Archive for Sabaton

Download 2017: Friday

Posted in Concerts, Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal and the 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on June 16, 2017 by 80smetalman

Up early and eager to go on the first full day of metal mania at Download. Teal, my stepson and his friend Joe, were disappointed that the sport of bin jousting hasn’t caught on at Download and is exclusive to Bloodstock. However, Friday at Download is a dress up day and the theme was wrestling. Therefore, there were a lot of people dressed up as such. Some dressed up as other things like super heroes. I did like the Supergirl outfit I saw.

This gentleman was ready for the day’s festivities.

Inside the arena

I noticed that it has been a sub-concious tradition on my part at all festivals to go check out the first band on stage. On this day, it was Australian metal core band, Northlane. Now, it is the stereotype belief that all Australian bands are influenced by AC/DC. Obviously, somebody forgot to tell that to Northlane. If anything, they sounded more like Marilyn Manson than AC/DC. They came out on stage with the determination to leave their mark on the day and they did with their hard sound. They did slow things down in the middle of their set with songs “Rotten” and the newly released on video, “Solar” but they came back even harder after that. Even though they were only on stage thirty minutes, Northlane was a great way to start the weekend.

Northlane begins the festival

And they kept it going

Teal advised me to stick around for the second band and so with no plans to go anywhere else, I did. After their acoustic sounding intro, Motionless in White blasted onto the stage. While Northlane might have sounded like Marilyn, Motionless in White’s lead singer, Chris ‘Motionless’ Cerulli sort of looked like him. He did have a great stage presence. While being bashed about by their hardcore metal sound, they did introduce their new song, “Unnecessary Evil” and ended things with one of their best known songs, “Abigail.” When they finished, I was glad that I had listened to my stepson’s advice.

Chris ‘Motionless’ leading the charge.

And the band followed.

It had always been my intention to catch the next band out on the main stage, Sabaton. I saw these Swedish metalers at Bloodstock two years prior so I was looking forward to more of the same. This time, they wasted no time in getting the tank on stage as I watched it being set up before the band even got on stage. When they did, the tank did it’s job in producing a great display of firepower in support. The pyro in the first song, gave way to their classic, “Art of War.” As always, Sabaton put on a great stage show and they played great songs like “Sparta” and “Primo Victoria” to commemorate the 73 years plus three days anniversary of D-Day. The audience also found out that the tank was named Walter and so the crowd started chanting the tank’s name. All very amusing and I if they had played more than forty minutes, I would have said they were better than what they had been at Bloodstock. With the time cut, they were about the same.

Wheeling in Walter

Sabaton under a cloud of smoke

Sabaton leads to victory.

After watching three bands back to back, I thought I needed some lunch. So after a quick refuel, I headed over to the Zippo stage for the next band I wanted to see. When I got there, I managed to catch the last five to ten minutes of Machine Gun Kelly. Normally, rap metal isn’t my thing but these guys were pretty good. On the last song, the lead singer sang directly to a lady in the audience. What I saw of them was okay.

Machine Gun Kelly finishing up.

Once MGK left the stage, I managed to manoeuvre my way to the front in anticipation for a band I had been waiting over thirty years to see, Suicidal Tendencies. When they propelled themselves onto the stage, they were manic from start to finish. Lead singer Mike Muir was a complete psycho. He would rev himself up by doing this little dance and than dart madly across the stage. Opening with “You Can’t Bring Me Down,” they went straight into their own version of “God Save the Queen,” “I Shot the Devil.” For those familiar with that song, it actually begins with Mike bellowing out, “I shot Reagan!” These days, it might be cool if he changed Reagan to Trump. But the audience sang along to it anyway. We were also treated to “War Inside My Head” and “Subliminal” to name a few. During the set, Mike spoke to the crowd about doing things for yourself instead of blaming others and he jumped off stage and high fived people in the front. One of them was me. One surprise they unleashed was when they announced that Slayer’s Dave Lombardo was on the drums, that got lots of cheers.  The other thing I can say about ST is Dean Pleasants is very underrated as a lead guitarist, the man can lay down some jams! I would like to say that it was the perfect forty five minutes. Unfortunately for me, there was a major disappointment. The band played neither of my two favourite tracks, “Institutionalized” and “I Saw Your Mommy.” While they were absolutely brilliant, I can’t say they were perfect.

