Live Review: Sonisphere Festival – Day Two [Knebworth Park, Stevenage] August 2, 2009

DAY TWO PARADISE LOST [APOLLO STAGE] Buckcherry act as our perfect Sunday morning hangover cure. Frontman Josh Todd rocked the stage with his unique energy and included the trademark tune […]

SONISPHERE

DAY TWO

PARADISE LOST [APOLLO STAGE]

Buckcherry act as our perfect Sunday morning hangover cure. Frontman Josh Todd rocked the stage with his unique energy and included the trademark tune ‘Crazy Bitch’ along with a new track titled ‘Rescue Me’ which is apparently about child-abuse…which of course, we all needed to know. Overall though, a satisfying set from glam-rocks nu-school.

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[LC]

PARADISE LOST [SATURN STAGE]350

Yorkshire’s favourite Goth-metallers get moody with their powerful choices today. Balancing the heavy older material and the latest more Industrial-tinged new stuff very well,  they appeal to the black-clad masses who for the most part (with exception to Bjorn Again…of course) have had little to shout about over the course of this festival. The standout tune of the set is without question ‘Say Just Words’ as it packs in some trademark hammering drums, cascading riffs and danceable keyboard touches. These Northern rock legends do us very proud today with a standout showing.

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[DS]

Killing JokeKILLING JOKE [APOLLO STAGE]

The world’s first really successful Industrial-punk band have come to reek havoc all-over Sonisphere, and with their performance today they undoubtedly become one of our favourite band’s of the festival. Cracking out all the essential tracks including ‘Love Like Blood’ and our fave, ‘The WaitJaz Coleman and co. are on fine form. You might not think it, but Killing Joke have influenced just about every major rockstar that this decade has seen become successful. Their unique blend of 80s punk and contemporary electronics makes them a must see band, and a group that you should definitely check out if you haven’t already. Also, if you want to learn how to be a decent frontman, you have to look no further than Coleman for some inspiration. The vocalist writhes about like a twisted master to his own personal slaves and he grabs everyone’s attention and keeps it hooked for the entire performance.

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[DS]

ATTACK! ATTACK! [JAGER TRUCK STAGE]

Lancashire-natives Dear Superstar have been making a name for themselves recently by touring extensively with Papa Roach and Buckcherry, consequently wowing European crowds. To be honest it’s a wonder why they are only given a shot on the Jager Truck stage. However, this intimate setting gives us the perfect opportunity to check out their gargantuan riffs, powerful drums and Motley-style glam screams on the excellent ‘Brothers In Blood’. These guys have all the confidence and drive to be one of Northern rock music’s biggest and brightest exports and following the set we are left in good spirits and feeling very proud of the five lads from Rossendale. See them when you can.

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[DS]

DEAD BY APRIL [BOHEMIA TENT]

This is rock music with serious pop aesthetics. It’s like they’re a Welsh-version of Fall Out Boy with bigger riffs and tastier hooks. Tracks like ‘You And Me’ standout as favourites in this well-attended tent. ‘Too Bad Son’ is another great tune that packs all of Jimmy Eat World’s energy into a neat and accessible rock package. This material is extremely uplifting and it will grab you by the balls and pull – though you may not expect to, we think you’ll like it…a lot.

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DEAD BY APRIL [BOHEMIA TENT]

We had never even seen or heard of this Swedish five-piece before we ventured into the Bohemia tent to see what all the word-of-mouth fuss was about. Needless to say, we were pleasantly surprised by their onslaught of modern alternative rock. The group mix in slicing metal guitars with undeniably catchy flashes of electronica and uplifting vocals. There’s only four out of the usual five on stage today due to illness, but not once do we feel like we’re missing out with tracks like ‘Losing You’ and ‘Angels Of Clarity’ sounding more fresh and powerful than anything Linkin Park have come up with recently. To summarise, these guys rock the roof off of the tent and are set to blow you away in the future. Catch them on the road over here supporting Skindred in a few months.

