This is Sean’s view of the Friday. Photos are by Will Tudor Photography and Bukavac Photography. For our overviews of the weekend, you’ll want to check any of the following: Mosh / Ross / Sean / James / Zach (aged 11).
As is obvious, we had a group of people down at Bloodstock this year (Brian will chuck his oar in for Saturday and Sunday) and as a result, we’ve got some crossover reviews with the major bands. This is a good thing as there are acts that some liked and some didn’t, some of us watched from the sidelines and some from the pit. Hopefully this means a more balanced review that just one person raving about everything!
We did our best to catch all the bands, but even with us spread out around the place there were acts we missed. Thursday, in particular, was a write-off due to traffic problems meaning that none of us made it into the arena until almost 9pm when we’d hoped to be at Bloodstock for mid-afternoon. Anyway… Friday…
After finally arriving at Bloodstock on the Thursday night after delays on the road due to an accident on the motorway, which unfortunately resulted in us missing all the bands, the Moshville team were excited for a mega-metal Friday.
First band of the day for me was on the New Blood stage with Witch Tripper (7). The band exhibited a catchy and groovy Black Sabbath-esque heaviness that got plenty of heads banging. A great way to start the weekend! Next up was Hark (7) who opened up the Ronnie James Dio stage. The band attracted a fair crowd with their groovy sludgy sound that to me was very reminiscent of Down. Moving on to the Sophie Lancaster stage I caught the end portion of Fury (8). Their style is much more in the style of the classic metal/NWOBHM sound with plenty of melody. There was a decent crowd present for the band who enjoyed plenty of headbanging to the epic “Britannia” and singing along to the band’s version of “The Drunken Sailor”.
Over lunchtime I stuck around the Sophie Lancaster stage and saw a bit of Meta-Stasis (6). The band showed off their tight rhythms and heavy, yet varied style but something wasn’t quite doing it for me. Their keyboardist was dressed up like some kind of drag version of the Joker wearing an Anonymous mask and he was the most active member of the band. After jumping off the stage and moshing with the crowd, he seemed like more of a distraction away from the band’s performance. Next up at the New Blood stage was Vehement (6). The band played a very heavy kind of extreme metal with various styles incorporated into their own. There was a lot of atmospheric and dissident dark sounding ideas, which sounded interesting, but the low energy in the tent suggested that the crowd weren’t enjoying too much. Back on the Ronnie James Dio stage in the middle of
the afternoon was legendary stoner metallers Corrosion of Conformity (7). I didn’t catch much of their set but from what I saw, there was a large crowd enjoying their heavy and groovy sounds. The end of the set saw the guitars dial up the delay for a psychedelic jam which at first was fun to listen to but became rather superfluous eventually.
Over teatime at the Jagermeister stage was Fueled Hate (7). The star of their show was their heavily tattooed vocalist who performed very energetically. His stage persona came across as very confrontational which when coupled with his shouty vocal style and running around the crowd
created a mad performance. The crowd was quite small but they responded well to the catchy and infectious guitar rhythms and crazy performance from the vocalist. Next up on the Ronnie James Dio stage was legendary extreme metallers Venom (8). The sound was particularly good for the band in my opinion which made for tracks like “Warhead” to sound crushingly heavy. It was great to hear frontman Cronos’ signature snarl hadn’t degraded over the years and the songs sounded as if they came straight off the albums. The massive crowd reacted really well with plenty of head-banging and shouting-along, particularly to set-closer “Black Metal”. The immortal lyrics “Lay down your soul to the Gods rock and roll” echoed throughout the arena showing that the band still have the fire from their early 80s heyday and the legions of metalheads can’t get enough of the extreme metal pioneers.
Heading over to the Sophie Lancaster stage, I caught a bit of Beholder (7). Their straight-up heavy metal definitely got the crowd going with plenty of heads banging to their sound. Headlining the Ronnie James Dio stage on the Friday was legendary rockers Twisted Sister (10). After 40 years of heavy hits, Bloodstock marked the last ever UK show the band would play, and they more than made it count. The band played hit song after hit song and maintained a great energy throughout the show. The huge crowd headbanged and shouted along to classics like “I Wanna Rock”, “I Am (I’m Me)” and “We’re Not Gonna Take It”. Ever effervescent frontman Dee Snider bounded
across the stage and sang as if it was still the early 80s – it was if the band hadn’t aged beyond their 20s. There was a touching tribute moment to some of our fallen heroes (Lemmy, Dio, Jimmy Bain and Twisted Sister drummer AJ Pero) during a performance of “The Price” before ending the set with more high energy and fun classics like “Come Out and Play”, a cover of The Rolling Stones’ “It’s Only Rock and Roll” (featuring some death grunts from the crowd invoked by Snider) and “S.M.F.”. The show was an unforgettable experience and anyone present will agree that Twisted Sister was the best band of the entire weekend.
Closing the Friday of Bloodstock 2016 on the Sophie Lancaster stage was NWOBHM legends Diamond Head (8). They ended the night well with their high energy performance. The set was mixed between newer songs and classic hits like “To Heaven From Hell” and “It’s Electric”. The packed tent responded well and sang along, particularly with a rousing rendition of the band’s calling card “Am I Evil?”.
The Friday at Bloodstock Open Air 2016 was an awesome way to start the weekend with plenty of great performances. The weekend had only just begun and there was 2 more days of awesome metal to come.