Bloodstock Open Air 2017 : Sunday Review

Could someone please have words with the lighting peeps. For that big cancerous ball in the sky is shining straight into the tents. We’re paying the price of a smashing Saturday in the Serpents Lair. Rough as the proverbial badgers arse, all 3 of us!

But it’s Sunday here at Catton Hall and there’s the final instalment of metal to enjoy so we best make our way to the arena, via the coffee hut. OK, so some of us may look like and feel like the walking dead, and by the smell of it, we are indeed just that. There’s METAL to enjoy.. and horsing cures a hangover like a good dose of Riffs.

And a bacon butty.

Now in our camp site there were some, how can we put it, noisy types and having listened to Switchblade City for two nights we thought it would only be right to catch them as they opened up the New Blood stage, as we feel we know them by now.

Next… it’s Broken Teeth on the Main Stage getting things going with an inspirational sermon about instruments and free expression. Shirts off shouty expression by the looks of it…

Amen brother, we hear ya.

Onwards… First up on Sophie this morning we have Gravil, who provide a sermon of an altogether more simple nature. “Its Sunday but we are metal and we’re fucking loving it!!”

Gravil smash out a great set to an almost packed Sophie tent and we get a timely reminder of just how good this band are. And going places if justice is served.

Another band not messing about are Hull’s finest sludge dealers. Battalions impressed us when we caught them supporting Conan a while back, so it’s good to see them doing well for themselves on the New Blood stage.

The constant convoy of new bands to enjoy on the New Blood stage can be a bit overwhelming at times as you add up all the bands you’ve got to delve into when you get home. So, it’s good to see a band that you’ve already tipped up there and slaying the place.

Battalions have a venomous blast of a sound which Phil’s scouring vocals only only go to make more vicious. There’s not much plod to these sludge mongers as they rip through a raucous set.

Next up on the main stage keeping up the relentless start to BOA sunday are this year’s next big thing Venom Prison. These guys are playing house parties one night and major festival main stages the next. It’s been a phenomenal rise over the last twelve months for this band, and all well deserved…

We’ve been banging on about Venom Prison for ages and how good they are. So has everyone else, so we’re not claiming to be oracles or anything. The band fit right in on the main stage, and the broad daylight show is stark contrast to their smoke filled silhouette show at Download.

Totally unfazed by the occasion, Venom Prison tear into Bloodstock with true power.

Good stuff so far, but a bit brutal (for some of Team CB) so we head over to New Blood for Seething Akira; who we knew virtually nothing about but soon found ourselves swept bouncing along to their infectious grooves. Usually any band with two lead vocalists and would have us heading for the exit but this lot are consumate riffmongers and we enjoyed them as much as the fans going ape down in the mid day pit. Great to see a band with two front men who can both deliver, not the usual clean / shouty combo.

This was another band who looked a bit shocked by the crowd and the response they were getting “I can’t believe we’re here, and I can’t believe there are more than 4 of you.

Yep, there are a lot more than 4. The band loved Bloodstock, and Bloodstock loved them. Great performance from what was definitely one of our bands of the weekend.

One question that did occur to us during this set was, considering the security checks on the gate; how the hell did the guy get in with the small keg of beer?

We left the New Blood stage on the highest of highs. We exchanged THAT look. Nuff said!

Things are a bit more restrained back in the Sophie tent, with the assembled crowd initially resisting the invocation from the stage to get involved. The Sophie crowd needed the blue touch paper lit to burst into life, and the band duly did exactly that. “We are Wretched Soul and we are here to give you your Sunday seance. We have a cure for you, we give you a Necromancer.

Yay, a song you can sing along to. Necromaaaaaancer. We had that bloody tune stuck in our heads for the rest of the day. So far with these guys, Venom Prison and Seething Akira the Sunday had started with a bang.

Next up Brujeria are bring yet more heaviness to our ears. The masked crew have quite a following here at BOA, we were less excited but their brand of South American shouty stuff but it’s not too shabby here live and in your face.

Hopefully one of these masked men will be back soon with Napalm Death!

There’s no shortage of photographers gathered for the Courtesans show over on the Sophie Stage. Yeah, they’re pretty easy on the eye and a welcome change of subject for the various ‘togs to focus on.

