OneMetal music REVIEW: Sonisphere Day 3: SMT, Slayer, Kvelertak, AIC, Converge, Iggy, Iron Maiden

Sonisphere Day 3: SMT, Slayer, Kvelertak, AIC, Converge, Iggy, Iron Maiden

The first light of Sunday morning poked its head through the walls of the tent, only to be told where to go in no uncertain terms and to go and bother someone else for a couple of hours. Alas, it took no heed and continued to pester… the only thing to do was get up and embrace it!

As life began to emerge from the surrounding tents, it didn’t take long to realise we were all experiencing something special. That vibe, the camaraderie that can only be found in a festival campsite. Talk was of the immense set from Rammstein, and why they had finished 30 minutes early and hadn’t played ‘Engel’ – the usual climax to the set. As the beer haze began to lift the conversations changed from how good Saturday was to what Sunday would hold in store and then moments of realisation… “Holy shit, it’s Maiden tonight”!

After a hearty breakfast of a Berocca drink, fruit salad and cereal bars it was time to head to the arena in the search of a much needed caffeine fix to start off the day the right way! Coffee now in hand, it was off to see the first band of the day.

Sacred Mother Tongue have been rapidly growing their fan base over the last twelve months, and despite their stage time clashing with Skindred, they had a very healthy crowd indeed. The 30-minute set on the Jagermeister stage was immaculately played, treating the crowd to favourites such as ‘The End’, ‘Numb’, ‘The Suffering’ and ‘Two Thousand Eight Hundred’, as well as a brand new track! Highlight of the set has to be the ‘Josh-Pit’ – bass player Josh Gurner, deciding the stage wasn’t big enough for him, headed into the pit with the fans via a quick detour to the top of the Jagermeister viewing platform!

After the dust settled in the Josh-Pit, it was time to head over to the main Apollo stage to catch the mighty Slayer! Having recently witnessed them on their latest tour, we were eager for more… Kicking off the set with classic ‘South of Heaven’ before launching into the more recent ‘World Painted Blood’ was a great start. The huge crowd was buzzing, the flags were flying and Slayer were treating us to more classics; ‘War Ensemble’, ‘Raining Blood’, ‘Mandatory Suicide’ and the absolutely immense ‘Angel of Death’ as the set closer.

Recovering from Slayer‘s set, we took a quick march to the other side of the site to the Bowtime stage to catch one of the highlights of the weekend, Kvelertak. Their blend of post-hardcore, punk and catchy metal hooks has seen them recently tour with Converge and brought them in front of a whole new audience. Our Norwegian is a little rusty, so we won’t attempt to give you the song titles – but the set was off the scale. Raw energy was bursting from the stage, with six members giving 110% and loving every minute of it! Frontman Erlend Hjelvik spent most of the time with the fans on the barrier, to their obvious delight. Kvelertak are heading back to these shores later this year – miss them at your peril!

Sonisphere 2010 was certainly keeping us fit, despite the occasional beer… We took another quick march back to the Apollo stage to catch an all-time favourite, Alice in Chains. As expected, their set was great – the classics were there, as were songs from Black Gives Way To Blue. Now don’t get us wrong – we love AIC. Their set, however, was a little lacking in pace. There were a few too many slow songs in it. Of course, it may have been that we had just had our faces ripped off by Slayer, and then our skulls pummelled and kicked off by Kvelertak, and we were screaming out for more of the same…

That is exactly what was delivered when we rolled up to the Bohemia stage for Converge’s colossal set. Jacob Bannon was prowling the stage in his usual way during the soundcheck, warming up for the show. No sooner had the soundcheck ended the show had begun, racing through track after track. Midway through the set, the microphone stopped working and for a couple of minutes there were no vocals. The first words out of Bannon’s mouth when the microphone was up and running once more? “This is punk rock and I don’t give a fuck!” Normal service had resumed…

It’s time now to roll out the word ‘Legend’ again, this time for the timeless Iggy and the Stooges, headlining the Saturn stage. Yes, those of us in the UK are now probably more familiar with Iggy’s rather annoying TV commercials than his music, but put him on the stage with The Stooges and you see him for what he really is – one of the most influential punk rock front men of all time. His energy is relentless; he conducts the crowd with ease and magically got a lucky few of them onstage with him for ‘Shake Appeal’. Other classics such as ‘Raw Power’, ‘Your Pretty Face Is Going To Hell’ and the iconic ‘I Wanna Be Your Dog’ had the crowd dancing around to Iggy’s tune.

