Posts Tagged ‘Sonisphere’

Saturday – Biffy Clyro & The Sausage-Fest!

Sounds like some weird gay antics were had, but it’s not like that. Biffy merely headlined and we ate lots of sausages!

Sausagefest

Ben, Jodz & a shitload of sausages

Jodz had brought with him about 50 sausages for a morning barbecue, which were the breakfast pick me up that was most definitely needed after a night on the ale. Complimented by my morning brew and apple, the greasy sausages on leftover baps with warm cheese slices were spot on! As the next batch of sausages were cooking, we headed into the arena to catch the first band of the day that were on the radar… Sylosis! Well, they were just as good as expected and we even managed to get a full set out of them this time! Hurrah! Tight, shredding guitar work and a good sound. Front man Josh Middleton seems to have come out of his shell a lot more and works the crowd well, something they were lacking for a while after departure of previous frontman Jamie Graham. All in all, a damn fine show!

Richard Cheese

Richard Cheese

Next up was the legendary Richard Cheese and his backing group Lounge Against the Machine. We’d all been loving the Cheesemeisters covers of some of our favourite (and not so favourite) metal and hip hop tunes. The man did not disappoint. A master of the stage, he really knew how to get the crowd going and was such a funny guy to watch and such a talented singer to listen to! Sporting some classic leopard print lounge attire, He did a load of the tunes we wanted to hear, Disturbed’s Down With the Sickness, Limp Bizkit’s Nookie, Slipknot’s People = Shit, Snoop Dogg’s Gin & Juice, Nirvana’s Rape Me, Metallica’s Enter Sandman and more. He crammed a load of good fun tunes to sing along to in his set and was such a laugh to see. He said he’d be back over in London in 2012, so we’ll have to go see that!

Next up were Architects. Not really into these guys, but Ben said he’d not really paid any attention to them before so wanted to have a look. We loitered at the back and sat down to give ‘em a listen. Largely unimpressed, we got some food and went to do the same thing for Gallows ‘cause Jim likes them and apparently the singer was due to quit.

After Gallows, it was time for my second viewing of Cavalera Conspiracy this week, and the second time in 2 days I’d hear Refuse/Resist (fully this time though). They were good. Well, the band were. Max just doesn’t look arsed! The sound was a bit pants, which didn’t help as it was a struggle to hear Tha Rizzo playing. They did however do a load of good Sepultura/CC tunes and got the crowd moving! …and yessssss! They played Nailbomb’s Cockroaches. A classic tune. Max had his kids on stage to play it, so it was a very family oriented experience.

Time for a break now and some cheap beer. So we headed back to the tents just in time, as not for the first time this weekend… the heavens opened!.

A few cans later and we wandered back in to catch a bit of Sum 41. It was rammed. We could hardly move to get a good spot for ‘em so we just stopped mid-crowed and enjoyed it from wherever we were. The played ‘In Too Deep’ and ‘Fat Lip’ back-to-back at the end, so we were done. They tried to cram in another tune but were clearly over time, so they had the sound cut! Ha-ha! I laugh, but it was pointless. If they were gonna cut the sound and let ‘em finish playing the song anyway, they might as well have left the song on!!!

Regardless, it started raining again, so we legged it back to tents for some more cans. …and we didn’t wanna watch All Time Low!

Rain

Rain = Shit

We sat round the tents in ponchos and bin-bags, determined to not let the rain spoil the weekend. I’d even sparked up the kettle for a pot noodle. At one point, it absolutely hammered it down, but I sat it out, as did Ross, and it didn’t stop the kettle boiling either!! Lo and behold, just as it boiled, the rain stopped, so I could enjoy my lunch without it filling with rainwater!

We came back into the arena for Weezer. The rain had gone and it was relatively ok weather-wise from here onwards (for Saturday anyway). We were walking in as they played Undone (The Sweater Song) which a few of us were singing along to as we strolled in. Weezer are a great live band, though I fear Rivers Cuomo may have lost the plot over the years! They did some classic tunes like Buddy Holly, My Name is Jonas, Beverly Hills, Hash Pipe and my fave (which Rivers didn’t sing, Scott Shriner did) Dope Nose! Oh, and again they played Teenage Dirtbag and a crappy Radiohead cover. WHY????

