Archive for the Heavy Metal Category

Book Review: Bruce Dickinson An Autobiography

Posted in 1980s, Concerts, Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal and the 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 12, 2018 by 80smetalman

Welcome to my second ever book review. The first one was three years ago so I figured it was time I do another. Okay, it’s because I write more than I read but this particular book definitely needs a comment or three on. My total reaction to “Bruce Dickinson, An Autobiography” was, “I wish I could write like that.” Bruce has a distinct writing style that definitely entertains as well as it informs. When recounting his life, he doesn’t do the normal David Copperfield crap with dates and list of his life’s events. Instead he gives those accounts through his own eyes in a very amusing way which at times while reading it made me wonder if I should pack up writing.

Iron Maiden

Naturally, I read the book to hear about his life with the great Iron Maiden and yes, there are some wild accounts there. However, his life before and outside of Maiden was just as intense. Reading about his childhood, his father was a bit of a Delboy Trotter, (a character from the famous British sit-com “Only Fools and Horses), in the sense that he was always acquiring and running different businesses, often at the same time. At one point, he owned a hotel but sold used cars from the front of it. I point this out because I think Bruce’s childhood experiences contributed to his eccentricity.

Bruce Dickinson

How he became a pilot was also a very good and interesting read. He started on a twin engine plane and by the end, he was piloting huge passenger jets. Then there is how he started his brand of beer, “The Trooper.” However, the part that I found most interesting was during his solo career. His account of his concert in war torn Sarajevo and all what he and his band had to go through, the check points, the fear of getting fired on, to be able to perform was absolutely mind blowing. Talk about guts but then it was those guts that helped him beat cancer very recently. How he describes what he went through while battling this disease is harrowing and it’s only right that he gets full marks for overcoming it.

Bruce Dickinson’s autobiography is a cracking read from start to finish. He keeps the reader entertained while at the same time giving them insight into his wild and wonderful life. Plus there are a few surprises along the way as long as events that I didn’t know about but not surprised about. I bow to the superior writer here.

Reading the autobiography has further convinced me that Bruce Dickinson deserves a knighthood. Therefore, I call on all British readers to clink the link and sign the petition.

https://www.change.org/p/special-honours-committees-for-knighthoods-a-knighthood-for-bruce-dickinson

On a different note, though I have retired from festivals, I will still go for single days. This year, it looks as if I must go to Bloodstock on the Sunday because Queensryche are headlining and Twisted Sister’s Dee Snider is also on the bill for that day.

Next post: Starship- Knee Deep in the Hoopla

I don’t feel worth to post a link to Rock and Roll Children for this post.

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Great Rock Albums of 1985: Night Ranger- Seven Wishes

Posted in 1980s, Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal and the 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 8, 2018 by 80smetalman

The release of Night Ranger’s third album, “Seven Wishes” confirmed to me what I already knew, Night Ranger were not heavy metal. This didn’t stop the unknowing from continuing to label them as such and it made me grind my teeth at times. The first single, “Sentimental Street” was all the proof one needed. That song is supposed to be a power ballad, I use that term loosely because it is heavily over synthed. All that did was take me back to their more superior power ballad, “Sister Christian” which wasn’t so. Just a fine use of the piano. On the other hand, while I have always believed that Night Ranger was never heavy metal, they definitely weren’t a top 40 band either, in spite of having several songs in the top 40. The best label to give Night Ranger would be melodic hard rock.

I thought that now I’m back from my client holiday, I’d treat you to at least one photo from it. This is the fog lifting off Lynmouth Harbour.

Back to the “Seven Wishes” album. While many metalheads dissed this album back in 1985 and I admit, the first single nearly put me off. Fortunately, I had known for years never to judge an album on one single, so I took the plunge. In spite of what was said about Night Ranger at the time, this album still rocks in many places. Additionally, unlike singles from their first two albums, none of the songs remind me of Rick Springfield. Unlike, “Sentimental Street,” the guitars dominate more than the keyboards, the only exception might be the title track. Even then, there is a fab guitar solo on it as with all the songs, the talents of the guitar duo of Brad Gillis and Jeff Watson are put to maximum use. More proof that I’m mellowing a little with age, I like “Sentimental Street” more now than I did in 1985.

