Sonisphere 2011 - Sunday's Performances
Sunday morning loomed large over the festival goers and as the sun was shining I popped into see Turbowolf on the Bohemia stage, however they were showing the film documentary of the Oxford scholar who is imprisoned in America for drug smuggling and I can’t say that’s what I came to see so I quickly headed over to the Saturn stage for my real destination: Black Tide.
Black Tide were in a word amazing. The best way to wake up on a Sunday morning is with some proper heavy metal played by a fantastic band. They had a good sized crowd and the lead singer and bass guitarist both interacted well with them, keeping them a part of the performance. The drummer was manic; a major driving force to the band, pounding away at his kit as if to break it, substantiating everything with his double bass pedal and the lead guitarist not to be outdone was immensely talented with a really skilful speed technique. They have a new album ‘Post Mortem’ out on 23rd August and I believe I’ll be one of the ones lining up to buy a copy.
Thinking I should see what was happening on some of the smaller stages I headed over to the Red Bull stage where they were only just beginning the days performances, the first band having arrived late. This was Feed The Rhino and although the lead singer had a good stage presence and there were clearly fans in the audience I found for the most part that the frantic stage antics by all the band were overdone and the music was indistinguishable in such a confined space.
Moving across to the Bohemia stage (in anticipation of InMe) I caught the whole of Alestorm, who had a mix of PiL tonalities and prog rock instrumentation and longevity about their music. What truly impressed me about this band was that they had three percussionists, two drummers and a bassist who alternated between bass guitar and kettle drums, all three playing separate, intertwining, complicated rhythms. Additionally, the use of the female guitarist as backing singer created some wonderfully colourful overtones to the music.
Staying in Bohemia it was time for InMe, a band I have long wanted to see play live and I wasn’t disappointed. They had a great interaction with the crowd, playing some of their earlier hits along with their new album tracks from their upcoming release ‘Phoenix’ to be released on September 27th. It was a wonderful, if brief set, following on from the two minutes silence for Slipknot bassist Paul Gray.
Heading back out into the sunshine to see Motorhead perform on the Apollo stage I joined the rest of Sonisphere as they made this journey to see a truly historical band play what turned out to be a magnificent set. Getting a couple of scantily clad women to come on stage during ‘I Know How To Die’ in the middle of the set and do a fire dance routine can’t be a bad idea but the crowd had been attentively enthralled from the opening note. Lemmy was an excellent lead singer, commanding the stage and when he and Phil left the stage to allow Mikkey his 5 minute drum solo during ‘In The Name Of Tragedy’ the crowd cheered even louder. This was definitely a band worth seeing.
After this amazing performance the Saturn stage took over with Opeth, of which I can’t think of much to say, yes they were very good, it was some truly excellent prog rock but apart from that and noting that they finished with their song ‘Master’s Apprentice’ a definite crowd pleaser there’s not really much more I can add.
Again, with Limp Bizkit on the Apollo stage, they were clearly re-starting their live touring and were attempting to remember how to play to a crowd – luckily for most of Sonisphere who turned up to listen they stuck to their original hits but they didn’t quite have the energy or ability to enthral the crowd like some of the other bands I’d seen over the weekend.
Moving on to what for me, was a highlight of the event I returned to the Saturn stage to see Bill Bailey play to his largest (and a comedians largest) crowd ever as the entirety of Sonisphere turned up. Following on from his recent Dandelion Mind tour he played his famous musical parodies, including ‘Insect Nation’, ‘Das Hokey Kokey’, ‘Scarborough Fair’, ‘Pokerface’, ‘BBC News Theme’, ‘Hey Asda!’, ‘Love Song’, ‘Emo Song’ and ‘Enter Sandman’ with the crowd creating circle mosh pits for ‘Emo Song’ and ‘Das Hokey Kokey’.
Finally, the days and the festival’s headline act Slipknot took to the Apollo stage where, again, the whole of Sonisphere turned up to watch them play. It was a spectacular stage show with number 3 crowd surfing all the way to the sound tent half way across the arena during one song, only to jump back into it and crowd surf all the way back during the next. Playing some fan favourites such as ‘Wait and Bleed’, ‘Psycho Social’ and ‘Before I Forget’ this was definitely the right choice of headliners. For their finale they did their (usual) stunt of enticing the crowd to crouch down on the floor before jumping up as one for ‘Jump The F**k Up’ – a fantastic sight to see with so many, and of course they made a moving tribute to Paul Grey at the end of their set.
Review by Claire Sanders