Beardy, sweaty blokes is the norm at Bloodstock.

Their brand of doom grunge…? Hmm, dunno how to describe this lot. Anyway, their sound is pretty fresh and cool compared to the barrage of everyone else this afternoon. Quite poppy, in a completely non-poppy sort of way.

Ah, we give up… they rock!

Courtesans may indeed rock! But, they’re nowhere near as heavy as what we’re about to be treated to back on the Main Stage!

Now it’s time to bring on the wheels of steel! Not Saxon, but Possessed no less! Death Metal from the beginning of time. Well, the beginning of Death Metal, anyway.

We’ll not be getting into that argument any time soon though. Possessed have the BOA faithful in awe from the beginning of their crunching set right until the end. I think that was our first sighting of true legends today. Plenty more to come though…

We’ve never heard of Puppy, but our ears prick as we wander by the Sophie stage on the way for (another) of the Texas Smoker’s delights washed down with a Motley Brew.

Yeah, Puppy are a little bit different from the unrelenting Death Metal onslaught of Sundays line-up. While other bands smash your ears in, Puppy just give your leg a grungy humping.

In a good way.

A little more g-word than anything else at Bloodstock perhaps, but these guys are still in possession of some mighty riffs. First impressions are that they sound like a cleaner Alice In Chains. We’ll have to have a listen when we get home to see if we’re right…

There’s a shouty band on Jager as we await Death Metal Royalty on the Main Stage. Obituary were a pre-festival band of the weekend contender and as it turned out they more than lived up to expectations. Cue much crowdsurfing, headbanging and insane circle pits.

One of Team CB may have mentioned that John Tardy is starting to look like Frank Gallagher as he enters his latter prime. But we ain’t gonna tell him that… Do they show ‘Shameless’ Florida? Probably not.

Must have been a pisser for Shrouded on the New Blood stage when they found out who they were up against but as with most bands from Northern Ireland the lads seemed to have shipped in a lot of friends who were all down the front singing along. Considering the Death Metal competition they were up against the tent had assembled decent crowd that grew as passers by stopped in to see what all the fuss was about.

We headed out of the New Blood tent just in time to catch Obituary doing ‘Slowly We Rot’, and demonstrating to virtually every other Death Metal band that the Floridans are still the bosses of the DM old school.

A quick trip to the Jagermeister stage next, mostly to see if Atragon bassist Ewen sober at a festival. Well mostly sober. The Scots have a decent crowd for their Bloodstock debut, and did nothing to hurt their chances of getting invited back on one of the bigger stages in the future.

Doooooooooom !!

Things didn’t get off to the best of starts for Hell, the pyro was there, the crowd were bouncing and the atmosphere was electric. Unfortunately the David’s vocals were conspicuous by their absence. Half way through the opener he was handed an old fashioned radio mic and joined us. The crowd let out a huge cheer when he was handed the mic and we could hear him.

Things looked up as we segued seamlessly from Age Of Nefarious into Let Battle Commence and then, emulating his brother, Kev’s guitar went awol until a good old guitar lead was found to get him connected again. Not a very long lead to be fair, and the whole situation had him shaking his fist at the heavens.

Technology eh guys ?

In spite of all that was thrown at them, Hell were triumphant at Bloodstock. They brought their giant pyro flame throwers, the stilts, the whip and the pyro spitting trident. Up on stage in their full get up it must have been a bit sweaty, “You should have told us you were wearing black. We would have changed” we’re told.

Yeah, we need to co-ordinate wardrobes next time.

During this whole set, we noticed that they had an extremely attentive and captive audience. This is a band who command your attention and you could hear a pin drop during the few silent moments if Bloodstock was under some weird satanic spell. Ghost where amazing last night, but for us Hell topped Papa & Co.

‘On Earth As It Is In Hell’ brings things to a climax and as the band take their bow after triumphing over technical adversity the crowd are baying for more. Alas time waits for no man and it was not to be, but if we were betting types we’d put a few quid on Hell being back, and continuing their climb up the bill.

A pretty small percentage of Bloodstock made their way to the Sophie tent where ONI had one of the roughest slots of the weekend. As Hell were unleashing fire and fury on the Main Stage, ONI are hard at work making their presence known to the hardcore that have ventured over to see them.

