Monday, 30 August 2010

Pompey Got 99 Problems...

You know when you have one of those days where the only sensible remedy is to write about it on the internet? Oh, that’s not a thing in 2010? Never mind. I’ll write some stuff anyway. At least it is not a poem or a twilight related sack of shit

Pompey have played at home 3 times so far this season and in an uncharacteristic move, I’ve been to all 3! I never went to Fratton Park often when Pompey were in the Premier League. I do regret that but at the same time, I don’t. Some people will argue until they are blue in the face that real fans go to as many games as possible – I disagree. Some people, me included, couldn’t and still can’t afford £38 a game or £600-700 for a season ticket. I went to cup games when I could because the club used to reduce the ticket prices just to get people through the door. Anyway, the tickets are cheaper on a game by game basis so I can afford to go to a lot more games. I can’t afford a season ticket again but I can afford to go to the odd game. Don’t know if you can count 3 in a row as “the odd game” but oh well. The performance against Reading has a lot of positives about it and the draw was a cruel result. Seeing Ciftci score was good as well as he’s young and looks full of promise. One thing which was annoying though was the team just seemed to switch off about 75mins in. That is not good! The game against Crystal Palace flipped between cool and dire. Still, was cool to see Pompey win on penalties. Was also cool to see Edgar Davids play live. The latest offering was against Cardiff which to be honest was alright (nothing special) up until they scored their first goal (I say they scored – we scored for them as we felt sorry or something). Their second goal was just hideous and the least said about it the better.

The overall comment I have to make is that if major changes are not made soon, Pompey will suffer consecutive relegations. The team is just not very good at the moment and it pains me to say that! The team can play well together but they just haven’t done that much this season. In a nutshell, what Pompey need to do is this:
• Complete the Wilson deal. He was at fault for the first Cardiff goal (despite it being an own goal). He doesn’t want to be here anymore, so sell him to Stoke and bring in Lawrence and Kitson (I don’t like the fact we would have 4 former stoke players in our first team, but needs must!)
• Sell any other player that doesn’t want to be at the club! Pure and simple
• Use Kanu properly!
• If we get Lawrence, organise the midfield so he can play properly
• Shoot Sonko.

This wasn’t actually intended to be a Pompey blog, but I’m talking Pompey with a friend on MSN and it just happened. Anyway, I mentioned at the top that my Sunday has been fucking terrible. Here’s why:

1. I had bets on today’s games which died early.
2. I had an 11 game accumulator, and 9 of them came in *shakes fist*
3. My Xbox red ringed!

All of a sudden, I’ve forgotten what else I was going to say. I’ll leave it there for now

Tuesday, 10 August 2010

Hardcore Justice Review

I did this before with the WWE Money in the Bank PPV and it was quite a lot of fun for me. Therefore I’ve decided to do another blog with my thoughts as it happens of ECW...no TNA Hardcore Justice. This PPV is the TNA reunion of sorts for the ECW guys that are no longer in WWE. I think that basically means this is a reunion of ECW people without Chris Jericho. Shame really.

