FESTIVAL REVIEW: BLOODSTOCK OPEN AIR 2017 – Day 2 (Saturday)
Following last night’s afterparty and with only a few hours of rest, hung-over metal heads dragged themselves to the main stage for the second day of Bloodstock open Air 2017 for their metal injection. Along the way, I bumped into the friendliest people in a community that is certainly underrated. Misfits, Goths, weirdos – whatever people want to label them, are all accepting of each other with metal being the bond that unites us. The entertainment began before the bands had even hit the stage with countless people decked out in fancy dress – from nuns to admirals and Scooby Doo in the forefront.
The sun filtered through the clouds in time for Fallujah to kickstart the second day of mayhem with a punchy set of atmospheric metal. The early stage time of 10:45am was a disadvantage as the sleepy crowd watched through their shades. Vocalist Alex Hoffman roared “Wake up, Bloodstock! Are you alive?!” to which the crowd strenuously responded positively. These talented musicians are worth seeing live, and preferably with a longer set.
Winterfylleth lacked the energy we were craving that morning, and only got exciting when Simon Lucas’ double kick drumming came into play. So I went over to the Sophie Lancaster stage and was pleasantly surprised as Eradikator went full-throttle with their thrash attack while blending into groovy melodies. Therefore, it is definitely worthwhile checking out the smaller stages, since you may just discover a very talented band.
EMP beach balls were ready by the safety barrier to help wreak havoc for Havok. The Denver thrashers injected energy into the crowd with a thrilling set despite technical difficulties. Snarly David Sanchez was on point, and this saw the first lot of crowd surfers go nuts. The brutality was real with painful dips and trips! They used every inch of the stage to reach every fan, with bassist Nick Schendzielos in particular running around the stage.
The English extreme metal band Raised By Owls caused a disturbance on the New Blood stage while King 810 were on the Dio stage. This party crew proved to be popular as the tent was full to maximum capacity with people looking in from six rows out. As I was walking away, people remarked how Raised By Owls exceeded their expectations.
Annihilator kept the crowds on their toes and rocked the arena with their new song “Twisted Lobotomy.” They also took things back to their thrash roots when they hit us with “Alison Hell” and “Human Insecticide.” During a short break, word got around that Municipal Waste was predicted to be live and seriously dangerous. This was evident as they produced a record-breaking number of crowd-surfers, tallying a monstrous 711! It was mayhem like I’ve never seen before during “Slime & Punishment.” Although I just can’t get into this band after seeing them live on a few occasions, the danger of it all nevertheless made it all the more exciting to experience.
It was late afternoon, and it was time for the fierce hardcore boys Hatebreed to shake the souls of Catton Hall. They went old school by playing a variety of epic songs, including “Driven By Suffering” and “Doomsayer.” The crowd was statically charged, and this was reinforced every time vocalist Jamey Jasta reached out to them as the swirling pit went mental. They played a blistering set with new songs like “Looking Down the Barrel of Today” from their current album ‘The Concrete Confessional.’
German thrash legends Kreator delivered a spectacular set consisting of a gothic church set up with a huge devil sporting the pentagram on its forehead, accompanied by thrilling pyrotechnics. The quartet have an extensive back catalogue, so I wondered what they would include in their set list. And they did not disappoint, as they shredded through the popular tracks “Satan is Real” and the title track “Gods of Violence” from their new album. The energy in the pit was infectious, and at times the crowd seemed hypnotised. “Fallen Brother” proved to be an emotional affair as legendary rock icons ranging from Lemmy, Bowie, Chris Cornell and many more were glorified on screens during a montage throughout this song. Vocalist Mille Petrozza demanded to see “the biggest pit Bloodstock has ever seen!” This could only mean one thing – a massive wall of death which opened up during “Enemy of God.” The sheer brutality of the clash made me scurry towards the safety barrier. These guys were insanely epic in every sense, and I think they could possibly even headline Bloodstock next year.
Metalheads congregated in the pit for Saturday’s headliner Ghost. The ritual began with “Masked Ball” by Jocelyn Pook played through a PA system while the stage gradually became engulfed with smoke. Suddenly, the band broke out with the set opener “Square Hammer” with Papa Emeritus III magically appearing in a flash of smoke. It was extremely exciting for everyone to see the man disguised in a prosthetic face, corpse paint and a bishop’s robe playing the role of a demonic anti-pope appear so suddenly. If you’re a Ghost fan, you would be familiar with the anti-religious iconography used as a part of their theatrical stage production with lots of smoke, strobe lighting and hell fire. So, tonight was no exception when Papa introduced the Sisters of Sin, and that meant it was time for communion with “Body and Blood,” which turned into a mass sing-a-long. The perverted pontiff spoke to the rowdy crowd with innuendos. I can only describe his stage persona as playful and humorous, and his legendary energetic performance as flawless. Their set was going down immensely with the booming bass in “From the Pinnacle to the Pit” to “He Is” as the crowd sang in unison.
As Bloodstock festival is known for offering some serious heavy metal, which Papa was well aware of, the band played their heaviest track yet and my favourite song “Mummy Dust.” The response was pure hysteria, particularly during the explosion of confetti that dispensed 666 dollar bills complete with Papa Emeritus III’s face and satanic depictions. Sadly, the haunting set came to an end with the encore song “Monstrance Clock” featuring the help of Belper Junior Musical Theatre providing choir duties. Once again, Papa sent the crowd wild in the front row by kissing and stroking the ladies’ hands. The mystery that this band holds makes the fascination stronger for me. Donning devil masks and satanic attire, the Nameless Ghouls can testify to their talents by performing every riff, rhythm and solo meticulously together with the rapport between the Ghouls, which was fun to watch.
Overall, Day 2 finished with a bang, and the alternative choice for headliner’s Ghost was fitting. It’s safe to say that those who were unsure of Ghost to even perform at Bloodstock, let alone headline, had been converted. Show by show, their audience grows; and this can be said for the rest of the bands that played today like Municipal Waste raising their popularity, especially by breaking their own crowd-surfing record. Not to mention early starters Fallujah and Eradikator, who blew me away with their live sound.
Also check out our photo gallery of the day here!