Bloodstock Open Air 2016 : Friday Review

Friday morning started with one of those classic “never drinking again” experiences, closely followed by the hiss of a Strongbow can being opened in the time honoured “kill or cure” tradition. It looked like we were in for a nice day and as we headed into the arena for the pre-start chat about the days activities TeamCB were all fired up for what promised to be another day in Metal paradise.

Looking at the lineup, there was one area of disagreement.. who was going to be the pick of the mainstage bands. After much discussion it came down to Corrosion Of Conformity Vs. Venom for us…

Gloryhammer and Twisted Sister were going to have something to say about THAT though.

Witch Tripper BOA 01First band of the first full day of proceedings at Bloodstock Festival 2016? Well, that honour goes to Witch Tripper this year. The New Blood Stage, as always has attracted plenty of punters inside; the Bloodstock faithful always seem keen to check out the new stuff.

We’re up for it too. Just say stoner metal 3-piece to us and we’re on our way!

Some filthy rock’n’roll to ease our sizeable hangovers? Witch Tripper work a treat for that… in fact, we’re fancying getting on it again already.

Maybe after a bacon butty, anyway.

Hark 05And whilst we were in the butty queue, Hark are waking up the neighbours on the RJD stage.

We don’t know a lot about Hark but they are a pleasant surprise. Big riffy, hard rock with that all important (for CB anyway) stoner edge. We’re on a roll here, two new bands for our ears and two wins!

Now for some old friends…

Our next port of call was the Sophie stage, and bloody hell a lot of people had had exactly the same idea, it was mobbed for 11am on a Friday. Another band making the trek across the field from the New Blood stage a couple of years back, I don’t think Fury could quite believe how many people were there to check them out.

Fury

The whole arena was already jumping as we headed back over to the main stage for the biggest dose of silly power metal of the weekend, Fife’s finest Gloryhammer.

4GloryHammerA lot of bands come a long way to play Bloodstock, but most of them still come from this planet. “We are Gloryhammer from space!” is just showing off, and certainly must be about the farthest anyone has come to play. Taking a break from his Pirate buddies, Chris Bowes is in full wizard-ey mode while Thomas, erm, I mean Angus McFife was resplendent in his fetching green armour and a pair of entirely historically accurate wrap around shades.

We won’t mention the gold trousers though, must be a space thing.

Power metal isn’t supposed to be too serious but the ‘hammer guys take the cheese to a whole new level.

Only one thing for it, get down the front and  lose yourself in the glorious sillyness. Even”When I say Crail, you say Hail” had us all doing what we’re told.

The Hootsman also clearly demonstrates that it’s NEVER too early for a drinking competition !!

Swords, sourcery, battles, drinking and nasty Unicorns invading Dundee (although why ANYONE would want to invade Dundee is a mystery to anyone who’s been there), the Hammer of Glory was held high over Bloodstock and lo, it was indeed glorious.

7 Boss KBoss Keloid were well up at the top of our must see lists for Bloodstock. ‘Herb Your Enthusiasm’ has been one of our favourite new albums of late and you know we’re suckers for some doom and stoner.

They did not disappoint!

Wandering about like a fart in a trance after the previous evening’s merryment of the Serpents Lair, it was time to sample the fine cuisine so many folk speak of at Bloodstock. With an abundance of stalls to chose from, we were salivating at all the smells of fresh bacon, coffee and the likes. And then there’s the opportunity to shop. Where else can you purchase a coffee, halloween costumes and genuine Indian feather headress. Only at festivals like this.

A quick pop over to the New Blood Stage and we catch the awesome Souls Of Jack Ketch thrashing their way through a tremendous set. They don’t look as fresh faced as some of the bands on this stage but that doesn’t matter, really. It’s all about getting new bands out there in front of fans and these guys are certainly new ones on us.

Cracking stuff from the Geordies.

5 Souls Of Jack Ketch

After their incredible, triumphant debut on the main stage just two years ago, Evil Scarecrow were back to thrill us once again at Bloodstock Festival. Arriving in style, on space hoppers, the band had just about attracted the same size crowd as last time. Which, in case you didn’t see it, was bloody huge!

1 Evil ScarecrowCracking off with the likes of ‘Robototron’ and new track ‘Hurricanado’, they had us all grinning from ear to ear.

We don’t need to tell you that people far and wide were dancing like robots, dancing like crabs, dancing with each other and chucking things in the air do we? They were!

