Bloodstock Open Air - Friday
13 August 2010
Catton Hall, Derbyshire
So here we are again at Catton Hall for the 10th Anniversary of Bloodstock.Thursday brought some torrential rain, but had cleared in time to wade our way through the mud to the expanded Sophie Lancaster stage, for sets from Hospital Of Death and Desecration…and a large number of beers!
Friday dawned with more risks of showers, but cagoules and poncho’s in hand we made are way across the hallowed turf, or rather even deeper mud, of the campsite for the start of proceedings.
Fresh from their headline metal stage slot at High Voltage, strangely Down were opening BOA 2010.Oh hang on a minute, it’s not Down it’s Pantera.Actually it’s neither but if you weren’t looking at the stage you’d be forgiven for thinking Phil Anselmo had made an appearance when Snakebite plunged into their short set.Actually they provided a very enjoyable opening 20 minutes to the festival with 60 Units in particular getting head’s banging on frontman Jason Smith’s demands.Snakebite clearly have talent but I feel they need to try to be a bit less derivative of their obvious influence if they really have bigger aims.
Visceral Pissery / Destroy The Seed / Monolith / 60 Units
We see them here, we see them there, we see them bloody everywhere! Black Spiders have been turning up at nearly every festival we’ve attended this year, but their dirty rock is certainly not a bad penny.Save for the omission of Meadow this was essentially the same set from High Voltage, though without the blazing sunshine and with a heavier minded crowd they don’t have the same impact today.Frontman Pete Spiby has to work a little harder to get the damp crowd to join in with the now traditional “F**k you Black Spiders” shout in the middle of Stay Down.Though the band’s energy started to pay dividends and a gruff cheer, when asked how the ladies are today, received an amusing retort of “There’s some very butch ladies here!” from Spiby.St Peter remains a high point in a Black Spiders set, but the drive of Blood Of The Kings see’s the band leave to a good response.See you again at Ozzfest then!
Black Spiders setlist:
Si El Diablo / Stay Down / Just Like A Woman / St. Peter / Kiss Tried To Kill Me (It Was Gene Not Paul) / Blood Of The Kings
Every year there are demands for Manowar to play, but Mr DeMaio’s supposed unrealistic money demands has consistently put paid to that.So the next best things is surely to draft in Ross The Boss and have him bring along Scott Columbus as a guest.Prior to hitting the stage band members and roadies stand around a non compliant keyboard looking at it like they don’t know what it is ...understandable given they’re so metal!It occasional plonked into life but it seemed the soundman was more concerned in replicating the Manowar sound by turning the bass up so loud that we could barely hear Ross The Boss himself during opener Blood Of Knives.The open goal is hit with a cover of Manowar’s Hail To England before the band return to their own album for We Will Kill and God Of Dying, which don’t sound out of place surrounded by Manowar songs.The second drum kit on stage is then occupied by Columbus as the Manowar fans are appeased with Kill With Power.Frontman Patrick Fuchs had the lungs to pull off Eric Adams vocals and later admirably handles Catch The Rainbow as a tribute to Ronnie James Dio.That song melted into Manowar’s Hail & Kill with both drummers supplying rhythm and the crowd responding with the Manowar arm salute.
Ross The Boss setlist:
Blood Of Knives / Hail To England / We Will Kill / God Of Dying / Kill With Power / Thor (The Powerhead) / Fighting The World / Catch The Rainbow / Hail And Kill
Rage return to Bloodstock four years after their first appearance and guitarist Victor Smolski quickly reminds us how much he impressed us back then, as his tapping led the opening of The Edge Of Darkness from the band’s latest album Strings To A Web.The spider from that album’s cover looked down on us as mainman Peavy Wagner asked us “Anyone familiar with Rage?” to an enthusiastic response.Despite their 26 year history, it’s the recent Rage history that you needed to be familiar with as aside from Higher Than The Sky the set is lifted from their output from the last eight years. Wagner is once again an amiable frontman gesticulating between strums of his bass with his long tied goatee swishing around.The crowd join in with the aforementioned Higher Than The Sky and Down provides a strong finish to an enjoyable set from the Germans.
The Edge Of Darkness / Souncdchaser / Hunter and Prey / Drop Dead / Empty Hollow / Higher Than The Sky / Down
Ensiferum hit the stage in heroic if not homoerotic fashion, all bare chests and wearing kilts.Clearly a band that a vast number had been looking forward to judging by the size of the crowd, those excited faces turned to look a bit puzzled as From Afar was drowned with drums and keyboards and little else.I’m used to Ensiferum having a thin live guitar sound but when you can clearly see Markus Toivonen playing the guitar melody to Twilight Tavern but not actually here it, it was getting a bit silly.As the band went Into Battle, I did the same and decided it was time to face the portaloos!Returning in time for a bit of a whistle along to Stone Cold Metal, the sound issues hadn’t seemed to have improved much and it was time for One More Magic Potion from the bar.
From Afar / Twilight Tavern / Into Battle / Token of Time / Ahti / Stone Cold Metal / One More Magic Potion / Iron
The Monday prior to this event, Behemoth were forced to cancel due to the serious illness of Nergal.RockersDigest sends their best wishes to Nergal and hope he has a successful and swift recovery.With mere days to the event, Bloodstock managed to pull of a last minute coup in drafting in Cathedral.Again this was to be a repeat of a High Voltage set, but in Cathedral’s case, Lee Dorian’s cry of “Come on Bloodstock, are you f**king up for it or what”, was a statement of intent that his band matched.This was a far ballsier display than the one in Victoria Park and a s Dorian bellowed “Huggy bear”, he was matched by an equally enthusiastic shout of “Oh yeah!” from the crowd.Funeral Of Dreams from the band’s latest album was progtastic, but if it was too confusing for the doom aficionados, then they were soon placated with Cosmic Funeral.Oddly for such a dark song, out popped the sun to a great cheer as Dorian leaped around pulling shapes whilst pointing at guitarist Garry Jennings and bassist Leo Smee as each took their turn in the solo trade off.By the time Mathew Hopkins made his appearance there was however rain splashing down on my note pad as the crowd were led through a chant of “Burn burn” and the song concluded with Dorian pretending to hang himself with the mic chord.