• That was a cool intro package. It must be tough bigging up ECW and its legacy when they legally can’t use any video footage. That was very good
• I miss Taz wrestling. Shame he got badly hurt. Ach well, good opening promo.
• Awkward mentioning people that say ECW were just blood and guts on a TNA PPV, considering Eric Bischoff is helping in some way with this show
• The lighting in this arena is odd. ECW was never lit in blue....was it?
• Full Blooded Italians! This opening should be good
• Kid Kash and Guido opening this one. How these guys are not hired full time to wrestle? This is great
• Tony Luke, Simon Diamond, Johnny Swinger & Tracy Smothers are all pretty talented. This is a good match.
• Ok, mid match Diamond picks up the mic, says one thing, and the crowd chant “Shut the fuck up!”
• An Extreme Dance Off? What the absolute fuck?
• Ok that was different; Big Sal though can move for a guy his size!
• OH SHI.... Kash killed them all!
• Those chops never look friendly. Eshk. Also, it’s nice to see them being used. Apparently WWE banned them because the crowd says “woo”. So does Ric Flair. *sigh*
• A double superplex along with two power bombs? 6 man tag matches are cool!
• That was a good opener! FBI winning was cool. All 6 of those guys can still go which is cool. I’m not sure that will be replicated across the whole show heh
• I don’t buy that Mike Tenay thinks this night is special. He was a part of WCW back in the day. Granted, he isn’t going to sit there and say “actually, this is extremely crappy wrestling” but why lie? Hmm
• Where are they now? That’s a cool idea for this show. TNA guys talking about what they remember from “The original promotion”. Ugh that name will get annoying. Cool segment though
• Backstage with BWO and Al Snow. That was painful
• Too Cold Scorpio and CW Anderson. I don’t wish to accuse the bookers here of throwing a match together but these two have styles of wrestling that surely won’t mesh
• Too Cold still has it! He’s great
• OH SHI....what a kick!
• 360 leg drop! This one is over! What a great match. I was wrong thinking they won’t mesh, excellent!
• Time hasn’t been kind to Bill Alfonso
• PJ Polaco eh? He’s no Justin Credible. Oh...
• Ha! The fans won’t be fooled. They are chanting Justin Credible
• Stevie Richards has been criminally underused in his career. Hopefully this’ll change with this match
• Damn. That one was also a good match. Very impressed so far with the in-ring action. Backstage leaves a little to be desired but still.
• “Just an incredible shot with that cane” – Probably the closest so far to getting sued
• The Sandman really knows how to fuck you up with a Singapore Cane
• That is quite a classy thing to do, paying tribute to those who have died since the close of ECW. Shame they’d get sued if they did individual tributes.
• 3 way dance with Brother Runt (Spike Dudley), Al Snow and Rhino. Could be interesting
• The falls happened quickly when they happened but that was a good match. GORE!
• So the backstage segment with Mick Foley starts with him reading Hogan’s book? That’s stupid. I guess that was his pay-off for not appearing and winning the TNA title or something.
• Hey! It’s the Hardcore Chair Swinging Freaks! Axl Rotten and...Kahoneys? Fans chant Balls – again they can’t be fooled. Anyway its open challenge to a tag team. Wonder who’ll answer it. I reckon Team 3D
• OH SHI....its Team 3D, but Joel Gertner! Awesome!
• Heh, Lady Gaga puns are awesome. Gertner almost introduced the Dudley’s as the Dudley’s. That would have been awkward. By awkward, I mean a lawsuit.
• South Philly Street Fight between HCSF and 3D. Whatever happened to Extreme Rules Matches? Oh lawsuit got it!
• Pretty sure, speaking of law suits, Taz just called “Kahoneys” Balls. The TNA lawyers must be having a fit
• Heh, the fans aren’t helping put the cause to avoid the lawsuit. Funny though
• This match is a train wreck, in the good sense. I miss hardcore wrestling.
• OH SHI....I think George Lucas is going to sue someone. Lightsaber battle in a hardcore match? Now I’ve seen everything aside from a guy eating his own head
• That was classic. Double pin attempt by Team 3D and Axl Rotten just laid there, waiting to die. Match continues because we’re all supposed to pretend that didn’t happen. Excellent
• Get the Tables!
• OH SHI....that bitch is on fire!
• The Gangstas eh? This shit just got real.
• More train wreck hardcore action....ending in a hug?! Ok we’re going to come beat the shit out of you and then hug it out! Different
• Raven’s promos used to be awesome. Alas
• Tribute to Joey Styles. That’s cool. If this show is missing one thing, it is that.
• Stop saying the Original Promotion. I don’t know what is better, but we know what you mean by now!
• Dreamer v Raven! Oh yeah
• Tommy got busted open pretty early. Damn
• This is a lot less of a train wreck than the last hardcore match, but it’s still good
• That was a sick spot in the corner with Tommy falling through the ladder
• The tree of woe/baseball slide looks awesome, especially when the person upside down has a weapon in front of their face
• OH SHIT! Cross face with barbed wire!
• DDT & Neck breaker. Awesome move
• Mr Socko....alright then
• OH SHI....mandible claw with barbed wire! Fuck
• That was an awesome match. Granted, technically it was a load of wank but that’s not what it was about. Hardcore wrestling still has a place!
• Showing highlights now. Both barbed wire spots were just crazy!
• Impact! This week looks like it could be really good.
• So Cal Val dressed up in almost a gothic style – win!
• Hahaha! New Jack is awesome! “Hey baby, once you go black, you get bad credit!”
• And now JB is New Jacks bitch. Uhoh!
• Paul Heyman tribute. I guess this is in place of a Paul Heyman promo. Shame really.
• Rob Van Dam! The Whole Fucking Show!
• Got to be honest, this one has to be a train wreck in the bad sense. RVD is awesome. Sabu was awesome back in the day. I can’t see this being anything other than Botch mania. Still, haven’t really heard “You fucked up!” chants yet, so that’s good!
• Awesome match so far. I’m honestly surprised
• OH SHI...Sabu can still fly from the ring over the guard rail! Just damn!
• Nice references to previous contests between these two. Still awesome
• Damn! Hurricanirana from the top onto a chair. The crowd chant “You’ve still got it” and he does.
• Stop saying the original promotion!
• Holy Shit! Sabu’s twisting DDT on a chair was awesome!
• Great ending to a match. Very very impressed with how that worked out.
• The end of the show was pretty cool with the beer bash.
• The “Fuck You Vince” chant at the end was moronic, but whatever