Actually, “Seven Wishes” is an album of two halves for the most part. Part one is the more keyboard oriented songs and singles. “Four in the Morning” was the second single and though not as keyboard oriented, the whole song screams “Single for radio!” Saying that, “I Need a Woman” really cooks and if you only listened to the first five songs, might seem slightly out of place. However, the album goes total rock on the second half of the album. “This Boy Needs to Rock” starts things off perfectly and the rest of the album follows through. “Interstate Love Affair” is my vote for hidden gem on the album. I just love that intro and the way it rocks to the mind blowing guitar solo. Yep, it gets my vote. The closer, “Goodbye” is, in my not so humble opinion, a better power ballad than “Sentimental Street.” Better still, it’s the best song to end the album on a high.

Track Listing:

  1. Seven Wishes
  2. Faces
  3. Four in the Morning
  4. I Need a Woman
  5. Sentimental Street
  6. This Boy Needs to Rock
  7. I’ll Follow You
  8. Interstate Love Affair
  9. Night Machine
  10. Goodbye

Night Ranger

Jack Blades- bass, lead vocals

Jeff Watson- guitar

Brad Gillis- guitar

Alan ‘Fitz’ Fitzgerald- keyboards

Kelly Keagy- drums, lead vocals

While Night Ranger aren’t heavy metal, they can’t be simply dismissed. Their brand of melodic hard rock is played very well as this album shows.

Next post: My Second Book Review

To download Rock and Roll Children, go to: https://c-newfreepdf.cf/olddocs/free-download-online-rock-and-roll-children-pdf-1609763556-by-michael-d-lefevre.html

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Great Rock Albums of 1985: George Thorogood- Maverick

Posted in 1980s, Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal and the 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , on September 12, 2018 by 80smetalman

By May of 1985, I had conceded that the anti-metal brigade had won as far as commercial radio and MTV was concerned. It was a rarity then to see or hear any metal played on mainstream media. The only time I would really listen to any radio was during my eight hour shift at a parking lot in Atlantic City. While I lamented the lack of metal, there was some good rock tunes on radio, many from recently visited albums of this year. Then sometime in May, while listening to radio on my shift, I was treated to the first single from George Thorogood, “I Drink Alone,” from his “Maverick” album and that made eight hours of commercial radio much more bearable.

“I Drink Alone” is my all time favourite George Thorogood song. While the more ignorant claimed that the song was more of his usual same sounding stuff, I begged to differ. Yes, his voice is trademark and the riffs might sound familiar but if so, who the hell cares? He plays a blinder on it and one can’t fault the guitar solo at all. What I like just as much is his innuendos towards famous alcoholic drinks. Since the song is about a guy who enjoys drinking alone, he mentions his drinking pals; his buddy Weiser, pals Jack Daniels and partner Jimmy Beam and friends Johnny Walker and his brothers Black and Red. Then there’s the only family member who will drink with him, his Old Grandad. All very clever and I wonder if George collected any advertising royalties for mentioning these products in his song.

Looking at the rest of the “Maverick” album, it is business as usual from George Thorogood and the Destroyers. The first three songs are the best, the middle one the big single although the third track, “Willie and the Hand-jive” was also released as a single and it’s a great blues boogie song too. Saying that, I do prefer the opener, Gear Jammer.” The remainder of the album, while not as brilliant as the first three songs, doesn’t deteriorate the album in any way. “Long Gone” is more of what George and the Destroyers do best and the spotlight is on saxophonist Hank Carter who makes the mark. My vote for hidden gem on “Maverick” has to be “Woman With the Blues.” The song slows down a lot and while it gives the impression that George shouldn’t sing ballads, which it’s not, he still sounds okay. However, it’s his more famous guitar riffing on it that makes the track a hidden gem.

