LIVE: Sonisphere @ Knebworth – Sunday (10/07/2011)

Date: July 10th, 2011
Venue: Knebworth House, Knebworth
Website: uk.sonispherefestivals.com
Facebook: www.facebook.com/sonisphereuk
Twitter: www.twitter.com/sonisphere

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.

The third and final day of the Sonisphere weekend brings to the table another day filled with brilliant acts sprawling across a range of different genres. With what might be Slipknot‘s final UK performance together (at least with the current line-up), it’s an emotional and iconic day for all maggots in attendance.


APOLLO STAGE

VOLBEAT – 5/10
Danish metalheads and Elvis fanatics Volbeat show up a full 20 minutes early, so they can cram as many songs in their set as they can. They whack up the volume, making it the loudest it’s been all festival and probably to irritate those with hangovers still in their tents. If you’re a massive Volbeat fan (like me), then this was an epic set, 10 out of 10, easily. But, if you don’t really know them, then this was a pretty average performance. Plus, their usual onstage antics and crowd perception was missing, which didn’t do them any favours. An amazing band that could have (and should have) put in a bit more effort.

ARCH ENEMY – 6/10
Casually strolling on stage to the ‘Khaos Overture’, Angela Gossow‘s terrifying war cries ring out across the crowd. Their performance was good, but nothing special. Perhaps it’s due to the presence of sunlight as opposed to their usual setting of dark and intimate indoor venues. There’s still a considerable amount of motion in the crowd though, as hellish songs such as ‘Ravenous’ tear apart the speakers. Their set came to a sort of anti-climactic finish once they had finished playing ‘Nemesis’, this could also be due to the insane amount of travelling the band has recently under gone. Not a bad set, but not a great one either.

PARKWAY DRIVE – 8/10
Most hardcore bands know how to put on a good show, but Aussie lads Parkway Drive in recent years have set the bar up even higher, even with guitarist Luke ‘Pig’ Kilpatrick rocking out in a wheelchair. Now that’s dedication. Their set comprises mostly of their latest album ‘Deep Blue’ which goes down incredibly well, especially the inflatable-raft-crowd-surfing contest during ‘Sleepwalker’. This was a gruff and bloodthirsty set, with insane pits fuelled by the fuck-you-up breakdowns.

MASTODON – 9/10
Musical story tellers and ginger caveman look-a-likes Mastodon give effortlessly talented spectacle with their weird and extraordinary sounds. Although there is no real crowd interaction, they don’t need it when they sound this good, and there are very few bands who can get away with that. Playing a good chunk off of each of their albums, there’s a bit of the set for each level of Mastodon fan, from the die-hards all the way to the newbies. They put out a phenomenal show overall, especially during the bizarre and baffling ‘Bladecatcher’, which unearths utter chaos in the pit.

MOTORHEAD – 4/10
They’ve been at it for a long time, and through their years together Motorhead have gained an awful lot of respect and recognition for their contributions to what rock ‘n’ roll is today. However, it’s performances such as this which kind of let down their name and reputation. The likes of ‘Get Back In Line’ and ‘I Know How To Die’ are delivered with zero flare and excitement, and even their hugely popular ‘Ace Of Spades’ fails to project any level of buzz. Sadly, a rather boring set from Lemmy and the gang.

LIMP BIZKIT – 8/10
Since their inception, Limp Bizkit have polarised the opinions of metal fans, and since reforming from their recent hiatus this hasn’t changed. Still, the thousands of people standing before them says there’s still huge demand for these guys, and with the surprising success of recent album ‘Gold Cobra’ it doesn’t look like the end is night any time soon. However, Fred Durst and his crew stick by their loved hits, from the song-to-listen-to-when-angry ‘Break Stuff’ to the ridiculous ‘Rollin”, everyone knows and adores each one of their classics finally brought forth live once again. It’s great to see that the band have improved vastly since their appearance at Download in 2009, though Durst‘s embarassing song banter about penises and boobs still needs working on.

