Archive for Ackercoke

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Advertisements

Bloodstock 2016: Saturday

Posted in 1980s, Concerts, Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal and the 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on August 26, 2016 by 80smetalman

Saturday morning and I wake up having gone to bed about 12:30 thus missing another night of bin jousting and general mayhem. It was on this morning I discovered the advantage of going to a festival for the full three days as opposed to only going for one day. When you only go for the one day, you feel pressured into seeing as much as you can as you want to get your money’s worth for the day. Therefore, you go from stage to stage absorbing all the acts as possible. When you go for three days, there’s not so much pressure to do so and that allows you to relax. So, I was up in the morning with my new Twisted Sister t-shirt on and taking my time over eating as the first act I really wanted to see wasn’t on stage until the early afternoon.

My new t-shirt

My new t-shirt

And the back

And the back

While I didn’t rush to get into the arena, when I finished the necessities, I didn’t really want to sit around doing nothing. So, I made my way to the arena to see what was what. Upon entry, my attention was turned to the Sophie Lancaster Stage where a band called The Raven Age was on. After a re-jog of my memory, I remember liking their brand of melodic metal. I only caught the last couple of songs from their set, but I liked what I heard and saw. Like Friday, I found another good way to start the day.

The Raven Age

The Raven Age

Leaving the Sophie Lancaster Stage following the departure of The Raven Age, I followed my ears to the main Ronnie James Dio Stage. There, I was treated to the thrash of Vallenfyre. I liked the anger and hunger these five guys showed while on stage. Although this wasn’t the band I was planning to see, I was glad that I caught some of their show.

Vallenfyre accosting the stage

Vallenfyre accosting the stage

With some time to kill, I thought I’d saunter back over the to Sophie Lancaster Stage. Upon it was a band called This is Turin. Another five piece thrash band and even more angry than the band I had just finished seeing. However, while I enjoyed what This is Turin had to offer on the day, they did not make me want to stay and miss any of the band I wanted to see on this Saturday. So, I had to say goodbye to them and head back to the main stage.

This is Turin

This is Turin

I had high expectation of Ackercoke after reading about them on Heavy Metal Overload. The sample track I heard from the post filled me with even more expectation. When they first hit the stage, I wasn’t sure about them. However, it didn’t take long before any potential feelings of disappointment rapidly vanished. Their ability to combine fantasy with power metal bordering on thrash soon captivated me and those who went to see them. Being the first band of the day who I saw in their entirety, the forty minutes they were on stage flew by, thanks to some great metal. Therefore, it’s left to me to say a big thank you to HMO for bringing Ackercoke to my attention.

Ackercoke on the offensive

Ackercoke on the offensive

More Ackercoke

More Ackercoke

At past Bloodstocks, when I ventured past the Jagermeister Stage, I would hear cover bands playing so I wouldn’t pay much attention to them. However, following the exit of Ackercoke, for some reason, I went over to the stage and what I heard was no cover band. Playing was a West Yorkshire band known as Pulverise. Now rap metal was something I could always take or leave but Pulverise has made me think again about the genre. This rap metal sounded very good and most of it was down to the small but very attractive blonde lead singer. This little dynamite had a voice that would put many male metal rappers to shame. Rarely have I heard such power in a voice and I have to say, I was very impressed.

This was the best shot I could get of Pulverise

This was the best shot I could get of Pulverise

Another reason why I hung around the Jagermeister Stage was that it was close to the main stage and I definitely wanted to see the band following Ackerocke. I had heard many things about Greek death metallers Rotting Christ and definitely wanted to check them out. It was the best decision I would make this day. The have honed their death/grind skills into a near art form and it definitely showed on the stage. Apart from the music, they also had a cool stage show, the best I had seen up to this point on the Saturday. Loved the pentogram displays.

Rotting Christ

Rotting Christ

More death!

More death!

For some reason, all the death metal from Rotting Christ made me hungry. So, I decided to take a dinner break and be back for the main events of the night. After a gourmet dinner consisting of tinned spaghetti bolognese with a tin of meatballs, I returned to the arena for the main events. Upon arrival, I managed to catch the last twenty minutes or so of Paradise Lost. Their version of doom metal was a great prelude of things to come for the rest of the evening.

