Everyone seems to speak English perfectly in the Netherlands, even the crazy guy who latches onto the 666 DEATH METAL backprint on my Possessed t-shirt (the golf jumper I wore to Watain was in the wash, alas) and starts dribbling on my arm and barking “THE BLOOD OF JESUS IS ALL OVER YOU” until a barmaid rescues me. Although in the defence of my masculinity I did give him a bit of a shove. But on the other hand I was sitting in a bar called the Pink Cookie so it’s one step forward and thirteen steps back in that respect.
As you may have guessed from the first part of this review, I like beer. I’m not a real ale tosser or anything (or an alcoholic, in case my mum Googles this), and I don’t really know what I’m talking about, so that keeps me from going on about it too much, but it’s absolute heaven to go to a festival in a nice clean, airy venue and then just wander out in a break to sit in a bar and work your way through all the beers that sound a little bit gothic; Judas, Lucifer, Satan and Delirium Nocturnus. I bet the barmaid rolled her eyes and went ‘of course you do’ in response to my requests, but only in Dutch. God, I’m so two dimensional, the crushing realisation of it all makes me want to put on my rubber vest with the mirrored plates and weep while listening to that Nine Inch Nails cover of Johnny Cash.
Saturday is so much busier, and that’s a massive relief. I’m hugely emotionally invested in Bloodshed and Luc who runs it (and fronts FUBAR, and books tours) is such a lovely, rosy-cheeked example of humanity that I can’t help but feel tied into his success in the same way that Twilight fans not only know what ‘team Jacob’ and ‘team Jedward’ mean but actually CARE about it. All the crusties from out of town, the ones who probably turned their nose up at the death-centric Friday bill, have rolled in with their bum bags (with I ❤ D-BEAT patch neatly sewn on) – all worn on the actually bum, because if the Germanic people are anything, it’s painfully literal.
Sakatat have come all the way from Turkey and are clearly psyched to be here, as if to add insult to injury, they’re brilliant – the band’s whole shtick, on the mainstage no less, is evocative of those grainy clips of Lee Dorrian-era Napalm Death in all their gangly chaos.
I can only see the tops of the heads of Slovakia’s Idiot’s Parade but they’re bobbing about something furious against a backdrop of high octane powerviolence – one of those hardworking, much hyped Eastern Bloc bands of which there are a great many, they’re on the second volume of ‘This Comp Kills Fascists’ and everything! Germany’s Kru$h do their Phobia/Extreme Noise Terror thing, but having played their new record to death and watched their set at Obscene Extreme, I more sort of visually acknowledge that they’re playing than actually watch them and come away with anything to say. I was probably wondering why Pokémon appear on so many grind shirts – is it all about the flashing lights?
At this point it’s time to skip out of the venue for Indonesian food. You might not think that’s particularly remarkable, but when did you last see an Indonesian restaurant in Britain? Hardly ever, right? Thanks to the Netherlands’ glorious colonial history (they peaked as an empire while we were still trying to stop the dagos from raping our virgin queen), there’s no shortage of Asian food and this is a rare treat. I had Gado Gado, which is like Satay veg only with hard boiled egg in it – but rather than lose my vegan card I picked the egg out, I totally didn’t know it was going to be there being as Indonesian food is completely new to me – and drunk the worst beer of the weekend, the ubiquitous Bavaria, which tastes offensively light and generic, and made me want to cut a chunk out of my tongue in penance.
Anyway, back to blastbeats and dated social commentary. FUBAR are absolutely splendid, three vocalists (one of whom is the aforemention Luc) and no bullshit, just caustic grind savagery – an emergency replacement for the reconstituted Last Days Of Humanity forced to curtail their tour due to family tragedy, the crowd don’t seem particularly bothered by the switcheroo and it’d be nice to think they’re going nuts for their local heroes, but they’re probably just drunk.
It’s easy to overhype Attack Of The Mad Axeman just because they dress as animals and when you’ve heard this many tinny snare sounds a spot of yiffing is like seeing the rescue helicopter come low over the zombie horde to some vast, swelling crescendo. They’re pretty generic as a band but see an enormous squirrel with buck teeth and a and a mic stand wrapped in fake grass and it’s hard not to go to the retard happy place. Even their merch table has plastic animals and plants on it. It’s lovely, and that’s not a word you get to use often.
Rompeprop are an amazing live band, especially considering they play goregrind which is generally about as charismatic as an egg McMuffin fart, and one of the highlights of their whole amazing live thing is their whimsical stage banter and song introductions, oh how we laughed at Obscene Extreme to the build up to ‘I Am The Dolphin Blowhole Fucker’. Roughly three minutes in I remember they’re Dutch and we’re in the Netherlands. FML.
Washington DC’s Magrudergrind and Chicago’s Weekend Nachos spend so much time on stage talking about each other that I’m going to talk about them as if they’re one band, how do you like those apples? You don’t!? Well spend less time sucking each other’s balls then you fuckshafts. Magrudernachos totally justify their cult status with energy, enthusiasm and absolute, unchained chaos. Bands like this get a bit of shit for being popular with people who don’t really like grindcore, like generic hardcore scenesters or death metal fans who also buy stuff on Relapse and Willowtip, but this is totally a good thing. Really, it is, so it’s a genuine joy to see a Whitechapel t-shirt make its merry way through the carnage of the pit. On someone’s torso, obviously, not under its own power.
Festival reviews that end with ‘thanks to the whole team and I can’t wait for next year’, are the absolute height of lameness and one of the reasons people would rather download music than read someone as hella lame as that struggle to pass comment on it. However the urge to utter that banality is rise in my proverbial throat like vomit, burning my nostrils and choking me up, so I’m going to try and bury it in passive aggression.
I am totally going to Bloodshed Festival next year because it’s outstanding, and you can do whatever the fuck you want.