Bloodstock Open Air 2016 : Saturday Review

Some days there are just waay too many clashes between bands you really want to see, and it’s a testament to the strength of the lineup at BOA 2016 Saturday that there were several points during the day that we really wanted to be in three places at once. This was going to be a challenge as quite apart from the stellar lineup on the main stage the tents were offering plenty of aural delights and we were keen to catch as many as possible.

Thirsty for more New Blood, hungry for a good helping at the Sophie stage and damn sure we would get prime location to view the pick of the main stage acts this was shaping up to be a great day, perhaps the best.

4 CambionIf you want to shake folk from their slumbers then there’s no better way than a good breakfast serving of Cambion Heavy Metal. Unlike other festivals we could name where people don’t surface in great numbers until mid afternoon the Bloodstock faithful are (comparatively) early risers and Cambion had a decent crowd packed into the main stage arena.

Over in the Sophie stage darkness had descended in the form of The Heretic Order. Now from our pre-festival research (mostly YouTube, like you do) we thought we knew what to expect, and some adrenaline charged up tempo rock ‘n’ roll wasn’t what we thought they’d be purveying.

2 The Heretic Order

Nice Surprise, even if it did seem was a bit much for the BOA faithful, or rather a bit much for the hangovers. Things didn’t stay fast for long, and we were soon in the land of the slow and heavy with some master fretboard wizardry to top things off

Bonus point for the red light on the mic stand for that extra demonic look

“I see evil rising”… no guys, that’s just the BOA hordes getting ready for another day in Heavy Metal paradise.

8 Kill2ThisApparently although it’s 2016 that rappy nu metal is still a thing and bands still base entire songs on “what the fuck’s up”. Kill II This, it’s fair to see, weren’t everyones cup of breakfast tea and while the die hards down the front were having the time of their lives where wer were standing bacon butties in hand there weren’t that many people about, and Kill II This still managed to trigger something of a mini exodus.

The day shaped up rather nicely. The EMP stall and B.O.A signing tent offered metal heads the chance to get up close and personal with some of their heroes, purchase some insanely cool merchandise. And if the heat and music got too much, a trip into the Ram Gallery to see the phenomenal talent from Mark Wilkinson, with a body of work to die for along with Bloodstocks very own Paul Raymond Gregory. The Lemmy exhibition was a very fitting feature.. Very poignant and needs to be seen to be believed.

As we headed back across the arena it became clear there was something going on in the new blood tent, it was rammed. It turned out what was happening in was Ten Ton Slug were ripping Bloodstock the proverbial new one. We’ve not seen the tent this rammed for a while, certainly not this early in proceedings.

After catching a chunk of the heavy delights of Ten Ton Slug we headed back across the arena for a Sophie Stage appointment. On the way we couldn’t help notice that Kill II This were suddenly sounding a lot less American.

12 MageRight, doom and stoner is going to be a theme today, and on the Sophie Stage Mage were waxing lyrical about the interstellar void to a gently swaying, and extremely attentive looking, crowd. Bloodstock is a bittersweet occasion for Mage. It was almost exactly a year ago that “Friend, brother and guitarist” Ben Aucott passed away. There was a heartfelt BOA response to the request to “make some noise for Ben and for every other fallen brother we’ve lost”

Among the picks of Mage’s set was a stonking new song called Nowhere To Look which saw the band  channeling a suitably old school rock n roll vibe to great effect.

“That’s right we brought the Doom”

Cool, we were wondering who that belonged to.

6 VallenfyreIt’s always good to see a cheery face on the Bloodstock main stage, but in the absence of one, we had to put up with Greg Mackintosh who greeted the crowd with a cheery “Good afternoon Bloodstock how are you today? I’m not so good but what’s new?”

Ahh, all those joyful years in Paradise Lost have rubbed off on Greg. Although it’s early and the sun is shining (again) Vallenfyre have a mission statement, “We are here to bring the filth to this festival”

And bring it they do. Certain members of Team CB are big fans of the ‘fyre, and it was great to see them on top form and getting such a great response. “Thank you daytime people” shouts Greg from the stage, adding “I myself have never been out in daylight, and it fucking sucks”

Better get used to it mate, you’ll be doing it twice today.

