Bloodstock Open Air- Day 2: Enemy of the Sun

Here it is. Day 2. Our correspondent speaks like a man who has seen wars and undergone great tragedy, when in actuality he's just spent another day in a field getting drunk and miserable. The pussy. Read on as Metal as Fuck gets its face blasted again, but this time the metal has nothing to do with it...

For some odd reason, I woke up at a ridiculously early time in the morning. It must have been about six, as there was no sign of life outside my little domed barricade. I was bloody freezing as well, and shivering like a baby mouse. I went to rub the sleep out of my weary eyes, and was greeted with a searing pain across my face. I thought nothing of it though, and tried to sleep again.

But my face was so bloody sore. What the hell was wrong with me? Was there some hideous change coming over me? Was I transmogrifying? Was I becoming Hessian?

I took a picture of my face with my phone to see what the fuss was. The answer stared back at me, leaving me aghast.

I was redder than Mary Whitehouse in a brothel.

Perhaps it’s karma. Maybe God was annoyed that I thought Saxon were piss. Whatever the case was, the sun had had its way with my pasty white visage. And that wasn’t all. I’d been wearing sunglasses the previous day, leaving me with stupid big round white eyes. And the worst thing? I’d lost those fucking sunglasses the previous night, due to being a silly drunk.

Oh fuck. This was going to be embarrassing. I’d be wandering around like the bastard son of a lobster and panda, and all the sexy pale faced gothic strumpets would laugh at the stupid lobster panda guy. It didn’t occur to me at the time that there were thousands of other people looking sillier, because in moments like that all logic flies out the window.

Basically I was so ashamed, I stayed in my tent so long that I missed the opening few bands. I’m not proud but I’m a sensitive soul, and the humiliation would have crushed me. I wasn’t too bothered about missing Uncle Rotter though. They’re a comedy metal band, and Dragonforce are quite adequate in that regard. I did manage to man up in time however to catch the end of Battlelore, who play a highly original combination of power metal and folk music. They also sing about J.R.R Tolkien and that. It’s amazing really. No band has ever done what Battlelore do before have they? I don’t know why anyone didn’t think of it before really. Metal and folk. Tolkien. It’s madness isn’t it? Hooray for innovation!

I bought a ridiculous pair of sunglasses to hide my eyes, got some breakfast (I’d had nothing but burgers the previous day, so I thought it best to vary my diet: I had a hotdog) and got ready for Wolf.

After ten minutes of Wolf, I’m about to fall asleep. Is it me? Am I so out of the loop? Maybe I’m missing the point. Maybe there’s some joke that the whole world is part of and I’m not. Imagine people actually sitting down and wanting to listen to Wolf, a band so backwards that George Formby sounds like fucking Autechre in comparison. Anyway if you’ve never heard of Wolf, all I’ll say is that they’ve supported Saxon. If that floats your decrepit boat, float away. Just leave me be to float in my boat. It is a speedboat, jet powered by stuff like Gadget and The Amenta. You know, stuff that doesn’t sound like fucking Dad metal.

I escaped Wolf’s shitty set and had a wander around the site, as metal fatigue was kicking in again. I happened upon some fellas dressed as medieval soldiers bashing each other with swords. Naturally, due to being raised by videogames and Arnold Schwarzenegger movies, I found it immensely entertaining. I was bitterly disappointed however, by the lack of victorious teabagging. If that had happened it would have been the highlight of the weekend. Instead, the victor led out a manly roar that left me feeling pretty damn emasculated.

More sexy

After watching these mighty idiots for about fifteen minutes, I bought a cup of tea from a stall, (mainly because I had a bit of a crush on the crazy dancing hippie girl who was running it, but aaaaanyway) and made my way to the main stage for The Haunted.

This is better. Much better.

The Haunted were bloody excellent basically. I like their albums, so it was nice to see they’re an equally excellent live proposition. Peter Dolving stalked the stage and roared like the big hairy metal bastard he is, urging the crowd to roar along with him. The band were tight too, soloing and shredding like it was second nature. Basically, I have nothing bad to say about The Haunted, other than the fact that the set time didn’t do them justice and they were too low down the bill. Highlight of the set is Moronic Colossus, which has the best name ever, and perfectly describes the fat mess that spilled my tea down my hand earlier in the day by knocking into me. Well done Haunted fellas!

I can't remember what I did after watching The Haunted. I think I might have infiltrated the VIP bit for a pint. Watching nothing but metal for three days is thirsty work. I probably hoped to interview some of them as well, but I'll be honest; I recognised none of them. Once you see one beardy leather jacketed rock star type, you've seen them all. They all merge into one gelatinous booze enthused mass. Anyhoo...

Entombed were next. They were quite good from what I saw, but I bumped into Giggles’ entourage again and ended up making merry with them for a bit, thus ignoring most of their set. Yes I’m sorry. That’s shoddy journalism, but I did put up with Wolf for you so shut up.

Unfortunately, this was the last time I’d meet up with Giggles’ entourage, as they didn’t want to see Candlemass. I did…

With good reason. Candlemass were probably the best band of the weekend.

