Wednesday, 9 July 2014

Sonisphere - Day Three review

Alice In Chains
THE early(ish) night worked and I'm feeling as fit as a flea this morning. So much so that I'm up and into the festival arena just over an hour before the first band.

But there is a busy day ahead and it starts with The One Hundred. Management for Surrey upstarts had emailed me before the festival encouraging me to come along, so it seemed rude not too.

As I waited outside the Satellite stage for their 11.30am slot, it was great to see the band giving out flyers to festival-goers themselves less than ten minutes before go time.

It can be awkward when you're asked to check out a band you've never heard before - especially when they're given an unenviable early start on the festival's smallest stage. But they were great.

Their mix of rap, rock and a bit of electronica harks at Rage Against The Machine, but firecracker frontman Jacob Fields delivers his rhymes, singing and raawwlls with a definite British slant - and with a sense of humour.

Delays on the main stages mean I can check out a bit of noisy bastards Dripback on the J├Ągermeister stage and Gojira before Protest The Hero appear on the Saturn stage.

The Canadians turned in a popular performance - frontman Rody Walker mocked the short set by announcing they would "play their six songs and then just fuck off" and later threw both his shoes into the moshpit. The music was great too.

The Devin Townsend Project follow before Karnivool turned in one of my favourite performances of the weekend. The Aussies were brilliant as they turned out a relatively short set that included Set Fire To The Hive and finished with the lengthy New Day.

I spend a while flitting between stages taking in the likes of Airbourne - who seemed to pull in a surprisingly large crowd - and Reel Big Fish before I take up a spot near the front for Mastodon.

Gojira played an early set
The hairy prog metallers opened with the stunning Oblivion and although they omitted my favourite Curl Of The Burl, it was another set to remember from the weekend - but there were two more of those to come.

I listened to bits of Dropkick Murphys but then Alice In Chains took to the Apollo stage and blew me away. 

Grunge has long drifted away from the mainstream, but these guys were there at the start and are still making the music relevant today. Sure there were lots of the old stuff of Dirt, but it was a set for the fans. Well, this one certainly.

And when they finished with Would? and then Rooster, I was in heaven.

I had planned to go and see Therapy? over in the Bohemia tent but even with Dream Theater on the Saturn stage, the crowds were building in front of the Apollo for Metallica. I stayed put - even while a recording of James Hetfield and Co was played over and over begging us to vote for another song on the By Request setlist.

They came on a little late, but it was well worth the wait. Flanked on the stage wings by dozens of fans, they tore into Battery and Master of Puppets. The audience went mental and the band fed off the fervour. 

Ride The Lightning, The Unforgiven and Fuel followed before they played new track Lords Of Summer. Sad But True, Fade To Black, Creeping Death and One - oh yes, so great to hear that live - came one after the other along with For Whom The Bell Tolls, Blackened, Nothing Else Matters and Enter Sandman.

There was, of course, an encore that kicked off with Whiskey In The Jar and was followed by late (voted for) addition ...And Justice For All before finishing off with Seek & Destroy.

A fantastic, heavy and unforgettable finish to a wonderful weekend of music. They wanted to celebrate 40 years of festivals at Knebworth - and they did it in style.

To look back at the past days of the festival, click here for Day One or Day Two.

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