So we come to the final day of Sonisphere Festival (or at least the review, as the actual final day was nearly three weeks ago). This one’s going to be a bit shorter as:
- I still hadn’t quite recovered from being a human barricade during Iron Maiden’s headline set the previous night.
- I’m only really doing this last one to make Ben happy.
lets get on with it shall we? I’d really like to get back to writing album and song reviews again.
Day 3 – “Sonisphere Famileehhhh!!! YEAHUHHAH”
The final day of Sonisphere seemed to favour most progressive bands above anything else. I have a feeling that the first 4 acts of the day would have had both MFW’s Francis and Ben spunking their pants on multiple occasions…especially the Saturn Stage headliners. So to me, after a day of rocking it down the front, I decided that Sunday would be my day to have a few beers (or whatever it was that Tuborg were selling) and check out some stuff to listen to on my next long haul flight.
After a delay getting into the arena due to Metallica’s great big bollocking snake pit (if anybody knows how to get tickets for that in future, drop me a bell) taking so bloody long to install, Gojira started us of in brilliant fashion on the Apollo Stage. Whilst I only recognise some of the songs, Joe Duplentier and co. manage to hammer through a setlist heavier than a sledgehammer made out of the remains of a meteorite. However, once again due to time delays, Protest the Hero were forced to start playing their set on the opposing stage. Whilst most bands are psyched to be playing festivals, I did admire the honesty of Rody Walker, stating “We’re going to play our 6 songs, then we’re fucking off!!” ….can’t really argue with that.
Then I watched Devin Townsend and Karnivool. They were cool. Pretty fucking weird….not sure what planet they were from but it sure as hell wasn’t Earth. Gallows were up next, and to be honest *sigh*….it was like they’d forgotten the existence of their old material. I get that they’ve had a new frontman for a few years now, but it would’ve been cool to hear a bit more off of Grey Britain (my personal favourite album to date), although the appearance of “Misery” and set closer “Orchestra of Wolves” do satisfy the angry hardcore punk fan in me. Up next were unsigned ska-punk legends Reel Big Fish, and whilst I only got there about halfway through their set, we still got to catch classic “Sell Out” and newcomer “Everyone Else is an Asshole.” Despite a power cut during one of their songs (during which the band carried on playing, so all credit to them) they began the now infamous “SR (Suburban Rhythm)” a song of about a minute in length. This song was played about 7 times, preceded by the line “Now, this next song, which is the SAME SONG”, each time played in a different style, including: Punk, Death Metal, Country and even some variant on modern R&B. Rounding off this hilarious set with “Beer” and a cover of Aha’s “Take On Me”, Reel Big Fish prove once again that they really couldn’t give less of a shit what goes on, as long as the crowd are having a good time, wether it be power cuts or being cut from a record label.
I did catch a bit of Mastodon but because the proper screens had been taken down to once again accommodate the night’s headliner’s big screens (seriously Metallica, you’re a bit high maintainence aren’t you? Although I like to think they did all of this at Glastonbury as well to piss people off…and all credit to them). Due to this subsequent screen removal, we took our business back to the Saturn Stage to get a good spot for Dropkick Murphys. This Bostonian Celtic-Punk outfit are the living embodiment of a good time. Being a band that includes more instruments than they have band members (I’m pretty sure one of the guitarists was playing a banjo and a tin whistle at the same time at one point), we were always going to be in for a treat. Opening with “The Boys are Back” and peppering the set with celtic party numbers “Prisoners Song”, “Don’t Tear Us Apart” and “Johnny I Hardly Knew Ya” (another of yours truly’s favourites) alongside punk tracks like “Citezen CIA” and “Black Velvet Band” strike an awesome balance from such a diverse crew of musicians. Of course, they cannot end with anything but “I’m Shipping Up to Boston”, and whilst this may be “that one track by that band” that everybody knows, hearing it played live proves that there’s a clear reason for this. I don’t think that I could have seen more jumping on a trampoline full of rabbits (yes, that song is STILL stuck in my head).
Alice in Chains were up next, and keeping with the theme of balance, I don’t think I’ve ever seen a band that could sound so heavy and yet so mellow. From the iconic chug of “Them Bones”, to the slow groove of “Stone” to the steadiness of “Man in the Box” and the grand fanfare of set closer “Rooster”, Alice In Chains once again display their prowess as one of the last great grunge acts, which no acts since have been able to replicate.
Slowly we made our way to the lighting boom’s barrier (try saying that five times faster). Oh we would have gotten closer, but obviously people had sacked Dream Theater (including myself as I wasn’t in the mood for self indulgent prog anymore) in order to be in prime viewing position for the biggest metal band in the world. Metallica, playing a “By Request” setlist, voted for by fans attending the festival. My last time seeing these guys was playing “The Black Album” in full, so I was definitely pumped to hear some other classics live, and classics there were. Opening with the first three tracks from 1985’s “Master of Puppets” before launching into the even more classic “Ride The Lightning” it is clear that fans wanted to hear our boys ‘Tallica playing more of their early material than they ever have. I will say, that Metallica definitely proved wrong anybody that was insistent on saying “They don’t play the old stuff because they can’t anymore.” More classics allow lead axeman Kirk Hammett to go absolutely HAM with shredding solos on songs like “Creeping Death” and “Blackened” whilst frontman James Hetfield can take advantage of his signature rhythmical groove on tracks such as “Whiskey in the Jar” and “Sad But True.” Metallica take advantage of their recently introduced big screen backdrops, through splicing in various visual effects, including fiery engines during “Fuel” and even a close up of Poppa Het’s guitar pick during the intro to “Enter Sandman”, a riff that any and all first time guitar players pick up. After playing the “Vote of the Day” song, “…And Justice for All” (I voted for “Wherever I May Roam”….just my luck it was the lowest voted song) the band round off a brilliant set by launching a load of beachballs into the audience during the now must-play show closer, “Seek and Destroy.” With the set concluded and no mention of the “Metallic Famileh!!!” it was time to slowly and painfully make our way back to various domiciles
Whilst making my way back to the car park/not feeling sorry for everybody having to camp that night, I couldn’t help but think how Sonisphere had made a bigger comeback that 90s snapbacks and fanny packs (those are in again right?….RIGHT?!). In 2012 everybody claimed that Sonisphere Knebworth was dead, and this excellent 40th anniversary celebration did their best to prove those people wrong.
Day 3 was pretty relaxed as far as bands were concerned. I saw more prog than a musician’s college metal show, a group of exciteable celtic punk rockers, some awesome grunge, and James Hetfield’s ever vigilant metal vocals.
Day 3 is getting ratings of:
Band of the Day: Dropkick Murphys
Sonisphere Day 3: 8/10