Graspop 2008 Day 2

Today was more of a festival day. The sleep overnight wasn’t too bed all things considering – like the number of us in a tent and the lack of mattresses or padding of any sort. The earth underneath kind of fit round the way I sleep so it wasn’t as bad as it could have been. Plus I was tired!

As ever, Hans was on a mission to see as many bands as he could in one day. We headed over to the ground and caught Throwdown (a.k.a Pantera with different band members. And songs. But much the same sound) who were really entertaining. Apparently in the US they’ll play to small club crowds of a hundred or so. What a waste. Great fun, and incredible to watch a lead singer actually crawl onto the audience and do half a song kneeling down as they supported his weight. Also the start of the “biggest mosh pit of the day” competition.

Sabaton I won’t bore you with. Because they bored me. Nothing special, nothing new, nothing memorable.

Back in Marquee 2, Bleeding Through rocked almost as much as Throwdown, including an impressive clamber up one of the support columns by the guitarist who managed a solo up there. This time they went for a circle pit around the sound desk which turned into some kind of mosh doughnut. Weird, but impressive from another “small” band.

I wasn’t too fussed by many of the afternoon bands, and wanted more beer so I headed back to the tent where the rest of the gang were already chilling out. Marina had scrawled “FREE HUGS” on Dave’s back and he was having… limited success. From a large group of scary men who all hugged him, one guy who seriously looked like he’d rearrange Dave’s features if he got within 6 feet and a woman who told him in no uncertain terms “Do not come near me”.

While we were messing about, enjoying the sun and the beer and the people, I spotted my second Lawnmower Deth t-shirt of the festival. This one turned out to belong to a German girl called Melanie who we got talking to and sharing beer with. Time ticked on and it was time for more bands. Hans had already zoomed off and we walked back to the festival area to try and locate him.

By this stage I was rather merry having gone through a handful of cans of cheap Belgian lager, and most of a bottle of Jagermeister and a lot of Red Bull. We got to the arena just as Cavalera Conspiracy hit the stage and nothing was stopping me. The pit was it…

Frankly, I can’t recall many specific tracks from the set. I was too busy kicking lumps out of people. And having the same in return. Classic Sepultura, an oddball Nailbomb song and a few numbers off the current album. Absolutely superb. Despite being exhausted so easily the previous day I simply did not stop for the entire 90 minutes the band were on stage. Not once.

The best part was being recognisably the oldest person in the pit. So people listened to me. Oh yes. I was in charge. Bwahahahaha! People pushed back to make it bigger. Fallers were helped up, circles started, bodies flew overhead as the “no crowdsurfing rule” was roundly ignored, though the security staff didn’t mind one bit. I had a great surf to the front myself, but after the set finished was even better. I was knackered and fell backwards against a load of people… who picked me up and surfed me out of the crowd in the direction of the bar! Something new at every festival…

In the fun I’d misplaced Melanie which was a shame, but I caught up with the other guys at our usual place by the Belgacom tent. Sustenance was needed to after giving My Dying Bride a chance – about half of one of their over-long, slow numbers – we headed outside to the burger vans and scoffed away. Hans and I returned to see KISS while the rest made their way back to camp.

Now the last time I saw KISS was on the “we’re back in make-up” tour and they were headlining the last Donington Monsters of Rock Festival. I’d guess around 12 years ago? This time around they were promoting the 35th anniversary of the Alive album and proceeded to play all of the thing – possibly in order – for well over an hour. With very little stage theatrics and not a lot of songs that I or Hans knew.

Hand on heart, I was toying with walking off for an early night. I’m glad we didn’t as eventually they started playing some more recent material and pulled out all the stops on the fireworks and gizmos. The show got ten times better and they rekindled the memories I had of them from the last time.

As the lst fireworks dropped out of the sky and the guitar chords silenced, we made use of the extra exit and staggered back to the tent where the cold, hard earth awaited my bruised and battered (and aging) body.

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