Sunday, 19 June 2016

Drownload Overview

Last weekend I was able to attend my third Download Festival. The line-up didn't look as good as previous years, but since Rob was going I figured I'd tag along too.

We ended up in the west carpark which sucked as it meant a long walk around to get to the entrance. However there was no queue to get in when we got there and we set up with some fellow Bathonians in black camp. The people we usually camp with were about a minute's walk away in pink, so that was good! It was stinking hot though, and I ended up by myself for a few hours while Rob went to help some of his friends get their bags so I just got burnt and read for most of the day!

The second day was just as hot! We had breakfast in town quite early, then there was a small sharkie meet-up in the afternoon. I got some very interesting tanlines in this outfit...fishnet thighs and panini shoulders. Ooops!

We had a chat outside the Sidesplitter for a while, then wandered around the shops and ended up with matching beaded bracelets with shark teeth on!

Spent the evening getting drunk and trying to watch a bit of Andrew O'Neill but neither me nor Rob were really feeling it and ended up going to sleep instead.

On Friday I was a tad too hungover for the long trek to breakfast the next morning so I chilled at camp with a can of spaghetti hoops until it was time to go see Alien Ant Farm, who were surprisingly good live!

Then Babymetal! And the most rain I've ever seen. It was just SO HEAVY, HUGE raindrops which soaked us straight through, messed up my camera, and delayed their start time by over half an hour. But was so worth the soaking! I wore my Babymetal outfit with tutus and stuff again, and once again didn't get a photo of it. They even converted Rob - when I asked if he wanted to see them at Wembley it was a massive "no", but now he wishes he had gone!

We stayed soggy for Killswitch Engage, who it turns out I really like. Will definitely be buying a few of their CDs and hopefully seeing them again somewhere drier. We did go back and change afterwards, although I kept on my tutus as they were doing a good job of keeping my legs dry.

Had intended on seeing Korn, but ended up heading to Twin Atlantic instead despite having seen them more times. It was just more fun! Somehow managed to get right near the front. We made quite a hasty exit though, which meant missing All Time Low.

But alas, we had to head over to the smallest tent for InMe! They were top of both our 'want to see' lists, so it had to be done. They were excellent as usual, I really hope their next tour brings them a bit closer to us! At this point my camera croaked though, so everything is blurry and awful. I have very few photos from the rest of the weekend due to this as my phone camera has poor zoom and I was worried about losing it in the massive mud puddles so I didn't risk it much!

The end of Rammstein's set ended our day. I'm sad that I always seem to miss most of their sets as they are a really good band, but eh there always seems to be something else I'd rather see on at the same time!

After breakfast in town on Saturday (with sweet sweet wifi), we wandered past Beartooth (too shouty!) for a couple songs of Black Peaks' set. I enjoyed them more than at NASS, but there were a lot of clashes so we left for a few songs of The Men That Will Not Be Blamed For Nothing on the other side of the arena before seeing Atreyu. We both realised this was a bad move, but we're more likely to see the former again next time they tour. There wasn't much on afterwards, I think we saw a bit of Sixx:A.M. but it wasn't very memorable.

Milk Teeth were very good and somehow Bree, a fellow lolita, ended up stood right in front of me so we had a little catch up before they headed off to Bury Tomorrow (who we caught the tail end of) while we went to see a really fun punky thrash band called Lawnmower Deth. They reminded me a lot of Evil Scarecrow from the previous year, and they were even joined by Kim Wilde during their cover of her song 'Kids In America'. Juliette and the Licks weren't doing it for us, so we wandered around and got more cider, I guess? I don't remember. Apparently I had 7 pints in the main arena that day ^_^'

Architects were the band I was most looking forward to seeing on this day, but they had to pull out a few days before and were replaced by Against The Current, which was a nice surprise. I get the feeling they're going to be a really big band some day, and they'll deserve it when they get there. Rob wanted to see Deftones and, while they're a good band, I got bored quickly as all their songs are kinda slow and samey so we went to see Skindred's set instead, which was good fun. Not very amused finding out how the singer acted towards Babymetal at the Kerrang! Awards, but luckily I didn't find out until afterwards or it would have ruined the whole thing for me!

We had no interest in Sabbath so we stayed for NOFX and they were also super fun! I danced a lot and they were definitely a highlight of the weekend even though I only know one of their songs (which, thankfully, they did play). Will have to dig out the CD I got for Christmas a couple years back and give it a listen at some point. I just find that punk bands are the most fun to see live, whether you know their music or not.

On Sunday we didn't have breakfast as we had to carry all our stuff back to the car, which we stupidly left a little late so we had to battle through all the people heading to the main arena (because they wouldn't let us take the shortcut through gold -_-). But once that was out of the way, we wandered around aimlessly and grumpily as there was nothing much on and we were tired and aching and couldn't sit down anywhere as the whole place was a mud puddle. Apart from the places that were literal rivers, anyway. Not enough straw, guys! Put some paths in next year! Jeez.