Sexy

Basically, they were better than pretty much all the other bands in the day. Their songs were better, their grasp of dynamics were better and their stage antics were better. Singer Robert Lowe is a mesmerising guy to watch. When the noise around him was crushingly intense, what did he do? Did he yell ‘fuuuuck yeaaaaah’ or ‘I wannnaaaa see bllllooooood blooooodstooooooock’ or any other live metal cliché? Alas, he did not. He closed his eyes and gently swayed, with a maniacal glare in his mad face. It’s a million times more compelling than anything I’d seen previously. Lowe is also slightly unnerving, as he resembles both Ron Jeremy and Pops from British comedy series The League of Gentlemen (go to this location for a reference and try not to piss yourself). Actually, did I say unnerving? It’s fucking terrifying. I was half expecting him to leap off the stage and croon Bright Eyes from Watership Down, whilst violently dry humping me to death. However I was safe, as he stayed on stage, doing his mad things to the delight of the audience.

Despite some early technical hitches, Candlemass sounded titanic, and delivered me from a hitherto underwhelming day. As with The Haunted they were far too low down on the bill, and didn’t have enough time.

Enslaved came next. Their last album Vertebrae pretty much had all the metal press in the land spontaneously ejaculating into their skidmarked underpants. Me? I could barely muster a boner over them. Everyone went on about how it was an awesome exercise in progressive black metal or whatever. I gave it a listen, shrugged and went back to whatever fey indie singer songwriter I was listening to that day. They sounded good live though, and gave it some welly. I actually found myself nodding along rhythmically to their bombastic noise. Perhaps I should give Vertebrae another go.

Watching Enslaved was actually a bit humiliating as well, as I was stood next to a bunch of girls in their late teens wearing very little clothing, frothing in their knickers over the hideously well toned guitarist in the band. And to their left? Me; with my sun blistered face, Wurzel Gummidge haircut and svelte figure (once described to me as being like that of an eleven year old girl). Realising the chances of them putting out for me were probably slim, I retired despondently to the tea tent for another cuppa, and found myself enjoying all the bongo players that were chilling out next to it. Maaaaaaaan.

After recharging and bongoing up (that isn't a euphemism), I made my way to Kreator. There isn’t much to say about Kreator really, other than that they were pretty fucking funny. The amount of shite their singer spewed was hilarious too. It was standard metal stuff really; all about hate and blood and Satan and tits and teddy bears. Normally it all makes me breath a palpable sigh of ennui, but Kreator got away with it for some reason. I don’t know why. Maybe the constant barrage of thrash was slowly breaking me down. Maybe all the cynicism was getting shunted out of me.

Maybe I was tired.

Anyway Kreator put on a good show. To my ears they sounded pretty generic, but they’d been doing this kind of stuff for years so I should probably shut my face. It’s easy to see where the likes of Municipal Waste and Evile got their shit from, and for that they deserve kudos. There was also enough anti-Christian banter to fill a Richard Dawkins book. Wow. Blasphemy at a Metal festival. That’s like, totally unexpected dude.

After dinner, a beer, and some overenthusiastic Cathedral chat with some guy I was sitting next to in the bar, I was in a good mood…

Thank heavens for Apocalyptica then, who brought me back to earth with a crashing thud.

Yup. Apocalyptica joined Wolf in the ‘WTF?’ corner. Again, I just don’t get it. How can anyone in their right mind sit and listen to them? At their best, they sound like one of those stupid CDs you get where a bunch of muppets with classical instruments try to play the songs of Limp Bizkit or something. At their worst though, they sound as appealing as a prolapsing elephant.

Seriously, how have they managed to get a decent career? As soon as one of them said, ‘Hey, do you guys like Metallica?’ the fridge was nuked. They'd lost me completely, and there was no chance of them getting me back. They could have covered my most favourite song in the world ever (which if you must know, is I got Athletes Foot showering at Mike's by Anal Cunt) and I still wouldn't have pissed on them to save their lives.

   Now, I don’t really like Metallica but I utterly adore classical music. Apocalyptica do justice to neither. What Apocalyptica do, is tantamount to musical genocide. It’s like they wipe their shit-strewn arses with sheet music, and stuff it in the mouths of dead composers. They are everything that is wrong with music. There’s fuck all innovation or vision. It's so cynical and soulless. They’ve based an entire career on going ‘Coo-ee! Look at us! We’re playing Metallica songs, but with cellos! We’re mad innit?! Teehee!’

I stood watching their set aghast, as they brutally violated classical and metal music in turn. I looked around to see if anyone else was as appalled as me, but was shocked to see that loads of the crowd were actually swallowing this shit.

I think I snapped at this point. Seeing people nod their heads approvingly at the four cello humping douchebags on stage was too much. I slunk off to my tent to reflect on what I had just witnessed. I had no answers.

Apocalyptica went down a storm, and I don’t know why. Someone feel free to tell me their appeal. I’ll try and understand, but I’d imagine it’d be as futile as trying to teach a calculator how to love.

