Bloodstock Open Air 2005
24 June 2005
Catton Hall, Derbyshire

With a P.A. that left a lot to be desired, the two extremes of how to tackle it bookend the festival. Panic Cell, who had the honour of kicking off the first Bloodstock Open Air, chose the route of trying to blast those gathered into the next field and as a result much of their subtleties got lost in distortion.

Having been preceded by playbacks of songs by The Rasmus and Starship, subtleties weren`t what we were looking for however, and Damn Self Pity saw many grateful hands clapping in the air. Luke Bell thanked the few there for bunking off work or college before a crushing Save Me which highlighted how much heavier and faster the songs from debut album Bitter Part Of Me have become.

Thousand Words provided a slight breather before Slayer`s Dead Skin Mask gave those who were not familiar with Panic Cell something to sing along to. Closing song, Away From Me, saw bassist Bobby Town spitting a gob full of water into Luke Bell`s face with the favour returned before the songs conclusion.

The conditions were certainly less than perfect for Panic Cell, but under the circumstances a great introduction to the weekend.

Panic Cell set list:
Instrumental Intro / Damn Self Pity / The End / Shallow / Save Me / Thousand Words / Dead Skin Mask / Away From Here

Swiss rockers Gotthard are a bit of an unknown quantity in the UK, but set about putting that right today. A friend had described them as just a really solid rock band, which pretty much summed them up. There`s nothing new or innovative about their sound, a dash of Whitesnake here, a pinch of Aerosmith there and a whole heap of good time rock ‘n` roll.

The band bound onto the stage to All We Are like a set of Duracell bunnies and never really let up the party atmosphere, ignoring the grey clouds and sparse crowd. Full credit to them for this as it was the 2,000 or so here who had made the effort to support the first Bloodstock Open Air and were duly rewarded.

Hush added some familiarity to a set featuring a number songs from new album Lip Service, whilst Firedance took us all the way back to the band`s self titled 1992 debut.

Not perhaps a band I would have thought to head out to see headline their own show, but today`s set pleased fans and onlookers alike.

Gotthard set list included:
All We Are / Dream On / Hush / Cupid`s Arrow / Firedance

The band that seemed to gain the most derision for their inclusion at BOA were Breed 77. The huge delay before they started gave the power metal fans plenty of time to run and hide, but those that did remain where treated to an energetic set from a very individual band.

Breed 77 hail from Gibraltar and the flamenco sounds of Spain permeate their metal sound. Mixed with this is the vocals of Paul Isola which range from shouts to mantra style clean sections.

Whilst the band may be new to many, much of their set was to all, as a few new songs were aired tonight including Islamabad and Malavida. The River both slowed things down and brought back some familiarity before the speedy Individuo, complete with hooky chorus, encouraged some jumping up and down.

Breed 77 may not have been everyone`s cup of tea but to write them off as nu-metal is clearly misguided. In a day of much variety Breed 77 held their own and surprised many.

Breed 77 set:
Worlds On Fire / Islamabad / Malavida / The River / Individuo / Libertad / La Ultima Hora

The nice thing about BOA was that you could hardly walk ten yards without getting into a conversation with someone, whether you actually knew them or not. Consequently a trip to visit friends at the far end of the campsite meant that by the time I returned to the main arena Mostly Autumn had just finished. Reports from friends who are fans of the band were that they had suffered from having a poor sound.

Mostly Autumn set list included:
Evergreen / Black Rain / Never The Rainbow

By the time Sebastian Bach hit the stage, the 4 beers for £6 offer meant I was suitable well oiled and having been rather unimpressed with the former Skid Row frontman mid afternoon at Sweden Rock, I wasn`t overly concerned about reviewing him.

However, being in a party mood was the perfect time to catch Bach and coupled with the benefit of stage lighting and the PA`s shortcomings meaning you could really tell that his voice isn`t what it was, Bach turned in fitting finale to Friday.

With a band boasting ex members of Halford, Iced Earth, Death and Testament it`s no shock that Bach is supported by a band more than able to recreate and heavy-up Skid Row classics such as Big Guns and Slave To The Grind.

Details remain sketchy at best however. Bach took to climbing the side of the stage at one point and was joined onstage by Alexi Laiho of Children Of Bodom for a unique duet of clean and harsh vocals for Youth Gone Wild. Laiho also managing to acquire a guitar to play along.

Sebastian Bach set list included:
Big Guns / 18 & Life / Slave To The Grind / Youth Gone Wild

Sebastian Bach
Mostly Autumn
Breed 77
Panic Cell