The crowd was a mixture of generations, from the mature to the very young, and each and every one of them were revelling in the show put on by Iggy and The Stooges! But there was no time to wait and marvel in the glory… one of the main reasons we were here was about to happen. This wasn’t a march any more from stage to stage – this was now a stampede to the Apollo stage for the capacity crowd, time to jostle and cram for the best vantage point possible to view what can only be described as a sheer master class in metal. This, ladies and gentlemen, is Iron fucking Maiden

The instantly recognisable opening riffs to ‘The Wicker Man’ explode through the Sonisphere sky, and 55,000 fists and horns raise towards the heavens. Bruce Dickinson is the ringleader of a huge metal circus powered by traditional British metal. He announces that “Metal should rule the world”, and lets us know the BBC are a bunch of wankers. Spectacular light shows and a set list leaning heavily on the last three albums are the order of the evening, with ‘The Ghost Of The Navigator’ and ‘Wrathchild’ following as an opening salvo.

Maiden are on fire. The ludicrously solid and thumping backline from Steve Harris and Nicko McBrain supply the signature gallop that powers new track ‘El Dorado’. ‘Dance Of Death’, ‘The Reincarnation Of Benjamin Breeg’, ‘These Colours Don’t Run’ and ‘Blood Brothers’ follow, with the latter preceded by an emotional dedication to another metal legend, Ronnie James Dio, who should have been there tonight. A fitting and emotional tribute.

The triple threat guitar attack from Messrs., Smith, Murray and Gers is lapped up by the adoring Sonisphere throng, and bar the odd passed out drunken buffoon, this set is a spectacle beheld rapturously by all. Dickinson is unbelieveably sprightly, tearing around the stage like a tiger on a sugar rush. You feel you don’t want to take your eyes off him for a second, for fear of missing something. The pauses between songs may be longer than they used to be, but Dickinson has all in attendance in the palm of his hand, hanging off his every word.

Maiden announced they would be here some time, and they werent wrong – they definitely give you value for money. ‘Wildest Dreams’, ‘No More Lies’ and ‘Brave New World’ are delivered with style and fire as the spectacular light show and ever-changing Eddie backdrop mirrors the performance. Gers throws his guitar about like a majorette’s baton, and battles with the giant Eddie when he lands on stage… Although this time, Eddie has his own guitar to shred with. Harris machine-guns the crowd in his familiar foot-on-monitor pose, as Murray grins and the headband-and-goatee-sporting Smith pulls some highly entertaining guitar face poses.

Dickinson has yelped the battle cry “Scream for me Sonisphere” constantly throughout, each time the response getting more and more raucous – we do not want this to end. Sadly, all that remains is ‘Fear Of The Dark’ and ‘Iron Maiden’, and then it’s lights out and off stage for the Irons… But we know that can’t be it.

“Woe to you oh earth and sea…” Of course not. We have to have ‘The Number Of The Beast’, with Knebworth matching Dickinson for volume in the chorus. It’s lighters out aplenty for ‘Hallowed Be Thy Name’, and then the huge crowd participation and band thanks during ‘Running Free’ to round off the Sonisphere experience for Knebworth 2010.

Grinning doesnt do it justice. The collective look of awe and amazement on the masses left drained in front of the imposing Apollo stage comes closer. As ‘Always Look On The Bright Side Of Life’ comes through the P.A., all you can hear is “how amazing was that” and actually quite a bit of “they didnt play Run To The Hills/The Trooper/Clairvoyant* (delete as applicable)” – but if you wanted that you should have seen them on the Somewhere Back In Time Tour.

Simply abso-fucking-lutely amazing, and as Corey Taylor said… Sonisphere, see you next year!

Photos: Paige Manley.

Bottom Line

Simply unbelieveable, Maiden ruled, and Converge destroyed, what an end to a top top festival. Bloodstock... you're next

5/5 - Awesome!

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4 Responses to “Sonisphere Day 3: SMT, Slayer, Kvelertak, AIC, Converge, Iggy, Iron Maiden”
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  • Oliver Longden
    Oliver Longden says:

    Iron Maiden are one of those extremely rare bands who could play for three hours and still miss a fair few classic tracks.

    August 3, 2010 at 14:46 OneMetal Team Member

  • Dave Convery
    Dave Convery says:

    I saw Iggy at a festival about 12 years ago, and it was fucking amazing, and the fact that he’s still going is even more impressive. Sadly, he also had his see-through trousers on at that performance, making him one of two rock stars (the other, predictably enough, being Nick Oliveri) whose knackers I am uncomfortably familiar with. It’s a image that’s seared forever into my mind.

    August 3, 2010 at 16:12

  • Mark Wrigley
    Mark Wrigley says:

    I saw Iggy back in 2002 at Distortion with Green Day, he was just as awesome on Sunday as he was then… although he is definitely looking more and more like his advert puppet in real life.

    August 3, 2010 at 17:32

  • Dave Convery
    Dave Convery says:

    So long as I don’t have to see the puppet’s ‘down there area’, I can deal with that.

    August 3, 2010 at 23:02