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Sonisphere 2010 - The Story Of Sunday

Ben Patashnik
Ben Patashnik 2 August 2010 at 16.33

A full review of the final day of Sonisphere 2010, including Iron Maiden's triumphant headline set, Bring Me The Horizon's family affair, Dir En Grey's aural insanity, Madina Lake's emotional comeback, Kvelertak's animal magic and much, much more...

This was updated through the day, so read from the top and don't stop until you hit land...

Miss our full review of Friday? Click here to check it out.

Want to read our full review of Saturday's shenanigans? Click here.

Opening the cavernous main stage – which seems even bigger on a grey Sunday morning - is Karnivool. Their effect-laden sound and polished vocals are a hit with the early risers and it’s safe to say their catchy choruses have won them some new fans today. But seriously, it is too early for rock ‘n’ roll.

CKY draw an impressive crowd (perhaps everyone’s hoping Bam’s going to show up and fall off his skateboard?) and offer some of the beefiest basslines Sonisphere has heard so far in return. And then they stop mid-set to down some cider and blast out ‘Womanizer’ by Britney Spears: with a showing like that, you can’t help but think that CKY absolutely nailed it.

Youthful metallers Rise To Remain rock the Sunday afternoon crowd like it's a Saturday night in the Bohemia tent, and they're not shy about letting everyone know this is one of their favourite shows ever. Of course, every band ever says just that, but the thunder of their riffs makes us think that they might just be right.

Madina Lake are accorded as warm a welcome as you’d expect, and it’s genuinely heartwarming to see the crowd offering such full-throated support. From the first note it’s not exactly a traditional festival set – the band aren’t exactly trying to win new fans or sell records right now – but it feels like a celebration of something bigger than the festival itself. Matthew Leone's recorded parts ring out and for half an hour everyone's in a good mood.

Every single band on the main stage today, though, is going to have to go some to top Skindred. After a ridiculously over-subscribed on the second stage Benji and co have been bumped into the big league and watching him stomp around with the crowd in the palm of his hand is so much fun it should be illegal. They cause nothing but trouble for the poor security guards at the front as a constant flood of bodies tumbles over the barrier during 'Nobody', and Sonisphere finally has its official party band.

Making noises that have no business emanating from a human being, Dir En Grey are certainly turning heads. Building momentum as the set progresses they make use of a pretty extragavant drum kit and finally bring their set to a magnificent machine-gunning close. It's not like they played to a particularly partisan audience but considering their out-and-out weirdness they acquitted themselves most impressively.

Slayer were never going to struggle with this crowd, and they stride around the Sonisphere main stage like friendly giants. Watching them in a setting like this is like observing the family tree of an entire subculture - young and old, male and female, hairy and veryhairy, everyone here laps up every second of Kerry King shredding balls in front of a monolothic wall of amps. And of course, when the Thrashnal Anthem that is 'Angel Of Death' rings clear, the crowd becomes a sea of horns and some drunker-than-they-should-be-at-3.30pm dudes just scream 'SLAYER!' over and over. As it should be. Minus points to the guy who kept shouting 'MEGADETH!' throughout 'Dead Skin Mask'. He loses.

Back to black on the Strongbow stage as Norwegian metallers Kvelertak unleash a storm of fury in the form of RIFFS. But the bit we'll remember for longest? The fact they started the set dressed as owls. Absolute champions.

But it's Bring Me The Horizon who are the real mischief-makers. From the word go there is a constant torrent of crowd-surfers and Oli Sykes gets stuck in with the encouragement. 'Chelsea Smile' slams out like a war cry and the sheer unbridled ferocity of their performance suggests they're not only eager to take that step up to the next level, they're actually ready. He even brings his dad out onstage at the finale as he screams himself into oblivion - expect to see them much, much higher up the bill when next year's festival season rolls around.

It's been a while since they've been front-and-centre on a stage like this in the UK, but clearly no one has forgotten about Alice In Chains. Their grungy sound and laid-back performance offers the ideal soundtrack to a late evening beer as the dust from Slayer settles. Signing off with 'Rooster', they leave no questions as to their right to a billing like this.

Can't fault The Ghost Of A Thousand for effort. Not one bit. Vocalist Tom Lacey is on form in a serious way, ploughing his way through the Strongbow Stage crowd and knocking everyone aside like a tornado ripping through a forest. Then he screams so hard it seems like it's a genuine possibility that his throat might collapse. Good lad.

Whenever you book Iggy And The Stooges for a festival you know some things are going to happen. There's going to be a stage invasion as Ig invites 30,000 people to dance with him (this happens), Ig's going to jump into the crowd as much as he can (this also happens) and James WIlliamson's guitar is going to sound like a million angry wasps all (this definitely happens). For a band's performances to continually feel dangerous after 10 years is an achievement, after 40 it's deserving of ever award going.

To be honest, once you get to this point you can legitimate say: fuck every single other band on the bill this weekend, because Iron Maiden are here. Opening with 'The Wicker Man' and proceeding to play a selection of tunes from their last four albums (apart from the encore, but more of that later) they are about as perfect as a festival headliner can be. Bruce even takes five minutes to slag off the media and then explain the meaning of 'El Dorado' (it's about bankers, apparently), but in the nicest possible way no one cares because as soon as that song starts it feels like as long as Maiden never, ever stop playing, everything's going to be okay. They pinball around the stage like excited children let loose on the best adventure playground in the world - because that's what their stage setup is meant to evoke, and always has done - and pull every single signature Maiden move you could hope for.

And when they rip out 'The Number Of The Beast', 'Hallowed Be Thy Name' and 'Running Free' to close the festival it's hard not to explode with child-like joy. The ridiculousness of the spectacle (and that's what Rammstein missed, the sense of humour and playful happiness that Maiden ply almost as a stock-in-trade) only makes it more fun to watch, and when the songs are as cast-iron classic as they are there's no reason whatsoever not to have an absolute blast. The entire weekend was building up to this one performance and y'know what? They smashed it.

Miss our full review of Friday? Click here to check it out.

Want to read our full review of Saturday's shenanigans? Click here.

Additional reporting Amy McGill, Jen Thomas and Helen Catchpowle.

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