Apart from the boogie/blues, it can be said that there is a 1950s sound to some of the songs on the album. Yes, I can picture Ritchie Cunningham and friends dancing to “Dixie Fried” at Arnold’s but then again, there is another great Thorogood guitar solo on it but that’s not the point. My point here is that George records songs by some of the greats from that era, Chuck Berry, Fats Domino, John Lee Hooker and Carl Perkins. He was criticized, (there will always be people who will), for not writing many of his songs. I won’t explore why this is the case, my guess is that he loved those songs so much that he wanted to record them. It doesn’t mean that he couldn’t write songs because the ones he does write are some of the best on the album. The opener, the big single and hidden gem all prove it. The ones he didn’t write are all performed well and I’m sure those who wrote them would have given him the thumbs up on each of them.

Track Listing:

  1. Gear Jammer
  2. I Drink Alone
  3. Willie and the Hand-Jive
  4. What a Price
  5. Long Gone
  6. Dixie Fried
  7. Crawlin’ King Snake
  8. Memphis/Little Marie
  9. Woman With the Blues
  10. Go Go Go
  11. The Ballad of Maverick

George Thorogood

George Thorogood- guitar, lead vocals

Hank Carter- saxophone, harmony vocals

Billy Blough- bass

Jeff Simon- drums, percussion

George Thorogood was an oasis in a land barren of good music, at least as far as mainstream media was concerned. Whether or not you think “Maverick” was his best album, it still demonstrated that he could play with the best of them.

Next post: Weird Al Yankovic- Dare to be Stupid

To buy Rock And Roll Children, go to: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Rock-Roll-Children-Michael-Lefevre/dp/1609763556/ref=sr_1_2?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1536744478&sr=1-2&keywords=michael+d+lefevre

 

Great Rock Albums of 1985: Fiona

Posted in 1980s, Heavy Metal, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , on September 9, 2018 by 80smetalman

New Jersey has always been divided into North and South. The Southern part, where I’m from, has always been Philadelphia oriented while the Northern part has always been New York oriented. This has always been the case when supporting sports teams and it seems has been the case for music. It’s probably another reason why Beru Revue’s popularity never went beyond the Philadelphia- South Jersey area and it is also why more people living in South Jersey at the time were more into The Hooters than they were into Northern New Jersey singer Fiona.

Fiona (Flanagan)’s debut album appeared in early 1985 and from what I remember, her label, Atlantic, seemed to be doing everything they could to push the album and its single, “Talk to Me.” Unfortunately, the highest the single got was #64. Fortunately, the album did slightly better. Examining the album, I know there are some good to decent rock tunes. “Hang Your Heart on Me” is a decent opener for the album. It does the job in obtaining your interest and the mentioned single does have a cool sax solo on it. I think the problem with it was that it was too mainstream for metalheads and too rock for trendies. The best rocking track is the third one, “You’re No Angel,” which boasts Fiona’s best vocals and a really cool guitar solo. “James” is also a decent rocker although her vocals aren’t quite as good on it. For me, “Rescue You” sounds too 80s synth pop for me but her vocals are okay and there’s another good guitar solo on it. Then there’s the closer, “The Na Na Song.” I have to say that it is probably one of the best album closing tracks of all time. True, the second half on the song is mostly comprised of her singing, “Na na, na na na na na” but it, with the harder rocking does great to take the song and the album to it’s natural conclusion.

In spite of some good rock tunes and some great musicianship on the album, what let’s this album is Fiona herself. I won’t be as harsh as my sister who simply says Fiona can’t sing, I will say that she’s not a great vocalist. Take “James” for instance. When she’s singing the more power rock parts, her voice is okay but it’s when she tries to go more melodic, her voice lets the song down. The same can be said on “Over Now,” which is a shame in a way because that song has the best guitar solo on the album. Her vocal weakness comes through the most on the power ballad, “Love Makes You Blind.” Her voice isn’t up to it. I don’t want to be cruel to her so I’ll put forward this perspective. Instead of being made to sing more commercial ready, it would have been better for her if she had fronted a proper heavy metal band which her vocal ability is more suited for. That’s my verdict anyway.

