Hellfest 2019 – Day Two – Friday12th July 2019
Day two saw two very bright eyed and bushy tailed young (well, Tom’s young) men skip their way from a great nights sleep in the van towards the Hellfest arena. We hadn’t quite made it in time to catch The Necromancers however we did catch Khaos-Dei in the Temple.
I wasn’t quite sure on what to expect but Tom had done some research and said he thought they were ‘Okay.’ Well they were a little more than ‘Okay’ they were fucking excellent! I dropped in to the photo pit right at the start and was merrily headbanging away while snapping some shots. After I’d got what I needed I headed back out to stand with Tom and enjoy the rest of the set. I really liked them, here’s Tom’s thoughts. “Khaos-Dei – first band we saw and they killed it. Awesome, tight French black metal.”
I’m in no way a fan of Grindcore, this is more Tom’s domain “Sublime Cadaveric Decomposition – again they were tight, fun and just awesome grindcore.” Even though they weren’t my cup of tea I could appreciate the music and effort that goes in to making that kind of music. I really had masses of fun shooting the set as well, even if their singer would not stand still or come near the front!
We decided it was time for a wee walk over to the Warzone after spending a few hours in the tents, so left a little early from the end of SCD to catch The Rumjacks and it’s a good job we left early as the crowd for this American Irish band was just insane and it would have difficult to get down to see them otherwise. I left Tom in the shade of the sound tower while I went and queued with the photographers at the side of the stage and managed to get a few decent snaps of the band. The band were awesome. Upbeat Irish folk punk at it’s finest with multiple banjo-ukulele-flute changes and catchy lyrics it really was an enjoyable show. Tom thought so too – “Irish punk from America, got everyone moving with their catchy songs. Good for a sing along, wee dance and a pint.”
Once we got out of the huge crowd it was a steady walk back over to the tents to find some shade. As we approached the Valley we stumbled over Radio Moscow, a psychedelic blues rock band and were epic to watch! The solos were just insane. Tom – “psychedelic rock, embracing the sound of the 70s with vigorous force. Really good as far as I can remember, think the beer and lack of sleep was taking hold at this point.”
Once these guys had finished I pop to the little boys room and on the way past Temple I saw them setting the stage for UADA. An American atmospheric black metal band. I remember listening to a few tracks on the Hellfest Spotify playlist and thinking that if I got chance I would pop by and give them a watch. I’m really glad I did as I proper enjoyed them. Heavy and technical with a real darkness to it. I’m still not a huge fan of black metal, but between these guys and Behemoth, I’m starting to listen to it more!
With UADA in the bag it was time to head back and find Tom for the next act in the Valley. The mighty Conan! These Doom metal giant’s from Liverpool certainly did not disappoint in terms of heaviness! They had one of the best tones as well, just pure filth! And the crowd enjoyed a free t-shirt or 2, unfortunately I was off the the side so wasn’t in the running to grab one, maybe next time! One of the highlights from the weekend for me. Tom agreed, I think – “fucking heavy, such groove, much wow.”
It was that time of the day when energy levels were running low and With the next bout of bands lasting till late we needed food and hoodies for when the temps started to drop. Back to the van it was after grabbing some mighty food from the food court. Damn the French know how to feed people at festivals! After last year I knew what to expect but even still they stepped it up a notch yet again! Awesome stuff.
After returning from the van with a fresh can of cider and ready for the next stint we hit up the VIP bar for a quick pint. It still floors me every time I walk in that place! UK festivals, buy a plot of land and do it like this! It is just insane how much difference it makes than walking in to a muddy tent to get some “better than average beer” that most VIP areas in UK festivals are!
After getting our little VIP fill we headed back out to the arena. Dream Theater were on soon and I was chomping at the bit to get in the main stage photo pit. I was ultra nervous as it was something I had never done before and to break my cherry to Dream Theater was just awesome! I found the queue for the photo pit and it wasn’t that big. I was excited and eventually the band came on. The priority pass holders got first dibs and were in the pit during the first and second songs and it was finally my turn. It was almost a blur. My camera was clicking insanely fast and I realized quite soon in to it that the stage was so much higher than the other stages and it made it really hard work with just a 17-50mm lens. A note to myself was to take a few other lenses to be able to cover that tall stage better next time. I don’t think I did too bad though and managed to get through my song with a smile on my face and tear in my eye for completing something that I never really imagined I’d get to do. Tom enjoyed them as well. “Flawless as always. Played one song I recognized and I enjoyed it!”
Once I was done with Dream Theater it was a little bit of chill time. The travelling and excitement was getting to me and I was starting to flag a little. We decided to sit at the back of the arena and watch a few acts on the screens and as we were walking towards the Alter the next band on the main stage started.
Ultra Vomit. Who? Yeah, Ultra Vomit. I had never heard of them, neither had Tom and when they started up we thought they were a cover band! I think they kind of are but safe to say there were bloody mental! I can honestly not say I’ve seen a more energetic and exciting band!
Next up though were Dropkick Murphys. The American Celtic punk band from Boston, Massachusetts. We were both excited to see them and I was super excited to try and take some photos of them. I made my way to the photo pit queue and it was rather large as to be expected. The band came on and the first lot of photographers went, the next lot went and then security closed the pit access. For what reason I have no idea. Maybe there were too many crowd surfers. Maybe there just wasn’t enough time. Whatever it was a lot of the photographers were not happy. Several of them stormed off cursing and shouting! Others, like me, just shrugged our shoulders, smiled to security and headed back to our buddies to enjoy the rest of the set. And it was a great set. I’m not a huge fan of theirs but I know a song or two and they were super energetic, with confetti and all sorts going off! Tom really enjoyed them – “got the whole arena dancing, drinking and singing. Great to watch and sounded brilliant.”
Next up was the last band of the night for us, Descendents! Tom told me about them earlier in the day as I’d not heard of them. To be fair I only listen to a little pop punk now and then but Tom had been listening to these guys for years! We put the cameras away, grabbed a beer and headed to the barrier to get a good view and it was a cracking view! The whole thing was cracking! I really enjoyed them. Didn’t know a single song but was dancing and screaming and applauding as loud as I could. Tom REALLY liked them – “I have wanted to see these for a long time and they didn’t disappoint. Played as many of their “hits” as they could squeeze into the allotted time and I sang along to all of them.”
That was it for me on the Friday. The travelling had taken it’s toll. The day of full on shooting had got to me as well and bed was calling. It pained me though as I was desperate to catch Gojira live but as with this life of ours I am almost certain the chance to see them will show it’s self again!
To be continued……….
For the coverage of day 1 & Knotfest meets Hellfest, click HERE