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[DS]

MACHINE HEAD [APOLLO STAGE]

What a surprise?! Machine Fuckin’ Head – the band that pulled out because of a dispute because of how they were placed on the bill are back in exactly the same spot after some controversy (and probably a hefty pay-rise). Now all the annoying technical stuff aside, Rob Flynn‘s men are a pretty great live act and there are certainly no surprises there. As the band break into the mighty ‘Davidian’ any hard feelings from those in attendance are instantly forgotten as some huge circle pits are created and thousands of fists hit the air in unison…ahh, it’s all rather beautiful, really. That being said though, for SPHERE, ‘Imperium’ is the standout track as it conjures up many a childhood memory for us, but fast-forwarding to today there’s not a single still body in this crowd and it’s one of the coolest things we have ever seen. It’s all about a mass of sweaty rock kids bouncing on top of and smacking into one-another all in the name of one of the defining bands of modern metal…honestly, can you imagine anything more lovely?

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[DS]

FEEDER [BOHEMIA TENT]CT

After a long wait, Corey Taylor enters to the cheers of an eager crowd. A multitude of technical difficulties delayed the set by 20 minutes and with Bohemia having such a full line-up, this meant that Corey’s guitar wasn’t properly fixed for the set. Regardless, this is probably the fullest the tent has been all day, so much so that disappointed fans are being refused entry to the loudest crowd this journo ever been a part of. Unfortunately, it looked like most of the audience wasn’t expecting an acoustic set from the Slipknot frontman and the crowd decreased as the set went on. Many of the songs he sang were pretty much unknown, but went down well with the ones that stayed to watch the whole thing cheering and screaming – particularly as Corey shyly apologizes for the sound. His acoustic renditions of the Stone Sour tracks ‘Bother’ and ‘Through Glass’ are beautiful, and the whole tent shakes with the amount of voices joining him for the choruses. It’s great to see this softer, modest side of a man who earlier this year we saw completely tear up the stage at Download festival with  the ‘knot. Maybe the years behind a mask have had more of an emotional effect on him than we first thought…?

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[HG]

FEEDER [SATURN STAGE]

Brit-rock mainstays Feeder are simply a lot bigger and better within the live arena than they are on record. With a tongue-in-cheek homage to Nirvana alongside the staple hits ‘Just A Day’ and ‘Buck Rogers’ vocalist Grant Nicholas et al satisfy and surprise the metal majority. Feeder seem to have everything thrown and them and still they manage to triumph greatly through adversity. Sonisphere was undoubtedly a daunting challenge for the group, but they rise to the task, as usual with guitars a’ raging, limbs a’ swinging and heads a’bangin’ – good work.

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[LC]

Limp BizkitLIMP BIZKIT [APOLLO STAGE]

Okay, it perhaps shouldn’t lead our review but we’re just going to say it out loud – Wes Borland is frickin’ weird! He comes out in this white gimp mask and on his lower half; well…we can see his pubes. It’s a good job he’s a mint shredder otherwise we might have lost our tasty VIP lunch. Ever-gobby Frontman Fred Durst comes out in his classic Adidas jacket and pays homage to long-time rival Trent Reznor before he, and rest of the band rock out on stage with most of their hits from the most famous (and infamous) album ‘Chocolate Starfish And The Hot Dog Flavoured Water’. The sweaty and raging set includes all the major hits, ‘Rollin’, ‘My Generation’ ‘Hot Dog’ and ‘My Way’. The latest song that they pull-out from that weird-ass mask of Borland‘s was the 2003 hit ‘Eat You Alive’ from the ‘Results May Vary’ album. This allows Durst to get down n’ dirty with his fans…just how he likes it, we suspect? Limp Bizkit are definitely bringing back nu-metal (hallelujah) but now it’s time for some new material lads? – Just so you know, we do it for the ‘Nookie’ too Fred…honest!

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[LC]

photoblog [JAGER TRUCK STAGE]

We’ve said it before but The Defiled are the new breed of British Industrial with the added accessibility of modern rock acts like Bullet For My Valentine. On the new EP’s title track, ‘1888’ the band recall the prominent mid-90s act American Head Charge while adding their own unique metalcore stamp. Meanwhile, ‘The Ressurectionists’ explodes with hammering electro elements and furious metallic drums. Also worth noting is the fact that the stage-show is simply epic, and very very dangerous. As we were pre-warned in our interview with the band, the keyboard is indeed the first thing to go, or more accurately it’s destroyed quicker than anything else on the tiny stage. Not since Manson’s heyday have we seen anything this dark, heavy and scary. The Defiled are our standout act of this weekend without question. Go see them as soon as you possibly can.

