LIVE: Sonisphere @ Knebworth – Saturday (09/07/2011)
July 20th, 2011
Photo gallery: View it here
Note: As only three members of the site were able to attend the festival weekend, we were sadly unable to cover every band performing throughout the day.
Onto day number two of the 2011 Sonisphere festival and now all of the stages are in full operation. Taking the main stage headline spot after the legendary UK debut appearance of The Big 4 less than 24-hours before is Scottish trio Biffy Clyro. Along with a host of many other great bands across the festivals many stages, the excitement continues onwards.
SYLOSIS – 7/10
Starting their festival days off early and braving their hangovers, there’s a surprisingly large crowd anxiously waiting for Sylosis to take the stage. Although the drums drown out everything to begin with, things are quickly sorted out. Even though it’s before the clocks hit noon, there are some mighty aggressive pits going on during the likes of ‘Eclipsed’ and ‘Altered States Of Consciousness’. They sound amazing live, somewhat similar to Lamb Of God, and bring an excellent show, helping to kick off Saturday in style.
ARCHITECTS – 8/10
Having been in the spotlight for some time now, Architects know how to work any crowd, or so it would seem. With the majority of the set being from their latest album ‘The Here And Now’, the crowd sings and bounces along quite contently. However, it’s when songs from ‘Hollow Crown’ are played that things really kick off. Though songs like ‘Heartburn’ and ‘Learn To Live’ bring an incredible atmosphere, it’s not until the sheer rage of ‘In Elegance’ kicks in where the pits exploding across the main stage were sublime. Plus, the wall of death for ‘Early Grave’ was almost out of this world.
CAVALERA CONSPIRACY – 8/10
Max Cavalera is sort of like the Don of a metal, a true family man, with some sort of involvement with so many bands. He plays the best of his entire back catalogue (like Sepultura‘s ‘Refuse/Resist’ and Nailbomb‘s ‘Cockroaches’) as well as the prime songs of Cavalera Conspiracy. Max‘s family-side comes to play when he brings out his kids Richie and Igor to play alongside him. Easy nomination for best dad ever. He effortlessly creates an incredible atmosphere and strolls around the stage, admiring the epic turn out for his band. It goes without saying that they ended the set on ‘Roots, Bloody Roots’, and it was fucking amazing.
BAD RELIGION – 6/10
Veterans of punk rock Bad Religion stride on stage looking like they were old enough to be the fathers of previous Saturn stage band Kids In Glass Houses. Cramming their 45-minute long set with a total of 15 songs, they waste no time in kicking things off with ‘The Resist Stance’. While nostalgic for some, their set tended to drag in places and therefore seemed just a tad dull. But, they make up for this with amazing songs such as ‘American Jesus’ and ‘The Defence’ (which is a song about chess, apparently). Overall, it was an enjoyable show, by a very influential band, though far from perfection.
YOU ME AT SIX – 7/10
Kind of like the UK equivalent to All Time Low (except far more mature and far less annoying), You Me At Six may not have stacked many years against many of those who’ve already graced the Apollo stage this weekend, but with a set tighter than a gnat’s arse why should that really matter? Their pop-punk/pop-rock tales of relationship woe is most definitely aimed at a reasonably young demographic, but with the insatiable hooks scattered across their set in the likes of ‘Stay With Me’, ‘If I Were In Your Shoes’ and ‘Save It For The Bedroom’ to name but a few were spread across the crowd and stuck with all those affected for hours to follow, much like the common cold, except with running noses and headaches.
WEEZER – 9/10
Looking more like a group of Apple Store Genius’s than a main stage status rock band, Weezer give an effortlessly amazing show. There’s just something about them and their songs that just works so that they can just play and sound amazing. Entering the stage whilst kicking a football, frontman Rivers Cuomo just casually picks up a guitar, in front of thousands of people and happily strums into ‘Undone (The Sweater Song)’. Even if you’re not a Weezer fan, they have an infectious live presence that means you just can’t turn away. Plus, their covers of ‘Teenage Dirtbag’ by Wheatus and ‘Paranoid Android’ by Radiohead were out of this world. A stunning performance by an almighty and blissfully-nerdy band.