Posse with Beer

Drinking & watching Weezer

As you can imagine, by now we’d been drinking a fair bit and were on the way do being smashed. So we hit the bar… again! We’d gotten to the point where paying £4 for a beer was no longer an issue, so we strolled to the bar and got a few in while we waited for a decent band to come on. We’d tried watching Gojira, but again the full tent rule stopped us from getting in for a decent view. Ah well, another beer and wait for Biffy.

They were really good. I like Biffy Clyro and they are a deserved festival headliner. Just not a Sonisphere headliner. Ok so Saturday was a mix of things, but on the whole it’s a metal festival. Summat like Leeds/Reading they’d be a top headliner. Regardless, they were on top form. We watched from the back as they went through all the favourite tunes: Who’s Got a Match, Folding Stars, The Captain, Many of Horror et al. We had a good laugh while they were on, chatting and singing along, then they finished and we all started to walk off. Until it clicked in my very drunken brain that they hadn’t played Mountains yet. So I halted the crowd and we waited it out. They played it. I was a happy drunk. Then off to tents for more drunken idiocy!

In the Bar

£12 worth of Tuborg

On his way back, Ben had found a gravel pit that was supposed to be for making barbecues on. He’d stood in it and deeply offended the girl camping next to it, so we walked back up there to see what was going on! We did the only thing we could do at a gravel pit. We stood there singing Wu-Tang Clan’s ‘Gravel Pit’. This caused a mosh pit in said gravel pit that offended the locals even more! One of them shouted “I’m sick of people throwing stones at my tent”. Stupidly, I picked up the tiniest piece of grit and threw it. I say threw, it was the weakest ‘throw’ ever. The tiny piece of grit, hardly visible in the dark, never got past my shoe. Talk about over react! The girl in question launched an all out assault, trying to grab me by the throat and screaming at me, as everyone, including myself, laughed at the incident! She calmed down, I apologised and the world was cool. But, jeez! Mental!

Back to the tents for a few more tins, then into tent where I fell asleep.

Sunday – Slipknot & Hometime

I woke up feeling a tad uncomfortable the next morning… and a tad rough! I was face down on the floor of my tent with my face in my rucksack. I distinctly remember going to sleep in my sleeping bag, on my air bed with my face in a pillow! I think the earth must have shifted slightly under my sleeping carcass.

Brew n breakfast later and it was nearly time to head back to the arena for another day of tunes and a day of shitty weather.

Firstly though, it was the last day, and we were planning on darting as soon as Slipknot finished, so it was time to pack everything away. So a few walks back and forth to the car and we’d packed away. I managed to nurse one can of cider on the hour long walk (that’s how rough I was feeling!).

As we were doing this, the fuckwits that were camped next to us decided to kick off about something and got two of our posse kicked out! Nightmare! Apparently, their tent had been wrecked and we were to blame! I don’t think so! We watched you put it up, incorrectly, then break it, then move it, then try and fix it, then leave the top off so the rain came in! So no, you broke it!! Liars!

We headed in to see Arch Enemy, who sounded pretty good. It was the last day and we were hungover somewhat and knackered, so we could only manage a seated position for most of the day! After they’d finished we wandered over to Apollo stage and took a seat for House of Pain. I only know two House of Pain songs, and I was only getting outta my seat for one of them! Our enjoyment of the party tune that is ‘Jump Around’ was marred by an immense fuckup on Sonisphere’s part. The ‘No clashes between Apollo and Saturn stages’ rule was out the window, and as we were jumping around, we heard Parkway Drive kicking in on the main stage. Bloody Hell!!!!!

Parkway Drive

Parkway Drive

We legged it over as Jump Around finished and watched Parkway ripping it up! Frontman Winston McCall had gone all out on the first song and sounded knackered for the rest of the set! They were ace though! A cracking set of songs and good stage presence made them one of the bands of the festival. That and the dinghy race they set up across the crowd was a novel idea! There were a few people with boards that were crowdsurfing too! In another unusual band move, one of their guitarists had broken his leg and so was moving himself about in a wheelchair! Fair do’s to him, he covered a fair bit of the stage while hammering out some technical guitar mastery!

