Archive for Heavy Metal

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

 

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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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Rest In Peace Jill Janus and Aretha Franklin

Posted in Heavy Metal, Music, Rock with tags , , , , , , , , , on August 17, 2018 by 80smetalman

The only decent shot I got of Jill and she has her back to me

Blues Brothers with Aretha Franklin

I was beginning to think that maybe 2018 wouldn’t suck as much as the previous two years then we get the double whammy! First, this week, as most of you know, we lose the Queen of Soul, Aretha Franklin and now I have just discovered that Huntress singer Jill Janus has also passed away. Reports say that Jill, who had been suffering from mental illness took her own life.

FFI: http://www.metalsucks.net/2018/08/17/huntress-release-statement-regarding-the-death-of-jill-janus/

This is a huge tragedy and I wish the best for Huntress and Jill’s family.

 

Bloodstock 2018: The Friday

Posted in 1980s, Concerts, Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal and the 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on August 17, 2018 by 80smetalman

Even having a crap night’s sleep the previous evening didn’t dent my enthusiasm for the first full day at Bloodstock. We started with a hardy bbq breakfast because we couldn’t have one the evening before on account of the waiting to get in and the brief rain. Therefore, we had it in the morning. After a breakfast of champions like that, which was washed down with beer, we decided to head for the arena.

Keeping with my established tradition, I made it a point to be present for the very first band out on the Ronnie James Dio Stage. That band happened be British punk band Feed The Rhino. If there is a textbook on how the opening band of a festival should act, then Feed The Rhino followed it to the letter. They exploded on stage at 300 mph with a song that grabs you by the throat and makes you listen to it nor did any of that energy dissipate after the first song. However, some purists may argue that the band broke protocol by organizing a mosh pit and then a wall of death. Whoever said opening bands weren’t allowed to do that? Especially when the lead singer, Lee Tobin, did a little crowd surf towards the wall. It was amazing and when they left, which was too soon, Feed The Rhino had set the mood not just for the day but for the entire weekend!

Feed The Rhino welcome everybody to Bloodstock

Lee Tobin carried by the crowd

In spite of the fact that I had seen and heard three bands I had never heard of previously who totally blew me away, I still went to the New Blood Stage to seek out more. Playing at my arrival was the band Garshkott. While they weren’t bad, their sound was in the vein of Feed The Rhino and Bloodshot Dawn, and I wouldn’t be surprised if they were ever signed, in my mind, they didn’t measure up to the two bands I have just mentioned. Then again, those two bands set the bar astronomically high.

Garshkott giving it their all

Heading back to the RJD Stage, I thought I should see Onslaught. I had seen them at my first Bloodstock in 2010 but I didn’t remember anything about them. Seeing them again, I remember why I didn’t remember them, there’s really nothing about them to remember. While their music was okay and I have since discovered from Youtube that their recorded material sounds pretty good, they just didn’t do anything for me when I’ve seen them live.

Onslaught coming out to play

Another shot of them

The uneventfulness of Onslaught meant that when the rains came down in the final minutes of their set, I fled for cover. The closest was the New Blood Stage. Providing the entertainment in my new found refuge was Democratus. They weren’t thrash but good solid metal. The singer did a great job in getting those in the tent to sing along. He would sing out, “Is this what you call?” and the audience, me included, would shout back, “Democracy!” Very relevant at the moment and I thought they were pretty good. If I was a scout, I would have signed them before the previous unsigned band on the day.

Democratus

Still raining down in buckets outside, I decided to stay in the New Blood Tent to remain dry. It turned out to be the will of the metal gods because coming on stage next was Vulgore. Of the three unsigned bands I had seen so far, these guys were the best. Their music was loud and brash but the guitarist could shred a little too. Still, their music is not for the faint hearted. They announced they have an EP coming out titled “Bliss.” I might have to hunt this one down.

The guitarist from Vulgore

More Vulgore

Vulgore made the rain stop, so after their departure, I headed outside. On the Dio Stage at the time was Memoriam. I only caught the last two songs from their set but they sounded all right. Plus, I noticed that the lead singer’s hair probably made many ladies jealous.

Memoriam, but this photo doesn’t show the singer’s hair properly.

Still looking for the music, I headed for the Sophie Lancaster Stage where I was treated to the doom metal sounds of Godthrymm. This trio was doom metal in the true sense of the word, even more than Black Sabbath. Most of the songs were about death. I remember one lyric, “Oh God, you lost your only son,” I think that explains a lot. Guitarist hammered out some good solos and he shared the lead vocal duties with the bassist. Godthrymm proved a great change of pace on the day.

Godthrymm playing doom

I’m not sure what this picture was. I think it was this person dressed up going through the crowd during Godthrymm

After a brief but necessary break, I returned to the Ronnie James Dio Stage for the first band I truly wanted to see. Before that band came out, I caught the last few minutes of Swedish death metal band Bloodbath. They sounded okay and I was amused at the shirtless guitar player whose torso was covered in fake blood.

Bloodbath, not sure if you can see the guitarist covered in blood

Then came the big bombshell. It was announced that Suicidal Tendencies were running late and wouldn’t be up next. They were re-scheduled to play at the Sophie Lancaster Stage two hours later. I had caught up with Teal and Joe and we decided to get some dinner. I kind of regret this in hindsight because swapping places with ST was the all female death metal Japanese band Love Bites. I heard they were really good and I’m liking what I’m hearing thus far. Oh well, I’ll put a song of theirs in tribute.