BIFFY CLYRO – 8/10
Off the back of their two most recent albums, ‘Puzzle’ and ‘Only Revolutions’, Scottish three-piece outfit Biffy Clyro have managed to catapult themselves into soaring heights from their smaller venue days of yore. Opener ‘The Captain’ explodes into action with huge barrages of confetti and paper being blasted across the crowds. The anathematic ‘Living Is A Problem Because Everyone Dies’ displays the band at one of their strongest moments, ‘There’s No Such Thing As A Jaggy Snake’ brings back their older days of Simon Neil‘s raspy shrieks, whereas the more solemn moment of ‘Machines’, where Simon is encased and surrounded by a chandelier of lights, tugs strongly at the heartstrings. Of course, chart-topper ‘Mountains’ closes things off for what is a fantastic set by a band who’ve stuck at things and have finally been rewarded for their persistent efforts.
RICHARD CHEESE & LOUNGE AGAINST THE MACHINE – 9/10
Although the tempo of the music may have been slowed down, that doesn’t mean the festival has too. Strolling on stage in a fine suit to the tinkles of piano keys, Richard Cheese looks on with a grin on his face and a drink in his hand. In his wisdom, he cuts the fat off most of his covers, leaving just the juicy meat of a verse and chorus. His array of lounge styled spins of tracks covers an array of artists, from Sonisphere bookings like Weezer, Slipknot and Limp Bizkit to Black Eyed Peas. He gives an overall fantastic, witty and memorable performance, throwing free CDs into the crowd and creating a security guard conga (God bless you 0294 for being the ONLY ONE who joined in). Richard Cheese, you are a legend.
GALLOWS – 9/10
By now, surely everyone has heard the news that Gallows frontman, Frank Carter has left the band to peruse a career in his new project, Pure Love. With this in mind, he encourages, nay, demands the crowd to give it everything. Creating a circle pit at least 200 meters in diameter surrounding the sound desk and a wall of death even bigger, he looks on with a great look of pride on his face. This is clearly a very important gig for them, and they take the time to thank all the people who have helped them get where they are, they bring out most of them to sing along for their last song ‘Orchestra Of Wolves’. One of the highlights of the day was seeing thousands of people throw back their head and howl like a wolf at the appropriate part of the song.
KIDS IN GLASS HOUSES – 6/10
To their credit, Welsh outfit Kids In Glass Houses know they are out of place, saying themselves that they are “the gay boys of the block”. Regardless of this, they give an entertaining performance, and you can see people in Slayer shirts bopping along to their bouncy melodies like ‘Animals’ and ‘Sunshine’. And, of course, where would a British festival be without the inevitable downpour, one in which KIGH power through and do their best not to let the rain dampen the spirits of the crowd. It may not have been the most memorable performance of the day, but it was a good show none the less.
SUM 41 – 7/10
There’s a huge turnout for pioneers of pop-punk Sum 41, with the crowd eagerly waiting to hear their happy bouncy songs spread across the years to way back in 2001. Those waiting to hear ‘the hits’ are left in wait however, as for the first half of the set they played mainly new and unknown songs, and spent a lot of time dicking about, getting people on stage and whatnot, which came across as a desperate attempt to be like Green Day‘s Billie Joe Armstrong. The addition of playing Metallica covers doesn’t make much sense either, seeing as almost everyone had seen them the night before. However, after the covers, they play the three big ones; ‘Fat Lip’, ‘In Too Deep’ and ‘Still Waiting’. Despite being cut off half way through the latter of the three, it was a phenomenal sceptical watching the whole of the crowd finishing the song, whilst Sum 41 remained on stage playing on anyway.
