FESTIVAL REVIEW: BLOODSTOCK OPEN AIR – Day 3 (Sunday)
The last and final day was here, but by far the best day because the line up was unreal. As we kicked our feet through the grassy field enjoying the sunless sky and perfect weather we made our way to the stage. The crowd at Bloodstock is always very tame although they do have a great sense of humor as many still dressed up in costume. I remember passing by a group of guys dressed as monks with brown robes. It was very random and hilarious to see.
So with no time to waste we began the beginning of the end. A whirlwind of angst, joy & sadness filled the air. To know this was the last time we would walk the floor of Catton Park, sleep in a tent for those who did, eat pretty good food from vendors and leave this beautiful world of metal Bloodstock managed to create. A sanctuary of acceptance and love for metal. They say metal is underground and underrated and it truly is. But for those of us who go against society who are willing to be the odd one out for 3 days of the year we are able to come together with our brothers and sisters of metal.The community at Bloodstock has a great bond as I heard organisers say on stage “Bloodstock is a Festival made for the fans and by the fans.”
I found myself once again standing in the same place turning back my head and seeing the sea of people who were there for reasons as I was. Our attention was focused even though half the crowd seemed like zombies from all the partying they did the night before. We were there on a mission to enjoy. Ghost Bath and Heart of a Coward started the morning with a kick. Shocked with excitement we were ready to go for the following bands.
Unearth was up next and they were stoked to be there. With their East Coast tough Boston attitudes these guys showed England what’s up. These guys were filled with energy that seeped out of every pore from their body. The literally tore up the stage that afternoon. I was surprised and impressed at their set. The crowd seemed to have the same reaction as well.
Metal Allegiance is a very interesting band as its basically a super group of already famous band members playing cover songs. I was surprised to see them on the bill but they played a lot of classics and did a great job. With a guy like Mark Osegueda leading the pack you can’t go wrong. Everybody enjoyed their set and of course were able to sing along because they covered such classic covers to pay respect to the late Lemmy Kilmister by playing “Iron Fist” & David Bowie‘s “Suffragette City.” Metal Allegiance was among the few bands to mention and honor the deaths of these legendary musical heroes. We all will never forget their legacy and it was great to honor them in the best way possible by playing their music.
Black metal fans congregated to the front as we were to see one of the most beautiful of Blackmetal bands Satyricon. Covered in corpse paint, some dedicated fans were more than delighted to see them play. They were truly magnificent. Whenever a band like them plays you can just feel the energy shift. It’s quite an incredible talent for a band to create and move people like this. Satyr’s voice was outstanding as expected as well as Frost‘s drumming. Watching them play was very special for several fans including myself.
The following act was completely polar opposite to Satyricon but we had power metal band Dragonforce. These guys are infamous for their guitar shredding skills. Herman Li did so on stage throughout every single song. Marc Hudson’s voice was unmeasurable. The highs he hit literally blew everyone away. Hearing them in “Through the Fire & Flames” was very awesome as that song hits close to home for me. They were as I expected them to be; over the top and great.
We kept things going with Symphony X. Another band on the bill that did not disappoint. There were a ton of Symphony X fans out in the crowd. It was hard not to admire Michael Romeo, the mistros guitar skills along with Russell Allen’s ridiculous vocal range. The guys played their power ballad “Without You” Every single person there was singing and waving their arms back and fourth. To be honest how could some not do that with such a lovely song like that.
It was time to thrash it up with New York’s finest guys from Anthrax. Joey, Scott, Charlie, Frank and Scott have become metal icons over the years. Highlighting tracks from their new album ‘For All Kings’ and fan classics like “Caught in a mosh, Got the time & Indians” the guys f****ed s**t up! What hardcore thrasher wasn’t moshing in the pit? Anthrax has been around for 35 years and they not only physically still look about the same but have the same heart and energy. The guys told the crowd this was their last show of their Euro Tour and they couldn’t be happier to end it at an incredible festival like Bloodstock. They are such a classic band it was beyond words to say they have still got it. Their set was such a good time.
SLAYER! Their name and reputation proceeds them and like Anthrax they have revolutionized the thrash scene. They have left their mark in history. Never do you go to a metal gig and not hear a crazy fan scream “SLAYER” even though it’s not even a “Slayer” show. To describe or even touch the surface of what this band means, represents and accomplished over the years is too much for me to explain. But we all know who they are and what they do best. Back in 2013 Slayer headlined Bloodstock unfortunately it was right after Jeff Hanneman‘s death so their performance at that time had a sad feel to it. It’s been 3 years since then and time has healed the wound as they honor him in every set they play.
So here we are standing in front of the barrier anxiously counting the minutes and seconds to see Slayer. The stage crew decided to tease us and use a white curtain to hide the set up so we could be pleasantly surprised. Everyone began to try sneak a peak hoping one of the guards would drop an edge and reveal what was behind the sheet. We began to hear their entrance song and the curtain fell to the floor. Then they walked out dramatic and in common Slayer fashion.
I realised it doesn’t matter what year it is be it 2016, 1990 or even 1987, Slayer will always have that energy and control over fans when they play to cause pure insanity in the pit. Their set list was pretty good as we had “Repentless”, “World Painted Blood”, “Dead Skin Mask”, “Show No Mercy”, “Raining Blood”, “Die by the Sword” and other classics. The pit was crazy as I had expected. Everyones’ neck was sore from headbanging so hard and you could feel the heat of the flames from their upside down crosses made of Marshall stacks. Slayer will always be Slayer which means there is never a bad show and never a bad thing to say. They are the band that everyone knows and loves. You couldn’t have asked for a better band to headline the Ronnie James Dio stage.
For those of us who still had some energy and life in them like myself, I had managed to run to Sophie to catch the end of this incredible festival. Goatwhore, one of my favorite bands, played and they killed it as always. The guys had a really great time on the stage as they played their set. With songs like “Fucked by Satan” how could the crowd not go crazy for the last time ever. The pit was wild, the guys destroyed it and Ben’s voice roared though the tent. The guys brought out their special friend for the crowd to say hello to. Nicholas Barker (ex drummer of Dimmu Borgir, Cradle of Filth etc.). The Goatwhore guys even had their fun by telling the crowd about the head of security and how he was stepping down after several years and all he wanted to do was crowd surf. So as the song began he was lifted into the air and later brought back to the front. It was fun to see that the staff, fans and bands all love metal and share a rare moment like that. After a long night of amazing music they finished their set.
That was it Bloodstock was over. A little deaf, sunburned, happy and sad again. Like a vicious cycle for the past 3 days. For some people like myself this was the best weekend of 2016. Many of us ventured from different countries. Some nearby like France, some far like I did all the way from America. But all the time it took to save up to come to the greatest metal festival in the UK was worth it. The memories lived here at Catton Park are priceless. Metal fans love metal more than any other genre of music. Words cannot describe what a weekend like this means to some of us. So thank you Bloodstock for the best time ever once again. Always be the greatest festival you can be. Until next time BOA!