At this point, there was a 2 minute silence held for Paul Gray of Slipknot. Probably the quietest festival moment I’ve ever been party to.

In Flames were up next. I’m not really into ‘em so we sat and listened. They sounded quite good, but I only recognized one track – Take This Life – which was cool. Mastodon were next and we were both tired and bored during their set. So bored, that Ben went for a kip in the next field and we just sat and monged out. Before they finished though, a few of us made a move to check out Airbourne.

Airbourne

Airbourne - This can only end in disaster.

I only know one AC/DC, I mean Airbourne, song, so it was pretty new to me. They were alright though. Definitely something I can get into. Well, I like DC, I must by default like Airbourne! Enjoyed what I’d heard and it’s always fun to see a band going above and beyond just playing at a festival. Their singer/guitarist Joel O’Keeffe decided to achieve a new high in festival playing and climbed the scaffold to the top of the stage and played some riffs from there! I know he did this at Download last year, but this time he was actually standing on the top! Class. On his way down, intentionally or not, he looked like there was a moment where he was gonna fall! If he had, youtube would be getting a new viral phenomenon! He didn’t though. They finished the set and we meandered across to see Motorhead.

Mark found some energy and managed to get out of his tent for the first time since Friday and met us during Motorhead’s set. I’ve never seen them before. Like never ever. Must’ve played at 5-6 festivals I’ve been at over the years, but I’ve never seem them, so this was summat I had to finally check out. They were good. It was like they were playing in a pub with a few of their mates in the crown. No heirs and graces, no rock star attitudes, just three old school rockers playing loud rock music for the hell of it!

After Motorhead we scooched across for whoever was on second stage. Turned out it was Opeth and none of us like Opeth, so we checked the guide. Fortunately, Cancer Bats were on in a mo, so we headed to the Bohemia tent to watch them! We got there pretty quick, so we actually managed to get in the tent! Didn’t watch all their set as we wanted to scooch back over for Limp Bizkit. Cancer Bats were good though. They had a pretty decent sound and a good response. The singer Liam Cormier is a really good character to have fronting a band. Full of energy and really gets you into the spirit of the music! Anyway, they played ‘Sabotage’ and we did one….

Limp Bizkit

Limp Bizkit - Durst, Borland & Lethal

Twas time for the Bizkit! I love Limp Bizkit. They’re just fun to listen to. The came onstage and got right into it. OK, my one gripe is that they seem to play far too much off ‘Chocolate Starfish’. I get that it was probably their biggest record and scored them a number one single, but come on!!!! We got, Hot Dog, My Generation, Rollin, Take a Look Around, Boiler, and from the other four albums (new one included) we got Faith, Break Stuff, Douchebag…. That is all! No Gold Cobra in sight, and I’d been singing it all weekend!!!

They were class though. Last few times I’ve seen them, they’ve not seemed particularly into it. On this day though, they seemed in top form, with Durst looking unusually up for a full day of rocking! Can someone please get them to headline a festival, or even get a decent headlining tour so we can see more songs of other albums!!!! Please? “Whaddya wanna hear?” Said Durst… “PLAY F**KING POLLUTION!”

The rain was still coming down and ruining everything, but we soldiered on to watch Bill Bailey. We were all borderline ‘sod this, let’s go’ but persevered. Now, generally I’m in two minds over Bill Bailey. I’ve seen him on panel shows and he’s ace. I saw some of one of his DVD’s where he was playing tunes and having a laugh and it was good. But I have seen one of his DVD’s and I just didn’t get it and it put me off watching him. His Sonisphere videos did make me laugh though, so maybe watching him would brighten my mood on this dreary day!

Me & my ace poncho

Rain. Still Shit.

It did. He was indeed top class. Walking on stage with a mask of himself on, throwing out a few jokes, some novelty videos and playing some comedy rock tunes and it was all good fun. His Rammstein version of Scarborough Fair was class. He had an amazing reception too, considering it was a comedy performance at a rock/metal festival AND it was pissing down. He said on the day it was the biggest crowd for a comedy performance ever. Have to do some fact checking for that! He ended the set with his horns version of Metallica’s ‘Enter Sandman’, making it the third time in three days I’d heard it! Enjoyable, and something different for a festival!

