Photos: Antony Roberts
Day 2 for us started with Richard Cheese and Lounge Against The Machine. Lounge style covers of favourite (and not so favourite songs) seemed a good start to ease the morning in. Between song banter was humorous and he brought a smile to the hungover faces staring back. You soon realised however, that after a song or two although amusing to begin with, the joke wears thin very quickly and becomes very boring. Still at least he managed to get 1 of the many security guards to dance down in front.
Gallows were up next on and I only stuck around as there wasn’t much else on at the time I wanted to see. I’d heard rave reviews of their live shows but was really disappointed seeing them at Rage Against The Machine’s free show last summer. The band that came on the Saturn stage were completely the opposite to everything I witnessed last year. Their lacklustre performance, off key vocals and bad sound of last summers show were gone. I finally got to see the Gallows on full form, who’s live shows the media have been hailing. Whether last year it was just bad sound, a bad day for the band or something I don’t know but finally all the praise made sense. The energy pouring from the stage gripped the audience into probably the biggest wall of death of the weekend, and security were kept on their toes with a tidalwave of surfers flooding over the barriers continually. Despite the fact singer Frank Carter has announced he’s moving on he assured fans he will be on the tour about to happen, his last with the band.
Cavalera Conspiracy were up next and it was a real family affair. 3 of their sons came out during the set to play guitar and drums with only a few of their own songs aired. Everyone including the band know why people are here and want they want to see. Refuse/Resist, Territory and Roots Bloody Roots were played along with Nailbombs Cockroaches. It’s a shame nothing from Arise or earlier was aired, but go check out Black Breath live they do an AMAZING cover of Desperate Cry.
The predicted bad rain for Friday which never materialized finally came down as Cavalera Conspiracy exited the stage so we sheltered in the warmth and security of the guest bar until it had passed. This meant only catching the very few songs of Bad Religion, but with no coats we had little choice. The arena was pretty empty at this point, people had either filled the tent stages, or made a dash back to the campsite.
Following on from Bad Religion we headed to the Redbull tent to catch Revoker. These guys have been branded as Thrash by a lot of people and personally i’ve never seen it. These guys have more in common with straight ahead metal bands like Machine Head than Nuclear Assault and Exodus. They put on a storming set and soon whipped up a large pit. For some reason security had closed off the tent despite it being only half full so the pit had most of the tent to play with and made the most of the empty space. It was strange to look behind me and see the whole side part of the tent completely empty and 5 metres of empty floor between me and the entrance when there were loads of fans outside wanting to get in. Song “Stay Down” had the tent singing along for the choruses and with another set due at Bloodstock later this year it won’t be long before their own headline tours are playing at much larger venues. Be sure to catch them whilst you can at the smaller intimate venues, it won’t last much longer!
Tesseract were due on next and as Revoker exited the stage, some of the crowd exited the tent. Security let people leave to go on their way, but then let even less people into the tent. I was really desperate to go and get some water and asked security if I could leave and then get back in but was told I’d have to join the back of the queue. The tent’s half empty I explained but he told me he didn’t have the authority to let people in and had to keep the barrier up. This seemed beyond crazy having a doorman that couldn’t let people into a venue, but I didn’t want to miss Tesseract so I just had to deal with the fact that at least I was inside the tent dehydrated rather than stuck outside. I’m still in 2 minds about the performance. Musically it was excellent but the technicality of Djent meant that live both guitarists James and Acie were very static on stage. Bassist Amos happily tried to make up for some of this flying around the stage with hair flailing but I couldn’t help but feel it lacked something I haven’t been able to put my finger on. I think Meshuggah works for Djent as it has the brutality to back it up, this seemed a little watered down and I couldn’t get on with the vocals. During their set the heavens literally opened up and a proper downpour soaked the queues of people trying to get in from outside the tent.
We headed to catch Periphery but the same deal was going on at the Bohemia tent. A three quarter full tent was barricaded off and security were not letting people in so we headed back to the tents to exchange our wet shoes for dry wellies.
Coming back into the arena Mars Volta were on the Saturn Stage and the sides of the stage were absolutely rammed with industry and musician onlookers from other bands. Regardless of how loved they are by their contemporaries this love was not shown by the largely metal crowd and the Saturn stage crowd area was probably the quietest I’d seen it over the whole weekend.
Heading around the back of stage Gojira were not due on for another 15 minutes but already the barriers were up around the tent and a crowd was gathering. We joined near the front and yet again could see there was a lot of room in the tent, people were leaving but no-one was being let in. Opening with “Ocean Planet” the first track from album “From Mars To Sirius”, even outside the tent they sounded seriously immense, god knows how good it must have sounded inside. As the track drew to a close people around me starting arguing with security about the amount of empty space in the tent but to no avail. After another track the crowd was starting to argue way more aggressively with security, and it didn’t help that people inside were mocking those of us outside, further goading the situation. People at the back started pushing forward and encouraging others to push too. A surge starting and those at the very front started getting crushed against the front barrier. Older fans and people with kids were desperately struggling to get out of the surge but couldn’t get out. Suddenly the barriers gave way and a sea of fans flooded into the tent, security were grabbing people around the throats, people dropped to the floor, it was turning into total uncontrolled chaos. As security managed to get the barriers back in place joined by a lot more guards, the crowd continued to surge. Fights starting breaking out between fans as people struggled to get out of the crush. I’d had enough I couldn’t enjoy watching the band as too much was going on around me. I decided to go and get an early spot for Watain.
Over at the Bedroom Jam stage I managed to get in the tent, and just in time too, within minutes of my arrival the barriers were put up outside. People started gathering outside, the band weren’t even due on for another 15 minutes. The “security” outside was a young small girl and a young skinny guy. I decided to move to the side of the entrance because if a surge was going to happen they didn’t stand a chance of stopping it and I didn’t want to get caught as it came into the tent. Again there was so much room inside the tent it was laughable. Someone next to me decided to go have a talk with security and after doing some cartwheels to show the sheer amount of room managed to persuade them to let about another 50 people in. Time passed and more and more props were brought out. The stage was set but where were Watain? 25 minutes late they finally took to the stage. With the stage littered with banners, torches, burning candles everywhere, giant burning tridents, Erik came out and finished lighting the final candles on the mini altar in front of the drum kit. The crowd chanted and cheered as the remaining band members came out and after the initial guitar intro all hell broke loose as they tore into Malfeitor. A completely different genre but this was one of those sets, much like Woven Hand at Roadburn where you just stood there in awed shock at the brilliance coming from the stage. I’ve seen Watain before but never like this. “Devil’s Blood” made an appearance from 2003’s Casus Luciferi, but the rest of the set was made up with tracks from the latest 2 albums. Midway through the set Reaping Death was launched into and at the first chorus the tent lit up as streams of fire shot up in front of the stage intensifying the already amazing live show. This was followed with Sworn to the Dark which had most of the tent raised fist singing along. I’m not 100% how long they got on stage but time flew by and when they left the stage the audience wanted more, but house lights went on, and no encore was coming.
I’d hoped to catch more of Black Spiders but with Watain running late and putting on THAT performance there was no way I was going to leave them early. I only managed to catch the last 2 songs of Black Spiders, and I couldn’t really hear them. The jagermeister stage had the fun fair really badly positioned right next to it and all the rides had their music on very loud meaning hearing the bands on the stage was a struggle. Really stupid schoolboy layout error!
Heading off after Black Spiders we went to catch The Sisters Of Mercy but security were not letting people in the tent so we decided to call it a day.