Cathedral To Truth sees the crowd interaction raised to the max, “Did you call me a cunt?” one bloke down the barrier is asked, nooooo, no one would dare. The barrier bloke meant him upstairs apparently. “Oh god is a cunt, well he can’t be because he doesn’t exist, but if he did, absolutely”.

7 Vallenfyre

Vallenfyre are on, erm, fire today, and Savages Arise in particular hits the spot. Even if Greg does show his age by saying the song is “about the chavs that accost me every day if my life, shouting out if their XR3is”..

Chavs in an XR3i ? No chance, they’re classic cars these days.

A spot of Desecration to finish off and it’s job done. Go rest your old bones Greg, we’ll be seeing you later.

We stuck around in the Sophie Tent for a couple of bands next, partly to keep out of the sun. Fuck sake this is Hellfest weather, not Bloodstock. “First up is This Is Turin  who “have come to ruin your fucking day”. Not entirely our thing but judging bu the explosion of energy in the tent we’re in a minority on that. “I want to see arseholes and elbows’…

Well, it’s a metal festival, there are a lot of arseh… no.. not doing that one 😉

2 VodunWhat next then? A quick flick through the line-up and a band called Vodun are up next on the Sophie stage. Never heard of ’em. But, they sound like a thrash metal band to us!

Wrong!

The stage is draped in colour with animal print and the music is far from thrash! Afro-doom maybe. Yeah, this is a bit different from what we were expecting and pretty different from everything else on this stage today. Different is good too when you are working your way through a conveyor belt of bands in black t-shirts all day.

A breath of fresh air, and a must see for ‘Doom and Stoner’ later in the year.

Rotting Christ another band not used to the sunshine, they managed to bring a touch of death metal darkness but you got the feeling this isn’t exactly their natural environment.

2 The King Is BlindThere are plenty of old favourites of ours on the line-up today at Bloodstock. Two of our favourite new bands also crop up on tho Saturday bill too. Typically, with a bit of a clash.

We’re not ones to whinge about clashes though. This is just going to require a bit of rare Team CB sprinting between stages.

First on our favourite list is The King Is Blind. We’ve been catching these guys where we can over the last couple of years and that all started here at Bloodstock last time they played the Sophie tent.

This is our first proper look at them as a five piece. Steve has been freed of the bass guitar to concentrate on his front man duties. It has made the band instantly more dynamic and even more exciting to watch. Although we suspect that was the idea in the first place.

Steve makes a more menacing frontman with full roam of the stage, anyway. Ceri brings a splash of colour to proceedings with his Red/Pink hair. Plus some powerful bass guitar, of course.

All in all, it’s a powerful and super heavy appearance here at Bloodstock once again. This band get better every time we see them. A splendid mix of doom and death to get our afternoon going…

Even the lighting guy was nice to us at a TKIB show for a change.

5 Conjurer BOAExcellent, now to dart off to Conjurer! Run!

Having witnessed the brilliant Conjurer at the Metal 2 The Masses stage earlier in the year, we were very excited to see them again at Bloodstock.

We were feeling quite smug that we had this New Blood band under our belts as one of our ones to watch. Finger on the pulse and all that.

Turns out everyone else is already turned on to Conjurer. Everyone you asked mentioned Conjurer in their ones to watch. Even Dom Lawson had them on his bloody preview list!

So…good for Conjurer, eh!

The tent was indeed very busy for their set. By the end it was one of the largest crowds we’d seen on the New Blood stage and Conjurer were every bit as devastating as we were hoping for. Pretty much the same as we saw at their awesome performance at Uprising festival. Apart from Dan has had a hair cut…

Keeping up the good stuff, another new one for us. Zlatanera were on the JagerMeister tent providing  a big sound for such a small venue, proper heavy rock n roll with Sabbath’s riffs and Orange Goblin’s energy. There’s always at least one wow factor band on the JagerMeister stage, and so far this year Zlatanera are the one

Even if the autocorrect keeps trying to change their bloody name.