Returning from our late afternoon bbq, I followed Teal’s suggestion that I go with him to check out prog metal band, Kamelot. Full marks to his wisdom here because I thoroughly enjoyed them. I was duly impressed with the guitar work of Thomas Youngblood but I won’t take anything away from the rest of this band, they’re that good. They brought a female singer on for a few songs as well which made them more diverse. Let’s say I was very impressed.

Kamelot

A better shot of them

Thomas Youngblood jamming

I tried to get the female singer in this one

Instead of Kamelot following Suicidal Tendencies, we had Suicidal Tendencies following Kamelot. Which way around didn’t matter as we joined the throng heading for the Sophie Lancaster Stage. There was talk that the sheer weight of numbers in ST fans would knock the Sophie Tent off its foundations. Suicidal Tendencies exploded onto the stage with “Don’t Bring Me Down.” Almost immediately, Mike Muir had the crowd in his hand with everyone singing the chorus. The band darted around stage and Mike did his little dance. It seemed that the opening song might go for the entire set because every time it sounded like it would end, the band would pick it up again. When the song did end, the audience was screaming their appreciation. Afterwards, they played songs “I Shot the Devil,” The War in My Head” and “Subliminal.” When they played the “Skater’s Song,” Mike announced that the band had been inducted into the Skater’s Hall of Fame. A young boy was brought up to play drums along side of Dave Lombardo for one song and they also let a man in a wheelchair onto the stage. ST are definitely a class act! In between songs, Mike talked about not letting things get you down. His advice was to “Get up, stand up for yourself and you will be the person you want to be.” Great words of wisdom. When they left, the crowd was on a major high and it was also announced that it had been the largest crowd the Sophie Lancaster Stage ever had. They were phenomenal and like Teal converting me to Kamelot, I converted him to ST. It didn’t even matter that they didn’t play my two favourite songs again nor the fact that they pretty much played the same set they had at Download last year.

The crowd heading to the Sophie Stage to see Suicidal Tendencies

ST comes on stage

Guitarist Dean Pleasants can still jam.

Another shot of Dean

Mike leading the charge

After feeding my face some more, we all headed back to the Ronnie James Dio Stage for the main even, Judas Priest. They had a massive stage set up with what looked like cacti which lit up on the wall behind. When the band came out, Rob Halford looked like a bent over old man but he quickly straightened up when they started playing. They opened with “Fire Power” and played two more songs from the album. It was the fourth song that was the big thrill for me when they revealed their all time hidden gem, “The Ripper.” I think I was the only one in the crowd who went absolutely nuts at it. Both Teal and some young lady in front of me both stated, “You’re excited about this song.” Next, they revealed that it was the 40th anniversary of their “Stained Glass” album where they played “Saints in Hell” as a tribute. Other Priest greats included “Turbo Lover” and “Freewheel Burning.” While Rob was the great show man he has always been for more than four decades, I was impressed with guitarists Richie Faulkner. He seems to have learned from his mentors and if the band was to continue, he is more than capable to carry them on. Scott Travis was pretty cool too and I loved how he and Richie traded solos. Things seemed to end with an extended version of “You Got Another Thing Comin'” and “Painkiller,” both drawing large cheers from the crowd. But Judas Priest weren’t done. Obviously, there would be an encore and that’s when they sprung a surprise. Glenn Tipton came out to play with them for the four encore songs. He did look a little frail and Rob kept coming over to him but he stayed the course. He even played a solo on the closing song, “Living After Midnight” which followed on from “Breaking the Law.” When the mighty Priest did leave, it was to much adulation and a brief but cool fireworks display.

Blasted light show kept me from getting decent pictures of Priest

See again!

A little better

Even taking a photo of the big screen didn’t work.

I kept trying though

Teal and Joe called it a night but I had one more act to watch. As soon as Judas Priest was finished, I high tailed it over to the Sophie Lancaster Stage to catch Doro. My timing was perfect because as I entered the tent, she was performing one of my favourites, “I Rule the Ruins.” That wasn’t the only one she treated me to, a few songs later, I got to hear “East Meets West,” where she brought out a former guitarist Tommy Bowen. Therefore, for the rest of her show, she had a three guitar attack behind her. Sounded real good when she played “Burning the Witches.” Doro engaged the audience really well throughout and while her light show was nothing like Priest, it was still pretty cool. “All We Are” got the crowd really going and it carried on until she left the stage. When she came back out, Doro asked the audience what song they would like. I was too far away so she couldn’t hear me calling out for “I’ll Make It On My Own,” so she said, since nobody came forth with a song, she’d pick one, which she did. A second song was asked for and she picked one from a young lady in the front and that’s how the night ended, with loads of bows and “thank yous” before leaving. It was a great way to end the first day!

Doro on the Sophie Stage

Better pics with Doro

Tommy Bowen on guitar

Doro mesmerizes the crowd

Note: You may have noticed that I haven’t posted songs from every band I saw. I thought to do it with the ones I had never heard of before and now you have.

Next post: Saturday

To download Rock and Roll Children, go to: http://mediahubb.net/14510967/rock-and-roll-children.html