Bloodstock Open Air- Day 3: Curse of the £7 Falafel...

It's Day 3. The grumbling arsehole we sent to Derby is still alive. We did not predict this. Time to send in the poisoned vegetarian delicacies...

 

Again, events conspired to wake me up horrendously early on day three. Though this time there was no burning sensation in my face, and I wasn’t freezing. It was a sensation of another kind.

 

My bowels were calling out to me.

 

I’d deliberately held off from eating too much, because if there’s one thing I fear more than my mother it’s the prospect of having to use a festival toilet. Think of all the disgusting Hessian bums that would have smeared their horrible residue all over the seats. Disgusting isn’t it? I thought maybe if I held off from gorging too badly during the festival I could wait until I found a lovely clean public toilet in a café or something to do my fetid business.

 

But now, my plans were buggered. Almost literally.

 

Though not the kind of movement that leaves one panic stricken, sweating feverishly as one searches for a place to deposit their day’s collection, it was definitely notable enough to require attention.

 

I rose from my tent like a full gutted Lazarus, and made my way to the toilets in the VIP area. However three days of bombardment by drunk junk food stuffed Hessians had clearly taken its toll on the facilities. The stench of diseased arse diffused through the air with the force of a thousand Luftwaffe, inducing my gag reflex.

 

Bravely though, I sallied forth. I had a job to do, and I’d be damned if I wasn’t going  to do it.

 

The first cubicle I accessed seemed in good fettle, although on the soap dispenser some Wildean cad has wittily written the word ‘SPUNK.’ Because I'm a ten year old retard at heart, I sniggered a little. However there is a notable omission.

 

There is no bog roll.

 

It’s like John Wayne without a pistol. It showed so much promise, but it snatched any hope of respite away from me at the last minute.

 

I looked in the next cubicle and was greeted with the same tragic affair. Would my bum bum find no relief?

The next cubicle meanwhile, plumbed new depths.

 

 yuck

   Someone in a fit of Hessian insanity, had discarded some shitty pants. This evoked the same horror I imagine you’d get if you pulled a girls knickers down and found a big pair of meaty testicles in place of a fanny.

 

My god. I’d entered a parallel world, where sensible hygiene was seen as some sort of Asimov-esque luxury of the future. I imagined some ape-like being doing his business in his pants, seeing the toilets and thinking ‘What these strange contraptions? They look like thing from future. Me no like. Must attack!’ - before violently throwing his caked boxer shorts at the cubicle and clattering his big hammy fists against the door.

 

Anyway, every cubicle I perused was a disappointment at best, and an abject horror at worst, but nothing could prepare me for the state of the disabled toilet I looked in.

 

Look, I appreciate that our disabled brethren aren’t privy to the same luxuries we are, and that allowances must be made. However, there’s no excuse – I repeat - NO EXCUSE in the world for depositing a load of your rotten anal slop ON the actual seat. 

 

But you want to read what I thought about some bands don’t you? Righty ho…

 

Basically I missed Beholder and most of Sabaton, due to running around like a pillock trying to sort out an interview with Anathema, who I decided I wanted to talk to on a mad whim. A quick peruse on the internet however, reveals that Beholder play old school metal. Sabaton meanwhile play power metal. As you can understand, I was gutted I missed them both. No. Seriously. No trace of irony there. No siree.

 

I had things sorted out just in time for Girlschool. Watching them, I went through a veritable cavalcade of emotions. I imagine, to the countless greying mullets surrounding me, that Girlschool were prime wanking material, in much the same way Kittie were to people of my generation. They were clearly fucking terrible, although the increasingly perplexing crowd seemed to enjoy them. Did I feel hatred for them, as they blundered their way through some laughably shonky old school bollocks? I did not. Did I feel joy, as they went about their unpretentious crowd pleasing ways, proving that sheer enthusiasm overcomes the grief of age?

 

I did not feel that either.

 

What I felt was pity. Pity for Girlschool. Pity for myself. Pity for everyone basically.

 

Girlschool to me, represent the cruel tragedy of mankind. They’d found their niche thirty years ago, plying their guff music and making a solid living. And then the cruel process of age stole from them their feminine wiles, rendering them ostensibly irrelevant, reduced to peddling their novelty wares in clubs and on lowly festival bills. They seem happy enough to be doing what they’re doing, but it’s more than likely they are shedding tears on the inside.

