Bloodstock comes but once a year and for those self confessed metal heads it’s the only time that matters. With another highly impressive line up especially for the main Ronnie James Dio stage, we were there to capture all the action!
The first full day of the weekend was just the start for what was due to come. Kicking off the day were Feed The Rhino and the crowds of fans were all ready to meet these guys. Having played the festival in previous years, these guys knew just how to handle this crowd. With their hardcore/metal sound they kicked the main stage off perfectly. Onslaught were up next with their British thrash metal. They continued to play as fast and as loud as they did when they started back in the early 80s. Despite the start of the torrential rain fans continued to watch these guys own the stage. While the rain continued to pour the next band took to the stage. Memoriam played to a crowd trying to shield themselves from the weather in waterproofs but they remained vigilant in order to catch these guys. As the weather began to subside it was time for some spookiness with Wednesday 13. The guys brought their full stage show along today with costume changes, fire breathing girls and props galore. Powering through some of their biggest hits and matching the stage show to the tracks it was a sight to behold. Throughout this production the crowd began to grow to watch something different and the band kept giving. Ready to take the stage next were the death metal supergroup Bloodbath. With their statement look covered in blood they powered through their set. Being the professionals they are, they didn’t let the get British weather dampen their spirits and they played superbly. These hard core fans braved the ever changing weather as well to witness some of the biggest names in metal perform as this supergroup.
Due to travel delays the next band lined up for main stage, Suicidal Tendancies were unable to make their slot. However this worked in the favour of Japanese all girl band Lovebites. They were upgraded on to the main stage at short notice however they certainly took this in their stride as they set up and played with absolute professionalism. This a band who plays with such sheer technical talent it is easy to see why they won the Metal Hammers Golden God’s Best New Band award.
Kamelot took to the stage next with their European influenced Power Metal. As the crowd came in to watch these guys it was clear that they had quite the following here. The band performed with plenty of energy as they took over the arena. Front man Tommy Karevik interacted with the crowd and made good use of the huge stage as moved from each side ensuring fans on the outer edges of the crowd were involved. It was quite the performance to lead up to the last two bands of the night.
With former headliners Emperor taking the stage next it shows just how much respect these bands that play have for each other. Not many previous headliners would make way for another band but these guys seemed more than happy to step back. That didn’t make their performance any less though as they played through their set. They certainly kept the crowds energy up as they played and interacted with the crowd. With less of a stage show than some may of expected they proved they didn’t need it as they let their talents do all the work on stage.
As the crowd waits patiently for Judas Priest to hit the stage they begin to sing along with Black Sabbath’s War Pigs. As the song fades out the excitement builds for Priest to hit the stage and they are welcomed with a huge cheer. The band kick straight in with the title track off their latest album Firepower. The rest of the set just continued to drive with Rob Halford leading the way. With a blend of well known hits such as “Hell Bent For Leather” and “Sinner” as well as highlights from their new album with “Lightning Strike” and “Necromancer”. Throughout the crowd hands were raised in allegeance with the band and heads were banging throughout. Those who are brave enough to crowd surf were up and over the crowd from start to finish. As well as playing with determination they provided a captivating stage show as well. With their impressive back drop setting the scene for each track. Ending the night with almost a greatest hits which included the iconic track “Breaking The Law”. The highlight for this encore was Halford riding into the stage on his motorbike in what is a classic Priest move. For the first night of the festival this was a superb way to end the main stage as the fireworks went off above.
Review Emmie Ellis
Photography Mark Ellis / Shoot The Groove Photography