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[DS]

ALICE IN CHAINS [SATURN STAGE] Alice_In_Chains

It’s simply wonderful to see the frankly phenomenal Alice In Chains back over here, all rejuvenated and fresh like. It’s especially cool that the group have a new album and singer to promote and as such they are especially keen to rock the bloody place to its foundations. “Can William DuVall fill the shoes of Layne Staley?”, you ask…Hmm, let us think…yep! With a rousing rendition of ‘Man In A Box’ and a super-charged and amped-up version of the anthemic ‘Would?’ it’s pretty safe to say that this bloke can certainly get the job done. With DuVall’s strong voice (that nods towards Staley’s hypnotic tones, but with a unique energy and vibrance), alongside Jerry Cantrell’s unique writing skills, Alice In Chains are once again set to become an unstoppable force within the ever-changing realm of alternative rock music.

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[LC]

AVENGED SEVENFOLD [APOLLO STAGE]

Simply put, this is heart-breaking stuff. It was always going to be obvious that today’s set would be emotional and the fact that Trent actually breaks down for a few short moments while on stage is certainly a testament to that. It’s a shame that recently the singer has come under-fire from fans on the interweb for being “too happy” and it’s our opinion that’s taken its toll on the way the Industrial-leg-end views the music industry and his fanbase. Today’s performance could be interpreted in many ways; the ultimate sad goodbye or a large middle finger to the metal crowd who are expecting his band to play the heavier side of NIN material for the band’s last European show for the foreseeable future. Either way this set seems unusually sombre, but there’s an overwhelming feeling that Reznor composed it to bring out all of his emotion and to tap into the emotions of his fanbase. Later tracks like, ‘Lights In The Sky’ and the much older ‘Something I Can Never Have’ couldn’t be more juxtaposed with the anger embodied within ‘The Wretched’ or ‘Wish’ but each song seems to have its place as part of this obscure, but meaningful performance.

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[DS]

Avenged_SevenfoldAVENGED SEVENFOLD [SATURN STAGE]

This is the kind of show that will go down as one of their best yet with the established fans, or it will certainly impress the non-believers and make them eat the casual “emo” references they have chucked about previously when talking about A7X. The band makes the most of their increasingly popular catalogue and when they break-out the mosh-ready powerhouse that is ‘Beast And The Harlot’ and the chaotic-yet-strangely-alluring ‘Gunslinger’ bodies hit the floor and we bounce inside a mass of sweaty eyeliner clad bodies for the classic hit ‘Unholy Confessions’ that proves vocalist M. Shadows still has a growl-or-two left in him and in-turn satisfies the packed crowd. Typically, the band leaves the affecting ballad ‘Almost Easy’ until last, leaving the fans to chant along and ready they for the ultimate hard-rock climax that is Metallica.

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[LC]

day one[APOLLO STAGE]Metallica

We’ve never seen Metallica, yes that’s right – we said it. The truth is that SPHERE have never really seen the point in worshipping Hetfield and co. Today though, we stand corrected. This band are the physical embodiment of heavy metal and they pack everything into this set. Balancing new material like the blistering ‘Cyanide’ with the epic ‘Nothing Else Matters’ and ‘Master Of Puppets’. Indeed, ‘Tallica slay this evening and show everyone in attendance why they are simply the best at this stuff when they close with a cover of Queen‘s ‘Stone Cold Crazy‘ and ‘Seek And Destroy’. What a bloody fine ending to the UK leg of Sonisphere, ladies and germs! It’s been deliciously heavy. On that note, it’s James Hetfield’s birthday – so he gets some cake in the face, naturally. And shockingly, it’s the last day of the band’s massive world tour (they have been on the road since around February) so we think it’s time that they go home and rest, proud of the fact that they have turned team SPHERE into their puppets. Cheers and goodnight Knebworth.

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[DS]

Check out our review of day one!

Also, you check out more photos in Helen’s photoblog!

* All photos are the property of SPHERE Magazine and may not be distributed or published elsewhere without the consent of this publication.

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