SLIPKNOT – 10/10
It’s an emotional day for the ‘knot, performing their first ever show on British soil since the loss of their fellow band mate and brother, Paul Gray. However, as frontman Corey Taylor so rightfully proclaims mid-set, “this is a celebration”, and what a celebration it was. Every maggot in earshot would be in state of utter pleasure with the band’s setlist of all their biggest hits: ‘(sic)’, ‘People = Shit’, ‘Opium Of The People’, ‘Wait & Bleed’. Each one of them sounds phenomenal, and hearing a rare live rendition of ‘Only One’ is an extra bonus for any avid fan of the Iowan beasts. Though Paul Gray may not be onstage with the other eight members of Slipknot, it seems the essence of him most certainley is, and the band are pulling out all of the stops to please and thank their fans for all of their support through what is certainely the most difficult time the band have been facing since May last year. Following the closing notes and ‘Surfacing’, the band all collect together in an embrace for what was definitely the most challenging performance of their careers, and take photos alongside the propped up boiler suit and mask of their tragically lost friend, Paul. Though the immediate future of Slipknot may not be set in stone at this point of time, this performance will most definitely be set in the memories of everyone in attendance for the rest of their lives.


SATURN STAGE

BLACK TIDE – 7/10
It seems that the current theme of the festival is do a Metallica cover in your set. Granted, Black Tide have always done ‘Hit The Lights’ anyway. With a sizable crowd at their disposal, these young Floridians launch into their perfectly played set, with their better songs like ‘Warriors Call’. Not the most memorable performance of the festival, but a good one at least.

HOUSE OF PAIN – 3/10
They may be a one hit wonder, but House Of Pain are brimming with under-rated talent. Lacking with an MC to begin with, they entertain us (or at least try to) with ‘Danny Boy, Danny Boy’. But, considering nearly everyone is just muttering amongst themselves and some even have their back turn to them, it’s obvious that everyone is only here for one song. A shame, I know, but it’s true. With only about 3 minutes of their set left, I wasn’t the only one in think “they’re not going to play it, are they? They’d better fucking play it”. But luckily they did. As soon as the brass from ‘Jump Around’ honks out, the whole crowd is up, bouncing away and loving every second of it. It almost was worth that tedious 20 minute wait. Almost.

2:00PM – PAUL GRAY’S MEMORIAL 2-MINUTE SILENCE
It would be a crime not to mention the tribute to Paul Gray at 2:00PM. This was a festival wide 2 minutes of silence that was both moving and haunting. Picture if you will around a good few thousand people stood in silence; no music, not even a peep from the theme park rides. Upon the stage was a lonesome, propped up figure of Paul’s boiler suit with mask. It was a very beautiful and respectful thing to be a part of. I think I speak for a lot of people when I say I finally got closure on Slipknot‘s tragic loss.

IN FLAMES – 9/10
Who better to get things going again than the Gods of melodic death metal themselves?: In Flames. An almighty roar rings out as the synth intro of ‘Cloud Connected’ is blasted out of the stereo. They sound so good live you would think that they’re miming. But then you would be slapped, for In Flames would never do that and you are foolish for thinking that. They play the best of their 21 year career, from songs as early as ‘The Hive’ to their latest helping ‘Where the Dead Ships Dwell’. Despite them being 10 minutes late, this was an exceptional show, with an insane ending of the infamous ‘Take This Life’.

BILL BAILEY – 8/10
An incredible unlikely support for Slipknot, Bill Bailey, surprisingly turns out to be a perfect choice. Not that he’s bad or anything, just that, y’know, it’s Slipknot. You would expect someone like KoRn maybe. Anyway, back to the act at hand. Bill Bailey certainly knows exactly what this crowd wants: fast and ridiculous, metal-related music. Whilst no one really knew what to expect for his set, they probably didn’t expect an entirely musical set. He baffles everyone with his genius rendition of ‘The Wurzels’ in a German accent, a Megadeth version of Gary Numan’s ‘Cars’ sung in French and the fantastic finale of ‘Enter Sandman’ on horns. With the crowd singing along to the songs they knew and plenty of laughter from the comedy of it all, the set went down a clear storm. This man is nothing short of a comedic genius, with his witty songs, convincing accents and just overall godly stage presence.


BOHEMIA STAGE

TURBOWOLF – 6/10
Turbowolf‘s interesting mix of crunching, metallic riffs, raw vocals, punk energy and swirling synth has a few heads nodding inside the tent, whilst their die-hard fans get moving in the middle. They do make quite a racket, and their reasonably well received set is a sign that better things may be coming soon for the band. They certainly have the potential as songs like ‘Ancient Snake’ seem to shake the very foundations of the tent and win them over a few new fans in the process, however, their routine soon gets a bit tiresome towards the end of their set.