Overall, a pretty good PPV. No WWE interference, just an ECW show. I’m really happy they didn’t ruin this show like ONS with an ECW v TNA storyline (though that’s about to start by the looks). They came close to falling into lawsuit territory more than once, but it was always going to happen. If it is the last reunion of ECW, then it was a hell of a way to go out. Some technical brilliance, some hardcore genius and all round enjoyment. That was ECW, and this was Hardcore!

Saturday, 7 August 2010

Foreign Festivals. A Justification

Nearly a week has gone by since being at Sonisphere and I miss that festival feeling. I know I’m not alone with this mindset but a festival to me is a great holiday. Literally the only aspect I don’t like 100% is camping (I should state that I’m not the sort of person who doesn’t like getting dirty, I just don’t like having a sore back). I don’t remember the comedian, but a fairly famous comedian has a joke about holidays being too long. Your standard festival is Fri/Sat/Sun of music, maybe a day or 2 before, and maybe a day or 2 after to recover. Basically, a week is needed for a festival (I find anyway). Sonisphere served as a great holiday for me this year and I had a great time there. But I now have my mind wandering again. Last time this occurred with relation to festivals, I ended up spending 2 separate weeks in Germany...

I’m not someone who chooses a festival based purely on its atmosphere or reputation. This is one of the reasons I’ve never been to Glastonbury. I’m sure I’d have a great time when there but there is never usually enough announced beforehand to make me think “YES! This is the festival for me” (I should point out at this stage; I have used a festivals reputation to discard a full weekend at a festival. I speak of course, of the Reading/Leeds festivals. I have friends that like it, but it is not for me). A festival is chosen by me based not on campsite atmosphere but who is playing at the festival primarily! Campsite atmosphere is a factor but there is a certain degree of making your own atmosphere and it fitting in with your surroundings. One of the reasons Sonisphere was so good for me is the campsite we had was pretty damn good (and I did have reservations, they were all pretty much quashed).

My experiences of UK festivals have generally been positive. The reason for this is that I’ve never been a victim of anything bad at one. Granted there have been a few attempts (including one I believe at Soni) but nothing has ever happened to spoil my festival experience. I have read horror stories (and indeed witnessed horror stories) of theft at festivals. That tends to be as bad as it gets at the type of festival I go to (I’ve heard of assaults and rape happen at others). But on a much smaller scale, festivals of all kind in this country can have an aura of relaxation, of free spirits. But it can also be one that is quite threatening (especially on the last night as once again, people prove themselves to be complete cunts). The thing which amazes me about this is that the people that partake in the cunt activities are the same ones that moan the loudest when the festival has to bump up ticket prices to afford the extra security they require to try and prevent incidents like the one they helped to cause!

I’ve been to two festivals in Germany. Rock AM Ring and Wacken. Both of these festivals had their pros and cons, much like the festivals here. However on honest reflection, I feel they are still both my favourite festival experiences. Granted, there was an awful lot about RaR which wasn’t all that fun. The epic walk to the arena and back each day is probably the main one. People at Download moan they had to walk a mile or so and at Sonisphere, it was a moan about it being uphill. Rock AM Ring had hills, bridges and autobahns (!) but more importantly, 4.5miles from where we camped to the arena. The lack of signposting probably another and the absolute randomness of the wristband collections. Of course with certain people, there was also a language barrier (a fair whack of people spoke fluent English though). However, as a rule, it was a much better experience (at both – I haven’t moaned about Wacken because I don’t feel I need to). Sonisphere was my best UK festival yet but it is not the best I’ve been to.