Stuff

Blind Guardian were up next. This basically meant nothing to me. It was another histrionic melodic metal band that I had no intention of seeing or ever listening to. I was in a foul mood, and I'd only have tutted like a disapproving Uncle throughout their set. Power Metal's ok when you've switched your brain off (or never had one in the first place), but eighty minutes would have been far too much. I opted upon seeing Abgott at the Sophie Lancaster stage instead.

That was the intention anyway, but I ended up falling asleep in my tent.

Oops.

I realised my error, and quickly woke up to make at least some of their set, but was instead greeted by brutal blastbeats.

The Rotted were on.

I’ll tell you what, listening to The Rotted after getting pillocked about by Apocalyptica was as refreshing as running through a summery glade in the nip. It was nice to hear some properly nasty evil stuff, and it went some way to restoring my faith in humanity. I probably only caught about fifteen minutes, but what I saw lifted my spirits considerably. They were tight, loud as fuck and a massive kick up the arse.

After their set finished, I decided it might be wise to head over to the main stage for Cradle of Filth. I didn’t know what to expect from them really. I liked the band as a youngster and laughed my arse off at their DVD, but they kind of ceased to be relevant once I sprouted my first pubic hairs.

On the way though, something utterly life affirming happened.

I wandered by a stall, and heard the following lyric blasting out…

‘I'm a bad motherfucker, don't you know / And I'll crawl over fifty good pussies just to get one fat boy's asshole’

My god. It’s only Stagger Lee by Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds!

I immediately headed into the stall to babble excitedly at the guy who put it on, and ended up having a mad conversation with him about all sorts of music. After lots of mutual handshaking and grinning about Captain Beefheart, Tom Waits and DJ Shadow, he put on No Pussy Blues by Grinderman (another Nick Cave project) for me, a song that zings with more attitude and venom than an entire festival lineup. It was also pretty poignant, considering my (lack of) escapades at Enslaved's set.

I also suspect the guy was on speed or something. He spoke quicker than any person I’d ever met. Ever.

Anyway, I’d like to thank that guy for providing the highlight of the entire weekend for me. I was feeling extremely bloody chipper after that...

It was pretty clear that Cradle of Filth weren’t going to maintain that though.

All I can say about Cradle of Filth is that the guy screaming insults at them from the back was more entertaining. ‘SIGN ON YOU PILLOCK!’ was heard, as were other more unsavoury ones that I won’t repeat here as I am a gentleman. So to moshking (aka Gaz), I bid you a hearty metal salute!

Basically, I was led to expect that a Cradle of Filth show would have tits and dancers and people on fire and stuff. I've also heard Dani Filth can be a funny fucker on stage (my mate saw them ages ago, and after Dani told a shit joke, he said 'I'll get me cape,' which is brilliant). It was a bit disappointing though. All they had was a backdrop with some gothy shit going on. As pleasantly morbid as it all was, it didn’t detract from the fact that I was noticeably unmoved by the performance. Dani Filth didn't seem too jocular either, and had this nasty habit of squealing like a pig in a war. It was the most irritating noise I’d heard all day. After Apocalyptica anyway. ‘Skraaaaeeeeeeeeee!’

However, unmoved as I was it was nothing compared to the ire some factions of the crowd displayed.

I’m sure you’ve all heard by now. Cradle’s guitarist was creamed by a gobstopper. As much as I would have liked some peace and quiet, I wouldn’t have gone that far. Throwing insults is one thing, but throwing actual stuff at gigs is the behaviour of a complete dick. More than once, I noticed bottles and stuff flying around the audience, lobbed by stupid mouth breathers. You think people want to get dunted on the the head while they try and watch a band? Why do it?

Anyway, the announcer (who’d been pissing everyone off after every band) came out to tell us all the news. ‘Cradle will not be continuing, because of missiles thrown from the audience.’

Crikey, that’s drastic. It gets a cheer from some. I stay silent. It’s fucking terrible behaviour. If anyone knows who it was, give them a dunt on the head. And no, it wasn’t me. I can barely throw 3ft in front of me due to being no mightier than a sapling.

Because of this, it's a little unfair to judge Cradle's set as they hadn't finished, but all I'll say is that from the off, a big majority of the crowd seemed to have it in for them (as you can probably tell from the picture heading the article). The same crowd I hasten to add, that lapped up Saxon and Apocalyptica.

I'll leave you to draw your own conclusions.

After Cradle’s set, I retired with another group I had befriended and drank long into the night, moaning about shitty day jobs and shitty music. I was having a gay old time, but then I realised in the wee hours of the morning that I could barely bloody move. Tiredness didn’t just creep up on me; It brained me with a cudgel and shafted me against the wall. I could barely keep my eyes open, and had about as much verbal dexterity as Kerry Katona. If she had a degree at least. Realising it was best to retire,  I said my goodnights, and floated slowly back to my beloved tent, which I was becoming more and more enamoured with. Not so much that I’d give it a name or anything though. That’d be fucking daft.

(I love you Tenty. Sniff!)

Part 3 Bog Trek: The Search for Loo Roll, coming soon.