All Words and Photos: Jay Hawkins
So here’s a review I never thought I would write….at the very last minute, the guys over at MyGlobal Mind asked if I could help them cover the festival, as 2 separate team members on 2 separate occasions had to to be scratched last minute from attending coverage and couldn’t attend, thanks guys, that meant I could step in and save the day, of sorts! I was already attending this years festival, with my brother, we bought our ticket, soon after Mastodon got announced as a main headliner. As I’m a massive fan, it was a no brainer, so I was attending all weekend, regardless. Here’s the rub, we were a 3 man team, which meant we could share the work load and trust me, it takes a long time to cover all these bands, with a total of 65 bands on the main flyer alone, with more playing both the New Blood Stage and the Jagermeister Stage, that don’t appear on the main festival flyer, there’s a lot to cover, but every band that played both these stages certainly deserved to be there, they were phenomenal, every single one of them! It’s worth mentioning that the bands that feature on the New Blood Stage, are all the winning bands, from around Europe, that take part in Bloodstock’s Metal To The Masses events, so all credit to the organisers, all over the country and a far, for putting these events on, which help find the cream of the crop, as far as metal music’s concerned!
So Adrian Hextall, head of UK operations covered the main stage on the Friday. On the Saturday, we had Reg Richardson covering the main stage, so he got to shoot Mastodon, the lucky bastard, however, lighting looked a challenge, from where I was stood! This left me to do my thing and experience the main stage on the Sunday, however, I’ve been trying to cover Bloodstock for the past 5 years, so I was itching to get in front of those bands, I’ve been longing to shoot all year! The festival doesn’t actually start until the Friday, but as everyone gets to the site on the Thursday, the organisers have managed to start scheduling bands to play the Thursday also. As I’d paid to be VIP all weekend and this was my brothers first ever Bloodstock, we thought we’d get hammered, as everyone does! Going into the mosh pit was probably a bad idea though, as I went over my bad leg and fucked it up, which left me in pain all weekend, fucking hate getting old, still managed to drink way too much mind, which helped to numb the pain!
As we were both feeling a little delicate the next day, we mostly drank water on the Friday, which enabled me to carry my cameras around, whilst watching bands on both the Sophie Stage and the New Blood stage. Friday was a brilliant day for music which started from the very first band of the day, Witch Tripper, over on the New Blood Stage. These guys are a 3 man band, hailing from Mansfield and are a band I first saw play, 2 years ago at the now, no longer with us, Intake Club, which is a shame, when they participated in the MTTM’s heats. They never got threw that year, but did manage to play the Jagermeister stage, so they came back again this year and won it, earning them a place on this years bill. The tent was absolutely rammed, people were outside, trying to get in, it was amazing to see, for both music and the bands reputation, long may it continue, as they are riff monsters!
As Adrian was finding his bearings (he was late) I thought I’d shoot HARK, the first band playing on the Ronnie James Dio Stage, from the crowd, who are also riff lords, from Swansea. Although I love stoner/doom bands, these guys seemed a little lifeless, maybe it was too early for them, what with being musicians, or they’d enjoyed Phil Campbell’s all Star Band a little too much the night before and were feeling it today? Who knows, but what I do know is, these guys produce great music, they just needed a little more energy, to help us all get started. The more I listen to HARK though, the more I love their music, but with so many bands on offer, across the site, if a band doesn’t grab my attention straight away, I move on. Food for thought maybe?
Kicking off the Sophie Stage, were Brutai, from London/Reading, who produce a metal/progressive/rock sound, according to their FB page, which is a bit vague. Personally, I think these guys are one of those technical metal bands, with synths, listening to them now, they do remind me of Devin Townsend though. The energy was there and they had some great songs, but I wasn’t feeling these guys, on the day. I can usually tell bands I’ve liked, by how many pictures I manage to produce. I only managed 10 good shots, which isn’t many, so I couldn’t have been a fan! They did manage to play bloodstock though, so they can’t be that bad.
Staying on the Sophie Stage, I missed Boss Keloid, which is a shame, but I did manage to catch Fury, a band from Worcester I know very well. Although I missed them playing Bloodstock last time (2013 I think) I made damn sure I was going to see them this year! With the release of their new album ‘Lost in Space’ these guys are back on tour, which is great to see, as they are a great live band with the crowds and their popularity are growing. I could see these guys were relishing every minute up on that stage, you could see it written across their faces, especially the ginger ninja, Jake Beesley, the bands lead guitarist, who lives for this festival, every year! Respect guys, Britannia sounded amazing on this stage and what a sound system, it delivers a mighty punch.
Having won the MTTM’s final, in Inverness, Seed of Sorrow had traveled a long way to be at Bloodstock, so I’m glad I made the short walk over to catch the tail end of their set. From what I could tell, from the crowds reaction, these guys were a popular band as they seemed to be well into these guys! It states on the bands Facebook page, that these are are a melodic death metal band, which I think is a little tongue a cheek, as these guys will melt your face off, pure and simple. Check out the bands Bandcamp page for more info and the chance to Download their EP, its HEAVY!
Anti-Clone were the next band I caught over on the Sophie Stage and man, I’m so glad these guys were playing this years festival, as I’ve been looking forward to seeing these guys live for some time now. If you look at their promo material, they just look interesting, yes bands like Mushroom Head and Slipknot look similar and these guys do remind me of those bands, but their material is completely original, dark, heavy as fuck, yet atmospheric and to watch these guys live is an adrenaline rush, of which I can now say I’ve witnessed! Hailing from sunny Lincoln, I can’t wait to see them play live again, real soon! Easily my 1st top 5 bands from this weekend!