Foreign festivals better than UK:

• Price – Download costs near £200 for weekend/camping. Sonisphere cost £162 + £10 for Weekend/camping/early entry. Wacken cost me £100 for that. Rock Am Ring cost £130.

• Travel – Granted, festivals abroad do require (for the most part) a flight. However, factoring in the fact it costs less to buy a ticket, this isn’t so bad. Lufthansa is charging £90 for flights. Festival travel here can cost £20 if you know someone driving.

• Band times – Some people argue that festivals should be able to run later than they do. Indeed, in Download’s case, there is no reason as far as I can see why the festival cannot run later than 11.30pm. Abroad, bands play on open air stages until 3/4am, in areas that aren’t that far from where people live.

• Campsite atmosphere – Both German trips have involved helping neighbours setup, talking to neighbours about nothing. The only UK festival where that happened really has been DL07 – where we talked to a neighbour about being sent to the festival by his daughter who couldn’t go. He missed Motley Crue and had to watch My Chemical Romance.

• Incident free? – Granted, this could just be because I’ve had nothing happen to me, but at the two festivals I was at in Germany, nothing bad was reported. No assault, no theft. It was a much nicer and more relaxed place to be.

Will my next festival be in the UK? Honestly I’m not sure. As I said earlier, it really depends what the festivals here have to offer. This was written because as I type, the final day of Wacken is coming to an end, and despite the awesomeness of Sonisphere, it was not a patch on the festivals I went to in Germany. Would it be Germany next time? I quite fancy doing some other European festivals. Such as Hellfest, Graspop Metal Meeting, Novarock (though actually, its 2009 lineup was vastly superior to its 2010) and Metalcamp. I discovered other festivals as well this year which seem interesting. Main Square Festival in France and Bilbao BBK seem very good. Both of which I wouldn’t be opposed to going to if the lineup is right.

There’s no real point to this, I just felt like justifying my case for going abroad for a festival next year

Wednesday, 4 August 2010

Sonisphere 2010 – A Review

Thursday – Journey up to Knebworth was fairly painless. Before setting off we had decided making two trips from the car would make more sense as we had a fair amount of stuff between us all. The queue was a bit nuts but I guess that is to be expected, first day of a festival and all. The first trip was fairly uneventful, as was the setup of the campsite. Had a decent spot which wasn’t that far from the arena so that is always handy (granted it will take something special for a festival to be able to top the distance I was away from the RaR festival arena entrance – and people were further away!) The second walk however wasn’t a great deal of fun. It emerged that despite having wristbands, we’d need to queue again with people who had just arrived – there was no wristband entrance. This seemed to be a bit shit. Considering the amount of time they’ve had to plan this festival, something simple like that being overlooked wasn’t great. This second journey as well was coupled with carrying odds and sods, which meant dragging a trolley which couldn’t be balanced properly across bumpy ground led to an interesting journey. However, the day improved vastly when this was all dropped back at the campsite because it just meant we could sit back and relax. Went on a brief explore during this time to a burger van we passed on the way in. Considering the reputation festival food has, it wasn’t bad at all.

Friday – Ah, the first time waking up at Sonisphere, at 6am no less. My body clock and I had some disagreements over the course of the weekend. We had discussed the idea of a jaunt into Stevenage to grab a decent breakfast. This is what we did by stopping into the local Wetherspoons – The Standard Bearer (continuing the stereotype that if not all then most Wetherspoons have their toilets upstairs). Rock solid eggs aside, it was a good breakfast. Mosied around Stevenage for a short while before heading into Tesco to grab the last few bits required for the campsite. Things had improved when we returned to the festival in that they had a fast pass queue for wristband wearers. The next 4 or so hours were a continuation of the night before – sitting down enjoying the weather with beer. It was during this stage that a man, covered in red paint ran through our campsite with great pace, but connected with Paul’s knee and ended up on the floor. All credit to him, he got straight back up and carried running like crazy. Actually missed a bit of the first band I wanted to see as I was still at the campsite, but oh well. The walk to the arena, despite being hilly, was a decent walk away so that was good. I’d resolved (not knowing the time) that I would miss the first band I wanted to see, and therefore would just wait for Little London to come on stage. However, having decided a drink was in order, I walked from Jager stage and saw the first band I wanted to see on stage.

