Archive for France

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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An Anvil Got Dropped on Gloucester

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

It’s been less than 24 hours since I went to Gloucester to see the metal delights of Anvil. To make a long story short, Anvil totally kicked ass at the Guildhall in Gloucester, UK. However, it wasn’t only a great night on account of Anvil, the two bands in support played their part in making metal history in Gloucester.

It was close, after fighting loads of traffic in my home town of Stroud and then trying to find a parking place in Gloucester, (Geography lesson: Stroud and Gloucester are about ten miles apart), then walking to the Guildhall, waiting in line only to be told that the tickets I ordered on line were waiting for me at the door, getting there and quickly buying my t-shirt, we got there just in time for the opening band.

Classic French metallers, Mystery Blue, opened things up very nicely. They are a five piece band front by lead singer Nathalie Geyer. While the sound sometimes made it difficult to tell, she does have a very good voice. But she is assisted by lead guitarist Frenzy Phillipon who knows a thing or two on how to smoke a fingerboard. Together with a sound rhythm section, Mystery Blue got the crowd in the mood for metal that night. While I can’t remember all their songs, the two that stood out were “Running With the Pack,” not a cover of the Bad Company classic and the title track from the latest album, “Claws of Steel,” which ended their half hour on stage exceedingly well. I’d definitely recommend this band and I was going to go out on a limb and say that Mystery Blue were the best thing to come out of France since Gojira but after a look on their website, I found they have been around longer than their mentioned countrymen.

Mystery Blue begin their dominance

Mystery Blue begin their dominance

Nathalie proving she has the voice

Nathalie proving she has the voice

Second up was German thrash metal band Rezet. While I can’t say that they were the best thing out of Germany since The Scorpions, Accept, Bonfire, Helloween, Kreator or Doro, they were a brilliant band nevertheless. The first thing I noticed about Rezet was there was a definite early Metallica influence here and I’m not just talking about their sound either. Their look was the same as Metallica from that era. I remember an article in Hit Parader, (Motley Crue Magazine), in 1985 which stated that Metallica looked like they belonged in the high school detention class. Rezet were just as youthful looking and like the band mentioned, they played like they were just as hungry as that band was in 1985.

Rezet compounded the assault on the audience with some really good thrash. The comments about detention hall kids definitely applied to both guitarists who traded off solos on some songs and played individual ones on others. Frontman Ricky Wagner proved to be both a good singer and guitarist but the rest of the band played their part too. The most memorable song was “Gargantua,” which as dig at modern politics and they closed with a tribute to Lemmy by playing the Motorhead classic, “No Class.” This is definitely another band worth checking out.

Ricky Wagner and Rezet get things going

Ricky Wagner and Rezet get things going

Thorben Schultz can also crank out the solos

Thorben Schultz can also crank out the solos

Rezet coming down the the finish

Rezet coming down the the finish

Everything I expected from Anvil went away as soon as they hit the stage. Things started with Lips going into the midst of the crowd to play and he got a very welcoming response as he jammed away for several minutes. When he got back to the stage, I thought, “Okay, now they’re going to play ‘Metal on Metal,’ they didn’t. The first official Anvil song of the night was “Sex” but it got the crowd going. Also my prediction that they would play many of the songs from their latest album proved to be wrong. They only played two, one was “Daggers and Rum,” a ditty about pirates and I can’t remember the other one but Robb Reiner played a really cool drum solo on it. “Winged Assassin” from the last album I posted about did get played and right after another song from the same album, “Free As the Wind” which Lips dedicated to Lemmy. He also mentioned that Lemmy once invited him to join Motorhead but Lips declined because he was in Anvil.

From the outset, Anvil were out to have a good time during the 90 minutes they were on stage. They didn’t care about the small venue because everyone inside was cheering them on. Lips especially was enjoying things and yes, he pulled out the sex toy and used it to play guitar to “Mothra.” Unlike the documentary however, this one was battery operated and that also produced some cool sounds from Lips’ guitar. Even without the toy, Lips surprised me by his ability to play. I knew he was good but I didn’t realize he was that good. He really jammed away. Plus, I got to mention new bassist Chris Robertson. When introduced, Lips stated that it was great to have finally found the right bass player after going through so many. I have to say, Robertson is the real deal.