The second part of their set was interrupted by the rumbling bass and check-1-2s coming from the main stage as the scene there was set for industrial metal legends Fear Factory.

11 Fear Factory

The main stage crowd has swelled considerably as the age of machines intro tape runs heralding the imminent crowd levelling suckerpunch that is Demanufacture. We’d have loved to stay for all of Fear Factory, but there was another “must see” coming up..

We headed off to the Sophie tent for an eagerly anticipated date with Misanthrope, but up against the might of Fear Factory not many others had bothered to make the trek over. This was a  pity as the French veterans played an absolute blinder.

Misanthrope-Bloodstock-CackBlabbath-3

Honestly, festival crowds, no idea 😉

“We are from France, and we are not Gojira.. we are Misanthrope”. Honestly, we thought the French blokes were brilliant, and thankfully by a couple of tracks in the crowd had started to swell a bit.

Still nowhere near busy though.

“Are you ready for a fast song ? Fast death thrash metal ??”

Oh, go on then.

Bloody hell Misanthrope are good in any language, they even channeled what seemed to be the Viking spirit of Amaon Amarth at one point, just to make sure everyone was well and truly awake.

One member of Team CB stuck it out at the main stage however. Demanutfacture goes down a storm shocker!

1 Fear FactoryNow, mention Fear Factory to anyone and you’ll get the standard response: “Love that band, but they are terrible live” etc.

It’s true that Burton’s live vocals aren’t the same as on record. The performance as a band today, outweighs any shortcomings. There are moments when Burton’s voice squeaks a bit and no doubt has the Walton on Trent village dog going nuts; but the power behind the performance is unstoppable. Fear Factory’s career topping album just sounds huge out in the afternoon sun and the band look as though they are having a blast playing it.

To be honest, we weren’t expecting a great deal from Fear Factory when flicking through the line-up, but they well and truly proved us wrong. That was a bit of a ‘Shock’!

Broken-Bloodstock-CackBlabbath-1Back on the Jager stage another decent crowd had assembled to catch another band we’ve been keeping an eye on here at CB, Wakefield’s Broken. Now they’re big lads so quite how they managed to fit into the confines of the Jager tent we’re not sure, the riffs were certainly overflowing. Hell we couldn’t get near the front, great to see the band basking in the well deserved adulation of the rammed crowd.

At Bloodstock we often see bands who are more than capable of stepping up to the bigger stages. Many have made the journey from New Blood to Sophie and from Sophie to the Main stage. We’re pretty sure you’ll see Broken following in those footsteps in the coming years.

Right, back into the pit. The Sophie stage is buzzing and it’s soon clear why.  Straight off we’re told “We are One Machine and we didn’t come here to fuck around”, well a word of advice, if you want to be taken seriously in a not fucking around type way then maybe a 3ft tall squid hat isn’t the best headgear to choose !!

And fuck around they, erm, didn’t.

More party music in the sunshine next for TeamCB, it’s Yorkshire’s answer to the Vengaboys, Paradise Lost. And right on cue the “miserable northern bastards” (to quote a certain BOA honcho) are another band complaining about the sun.

Paradise LostSun or not, we do love a bit of Paradise Lost, and we’re clearly not alone. “Here’s some old shit, this is Rapture” sends the crowd mental as Nick Holmes rocks his typically un-rockstar look, complete with the necessary cheap sunglasses.

Nick’s attention is drawn to labels on front of the speakers in front of the stage, which he seems to take as a challenge “It says do not stand on these.. what will happen if I do ? Death ??”

About 5000 people roar at him to give it a go, in the name of finding out what WOULD happen, but he’s not keen “If I fucking die it’s your fault”.

We’re asked “Did anyone see Vallenfyre today?” but I’m guessing that almost everyone did. Greg is back for his second stint of the day, this time in full guitar god mode. The place is buzzing asn it’s clear Paradise Lost are in the mood to provide something special. “This is a really old song.. fuck sake really old.. this is called Eternal”

OK, that’ll do us just fine.

Nick tells us that in view of the bright, happy occasion the band have been looking for a setlist to “suit this, the joy that us upon us all, not just me”.