Welcome Suicidal Tendencies

Mike Muir and Co

Pleasants wailing away

On my way back to the campsite, I stopped again at the main stage because Five Finger Death Punch were playing. Their good aggressive metal enticed me to stay and have a listen. What I didn’t know was that they had been previously banned from Download, I don’t know the details. There was one part, where lead singer, Ivan Moody stated guitarist Jason Hook could play any song. Left to his devices, Hook began to play the Ozzy classic, “Crazy Train.” When told to stop, he began playing “Smoke on the Water.” After that, Moody told the crowd they were ‘bad company’ before going into a cover of the classic tune. I have to say, even their acoustic number was pretty good. I have since been told that Moody has left the tour and checked into rehab. Tommy Vext will take over the singing duties for the rest of the European tour.

Five Finger Death Punch

Back to the Zippo Stage, this time to get ready for the headliner. But before they came out, I did catch a good chunk of Good Charlotte. I only know the one hit, “Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous,” which they closed with. However, I thought they’re overall performance was good.

Good Charlotte on stage

See, I must have liked them, I took a second picture

And a third

Friday’s headliner at the Zippo Stage was Sum 41, a band I have always liked but never admitted it to anyone over the age of 40. Although fifteen years ago, my eldest son thought his dad was cool because he liked them. Let’s just say right away that they were brilliant from start to finish. In the early minutes of the set, they got three people out of the audience to view the show from back stage. No, I wasn’t picked. They did play a good combination of material and a crazy mosh pit opened up near me. One lady went especially crazy but after the show, she said she had waited fifteen years to see this band, so one can’t really blame her. In the middle of the set, they played some covers. They began playing Maiden’s classic, “The Trooper” and were astounded when the crowd sang the lyrics back to them. They also played a little of Metallica’s “Master of Puppets.” Lead singer Deryck Whibley played the opening chords to the first two songs he learned to play on the guitar, “Smoke on the Water” and White Stripes’s “Seven Nation Army.” Sum 41 ended the covers portion with one of Queen’s famous “We Will Rock You,” played very similar to the way it’s done on the “Live Killers” album. At one point, the band left the stage to see a skeleton inflate behind the drums. When fully inflated, it was making the ’41’ hand gesture. Deryck also told about the time he spent in hospital and what got him through it was a picture of himself playing a gig in the UK. I thought that was touching. The brilliant night ended with their two best known songs, “In Too Deep” and of course, “Fat Lip.” That ended things very well.

Sum 41 under the lights

This young lady was really into them

A good shot of the band

They disappear under the lights

Only for the skeleton to emerge

Sum 41 finish in a flurry

After Sum 41, I did venture past the main stage to watch a little of System of a Down. I stayed long enough for hear “Chop Suey” but didn’t stay too long, not my thing. For me, Sum 41 was the best end to a thrilling first day.

Hopefully, Rock and Roll Children will have its own link again soon. It is still available on Amazon.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Bloodstock: Friday August 7, 2015- Part II

Posted in 1980s, Concerts, Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal and the 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on August 11, 2015 by 80smetalman

When we last left our story, our heroes had just been completely blown away by Fire Red Empress. Uplifted by such a great set from the fore mentioned band, we now move back to the main stage and take our positions close to the stage in order to appreciate the full impact of Overkill who were coming on next. While we waited two fellow metalheads came up to me saying that the recognised me from attending both Armoured Saint and Nuclear Assault. One gentleman, Waylon from Mid-Wales as he introduced himself as, stated that the thing about a metal festival is that metalheads from all over can get together and enjoy great music. I fully support his sentiments and Waylon, if you are reading this, thanks for that. It has given me food for thought at the end.

Waylon and pals showing their love of metal

Waylon and pals showing their love of metal

Anticipation increased as the sound checks were carried out before Overkill made their dramatic entrance onto the main stage. Some caught a glimpse of lead singer Bobby ‘Blitz’ Ellsworth prompting a guy near me to shout out “Hey Bobby!” I don’t think Bobby heard him. Then the inevitable happened and Overkill were out on stage bringing mayhem and destruction with them. As soon as they were out, mosh pits opened either side of where I was standing and wave upon wave of crowd surfers started being passed overhead. I’m sure I passed the same young lady to the front three times because those skimpy denim shorts and thin black tights were looking all too familiar. One person told me that I was getting too old for this shit, I beg to differ.

