FESTIVAL REVIEW: BLOODSTOCK OPEN AIR 2017 – Day 3 (Sunday)
The third and final day was upon us as I took my last walk to the arena that once was a green path now a sombre passageway. Sunday promised to have a fierce line up that was going to raise some eyebrows as well as causing chaos and destruction. Realising the end was near nostalgia kicked in seeing Saturday’s headliner Ghost’s confetti littered over Catton Hall Park. The journey continues!
Without wasting any time I went straight to the Dio stage for this morning’s band Broken Teeth. The squad threw their hardest punch, but the cheerless crowd could hardly muster a nod. I decided to mix it up slightly and strayed towards the Sophie Lancaster stage earlier than planned while others enjoyed Venom Prison spit lyrics and blow the speakers. To my delight I discovered Blind Haze. The trio sounded like an AC/DC and Metallica fusion with a thrashy feel proving to be a crowd-pleaser.
Next up was an interesting choice for Bloodstock considering the rest of the line up for today. Machete wielding Mexican grindcore band Brujeria entertained the crowd with short bursts of choreographed moves along with a cover parody of “The Macarena” called “Marijuana.” Awkward silences between songs were common. This was probably down to the language barrier as they sang and spoke in Spanish (with interpretations), nevertheless the crowd remained respectful. I couldn’t get into this band and they’re easily forgettable.
An exciting moment came for me when it was time for the creators of death metal Possessed to obliterate the main stage. Taking things back to their earliest work vocalist Jeff Becerra delighted the crowd with “My Belief” and things really got serious when he let his long, dark locks loose in the wind for “Storm in my Mind.” New song “Shadowcult” was played out to an approving crowd. Becerra’s performance was timeless you wouldn’t even notice the wheelchair. His vocals and snarls really hit our ear drums and impacted the heart. Everyone should consider him an inspiration in life. Never give up on your passions! Possessed have had an extensive line up over the years, yet their sound and live performance remains unfiltered and simply stunning.
Hailing from America was death metal band Obituary who put on an onslaught of an aggressive set to a decent crowd, but the band’s energy seemed drained and this impacted atmosphere drastically killing any momentum built up before their appearance. Vocalist John Tardy tried to reach far and beyond, but to no avail.
Derbyshire’s very own Hell take on the main stage around 4pm putting on one hell of a show. Following a microphone mishap, singer David Bower quickly recovers to deliver a spectacle with the use of props and lots pyro, and I mean lots of pyro as a part of their stage production was insane. Bower with his acting background, it almost seemed like I was in a theatre watching a musical! The unorthodox band seemed invisible as all eyes were on Bower, a true showman as he emerged in long goat legs wearing the largest devil horns Bloodstock has ever seen while spinning a spark shooting trident. Bloodied and crucified, Hell literally raised hell that afternoon!
The crowd stirred up minutes before Skindred destroyed the stage as the feeling of scepticism infected their minds about the ragga rock/metal band. But within a few seconds their attitude had changed taking a dramatic twist when the quartet slammed into “Under Attack” causing an instant surge of crowd surfers including inflatable animals! The packed out arena was enthralled in a huge pit party when “Sound the Siren” blasted the Dio stage starting a mass sing-a-long all throughout their set afterwards. The pit was pure and utter carnage, it was brutal, it was intense, and I was enraptured by seeing waves of people jumping from back to front in perfect harmony. Fans were treated to the brand new song “Machine” which went down like a storm. And the finale came with “Warning” and that could only mean one thing- the Newport Helicopter! Frontman Benji Webbe raised his scarf and the crowd knew exactly what to do by ripping off their t-shirts, even security got involved! The build up was intense and the climax was an earth shattering experience.
After the energy unleashed during Skindred, momentum was high, and after touring relentlessly for 3 years Arch Enemy made a dramatic and deafening stage entrance to the sound of loud explosions setting the crowd on fire for what was going to be a cutthroat performance. Fans were delighted to hear “War Eternal” and “You Will Know My Name.” Lead vocalist Alissa White-Gluz annihilated Bloodstock with her intense guttural screams. Her aggression coupled with the heavy metal riffing radiated passion and enthusiasm throughout. Guitarists Michael Amott and Jeff Loomis came out of Alissa’s shadow as they played through a twin guitar melody before ploughing straight into the final song with “Nemesis.” Alissa was in her element and the crowd was lapping it up as they sang “we are one, one for all” on her command. It was an emotional end with flames and fireworks.
It was cold, I could see my breath in the air but that didn’t stop me from waiting one hour for Sunday night’s headliner thrash legends Megadeth. Being one of the big four of thrash metal alongside Anthrax, Slayer and Metallica they didn’t need a fancy stage production and tonnes of pyro. Fans of all ages, and I mean ALL ages gathered to see Megadeth go full throttle battering the stage. The guys effortlessly shredded their way through “Wake Up Dead” and naturally flowed straight into “In My Darkest Hour.” Frontman Dave Mustaine shredded the life out of his guitar when they hit us with the old favourite “Mechanix” and Dirk Verbeuren hit the drums without restraint to a deafening roar of approval. Mustaine introduced the second encore song “Holy Wars… The Punishment Due” to a loud and affectionate crowd. By then I retired from the outskirts of the slow, swirling pit. I could still hear the crowd singing along from the gut just the way Mustaine does.
So, we reached the end of what was a long weekend full of excitement, entertainment and pure metal! Today’s sub-headliner Arch Enemy shattered the main stage and Skindred’s Newport Helicopter was some of the highlights for me. Thrash icons Megadeth proved they still have what it takes to bring in the crowd with a gutsy set reaching another level of legendary.
Metal prevailed, and Bloodstock festival brought metal to the masses in the most mind-blowing way possible. This UK festival is growing bigger and stronger year by year. Although this year’s line up threw a few curve balls like Ghost headlining Saturday night-being an alternative choice, the pessimistic crowd had been converted. BOA is full of diverse metal heads all coming together for one thing, therefore having a diverse line up can only be something that we embrace.
Check out our photo gallery of the day here!