I think of all the bands announced for Bloodstock Open Air 2013, it was the return to these shores of Canadian techno-thrash pioneers Voivod that I am most looking forward to, and most nervous about. It’s been a long time since I last saw them live and with all that they’ve been through as a band can they still capture the unique spirit that made them so special?
I had the chance to interview Snake and Chewy before the set, you can watch our chat here.
Musically, well on CD at least, Voivod have very much returned to their roots with the latest Target Earth album, and as their set time approaches and their backdrop flutters in the breeze at the back of the main stage the scene was set… this could go one of two ways.
As soon as the band hit the stage and Away silences the chants of “Voivod Voivod” with the thunderous drum pattern that opens Kluskap O’Kom any doubts about how they would come over are completely blown away… as am I. This is the point when the day springs into life. The crowd are loving it, the band are loving it and me… well I have to remember to stop standing nodding my head and take some damn photographs.
Time for a zip back through the band’s history next, Tribal Convictions sounding as fresh and, well, angular now as ever.
Whereas other thrash bands of Voivod’s era have their acolytes these days, there is still no one who sound like this. They have changed their musical style a few times over the years, most recently when Jason Newstead joined, but now with Blackie back and Chewy doing a stunning job of filling in for the late, great Piggy on guitar the band are effectively right back to the sound that I fell in love with in the first place.
The see-saw ride through time continues, with Target Earth bringing us bang up to date. The crowd reaction shows no sign of abating and the band are clearly loving the response they are getting. Even the usually more impassive Blackie cracks the odd smile.
We are treated to a few of the highlights of the band’s back catalogue but, for me, they could have played for 2 hours. No Macrosolutions to Megaproblems (no matter how often the guy behind me shouted for it), no Ravenous Medicine, but after today’s setlist I’m not sure what I’d have left out to fit either of those two in.
The light relief for the day is provided by the bloke standing next to me during Corps Étranger though, apparently he couldn’t understand a word that Snake was singing…
Well in the intro Snake DOES say “You remember French at school? Well it’s time to remember everything you knew”…
Bit of a clue there.
In our pre-gig interview the band said that they saw what they are doing as the most fitting way to honour the memory of Piggy, and having watched my set of the weekend you’d have to say that’s exactly right.
Long live Voivod !!