Late blog post because I was in Manchester this weekend, attending the Grillstock festival and seeing an awesome UK band called The Heavy! (They did the song Short Change Hero, which was used as the Borderlands 2 themesong, and later became my personal themesong for the first season of The Walking Dead video game)
Grillstock was quick an experience. We arrived the day before the festival so that we wouldn’t have to wake up at the crack of dawn to catch the train to Manchester, which gave us an evening to explore the city. Manchester isn’t exactly the most exciting place in the universe, but we did manage to find several awesome comic book stores, as well as a tasty pub for dinner. Our hostel was relatively nice, although the windows did not insulate well against the sound of clubs outside going until the wee hours of the morning… Also, I found the picture in our room bewildering:
Incase you can’t read it, the quote reads: “and sometimes when you walk down a street in iceland at the end of the street will be the arctic sea with whales in it.”
… we were in Manchester, England, just to clarify. Not Iceland.
And I’m not even sure this would make sense if we were in Iceland??
Anywhoo, woke up the next morning, had a quick free breakfast at the hostel, and then made our way over to Albert Square for the festival, which lasted from 11am-6pm. They had booths with burgers, hot dogs, ribs, barbeque, sauces, churros, beer, whiskey, and more burgers. The churros with chocolate were delicious, and I actually was able to find a veggie burger to eat that was pretty darn good, as well.
There were food eating contests, starting with chicken wings, moving onto hot dogs, and culminating in hot chili peppers. I have to say, I think the U.S. would put U.K. contestants to shame in eating contests… Although those hot chilis looked pretty intense.
There was a cooking contest, and sadly we weren’t allowed to taste the entries, but the judges seemed to enjoy the different takes on the burger (including a burger sandwiched between donuts… yikes).
And, of course, there was a huge variety of music throughout the day, from Big Joe Bone:
to The Computers, whose lead singer (who said he had woken up at 5 after going to bed at 4 and acted like that was the case) climbed the scaffolding of the stage, threw his guitar a good 3 meters to the security guard below, held the mic stand entirely upside down, and also seemed to enjoy jumping up on top of the railing between the stage and the audience despite the fact he struggled to balance without assistance, as in this clip:
And, finally, The Heavy, the band we came to see, who I would ABSOLUTELY see in concert again because they were fantastic, and soo great at engaging with the audience:
The Heavy was by far the highlight of the day, and totally worth it, even worth staying the whole set and sprinting the entire way to the train station so that we could catch the train back home. Going out to Manchester Grillstock made me remember how much I looove getting to see live music and performances– I’m going to make that a goal for the rest of my time here. I already am planning on seeing the Oxford Orchestra in concert this Wednesday, which should provide a nice counterpoint to The Heavy’s alt rock. 😉
In my last couple weeks at Oxford, I want to focus as much as I can on experiencing the place I am in, and while I will continue to work hard, it’s really those moments when I am jumping up and down to one of my favorite bands, savoring a hot chocolate Milano in Blackwell’s, or strolling through the beautiful University Parks that I am going to miss when I am back stateside.
Oh, and here is a link to one of the song that got me into The Heavy, which is also the song that they started off their set with (too perfect):