We caught these guys supporting Children Of Bodom earlier in the year on the Manchester Academy 2 stage.

Today we get the Full ONI experience as they make use of their bigger stage by jumping off everything in sight and basically being 10x more energetic and entertaining than we ever really appreciated.

Yep, that was a nice surprise. ONI were bloody mental!

There’s Darth Vader on stage while the Imperial March intro tape rus. Yep it’s Skindred time, so there’s no point going anywhere just yet.

Not long into the set Darth makes another appearance, this time crowd surfing over the barrier. This is going to be a bit mental innit?!

Now we were blown away by Benji and the guys at Hellfest and although here they didn’t hit the heights they did on the Clisson main stage they still went down a storm with tracks like Rat Race getting the place bouncing. No doubt about it, Skindred know how to play the crowd and have a huge fan base. As always the Newport helicopter was a sight to behold, especially with the security down in the pit joining in.

That’s the spirit!

As the big man says, Metal is all about being yourself, and there’s no one quite like Skindred.

Another band on the verge of BOA headline status next on the main stage. Arch Enemy are on an apparently unstoppable upwards trajectory, driven on by perhaps the finest pair of guitarists to grace any metal band. When Jeff Loomis was announced as joining the band many of us thought it wouldn’t last, but thankfully we were wrong.

Today was the golden opportunity for the sub headliner to blow the top act off the stage, and by god they managed it. The way the place got swept along, especially during ‘No Gods, No Masters’ was the stuff that festival memories are made of and ‘One For All’ saw them trying to out pyro Hell.

‘We Will Rise’ is a TeamCB favourite and just about seals the deal for us. Arch Enemy make a late bid for band of the festival.

BOA always manage to pull out a stormer of a band just when you are getting tired on the last day. Last year we were rejuvenated by Anthrax, this year Arch Enemy got the blood pumping again with a bang.

Make no doubt, next time Arch Enemy play Bloodstock it’ll be their name at the top of the poster.

Team CB regrouped to exchange notes and catch up on the goings on elsewhere and grab a bite to eat before the main event. We headed up to the Jagermeister tent for Voodoo Blood who were camping not to far from us and we promised to go see them after a drunken stroll home of an evening.

Would be rude not to. Jaeger stage it is.

Now we had no idea what to expect, but on arrival we were kinda blown away. They had a zombie painted young female singer with bluesy tone to her voice who belted out the vocals effortlessly and worked the crowd limited space that they had, and what a crowd. Loads of happy faces for what was by far the busiest the jaeger stage has been all weekend!

We have been fed and watered. We powered through the hangovers, some of us have went through more pot noodles than we care to remember. The serpents lair almost cost us our livers. We have exchanged hundreds of high five’s and hugs. Rob has taken a shitload of photos but now it’s time for the jewel in the crown, the piece de resistance….

MEGADETH! Ok, so they have been a bit hit and miss of late, well longer than that, but they did enough at their last BOA headline slot to be invited back and they still shift tickets but, for us, they couldn’t top what had gone before.

‘Hanger 18’ lacked it’s usual punch with guitar solos that seemed to last a week and had some of the crowd heading off to the bar for one last pint. OK, there were people were here undeniably in awe of St. Dave Mustaine, Thrash legend. But for us it was good, not great. A nice trip down memory lane as Megadeth took us back in time and played some of Thrash’s most iconic tracks.

It was a good performance, but the energy generated earlier by Hell, Skindred and Arch Enemy seemed to have dissipated.

Then again, lets not lose sight of the fact its the fourth day for some if us at a music festival. A lot are still suffering from Thursday nights piss up!

As we headed for the car park, on a shuttle bus that had clocked up 800 trips, we found the security staff had all buggered off, we got out OK as we were parked by the exit but it looked a bit like carnage in the rear view mirror.

Hitting the motorway we had the usual downer as that’s it over for another year. It all went buy in a flash! We have seen some bands we never knew existed and loved, some bands we already loved and now love a teeny bit more and loads we can’t remember much about. We’ve also seen some things we will never forget but really wish we could. We went into the pit with Testament, we saw Dakesis step up to the next level, we headband like lunatics to Seething Akira and we rowed the biggest longboat with Amon Amarth!

So, same time next year ??