 

Girlschool represent man’s inevitable decay, resulting in his (or hers) undignified, drawn out death. Normally, only the most harrowing and bleak of doom metal bands make me feel so morbid and mortal, so well done Girlschool for making me feel so utterly useless about my existence.

 

After half an hour’s existential weeping I primed myself for Equilibrium. My hopes that they were a performance art rendition of the stylishly awful Christian Bale movie were immediately dashed when once again, we were treated to some depressingly generic folk metal.

 

Look, I don’t mean to micturate all over an entire subgenre, but it’s bollocks isn’t it? Almost every ‘folk metal’ band I’ve heard uses the same generic pishy bombastic riffs, themes about Vikings and and oh god oh god I can’t take it anymore.

 

It’s an insult to folk music. Could you imagine Simon saying to Garfunkel, ‘Man, this Sound of Silence song is great, but wouldn’t it be better if we fucking roared over it and wrote about murderous bearded lunatics?’

 

Thus, the musical landscape is changed irrevocably forever. For the worse.

 

Opeth are the only band I can think of that have made the combination of folk and noise work, because they at least manage to evoke some of its bleakness. Equilibrium evoke none of that. Equilibrium evoke the urge to fall asleep and turn to crabcore as a viable alternative.

 

Again, they seemed to get a good response from the crowd, but as the weekend wore on, I got the distinct impression that the crowd and I were not on the same side.

 

Thank heavens then for Anathema, who were an unashamed bright spot in an otherwise underwhelming day. Introduced on stage by some guy from Sabbat, they played a surprisingly rocking set. Anathema are pretty epic too, but where they differ from the likes of Equilibrium is their propensity for writing songs that aren’t utter shit.

Scousers

   Anathema provided damn near essential respite from the overwhelming fug of power metal mediocrity, and assuaged my increasing fury for their forty five minute set. Here were songs with subtlety, class and craft. These songs weren’t just banged out with a moronic audience in mind (not that I’m saying the audience were that. Well, perhaps I am); these were crafted and, I can’t believe I’m making such a poncey analogy, from the heart.

 

Highlight of the set was a stirring rendition of A Natural Disaster which was perhaps the loveliest moment in the entire festival, as Vincent Cavanagh and Lee Douglas crooned away in the sexiest duet since Nick Cave brained Kylie with a rock in Where the Wild Roses Grow.

 

They then closed with an Iron Maiden cover. With Nick Barker on drums. And it was excellent. Not much more to say really is there? Well done Scouse fellas!

 

After Anathema finished, I realised I still had an appointment with a toilet, and I still couldn’t find the necessary paperwork.

 

Oh bugger. I had an interview with Vincent from Anathema and I desperately did not want to soil myself in front of the big rock star. That would have been it. Shit pants. Rock star vomit. Career over. Suicide.

 

I looked in every cubicle on the site this time. I would walk to the ends of the earth if I had to.

 

It just wasn’t happening.

 

It was last resort time. I went to a food stall and bought a chicken sandwich. Not out of hunger I might add. They all handed out napkins with the food, and I needed a napkin. I won’t tell you why. You’re a smart individual. You’ve probably realised it.

 

However, I’d entered into something of a Catch 22. In order to get a napkin, I needed to buy more food, thus resulting in me needing a napkin for similar purposes later on, thus the cycle would repeat and repeat until the end of days. For some reason it didn’t occur to me to outright ask someone for a napkin. Or toilet roll. Because I’m a twat.

 

Yes I’m pathetic. Shut up.

 

Anyway, speaking of shit, Turisas were next. They too, were bollocks from what I saw, but then again we know each other now. Does it really surprise you that I thought them tedious rubbish?

 

Turisas’s only notable accomplishment in my eyes is their cover of Ra ra Rasputin. The only reason it is a notable accomplishment though is because I am familiar with a chap who wrote a musical based on Resident Evil 4 with that song in it. I won’t repeat the lyrics here, as I’m sure he and his merciless band of lawyers will come down on me like tonnes of invisible lead soup, but I can reveal that it was called Sa Sa Salazar. If you do not get the reference, then I’m afraid my friend, you fail at life.