KYLESA – 7/10
A band that includes a Theremin and two drummers is going to be good, and that’s exactly what Kylesa are. A sludge/post-metal band with an absolutely room filling sound mixed with brilliant playing gave for a rather amazing set.

INME – 7/10
A long time known alternative metal/grunge band with a long-time fan base who have all come out for today’s set. A band with great playing ability and definitely have great command over the crowd on stage, they definitely know what their fans love and can always deliver it too. Playing a range of their backcatalogue, from the fast-paced and heartfelt ‘Faster The Chase’ and the more technical ‘Herald Moth’, InMe can pull almost anything off.

JASON JOHN WHITEHEAD – 7/10
Canadian born Jason John Whitehead is very much a largely unknown comedian; however, based on this short routine this doesn’t make much sense, as his humorous routine has many an attendee in stitches. He banters with the crowd about his love life, and entertains them with his apparent gift for story telling with some short anecdotes. He even manages to throw in a few cheer lines regarding drugs at festivals. It’s a short, clichéd routine but it was enjoyable for the most part. Same time next year?

ANBERLIN – 6/10
Considering that the Bohemia tent is usually packed to the hilts, Anberlin fail to draw a big early crowd, but as soon as ‘Godspeed’ rings out, everyone rushes in. There’s nothing wrong with their set per say, but there is a notable lack of charisma. However, as the set goes on they up their game by turning up the distortion and breaking out a sublime cover of Depeche Mode‘s ‘Enjoy The Silence’. This all builds an epic finale with their signature song ‘Feel Good Drag’, to which the crowd goes ballistic.

CANCER BATS – 9/10
It seems that is genuinely impossible for Cancer Bats to do a bad show. As soon as the first chords of ‘Lucifer’s Rocking Chair’ kick in, all hell breaks loose. Bodies everywhere with limbs flailing, it was like a steam roller had gone berserk in a warehouse full of mannequins. You can tell by the big grin covering Liam Cormier‘s face that he never gets tired of this, and his grin gets even bigger during their destructive and downright bloodthirsty cover of Beastie Boys‘Sabotage’. Cancer Bats carry with them a stage presence that is off the wall and can never fail to make the crowd go insane for them, less vocally and more crowd surfingly, but it all points to an exemplary set from the band.

ALESTORM – 7/10
Wenches and MEADDDDDDDD! That is the sound of the pirate metal folks from Scotland, and it is oh so good. With a great stage presence and no lack of playing ability meant the crowd loved every minute of Alestorm‘s terrific set.

FOUR YEAR STRONG – 9/10
Newly re-devised four-piece Four Year Strong play a brand of pop-punk that draws very heavily on the hardcore elements of the genre, and tonight they are on their best, earth shattering form as they storm through songs like ‘Prepare To Be Digitally Manipulated’ and ‘It Must Really Suck To Be Four Year Strong Right Now’. By the time set closer ‘Wasting Time’ comes along, the crowd is firmly onside and they help the band out with the massive sing a long chorus. If it really does suck to be Four Year Strong right now, then it certainly does not show in this impressive showing.

THE ANSWER – 8/10
If you want classic rock, these are the band to provide, and they don’t half play it fantastically. With their lead singer having enough energy to dance around stage like he’s still 16 is a pleasure to see. With plenty of people turning out to see these lovely Irish lads play, they weren’t going to be disappointed by their set at all.

BAT SABBATH – 8/10
Cancer Bats + Black Sabbath covers = this, and ‘this’ was mind blowing. With not everybody clued up to who would be playing, there was some mild anticipation from the crowd for who they would see playing such a classic band a tribute. Much like their own set, Cancer Bats made for a mind blowing set, with the lead singer Liam Cormier dressing like Ozzy Osbourne ala ‘Paranoid’-era Black Sabbath only added to the already amazing presence of this band. The whole set not only did justice to Black Sabbath, but also to Cancer Bats as musicians. This was a great way to end the festival for all those who had stayed around for this set, and there was plenty of people to see this rare occurance.


RED BULL STAGE

ARCANE ROOTS – 7/10
Math rock + doomy vibes = these guys. This mix works great, and managed to bring a pretty big crowd considering how early in the morning it was. With a great sound and moving around onstage a lot only drew more people into the stage.

FEED THE RHINO – 8/10
Sweat and high loads of energy is always on the agenda for a Feed The Rhino show, and this one was no different. ‘The Butcher’ and ‘Mr. Red Eye’ are just two slabs of their anarchy injected hardcore, which sets vocalist Lee Tobin far into the crowd, surfing over the band’s adoring and dedicated fanbase. Feed The Rhino may be underground small timers at the moment, but sooner or later they’re going to explode, and it’s going to be bloody brilliant.