At first, I thought there was something wrong with Overkill’s sound because I could hear the bass over both guitars and it just didn’t sound right, not that it mattered that much to the crowd. They were all enjoying the mayhem. Fortunately, it must have gotten sorted because twenty five minutes into their set, Overkill played the song I wanted most to hear, “In Union We Stand,” and it sounded fine. What was better was that they followed it up with “Rotten to the Core.” So it was a double helping of metal nostalgia for me. Other great Overkill anthems included “Hello From the Gutter,” “Electric Rattlesnake” and saving it for the end was “Fuck You,” to which Bobby got the audience singing along to. Yes, a very appropriate song to end things with I thought.

Having never seen Overkill before and having seen a lot of bands with front men who possess varying degrees of charisma, I have to say that I was more than impressed with the showmanship of Bobby Ellsworth. He definitely knew how to work the crowd even if did refer to us as mother fuckers throughout. I guess it was a compliment. Overkill could have covered a Wham song and Bobby would have had me singing along to it. It just shows how good he and Overkill are live and credit to Bloodstock for getting them to play there.

Overkill playing to the crowd

Overkill playing to the crowd

Playing In Union We Stand

Playing In Union We Stand

Overkill establishing their dominance

Overkill establishing their dominance

 

Teal with his souvenir from the festival

Teal with his souvenir from the festival

Just when we had recovered from the carnage caused by Overkill, Sabaton took the stage with intent of causing more destruction. Being second from the top of the bill, they had more use of lights and effects and they took full advantage of it. The drums was on the turret of a tank and I also liked the army helmet and M-16 theme on the microphones. Coming out below the strobe lights and through the dry ice all dressed in camouflage trousers, it gave me the notion that this was somebody to see. Their music proved the notion right. The combination of power, speed and viking metal was a sound to behold. Admittedly, I don’t listen to the bands of today as much as I should because of my love for the golden decade, the name of the blog bears witness to this but Sabaton has made me promise to myself that I will pay more attention to them and other more modern bands. I have to say that I was very impressed with them.

The mosh pits dwindled down to one and the waves of crowd surfers thinned out during Sabaton’s reign on the stage but it didn’t matter. They orchestrated a new way to go nuts by having the entire audience start jumping up and down. I could do that and so I did. In fact I jumped a lot during their performance. Still it was the music that won me over. I knew very little of their music before that particular evening but one song that I remember and loves was “Panzerkampf,” which was about a big battle in World War 2 between the Germans and the Soviets. Maybe metal would be a good way to teach history. That’s the one thing I found paradoxical about them. They played several songs from their “Art of War” album and that had me wondering that for a band from Sweden, a country who hasn’t had a proper war in 250 years, they seem to write a lot of songs about war. It didn’t matter that much because again, the power metal had me until the end when Sabaton released blue and yellow confetti into the crowd marking the finale of a really great show.

Sabaton's ascent to the stage

Sabaton’s ascent to the stage

Sabaton wowing with their sound

Sabaton wowing with their sound

Great fire effects

Great fire effects

Jumping to Sabaton

Jumping to Sabaton

Need I say more?

Need I say more?

Hail to Sweden

Hail to Sweden

Wanting to avoid having to leave before the end, my stepson and I went and got some energy drinks and rushed back to the main stage to await the headliners, Trivium. The stage set up alluded to the idea that this was going to be a great show. I loved the two devil skulls in the background on either side of the stage. When they came out, they didn’t disappoint the huge crowd assembled in waiting before them. However, their appearance didn’t go as smoothly as hoped. Guitarist Corey Beaulieu disappeared for two songs. When he came back, he stated he kept getting shocks of the electrical system but thank God, it was fixed and he showed what a good guitarist he is.

Back in full flow, Trivium let their music do the talking for them. Sure they had some great effects being the headliner but it was the music that did it for me. They were another band who I considered too modern for me, (yes I got to stop being such a stick in the mud,) but like Sabaton, they made a believer out of me. At one point, lead singer Matt Heafy stopped to talk about the time he met Ronnie James Dio when Trivium supported Heaven and Hell in Japan in 2007. Heafy explained how gracious Ronnie was in talking about his vocals and what a great man Dio was and reminded the Bloodstock fans that the main stage was named in honour of him. I thought that was cool but of course, Trivium went back to making great music and taking the crowd all the way to the end, even playing three encore songs and ending a great day in metal history.