 

Once again, they go down well with the crowd. Turisas are the kind of band that go down well with crowds. They’re custom made for crowds. But in a crowd, even the smartest person gets stupid, so there you go.

 

Okily dokily. I missed Moonspell because I was doing interviews, hanging out in the VIP area and gazing lustily at members of Girlschool, who all seemed to possess a collective thousand yard stare. They’ve seen wars maaaaan. I’m not gutted, as I don’t like Moonspell, and to hear me railing against another band isn’t going to be entertaining is it?

 

After my schmoozing, I bought myself a delicious falafel wrap (for the not extortionate price of SEVEN POUNDS) and caught up with some of the chaps I met the previous night during Cradle of Filth’s set. After much gallivanting, we decide to go on one of the funfair rides. We all chose the waltzer on my insistence, as upon its face was a portrait of the Statue of Liberty that resembled the dearly departed Bernard Manning.

Manning

   After tempering my violent erection, we all embarked, thinking it would be a gentle ride.

 

And then it starts.

 

Readers… I’m not too ashamed to say I damn near pissed myself. I thought it’d be a gentle yet exhilarating exercise in carnie nonsense. What we received though, was a lesson in abject terror. In reality they probably only travel at about 8 miles an hour, but when you get some merciless shit spinning your cart around constantly it feels like you’re in some kind of hellish death mobile.

 

After what felt like half an hour of pure fear, it finally finished. We all disembarked rattled, and I think I may have stumbled a bit due to dizziness. I'm well hard, me. 

 

We were just in time to see the start of Amon Amarth, who play Viking metal, but concentrate on the metal and not the shitty bits.

 

Right, I most definitely enjoyed what I saw of Amon Amarth, but here’s the doozy: Falafel wraps and fairground rides go about as well as Stephen Hawking and a treadmill. They were never meant to coexist. Oh no.

 

A little way through Amon Amarth’s set, something was bubbling precariously in my gut, and surging ever t’ward my gaping mouth.

 

I was going to puke.

 

I excused myself and swept like Batman through the crowd to wretch my guts up in one of the toilets.

 

With seconds to go I made it. I swear that the same divine Viking force that was powering the band on stage was propelling me towards my goal.

 

And then I chundered.

 

There is no better feeling in the world than the clarity one feels after a vicious bout of vomiting. I spilled my guts and was reborn, like a man anew. However that wasn’t all…

 

THERE WAS BOG ROLL.

 

Truly, this was an act of Thor. Bog roll had proven as elusive as the fabled Unicorn, so to come face to face with some was like sipping from Ambrosia, or having a chat with a burning bush. It was damn near biblical.

 

I pocketed some, just in case I needed it later, and woozily returned to watching Amon Amarth, who by now had the crowd rowing in fictional boats. Oh my. 

 

Put simply, they succeed where so many fail. They’re so downright epic and silly that they pull through completely unscathed. Though I preferred the delicate prog nuances of Anathema myself, Amon Amarth proved to me just why they’re so adored. Well done beardy Viking fellas!

 

There was half an hour ‘til Satyricon, so I decided to see what was going on in the unsigned tent. Though I’ve not written about it thus far, I had been periodically popping my head in to view all the burgeoning British talent.

 

All I’ll say (from what I saw I hasten to add) is that there’s a reason these fuckers are unsigned.

 

We had death metal. We had industrial metal. We had melodic folk metal. We had widdly widdly wanky metal.

 

To be fair, some of it seemed ok, but are the majority of burgeoning musicians incapable of carrying a single original idea? I once had aspirations of being a rock star myself, but I at least realised that ripping off Mastodon wholesale wasn’t going to be the way to do it. I heard Dream Theater, Fear Factory, Slayer and pissing Yngwie fecking Malmsteen knock-offs. I mean… Malmsteen. Are people that fucking stupid?

 

To be fair though, one band, the Gods of Hellfire, provided the funniest moment of the festival. They were doing their mad metal thing, and then the smoke machine seemed to have a breakdown, thus utterly engulfing the band in dry ice. It was brilliant. It was like that video clip of Cliff Richard I saw ages ago where the smoke machine took a shit and died, resulting in pretty much the same effect.