DELAIN – 7. Didn’t see much of their set unfortunately, but what I did see was really very good. Hopefully this band will do a full UK tour at some point.



LITTLE LONDON – 6. I didn’t hang around for the entire set as they were clashing with Turisas. However what I did see was good. It’s been a while since I’ve seen LL and I like what they’ve done with the song Love Reaction.



TURISAS – 7. Turisas are always good fun live. Better in a smaller environment I’d say but they do have the stage presence to justify them being on the Saturn stage. Interestingly they gave facts about Rasputin while the accordion player played the opening riff and then declared that Rasputin is dead. Is this the end of them playing it live? Perhaps. I wouldn’t be heartbroken if that happened – though it could end up them shooting themselves in the foot as a fair few people nearby after the set seemed confused they didn’t play it. However, a Black Sabbath cover was a welcome addition to the set.



EUROPE – 10. Stunning. I did not expect to enjoy them half as much as I did but they were fantastic. Obviously the best parts of the set included Rock the Night and, of course, The Final Countdown. There are not many bands that I’ve seen play a festival that received as good of a reaction to a song than that. Literally it looked like from the front row to the very back of the crowd people raised their arms, singing, dancing etc. One of the moments of the festival for me. Rock The Night also included a jam of Heaven and Hell in tribute to Dio, which was awesome. Joey Tempest still has it.



GARY NUMAN – 9. Fantastic performance from Gary Numan. He proved he still had it at the o2 arena when he guested with NIN. Since then I’ve always wanted to see his own show. This was probably the closest I’ll get to see it. It was a great show with a really good setlist. Cars and Are Friends Electric being the highlights. Would have liked him to do “Metal” but other than that omission, it was really very good.



ALICE COOPER – 10. Superb. The Theatre of Death stage show is one which needs to be seen to be believed. Alice Cooper has still got it and can offer a very valuable lesson to other bands in how to do a show. 24 song setlist with Schools Out being played twice (but whatever, it’s awesome). The set on the whole was awesome and I can’t think of one of his songs that I wanted to see that he didn’t play. I’m really tempted to go see his Halloween show in London on the back of this performance. If you didn’t see Alice Cooper, you missed out.





Despite the awesomeness of Alice Cooper, the Friday night campsite activities were limited due to tiredness having won over, and me needing to get some sleep. Great opening day to a festival.

Best Band of the Day: Alice Cooper
Moment of the Day: Europe - The Final Countdown
Worst Band of the Day: I didn’t see a band that could be considered for this.
Disappointing moment of the day: Turisas not playing Rasputin

Saturday



Rain at a festival is never fun, especially when it wakes you up before 6am. We decided that going into town would be a good idea again so this was the plan. Trundled down to the shuttle bus stop. We were the only ones there which is never a good sign. We waited for over an hour before a bus showed up. 2 of the people we were with had decided it wasn’t worth the wait which in retrospect, it probably wasn’t. Anyway, the pilgrimage to Stevenage this time was a lot shorter, and involved a trip to The Standard Bearer and Tesco. Couldn’t spend too long in the town as the bands started a lot earlier. Ended up getting a taxi back to the festival (£10 split between 4 isn’t bad). A brief stop at the campsite happened and then I set off for the arena.

EVILE – 7. The subject of the worst clash of the weekend for me. Lacuna Coil on the main stage or Evile in the Bohemia tent. I went for Evile and they were really good. 3rd time seeing them and they don’t disappoint live. Quite liked their setlist (decent balance of 1st/2nd album). Only gripe is that I’ve seen them 3 times now, and still not seen Armoured Assault live!



SOULFLY – 8. Much the same as Evile really, they never disappoint live. Really quite liked the setlist as well. Again the slight disappointment for me with regards to their setlist was the lack of Probot’s song, Red War. I guess I was spoiled at the Pyramids when they played that. Still, they had a 30min set and they were great.



