a short break, the group returned just to leave once again still unable to finish the first song. Fans were left in the dark as to what happened. However, it wasn’t until after the failed show when the band issued a statement on social media stating how it was due to Michael’s throat issues and a series of technical difficulties. We aren’t sure what’s worse, to have a band cancel during the beginning of their set or the instance when Manowar dropped out of their headlining spot just hours before Hellfest. At least, Sabaton were able to step up for them. Ironically enough, as Michael couldn’t continue with Volbeat’s set, Sabaton’s last-minute Hellfest set turned into an hour of improv as they continued despite frontman Joakim Brodén losing his voice towards the beginning of their performance. We spoke to bassist Pär Sundström about their Hellfest show, and he explained:
“The whole thing was a little bit strange but I don’t know the background why Manowar was canceling the show I can’t go into that. I just know that after our show, the first show that we did, I was informed that there is a possibility that Manowar is not performing so I said if we might be interested, if that happens, then we could be interested in taking that slot, for sure. And after our show I told my crew members not to pack all the trucks and send the production away to the next show, I told them to be on standby and I woke up at 8 o’clock in the morning to go and meet the promoter and that he informed me that there is definitely a no to the Manowar performance and he asked me, “are you interested in doing it or should we take another band?” And I said, “Yes, we will take it then.”
So that’s how it went and then it was a little bit weird because I didn’t have any contact with our singer [Joakim Brodén] at the time so I just took the decision that we were going to do the show and a few hours later when I informed him we realized that he didn’t have his voice. Which has happened before but he usually wakes up and is fine once he starts to sing and just a few minutes before the show he always gets good because we never cancel a show we’ve done a lot of shows and his voice always wakes up. And we thought it’s going to do it this time to but three songs into the set we realized that his voice will not wake up so we had to kind of improvise to get through the whole show. So all the rest of us took a bigger part into singer and our guitar player Chris [Rörland] and Thomas [Johansson] took the lead roles of singing all the songs.”
With scenarios such as these, you discover how devoted a band can be. It’s safe to say when it comes to fans; Sabaton is the most dedicated band around. It took an unfortunate automobile accident to make them cancel a show for the first time.