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Thursday, 14 July 2011

Live & Dangerous 7: Sonisphere 2011 Day 3

Another early start to go and catch Danish Elvis -Metallers Volbeat. After coming on early they were able to play a very solid 45 minutes, packing it with their unique brand of old school Rock & Roll mixed with Metallica style metal. They managed to get the crowd moving and were a great wake up call for 11 O Clock on a Sunday morning. Good time rock & roll served up with some metallic brutality. 8/10

Next came the biggest disappointment of the weekend, having released a great album when they were so young Black Tide were a promising young thrash band, how things change. Opening with their version of Hit the Lights (the same track Metallica opened with) the band were overselling themselves somewhat but if they played their strong first album they would be fine. This did not happen they instead played tracks from their unreleased second album. A very bad move as 1: No one knew these songs and 2: They were shit. Sounding like a crap BFMV this was wuss metal in the extreme, it is just not something you do with a festival crowd. I for one do not want to buy their album or see them again. Piss off Black Tide come back when you are good again. 3/10

Having played Sonisphere Switzerland the day before Arch Enemy admitted that they hadn't slept. This meant the show was not as energetic as it could have been, the Amott brothers shredding was fantastic as usual as was Angela Gossow's demon voice. The songs such as Nemesis and We Will Rise managed to destroy but with the band as lacklustre as they were I was glad (As they were too) that the set only lasted 30 minutes. 7/10

Following a small break I caught Mastodon a band I have wanted to see live for ages, they did not disappoint, despite their lack of movement and static stage show they played a set of their most well-known songs (hard when you have 4 concept albums) and caught the audience’s attention for all of the set. The playing was tight and the melodies and riffing great, Brann Dailor's drumming was a particular highlight. A good set perfectly fitted for a Sunday afternoon, crushingly heavy yet not to exerting saving people’s energy for the headliner. 8/10

They consistency is good (take note Black Tide) and this is one thing Airbourne have in spades. The world’s foremost AC/DC tribute managed to work the crowd brilliantly with their High Voltage (Sorry for the pun) set. Hitting with Raise the Flag the new songs fitted perfectly with their older material to form a cohesive whole during the raucous Blackjack frontman Joel O'Keefe did his Spiderman act and climbed up the rigging of the Saturn stage and played a solo on the top of it. This still manages to get the crowd going and even his fake slip was a good addition. However I wonder how much longer he can do this before it gets boring to watch. Despite my cynicism they played great party set that ignited the crowd, brilliant. 8/10

The veterans of the day were Motorhead who dedicated their performance to former guitarist Wurzel who had died Saturday night. No time for reflection or sadness though as Motorhead ploughed through a heavy hit laden set, what I notice was that they were LOUD louder than any other band on the Apollo stage with the exception of Slipknot (who were the headliners). Playing classics such as Killed by DeathAce of Spades and Overkill the band were able to have the crowd eating out of their hands. This is due in part to the humour and charm of Lemmy who was able to mask any cock ups by playfully ribbing himself and his band mates. A true gentleman at the heart of one of the world’s greatest bands always a pleasure guys. 9/10

How Opeth would fair with a 45 minute set would be anyone’s guess. They managed to squeeze 5 songs into the set, with their Progressive-Death metal providing a welcome relief after the bombardment (again sorry for the pun) of Motorhead. Mikael Akefeldt proved himself to be a charming frontman by making jokes and putting the crowd at ease. So much so that they took part in a silent headbang before Opeth's final song. The band did well in a criminally short set which meant they couldn't achieve their full potential. 8/10

Back to the main stage for a bit of my childhood nostalgia. Having reformed 2 years ago Limp Bizkit has just released a new album and this was their first Sonisphere set. Starting with Hot Dog the band asked the audience to make the choices of their set and they of course picked all of the classics as well as two strange choices in new track Douchebag and George Michael cover Faith, why they chose this instead of Counterfeit or Nookie. Despite these two the band played a set that took me back to my childhood and probably did the same for much of the audience. My only criticism would be there were too many breaks in the set where there could have been songs and that Limp Bizkit will never be the world’s most vital band. Despite this a good showing from Fred and crew. 7/10

Over to the Saturn for headliner Bill Bailey. Being backed by a band The Devil Said No he managed to turn his comedy songs into proper out and out rock songs, with opener Insect Nation becoming a prog rock epic along with the Leg of Time. All of the songs benefited from the use of a full band which meant some of the Kraftwerk parodies became Rammstein parodies. Bailey's voice also toughened up slightly from his usual perfectly pitched voice which meant he could sing his tribute to Emo Bleed On Your Panini with the angst it required. The news theme gave a break to the rock with its trance infected back beat before coming back with Chas and Dave’s occult song Satan Leave Out. Ending with his car horn rendition of Enter Sandman. A fantastic and hilarious set from Bill Bailey that was a great light relief before the emotional roller-coaster that was to be Slipknot's set. Bill should definitely start touring with the band as he would be a great opening act for many top rock and metal bands. 9/10

I have to be honest here and say that Slipknot has not always been one of my favourite bands. I do tend to prefer a little melody rather than a relentless bludgeoning. However seeing as this could be one of their last shows I wanted to see them live. After the two minutes silence earlier in the day for Paul Gray the band put his boiler suit, mask and bass on to the stage so he was with them throughout the set. Emotions were clearly running high for the set but Slipknot didn't let their emotions get the better of them. Opening with (sic) and Eyeless the band showed there would be no soppiness in their set they were going to hit as hard as ever. Clad in their original Red boiler suits and masks form all of their era’s they this was a celebration of Slipknot and Paul Gray’s life. More heaviness followed before the mid set destruction featuring Wait and Bleed, The Blister Exists, Before I Forget, Pulse of the Maggots, Left Behind and Psychosocial the band played their greatest hits set with aplomb, using explosions, spinning drum kits and precision playing throughout. The main set ended with Spit It Out which left just one of the 9 metal Slipknot S's burning overshadowed by the large '2' backdrop. The band then came back on stage for their encore of People= Shit (featuring the whole crowd jumping) and the hectic Surfacing ending the set as it had begun in powerful style. As the band waved their goodbyes and the crowd parted the haunting strains of 'Til We Die came over the P.A leaving the emotional crowd with the memory of the show and of Paul Gray. Having the seen the show I was struck by how professional and technical the band were, however with hindsight I can see that it was a great heavy metal show featuring a barrage of killer songs which served as a fitting memorial to a fallen brother. Now if only this was done more often for others we could commemorate them the same way. 9/10    

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