ANTHRAX – 10. Superb. From the start of their set right through to the end of it they were on. I never saw Anthrax with Jon Bush so it is hard to make comparisons between the two versions of Anthrax. Joey Belladonna was on form though for this set and that made it for me. Only played 7 songs but one of those I was dying to hear live (their cover of Antisocial) and they also worked in a bit of Heaven and Hell into their song Indians, which was awesome.



FEAR FACTORY – 6. I liked this band and their set, but there did seem to be something missing which I can’t really put my finger on. I would have liked to have heard Linchpin live, but I already have so that not the end of the world. Good set, but something missing.



PAPA ROACH – 4. Slightly unfair me rating these really as I was listening to them sitting by the Saturn stage. However, Last Resort and Between Angels and Insects were good, as was Hollywood Whore. Those songs being good pushed the rating up to a 4 because the rest sounded like a bag of wank

I was sat by the Saturn stage, thinking I could legitimately have time to watch some Apocalyptica and then head over to the Bohemia stage calmly and watch Tim Minchin. However the crowd heading into the tent looked quite large so I decided reluctantly to move on to the tent. In doing so, I caught all the preceding comedy.

JARRED CHRISTMAS – 5. Jarred Christmas was very funny, but this opening set was word for word his set from Mock the Week, which was a touch disappointing.



ANDREW O’NEIL – 8. The Heavy Metal Comic! He was really good. Some of his material was quite good, and he stage dived at the end of his set. That was cool. He recommended staying about and seeing the band which followed the comedy, which was sound advice (I’m not sure if that counts as a pun or not....not intended either way)



TIM MINCHIN – 10. Simply put, hilarious. As expected the tent was crammed for this set. My memory is a complete let down for this set. I recall him singing a song about clashing with Good Charlotte (seems odd there wouldn’t be a band on clashing with him....oh), Only a Ginger & Rock and Roll Nerd. I know there was more, but I don’t remember it. Regardless, he was very funny and for those going to his tour, just know I am jealous!



SICK OF IT ALL – 9. I wanted to see this band off the back of hearing the song “Scratch the Surface”. This set was awesome. Packed from start to finish with awesome songs and closing with the aforementioned “Scratch the Surface”. Had to listen to that song outside though due to needing to leave the tent so when they finished, I could head to the Jagermeister stage. SOIA gained a new fan in me because of this set.



MALEFICE – 9. This band seemingly can’t go wrong live. Seen them twice at the Wedge, once in London and now at Sonisphere and each time they have been great. Tight, aggressive live band with seemingly limitless abilities to master a stage. Hatred Justified from the new album a particular highlight. The band seemed genuinely shocked at the size crowd they received, and got us all to give the main stage the finger as Placebo were on there. Quite entertaining, and actually just, considering.



PLACEBO – 4. Malefice finished before Placebo, therefore I decided to sit by Saturn, much like I did for Papa Roach, and listen to Placebo. The middle finger earlier given was justified. They did one song I liked, and the rest of the set was just whiney and poor. Excellent call by me I feel by not actually heading over to that stage.
MOTLEY CRUE – 6. This band was the 2nd best band of Download 2007, kept from the top spot by Iron Maiden. I was excited to see them again, but did not have high hopes for a number of reasons. Firstly, they were to be followed by Rammstein and that for me was a distraction. Secondly, I didn’t feel them playing open air would be as special as them playing in a tent. This transpired to be true. I think the vocals were disappointing to say the very least. Vince Neil did not seem to be on form at times. There were also a bundle of technical difficulties (at parts, Mick Mars looked like a dear in the headlights). However, when things were good, they were really good. They did not play Saints of Los Angeles – bastards



RAMMSTEIN – 10. Everything about this band live is fantastic. The stage show is one which can’t be topped (even when it’s on a slightly smaller scale – they were able to replicate 99% of it at Sonisphere, but there were some slight differences. One which comes to mind involves exploding babies).The setlist was slightly shorter than their earlier arena tour, but it was still awesome. There was a different song in the set replacing a new album track. Du Riechst So Gut was very much a welcome addition to the setlist. Of course I’d like to see them play Buck Dich, Mutter, Mein Herz Brennt and others, but that doesn’t take away from their awesomeness. Musically and artistically awesome. Rammstein owned that main stage in a way in which no other band managed to over the course of the whole weekend.





