Live music is back! Oh, yes! With an extra day thrown in to make up for something that wasn’t even their fault, Bloodstock 2021 began on a Wednesday this year. After a lengthy trip from Glasgow and a Lateral Flow Test before getting my media pass I just made it in time to catch most of Anakim‘s set.
They’re a band we’ve featured before and they were a perfect choice to get everything going, epitomising pure, simple heavy metal. They handled the huge crowd like seasoned professionals and left many battered and sweaty bodies in their wake.
In-house favourites Ward XVI followed with their ambitious Metamorphosis set. I’m very much aware of the time and effort that went into this production and I was absolutely buzzing with the crowd’s reception. They absolutely nailed it including some impressive flames during “Burn the Witch”, and a wealth of costumed characters. Ward XVI proved that they’re ready for the big time with a huge crowd following and an actual show, not just some songs with bells on.
The last time I saw Raised By Owls I pretty much only saw their heads as the New Blood tent was completely rammed. As such, the Sophie stage was a better size and they revelled in playing their silly songs to such a vast number of people. Featuring the world’s most polite wall of death and a crowd-surfing Mr Blobby (waving a double-ended dildo), it wasn’t that surprising to see a member of the audience brandishing a full size Playstation 2. I mean… why not?
I confess I didn’t catch Beholder as I was watching our bags in the media area, then queuing for a t-shirt (only to find that the machines had gone down, and they were cash only… and I didn’t have any cash), but got myself in the middle of the crowd for thrash stalwarts Onslaught. With a history going back to the 80s, this is a band who should know how to get a crowd going and bloody hell they did.
Simple, old-fashioned, brutal thrash. Where Ward and Owls had their accoutrements and novelties, Onslaught were just… well, and onslaught. Battering thrash riffs had huge sections of the crowd going wild and I’m pretty certain that more than a few people will wake up tomorrow with some cracking bruises.
But that’s not all we’re here for. I couldn’t walk for more than 2 minutes without finding someone to talk to. New people, old friends, fellow press, bands we’ve interviewed in the past, Tony from Venom (of course), the lovely lady from Charismatic Voice…
As with every year, walking into Bloodstock is like walking into your local. If your local holds several thousand people and is based in a field. And sells about 80 different beers. And has an awesome jukebox. OK, so I’m pushing that Cheers metaphor a bit, but you get my point.
Here’s to four more full days of metal. We’re already aware of a few more schedule changes so do check the app for updates if you don’t want to miss bands coming on stage!