THE OCEAN BETWEEN US – 7/10
With less teeth being spread across the tent unlike their Download set, young Yorkshire upstarts The Ocean Between Us may not host the most experience under their belts, but they still manage to make one hell of a fucking racket regardless. Frontman Judd Wrighton barks and yells his way through the likes of ‘Hearts Of Lions’ and ‘Nice One Kid, You Just Brought A Knife To A Gun Fight’ better than many of his peers, driven by the gritty guitar force of Billy Gaskell and Simon Smyllie. Though some mic problems are encountered during ‘And Our Names Were Written In Water’ for bassist/backing vocalist Ben Beagles, the quick help of a female guest singing the cleans saves the day. Come 2012, The Ocean Between Us are going to be on the rise… if they’ve still got all their teeth by then.

FLOODS – 7/10
Mixing progressive ideas and ambience is getting a popular idea with post-hardcore bands, and so far, most bands are pulling it off really well, and Floods are amongst them! With some incredibly well thought out music and some amazing stage presence it made for a good mix. Frontman James Power is going in and out the crowd nearly every other song, and even climbing up the lighting rig, ensuring no one was going to forget these guys quickly. With a guest appearance from the Heights frontman Thomas Debaere made sure the crowd were kept entertained for every second of the set.

DANGEROUS! – 4/10
Noisy Australian quartet Dangerous! may be loud, but they don’t really seem to pose much threat of danger to anyone. Their angsty scream filled punk sound may be somewhat catchy, but the rather raspy and chiuaua-like barks of frontman Tommy through tracks like ‘That Look’ and new single ‘Not One Of You’ soon become incredibly irritating and one-dimensional to the ears. With the big buzz building already for their soon-to-be-released debut ‘Teenage Rampage’, there’s no doubt that these guys are going to be appearing in the UK a lot more in the next few months. Now that’s kind of dangerous.

TITLE FIGHT – 10/10
The sound of somewhere around 1000 people screaming every single word to songs so loud they nearly drown out the band is a good sign. This is essentially what happens with Title Fight every other song, a melodic hardcore/pop-punk band with some incredibly good songs and amazing stage presence is their standard performance. I can only imagine this set could have only been better with no barrier, and therefore a couple of hundred stage dives during their allotted time.

SONIC BOOM SIX – 8/10
Ska/reggae/dubstep/punk/whatevertheyfeellike mash up, that is Sonic Boom Six, an incredibly eclectic band. With some amazing playing and great presence from the outfit, and playing some new tracks off their upcoming album went down with the large crowd that had gathered for their set. With the crowd lapping all the stuff they played, it’s no wonder why they got headlining slot for the Red Bull stage today, and therefore one of the closing bands of the whole of Sonisphere. Boom!


JÄGERMEISTER STAGE

FLETCHER – 3/10
It’s not hard to find what to say about Fletcher, but it is hard to find something to say which doesn’t come across as overly horrible. In their defence, the band definitely have a key demographic for their style of pop-rock, but it’s just a shame they can’t actually pull it off to any degree that would be considered good. Keep practicing boys, you might get there eventually.

AMPLIFIER – 5/10
There’s really not much to say about Amplifier, they played a distinctly average set. They didn’t suck, but they didn’t really leave a lasting impression on anyone either. They receive a polite response from the small crowd that they manage to draw. The set as a whole was fairly unmemorable, but oh well.

MAD DOG – 6/10
Some stoner influenced rock from these lot, a band that were quite fun to watch and played very well. Some very good riffs went down with the crowd they’d gathered, taking time between songs to talk to the crowd went down well.

ORANGE GOBLIN – 8/10
Probably one of the best stoner metal bands in the country, and they have the fan base to prove it. With their fans willing to get soaked to the bone to see them made sure that Orange Goblin wouldn’t possibly be a let-down. As always, their stage presence was amazing, lead singer Ben Ward making sure the crowd are fully revved up with his crazed stage antics, and just to make sure they were in full swing, went into the crowd to make sure they were fully amped for their set. With great playing, stage presence and breaking up the set by talking to the crowd led to a great headlining slot on Jagermeister from Orange Goblin.


Written by Zach Redrup, Andy Roberts, Jon Andrews and Oliver Thompson

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