Sonisphere Day 2

Anthrax

Anthrax

Saturday promised many goodies and was definitely the busiest day in terms of bands I wanted to see. Thankfully across the three main stages, the times had been choreographed so that there – theoretically at least – would be no clashes. Only one stage at a time was “live” and with five minutes to get from stage to stage it was possible (with a little hurrying) to finish one band and run to catch the next.

I had the morning free so used the shuttle bus service to get me back to the train station where I gobbled a KFC for brunch. I’m glad I gave myself plenty of time as a lot of people had had a similar thought and the bus queues were pretty long. Worth the trip, though. Clean loos, good food and less than half the price of the rip-off joints in the festival grounds.

I’d originally planned on watching Soulfly, but I bumped into two girls I’d first met last year at Graspop. The benefits of always wearing the same (Newcastle United) shirt at festivals! Instead, I caught a couple of songs by Heaven’s Basement, and then a few minutes of Soulfly (still trying to be classic Sepultura, still failing) before wandering over to the Apollo stage to get a good position.

The next two hours or so were a blur. A violent, jumping, moshpit of a blur.

Anthrax were the first “must see” of the day and they didn’t disappoint – do they ever? With Joey Belladonna back in the fold, the band ploughed through a 40-minute set consisting completely of classics. Metal Thrashing Mad, Antisocial, Indians… and closing with the utterly geek-tastic I Am The Law. My only issue? Well, apart from it being too short? That most of the kids in the audience only knew the first verse and chorus of the Dredd-inspired masterpiece. What are they teaching kids in schools these days? Oh, wait. That’s my job.

Anyway, Scott Ian and company take their bow and I leg it across the field scattering all and sundry to make it to Fear Factory on the Saturn Stage. I get there just as the band are announced and jump into another pit. Much thumping and violence ensues. As ever, the highest bounces and hardest hits are reserves for Replica. Fear Factory, as I stated when I saw them back in February, still definitely have it – especially since Dino Cazares rejoined.

Papa Roach

Papa Roach

Battered and starting to bruise, I turned 180 and ran back to the Apollo stage and managed to crush my way near the front for Papa Roach. Again, a great set but why on earth did they feel that they had to try and squeeze in a new song? Granted it was OK, but with 45 minutes of stage time they really could have stuck to songs the crowd knew.

Dribbling with perspiration (mine and others’, I’m sure), I ambled gingerly back to the Saturn Stage to watch Apocalyptica but gave up after 3 tracks as the sound was awful. Back at the campsite, I ate a lot of junk food and read my book as Good Charlotte wafted down from the Apollo. They sounded surprisingly good and I almost wish I’d stayed up to watch them.

Out of curiosity I walked up to see Corey Taylor doing his acoustic set in the early evening and just managed to squeeze into a packed tent. For those who don’t know, Corey plays with Slipknot so the obvious assumption is that he just hits things, makes noise and has no talent at all (not my opinion, but hey).

That couldn’t be further from the truth. As well as acoustic versions of Slipknot and Stone Sour songs, there was Johnny Cash played and sung with incredible passion. Seriously, this guy was superb. You could buy an album of his stuff and give it to your gran as a present. She’d love it. As did I.

Concrete proof that heavy metal produces musicians, not just noise makers.

Next up on the Saturn Stage were Motley Crue. So I walked down to the Jagermeister tent instead. After their abysmal performance at Graspop the other year I didn’t want to waste my time with them. I met up with Jane and Jason to watch Earthtone9. I thought I recognised the name and it turns out this was their first gig in 8 years. I think I’ve got an album somewhere from the old days when I used to DJ!

My next choice was a toughie – go and watch Pendulum or head into town and get a reasonably-priced dinner. OK, no competition. Pendulum suck more than a high-end Dyson so off to KFC I went. The buses were much emptier and swifter this time and I spent an enjoyable return trip chatting to some of the festival staff. Definitely preferable to listening to a vocalist pretend he’s a black gang-star rapper. Muppet.

Rammstein

Rammstein

Prior to the carnival that was to be Rammstein, I caught up with Moni and Flo for a quick natter but decided I wanted to be a little further forward than they were sitting. Definitely worth the effort though I wish I could have got even closer, even at risk of losing my eyebrows.

I will go no further with describing Rammstein’s set. There aren’t enough superlatives to describe how much I enjoyed it anyway. I’d still not buy their albums but I’m interested in knowing what the best live DVD they’ve released it – it’s on my list as soon as I get an informed opinion.

In short, roll over Alice Cooper. Marilyn Manson can take a seat. Even Maiden with their huge animated stage sets may as well just stick to using nothing but lights any more. Rammstein are without doubt the most impressive entertainers in the rock/metal world. I have never seen a band interact so little with their audience during their set. Never have I cared less. The only disappointment was that they finished with half an hour of their allotted time remaining. I guess this was just a scheduling thing, but it did leave a huge crowd milling around expecting even more!

The final act of the evening was to be Therapy? playing their “Troublegum” album right through. However, after two false starts where the sound and lights died, I gave up. At least I can say I’ve seen them even if they only got as far as the first chorus of Knives. Twice.

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