Track Listing:

  1. Hang Your Heart On Me
  2. Talk to Me
  3. You’re No Angel
  4. Rescue You
  5. James
  6. Love Makes You Blind
  7. Over Now
  8. The Na Na Song

Fiona

Fiona- lead vocals

Bobby Messano- guitar

Gregory Tebbitt- guitar

Benjy King- keyboard

Alan Hurwitz- keyboard

Peter Zale- keyboard

Joe Franco- drums, percussion

Donnie Kisselbach- bass

Schuyler Deale- bass

Rick Bell- saxophone

Elena Aazan- backing vocals

Tom Flanagan- backing vocals

Peppi Marchello- backing vocals

Louie Merlino- backing vocals

‘The Mob’- backing vocals

Tara O’Boyle- backing vocals

Jimmy Wilcox- backing vocals

Fiona wasn’t the big commercial success Atlantic Records was hoping for in 1985 and I’ve given clues as to why. In spite of that, her debut album is still pretty good and worth a listen.

BTW, I hope people out there aren’t taking this to mean that heavy metal singers aren’t as good as those who aren’t. Many mainstream vocalists can’t sing metal.

Next post: George Thorogood- Maverick

To buy Rock and Roll Children, go to: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Rock-Roll-Children-Michael-Lefevre/dp/1609763556/ref=sr_1_3?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1536483187&sr=1-3&keywords=michael+d+lefevre

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bloodstock: Farewell

Posted in Concerts, Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal and the 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on August 27, 2018 by 80smetalman

A place to get your air mattresses inflated. I didn’t have one.

At previous Bloodstock Festivals, I always had to leave on the Sunday night due to work commitments. Because I wanted to see so many bands on the Sunday, I made sure I sorted things out so I could sleep Sunday night and leave Monday morning. Monday mornings seem to be an anti-climax at Bloodstock and probably most other weekend festivals. Although, I could hear people partying away on the Sunday night, the campsite seemed deathly quiet when I woke up at 7:15 on Monday morning. Most of the tents were still up although I could see that some had packed up and left in the middle of the night. Therefore, I got Teal and Joe up with no problem, my offer of a MacDonald’s breakfast was good incentive, and we took down the tent, packed and joined the slow but steady procession of people leaving the grounds. There was no conversation, it seemed everyone, like us, was focused on leaving. The whole process only took an hour.

I was totally serious when I said Bloodstock 2018 would be my last ever three day festival unless of course I win the lottery and then I’ll rent a mobile home and go glamping at Bloodstock and Download. The thing is that I’m getting too old to be laying on a piece of ground for an entire weekend. I also felt my age in other ways. After standing to see a couple of bands, I definitely needed to sit down as I felt the aches and pains. While you’re never too old to rock, I have to admit that I’m getting too old for all the other bits that go with it. However, it’s not just me getting old, many of the bands I grew up with and rocked out to are calling it a day as well. Twisted Sister has retired and supposedly so has Ozzy and though Judas Priest claim they will be back, will they be the same without Tipton and Downing bending the six strings? That remains to be seen.

One thing I can say that if this was my last festival, I’m going out on an absolute high. Bloodstock 2018 was fantastic, don’t ask me if it was the best because all of them were that good. At 2018, I got to see personal favourites Suicidal Tendencies, Judas Priest and Doro, all of which put on a magnificent show. On top of that, I got to see Mr Big, a band whose material I have plenty of but never saw live. They proved to doubters that they did belong at Bloodstock. Also, after seeing Gojira twice as a non- headliner, I saw them take their rightful place at the top of Saturday’s lineup and they made the most of it. What I can say what was great about this year’s Bloodstock was that I got to see many bands I had heard little or nothing about and get totally blown away by them! Feed The Rhino and Orden Ogan definitely come to mind here and now that I know more of them, I am delving more into Amaranthe and Nightwitch.

Feed The Rhino welcome everybody to Bloodstock

Levermann and Kersting leading from the front.