The stage

The stage

 

Trivium in full swing

Trivium in full swing 

Trivium under the lights

Beaulieu wailing away

Trivium in a blur

Trivium in a blur

Near the end

Near the end

One thing I noticed on this very eventful day is that metalheads are a family. There was one blind man who had to be led by his friends to the front of the stage and another with profound special needs in a wheel chair. In both cases, fellow metalheads accommodated them, allowing them to get through the crowd. I wonder if a One Direction audience would have been so thoughtful and considerate. Another thing I would like to see as a result of the day is Armoured Saint on a UK tour with Fire Red Empress as support. They could play the Thekla in Bristol, I would go see that show for definite.

Next post: Sammy Hagar- Three Lock Box

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

Bloodstock: Friday August 7, 2015, Part I

Posted in 1980s, Concerts, Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal and the 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on August 8, 2015 by 80smetalman

Metal concerts aren’t just simply concerts, they are pieces of history. I said that about many of the concerts that appeared in “Rock and Roll Children” and it applies today as much as it did back in the 80s. On August 7, literally less than 24 hours before the time I am writing this now, another chapter in heavy metal history was carved in stone. History was again made at Bloodstock.

Having never driven to the festival on a Friday morning, I was concerned about getting caught in Birmingham rush hour traffic. I have been caught in it in the past and it’s not fun. Furthermore, I’ve never driven through the British city of Tamworth on a weekday morning, so I had no idea what to expect. The in flight entertainment provided by Axel Rudi Pell’s “The Masquerade Ball” and “A Real Live One” by Iron Maiden did a great job in taking the edge off my anxieties. It also helped that my worries were for naught as I cruised around Birmingham and straight through Tamworth with little bother.

Arriving earlier than expected, my stepson and I had to wait to be let into the complex as they had no one to take the one day ticket but fortunately, the wait was only a few minutes. It was the same with access to the Ronnie James Dio stage. Once we were let in, we went to the main stage. Not much seemed to be happening, so like two years prior, we went to the New Blood Stage in the hopes that I might discover another Black Emerald. However, people seemed to be blundering about with no sign of any band taking the stage. Suddenly, a riff from a guitar coming from the Ronnie James Dio Stage sent us back there. Things were looking serious so we found a place near the stage and eagerly awaited Nuclear Assault to emerge. After nearly half an hour of waiting and listening to lots of sound checks, Nuclear Assault’s bassist, Dan Lilker, came out on stage and explained that the band’s gear had gotten tied up at the airport. He further explained that they had left Frankfurt on six hours prior so the band was feeling “a bit bushed.” I’m nuot sure if he convinced the crowd but he left to let the crew sort out the sound checks.

Dan Lilker talking to the crowd

Dan Lilker talking to the crowd

When Nuclear Assault finally came out on stage, they put to rest any question by me or anyone else in the audience over the wisdom of the promoters to put such an iconic band as the very first act of a three day festival. The answer came straight away. Normally, the very first act on any day at Bloodstock plays to about fifty people and in some cases, that band is very gracious in thanking those fifty people for turning up to see them. Not the case with Nuclear Assault. A brief glance over my shoulder saw that there was a very large crowd and they were lapping up everything the band on stage threw out. I now see the move of putting Nuclear Assault first was genius. Their hardcore thrash pummeled the Bloodstock crowd into submission. What songs they played have kind of slipped my ageing mind although I do remember the classic “Critical Mass” being played and they played “Died in Your Arms” from the new EP. Mental note to buy it. Nuclear Assault succeeded in setting the bar for the rest of the day and my stepson was converted.

Nuclear Assault  in full assault

Nuclear Assault in full assault

 

And again

And again

When you are at a festival for three days, when a band leaves the main stage, you usually head for the bar. When you are only there for one day, you try to fit as much in as possible. So not even taking a second to catch our breath after being battered by Nuclear Assault, we headed over to the Sophie Lancaster stage to see what was there. What we saw was quite unique, a drum and bass act. You are now probably thinking ‘what in Sam hell is a drum and bass act doing at a metal festival?’ Well, they were a drum and bass act because they had a drummer and a bass player and boy the bass player could shred. In fact, I’ve never seen anyone shred a bass quite like it and it worked along with his heavy metal vocals. So, you have to give Oaf credit where credit is due. They rocked without having a guitar player. I did manage to catch the drummer a few hours later, you couldn’t miss him, he was dress in very bright colours, and compliment him on how good Oaf was. I just hope that the band forgives my unsteady hand when taking the photos.