Rain, rain, rain, rain, rain! Thank god my poncho was good! I had my rucksack on over my stomach cause I couldn’t get it on properly under the poncho and I looked like I was heavily pregnant and soaking wet! Didn’t even have my wellies, but my trainers remained mostly dry due to the large shadow my pregnant belly caused! …and on to Slipknot!

Slipknot

Slipknot

We were literally ready to go now! The ‘Knot came on and after 5 minutes of weird noises and flashy lights, they started. Straight into (sic). Then Eyeless, then Wait & Bleed. Thought they were gonna do the whole first album (which would have been ace) but they didn’t. We left before they finished, but did hear Left Behind, Before I Forget, Liberate and a few others. Could hear Heretic Anthem and Duality on the walk to the car! They were pretty damned good, but the shitty weather and long drive home got the better of us, so we hit the road!

Another festival over. Next year, maybe?

A couple of days and a couple of hangovers had passed since the weekends festivities, Watching the boxing, watching the Cavalera Brothers, and it was now time to head down south to sunny Stevenage. Home to Knebworth House. Home to Sonisphere 2011.

I’d been pretty much packed from Saturday having sent my bag down with Jim due to a severe lack of car space in the Astra, yet still when Wednesday night rolled around I still felt completely unprepared. Tent – check, sleeping bags – check, torch – in wrong bag, but check, pillow – check, food – check, tickets – check. Gravy. Let’s go.

We swooped down to London (Enfield to be precise) on the Wednesday evening so we could meet up with the fourth member of out travelling crew and to get a lie-in in the morning. Unfortunately, there was naff all on the telly, so we were forced to sit through American Pie. Sleep could not come quick enough! …and it really didn’t! The couch wasn’t comfortable.

Anyways, the following morning our initial 4-man posse was complete. We grabbed some breakfast from Tesco, a few last-minute bits n bobs then rammed the car full of stuff and headed on our merry way. A swift 30 minute journey later and TA-DAAAAAAA. We were at Sonisphere.

Only a short stroll from the car to the gate this year, and given that we were 3 hours early, we were near the front of the queue. We did the only thing we could do with 3 hours to spare. We cracked open the first of many tinnies! Fatal flaw, I took a swig of some rather oddly flavoured Absinthe that I’d got on holiday many years ago. It was minging. Made me feel instantly sick and made me feel sick again with every Absinthe flavoured burp for the next 6 hours. Mark, on the other hand, hammered down a whole miniature of the stuff. This was the beginning of the end for him!

Mark drinking the first of many

Mark - It was all downhill from here

2 hours later and they opened the gates. Yup, opened ‘em early. No wonder we usually get a shit spot! Not today though, we pretty much had our pick of the field. We grabbed a spot near where we were last year (only there was a tree there this year which I didn’t remember) and proceeded to pitch TEN EFFING TENTS!! That’s right, of our 11 man party only 4 of us were able to get there early enough to get a decent spot. So we had to carry everyone’s tent down with us! Between 3 of us, we got 9 done while mark fought to the death with his.

And there we sat and drank, under the mixed bag of clouds and blazing sun! Mark had developed a knack of managing to divert the rainclouds away using positive thoughts! Shame he spent most of Saturday in his tent sleeping while it was thrashing it down outside!

We drank onwards until it was dark, then sparked up the barbie. It was at this glorious moment that Jim decided to arrive, so after burger number 1, myself and Ross had to go find him. He had our bags. Jim claimed he was at the main entrance, so out the gates to the main entrance we jogged… only for him to tell us he was at a different entrance! GRRRR!

Having pretty much done a lap of the entire campsite and arena, we found him and marched back to the tents to find a dead barbeque. Nice. So we carried on drinking ‘til it was time for a kip.

Adam & Beer Bong

Maverick with his beloved Beer Bong

Friday: The Big Four Day.
Woke up bright and early (as per usual at festivals), so geekily, I read a few chapters of my book ‘Hell Bent For Leather’ by Seb Hunter (Metalheads, read this book. It’s class). Then proceeded to head out, make a brew and start on breakfast (bag of crisps and an apple) then hit the cider. The remaining 6 members of our group were due to arrive throughout the morn, so we whiled away the hours laughing at all the usual festival weirdos and the bunch of idiots that had camped next to us… and Mark, who’d gone on some mad sleepwalking adventure.