ALL TIME LOW – 6/10
Love them or hate them, it’s hard to deny that All Time Low put on a good show… if you’re a 14-year-old girl. Most of their set is spent talking about getting girls back stage and shouting out “boobies”, not a very wise move considering the age of your target demographic ATL. The ‘humour’ spread across between songs wasn’t particularly funny, and though the band have kind of built that into their identity over the years, ATL would fair much better with a more serious persona. However, lead singer Alex Gaskarth has an amazing live voice, and credit where credit is due, it was a fairly good set, even shoving in a spontaneous cover of ‘I Kissed A Girl’. Everyone was jumping around and singing along despite the pouring rain, and that’s got to count for something, right?
THE MARS VOLTA – 9/10
They may not very frequent visitors our British shores, and despite forming back in 2001 The Mars Volta aren’t half as popular as some bands who’ve only been at it for a few short years. However, when the El Paso outfit come onstage, there’s nothing but sheer realisation that we’re missing out. Frontman Omar Rodríguez-López‘s erratic and unpredictable onstage charisma is enough of a spectacle to behold; seeing him throwing a security barrier off the stage, pushing the cameras about, hiding himself behind some stage drapes, and basically going off his nut. Not many people sang along to the band’s luscious soundscapes other than popular single ‘The Widow’, but when you have Omar and co channelling them out to upmost perfection that’s all you need. What’s more, there aren’t many bands out there who have a boiling kettle onstage for them to drink coffee as opposed to the usual beer or water.
WHILE SHE SLEEPS – 8/10
One of the new strongly emerging British metalcore bands on the scene, with plenty of energy and great playing ability sent the crowd wild. It’s amazing to see how packed of a tent the Sheffield quintet can draw in considering their short amount of time in the public eye, and the huge crowd roars of “give me your hand” during fan favourite ‘Crows’ shows nothing but a strong and huge potential for While She Sleeps come 2012.
ME VS. HERO – 7/10
Packing out the Bohemia tent for their set, Blackpool boys Me Vs. Hero are getting more and more popular every year. With a good stage presence, they send the crowd absolutely wild for their hard-hitting pop-punk, akin to that of Four Year Strong. However, much like with Decade, they act like most other popcore bands emerging lately and it’s starting to feel insincere. An injection of something fresh to set them ahead of the masses is going to be required in the near future to keep things moving smoothly.
CHERRI BOMB – 6/10
Probably the youngest band on the entirety of the festival’s bill, both individually and collectively, pop-rock girl ensemble Cherri Bomb prove that age isn’t an issue with their respectable spot on the Bohemia stage. Though their pop-rock style isn’t all that refreshing or original, credit is due to them for managing to pull it off better than a lot of their peers. Their cover of Foo Fighers hit ‘The Pretender’ may boast to be a little annoying and terribly pulled off, but at least their heart is in the right place. The older men in the crowd don’t seem to be complaining either, perversely looking at the four-piece in their tight and revealing clothing. Gross.
STEVE-O – 7/10
The tent is jam packed with people gathered around the blocked off entrances to the tent, just to catch a glimpse of the Jackass and Wildboyz legend Steve-O. He starts by getting naked before sharing tales of how he overcame drugs and alcohol for the following 10 minutes, which came across as a self-pat on the back more than anything. He then goes on to barrage us with unbelievable crude tales of his sexual mishaps and endeavours, which was unbelievable low-brow, but still funny. For the remainder of his show, he plays a cringe worthy sample of his rap album before launching into what everyone wants: Jackass stunts. Creating a fireball with his own mouth he then goes on to do a flip through it, before whipping out his iPhone and points it at the crowd who are chanting “Steve-O! Steve-O! Steve-O!”. Swiftly changing it as a tribute to his recent tragic loss, cries of “Ryan Dunn! Ryan Dunn!”, both in and outside of the tent, prove a fitting and moving tribute for the loss of his dear friend.
