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Festival Review: Bloodstock Open Air 2016 – Day 1

Bloodstock 2016 – Friday Roundup

Words by Christopher James Ryan || Photos by Donna Craddock

VenomThe time has arrived again at Catton Hill, Derbyshire – Bloodstock Open Air returns for the 15th year and it’s bigger and better! Bloodstock is the UK’s biggest heavy and black metal festival. This year’s line-up is definitely a unique one – with headliners Twisted Sister, Mastodon, and Slayer, making it a fantastic festival.

Friday’s line-up is the most unique one during the festival. Here is my selection of bands that I saw.
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Travel back in time through the middle ages where the brave hero, Angus McFife, battles the evil sorcerer Zargothrax. During the set it’s acted out – more of a story with catchy songs that let you feel like you’re in the middle ages battling mages, dragons, and sorcerers, without the danger of getting an arrow to a knee. To add, all the band members are fully dressed in medieval clothing too – adds a better feel to the show!

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Evil Scarecrow

evil scarecrow

Ever wanted to sing about robots, giant crabstations, aliens, and hurricanado’s? Then look no further – Evil Scarecrow delivers this in silly, catchy songs that stay with you forever! All I can say is that these guys never fail in putting on a humorous and fantastic show. To put the cherry on the top, their songs have simple yet brilliant dance moves that the crowd love to copy, especially on tracks like “Robototron” and “Crabulon”!

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One of many bands at this festival making marks in the metal genre. Combine Slipknot and Mushroomhead, with a spice of brit and badass, and hey presto you have Anti-Clone. Dressed up in an apocalyptic style and ready to kick ass, they dominate the stage with confidence to the point where they are able to draw a big crowd, making several walls of death and a circle pit. To top this off, even the guitarists jump off stage and join the pit! A mix of heavy and light riffs that will stick with you, these guys are not to be missed!

Photo: Christopher James Ryan
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Corrosion of Conformity

Pepper Keenan has reunited with Corrosion of Conformity, so you know this set is going to be just like the good ol’ times! Performing classic tracks like “Albatross,” “Vote with a Bullet,” and “Clean My Wounds.” It feels like Pepper never left. “Vote with a Bullet” was dedicated to Donald Trump – “he ain’t gonna make it.” Pepper also tells us to keep an eye out next year as apparently there is going to be new tracks and an album with Nuclear Blast Records. Ending the set with clean my wounds, which Pepper dedicates to all the fans who have been with COC over the years.
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It has been 10 years since Venom last played and it doesn’t feel like it, as they nailed the set. It feels like they were never apart. One of many icons of black metal today, they showed in style that they still have got it. Hot sun and insane riffs worthy of pits, this you simply can’t beat. Cronos, the lead singer, speaks about festivals in the UK and how it needs more like Bloodstock. Here’s hoping there may be more over the next decade. He went on to speak about being able to use social media to get exposure and hinting to be booked for gigs and festivals – hint, Download.
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If you need Satan and need to know how to summon him – well, simply witness Behemoth. These death metal Satanists with their heavy dark beats make you feel like you’re at the gates of hell.  All of them dressed in dark devilish clothing, with horns and smoke filling the stage – with fire, yes fire – you feel like you’re in another land. They don’t speak; all they do is play, and to communicate they use hand gestures. This definitely adds dark atmosphere.  There are multiple podiums, and smoke is customised to each song, so this does make a difference to the usual smoke being produced. In all, these guys have definitely changed the atmosphere to dark and hellish, but it won’t be long before Twisted Sister changes this.
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Twisted Sister

Bloodstock Open Air 2016 || Catton Park, Derbyshire, UK


Get your leopard print pants on, spray and fluff out your hair, and bring out the air guitars, this was Twisted Sister’s last ever UK gig on their last ever tour. It’s crazy saying this, and it was an event that will never be forgotten. So much has gone on in the hour and a half set, I will do what I can to try and wrap it up as smooth as possible. Firstly, we are shown a video of Twisted Sister’s history in photographs with AC/DC as the backing track, which of course, everyone sang along too.

Soon as the video was over the show began, and I will say this again, it was incredible. “40 and Fuck It” is the slogan for tonight. The setlist was full of everyone’s favourite tracks, “We’re Not Gonna Take It,” “The Price,” “Burn in Hell,” “I Wanna Rock,” and the list goes on. Everyone knows these tunes, so of course everyone singing and dancing along also dominated the night. There was even a big inflatable duck, with which Dee wasn’t impressed, and basically saying “fuck the duck.” The set was full of humour and interesting speeches. “We would have used more pyro but Behemoth used it all.” Snider went on to talk about Download skimping out on cash for a booking so basically, “Fuck Download!” Dee says.

Twisted Sister

It gets a bit emotional too. The passing of AJ Pero brings a tear to the band’s eyes, as he would be proud to see this. Dee dedicates “The Price” in his honour and other legends, Lemmy, Ronnie Dio, and everyone sang along – it was really an emotional moment. Dee asked for all the lights to be off and for everyone to get out their phones and light up the night with them, it was breath-taking. Winery Dogs drummer, Mike Portnoy (ex-Dream Theater), is currently handling the drumming duties on this final tour.  Lightening up the mood during the set, Snider was distracted by a giant doughnut stand facing at him on the other side of the venue. One key thing the charismatic frontman mentions is that he’s sick of bands saying it’s their final tour and then coming back in a few years. He states this is the final tour, that’s it.  Lucky for us the guys hosting Bloodstock have allowed Twisted Sister a few more songs because it’s a rare moment. Signing off with the signature track, “Come Out and Play” – a well-fitting final song for everyone to hear.

In all, I’d say today has been an interesting one, with various genres of rock and metal that everyone seemed to love. I just hope that Twisted Sister come back for a one off show in a few years’ time, as tonight was incredible!

Stay tuned for Saturday and Sunday reviews and images!

You can also find all of our Bloodstock photos here as we add them!

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