We were treated to a good cross section of Anvil material. The title track from “This is Thirteen plus a couple of songs from “Juggernaut of Justice,” one of them being “On Fire.” While he didn’t open with “Metal on Metal,” it was the last song they did before leaving the stage. The audience wouldn’t have let them leave without playing that one. Then when they returned, a dude behind me and I both started yelling for “Forged in Fire.” Lips looked in our direction and said, “This guy wants us to play “Forged in Fire” so we will play “Forged in Fire.” That made my night totally complete. After that, they played one more song, a cover of the famous Steppenwolf song, “Born to be Wild.” I thought it was a great way to end the night.

Lips in the crowd

Lips in the crowd

Meanwhile Chris Robertson moves across the stage

Meanwhile Chris Robertson moves across the stage

Lips jamming on the guitar

Lips jamming on the guitar

Lips and Roberson going for it

Lips and Roberson going for it

Chris's bass solo

Chris’s bass solo

Singing to the crowd

Singing to the crowd

Out came the toy

Out came the toy

Here's a better picture of it

Here’s a better picture of it

Robb's drum solo

Robb’s drum solo

The End

The End

In their 39 year history, this was the first time Anvil toured the UK as a headliner. Hopefully after this night, they will be back again to tour even bigger venues because they were brilliant. When coming home from the gig, my step son couldn’t fathom why Anvil weren’t bigger. That is what’s strange.

Next post: A Non Musical Tragedy

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

 

Great Metal Albums of 1982: Van Halen- Diver Down

Posted in 1980s, Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal and the 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , on September 16, 2015 by 80smetalman

Van_Halen_-_Diver_Down.svg

It was while on liberty in Toulon, France that I saw Van Halen’s fifth album in a record store there. I made a mental note about buying it then one of my marine buddies actually did. After giving “Diver Down” a listen, he proclaimed that the album sucked and had another person corroborate his feelings on it. That was enough to put me off buying it. Furthermore, when returning to the US two months later, hearing the first single, “Pretty Woman” didn’t inspire me with confidence and neither did the follow up single, “Dancing in the Street.” In fact, those songs gave me the impression that Van Halen had given up song writing and were simply getting by covering other’s songs. Then about a year later, I heard “Happy Trails” on a bar’s juke box and thought, “Now I’m definitely not going to buy this.” So, last Sunday night was the first time ever, that I listened to the full album.

Let me say that “Diver Down” doesn’t suck. However, it’s not as good as their previous four albums either. One thing I noticed and I wished I knew back then not to trust a song played on commercial radio, is that the radio version “Dancing in the Street” had much of Eddie’s guitar solo removed and that’s a shame. I think that song has his best solo on the album. While it may not be as good as it’s predecessor’s, there are some glimpses of what made Van Halen great in the early 80s. The first two tracks had me thinking that maybe this album wasn’t going to be as bad as I first imagined. There are three instrumentals on the album, nothing like “Eruption” but “Cathedral” is quite good. “The Full Bug” is a good one towards the end and it could have been the closer but now that I see that “Happy Trails” is at the end, I think that maybe they were trying to go out with a sense of humour so I’ll give them the benefit of the doubt on that one.

As for the band, David Lee Roth’s vocals are just as good and he stamps his personality on the album. Then again, his ego couldn’t be ignored and his limited vocal ability fits in well with the songs. As usual, Eddie has spots where his guitar work shines, it’s just unfortunate that there isn’t a cool solo with every song. Needless to say but the rhythm section of Alex and Michael is as solid as the other albums no faulting that. So, my verdict is that “Diver Down” is not bad. It would be even better if they had not included “Big Bad Bill (Is Sweet William Now.)” A totally unnecessary song in my view.

Track Listing:

  1. Where Have all the Good Times Gone
  2. Hang’ em High
  3.  Cathedral
  4. Secrets
  5. Intruder
  6. Pretty Woman
  7. Dancing in the Street
  8. Little Guitars (instrumental)
  9. Little Guitars
  10. Big Bad Bill (Is Sweet William Now)
  11. The Full Bug
  12. Happy Trails
Van Halen

Van Halen

David Lee Roth- vocals, synthesizer, harmonica, acoustic guitar on The Full Bug

Eddie Van Halen- guitars, backing vocals

Michael Anthony- bass, backing vocals

Alex Van Halen- drums

If I had ignored my buddy thirty three years ago and had bought “Diver Down,” it would have gone into my rotation. I listen to albums in a strict order, don’t ask. I wouldn’t have listened to it once and then forgotten it. However, when I did listen to it, it wouldn’t have been with the same enthusiasm as the first four Van Halen albums.

Next post: Loudness- Devil Soldier

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