 

Speaking of good wholesome Christian entertainers, Satyricon were the penultimate act on the main stage, and were jolly good fun. Loads of the troo kvlt metalheads (ie: fucking bellends) I had spoken to were moaning about how much Satyricon had sold out on their black metal roots. Or something. All I know is that their later is stuff is groovy as fuck and fun to listen to. My first encounter with Satyricon came absolutely yonks ago when Casey Chaos of Amen (remember him? He’s a porky mess now) did a mix CD for Kerrang!, and put Fuel For Hatred on it. I enjoyed it thusly, and have subsequently enjoyed much of their latter day output. So suck on that, kvltists.

 

They weren’t my favourite band of the day, but Satyricon did a bloody good job at entertaining the audience, who I half suspected would give them the Cradle treatment. Alas, they did not. They were a satisfyingly dark, heavy prospect and from what I gathered, won over much of the crowd.

 

It looked like the festival was going to go out on a high. Would Europe manage to do the unexpected and provide an absolutely astounding, flabbergasting life affirming end to the proceedings?

 

I didn’t know what to expect. How were they going to fill ninety minutes? I, like many, only know The Final Countdown. Were we to receive that song, as well as an instrumental version, a Swedish version, a Chamber music version, a pumping trance remix and a moog version?

 

Alas no. They had plenty material.

 

They burst onto the stage in a puff of smoke and started playing stuff that seemed a little bit more palatable than The Final Countdown. The first song was a passable exercise in straight ahead rock music. The second song even had a hint of Queens of the Stone Age about it, with a rollocking beat and riff. I like Queens of the Stone Age. Lots. To hear such a song coming from Europe was an unexpected surprise. The next song was typically upbeat and melodic and the fourth song was OH FOR FUCKS SAKE THEY ARE FUCKING DIABOLICAL.

 

I’m sorry. I know as a member of the press I am meant to be level-headed and fair, but Europe? Fucking Europe? I mean… Europe? They’re shit. Shit shit shit shit shit shit shit shit shit. Shit shit shit. Shiiiiiiiiit. Shit. What was going through the organisers’ heads? I’m sure you’ll get some other publications saying, ‘Ooooh blah blah, Europe were the surprise of the festival blah blah blah,’ but they’d be lying. It was bog standard shitty rock music. Nothing more, nothing less.

 

It said in the programme that Europe had sold thirteen million albums. Great. That’s terrific. Thirteen million fucking retards bought The Final Countdown. That makes me feel so much better about the state of the planet. No really. It does.

 

There were probably a million more worthy headline acts to choose from. It’s a pretty well known established festival now isn’t it? I’m sure someone like Mastodon or Slayer would have played it. But nooooo they said. Let’s get some shitty eighties hair metal band they said. All the Hessians will be too drunk to get angry, they said. ‘Oh Calamity!’ I said

 

Anyway it was pretty mindblowing. I’m not sure how they went down with the crowd because I decided escape would be a better option about six songs in, so what did I do? I and a few others decided the DJ playing Clutch and Iron Monkey near the energy drink cabin would be a better option, so we overloaded on drinks derived from bull semen and danced our little hearts out. Thus, we win.

 

Maybe I’ve been too harsh. Taste is all a matter of opinion after all, but I will end with this… is this zine called ‘shitty melodic eighties rock as fuck?’

 

Case closed.

 

And so it ends. At about two in the morning, after gooning about with more lovely folk I retired for my customary rendezvous with Tenty. The festival was finally over.

 

Despite being largely unimpressed by the majority of music on display (because lets face it, I’m a bit of a dick), I was a little sad. I knew the site like the back of my hand, and I would miss much about it. I would miss the beautiful dancing hippie girl at the tea tent. I would miss the speed addled man who played Nick Cave in one of the clothes tents. I would miss the mad people in their medieval get up hacking into each other. Heck, I would even miss awkwardly mooching about the VIP area like an unwanted prick at an orgy.

 

Through all the desperate times and uninspiring music, I realised that I’d actually had a pretty good time. How can this be? I’m a miserable shite even at the best of times. How could a festival stuffed to its mulleted guts with the kind of metal I normally can’t listen to leave me feeling happy?

 

Well to find out, you’ll just have to tune in for my summary next time won’t you?

 

For now though, I will bid you adieu.

 

Adieu!