Paradise Lost

Paradise Lost

With the possible exception of Twisted Sister, Gojira might have been the band most of those in attendance at the festival were there to see. Fortunately, I managed to get close to the front before the tidal wave of people converged. Gojira came out to the delight of the thousands there to welcome them and they were determined that those who made the effort to see them were going away disappointed. Gojira hammered out their metal, both old and new, to the hungry masses who responded with a large mosh pit and crowd surfing. That’s where I made a personal sacrifice in getting close to them. During the carnage, my glasses were knocked off my face. I looked on the ground for them but some kind young lady picked them up. However, she thought they belonged to a crowd surfer who had just gone by so she threw them over into the security area. I had to wait until Gojira finished playing before I could get them back. Oh the sacrifices one has to make. It didn’t matter that I had to see them for the remainder of their time on stage with my limited vision. I could see them fine and best of all, I could hear them clearly and that’s what I wanted. When they finished to thunderous applause, I concluded they were even better than when I had seen them in 2010. When I got my specs back, the frames were pretty mangled but I managed to fix them so I could wear them.

Gojira are welcomed by their fans

Gojira are welcomed by their fans

Jean Michel Baladie showing off. He did a crowd surf later on in the set.

Jean Michel Baladie showing off. He did a crowd surf later on in the set.

Joe Duplantier hammering out a solo

Joe Duplantier hammering out a solo

The sun has set enough for some cool lighting.

The sun has set enough for some cool lighting.

When Gojira left the stage, I was in a bit of befuddle as to what next. Originally, I wasn’t even going to check out Mastodon because I would rather have seen Acid Reign headline at the Sophie Lancaster tent. Earlier that day, I learned that Acid Reign weren’t going up until after Mastodon finished so I was content on seeing both. In the mean time, I did return to the Sophie Lancaster Stage anyway and caught the black metal of Swedish band, Shining. I found them very interesting to say the least. Like so many great European lead singers, Ghoul, does sing in very good English.

The Shining on stage

The Shining on stage

After the Shining, I was totally pumped on seeing Mastodon, as was the rest of my group, although I didn’t follow them to the front. Mastodon came out on stage with a pretty cool light show, unfortunately, their music did nothing for me. After twenty-five minutes of trying to get into them but being unable, I went back to the Sophie Lancaster Stage so I could get a good place for Acid Reign. In doing so, I got a bit of a treat as did all the men who were there. The Four Deejays of the Apocalypse were spinning some cool metal tunes with two very attractive young ladies dancing on the stage. It was certainly better than Mastodon. I would learn later that Teal, my stepson, was quite disappointed with Mastodon too.

Cool light show but nothing else

Cool light show but nothing else

More like it!

More like it!

I don’t think anyone knew what to expect when Acid Reign came out on stage late on Saturday night. When they did, they bashed those in attendance with a unique brand of speed metal. The only original member of the band on stage that night was lead singer Howard H Smith and he was every bit the show man. Darting around on stage, climbing up on amp stacks, he was full of energy more accustomed to a much younger man. All the while, his new band kept up with him very nicely. They even premiered their new single, “Plan of the Damned,” which reminds me, I need to carry out Smith’s request and get it. Of course, they played some of their material from the late 1980s too. During the set, Howard thanked Mastodon for being their support act. All I could think was, “He’s got that right.” Acid Reign closed the Saturday night out tremendously.

Acid Reign come out under the lights

Acid Reign come out under the lights

Orange jacket with matching shorts, an interesting choice of wardrobe for Howard H Smith

Orange jacket with matching shorts, an interesting choice of wardrobe for Howard H Smith

Howard addresses the crowd from the amp stack

Howard addresses the crowd from the amp stack

Cranking out a guitar solo

Cranking out a guitar solo

Howard changes his clothes for the finale

Howard changes his clothes for the finale

The night didn’t end with Acid Reign. The Four Deejays returned to play more metal only this time, there were ladies dancing with flaming batons. Cool, but I couldn’t get a decent picture of it. Still, it was a cool way to end the night.

Best I could do with the fire dancers

Best I could do with the fire dancers

Next post: Sunday

To buy Rock and Roll Children, go to http://www.strategicpublishinggroup.com/title/RockAndRollChildren.html

Also available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Froogle and on sale at Foyles Book Shop in London