Tuesday, 30 August 2011

Femetalism’s Bloodstock Discoveries

Bloodstock is the ultimate UK metal festival. Billed as ‘by the fans, for the fans’ the festival has grown significantly over the years from a small indoor event to a huge outdoor event. 2011 saw me venture to Bloodstock for the very first time.

Although the final line-up failed to really inspire me I had bought my ticket back in December 2010 and was keen to go and just enjoy the experience. It wasn’t that the line-up was bad, I was just unfamiliar with most of the bands and the bigger bands on the main stage were not really my cup of tea.

That said, Bloodstock blew me away: the people, the atmosphere, the facilities but mainly the music. I acquired a guide immediately and started planning which bands to see – making sure they didn’t clash with each other and planning meal and drink stops a long the way. The whole weekend was music focussed with very little regard given to having loads to drink and acting like a fool until 5am in the morning in the campsite. We wanted to see as many bands and listen to as much music as physically possible.

There were a number of bands that blew me away completely and we have been purchasing albums like they are going out of fashion since we returned. The five bands who were complete unknowns to me before the festival but who really stood out to me were:

Shreddertron – New Blood Stage - A four-piece UK metal band from West Sussex. A real surprise these - thoroughly enjoyable almost post-metal with no shredding in sight.

Sanguine – New Blood Stage - A four-piece female fronted UK alternative metal band from Exeter. The set was powerful and energetic. The lead singers’ vocal was somewhat intimidating. I loved it!

Imicus – Sophie Lancaster Stage - A five-piece UK alternative rock/metal band from London. We decided to see them after reading comparisons to bands such as Tool. Although I am not sure where the comparison to Tool has come from, the band stunned me. Strong vocals, big riffs - stunning set.

Byfrost – Sophie Lancaster Stage - A three-piece ‘Black n’ Roll’ band from Bergen, Norway. A tremendous mixture of high speed black metal with barrel loads of incredible guitar riffs. It really did get the head banding! The album is pretty impressive too!

October File – Sophie Lancaster Stage - A UK based Post-Punk Band with a real attitude. They hooked me in with their catchy guitar riffs, grinding sound and exuberant stage presence.

I don’t think I could write a piece about Bloodstock, without mentioning the highlight of the whole weekend?! Seeing Sheffield’s own Northern Oak, bringing the crowd alive with both their acoustic set on the Saturday and their amazing set on the New Blood stage on the Sunday. Their performances were incredible and it was lovely to see them after the set being greeted by people wanting photos and albums signing.

Northern Oak Irish Jigging with the crowd on the Jagermeister Stage on Saturday 13th August 2011.

Northern Oak performing Arbor Low on the New Blood Stage on Sunday 14th August 2011.

In addition, the awesome power that is Evil Scarecrow really stopped me in my tracks. I wasn’t really that impressed when I went to see them earlier this year, but the set they performed on the Sophie Lancaster stage was something else completely. The place was packed and the atmosphere was amazing.

Evil Scarecrow attempting the largest Robot Dance to Robototron on the Sophie Lancaster Stage on Sunday 14th August 2011.

All in all, my first Bloodstock will remain with me forever. It has completely changed me as a person and as a metal fan. I know that sounds very deep and meaningful, but that’s the thing. Music has always really mattered to me. Music makes life bearable. Being a part of something like Bloodstock has given me a new passion for metal, for seeing more live metal, for reading more about metal, for listening to more metal. Being a part of Bloodstock has opened my eyes to the inner workings of the metal community. I feel as though I have carried out my induction, that I have been welcomed with open arms and that I have secured myself a place for eternity.