PULLED APART BY HORSES – 9/10
A band known for their stage presence and post-hardcore/grunge/heavy indie mix of music, Pulled Apart By Horses are far from a boring sight onstage if you don’t really dig the tunes. From the word go, the Leeds-grown band are jumping around the stage, crowd surfing and getting themselves stuck in with as much action as humanly possible, all whilst playing as well as they always manage to. Demoing some new tracks on the crowd went down a storm much like the rest of the set, and firmly established live hard-hitters ‘I Punched A Lion In The Throat’ and ‘Yeah Buddy’ staple down the fact that PABH are a strong live act.
GINGER WILDHEART – 9/10
One of the more longer running acts playing at this festival, Ginger, who has played with many bands over the years, makes an appearance at Sonisphere with a set including material from a broad range from many of his various different projects. With the as usual superb presence that Ginger constantly delivers, the crowd lapped it up without any need for encouragement.
GOJIRA – 8/10
Gojira is their name, progressive death metal is their game, and a packed out Bohemia stage says many people at this festival were after it too. The band play their set with fantastic precision and wrathful elegance, and have a stage presence to match. They manage to pull out of the bag one of the most crushing sets of the day, and judging by the reaction from the majority of the crowd many others agree.
THE SISTERS OF MERCY – 7/10
With more smoke and carefully aimed lights than Sunn O))), the air was literally thick with atmosphere. Much like Ginger, The Sisters Of Mercy are a very long running band in the rock/metal scene with a big following still. Their mix of industrial rock/metal goes down well with the large crowd that had been brought into the Bohemia tent by them. The band were a great way to finish the Saturday night for everyone willing to stick around after Biffy Clyro closed up on the main stage.
YOU AND WHAT ARMY – 6/10
To say this band is a little weird is an understatement, narrowing them any further down than ‘music’ is difficult. Whatever they are, they’re funny to watch live, and I assume their music is funny. But, honestly, I’m not totally sure. They’re clearly not a band to take seriously, so I won’t. It’s funny to watch, and rather enjoyable, so what more do you need?
HILL VALLEY HIGH – 7/10
With a packed tent thanks to the aid of the rain (though not everyone else would be as thankful for its appearance), these lucky fellows draw in a huge crowd to play to. With a mix of pop-punk with a selection of electro vibes was clearly appreciated by the majority of the crowd. Involving the crowd and playing well helped the set go down a treat to all those avoiding the rain, and to reiterate what was said earlier, any newly converted fans may well be thankful to the weather for this new find.
THE HYPE THEORY – 7/10
Female fronted pop-punkers The Hype Theory have been posting their flyers about all over the place prior to their show, and playing to a pretty filled-out tent seems to show their promo efforts have paid off. Katy Jackson‘s voice stays strong through songs like ‘We Will Be Singing’ and the megaphone aided new single ‘Kid At Heart’, with the band driving along the overall summer vibe they deliver with chugging guitars and steady rhythm. There’s time yet, but The Hype Theory may well be the UK’s answer to Paramore and No Doubt.
INNERPARTYSYSTEM – 7/10
A band slowly moving towards DJing more and more, but still throwing in some of their own tunes still, all mixed well together. One of the few completely electro sets during the day time at Sonisphere, the New Yorkers still manage to get a largeish crowd down into the time with them to share their dance vibes. Whilst the crowd didn’t really actually dance to their electronica hits, there were a few people moving about, enough to not class their set as anything near a failure.
TEK-ONE – 8/10
A refreshing offering of dubstep from Tek-One goes down considerably well. With the whole tent being full of smoke and darkness, it feels just like a dubstep club, not to mention all the dirt, dirty bass and just generally dirt that dubstep inflicts on all it captures in its soundscapes. Tek-One splice metal samples in their songs, to keep in tone with the generality of Sonisphere. This coupled with the immense live drumming from former The Dead Formats and Rinao member James May goes down very well and the dance floor is fairly rammed. The few times when MC Tonn Piper actually raps, I was completely blown away by the sheer speed of it. It was completely memorizing. The whole tent spent the entire set moving as much as they could, especially when a dubstep Tetris remix came on. Pure genius.
