Iron Maiden bring Sonisphere to a climax

Sonisphere 2010 review

published: Tue 3rd Aug 2010

around the festival site (3)

Friday 30th July to Sunday 1st August 2010
Knebworth House, Hertfordshire, SG1 2AX, England MAP
£157.50 with camping, £40 Fri, £60 Sat/Sun
daily capacity: 60000
last updated: Mon 26th Jul 2010

Classic acts from Slayer through Alice And Chains, and The Cult prepare us for headliners Iron Maiden, and support act Pendulum.

Henry Rollins and coffee what a great wake up call! Rollins takes most of his hour on stage with his South Africa experiences before quickly tacking on Iggy and Ramones references, and reminding us all to stand up be counted, question authority, and make ourselves count.

Madina Lake
Madina Lake prove for me at least exactly the right sound to catch up on sleep. Before something completely different - The Fab Beatles. After last year's success with an Abba tribute organisers thought they would try these. However they're not cheesy enough and sound a bit ropey, a few good singalong moments ensue though including a 'She Loves You' morph into 'Run to The Hills' whilst Rise To Remain draw a good crowd in the neighbouring Bohemia tent.

Dir En Grey bring throat singing to Sonisphere and their own table to do it from. I don't really get it but it occupies the part of my mind that was worrying a bit too much about darkening skies, and blobs of rain.

Slayer have slowed in their old age, but still deliver nine gems in 'South of Heaven', 'World Painted Blood', 'Hate Worldwide', 'War Ensemble', 'Jihad', 'Dead Skin Mask', 'Raining Blood', 'Mandatory Suicide', and climaxing with 'Angel of Death'. Nice!

Bring Me The Horizon's Oli Sykes is trying to take the swearing like hell crowd off Papa Roach, and although most metalheads hate them (remember their bottling at Reading) I quite enjoy their whipping a much reduced crowd to crowd surf, rush the barrier, circle pit, and wall of death. The tomato sauce attack just added value. They have been forged from the jeers into a rawkus high energy act, though few of those ambling passed gesturing at them noticed.

I'm excited as the first notes of Alice in Chains solidify the air into their trademark grunge. Being a big fan and never having seen them before I finally get to see the band I would hang in seedy bars pumping money into jukeboxes to hear on repeat whilst shooting pool, and drinking snakebite and black. God they sound good, there's no one else comes close to that sound, and with 'Again', 'Man in the Box', 'Check My Brain', 'Them Bones', 'Rain When I Die', and 'Rooster' in the set I'm stoked.

The Cult
More wandering down memory lane with The Cult, older, fatter, but still with that voice we join a big crowd for a singalong to classics like 'Lil' Devil, 'Rain', and She Sells Sanctuary' alongside new song 'Every Man and Woman Is A Star' and it's a wonderful set.

Errr next up isn't a metal act, or a rock act, it's a drum and bass act, with lead synths hidden to look like a guitar, it's Pendulum. And their clever techno tweaks mean they sound fuckin' loud, in that clever way adverts sound louder. Highlights are Prodigy's 'Voodoo People' and 'Self vs Self' with Anders Fridén of In Flames on guest yelling duties. Fantastic stuff, and with the visuals and left over pyros and smoke from last night's Rammstein set it proved an enjoyable interlude.

Iggy too has slowed down he's less mental until 'Be Your Dog' when finally he throws himself around on stage and we go for a beer and nibbles and a bit of a shop, despite the festival being in the final throes there's no reductions to be had.

'The Wicker Man' welcomes us to Iron Maiden's set of tunes from the last decade although 'Wrathchild' technically is more than a decade. Bruce explains 'El Dorado' is about bankers spelt differently, and generally is quite chipper. Rushing around the stage and bounding over the space station set between lengthy discourses with the audience. After 'These Colours Don't Run' - 'Blood Brothers' is dedicated to Ronnio James Dio. After each album visit the backdrop highlights each album cover.

It's only once they reach 2000's 'Brave New World' that older songs get an airring in 'Fear Of The Dark' and 'Iron Maiden' where the new look Eddie (now looking like swamp thing) wanders around. Compared to some shows I've seen over the years it's a little less eye catching, pehaps knowing Rammstein had appeared the night before made them decide to cut down on the theatrics, and there's a steady trickle of people leaving before the band return.

The band wrap up Sonisphere with a beefed up encore of 'The Number Of The Beast', 'Hallowed Be Thy Name' and 'Running Free' and we all wobble off singing 'Always Look On The Brightside Of Life', ending a rather enjoyable weekend at Knebworth, if the line-up favours we'll be back next year!

around the festival site (1)
review by: Scott Williams

photos by: Karen Williams / Sarah Collie

Friday 30th July to Sunday 1st August 2010
Knebworth House, Hertfordshire, SG1 2AX, England MAP
£157.50 with camping, £40 Fri, £60 Sat/Sun
daily capacity: 60000
last updated: Mon 26th Jul 2010

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