I went to see Muncie Girls (Rob had to go help Pat with his stuff and he wanted to see a bit of Periphery on the way, but I was just SO TIRED and felt a bit sick too after the huge portion of chips I had for lunch (they were out of curry sauce so they were just too...potato-y). They were good, but the songs were a bit samey since I hadn't heard them before. Caught a bit of Halestorm on the way past, and they sounded INSANE. It's not really my kind of music, but Lzzy Hale can WAIL. I'd have liked to see a bit more, but Japanese band One Okay Rock were on at the same time and they weren't bad either (so many pretty men though, haha).

Darted back for Shinedown but didn't catch any songs I knew, then back for Breaking Benjamin as I knew Rob would meet me back there. I wasn't really impressed with them as they kind of passed me by back in the day...should have stayed at Lemmy Stage...hurr. But after that, I FINALLY got to see Disturbed after a decade of wanting to. I wasn't expecting them to be any good live, but they were a real highlight of the festival. Their cover of "The Sound of Silence" was a real high point, probably the best part of the weekend. They also played a few more covers with some cameos from Lzzy Hale (of Halestorm), Blaze Bailey (formerly of Iron Maiden), and Ben Burnley (of Breaking Benjamin).

Billy Talent after that was a bit of a struggle as it was raining quite a lot and we were just so tired, but they're always a good live band. Nightwish sounded even better and I caught a few tracks I vaguely remembered from years and years ago, but we missed most of their set as Rob wanted to see Jane's Addiction. I really didn't like them, and they had scantily-clad women girating around the stage for good measure...just no.

At this point my hip and back had reached peak agony, we both had wellies full of rain, and Rob had a huge blister on his foot. So rather than wait around ages having no choice but to stand to see Iron Maiden...we went back to the car. I know, it's bad. I was wearing a Maiden shirt and everything! But we caught snatches of it between aeroplanes jetting past from the carpark, and we got to sit and use the nice carpark portaloos and soothed our aches. I do wish I'd gone back for a few songs at least, but I knew Rob really wanted to rest and he probably would have insisted on walking me back there so we just missed it all. Oh well. Their sound was terrible 3 years ago, so I'm just assuming the same held true this year...

Once Pat got back to us it took 2 hours to leave the carpark, and a further 6 or so hours to get home since we had to make 2 nap stops for Rob on the way. Harrowing. But then we got clean and dry and ate pizza and slept, so that part was good!

I do like Download Festival, but they really need to deal with the rain better. I've never been so wet in all my life. I literally had puddles in my wellies on more than one occasion. I'd definitely drag a chair into the arena next time if it would be that wet. Wish I'd done so on Sunday, and then seeing Maiden would have been no problem!

Wow, that turned into a real big wall of text. But yeah, the rain broke my camera! It has just about started working again now it is dried out, but it's still not quite what it was before (which, after 10 years of use, wasn't 100% anyway haha).

International Lolita Day

The first Saturday of the month was Summer International Lolita Day! I ended up being really late thanks to work and really bad traffic due to some neo-Nazi protest going on at Park Street (there were a LOT of police about, including Welsh ones!). Also saw a HUGE nude cycling group when stuck in traffic...interesting!

A bunch of us met in Bristol for bagels and lolita bingo! It was a nice chill afternoon after the stress of getting there was over. However I did twist my ankle really badly missing a tiny step out of the venue and it still hurts weeks later #fail

I finally wore Angelic Pretty's Mercator Antique Shop. I got a lot of compliments for it! I find it hard to coord due to the strange colour (it claims to be mint but is more duck-egg, I'd say?), but it's just so pretty!

There were also party bags with sweets, a bow, and a post card, plus I somehow won with both of my raffle tickets and got a cute Eiffel Tower necklace and an Angelic Pretty bracelet! The bigger prizes were amazing! I really need to have a sort out before the next one so I can donate some things.

Somehow when I was waiting for the bus some chavvy youths offered me a beer because apparently I looked "fit". I don't even. But hey, free beer!

Friday, 17 June 2016

BMC: Worlds Away

Worlds Away was a collection that really didn't appeal to me from the sneaks. Lots of bold patterns & long cuts. There were a few bird prints I rather liked but, due to the colours and general boldness, I talked myself out of them. So it was back to black as usual!

I love black and I love straps, so I thought that The Awesome Strapped-Up Crop would be a good investment despite the $70 price tag. However, it fits terribly. I accidentally ordered the S instead of XS, and as such the straps are all too long so my bra isn't covered. Without a bra I'd be dangerously close to flashing. However, I wouldn't want the bottom band any tighter, although the rest of the top is much too big. Maybe I'm just an odd shape? I'm planning on shortening the straps by hand but maybe I'll just use it for under dresses for now.

Next up, the fabric I've been waiting for since Disco Doll...and my first dress of this new-ish cut! The Disco Storm Tartan Marilyn Dress. Sadly, despite being a gorgeous dress, it's a big disappointment. I went for S with the intention of layering under it, but it feels like it's hanging off me. The fabric isn't stretched AT ALL when it's on. In fact, the waist is loose! I've sent them a message asking if mine was mislabelled and grudgingly ordered an XS despite having no chance of getting my money back on this one, but if it really does run that big then I'm not even sure the XS will be small enough! Such a shame as it really would be stunning if it fit.