Aye, that’ll be the cheery Beneath Broken Earth then.

There’s still a big discussion going on about whether Paradise Lost were the main stage band of the day for BOA Saturday. The only reason there’s any discussion is that 2/3rds of the team are wrong !!

A late but welcome addition to the bill in Bull Riff Stampede bringing the thrash to a doom and death tinted Bloodstock Saturday in the Sophie tent. The ‘Riff boys are something of a BOA house band and the tent is rammed showing that as last minute stand ins go, you can;t get much better than this.

GojiraThe second French band of the day (yep, there are more than one) are le grande, erm, deal. We caught them twice in their homeland over the summer but this was the Gojira show to end all Gojira shows. The place was going mental and the crowd were in full blown “mental circle pit” mode with the pit security guys racking up a bit of crowd-surfer-catchig overtime. As Simon Hall put it as he headed into the throng this was indeed “time to lose the shit”.

Now for Shining, who a certain member of Team CB (Rob) always goes nuts for.

The men in black arrive to a darkened Sophie tent before it all kicks off with strobes and that bomb blast of noise clunks into gear. The energy, as usual is phenomenal, and the band suit the tent much more than the mid-morning show they did at Bloodstock a couple of years ago.

‘The One Inside’ and ‘I Won’t Forget’ is a pretty intense start and thing continue in that manner with scorching effect.

Black Jazz Metal stuff… chuffing brilliant!

The Shining

Our last band of the day in the New Blood tent were the heavier than a “insert name of heavy thing here”‘s “insert part of previously mentioned heavy thing here” Poseidon who proved that the Sophie Stage denizens didn’t have the monopoly on no frills doom.

We stuck around in the New Blood stage for the “Hobgoblin pour off”, which saw THE ACTUAL HOBGOBLIN arriving on stage to oversee some sort of really shit barman-skills competition. Basically the two contestants had a minute to pour as many pints of Hobgoblin as they can, and between them they managed one.

Yep, one.

Our Nikki liked it though, someone mentioned free stuff so she dived headlong into the pit and elbowed small children and orphans out the way to come out with two t-shirts and a pint.

Well they said it was Free !!!

Over in the Sophie Tent there was something called a “DJ set”. Now as this is a festival you may be asking yourself “What’s the point of a DJ set? Why not have another band on?”, and we’d entirely agree with you. Think of a disco in a giant, empty tent and you get the full vision of the experience…

Before the main event on the Main stage we caught a bit of the impressive Vicious Nature at the Jager Tent. We couldn’t stick around for long but if The Silence That Kills it typical of their stuff then we really need to check them out at greater length as it sounded killer.

Mastodon not much in the way of crowd interaction. There was no major stage show to speak of; just wall to wall huge tunes that Mastodon seen to have in abundance all of a sudden.

MastodonWe did take another peek inside the Sophir tent where the DJ set was still in full swing, but by now even the dancers up on stage are looking bored

Team CB managed to regroup only a handful of times but the genral consensus was that it was yet another amazing year to be Bloodstocking. Although we have differences in our musical preferences, metal unites the 3 of us. Tonight, Mastodon played to a ram-packed arena. And we were in 100% agreement that they were superb.

The last band of the day for us are resurrected UKAC thrashers Acid Reign. Now it’s been a while since TeamCB first caught up with them (Glasgow Apollo, 198-something supporting Nuclear Assault) so this was a long overdue reunion. Frontman H was looking particularly dapper, not everyone could rock the fetching salmon pink jacket and shorts ensemble, complete with a matching top hat.

With matching socks.

Acid Reign are in the mood to party, and who are we to stand in their way. “Everybody in the tent shout a big fuck off to everyone outside the tent”. By god this is a LOT of fun “Who wants to feel 18 again?”, well who doesn’t? The band play Humanoia and we party like it’s 1989…

Brilliant, what a f’kin way to end an awesome day. We stop off at the Serpent’s Lair to chat to a Star Wars Stormtrooper and catch another couple of pints of ye old hobgoblin and craft ciders before it’s time to catch that shuttle bus back to the camper and catch some zzzzzs ahead of the delights that we knew Sunday had in store.