Everyone had now arrived, sorted out their stuff and been formally introduced. Time to go watch some bands then. We were not really bothered about Diamond Head so used the time to down a few more cans. Most of us using the standard from-the-can method, Adam using the beer-bong method.

We stomped into the arena ready for the first band of the day (that we wanted to watch). It was the first of the Big Four – Anthrax. Now, I’m not the greatest Anthrax follower in the world, but they were pretty good. Watched them at Soni last year too. I’d noticed that the gleaming scalp of Scott Ian was missing from the ‘Thrax line up and I was told he was away (for reasons I forget. Wife had a baby, maybe?), but didn’t know who’d replaced him until about half way through their set, when I heard a familiar accent talking. As I turned and said: “is that Andreas Kisser up there…” They blazed into the intro to Sepultura’s ‘Refuse/Resist’. So yeah, it was. Also, pretty sure it wasn’t gonna be the last time I heard that song this weekend!

Ross, Me & Jim

Me & Jim in "Same Hat Shocker" w/ Ross looking cool

Next up was the band that I’d been banging on about for some time. Megadeth. Right, there’s been this running joke with our group for a while about how MegaDave Mustaine finishes the set. I have a CD of them performing a song, and at the end he says “you’ve been great, we’ve been Megadeth” in his croaky voice and it cracks me up every time I hear it. Last year at Download, even though we’d been building it up all day, we weren’t expecting to hear him actually say it, so myself and Jodz (massive Megadeth fan) casually chatted at the end of the ‘Deth’s set…. And he said it!! And everyone else apart from me and him heard it! Gutted.

MegaDave

MegaDave Mustaine on't big screen

This year though, we stood our ground, and after a blistering set of tunes including Hangar 18, Peace Sells, A Toute Le Monde, Sweating Bullets and more, we were silently waiting… and irritating Jodz about it through the medium of text! There was a moment where it was all over and it wasn’t heard. We remained disappointed. Then big Dave walked to the mic… “YOU’VE BEEN GREAT……… WE’VE BEEN MEGADETH”.

…and my weekend was complete!

Next up was Slayer. Now, in regards to Slayer I had to make a tough decision. I decided not to watch them. Given my plan of festival times, I’d worked out that by missing Slayer I could infact watch The Black Dahlia Murder, Black Breath and Protest the Hero if I ran about quick enough. So we did.

We nipped into the Bohemia tent and caught 20 minutes of Black Dahlia Murder’s set and it was cool, sound aside. Sound in tents is always a bit shit. Then we headed over to the Jagermeister stage in time to watch Black Breath. Now these guys were feckin amazing. The sound was raw and full of that filthy Scandinavian guitar groove that Entombed made famous. Enjoyed every minute of these guys, even with some bass issues, and when you’re at the Jager stage, you’re really close to the action too!

Black Breath

Black Breath - Action Shot

After they’d finished, we headed over to another tent (forgotten the name of this one) to watch Protest the Hero. They’re on the list of bands I’ve ignored in the past only to come to like. We got to the tent and it was rammed. They weren’t letting anyone in. So we hovered for a bit to hear ‘em start, but it sounded crap from outside, so we wandered towards the main stage to wait for Metallica. Fortunately, Slayer were still on and we managed to catch the last few songs of their set. RAINING BLOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOD!!!

Food and a beer later and we were waiting on Metallica. They came out, all guns blazing and nailed a stormer of a set. It was not necessarily a greatest hits performance but a career spanning showcase of skills and songs form their illustrious 30 year history. NO, I’m not a fan of the new stuff so was grateful they only played ‘All Nightmare Long’ but they did, for some unknown reason, throw into the set ‘The Memory Remains’. Not exactly their finest four, but to be fair, it got a massive sing/chant along going. Me included!. They played all the usual faves, Enter Sandman, Master of Puppets, One, Creeping Death and banged out a few tunes I’ve not heard in a long time. Welcome Home (Sanitarium), The Shortest Straw and others. Classic stuff.