Evil Scarecrow prove once again why they are the most fun in heavy metal. The twin “Tornado” and “Hurricane” circle pits merging into one mass of dancing, skipping “Hurricanado” pit was a joy to behold.

Full of gimmicks and shit, we wouldn’t have them any other way.

Of course if there’s a band you don’t want to clash with at BOA it’s Evil Scarecrow, and Brutai were performing to a much smaller crowd than their impressive performance merited.

We wandered about between the stages, not planning on staying in one place for too long. There was way to much to keep us occupied. And the grounds had funfair rides, stalls, and an encloure which doubled as a Bloodstock strongest man/ye old knights of chivalry monty python type thing.

4 Anti-Clone

Things were kicking up a notch in the Spohie tent, thanks to Anticlone who were demanding some early afternoon pit action.

And getting it, with as much energy and movement on stage as there was in the big pit that opened up spanning the width of the front of the tent.

6 Misery Loves CompanyBack on the main stage yet another Scandinavian band were showing how it should be done. Misery Loves Co. scratched Bloodstock’s grungey industrial metal itch, and had us nodding along as they got the place bouncing. The crowd may have thinned out a lot since Scarecrow, but Misery Loves Co. gave it the beans as they tried to keep the party in full swing.

Garganjua bring the tempo and the frequency right down with some subsonic doom power chords surging through the new blood crowd like an unstoppable, inexorable tide

We really like these guys.

Hangovers well and truly taken over but there’s no time to slow down, there’s still plenty of bands to catch and review. Inbetween the bands on the main stage the Jagermeister truck is the place to be for some great new talent. The pick of the bunch, well that would have to be The Hyena Kill who got everyone boogieing.

2 Stuck mojoNu Metal is still a thing apparently (Even if it’s not ours) but we have to hand it to Stuck Mojo, they’re much more of a sunny afternoon soundtrack than Venom or Behemoth. There’s still nowhere near a Scarecrow sized crowd but the folk down the front are enjoying themselves. “It’s not a party until someone pulls their boobs out.. and his guy just did it”.

“Turn around and show the people your a class boobage”.

So far Bloodstock had (as always) more than lived up to expectations. There’s just nowhere in the UK quite like it. With the sun beaming down and a warm breeze rolling across the arena, what better way to enjoy a Friday afternoon than kicking back to some Corrosion Of Conformity.

It’s just about perfect C.O.C. weather. Some jamming riffs, a cold beer and fag… this is gonna be awesome.

C.O.C. arrive without sticksman Reed, so after just one days practice, “John from Manchester” is filling in on the kit.

COC Bloodstock 11

The band aren’t mid tour cycle at the minute, they’ve flown in especially for us. After a huge build up in the from Krusher, Pepper and co arrive typically understated, slowly jamming into the first track.

It sets the trend for the whole set. A combination of a brand new drummer in the fold, the swirling wind, the fact that they’ve lost their instruments on route (we’re missing Woody’s old beat up ESP six strings) all makes for a loose and easy going show. Not quite the punchy shows we’ve seen from the band over the last year, but somehow the jam-feel fits this afternoon perfectly.

“This one is dedicated to Donald Trump”

There’s only one song in the C.O.C. catalogue that this can be… ‘Vote With a Bullet’ smacks some life into things for a moment while the stoner friendly ‘Albatross’ takes us a little higher!

The set ends with a massively long and drawn out version of ‘Clean My Wounds’ which turns into a meandering jam for a fair while, eventually kicking back into the chorus (about ten minutes later)

Okay, so just maybe they were drawing it out a bit. We would probably have liked to hear ‘Stonebreaker’ or ‘Wiseblood’ but anyone can tell they’ve not had the best of weeks and are doing the best to keep the show going. It’s slightly different, but the band draw in a whopping crowd and they don’t lose anyone along the way. So we think that all went down pretty well.

All is definitely forgiven when Pepper announces that C.O.C. will be back in 2017 with a new album through Nuclear Blast and another tour too.

The main stage is rammed full of great bands for the remainder of the day, but we have to keep your finger on the pulse… we’re a cutting edge music webzine. Don’t let anyone tell you any different.

Burning The Dream provide the entertainment while we are in the queue for a swift Hobgoblin and we like what we hear and stick around to hear more. The headbanging throngs down the front seem into it too…

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And now for some… Foetal Juice. What a name! We had to go just to check out this band for their name as much as anything else. Loads of other people were there too, which we didn’t expect. There were circle pits erupting down the front and much to our horror, these guys are pretty damn good. ‘Service Station Masturbation’ is just one of some wonderful song titles in the setlist today. They all go down a storm!

