Bloodstock Open Air 2010: Rated!

Catton Hall, Derbyshire - 13-15 August

Bloodstock Open Air 2010: Rated!

Photographer: Andrew DeereRoss Baker on 18 August 2010

Overall  - 8/10

Bloodstock’s tenth anniversary is a testament to how far the festival has come from a small power metal-orientated event to one with a strong and loyal following which is starting to rival the likes of European juggernauts Hellfest and Wacken.

This year, ticket-holders are graced with some great performances from Opeth and virtuoso eccentric Devin Townsend, a rare outing from death metal supergroup Bloodbath and the mighty Amorphis as well as up and comers like The Black Spiders.

Getting there and back - 9/10


Bloodstock’s website is extremely informative with directions to Catton Hall and links to traffic and travel information. The site is easily accessible by car and for those travelling by train, a shuttle bus service operates from Litchfield, Derby and Burton on Trent.

The site - 8/10


The three stages share the same field so it is virtually impossible to get lost. Grub of all kinds is available with Uncle Gio’s Calzone coming highly recommended. The festival pub 'The Bloodstock Arms' situated in the Main Arena and the Serpents Lair V.I.P. bar are both extremely popular.

Atmosphere - 9/10


Heavy rain on the first two days turns ‘Bloodstock’ into ‘Mudstock’ but there is still a sense of enjoyment and community spirit. There are reports of some thefts at the campsite on Thursday night, allegedly by intruders. Friday is fancy dress day featuring many pirates, zombies and Bananaman look-alikes, which helps get people in the partying mood.

Music

Uppers

Meshuggah - 7/10

This act, who employ such complex time signatures and dense rhythms, draw a very impressive crowd. Jens Kidman’s strange headbanging and the band’s twisting grooves are a shot in the arm and numbers like ‘Bleed’ and ‘Stengah’ are huge. Just a shame they don’t play ‘Future Breed Machine’ or ‘New Millennium Cyanide Christ’.

Opeth - 9/10
Opeth play a stellar nine song set with stirring renditions of numbers from as far back as their ‘Morningrise’ album yet still fresh and invigorating. ‘Bleak’, ‘The Moor’ and the devastating salvo of set closer ‘Deliverance’ bring the first day to a dramatic conclusion. ‘Catch The Rainbow’ is a moving tribute to Ronnie James Dio.

Black Spiders - 9/10

Recently acclaimed for their work as openers for Airbourne, these fellas play stripped down heavy rock ‘n’ roll that smells of aggression and sex like Kyuss and Turbonegro in a knife fight. They shake the Friday morning crowd out of their hung-over stupor. ‘Just Like A Woman’ and ‘Stay Down’, with its rousing “Fuck you and this one horse town” chorus, are simply incendiary.

The Devin Townsend Project - 9/10

Despite experiencing technical issues and missing equipment, Devin Townsend is a star tonight. This performance is the most anticipated of the day and does not disappoint. Townsend greets us with a cheerful smile and has the crowd in hysterics with his antics while the bands’ gear is checked. They then launch into a spine tingling ‘Addicted’ with the fans singing every word. The mad genius is a real breath of fresh air. The triumphant ‘By Your Command’ and a heavenly ‘Life’ put an end to a great abbreviated performance. Even the sun makes its appearance for Dev’s metal masterclass. He should be headlining.

Bloodbath – 8/10

Michael Akerfeld returns on Sunday to front this All Star death metal outfit. Delivering numbers from their entire catalogue, this is a throwback to the old school death metal attack of acts like Entombed and Dismember. Their savage delivery incites the biggest mosh pits of the festival. ‘Mock The Cross’, ‘Cancer of The Soul’ and the thunderous peon to cannibalism that is ‘Eaten’ are all eagerly soaked up by the audience.

Twisted Sister - 8/10

Replacing Heaven and Hell in the Sunday night headline slot, ‘Sister are thankfully on top of their game. Songs like ‘Stay Hungry’ and touching ballad ‘The Price’ are triumphs delivered by showmen extraordinaire Dee Snider and Co. Who could resist the enduring charm of the anthemic ‘We’re Not Gonna Take It’ or ‘I Wanna Rock’? It’s a wonder that Twisted Sister aren’t as big as Aerosmith. Maybe it’s the pantomime dame make-up that holds them back. Either way this is a soulful and passionate classic band not to be missed.

Downers

Gorgoroth - 4/10

This satanic black metal act is monumentally poor. Having replaced charismatic vocalist Ghaal and bassist King Ov Hell, they really need to reassess their offering. Vocalist Pest lacks the presence of his predecessor and his clean vocals are laughably tuneless. It’s a shame to see a once engaging act limping on like this.  

Ross The Boss - 3/10
The former Manowar guitarist aided by Patrick Fuchs of German power metal band Majesty churn out a set of heavy metal by numbers with truly awful camp chest-beating posturing. The vocalist also murders the very Rainbow number that Opeth will perform so splendidly later that night.

Gwar - 4/10
As expected, this is a case of style over substance. While the stage show can amuse, it can’t cover up the fact that musically all they have to offer is sub par thrash. The prosthetic penises and the visual of a man dressed as Adolf Hitler masturbating over the audience will haunt your memories for far longer than any of their songs. They may have put the “Blood” into “Bloodstock” but without costumes like the Nazi Pope and the various fluids they douse the crowd with they would be forgotten in a heartbeat.

Leaves Eyes – 5/10

Twee operatic metal from Liv Kristine and her boys is both syrupy and safe. They aren’t bad musicians but the music is as edgy as drinking tea. While obviously gifted in the vocal department, Miss Kristine warbles away indulgently and the music fits every stereotype you’d associate with an act of this ilk. To quote a recent shampoo advert: “Dull, limp and lifeless.”

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