Yes, I know Bloodstock was a month ago but some of us have real jobs (and Krav Maga Kids Instructor courses) to come back to which really eat into our reviewing time. However, I really wanted to make sure I got this article done as we always support the smaller acts, and at Bloodstock the smallest are generally those plying their trade on the Jägermeister stage. Each one invited, each one on merit – and this year for sure, each one richly deserving their space.
I caught every single Jäger band this year, even if some were only for a song or two, around running around the other three stages. Without exception, they were great – some better than bands I could name on the larger stages – and there are a handful I’d love to see getting a chance at a bigger crowd another time.
Apologies for the lack of photos. Trying to battle through the crowds to get a decent shot just wasn’t happening! In performance order, just so there’s no favourites…
Electric Mother opened the stage on Friday and began what was to be a theme for the weekend – simply ramming the small stage’s “under the awning” capacity and extending their crowd out into the space around it. They’d probably travelled further than any other domestic band to make it to the festival (from Orkney) but, bloody hell did they make it worth their while. Their groovy rock/metal had heads nodding and appreciative roars (and I mean roars – this was no small crowd) greeting each new song.
Watching Hung Daddy is like watching a bunch of drunk teenagers make dick jokes. It’s wrong, but you just want to join in because it’s wonderfully silly. Which they are. Their music’s good, but what makes them is the fact that they’re just genuinely funny and entertaining. They ranked up there on the funny scale with “Raised by Owls” and putting King-810 on the main stage.
Bringing the old-school to the Jäger stage were Trendkill who lifted their name from Pantera as well as their attitude. No nonsense, in your face riffs. You’d think they were playing a bigger venue. I can only imagine what carnage they’d create in an enclosed room.
The wonderfully-monikered Biggus Riffus regaled us as the evening drew in. They really were bigger than the stage could handle and deserve a chance at a larger venue near you. As the name implies, they’re riff-heavy with the added depth of some funky keys. Thankfully, I did not walk away pregnant, a risk I gather I was taking according to their pre-festival interview.
Headlining, if there is such a thing on the Jäger, were Hanowar. Obviously influenced by that legendary titan of metal… Samson. Or maybe it’s someone else. Anyway, if it’s possible to make Manowar any camper, they did it. Cracking tunes, much raising of fists and a plastic sword to take home to my son who loved it. Thank you, Hanowar!
Five more bands kicked off by Bangover who I’d hear great things about… and I wasn’t to be disappointed. It may not be metal to smile at a gig, but smile I did as they were a great wake-up call for those who’d slept in till after lunch. They also took away the bad taste of having watched five minutes of King-810.
Spyder Byte were one of the more mainstream bands playing the stage this weekend. No real novelties or gimmicks, but simply some great music. Catchy anthems, though definitely metal rather than rock, they certainly pleased the ear-holes.
With a name like Tales of Autumn you’d be forgiven for expecting something fairly laid back or trippy, but nothing doing as this proggy crew thundered through some great numbers which definitely fell under the metal banner. Again playing to a good crowd I caught a little of their set before running off to get to the front for Hatebreed!
Twisted Illusion I made sure I saw as they said they’d shout at me if I didn’t, and because they promised not to sound like “some other c*nt”. And they don’t. They’re kind of all over the place, yet still coherent. A bit prog, a bit djent, a bit poppy, a bit rock… Bloody works, though.
If you weren’t watching Xentrix, you should have been watching Departed. Playing the sort of rock that make The Darkness famous, their earworm numbers exploded from the bright orange tent and certainly had this head banging back and forth.
When Everest Queen described their set as “brooding, emotional and ferocious“, they weren’t kidding. To get that kind of sound from a stage the size of a mousetrap is impressive and the baying hordes were obviously, and justifiably, impressed.
Bringing some doom to proceedings were Atragon, a band our own Gary has seen a few times in the past. I can see why he’s gone to the effort as their crunching riffage threatened to tear the Jäger apart from the vibrations alone. The baying hordes seemed happy, too. They also had a great set of pyrotechnics as well… at least if you pretended that Hell’s set behind them was an extension of their own.
Silverchild blew me away. In their pre-fest interview, they stated that “people tell us that they see the two girls in the band show up and they expect a tamer show than they get”. People should not judge by appearances as the band (which also has a couple of males in, let’s be fair!) absolutely rawks. Lead singer Alex is an utter goddess with a voice that could shred pine – statuesque and demanding your attention. The other of the two girls is Vic on guitars who, though a slighter figure, packs every bit as big a punch with those six strings. Alex did the donkey work engaging the crowd on the tiny stage, but I get the feeling that Vic wanted to move around more… but if she had, she’d have fallen off the edge.
Another band who were always going to inject a note of humour into the weekend were Spandex-clad metal warrior Unitra. OK, so the costumes may have been worryingly form-fitting, but the music was right out of the eighties and all the more wonderful for it. Pure metal, pure cheese. Brilliant.
Ending the weekend for the Jägermeister stage on a high were Voodoo Blood, a band so good I had a friend of mine accost me on Facebook on the Monday asking if I’d seen them as he was so impressed. Sean’s a thrash-head, and he gave them 7/10 in his Sunday review. Singer Kim isn’t the largest of ladies (from what I could see peering over the crowd at the side) but holy flipping hell, can she throw out some bluesy screams – you’d just expect that noise to be coming out of someone with a larger lung capacity. She’s also got the stage presence of a seasoned pro, deciding that the stage just wasn’t big enough and striding onto the nearby bar-top.
A brilliant end to an incredibly strong line-up on the stage across the three days.