Bloodstock 2021 Review – A Paying Person’s Perspective (Wed/Thu/Fri)

While we’ll be doing our best to get the Editor’s view of Bloodstock, the chance to see bands is always nibbled away at with time spent doing interviews and so on. Thankfully, many of the Moshville Times team were out and about as one of you lot – paying punters, happy to lay down their cash for four and a half days of quality metal! Here’s part one of the view of Moshville Radio crew member Dave Cyderbaby…

Wednesday

Ward XVI (c) Katie Frost

It feels like decades, but my last festival was Bloodstock ’19. To go back after all the problems of the last few years was a highlight of my life. To say I had been looking forward to this is a massive understatement, they could have put Jedward on as headliners and I still would have made the journey from the darkest depths of Devon to the hallowed grounds.

I made the trip with three other friends, my best mate and a couple who I’ve known for some time. We set out in plenty of time and arrived around four pm. There was a queue to get in with everyone supplying the necessary Covid documentation. Whilst waiting, a dog ran my way… my first instinct was to kneel down to make a fuss but then I realised it was a sniffer dog, searching for drugs. Oops. Needless to say, Rover swiftly passed me by but found scent close to me, this was dealt with quietly and quickly.

After around an hour, we were in!

We ended up in one of the new campsites, reasonably quiet for us old guys but not out of the way. Compost loos I must say were great all weekend, however, designate a few for the ladies… you know it makes sense. The tents went up and the beers were opened, we had arrived!

Wednesday for me, was all about Ward XVI. I had missed the first band due to the delay in getting in, but I was there near the front, ready to witness a live version of what is probably the best NWOCR album of last year. The effort, stage set and props, coupled with the fantastic performance by this band, made this the perfect start to an amazing festival. We had monsters and skeletons, a bed and pyrotechnics. What more could you ask for? These guys hand you a real show, much like Alice Cooper and the early Dio gigs where music and theatre collided. For me this was a touch of nostalgia along with great music. I tip my hat to the band, they worked hard and it paid off, especially to Kberry, singing her heart out just three weeks after the birth of her child. The only downside was the sound, at times it was a little faint in areas but on the whole, the show was great! This stage was dogged by a poor mix by many bands all weekend, it was certainly not the bands’ fault, I feel one of the engineers needed to up his game a little. When The crowd shout to turn up the vocals like they did later in the weekend, engineers need to take notice.

Onwards as they say! Food was our next destination, coupled with a little exploring. The overall layout of Bloodstock never really changes and it works! There is no need to change it. While we were out, the main stage was still being worked on for Friday and the Hobgoblin tent was just about ready for Thursday. The Lemmy bar was well stocked and reasonably priced, back to throw away cups which I assume is a Covid thing, reusable beakers from the previous festival worked really well in keeping waste to a minimum.

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We made it back for the mighty Onslaught. Video screens with blistering guitars and a brutal sound, they brought the first night to an almighty conclusion. I found these guys very late in life but this performance cemented my admiration.

Thursday

Fury (c) Katie Frost

The dawning of the next day was marked by my smug smile. Toasty and snug all night in my thick sleeping bag. I had had the proverbial ripped from me on the journey up because it seemed excessive, yet I was the only one who had kept warm all night.

Thursday was a full day with three stages to choose from, however my mate decided it was my day to wear a silly hat. Anyone who saw the human aubergine stumbling around, that was me.
Fury were superb, blowing away those early morning blues after being drafted in hastily to replace Mother Vulture who had to miss the festival due to covid reasons. Then for me, Ashen Crown. I love this band, heavy yet laden with amazing techniques to bring each track alive. I was going to catch them in Bristol but Covid hit so I had to ask myself, was the wait worth it? Yes… yes it was!

A quick trip to catch a little Solcura and a little more of RipTide in the Hobgoblin tent then it was back to Sophie for Seething Akira. I saw these guys pull apart the New Blood stage a few years ago and I wanted to hear how the new tracks faired in the live arena. A second guitarist was a surprise but the tunes this band put out were immense, full of energy and passion. The set was mostly new tracks with the exception of “Airstrike” if I recall. The addition of “Intergalactic” pleased me no end as I prefer their version to the original. Get to see these guys play, they tour very soon. You will regret it if you miss it!

Lawnmower Deth (c) Sean Larkin

I have to admit, the rest of Thursday is a blur. I don’t normally get too inebriated but the emotion of being at a festival, not wearing a mask, catching up with long lost friends was just surreal. Famyne and King Witch were great finds for me and I’ll search out their tunes for a decent listen. Punk Rock Factory, the band that spruce up TV themes… I had no idea what to expect, a last minute addition. What they did was good and it was a lot of fun but in all honesty, higher on the bill than they should have been. They stepped up and played a blinder, but I’d like them to have been a party closer like Evil Scarecrow, on after the main event to get you in a party mood.

