I decided to go to Bloodstock a couple of weeks before it happened as I was lucky enough to get someone to cover my post at The Carlisle and I also bid on an auction to win tickets and a signed cymbal from Mastodon – and guess what I won it!
So my Metal Devastation sidekick and I set off to spread the MDR word and basically have a great time!
Day one, Thurs: After six-hour journey and an hour queuing to collect our guest passes we finally pitched our tents and decided to have our first drink of the day – we forgot we hadn’t eaten and didn’t think about those triple vodkas taking effect! But hey it was Bloodstock. After a quick change and brush up off we went to meet up with our Bloodstock family. Walking though the VIP campsite it was great to see so many old faces that we knew, it had been a while ……! It was our very intention to go and see a couple of bands but we ended up staying in the VIP bar listening to great sounds from The Vicious Breed DJ’s and of course drinking loads of vodka and sampling some of the many ales that the VIP bar sold! Needless to say I got absolutely hammered before weaving my way back to my tent, a ¼ of a mile walk that dues to my zig zags must have been extended to at least ½ a mile (chuckles at the memory)!
Once I finally had a steady belly on Friday I ventured to the main arena to see what bands were playing and to visit the art gallery that was showing a selection of Paul Gregory’s work. It was absolutely amazing to see such beautiful paintings at Bloodstock Open Air and I hadn’t realised how great an artist he actually was!
It was hard to choose who to watch and on a couple of occasions I missed beginnings and ends of bands so I didn’t miss the whole sets but I did watch: Beholder, Beyond The Black, Evil Scarecrow, Venom , Behemoth and Twisted Sister . Evil Scarecrow were fabulous. They had the crowd in the palm of their hands and watching the whole crowd shuffle from side to side to Crabulon was most definitely an experience, and what a crowd for an early gig. Beholder surprised me with the songs from their new album Reflections that is far removed from their previous releases but a bloody good listen. Twisted Sister – what can I say? It was great to see them back and Dee Snider, as always commanded your attention and the band were an absolute delight to watch. Many tears were shed by fans that night as it was their last gig and I am just happy I got to see it! Day done – off to bed!
On Saturday morning we were told to meet at the backstage area at 11am to collect the cymbal we had won from Mastodon but we finally received it at 3.30pm. That was an experience, being backstage with Fear Factory, Mastodon and more. Having stayed sober all day again it was time to have a nice cool vodka in the sweltering heat and get ready to see some more great bands. We saw The Raven Age, Vicious Nature, Kill II This, Vallenfyre, Fear Factory, Paradise Lost and Gojira. Vicious Nature killed the Jägermeister stage. Frontman Andy Pyke led the watchers into a fists in the air frenzy and after a short time had everybody singing along. It was a short set but straight to the point and I would like to see them promoted to the Sophie Stage. It was the first time I had seen Vallenfyre and Gojira live. I liked the dark doomy tones of Vallenfyre and the dark sense of humour of front man Gregor Mackintosh when he told people to start the slowest pit ever, it did make me chuckle. Gojira picked up the arena, chewed it up and spat it back out to smother us in their utterly brilliant tunes and for me they were the best band of the day and quite possibly the weekend! After a few mores beers we headed back for an early night ready for Sunday!
As I hadn’t drunk the 2 litres of vodka I had taken with me so I decided that Sunday would be the day to drink them with my friends, only to find them hung over and booze battered from the night before, so I gave it away! On Sunday I watched, Whispered, Pythia, Metal Allegiance, Dragonforce, Symphony X, Anthrax and Slayer. Whispered were real surprise for me and I will be checking them out further. Described as Samurai metal I can see why. Apart for the obvious Japanese dress the blending of metal and Japanese music works really well . Metal Allegiance were fantastic but I am biased as I am a fan of Death Angel and Testament. Their cover of Bowie’s Suffragette City has the whole crowd singing along and it was a real treat watching Alex Skolnick’s masterful guitar playing. Anthrax for me were at their best and Joey Belladonna’s vocals were faultless. Their set list perfectly chosen to please fans old and new. It really was a pleasure to watch them. Finally, Slayer- the stage set was eye-catching with crosses and flames and Tom Araya was in a great mood, even cracking a few jokes. I did think Slayer were better than when I had last seen them a number of years ago but I wasn’t over excited by their set.
So BOA 2016 is over. It is still, in my opinion the best metal festival in the UK and I don’t see any reason why that will change. I make a massive note to myself for 2017 – no drinking on the first day! Keep it metal all – see you next year /m/