Slipknot – Knebworth

By Tom Aylott

There’s not many fresh faces who are able to boast Corey Taylor and Mastodon as super fans but ARCANE ROOTS, as well as being the band on everyone’s lips, can now add the accolade of being Number 8’s alarm clock to their glistening resumé. It’s undeniable that the trio have far more stage presence for a band in their young years should have and possess the unparalleled ability to mesmerize a tent of hungover souls. Arcane Roots continue to ascertain themselves as one of the most exciting breakthrough acts and show no signs of backing down.

AIRBOURNE shook up the Saturn Stage by taking the Ozzie mentality to new heights – literally. Midway through the type of sex, drugs and rock n roll set that would make Mötley Crüe start synchronized swimming in a Heinz filled bathtub; frontman Joel O’Keefe swung from the scaffolding sending gasps and cheers for more daredevilish antics resounding; the pièce de résistance was the death defying Wayne’s World antics from the stage’s summit. They may not be the most gifted band in the world but hell’s teeth, Airbourne ruled!

Melodic hardcore never looked so good and it was wonderful to see EXIT TEN smash the Jägermeister Stage into touch. Extraordinarily still a cult band, they often seem more a myth than actual being, Exit Ten perform with heart stained sleeves as standard, yet every show feels special; working up momentum from the tiny stage as they played through their ever popular “Technically Alive” and “Resume Ignore”. Ryan Redman’s vocals were spot on and naturally the musicanship of his band followed suit, evidence enough that their final “Curtain Call” is nowhere to be seen, Exit Ten secured their spot as one of the fest’s best.

LIMP BIZKIT request hour may well have been one of the strangest sets of the weekend as their ubiquitously-capped frontman took shout outs, leaving the front row and Wes Borland to decide the set list, well sort of. Douche Bag stands as one of the stupidest songs in living memory, but it really had Knebworth by the balls, and the standard array of Limp Bizkit classics were present. It really was no Reading 2010, mostly because of the damp squib caused by the afternoon weather rather than raging sunshine, but you get what you get from Limp Bizkit, and it’s always great fun.

Never before have so many bepierced and leathered grown men jigged to folk tunes in public. Thanks to pop-splicing, horn tweeking BILL BAILEY, the rain seemed to become nothing but a distraction as the Deutsche hokey cokey, thrash metal Gaga and horned Enter Sandman came down upon the soaking hoards. Possibly an little bit of an odd booking at first glance, Bailey brought some thundering fun to the weekend, but there was always that niggling thought of ‘could xxx have played and torn our faces off’ – still, a fantastic booking.

And then, the climax of the weekend, the name on everyone’s lips, the emotional return, SLIPKNOT clambered to Sonisphere’s main stage. Rain beaten and worn, but not short of energy, the crowd kept alive as the band’s set tore through just about every imaginable twist and hit available to them, complete with no less rage than a decade ago. Formerly written off as a novelty, they’ve gone far beyond proving themselves as one of the greatest metal bands on the planet, and as they rolled out Paul Grey’s jumpsuit and mask and embraced at the end of the set, it felt like something really special had happened this evening. It felt like a goodbye, and many feel that this summer will probably see the end of the band, but if this is the last time the UK gets to see Slipknot, it was just about as perfect a goodbye as we could get.

AND, if that wasn’t quite enough, once the crowds had dispersed to stave off the post-festival blues, BAT SABBATH (aka. Cancer Bats doing Black Sabbath songs), decided that everyone hadn’t had enough fun in Bohemia and absolutely brought the house down. Completely silly and over the top, but fantastic regardless, it was the icing on the cake of the weekend and a great way to keep the night alive.

It would really take a lot to top Sonisphere this year, and with the diversity of line up and entertainment throughout the weekend so brilliant, every other UK rock festival should be very, very jealous of what happened this rainy July weekend.

Words: Jessica Acreman and Tom Aylott

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