Lastly, the Disco Storm Tartan Sheer Top Bodysuit also proved too tempting. However, this one is also an S and is too bloody small! It fits okay once on, but feels a bit iffy when getting it on over the hips. The top part is definitely too big which is unavoidable for me, but no idea how to wear this since it's completely open-backed so wearing a bra isn't really an option. Hoping I can figure something out though...not sure why I keep buying bodysuits when they're impossible to use the bathroom in!

I guess I had bad luck with this release! Although my purchases from the release after this one haven't arrived yet, I can tell you already that I didn't fare any better with that one.

Thursday, 2 June 2016

Slam Dunk Midlands

My attendance at Slam Dunk was plagued with bad luck. I turned in a holiday form for it at least a month in advance, but it got thrown out by mistake and I wasn't allowed the weekend off work. I had already booked a hostel for the whole weekend (which luckily I could cancel for free) and train tickets (which had a £10 fee for cancelling). This gave me two options - try to flog my ticket for peanuts, or just go for the day and leave before any of the big bands. I chose to go and re-booked my train. The day before I found out the main band I wanted to see, The Qemists, had pulled out. But I was already committed, so I went. But yeah, that whole thing SUCKED.

Got to the venue about 20 minutes after doors opened, and the queue was massive. Luckily I made a friend called Bex on the train so we just chatted the whole time we were waiting! It took just over an hour to get in so I missed Moose Blood and Trash Boat, but made it to Desperados stage with plenty of time before the first band I really wanted to see. I didn't realise the stage would be outside, so I regretted not taking sun cream and a cap as I caught the sun a fair bit! I'm very sensitive to the sun as my skin is very pale and my hair very dark!

First band of the day for me was [spunge], who I've wanted to see since I was in my first year of secondary school. So...12 years, maybe? I'm not sure why it took me so long because they were SO GOOD! I only own 2 of their albums so I only knew 2 songs really well, but I still knew a fair few others and they totally killed it! I also got to have a chat with the singer afterwards which was pretty cool, and near the end of the set I made it to the barrier as well. I really hope to see them again soon. Just getting to see them made the stress of the whole thing worth it.

Also because the stage was right by the rail line, we had a thing going where we had to turn to the track and flip the bird every time a train went past, which was pretty fun. I'm sure there were probably some people who kept that going all day.

I ended up staying at the stage to see Catch Twenty-Two, and was surprised to find that I knew a few of their songs. Glad I stayed for them as it was fun and nice to stay out in the sunshine too.

Afterwards I headed inside and met up with Bex again for Yellowcard. Unfortunately I couldn't get any photos that were worth keeping as the main stage was huge so we were quite near the back, but hearing Ocean Avenue in full was really awesome. After seeing them last year at Download I already knew I wanted to go see them again, so I'm glad I got that chance! I can't imagine how gutted the people at North were since technical difficulties cut their set short to about 20 minutes...that must have sucked a lot, as probably a lot of people were going purely to see them play the full album.

Afterwards I made a somewhat swift exit to go see Hacktivist, but I managed to get lost on the way and the person who I asked for directions from sent me the wrong direction entirely and I ended up missing the first 3 songs which was pretty gutting. Especially since one of them is a really good one! But fingers crossed I'll see them at Reading later in the year. I was also really disappointed that Rou Reynolds didn't join them for their second song, Taken, as I'd been really looking forward to seeing them perform together for it because that song really helped me keep going when my Gran was dying. However he did join them for Elevate again, so at least I got to see one member of Enter Shikari, even if it was only for a few seconds!

I wasn't sure what to do afterwards so I headed back to Desperados for a bit of Zebrahead, who I last saw almost a decade ago. I didn't know the couple of songs I stayed for, but I kind of wish I'd stayed for longer. Instead I thought I'd give Issues a try since I like a couple of their songs, but I didn't hear any I recognised and their main singer has an annoying voice, so I decided to head back to the train station instead.

So I ended up leaving at about half seven. Which sucked. But it meant I was able to catch an earlier train back to Bristol than I had intended which I feel was a good move as if I'd missed the next one I'd have had to call my dad to pick me up from the station as I'd have missed the last bus. I was exhausted anyway - my pedometer logged almost 25,000 steps!

All in all, I definitely had a brilliant time. However it wasn't worth the money I paid at all being that The Qemists were one of the main reasons I had decided to go. Obviously I had initially thought I'd have been able to see a headliner too, which is what you're paying for, really. I'd have liked to have seen Of Mice & Men as I've not seen them before, or Panic! At The Disco again as they're brilliant live, and then a bit of Shikari Sound System for a short spell of dancing and Rory C fangirling...but alas, it was not to be.

I'd probably do the festival again as Midlands seems to have been organised a lot better than the other two venues, but I wouldn't just go for the day ever again!