Oaf, This one was the better of the two I took

Oaf, This one was the better of the two I took

When Oaf finished their highly amusing set, we headed back to the Ronnie James Dio stage to get ready for Armoured Saint. However, Raging Speedhorn hadn’t finished making their mark on history for the day. If Oaf hadn’t have been so entertaining, I would have seen more of Raging Speedhorn. I was fortunate enough to catch the last few songs and I did like the two lead vocalists trading off vocals they way dual lead guitarists trade solos. What I did hear did arouse my interest in them in the future.

Raging Speedhorn

Raging Speedhorn

Armoured Saint was the only band on the day who I had seen previously. That was back in 1986 and I partied a little too much before the show to fully appreciate them. This time was different. When they came onto the stage, I was ready and so was the crowd and so was Armoured Saint. From the moment they got onto the stage, they set out to dominate. The first song got my attention but the second one was their old faithful classic, “March of the Saint.” A few songs down the line, they premiered their new song, “Mess,” which only had me making mental notes to buy their new album. A veteran of thirty years of shows, vocalist John Bush worked the Bloodstock fans very well. Even going out to the sides of the stage to encourage audience participation. For me though, the big story was the guitar work of Phil Sandoval. He just shredded the whole set and it left me asking myself, ‘why hasn’t anyone taken notice of him before?’ Just when things were winding down, Armoured Saint pulled one more surprise when they brought out Sandoval’s young son to play with them on stage. He looked about five or six but he did genuinely play the song the band was playing, excellent. When they did finish, (they weren’t on stage long enough) I was pleased to have converted my stepson to another great band from my era.

Armoured Saint establishing their dominance

Armoured Saint establishing their dominance

John Bull singing to the crowd

John Bull singing to the crowd

Phil Sandoval shredding away

Phil Sandoval shredding away

Armoured Saint with their newest young member

Armoured Saint with their newest young member

After a morning and part of the afternoon of headbanging away to the likes of Nuclear Assault and Armoured Saint as well as being entertained by Oaf and Raging Speedhorn, we decided to go for lunch. Upon our return, we heard some very good metal sounds erupting from the Sophie Lancaster stage, so we had to check it out. Those responsible for that sound were called Re-Animator. We literally caught the last song of their set but it was a good song played well. Therefore, I decided it was worth taking their picture and putting it here.

Re-Animator

Re-Animator

Once Re-Animator had cleared the stage, we decided to head back to the Ronnie James Dio stage. Shortly after, Norwegian prog metallers Enslaved ascended the stage. I had listened to a couple of songs in You tube in the days before the festival but hadn’t formed an opinion of them one way or the other. At first, I wasn’t so sure about them, especially when the lead singer made an awful joke. However, about fifteen minutes in, they were starting to grow on me. However, my stepson wasn’t impressed and asked if we could go back to the Sophie Lancaster tent. He stated that Enslaved were sending him to sleep and I wanted to avoid the situation of two years ago when we had to leave before the end, so we left.

Enslaved

Enslaved

Maybe Teal was guided by some heavy metal light because when we returned to the Sophie Lancaster tent, a better band called Neobliviscaris was on stage. These guys were unique in a couple of ways. Many bands have either a left handed guitarist or bassist. Neobliviscaris had both. Furthermore, they had a violinist in the band. The only bands where that has worked have been the Charlie Daniels Band, Jefferson Starship on their first two albums and most notably Kansas. I have to say, this was the second surprise of the day arising from the Sophie Lancaster stage. The violinist played a solo with guitar back up and he complimented the band very well. We were both impressed.

Neobliviscaris

Neobliviscaris

When Neobliviscaris left the stage, it was announced that the next band would be Fire Red Empress. My stepson’s eyes lit up immediately. He has been following this band on line and so we had to see them. I had converted him to two bands so far this day so it was his turn to convert me. I had never heard of this band before so like Leaves Eyes in 2010 and Black Emerald in 2013, Fire Red Empress won my award for band I had never heard of who impressed the hell out of me. All of their songs were in excess of five minutes but with the musicianship they displayed, it was worth it. It was straightforward metal, I think the best comparison, actually I can’t think of anyone to compare them to, they were phenomenal. I hope all of you will keep your metal radar out for this band in the future.

Fire Red Empress entertaining the crowd

Fire Red Empress entertaining the crowd

And again

And again

As it’s late, I have decided to bring the post to a close and save the top three bands for next time. Sorry, if you’re disappointed but I think all would agree that the likes of Overkill, Sabaton and Trivium should possibly have a separate post where I can write with a clear mind.

Next post: Part 2

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