Bloodstock Open Air - Catton Hall, England, 17th August 2007
|Event:||Bloodstock Open Air 2007|
|Written by:||Baz Anderson|
Bloodstock Open Air - Catton Hall, England, 16th-18th August 2007 by Baz Anderson (129)
So the second day of the festival had come around, and this was going to be the "relax and recover" day for me, as there were only a few bands the whole day that I actually wanted to see, the main show for me was going to be on the final day. I awoke to a warm tent and thankfully after the unsure weather of the previous day I was greeted by sunshine. We made our way to the festival ground as there really wasn't much else to do and started the good feelings off by purchasing a large ice cream. There's nothing quite like standing in the sun, eating an ice cream at a metal festival. It seemed the day had started very nicely, and it would turn out to be a more entertaining day than I had previously expected.
Exploder was back, this time performing their own songs. They are a rock band with some good rocking attitude but I don't think anyone there was particularly interested in the band's performance. I went up to investigate them whilst finishing off my ice cream and they were putting on a decent show but most people had not woken up properly yet and so the band flew quite cleanly under the radar.
Another English band, Voodoo Six from London took the stage next and received more or less the same kind of reception as the previous band. They put on a decent show and entertained a few people but quite frankly I was more interested in having a little walk about the surrounding area of the festival than watching the band.
Now this is where the day began to pick up, and it picked up a big way with Swedish melodic death metallers Scar Symmetry. This was the first show of the day that I was interested in seeing and I think the same opinion was shared by a fair number of people that were awake and walking about. The band play in the same vein as such bands as Soilwork, etc. and they managed to put on a good show. I was expecting a show with a bit more intensity but the show was still reasonably extreme, of course with those choruses still providing the melodic side, and they seemed to interest quite a lot of people. For the first time in the day a reasonably sized audience had gathered for this band's first show on English soil. This was my no means a mind-blowing show but they certainly warmed us up for the coming bangs and probably gathered quite a few new fans as well in the process.
The mighty Wolf were next, true heavy metallers from Sweden to give us a good traditional metal experience. Unfortunately things did not go to plan, not at all. Unfortunately Wolf's performance will not be remembered by the vast majority of people for the music, but for the disastrous power cuts during the set, and the tomfoolery that went on in the meantime. The power must have cut four or so times during the set, but like true heavy metallers they were still going to give us some good entertainment electric or not. Frontman Niklas stood on the tower of speakers in front of the stage and shouted various heavy metal things out to the crowd and got us chanting even though there was no music. Guitarist Johannes kept going backstage and bringing four-packs of beer out and throwing the cans into the audience after he had stopped one by one at us on the front row giving us some of his drink during the wait. Even a striptease made its way into the set from some of the members of the band, but thankfully we eventually had power back and the show went on. The delays getting the show back on the road didn't stop the band from playing their full forty minutes of metal, and so the band were occupying the stage for probably somewhere around an hour. Their set was very refreshing, it was just what I needed to hear, some good traditional metal and it was somewhat of a shame when they had to finally vacate the stage.
I don't think many people at all knew who Memfis were before the festival, the question kept on getting asked around the festival "who are Memfis?" - but now we know. Memfis are an extreme progressive metal band, again from Sweden (we seems to like our Swedish bands over here.) Unfortunately there was not as much of an audience for them, and the one that were there were quite quiet. The band looked rather shaky on stage, this might have even been their first open air festival experience, but they still played on and even though the audience didn't respond wish ravishing waves of enthusiasm, I really quite enjoyed the set. They were the only progressive band of the festival and were again, very refreshing to hear. I just hope the band didn't feel too disheartened on their journey back to Sweden, progressive music isn't the easiest to jump around and show appreciation for and I am sure many people enjoyed the show more than it must have appeared from on the stage.
So now we get to the real entertainment, the band had arrived a little later than planned and although they made it on time they were due on stage pretty much as soon as they took their first step off the tour bus. It must have been pretty boring in that bus because the band exploded onto the stage like no other had done at the festival so far. I had seen Korpiklaani previously in the year in France and unfortunately I was not blown back or impressed by the show there (although they were following Vader) but it was the total opposite here at Bloodstock. This was an absolute amazing show, one of the best of the festival if not the very best of the festival. No other band had made me so happy to be standing there in front of the stage and I think it was the same story for most of the people down there as well. The band had so much energy and looked so ecstatic to be there. The metal audience of England really love their folk metal since it became widely popular here probably a year or so ago because of the exposure such bands got from magazines. The huge audience that had gathered were all singing along and dancing and prancing about to the music and it felt so good to have a band on the stage that you could smile back at and sing along to the songs with. Of course we had the usual drinking songs "Beer Beer" and the song that really made the set for me, a song that they did not perform over in France, "Happy Little Boozer". Really they could not have put on a better show, they blew us all away with their show that was of course the best of the festival so far.