Vampire Sun / Utopian Blaster / Funeral of Dreams / Cosmic Funeral / Corpse Cycle / Ride / Hopkins (Witchfinder General)
Popping over to the Unsigned Tent there was time to get a quick look at Shrapnel, who we covered winning their slot through the London Unsigned final.An enthusiastic crowd of thrashers were lapping up the crunching riffs with frontman Jae Hadley proudly beaming from ear to ear.The young band showed plenty of potential to hold their own with some of England’s better known thrashers and it was a wrench when my watch indicated it was time to head back to the mainstage.
Death / Eternal / Hammer Blow / Toxic Slaughter / Rider Of Black / Warhead
It felt even more of a wrench leaving Sharpnel set when it soon became apparent what a waste of time Gorgoroth were.Having been underwhelmed with the “other” Gorgoroth supporting Cradle Of Filth in late 2008, whilst they had little substance at least they’d made a bit more effort in the presentation.Similarly faced with a wall of impenetrable noise, the corpse painted band looked a bit daft in the daylight.Bassist Frank Watkins, sorry Bøddel, pulling a second shift away from Obituary, strode around the stage looking like a badly painted Gene Simmons.Meanwhile it appeared Moses had used his sea parting skills to fashion frontman Pest’s centre parting.Boredom set in very quickly.
Bergtrollets Hevn / Aneuthanasia / Forces of Satan Storms / Profetens Apenbaring / Destroyer / Unchain My Heart / Revelation of Doom
Not again, I thought as a terribly weedy sound plagued Sonata Arctica.It’s been six year’s since their last appearance at Bloodstock, then indoors, where their set was destroyed by sound gremlins.However, to be fair the Finns were pressing their own self destruct button with an oddly chosen set which indicated their stubbornness to lean towards their latest album rather than bring out more big gun classics.The up and down nature of the set made it very difficult to get in to, where a Full Moon would raise expectations a query of “How many of you know William Shakespeare?” followed by Juliet saw the bar getting busier.In need of a bit more balls we headed towards the Sophie Lancaster Stage.
Sonata Arctica setlist:
Flag In The Ground / The Last Amazing Grays / Last Drop Falls / Full Moon / Juliet / 8th Commandment / The Dead Skin / Paid In Full / Don’t Say A Word / Vodka
Rather than a marquee, the Sophie Lancaster Stage was this year located under a circus style stretched big top.Whilst the size increase was welcomed the layout was rather strange with the support struts heading down the middle of the tent, including one smack in the middle of the stage.Seeking a position in an attempt to see as much as we could, we watched as Enforcer bounded onto the stage with Midnight Vice.The initial first song sound crippled the opening number though didn’t slow up the Swedes who careered around the stage with string plucking arms swinging windmill fashion.The Terrorizer cover stars hark back to the days of straight up 80s metal, much like a raft of other retro bands, but Enforcer are establishing themselves of leaders of the field with performances like this.Whilst the usual Maiden and NWOBHM influences are evident, Enforcer also take in the proto-thrash of the likes of early Agent Steel as evidence by Take Me To Hell.Whilst this was a very enjoyable set, why the band chose to omit their best song Katana was beyond me.
Midnight Vice / Mistress From Hell / On The Loose / Roll the Dice / Diamonds / Scream Of The Savage / Walk With Me / Take Me To Hell / Evil Attacker
I have to admit to finding Meshuggah a bit hard work on record.Their complex rhythms are obviously very impressive but a bit of a hook wouldn’t go a miss.However, after experiencing the band live I have revised my thoughts.Rather than feeling like a set comprising of a collection of songs, Meshuggah’s hour on stage melted into a whole.The effect was not dissimilar to watching a Tool performance were you are drawn in and disoriented in equal measures.With evening setting in the hypnotic effect was aided by the onstage lighting and whoever was controlling them did very well to match them to the odd time changes.
Rational Gaze / Bleed / Electric Red / Pravus / Stengah / Combustion / Lethargica / Sane / Straws Pulled at Random
Finally to Opeth and whilst spookily on Friday 13th this was my 13th Opeth gig, it wasn’t to be an unlucky one.Yet another band following up their High Voltage Festival appearance, Opeth included everything from that set and more in an extended performance.Once again the mellow Windowpane opened the set before The Grand Conjuration shook us back into more traditional Opeth territory.Fortunately any sound issues from earlier today seemed to have been ironed out as Mikeal Åkerfeldt led his band through a strong performance.The Moor and Bleak were surprise but welcome additions to the set, however the surprise highlight was the second airing today of Catch The Rainbow in tribute to Dio, with Opeth’s version taking the honours easily.Åkerfeldt has been somewhat obsessed with Bret Michaels in his stage banter of late and there was more to come on Sunday also when he returned with Bloodbath.Deliverance presented a chance for head’s to bob and unsurprisingly Demon Of The Fall closed out the set and day.Some had considered it too soon for Opeth to be headlining again when announced following Heaven & Hell’s tragic withdrawal.However, interestingly, tonight’s set only featured two songs Opeth had played two years ago and full credit to Opeth for this.
Windowpane / The Grand Conjuration / The Lotus Eater / The Drapery Falls / The Moor / Bleak / Catch The Rainbow / Deliverance / Demon Of The Fall