Biffy Clyro – Knebworth

By Tom Aylott

Sonisphere’s Saturday line up is one that other UK festival organisers were staring at with great envy, and RICHARD CHEESE is never to be avoided on such occasions, so we split our time between his rabble and the fantastic WHILE SHE SLEEPS. Both were well worth getting out of bed for, and as the weather decided to bring back Download flashbacks, we braced ourselves for a long day.

Unfortunately the sounds of Frank Carter announcing his GALLOWS departure and KIDS IN GLASS HOUSES could only echo to us dodging heavy raindrops and getting some invaluable work time in, but as ALL TIME LOW (right) set off screaming at the kind of pitch only Labradors can hear, we managed to get back out and watch some bands. Predictable they may be but, peppering their set with old and new school in equal amounts: from ‘Do You Want Me (Dead)’ to ‘Dear Maria, Count Me In’ and the party-starter anthem ‘I Feel Like Dancin’ did much to brighten up a rather soggy afternoon and somehow managed to out-Cheese Richard…

Usually on top form, SPYCATCHER tried their might to make the most of their Jagermeister stage slot but something was missing. Out promoting stunning recent album ‘Honesty’, it was a bit of an off-day for the band without the usual rip roaring rock show which, although providing respite for the dance-weary, is nothing short of a shame.

As if their boisterous brand of crossovers weren’t enough, samples of The Blackout’s ‘Higher And Higher’ kept TEK ONE’s audience more than happy as the live dubstep set couriered a break from copious amounts of metal all over Knebworth House. Cool and loud, this was definitely one for the fash-pack, brandishing their music and sartorial credentials in equal doses; following a stint with Tek One you can’t help feel a little dirty, but as the massive beats reverberated from pillar to post of the well crowded Red Bull tent, no-one inside was complaining.

After last year’s excellent showing at the double headed Reading/Leeds monster, WEEZER (left) had plenty to live up to. Thankfully, they’re excellent as ever, though maybe not quite topping the infamous mud dive / Lady Gaga wig combo from 2010. The band have been over far more frequently than is customary in recent years, and it’s largelya hits set for a baying Knebworth mass. Rivers was on absolute top form, and there’s little that touched the customary Say it Ain’t So “whoa-whoa” singalongs for the rest of the weekend.

Another of the bands on every one’s lips this weekend were the one and only MARS VOLTA. Refusing to do what’s expected of them is a risky business, but the band leads a transfixed Knebworth through a spacey and trawling set. There’s a few hits here and there, but today’s a “we’re doing what the fuck we want to do kind of day for the Mars Volta, and it’s fucking brilliant.

Mirrors, bubbles and chandeliers? Why not? Setting the stage-dressing stakes ridiculously high BIFFY CLYRO, in nothing short of a bold move and brilliant white skinny jeans, launched into ‘The Captain’. The cult and the populous pacified as the bounty of nearly a decade was laid out across the Apollo Stage; Biffy Clyro put the crowd through their paces on a rollercoaster set of obscure and new alike. The Scottish super power always pull something truly special out the bag and signing off the penultimate night of Sonisphere was absolutely no different. Incredible scenes.

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Words by Jessica Acreman and Tom Aylott