I managed to make a quick dash over to see Burning the Dream, on the New Blood Stage, who are yet another band, North of the Border, this time from Glasgow. WOOO These guys are EXTREME METAL, they don’t get more ferocious than these guys, of that I’m sure! Just check out the bands FB profile, check out the track Strongbow Headache, I kinda got a headache just listening to it, but strangely, on the day, I was memorised by how technical they are as musicians and the bands vocalist, Paul Kelly, must be knocking Vocalzone back like its going out of fashion! I can’t listen this these guys at home, on the stereo, but live, I just wanna run around a mosh pit and happily get punched in the face!
I’ll stay on the New Blood Stage, for Triverse Massacre, as these guys were the last band I caught here on the Friday and they carried on in the same vain as all the bands before them, FUCKING BRUTAL. Every band that plays the New Blood Stage are just grateful for the opportunity and these guys were no exception. Hailing from Carlisle, which is as far north of England as you can go, again, brutal, it must be the conditions up there, that makes everyone angry, not sure, but there’s something there, I can’t quite put my finger on it! Live these guys kill it and fans of music, on the extreme side, come to Bloodstock to see these kinds of bands every year, you know, the guys that run around in circle pits, get off their faces and love life for 4 days, in a field, in Derbyshire (Catton Hall to be precise) to forget their daily troubles, but are salt of the earth, decent people. I love it, the bands like Triverse Massacre love doing it, so long may it continue, MTTM’s is a great event.
For my own personal taste in Music, today was all about the Sophie Stage, yes Twisted Sister were amazing, but tonight was their last ever UK show. Their music will live on, for ever maybe, but I’m all about the future and who’s going to continue in their footsteps, that’s why the bands that play both the New Blood and Sophie stages are vitally important.
The Charm, The Fury are a female fronted band, from the Netherlands and are quickly becoming a global sensation. With a lead singer looking as hot as Caroline, it’s easy to see why, however, the band are pretty cool too! With heavy riffs, heavy drops and heavy lyrics, these guys and girl are doing nothing different, but their delivery, thanks to a female vocalist is the twist and the fans are loving that fact. I really enjoyed this bands energy on stage, they engaged with the crowd well, which is what you want at a live show, to become apart of it and these guys and girl delivered in abundance. It’s fair to say, they took no prisoners! Need more convincing, check out the bands official music video ‘Carte Blanch’ which has had close to 8 million views! I’m a big fan of female fronted bands and I’m now a fan of The Charm, The Fury now too!
Meta-Stasis were playing the Sophie stage and I remember seeing these guys play Rock and Metal Circus, a few years ago now. I reminded myself of the band last week, after looking through the photos I’d taken from that event, so I remembered how eccentric Steve Dickson usually is at a gig, but nothing prepared me for today’s set up! For some reason, he was wearing a rather fetching, yet revealing violet dress, which showed off his, erm, mainly features! Thankfully his face was covered with his usual Guy Fawkes (V for Vendetta mask) so he got away with it. Again, a very technical band, with brutal vocals, which are hard to listen to at home, when you’re chilling, but here, at Bloodstock, you can’t help but lose yourself in the energy and emotion the band give, which is 110% Make sure you check out the Mammoth Fest line up, as Steve runs that festival and the line up looks brutal!
XII Boar, are easily my 2nd top 5 bands from this weekend and another band I’ve been trying to see for a while now! It’s hard to imagine these guys are from the UK, Hampshire to be precise, as their sound reminds me of bands such as Texas riff lords Wo Fat and Greece’s Planet of Zeus, who played BOA in 2015. For saying these guys are only a 3 piece, they pack a mighty punch and they are as funny as fuck, especially Tommy, the bands vocalist! His story, about fucking a Swedish bird, then writing a song about it, tickled me pink! I love this band so much, I’ve become a fan boy, instantly, but don’t tell the band that, they might let it go to their heads! Seriously, check out the bands new album ‘Beyond the Valley of the Triclops’ it’s bloody brilliant! It’s also something of a concept album, in modern day terms! Such a great live band, you have to see these guys live!
Mr. Bloodstock himself featured next, with his band of merry men, in Beholder + guests. These guys have had such a great year, since the release of their latest album ‘Reflections’ so it was a no brainer the band should feature this year. As for their set, it was a triumph for the band, with so many of the usual faces in the crowd, in support, which was great to see! If that wasn’t enough, after Twisted Sister’s set, back over on the Sophie Stage, Simon was brought back up on to the stage, with most of the crew and organisers, to watch him perform a forward roll, in aid of the Sophie Lancaster Foundation. The just giving campaign was orchestrated by Mr. Andy Pilkington, of Very Metal Art, who produces many of the metal bands promo material, which has managed to raise over £1500 so far and is still going, which is an amazing achievement, for a worthy cause. If you can give anything, please do.
I should of gone back to watch Diamond Head, headline the Sophie Stage, but I didn’t. Instead I went and had a few beers, as I was bloody knackered. I hope this review hasn’t been as painful to read, as it was to write, seriously, I have matchsticks in my eyes and trying to remember everything that happened today, was like pulling teeth, I should really start taking notes, never the less, I think I’ve covered enough for you to agree it was a great day, of which i’m sure, everyone in attendance would agree!