NO AMERICANA – 7/10
So for some hard rock dashed with essence of punk: No Americana. The newcoming bands onto the scene play a rather impressive set for the small but keen crowd they managed to attract to the Jagermeister stage. With just one EP under their belt, the band don’t have much to work with for their set, but none the less NA manage to deal the goods.
THE TREATMENT – 8/10
It’s time to go back to 1984 with The Treatment, who come complete with high tops and denim jackets a-plenty, along with some very classic rock influenced heavy metal. With some amazing playing showing great master of their instruments and great presence on stage, the band get the crowd going and make it look like a breeze in the process.
PANIC CELL – 9/10
Panic Cell prove to be one of the first bands of the day to absolutely pack out the Jagermeister stage, and for good reason too. Sonisphere marks to be the band’s last ever set, a with the band being a favourite amongst the heavy metal scene in England, and it’s an awfully sad moment to see them go their separate ways. However, to say the least, they play a stormer of a final set to ensure they end things with a huge bang. With plenty of movement and stage presence, Panic Cell ensure that their final set was one that wouldn’t be forgotten quickly.
SIX HOUR SUNDOWN – 6/10
Drawing a respectable sized crowd (probably due to the insanely hot female vocalist Lauren Harris wearing some very tight clothing), Six Hour Sundown don’t disappoint. Some trivia for those not already in the know, Lauren is daughter of Steve Harris, the bassist from Iron Maiden. Sounding like a female equivalent of Papa Roach, their hard-rock vibes fit in well with the tone of the festival. Although the crowd are reluctant to do more than sway about a bit and throw their arms in the air, they receive a polite and warming response. They have a good selection of well written and catchy songs like ‘All My Life’ and ‘Live With Freedom’, even if they are a tad repetitive. Give them a few years, and this band could definitely become something bigger.
THE CRAVE – 6/10
Currently a band that is on the up in the public eye, The Crave play some good hard rock, mixed with some good stage presence which of course together make for a great set. The whole show goes down well with the crowd, with a few singing and clapping along to their catchy tunes, despite the lack of remembering qualities they may leave behind.
RIVAL SONS – 6/10
American blue-rockers Rival Sons take the stage where lead singer Jay Buchanan jitters around onstage just like Mick Jagger used to do back in the day. Despite this, he has possibly the best voice of the entire festival, with his blues-esque style drawing a crowd like a sirens call. They play a 30-minute set filled with excellent and catchy riffs and moving songs. After a while it gets kind of samey, a bit like Clutch can get sometimes. The crowd seem to like them though and give them a good response, and they will have definitely recruited some new fans too.
SAINT JUDE – 5/10
Looking like a blast from the past, Saint Jude take the stage, with lead singer Lynne Jackaman donning a 60s flower hippy dress thing. She has an outstanding voice, similar to that of Halestorm‘s Lzzy Hale. Given a juicy 45-minute set, they shower us with the tinkle of piano keys and some vibrant, groovy riffs. They do tend to drag on a bit, and their sound soon becomes tedious and repetitive. Though, their energetic performance does manage to win over the crowd, and has them swaying along toward the end of the set.
BLACK SPIDERS – 7/10
Seeming to be permanently on tour, Black Spiders have certainly earned themselves a headliners spot on the Jagermeister stage. And as darkness falls, there is a surprisingly large crowd, chanting away and eager to see these British rockers. Sounding like the love-child of Motorhead and Black Sabbath, they whip up a frenzy, with the crowd running around and banging their heads throughout. They are true showmen too and epic guitarists (there’s three of them, which may sound like too many, but infact is just right) with their songs full of blistering solos. They are a bit samey and tedious in places, but they are also incredibly talented too, and you can see why so many bands ask them to support them. Ending the night on ‘Blood Of The Kings’, they did an excellent job in being an alternative band for Biffy Clyro haters.
Written by Zach Redrup, Andy Roberts and Jon Andrews