The intent was to go and see Therapy? perform Troublegum and then catch Renegades as well. However as we left the main arena, the tent appeared to be packed for Therapy? Therefore, we decided to give it a miss and head back to the campsite. This lead to another visit to that burger van from Thursday, and a word association game which ended up with a fair amount of alcohol being consumed. Probably the most fun I had at the campsite over the course of the weekend (and no I’m not saying that purely for the hilarity of seeing someone fall into their tent). An excellent day was had.

Best Band of the Day: Rammstein
Comedian of the Day: Tim Minchin
Moment of the Day: 4-5k people singing the chorus to Rock And Roll Nerd while Ol Drake from Evile came on stage to help with the song.
Worst Band of the Day: Either Placebo or Papa Roach. May not have seen the whole thing but that doesn’t change the fact they sounded like bags of wank.
Disappointing moment of the day: Motley Crue. Technical difficulties and vocal difficulties it seems meant they could not recreate the awesomeness of their Download 2007 set.

Sunday – A wondrous lie in was had, what all Sunday mornings should contain. I say lie in, it was 7am when I woke up, but that was a vast improvement on the 6am wakes of the two days previous. No visit to Stevenage today as I wanted to be in the arena early to make sure I was in a decent spot for the first act. Left the campsite really too early though as I was able to get in the arena but not the Bohemia tent. It was shut until 10.45am. Very strange.

HENRY ROLLINS – 10. This man combines perfectly comedy with serious thought to make his spoken word set genius. Discussing meeting and “flipping off” Than Shwe, the American reaction to Obama and how he differs from Bush and spreading the music of The Stooges and others to middle Sri Lanka, Rollins made me laugh but also made me believe I could help inspire change. I won’t lie, that feeling did slightly disappear when I left the tent, but it was great at the time! He is well worth seeing, and I wouldn’t hesitate in recommending his spoken word show to anyone.



CKY – 6. Missed the beginning of this set which sucked as they played Rio Bravo early. I saw them do 3 or 4 songs (I don’t recall) and they were good. Nothing spectacular though, I think they might have been better served having a higher spot on one of the smaller stages. Headlining Bohemia or something. They did attract a decent size crowd though, so perhaps I’m wrong.
THE DEFILED – 7. Didn’t catch an awful lot of them (a friend was using the cash point and they were by the Bohemia stage so I had a listen. I predict that had I gone in the tent and watched the whole set, the rating would be much higher. They sounded tight with a lot of energy (and the music wasn’t bad either)
THE FAB BEATLES – 5. The novelty band was just that, a novelty. They were a pretty decent Beatles cover band (not entirely sure I was enamoured with the idea of them calling each other “Paul” or “John” – I know they are a tribute band but that just came across as a bit douchey). The music they played was fine but I’m pretty sure there are better Beatles tribute bands out there. I missed them playing Run to the Hills, which might have increased the review score, but neither the less, they were ok.
SKINDRED – 10. For me, this was one of the bands I was looking forward to the most. I loved headline set at the Wedge and couldn’t wait to see them at Sonisphere. They didn’t let me down. Seeing them, especially down the front, was just one big party. They pretty much did a best of the 3 albums, so that was good as well. Definitely a dominating live act that destroyed the Apollo Stage.



SLAYER – 9. Very impressed with how good Slayer were. Download 2007 they were boring and I watched them with Jon who, if memory serves, said that they weren’t all that special at Reading 2006. However they were great. Sounded really good live and played a damn good setlist (Angel of Death being a plus for me as they didn’t play it at DL07). Would have liked to hear New Faith & Disciple but that doesn’t take away from how good they were.



JARRED CHRISTMAS – 7. Served as a great MC this time. I’ve read that he actually did a full set but I wasn’t there for that. He used material I hadn’t heard before which was quite good. Seems to be very good at crowd work as well. Very good.
BRIAN POSEHN – 7. His material seemed to be based on him looking scary, and how he’d scare off an intruder with a samurai sword while naked. I’ve reviewed that in a very simplistic manner, but it was funny. I reckon he’d be great having had a longer set.
SEAN HUGHES – 9. Fantastic 30mins by this guy. Everything he talked about was hilarious, covering religion and being Irish. The joke about drug takers and U2 was really very good (and actually worked on someone, which made it funnier). The crowd cheered every time he said “cunt” which was really entertaining to everyone, Sean included by the looks.