Amaranthe won me over

Of all the bands, there are two which I have a special place with me on account of where they’re from, Orphaned Land and Underside. Orphaned Land, from Israel, explained that with all the hatred in the Middle East at the moment, there seems to be a unified hatred for heavy metal there. I have touched on this in past posts, especially with the band Confess who faced long term prison time in Iran for playing the music they loved so much. On the other hand, not all Middle Eastern nations are like Iran as the lovely Lilas Mayassi from Slave to Sirens pointed out to me. Lebanon is a liberal and tolerant country. Furthermore, Underside are from Nepal and they thanked me on Facebook for the kind words I wrote about them. It fills my heart to see that heavy metal is even making its way into small mountain countries. What we as metalheads need to do is to embrace these metal artists coming out of such regions and give them the ear they so desperately seek. Only this way can metal establish world dominance.

Orphaned Land come out under the lights.

Underside finally emerge

Some final observations from the historic weekend was that I noticed and forgive me if I’m not being politically correct here, that there were more persons of colour attending the festival. The New Yorker who was into At The Gates was African American.  I’m not just talking about those of Afro-Caribbean origin, there were also people of other races there too. This is good because it has been a concern of mine ever since I read Laina Dawes book, “What Are You Doing Here?” In order for metal to progress, we must kick racism and sexism out of it. That reminds me, it turns out that Underside’s  great female bassist whose playing totally rocked, isn’t officially a part of the band. It would be great for them to take her on full time.

Thank you for letting an old man rant but I hope the wisdom of my years shows through here. I will take memories of Bloodstock to my grave with me because it is a great metal festival and I enjoyed each and every one I’ve been to.

I finally got a song from Underside for you, enjoy!

Next post: Los Lobos- How Will the Wolf Survive

To buy Rock and Roll Children, go to: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Rock-Roll-Children-Michael-Lefevre/dp/1609763556/ref=sr_1_3?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1535371510&sr=1-3&keywords=michael+d+lefevre

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bloodstock 2018: Sunday

Posted in Concerts, Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal and the 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on August 23, 2018 by 80smetalman

Final full day at Bloodstock and I was prepared for a long one. Five of the final six bands on the Ronnie James Dio Stage were on my ‘must see’ list. That gave me some time to not have to wolf down breakfast and chill before I headed to the arena for a final day of metal. However, that was cut short when Teal suggested I make it six of the last seven bands when he recommended I see Amaranthe. Oh well, one more band wouldn’t hurt so I went with him and Joe to the arena.

That six of seven could have become seven of eight, at least I wished so because when I got to the Dio Stage, the band Evergrey was finishing up. This was yet another band whom I only caught the last few minutes of and wished I had seen more of them. Maybe it’s mellowing with age but I’m getting more into prog-metal bands and these guys from Sweden are definitely worth checking out. Shame I can’t say more.

Evergrey on stage

So far at Bloodstock, Teal had been two for two when recommending bands I should see, Kamelot on Friday and Alestorm on Saturday. No surprises that on Sunday, he was three for three when I saw the second consecutive Swedish band, Amaranthe, although they did have some technical difficulties before they came out on stage. Not to worry, while those difficulties were being sorted, bassist Johan Andreassen entertained the crowd with a bit of improv. I can’t remember anything he said, damn my Swiss cheese memory, but he had me and the rest of the crowd rolling on the ground in laughter. When the rest of the band emerged, the most obvious sight was that they had three singers. Two males, one described as clean vocals, that was Nils Molin and the unclean male vocals of Henrik Eglund Wilhemsson along with the vocals of Elize Ryd. The best thing is that this combination totally worked. Each singer would come in with their style of vocals at the appropriate part in the song and take it in an unexpected direction. Of course, the other reason it worked was the musical efforts of guitar, bass and drums. The end result was forty minutes of good power metal and another band not known to me who impressed me a hell of a lot.

Johan Andreassen doing his improv

Elize and Henrik on the vocals

Amaranthe won me over

Having seen Fozzy twice before I had already regarded Chris Jerico as a good metal singer. Third time is the charm and if I had any doubt in my mind about him, those doubts were obliterated on this particular Sunday. He even came out on stage in a really cool looking long coat. His vocals, if anything, were even better and he still knows how to work a crowd. His band was as good as ever, especially when they played my all time favourite Fozzy song, “Drinkin’ With Jesus.” Really love that song and I have made a promise to myself to listen to more Fozzy.