Venom Bloodstock 06This was the one we’ve been waiting for. It was just a day under 12 months ago that Venom were announced as the first name out of the hat for Bloodstock Open Air 2016. Seeing them on home (well, almost home) turf was going to be something special, certainly beats the international travel and air miles we’ve racked up seeing the legends at festivals across Europe. Given that they were the first big name announced, it was something of a surprise to see that they were on the main stage in the late afternoon, but what the hell, this was going to be something else.

The gates of hell opened with Long Haired Punks from the last album, which blasted straight into The Death Of Rock N Roll without drawing breath before a roar of “Come on, turn it up” heralded the aural onslaught of Bloodlust. Things were kept back in the “classic” days with Welcome To Hell and Countess Bathory keeping the die hard legions happy while giving the neutrals something to nod their heads to.

Cronos was his usual self, menacing, growling but not always able to hide twinkle in his eye as he lapped up the unfettered adulation of the crowd. Although he’s obviously the center of attention guitarist La Rage wasn’t hiding in the shadows, coming front and center to unleash blistering solo after blistering solo while looking like he was having the time of his life.

Venom could have played a greatest hits set and everyone would have been quite happy, but although it would have been nice to hear the liked of Die Hard or Buried Alive we had no complaints about them giving a lot of the newer stuff an airing in the unfamiliar environment of mid afternoon sun.

“Great to be back in England, I’m just not used to that fucking sunshine”.

“It’s amazing we haven’t burst into flames”.

Yeah, that kind of became a recurring theme that more than one band commented on. Can someone have words with him upstairs about the lighting situation. I mean, for fuck sake, this is Britain. We’ve already had our one day of Summer and that big ole’ sun in the sky isn’t something that anyone was expecting.Difficult to be dark and intense when you’re playing weather more suited to Sunday afternoon cricket than Black Metal. We’re denizens of dark and dingy clubs, we’re not used to dealing with sunburn.

Venom want to come back, in the dark, with the full show.

Someone make it happen !!

4 BeholderThe man who could make it happen was busy though, getting ready for a shot on the Sophie Stage. Simon Hall was pulling double duty as both the main man in the keeping things running smoothly department at BOA and also the frontman of the mighty Beholder. When the boss man says “Sing it with me you beautiful bastards” who are we to argue. Killing Time has never felt quite this powerful.

In ‘The Satanist’ Behemoth have released one of the most pivotal albums in heavy music in quite some time. All the big critics were all over it immediately. We quite like it too. So it seems fitting that it should be played in full here at Bloodstock.

BehemothWhen Behemoth headlined here a few years ago, it was a spectacle of fire and dark silhouettes that gave their show a explosive feeling.

Similar to Venom, Behemoth now have to deal with the late evening sun making them look all illuminated and not very black metal. It’s amazing what some corpse paint and a few blasts of the dry ice can do however and Behemoth concur up an atmosphere fitting of the album they are playing.

The band put on a stunning display of a black metal carnival and are one of the visual highlights of the day too…

But, we know someone who might challenge that crown.

Before we know it, its Twisted Sister time. Where on earth does the time go at Bloodstock? The days fly in with far too much fun was had all round.

‘Forty Years and Fuck It!’ That’s what it says on the banner. It is of course time for the only european rock band from Long Island’s final show in the UK. Ever…

14 Twisted SisterAs Dee explains, this isn’t a Kiss or a Scorpions farewell. Twisted Sister are calling it a day. For good so this is quite an occasion and Twisted Sister have bought the stage show to celebrate it. The stage is lit up like a light shop window and they’ve bought the pyro, all the pyro.

A few fireworks too.

The band look just as fine as any stage props however, especially Dee, who moves pretty well for a chap who must be eligible to draw his pension out. The band smash through a genuinely emotional farewell with some rare cuts and some absolute solid gold classics. The deafening roar of “I Wanna Rock” is surely the loudest of the day.

It’s one hell of a spectacle from start to finish and quite a coupe for Bloodstock Festival. We would never have imagined that a show like this would hit Bloodstock a few years back, when we were watching the likes of Edguy headline. No offence to Edguy, who we love. It just shows how the festival is growing and has easily become the UK’s premier metal event of the year.

Twisted Twittert

Day turns into night and finally that big fat sun in the sky is now just a mere light behind the clouds. Bring back Venom now please!!

And then its sleep…wake…eat…repeat.