JIM JEFFERIES – 9. Didn’t see the whole set but what I saw was hysterical. His humour is very blunt which is great. Jokes about relationships, the virtues of being gay and lesbians which really didn’t appeal to the lesbian security guard at the front. An awkward situation dealt excellently by Jefferies. Well worth a watch if you have the chance.
THE CULT – 7. Was looking forward to seeing The Cult. They were very good and had a decent set from what I saw. I missed their bigger hits though as I was heading towards the Apollo Stage to get a good position for Pendulum/Iron Maiden. Enjoyable, but not enough to keep me glued to the stage while they were on.
PENDULUM – 10. Their set at Rock Am Ring in 2008 was the only time I’ve seen them before this festival. That set was in a small tent with a fantastic light show with the only hiccup being the PA blowing up. I was looking forward to their set for two reasons. The first being to see whether they could replicate this amazing RaR set on a bigger, open air stage. The second being since 2008, they’ve continued to release good music. Their show was phenomenal at Sonisphere. Literally the energy, performance and atmosphere created were perfect. The guest appearance from the In Flames singer worked really well also. A fantastic live act, proving the doubters that not only can they sub-headline to Iron Maiden at a Rock/Metal festival, but that they should be in that position. Download and Sonisphere have now both booked Pendulum in previous years. Download have also booked The Prodigy as well. Could The Prodigy headline one of these festivals one day with Pendulum sub headlining again? Easily. With the Sonisphere model, it could work very well on the Friday.



IRON MAIDEN – 10. What can I say about Iron Maiden’s performance which hasn’t already been said by other forms of media? The performance was fantastic and coupled with a fantastic setlist. On the internet there are always people that will literally find anything to bitch about. Of course, the Maiden setlist was always going to attract interest from those people who want Maiden to turn into a cabaret Vegas act playing their best of and nothing else. I actually saw someone write “Can you imagine Iron Maiden playing a best of setlist...I can’t even imagine how great that would be...” You don’t have to; it’s called the Somewhere Back in Time tour! The performance and setlist were both great and it was awesome to hear Bruce Dickinson pay tribute to Dio. Granted, I did prefer their SBIT tour setlist, but this performance was one of the best I’ve seen them do.




The final day at Sonisphere concluded with more beer drinking at the tent and discussions of the inevitable – leaving the next day. Having drunk most of 5 tins of beer (deciding the sensible action would be when reaching nearly the end of the can would be to crush it and toss it over my shoulder. The final day concluded with a large fire, people stampeding through the campsite, stopping police and the fire service getting through and toppling over the fence stopping people accessing the Knebworth House stream. However, I don’t have complete details of this event as I was asleep throughout the whole thing. Pure class

Best Band of the Day: Iron Maiden
Comedian of the Day: Sean Hughes
Moment of the Day: Entire crowd sing-along to Fear of the Dark. It might be the 5th time I’ve done it, but it’s awesome every time!
Worst Band of the Day: The Fab Beatles. They weren’t awful; they just weren’t all that good either
Disappointing moment of the day: Realising the bands were over, and the next day meant going home

Monday – Waking up to see that the fence had pushed over (and one urinal for that matter) was certainly an interesting wake-up call. The morning simply consisted of waking up, packing up the campsite and leaving Knebworth. The saddest of all festival days. Journey home was fairly smooth but also fairly dull as we were all pretty tired.

Overall Thoughts – Sonisphere @ Knebworth is a fantastic festival. I love the layout of the festival (with the only thing I’d change if it could be done would be placing the Saturn stage next to the Apollo stage). If that couldn’t logistically be done then put the band that is on the other stage on the screens and speakers of the one not being used. If that could be done, it would be a fantastic festival all round. Spent some of the festival with a group of pretty awesome people helps matters as well. For the most part, good times all round. Soni is definitely a festival I’d recommend and intend on going back to again someday (maybe in just over 350 days, who knows!)

Bands/Acts seen over the Weekend: 32
Best Band of the Weekend: Rammstein
Honourable Mentions: Iron Maiden, Skindred, Pendulum, Europe, Alice Cooper
Worst Band of the Weekend: Papa Roach
Moment of the Weekend: Probably a tie between Europe – The Final Countdown; Iron Maiden – Fear of the Dark and of course, Paul falling into his tent on the Saturday. Superb moments in their own way.