Chris in his coat

A shot of the entire band

I thought I’d get the guitar and bass in.

Chris engaging the crowd

Got more good shots of Fozzy

I thought he was going to attempt a flying drop kick here.

Since I didn’t want to go back to the campsite but my 57 year old frame didn’t want to stand, I went over to the Sophie Lancaster Stage to have a little sit down at the back. Shortly after, the next band started to get ready to go on stage but they too had some technical difficulties. This time, the bass player didn’t do improv. Instead, she treated the crowd to a brilliant bass solo, she could play! The band took the stage and played some really cool thrash/death metal. I learned they were from Nepal and it’s great to see such a good band coming out from that part of the world. I hope more people will check them out. Unfortunately, someone from either WordPress or Youtube is being a prick and not letting me paste any of their songs here.

Bass player shredding away

Underside finally emerge

Underside show that you can rock in Nepal.

The universal big question asked by many of the 18,000 who attended Bloodstock in 2018 was whether Mr Big was the type of band to play at this Festival. For me, that question was answered in the affirmative on the very first song, it being my vote for their hidden gem, “Daddy, Lover, Brother and Little Boy.” I have always loved that song and that set the stage for the rest of their set. Sure, they played most of their classics, “Green Tinted Sixties Mind” was the fourth song and not long after, “To Be With You” which Eric Martin brought out an acoustic guitar to play along to. He did the same with the cover of the Cat Stevens classic, “Wild World.” On top of that, Paul Gilbert totally impressed me with his guitar work on the songs and when he was left to play a solo. Eric also explained to the crowd that they had been on a European tour and Bloodstock was their last stop. Their final songs were more metal leaning, one of the being “Take Cover.” However, when they left the stage, they proved to everyone that Mr Big belonged at Bloodstock! Even if they didn’t play my other favourite Mr Big song, “The Whole World’s Gonna Know.”

Welcome Mr Big

Paul plays a solo

Paul continues to wail

Here’s a shot of Billy Sheehan

Eric on the acoustic guitar

Billy and Paul jamming together. Mr Big were certainly the most photogenic band at Bloodstock.

Some might think this might be going from one extreme to the other. Going from the melodic metal sounds of Mr Big to the death metal of Devil Driver. That didn’t bother me nor the many others who came to see them. It was metal mayhem to say the least. I can’t really say much about their time on stage. I went close to the front with Teal and Joe and therefore, spent the entire time on the edges of mosh pits and passing crowd surfers to the front. That kind of ruins your concentration a bit. What I did hear from Devil Driver, I totally liked and still had a fantastic time during their set.

Devil Driver

The mayhem spoiled this shot a little.

The best shot of them

I don’t remember anything about them but I got a shot of Servers on the New Blood Stage

At Bloodstock 2016, I took HMO’s advice and went to see a band he recommended on his blog called Ackercoke. So, when he posted about At the Gates a few months ago, I knew I had to see them. He’s now two for two in my book because At the Gates were brilliant. Three Swedish bands took the Dio Stage on this day and all three impressed me. For me, they were a natural progression after the more progressive sound of Evergrey to the sometimes more harder one of Amaranthe to At The Gates’s death metal although, they did go melodic at times. I always have liked that style so these guys fit in well. During their set, I met a man from New York who had come to Bloodstock just to see them. Apparently, they hardly ever go to the States. The band needs to rectify that! All I can say when they left was “Thank you HMO for showing me another great band.”

At The Gates

Singer Thomas Lindberg engaging the crowd

Thomas turned his back on me here.

Headlining the Sunday was the Finnish band Nightwish. I had heard many great things about this band and I further liked what I had heard from them so I was expecting good things. I wasn’t disappointed. A huge clock at the back of the stage counted down the final minute to their appearance and they came out just as it hit zero. From then on it was pure magic, whether it was the vocals of Floor Jansen, the guitar work of Emppu Vuorinen or the keyboards of Tuomas Holopainen. What impressed me even more was Troy Donockley who played guitar, Bouzouki and an assortment of woodwind instruments and all very well. I now have a full appreciation of what is called Gothic metal. The hour and a half went by too fast and the show ended with a spoken word bit but I can’t say who was speaking or what was said but it added greatly to the atmosphere of the show. The band did come back and I was hoping for one more song but they just took more bows. Can’t complain though.

