Cat: Sunday dawned to many a bangover and a sense of anticipation for some brilliant bands for the final day of Sonisphere 2014. Unfortunately for the Terror Twins, their list of ‘who to see today’ started at 11:30. In the morning. After a disappointing search for a sausage butty it was over to the Satellite Stage for an up and coming band that we were Very Excited About – The One Hundred. I’ll let Suzi take you through their set, but I will just say “omg wow!”
Suzi: I have rather liked The One Hundred since I listened to some promo or other and went ‘holy Ronnie James Dio this is EXCELLENT’. I’d lucked out and seen them in Oxford the weekend before Sonisphere when they were supporting my friends Salvage, but the chance to see their big UK festival debut was one I wasn’t going to miss. And friends don’t let friends miss out on great new music so I had to share them with Cat even if they were playing at an ungodly hour in the morning. At the start of their set there were maybe 40 people in the tent. By the end of the set the One Hundred had growled, hip-hopped, jumped, synthed and howled their way to a reasonably full Satellite Stage tent and they demonstrated exactly why I (amongst many others) am just so excited about them. Definitely worth getting up early for.
Next up on our radar was Devin Townsend Project. Devin is one of the few artists I’ll actually go a bit googly eyed for – I don’t think he’s produced a single musical project I haven’t thoroughly enjoyed and from the moment my mate Damon played me Strapping Young Lad almost a decade ago to the first time I listened to Casualties of Cool he’d always hit the mark. Plus he’s the funniest human I’ve ever interviewed so his set was one I rushed right down the front for!
The set didn’t disappoint – from his humorous introduction to the final note the set was by far one of the most sublime musical experiences I’ve ever had. Devin Townsend doesn’t just stand and play music at you, he engages the audience and riffs with them, and, takes the piss out of the sometimes too serious stagecraft of others (‘I know at this point I should be asking you to give me some kind of circle pit… but for all our sakes just please don’t do it. Let’s just remain calm shall we?’). It was a phenomenal addition to an already excellent Sunday and I will be making sure I can see his Ziltoid show at the Royal Albert Hall next year……..
C: Devin Townsend is someone I had been meaning to listen to for a long time but with one thing and another he slipped under my radar. How much of an idiot am I? I loved it! The man has an amazing stage presence and charisma and had everyone eating out of his hands. Plus he’s hilarious.
Then we had to go and do some work, so we heard Karnivool from very afar, and I can’t comment other than they sounded on top form, and I was quite jealous of everyone who could watch them but in all honesty, for us, Sunday was all about Alice in Chains. We had finally done our sensible press things and got to watch bands with some mates.
S: Alice in Chains. 90’s grunge at it’s finest and again one of those bands I’ve been listening to for donkey’s years and always wanted to see live – a chance I never thought I’d get what with the sad death of Layne Staley and the inactive years. Anyway, this was my chance to see if William DuVall can fill those very big shoes and the answer is, yes, yes he can, 100 times over.
By this point it had got so hot I’d abandoned my customary black clothing for an actual honest to goodness dress. It’s brightly coloured and everything Cat you can put the picture in here but grooving away in the sunshine with only the lightest fluffy clouds in the sky it was… appropriate somehow. Alice in Chains took the festival from being excellent to being utterly transcendental. They had far to short a set in my opinion.
C: Not feeling particularly enamoured with staying staring at the empty stage, nor watching Dream Theater, so the only other thing for it was Raging Speedhorn on the Jagermeister Stage . They reformed for a tour to “see if they could get along” and there were a fair few old fans in the tent for a set comprised of material from their first two albums. They had sure regained some energy from when I spoke to them the day before, and hurtled across the stage like they had never really been away and their fans responded with the pits when they were asked to.
There is always something bittersweet for me about the final headliner of a festival weekend, even if that headliner happens to be Metallica. The final headliner means that it’s nearly time to go home, and if the set isn’t so great then it kind of puts a dampener on the atmosphere. The By Request nature of their set meant that the most important decision of exactly which songs to play from a massive back catalogue was largely taken away from them, and ensured that we heard all the favourites.
S: Back years ago, my ex-husband and I formed a relationship based on a mutual love of four things – Bikes, Beer, Maiden and Metallica. Iron Maiden on Saturday had set the bar really high for what a headliner at Sonisphere should be doing and I have happy memories of evenings spent watching my ex’s bootlegged videos of Monsters of Rock or whatever it was where Metallica were headlining and being absolutely desperate to see them. Sonisphere was the culmination of 13 years of wistfully hoping my moment to see them would come.
Sadly, much like my first marriage Metallica were a complete let down. I know Team Rock have raved about their set, I know my very good friend Bernie was howling with pure unadulterated joy but I was disappointed. Where was the energy? Where was the rage? Where was the pioneering Thrash band who’d excited my youth? Wherever they were they weren’t playing at Sonisphere on Sunday night. There were brief flashes – when they played The Unforgiven was the point I was excited but it quickly abated and then flared again when Nothing Else Matters and Enter Sandman was played. Aside from that this was a set played by an old band who couldn’t hope to recapture the energy they had once brought. I know there are many people who would disagree but for me the set was a timely reminder that sometimes, nostalgia should just be left as it is – a rose-tinted look back on the past.