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Bloodstock festival 2011 | FESTIVALPHOTO

Bloodstock festival 2011



The first things I noticed at Bloodstock this year was the minor changes from previous years. The basic setup was the same, but lots of little details had been improved - better fencing around VIP camping, food available in the VIP area, improved access routes and so on. Lots of little changes that over the weekend made a big difference to the festival, making things more enjoyable.

On the Thursday I came after work to pick up my photo pass and see some bands. The two I managed to catch were Revoker and Beholder. Revoker put in a good performance, but Beholder took it to the next level and really got the crowd going, including a big wall of death (interestingly they were the only band allowed to do this at Bloodstock as all the others were told they'd be cut off immediately if they called for a wall of death, but only a cynic would suggest this was related to singer Simon Hall's involvement in helping run the festival).

For me the rest of the weekend passed in a bit of a blur as I was photographing and interviewing, so spent a lot of time in the photo pit at the various stages and rushing from one stage to the other, all of which meant I saw a small amount of a lot of bands, but only watched full sets from a few.

Friday opened with The Defiled on main stage. These guys are always great fun and are raidly growing in popularity. Even if you arent a fan of their music, go and see them live - their crazy keyboard player AvD is hugely entertaining and often ends a show by smashing his keyboard apart and throwing it into the crowd - hence why its held together by tape. Wolf were next up on main stage and were great as always and after watching most of their set it was off to the Sophie Lancaster stage for Mortad.
Mortad are an up and coming band fronted by Somi Arian, a petite female who like Angela Gossow of Arch Enemy, sings with a demonic growling style. I enjoyed what I saw of their set and look forward to seeing them again.
After photographing another six bands, it was time to interview Kreator frontman Miland 'Mille' Petrozza. Luckily this was done in the quiet of their tourbus, and a link to the interview is below. After interviewing Kreator it was time to interview Norwegian black metallers Byfrost shortly before they headed over to the Sophie stage for their very good performance. After part of their set it was time to dash back to main stage, this time for the legends that are Kreator.

Kreator put in one of the best sets of the day in my opinion, but for me the best was yet to come. After Devin Townsend came the legendary Lawnmower Deth - the band that proved you can mix thrash metal with fun. The night was ended with WASP headlining main stage.

Saturday started after not enough sleep, with Gravedigger and Tarot being the first bands I saw. After those two it was over to the Sophie stage to catch Dripback who's performance was so energetic I felt exhausted just watching them - their singer in particular was hyperactive, and certainly from a performance point of view they reminded me of Municipal Waste. Plenty of other bands followed but my highlight was Therion - the band that pioneered the whole symphonic metal genre, and one of the few bands I watched the whole set of. The day ended with Immortal who don't really appeal to me (nor to a lot of the crowd as the audience for Immoral seemed pretty small for a headline act), and who were barely visible anyway due to the excessive amounts of smoke used on stage.

Sunday kicked off with a surprise for me - Hell. Not having had chance to listen to them beforehand I wasnt sure what to expect - the name conjures up visions of black metal, but what we got was more of a NWOBHM sound and a great theatrical performance. One of the first things I did after getting home was to order the Hell album - that's how much I enjoyed them.
A bit later on was a band I'd been looking forwards to - the awesomely entertaining Evil Scarecrow - any band that can not only pack out the Sophie stage tent but also have the entire crowd dancing the robotron is a band with some impressive performance skills. For me though their version of Europe's "The final countdown" has to be the highlight. If you havent seen this band before then go and see them - one of the best live bands around and everyone left the tent after their set with smiles on their faces.

Sunday was a great day for fans of female fronted bands - Amaranthe did a superb acoustic set on the Jaegermeister stage then a few hours later did a great set on the Sophie stage. Nemhain put in an excellent performance on the Sophie stage with their roock/punk sound, and Achilla put in a good set on the Young Blood stage, but struggled to draw a large crowd due to At the gates being on the main stage at the same time.
Thrash legends Exodus put in a good set on the main stage which went down well with the crowd. I interviewed them after their performance as well as Amaranthe, which sadly meant missing Morbid angel.
The festival ended with a very disappointing set from Motorhead who really didnt seem to be doing anything more than going through the motions and who frankly sounded awful - a real contrast to their usual performances. An apology on the website later said the band had been ill. Whatever the reason it was a disappointing end to a great (and exhausting) weekend. I'm already looking forwards to next years festival - I'm sure its going to be another good one.

Highlights of the weekend for me - Therion, Amaranthe, Evil Scarecrow, Hell and Lawnmower Deth.

Bloodstock photos:

Kreator interview:
Byfrost interview:
Amaranthe interview:
Exodus interview:
Therion interview:

Writer: Anthony May
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