The clock counts down

Good shot of Tuomas Holopainen on keys

I tried to get the band but a bunch of lights got in the way

Flash!

The last shot before they left the stage.

Tired and hungry, I went back to the tent to feed, drink my last beer and get some sleep. Next morning would be time to tear down, pack up and go. However, I left completely fulfilled having seen some great bands not only this day but the entire weekend. However, Scandinavia did win the Sunday.

Next post: Bloodstock, My final thoughts.

To buy Rock and Roll Children, go to https://www.amazon.co.uk/Rock-Roll-Children-Michael-Lefevre/dp/1609763556/ref=sr_1_8?ie=UTF8&qid=1535059396&sr=8-8&keywords=michael+d+lefevre

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bloodstock 2018: The Saturday

Posted in Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal and the 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on August 21, 2018 by 80smetalman

Saturday at Bloodstock was going to be an open day for me pretty much as the only band on my ‘must see’ list was the evening’s headliners, Gojira. While I was finishing my early morning tasks at a leisurely pace, a gentleman passed by and suggested that I check out Power Trip. His sales pitch was that if I liked Suicidal Tendencies, I would love this band. That was enough to sell me so I headed over to the arena.

Listening to American thrash/punk crossover band Power Trip, I could see what the gentleman meant by the comparison to Suicidal Tendencies. They even dedicated a song to Cannibal Corpse and even though they said some might thought it too early in the morning, orchestrated a wall of death. While I have to say they’re not quite like the band they have been compared to, Power Trip were a good band to have a great mosh to and quite an appropriate way to start the Saturday.

Power Trip- a great start to any day.

At this point of the weekend, I had seen several bands whom I had never heard of who had impressed the hell out of me and I was in the mind to award several bands the honour of “Band Whom I’d Never Heard of Who Impressed Me the Most.” That all went out the window when the next band after Power Trip ascended the Dio Stage. That band was German prog-metallers Orden Ogan. If you like Hammerfall, then you should like this band. They really impressed me a lot. One thing I noticed when they were on stage was the absence of a bass player. Lead singer Sebastian Levermann explained this was because he had broken his thumb and was unable to play guitar. Thus normal bassist Neils Loffler took up the rhythm guitar. Saying that, he did play a couple of solos along with lead guitarist Tobias Kersting who could really jam. Left to just sing, Levermann was good at engaging the crowd and at one point when he would sing, “All we are,” the audience would yell back, “Cold, fucking dead!” When they left, Orden Ogan were secure in the title of band who I’d never heard of who impressed me the most.

Orden Ogan come on stage. Too bad those horns got in my way.

Levermann and Kersting leading from the front.

Being wowed by Orden Ogan made me hungry so I headed back to the tent for some lunch. Returning afterwards, I happened to catch the last five minutes of Vola on the Sophie Lancaster Stage. They were a four piece band which included a keyboard. The best way to describe them is to say they’re industrial metal but they sounded all right to me and I might listen to them more.

Vola on the Sophie Stage

Heading back to the Ronnie James Dio Stage, I had no idea what to expect from the next band to take the stage, Combichrist. What I heard and saw took me completely by surprise. I thought that with a name like Combichrist, they would be a thrash or death metal band, especially with all the band’s faces painted white. Instead, their brand of industrial metal would be something that metalheads to dance to at parties. The audience jumped up and down in time with many of the songs, though I had to take it a bit easy with my weak knee. Still, the antics of the band were very entertaining. At one point, lead singer Andy LaPlegua had the audience say “Fuck off!” to each member of the band, which was followed by a song called “Fuck That Shit.” After a few more songs and “Fucks” from LePlegua, the band ended on a great high by bringing out three young ladies twirling flaming batons to the song, “I Don’t Give a Fuck About You.” Great way to end the show and I was very impressed.