Metallica

Metallica

As expected, they did the Big Four jam, which, if you look at it might as well have been the Big Seven jam, as Diamond Head’s Brian Tatler got up to play ‘Am I Evil’ and Sepultura’s Andreas Kisser (Covering for Scott Ian) and Exodus’ Gary Holt (Covering for Jeff Hanneman) were also up there! Was a pretty cool moment to catch, and of the footage I’ve seen previously of this moment, I was surprised to see Kerry King up there too!

And there we draw the bands of day one to a close. …but not the events!

We got back to our circle of 10 tents to find that some…. TWATS had decided to pitch their tent right in the middle of our circle. Cue 11 very unhappy people. We marched over (well, I marched over) and told them to up sticks and shift! The cheek of it! If we’d arrived that late, we’d have had to go find a pitch miles away. As it was, we’d made the effort to get there early to have a decent pitch, so I’ll be damned if I was letting them steal it! After I’d calmed down a touch, we said they could move in the morning, but they shifted there and then anyway. Apparently I scared them! That’s gotta be a first!

Tunes on and beers downed and it was time to hit the sack and leave Mark to claim the throne as Last Man Standing.

….oh, and i met ‘The Edge’ of U2 fame!

Me with The Edge from U2

Me with The Edge from U2

Part 2 coming soon….

Hello, howdy, howzit goin?

Ok, i’ve been away for a bit, but it’s all been for a good cause. I was at Sonisphere watching the Big Four, Biffy and the ‘Knot to name but a few (I’m still in festival recovery mode), and i’ve had a few gigs to go to before that such as Suicide Silence, After the Burial & co, so over the next week or so i’ve a fair bit to waffle on about!

Coupled with the fact that i’ve got some groovy new tunes to listen to courtesy of Limp Bizkit and Unearth will see me, fingers crossed, back on here with vengeance!

Keep an eye out for at least my memories of the Cavalera Conspiracy w/ Sylosis gig in Wrexham, which will be very few given that i was wrecked off my face (cheers again for the Jager, Ross).

..and i’ll have a glowing review of next thursdays Slash gig in manchester. By glowing, i mean i’ll likely be sobbing like a child as he plays Sweet Child O’Mine. So very, very effing excited.

…and slightly off the subject of music, i’m gonna check out the new Batman Live show on Friday too! Heard there was a bit of an incident earlier this week where Bats himself was carted off on a stretcher. I don’t think it was due to the Riddler laying the smackdown on him either!!

ah well, It’s all fun!

Having recently read Dom Lawson’s retaliatory post about all the people on t’internet being a bunch of whiny cunts about Download festival, I can see where he’s coming from.  Yeah, yeah, every year when they initially give a line up I inevitably say “that looks wank! I’m not going”, but I usually do.

So yeah, I love Download and do go pretty much every year.  Think I’ve only missed one (Kiss/Offspring/LostProphets year) so far. Well, and this years. Should be there right now and deep down, I’m pissed I’m not.  Last year, I did Download and Sonisphere for the full weekends, plus days at Leeds (for Limp Bizkit & Weezer) and Hevy Festival (For a Stag-do – and Sylosis, Black Dahlia Murder and Despised Icon were playing), and that run of festival madness damn near bankrupted me.  So please, this post isn’t to start a fight or anything, it’s just my point of view of the state of festivals today from my side of the fence.

No, I didn’t go to Download this year.  The line-up is fucking atrocious in my opinion, with the exception of a few decent bands and yes, I am going to Sonisphere.  Big 4?  Gotta see that.  I have gripes with all festivals, but Download gets the brunt of the barrage ‘cause it’s the one I’ve been to the most and seen change.

Here we go…

Announcing the line up:  Please, PLEASE stop fucking around and announce a decent amount of bands and all major headliners before selling tickets!  I’d like to know what’s on the bill before I fork out my hard earned readies on a ticket!  What if I bought one after you said “Headlining are System of a Down” only to find the next batch was topped by Kings of Leon and Panic at the Disco. What if all the tickets sold out and it turned into a good line up?? Just tell me the bands at the start and I’ll buy a ticket.  Or not.

Price: It’s always going to be an arguing point.  Festivals like Download have become ridiculously expensive and it ain’t gonna get any cheaper.  It’s gonna get to the point where people the festivals are aimed at won’t be able to afford to go. I can’t see the kids of tomorrow being able to raise the £250 price tag for Download 2015.  Some of them might even have to sell their GHD straighteners to raise funds!

