Archive for Thekla

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

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Three Pronged Metal Assault On Bristol

Posted in Concerts, Heavy Metal, Music, Uncategorized, video games with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 19, 2015 by 80smetalman

It’s Monday morning and I still haven’t fully recovered from Sunday night’s mayhem. Last night, my stepson and I went to see a concert at the Thekla in Bristol, UK, with viking metal giants Amon Amarth, California metallists Huntress and  homegrown Savage Messiah. Let’s just say that the night was one to remember.

It’s about a forty-five minute ride from my home in Stroud, Gloucestershire to Bristol but that’s not important. We did have Megadeth’s “13” album to make the ride enjoyable and provide the inflight entertainment. Once we landed in Bristol, we immediately headed for a nearby pub called The Gryphon which specialises in metal. Four years ago, I had my most successful book signing evening for “Rock and Roll Children” there. There were only three other people in there plus the bartender but I did manage a pint of real ale and the entertainment provided by Sabbaton on the pub’s sound system. Great place for a pre-concert party.

Inside The Gryphon

Inside The Gryphon

Leaving the Gryphon, we made the ten minute walk to the Thekla, which is an old ship turned into a night club. This turned out to be a bit ironic since the headline act prided themselves on being descended from vikings. An email from them gave me the impression that the show would start at 7 but the reality was that that would be the time the doors opened. So, we had to wait in line for fifteen minutes but some rather partied out concert goers who play too much Skyrim made the wait more amusing. My stepson informed me that they were loudly making quotes from the game, although I can’t remember what they were.

The Thekla

The Thekla

So, we went in, found a good place near the stage and waited. The wait was well worth it because at precisely 7:30, Savage Messiah hit the stage at 300 mph. They might have only been on stage for a half an hour but they made sure you took in every minute of it. They gave every ounce of energy they had into that short time span with some powerful playing. I had little experience of them before this night but they were kind enough to play two songs of theirs I did know, “Hellblazer” and “Minority of One.” Both were done brilliantly as were the other songs they played. They only slowed down long enough for lead singer, Dave Silver, to lament how their van broke down four days into their tour and had to pay over £600 in repairs. He said he was going to put the bill on Twitter, so I may have to check that out. Still, it didn’t detract from their performance one bit and when they finished, they still had enough energy to play another half hour.

Savage Messiah

Savage Messiah

More Savage Messiah

More Savage Messiah

The audience didn’t have much time to catch their breath before the second band of the night, Huntress ascended the stage. They wasted no time in carrying on from where their predecessors left off. Huntress wowed the crowd with their own brand of powerful metal which brought out all the ghouls and thrashers. It was in the middle of their set that a mosh pit opened up. This only fueled Huntress more. Lead singer Jill Janus lead the procession very well with both her engagement with the crowd and her singing. I loved her quote, “Put the stars in your bong and smoke the galaxy.” Of course all backed up by her band who proceeded to hammer the ear drums of anyone who was inside the Thekla. Like Savage Messiah, I’m not too familiar with Huntress’s material but they did play the “love song” Lemmy wrote for the band, “I Want to Fuck You to Death.” That brought their show to a thrilling climax and when they left the stage a couple of songs later, I was thinking to myself, that couldn’t have been 45 minutes.

Huntress

Huntress

Blake Meahl hammering out a guitar solo

Blake Meahl hammering out a guitar solo

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

The only decent shot I got of Jill

From the moment they got on stage, it was crystal clear that Amon Amarth were not going to take any prisoners. Viking drums beat, swords and shields clashed and most importantly, guitars, bass, drums and vocals reigned down fire from Valhala as they launched into their domination of the night. A mosh pit opened up straight away and would stay that way for the rest of the evening. My step-son even went into it only to come out a few minutes later drenched in sweat. Like many of the established head liner acts I have seen over the years, Amon Amarth played exactly the right blend of classic and new material. Songs I remember from the night included “Loki Falls,” “Deceiver of Gods,” “Guardians of Asgard” and “Twilight of the Thunder God.” Just over the midpoint of the show, they paused the carnage long enough for lead singer Johan Hegg to explain that he had lost his voice the night before and his band plus assistance from Jill Janus saved the show. Let me say that last night, there were no signs of any vocals problems with Hegg. The band hammered the rest of the night in style and did return for two encore songs, the last of which Hegg got the crowd to sing along. I can only vaguely remember the first line, something about vikings in a ship. Still, the crowd singing was good enough for Johan to declare us honourary Vikings. When Amon Amarth left the stage, it was to thunderous reverence of having conquered Bristol that night.

Johan Hegg leading his troops

Johan Hegg leading his troops

Amon Amarth at their best

Amon Amarth at their best

More Amon Amarth

More Amon Amarth

Johan Hegg talking about his voice

Johan Hegg talking about his voice

Under the green lights

Under the green lights

The residents of Bristol may not realise this but on Sunday January 18, 2015, their town was taken over by vikings assisted by to metal forces in the forms of Huntress and Savage Messiah. The Thekla provided that small club setting which provides an atmosphere all on its own. Three bands reigned supreme that night and I was glad I was there to experience it.

Next post: Outlaws- Los Hombres Malo

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