Combichrist with no bass and two drummers

A good shot of them

In this shot, the drummer was bouncing his sticks off his drum.

The baton twirlers come out.

The band plays “Fuck That Shit.”

The twirlers in their full glory

After being totally amused by Combichrist, I headed over to the New Blood Stage where I caught the last few minutes of a band called Aeonia. The featured two female lead singers who both possessed operatic style voices. I was sorry I couldn’t have seen more of them.

Aeonia on the New Blood Stage.

Heading back to the Dio Stage, I was in for another surprise. On the recommendation of Teal, I decided to check out Alestorm. I had a feeling that this was going to be different when I saw the huge rubber duck at the back of the stage. This would be my first introduction to the genre known as pirate metal. The songs all sounded like heavy metal sea ditties and I liked it. I found the songs, “Drink,” “Captain Morgan’s Revenge” and “Shipwrecked” among others all to be very amusing. Instead of a mosh pit, lead singer, Christopher Bowes organized a rowing pit where everyone sat on the ground rowing in unison to the song, great fun. Bowes also stated that instead of a wall of death, everyone meet in the middle, take off their clothes and have a big orgy. We all saw the humour in that. Alestorm’s set ended with him leading the crowd in singing:

Fuck you, you’re a fucking wanker

We’re gonna punch you right in the balls.

Fuck you with a fucking anchor

You’re all cunts so fuck you all.” 

A great time was had by all during the forty-five minutes Alestorm was on stage.

The big rubber duck awaits Alestorm

Alestorm on stage with a lot of flying inflatable objects.

An even bigger rowing pit

Alestorm leave with an explosion of confetti

With nearly two hours to go before Gojira, we decided to head back to the tent. The heavens had opened up so we stayed in the tent eating and drinking. That might have been a mistake because we all nodded off. I woke up at one point, heard the rain pelting down and thought, “I’m not going out in this.” Maybe I should have because when I awoke after nodding off again, I discovered it had stopped raining but Gojira had been on stage for 20 minutes! Immediately waking Teal and Joe, we raced like mad back to the arena and to the Dio Stage.

If any band in the history of Bloodstock had paid their dues and earned the right to headline, it was definitely Gojira. I had seen them play second from the top spot in 2010 and just below it in 2016 and both times they were better than the band who went on after them. This time, they were simply better than ever! Being the headliner, they had a really cool light show, just as good as Judas Priest’s light show the night before. I definitely remember them playing “Stranded” and Joe Duplantier was very good at engaging the crowd. Plus there was a cool drum solo from Mario. Overall, Gojira put on a great display of heavy metal and proved they can headline along with the best of them.

Managed to get a good shot of Gojira here.

Another attempt at photographing them.

Different lights made this shot possible

Bright lights

More bright lights

Having had that nap, I wasn’t tired so I headed to the Sophie Lancaster Stage to check out that headliner, Orphaned Land. This turned out to be another great decision because Orphaned Land where nothing short of absolutely brilliant! They blend folk and death metal together to make one great but unique sound. Coming from Israel, they also blend Middle Eastern and Western influences and again, it sounds just great. I loved the use of the Bouzouki in place of guitar solos in some of the songs. Plus they do go ultra heavy at times. Before, they got on stage, the announcer told the crowd to listen to the message of this band. Lead singer, Kobi Farhi, explained how fucked up things in the Middle East are with everyone trying to kill each other be it Jews, Arabs or homosexuals. However, he stated that everybody hates heavy metal because it’s considered Satanic. This got me thinking but I won’t talk about that now, I just want to say how great a band Orphaned Land are.

Orphaned Land come out under the lights.

A great shot of them.

A great show!

Still not tired, I went to the metal disco at the Sophie tent after the show. They played a good variety of songs which included some 1970s rock and even a Michael Jackson and a Coolio song. Eventually, I went back to the tent and had one last beer before bedtime. Sometime later, Teal came in and woke me up, I had fallen asleep in the chair with the beer in my hand. At least I didn’t spill any. Still it was a great second day.

Next post: Sunday