Lawnmower Deth. Do they ever disappoint? Well no, no they don’t. One of those bands that get better with age, engaging the audience and playing everything you want to hear. Probably the best I’d seen them play.

The night was young so we all continued drinking and talking back at the tents. At some point that night I was awoken by what seemed like round two of bin jousting. How did no one break an arm on the first night?

Friday

Pearler (c) Katie Frost

Early start as Southwest heroes (okay, Cornish heroes) King Creature opened the Sophie stage. The first time since last September for me and the first time seeing the new axeman playing those riffs. What can I say, they were on fire! They have gotten tighter and heavier, I will go as far as to say that they have never been better. The whole tent was alive and buzzing by the end of the set. I’ve said it before, headliners before long.

A touch of Deified was needed to change the tone but I had to head for the New Blood stage to catch Pearler. My new favourite band, I don’t normally go out and buy the CD straight after a gig but this was the exception. Great guitars, cracking riffs and a great personality from all the band. Loved it!

Stepping to the main stage for the first time was a little terrifying and glorious in equal measures. We were really at a festival now. Svalbard were just amazing, a new band to me and I fell in love with the vocals of the front woman. They had everything on point and it hit the spot, Bloodstock was back!

Why did I ignore the thrash movement in my youth? Both me and my mate discussed this at length after being blown away by Acid Reign. What can I say? They were just fantastic! The vocalist was amazing and engaging, especially when a amp went down and he had to wing it for a bit on his own. The crowd lapped this entire set up and wanted much much more. A band I will definitely see again. This was just sheer class, topped off by the “We Love The NHS” t-shirt and the moment of remembrance for a lost friend.

Sound Of Origin. I bought All Seeing Eye completely on spec last year, looking for a bit of fuzz and doom. Holy moly do I love that album! It was a no brainer to catch these guys on the Hobgoblin stage. I have to say I was in no way prepared for the improvement of the tracks played live, superb. Those vocals were just out of this world! The guitars were bulletproof and the bass/drums ate at your soul. Definitely another top band of the weekend.

The Wildhearts have had a rocky year with the Download Pilot being flipping awful. I have the greatest respect for Ginger, I think he tries to give 100%all of the time to the fans and it breaks him when something out of his control spoils things. You could see a little trepidation when he walked on but within seconds, he was on fire like the rest of the band. I never tire of the singalong tunes or seeing them play. Here’s to many more gigs in the future.

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Skindred time equals party time, have no doubt. Opening with “Stand For Something” which I adore, these guys went through the pages and bought a partly subdued audience alive. You could still sense people were holding back because of the virus, but after this set, it was like Benji had blown it all away. If you’ve seen the band, you know what you’re going get and that is why you see them, to be told what to sing, to bounce to the rhythm and to thoroughly enjoy yourself. Bloodstock was in full flight.

Devin Townsend (c) Sean Larkin

Devin Townsend is a technical wizard, but I had no idea what an awesome guy he is! A ten minute intro on the video screen where earth is threatened by invasion of some sort of puppet lord. This theme carries forward throughout the set.

Devin explodes onto the stage, coupled with a British band that had only merged together a few days before. The video backdrop was just stunning, putting Tool’s Download videos to shame. The tracks had been picked by the fans so we had an awesome mix of classics from his entire history. The interaction with the audience was superb. Yes, Canadians are the most likeable people on this planet! His sense of humour just shined through at every given opportunity, why not have actual dancing ball sacks on stage when you sing a song? Also, why don’t we have a gorilla and an elephant? The elephant was kept on for an extra track even though it was apparently paid by the minute.

I’m not running through track lists, if you couldn’t make it, try and get to his gigs next year, his showmanship and ability makes him a worthy headliner for any festival. This is why Bloodstock is the premier metal festival in this country, certain other… bigger ones, need to take note or disappear.

Header image by Sean Larkin Photography

The galleries below feature photos from Sean Larkin, Katie Frost and also Drew Scott who kindly covered a couple of the bands we couldn’t make (mainly the ones late on after we’d had to head off and sleep!)

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August 23, 2021 9:38 PM

[…] While we’ll be doing our best to get the Editor’s view of Bloodstock, the chance to see bands is always nibbled away at with time spent doing interviews and so on. Thankfully, many of the Moshville Times team were out and about as one of you lot – paying punters, happy to lay down their cash for four and a half days of quality metal! Here’s part two of the view of Moshville Radio crew member Dave Cyderbaby… (part one yesterday) […]

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September 6, 2021 8:47 PM

[…] off their New Blood stage performance, doom merchants Sound of Origin talk their lockdown activities and a return to the live scene with […]