I get why it’s becoming increasingly expensive.  You want bigger crowds, so you add diversity (not the dance outfit) to the selection of bands and facilities you make available.  You want to cover all bases of rock, metal, punk, emo, hardcore, thrash and so on and so forth, so you add more stages and more bands to bring in crowds into that scene.  And that’s all fine, but…

Think about it.  You put on 40 odd bands per day, yeah?  We then have to pay for the privilege of having 40 odd bands and pay a little extra to cover the costs of said fantastic/shite bands to play for our amusement. Well, I can’t watch more than one at a time, can I?  So why should I have to pay the extra for you to add a bunch of Emo bands to the bill to draw in an Emo crowd?  Why should there be a price increase for everyone so you can sell more tickets and add bands that I won’t get to see ‘cause they’ll be on at the same time as other bands.  Ok, I like the fact that there’s choice.  I’ll pay for good choice.  Let’s say I wanna watch Linkin Park, but Rob Zombie’s on at the same time.  I’m paying for some of Linkin Park’s fee and I won’t get to see ‘em!  Heres another: Korn/My Chemical Romance a few years back.  Why should my ticket price increase so MCR can play.  I didn’t want them there, I was happy watching Korn.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not ranting here saying we should have ticket fees depending on the amount of bands we intend to watch or a fee per band, etc. That would be shite.  But please, can you take into account that we can’t watch all bands that are on the bill. It’s just not physically possible, so why should we have to pay so much? £200 for 200 bands is a great deal.  Tho, I’m only gonna manage to see about 40 of em, so not so good.

Food: Right, there’s no way I can afford £7 for a feckin Burger n chips everyday.  Having already blown £200 on a ticket, £10 for a car park, money for fuel and camping drinks, I’m bloody skint.  So what do you do to help us poor, hungry metallers?  That’s right, you make us pay £5 for a burger.  Last year we were paying nearly £8 for a chicken wrap!

We’re not allowed to take food into the arena these days, so we’re forced to pay unfair prices for food. Same for beer! I remember when you were allowed to take in plastic containers of beer and drink. You even take unopened bottles of water off us! Daylight fucking robbery!!  Isn’t a music festival about us watching the bands that you put on for us to enjoy, and not about you robbing us blind at for the luxury of eating??

Download especially pisses me off for this point.  You’ve moved the arena further from the camp site, so now I can’t save money by nipping back to my tent for a cheeky pot noodle!  If I did, it’s a half hour stroll to the tent, cook and eat, walk back and oh! I’ve missed 3 bands!  Yes, I’m a lazy fucker, but that’s not a quick walk for anyone is it? At least at Sonisphere they didn’t fleece me of a bag of crisps and a fucking apple like Download did!

Beer:  It’s too expensive and you fucking know it!

Festival Bogs:  I can’t really complain about the festival bogs at Download or Sonisphere.  I went to Leeds for the day last year and I’ve never seen anything like it! Disgusting doesn’t cover the state of these things!  As much as I hate festy bogs, my congratulations go to metal festivals where we can have a relatively clean shitting experience!

Distance from the camp:  Ok, I’ve touched on this but why is the campsite soooooo far from the Download arena these days? Ok, they’re doing stuff to the track so you had to move the arena.  So move the bloody camp to be nearer it!  I like the newer layout of Download, it’s much better than it was when it was by the track, but there’s no point clinging to Donington Park if the festival isn’t there. It’s an epic walk now if you do need to go back n forth to your tent, as some people do.

It’s these reasons that do my head in about festivals and Download specifically, these days, not primarily the selection of bands playing. I’ll still go every year and tolerate the nonsense for the love of the music played, the laughs I have with friends there and the random people who make the camping much more fun!

My decision to not go to Download this year is just a money and line-up thing. If I miraculously came into a spare £200, I’d have gone.  I’d go for the day ‘cause I want to check out System of a Down and Alter Bridge, but £80 for a ticket is a li’l much, don’t ya think?  It’s £200 for weekend plus camping, so where did you magic the price of £80 for the day with no camping from?  Pull that out of your arse, did ya?  You might think £80 for all those bands is a good deal.  If I could watch all the bands, it probably would be, but it’s PHYSICALLY FUCKING IMPOSSIBLE!!!!!  Ain’t it?