Like Korpiklaani, and also Dark Tranquillity later in the evening, I had seen Epica previously in the year in France and although was entertained for the length of the set there, I was not completely impressed. Also like Korpiklaani though, they put on a better show here at Bloodstock than they did in France. Epica are not entirely my mind of music and this wasn't going to change just because of the location at which they were playing, but the show seemed just that much more focused and intense. Simone shining on the stage once more along with her band of hairy men gave us a great symphonic metal show, some fast power metal inclined bits and also slower bits, but overall even though I didn't expect I would like the set so much, I did enjoy myself watching this band perform and I think even though the audience were still going through the Korpiklaani set in their minds they also enjoyed themselves. Better than I expected they would be, but still I was in more anticipation for Nevermore than anything else.
The final band of the day that I actually really wanted to see a lot, all the way from the U.S.A. we finally have Nevermore back on English soil. Nevermore are one of the few bands that I could see live that I actually had no idea how they would sound live as apposed to on CD, as they have never released any live albums or live DVDs, and this was the first time I saw the band live. Let me tell you for anyone in the same position I was here, Nevermore are absolutely fantastic live, they are just like on CD but so many times louder and more aggressive. Just try and imagine it, they band put on an amazing show that soon had enraptured all the audience into their world. You don't have to worry about the awful production of songs from "Enemies Of Reality", you don't have to do anything but sit back, or stand rather, and enjoy. We got great pearls of songs such as "The River Dragon Has Come" and also the more aggressive songs "Born", "Final Product", "Enemies Of Reality", "I, Voyager", the epic "This Godless Endeavor" and also a surprise from the "Dreaming Neon Black" album, "Deconstruction". Nevermore are also one of the very very few bands that actually made you listen to the lyrics and understand the songs as you are going along. Warrel did a great job of this, you could hear his vocals perfectly and in his own way seemed rather chuffed as to how he could easily command the audience as we were all in his hands. I was maybe not so ecstatic to see Nevermore as I was Korpiklaani, because they were the first truly great band of the day, but Nevermore's set I would say surpassed that of Korpiklaani and in my opinion and in the opinion of quite a few other people, these guys had the best performance of the day, and the whole festival so far.
The last two bands of the day, Dark Tranquillity and Lacuna Coil I only really stuck around for for the benefit of this review, but I was open to being impressed as well if the bands would be capable of doing such a thing after such monsters as Korpiklaani and Nevermore on before them. It seemed like it was becoming some kind of trend, all the bands I saw at Hellfest that played at Bloodstock seemed to entertain me much more here at Bloodstock, maybe it was because it was a smaller and so slightly more intimate festival or maybe because I was fully comfortable on my own countries ground, or maybe the bands just played better. But I enjoyed the set here more than I was expecting. Melodic death metal is never going to be my favourite sub-genre of metal but this set seemed suitable more death metal than last time, especially a song from an earlier album they released. I wouldn't go as far as to say I thoroughly enjoyed the set, but I would say that was the case for most of the audience. I was very surprised by how many people wore Dark Tranquillity shirts and how the audience demanded more after the set had finished, but unfortunately for them the show had to end eventually, one hour just wasn't enough for them. Plenty of time for me though.
Why were Lacuna Coil headlining the second day of the Bloodstock festival? Because they have sold a lot of records, or because a lot of people wanted to see them? Well I can tell you that not a lot of people wanted to see them at all, so I will go for the first option. I hung around out of morbid curiosity, seeing as this band were headlining. Maybe the front four of five rows of people were there actually to see the band, but the others were just there for the same reason I was. The band leaped onto the stage though and had enormous amounts of energy. Christina really does have some intensity about her, she really demands your attention and keeps it when she has it, the other members moved around the stage well also, other singer Andrea especially. I couldn't really understand what sort of music they were playing, I can't call them gothic metal just because they have a female singer and at times I wouldn't even call it metal. But still, they did their best to entertain for the full hour and a half, but I was thankful when the set was over so I could finally get some rest and I think quite a few others felt the same way. I just don't understand why such a musically un-energetic band closed the day, it would have been better surely to close on an explosive note.
Alas, the day was over and that explosive note would definitely come the next day. The last day of the festival was the big one, the one I had been waiting for with all the bands playing apart from the first two I desperately wanted to see live. The Friday of the festival entertained me much more than I was expecting and at least I stuck around to see all the bands and gain the full experience. The organisation of the festival has also greatly improved, we had grown men as security at the front of the audience and the time between shows setting up for the next had began to reduce, as if the people were some kind of machine picking up speed. But like I say, I was very happy to get my head down and get some rest for the monster of a day we had in store for us to close with.
||Written on 26.08.2007 by Member of Staff since 2006.|
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| Baz Anderson
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