Bloodstock Open Air Festival 2015 - Derbyshire, Catton Park - 7th August 2015 Print E-mail
Written by Nick Russell   
Thursday, 27 August 2015 03:00

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When the call came from upon high at Uber Towers that usual scribe Jim was unable to go to Bloodstock Open Air (due to the impending arrival of his first born, hope all went well), would I be interested in reviewing it? I didn’t need to think about it for too long as I’ve always wanted to go but circumstances have always dictated otherwise. There have always been some of my favourite bands playing and this year was no exception. So with my trusted photographer in tow, my step-son David, we headed to Derby first to check in to our hotel (too old to camp these days!) and quickly headed south down the A38.

 

FRIDAY

 

Due to a number of different factors, we arrived late to the site and subsequently missed Nuclear Assault, most annoying as it was probably the last chance to see them. I also missed the set by my local boys Raging Speedhorn, but at least managed to say hello afterwards. So we headed straight to the Ronnie James Dio stage to catch the last few songs of Armored Saint, and if I hadn’t seen them the night before in London, it would have made it even worse for me if I missed them as well! We catch ‘Left Hook From Right Field’, ‘Reign Of Fire’ and ‘Can U Deliver’, the same last 3 songs from the previous night but we’re treated to ‘Madhouse’ as well. The crowd certainly appreciate how good this band are, heavy metal but with a hell of a lot more to them. It may have taken me 30 years to catch them live but it was well worth it.

 

Armored Saint

 

After all that rushing around, it’s time for some refreshments, so we head to the guest area where there’s a real ale bar, or should I say more of a real ale festival! We have over 70 different ales on offer, not to mention the ciders, a huge big plus for Bloodstock against those big corporate gigs. In fact if I have any complaint about the weekend, it’s why with all the good ales available they then ruin it by selling lager drinkers Carling? I’m sure they could get a good tie-in with a decent lager supplier, a bit like they do with Hobgoblin. Anyway for me, it’s a lovely pint of Halcyon Daze later as we make the short walk to the Sophie Lancaster stage for a trip back in time with old school thrashers Re-Animator. Yes, like many of us, the ravages of time may well have had an effect on their appearance but it’s done nothing to diminish the Hull boys thrash attack, and a fairly packed tent are loving it too. Songs from ‘Deny Reality’ and ‘Condemned To Eternity’ may be 25 years old but still sound fresh due to the pure enthusiasm of the band and how tight they are. We are treated to a special appearance by a fellow old school thrasher, none other than H, singer from Acid Reign. Looking very much the part of the late 80s/early 90s with garish Bermuda shorts and a subtle(!) pink Obnoxious t-shirt, he manages to get a few plugs in for their rather tasty new track before they crack on with an excellent cover of the Dead Kennedy’s ‘Too Drunk To Fuck’. Once he’s buggered off, we get one last song and a great set is over. A bit of a triumph then, anyone for the Great British Thrash Revival?

 

Reanimator 2

 

I only manage to watch a short portion of Ihsahn’s set, and from what I heard it sounded quite good. Unfortunately the very prog warblings were mostly lost on the crowd due to some severe technical difficulties and the time of day certainly didn’t help as these guys are not really a bright sunshine band I would suggest, which is a shame really. To be fair though, I was far more interested in the thrash that was to follow.

 

Overkill come out and blast the newer song ‘Armorist’, with singer Bobby “Blitz” Ellsworth a total ball of energy that belies his age. The band are tighter than when I saw them at Hammerfest last year, and we get a good selection of songs from all across their career. It’s the older tunes that grab my attention though, ‘Rotten To The Core’, ‘End Of The Line’, the classic ‘Hello From The Gutter’; songs that don’t sound like they’re 25 odd years old. And mixed in with newer tunes like ‘Electric Rattlesnake’ and ‘Ironbound’, it’s a bit of a thrash metal masterclass. ‘Elimination’ is killer before we get the last song, their cover of the Subhumans ‘Fuck You!’. I don’t think I’ve ever seen so many people giving a band the finger whilst shouting abuse but with total love! Yet another of the old guard who very much look they’re far from finished.

 

Overkill

 

As I’m not really fussed with Sabaton’s Euro metal and have really gone off Trivium, we give both of them a swerve and head back to the hotel. A bit early but we had a late one in London the night before, so a good night’s sleep and fresh start for the morning will see me all right.

 

First day impressions of Bloodstock are all positive, a friendly atmosphere, not too big or corporate, plus some great bands, not too expensive for the outright quality beers, this could be a regular thing from now on. Here’s to another two days with some even better bands. And the weather looks like holding, very happy days.

 

Bloodstock 2016 will take place over the weekend of 11th - 14th August and organisers have already announced Behemoth and the mighty Venom for the event. You can buy £127 early bird tickets for this must attend event on the heavy metal calendar via the following link. Buy Earlybird Tickets To Bloodstock 2016 - RIGHT HERE

 

Photography by David Graham