These are only my opinions based on going to festivals for the last 17 years or so and how things have changed… not always for the better.  I’ve got plenty of festival experience and love and hate them. I’ve been to Donington/Download, Sonisphere, Reading, Leeds, Dynamo and more. I’ve had some great times with many people and friends at festivals and some shite times where we’ve been robbed and had our weekends spoiled by fucking dickheads who’ve got no respect for anyone.

So please, I’m not after a ‘war of words’ over this. I’m just passing on my side of the story.

So, as you’ve seen in previous instalments, 2010 was a pretty busy year gig-wise for me. I think I saw more bands last year than any other year! It was all good fun, but crippled me for cash!

The plan for this year has already been scuppered. It was ‘one festival only’, and as we always go to Download, we were going to Download. To be fair, the line-up isn’t that much to get excited about so far, but it usually gets better as time goes on – a fact that pisses me off royally!! Just announce the majority of the bands straight away so I can decide if your festival is shit! Don’t just feed me drips and drabs for six months ‘til it’s too late to buy a fucking ticket!!! I digress…

So the initial line-up as it stands is System of a Down and Linkin Park headlining. I loved SOAD, but they’ve kinda gone off the boil a bit for me, and Linkin Park just went shit! Others announced were Avenged Sevenfold (who I’ve already said I’m not a big fan of) and Rob Zombie. I know Rob Zombie’ll be cool though, but it’s not the most appealing opening announcement for a festival, is it? let’s see what they come up with on Monday with their next announcement!

So then Sonisphere piped up with their initial announcement. Biffy Clyro and Slipknot to headline. Excellent. A much better start for me! Top that up with some more heavy bands and we have a winner! Then they dropped the bombshell! On the Friday… The Big Four. Metallica, Slayer, Megadeth and Anthrax. Looks like we’re off to Sonisphere then!

Other gigs coming up are Rob Zombie’s UK Headline tour which should be mint! Loved White Zombie when they were around and his first few solo efforts were pretty good too! Skindred supporting, so that’s a bonus. Also got tickets for heavyweights Whitechapel. Yeah, saw ’em not so long back, but it’ll be brutal so worth another view!

Debating whether to bother watching Bring Me The Horizon (because I like the new album, remember) in the Apollo. It looks like a good line-up of bands, including Parkway Drive, which is a pretty good selling point. Might go see A Day to Remember at the end of Jan, but we’ll see how the cash is!

First gig of the year’s already under the belt too. Terror, First Blood, Lionheart and Backtrack at Moho Live in Manchester. Some of the songs Backtrack played took me back a few years. The style of it reminded me of when I used to go watch the underground UK hardcore shows back in the late 90’s. Lionheart, First Blood and Terror were all equally heavy hitting. Was a cool show, and a good chance to see some friends I don’t see very often. Glad I stayed clear of the pit though, as there was a rather big chap in there knocking the shit out of everyone, and one of my mates got spin kicked in the face. Which you can see here….

Got some new music over the festive period that I need to get listening to. Now I can finally play MP3 files in the car again, I can get back into making compilations and letting it all sink in as I drive. I’ve picked up new albums by A Day to Remember, Terror, Murderdolls, Fleshwrought and more to check out. One band that’s standing out is Symphony in Peril which came in a batch of new recommendations from Jim (ta la!). It’s heavy, meaty, hardcore/metalcore type stuff so check ’em out if you haven’t already!

While Googling them, I came across a note on wikipedia, saying Symphony in Peril where part of a youtube sensation. Their track ‘Stiletto’ has an epic beatdown that a gang of kids in the States were using as part of their ‘Drive-By Hardcore Dancing’ videos. In which they’d drive up to unsuspecting people and ask if they could help them with directions for somewhere to go for some good music..”like this…”, then they’d blast the song and a gang of them would all jump out and start moshing like fuck to the stiletto beatdown! Made me chuckle! Have a look.

It may be old, but new to me and t’s funny! Anyways, I’ll have some more to report soon! So keep checking back.