Sonisphere UK 2014 – Day 2: Saturday (aka Maiden Day)

Cat: Day two of Sonisphere began with a downpour, the occasional blast of baking hot sunshine to lure you into taking your hoodie off before some more rain, and the Terror Twins being painfully reminded that it is not the year 2002 again, and ageing happens.  Still, a few cups of tea and a rather tasty bacon sarnie and it was time for another busy day!

I was stuck interviewing, so I’ll hand you over to the NotEvil Terror Twin for her thoughts on the day.

Suzi: Day two of my very first festival started off with me getting up FAR TOO EARLY and in a burst of enthusiasm I was up, showered(!) dressed and sitting in The Motley Brew with a cup of tea before half 8…

This, as it turns out, was much more enthusiastic than I should have been, but the nice chaps at TMB kept me in tea until my Evil Twin emerged a few hours later.  Saturday is the day we had most of our interviews booked, so after tromping into the press area and doing some work-type things, I wandered off to go and check out an up-and-coming band from New Zealand.

Rival State had nabbed us as we were wandering around aimlessly exploring the merch market and reviewing the site on Friday night and promised us a proper show at an ungodly hour of Saturday morning.  So because I promised them I would, I toodled off to the Satellite Stage and promptly had my socks blown off and the last bit of sleep well and truly blasted from my eyes. Rival State play very hard and you can expect to  hear them in a Shock of The New feature soon.

After that I went and did a bit more work and then it was time for Babymetal and Ghost.

I like novelty bands – probably far more than I should –  Babymetal are as novelty as it gets though and whilst it isn’t fair to call Ghost a novelty band they certainly are… unusual.

I was interested to see how Babymetal went down, but sadly because of schedule conflicts I didn’t catch their whole set.  However when I got there, there was a circle pit in progress and the the teeny (they are SO SMALL) J-pop Metallers put on a good show and brought some amusement to Lunchtime.

Ghost followed Babymetal on the main stage and they bring a good show and  are properly creepy.  They were certainly creepy enough to pull a decent crowd on Saturday lunch time in the main arena and I bopped along  quite  happily for their whole set.  I’m not sure they’re Metal because they are so – well – weird and unique but they are well worth a watch and I’d certainly add them to a “bands worth seeing live” list.

After Ghost there was more work scheduled, which included the funniest and most incoherent interview I’ve ever conducted. No, readers, I was not intoxicated, I was just meeting with Devin Townsend.  Listen out for the interview on the show in the future because it was possibly the most surreal 10 minutes of my entire life.

I did manage to finish up interviewing (thank you legendary punk band who re-scheduled) which meant I could go and see that troubadour of punk – the mighty Frank Turner. I might have had a little cry watching his set, when he played Long Live The Queen.  He had the crowd dancing and singing and frankly I think it’s a crying shame he was on so early and had such a short time slot. He should have been swapped with The Deftones. More on that later though.

C: Now while Suzi was having all that fun, I was locked away in the press barn with a big list of people to speak to, a lot of whom were still suffering from the past couple of days.  Keep an ear out on the show to hear them.

It was at 4:30 that I managed to escape, and I couldn’t resist going to see the incredibly funny Andrew O’Neill, and in the process I caught the end of a very politically incorrect yet utterly hilarious comedy act called The Noise Next Door who do a strange type of improv and sing songs that had me nearly crying with laughter.  Andrew O’Neill I had seen before, and he’s someone that you would remember – a long haired Metalhead transvestite who has a direct route to my funnybone, so it was a perfect way to ease myself in to the more relaxed part of the day. He has a show called The History of Heavy Metal, and I’m hoping to get to see it at some point.

The Deftones were someone I was quite looking forward to seeing as some of their songs have been part of my life soundtrack for a while, and every time I’ve attempted to watch their set at a festival before fate has conspired against me and I’ve missed them.  I quite wish I’d missed this one too.  I want to say that I enjoyed their set, and people I’ve spoken to have told me that they loved it, but for me they were just not on form, and when a band who rely on so many precise, off-beat rhythms are missing timing it really shows up.  We gave it three songs and then wandered off.

S: I had also looked forward to seeing The Deftones. They were an unmitigated disappointment.

C:I had promised Bleed From Within that I would see their set – so naturally I was there at the front.  They’re certainly one to watch, and having a lineup clash with Deftones and the period where people were finding their spot for Slayer was unfortunate because otherwise I think that they would have pulled far greater numbers.  Still, there were a decent number in the Jager tent to enjoy some ear-bleedingly heavy tunes from the Glasgow Metallers.  They are certainly one to watch; they’re angry and they want you to know it!  That’s not all there is to them though.  Beneath the rage there are well composed harmonies and tight as hell playing combined with Scott Kennedy leaping around on stage like a man possessed – well they’re a bit good!

SLAAAAAAAAAAAAAYYYYYYYYYYEEEEEEERRRRRRR!!!! m/ *ahem* sorry, Slayer were, well, Slayer. They’re not very talkative but they make up for it by thrashing so hard I’m surprised no-one’s head came off their shoulders.  I’ve seen them before, and this was one of the best sets I’ve seen them do and while I wasn’t down in the circle pits of doom, I happily headbanged along to most of their set as they screamed through the likes of Disciple, War Ensemble, South of Heaven and Angel of Death.

S: Finally, finally the moment I had been waiting for was here.  Back in 2000 I discovered Heavy Metal when I (for a giggle) borrowed my housemate’s copy of Best of the Beast and played it to see what all the fuss was about.  I fell in love with Iron Maiden, and that album sparked me sidling into the local Metal pub and then discovering well, METAL! I saw Maiden in 2005 when they played Reading – I had a day ticket just to see them, and I’ve been waiting for the perfect time to see them again.

Watching them close out the three year long Maiden England tour at Knebworth will honest-to-gods go down as one of the best experiences of my entire life.  From the first note of Moonchild to the last note of Sanctuary, Maiden did not put a note wrong. They ran about the stage with a level of energy and abandon that bands half their age fail to manage and you wouldn’t have guessed at any point that two of the bands playing the Satellite Stage this weekend had members who are Maiden’s children.

There were three Eddies, there were multiple costume changes for Bruce, there was Seventh Son of a Seventh Son, there was pyrotechnics and through it all Iron Maiden demonstrated once again that they, above all others, are the undisputed kings of NWOBHM. They closed the show with Bruce promising us something new.  We may never see Seventh Son of a Seventh Son  live again but we might just see a new album!

C: Now I’m going to be a bit weird, and admit here that I am not a huge Maiden fan.  I don’t know all their songs, but wow those guys showed just exactly why they’re one of the biggest bands on the planet ever.  Yeah.  More please. 

S: It’s almost anti-climactic to say that after I’d screamed myself hoarse we went and saw Sisters of Mercy who created an appropriately eldritch atmosphere.  We enjoyed their set most thoroughly and then rounded out the night in the Jaegermeister stage for the Silent Disco.  The Silent Disco did allow us to answer the question – ‘what happens when you put a few thousand Metallers in a large tent and play the Backstreet Boys at them?  Specifically Everybody (Backstreet’s Back).  The answer is they all sing along and jump up and down.

After all that fun, we went to bed.

To prepare for METALLICA DAY.

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