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Sonisphere 2010 - The Story Of Friday

Ben Patashnik
Ben Patashnik 1 August 2010 at 18.09

The full review of everything that happened on Sonisphere Day One... We've had the theatrics of Alice Cooper, the passion of 65daysofstatic, the black-heart of Gary Numan and Sylosis' brutality. It's been a busy one.

This has been updated throughout the whole of Day One of Sonisphere, so read from the top and you'll get the full story.

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

Here's our full review of everything that happened on Sunday - click here to check it out.

Sonisphere 2010 has kicked off in a rather gothic, theatrical fashion.

That's what happens when you book Delain to open the event - they drew a sizeable crowd on the Saturn [second] stage on Friday evening. While there was a collective sense of 'Let's just go nuts because it's the first band of the weekend' they were pretty faultless throughout.

They didn't let being first-up faze them, and frontwoman Charlotte Wessels' glamour certainly didn't help in keeping certain elements of the crowd interested. Is that a too-obvious way of saying a lot of dudes were staring at the screen? Good thing the soundtrack of symphonic pop-metal joy didn't let anyone down in the sonic stakes.

Later, the Bohemia Stage got underway with experimental prog rockets Bigelf, whose huge riffs and unexpected twists manage to hold everyone's attention. Considering this was all despite the entrance of a robotic horse halfway through the set, that's no mean feat.

You have to hand it to Throats, however, who tore the living shit out of their instruments for 15 minutes on the Jagermeister stage, threw down their instruments and then fucked off rapidly. Iron Maiden will be playing for 10 times as long as this: they're going to have to go some to match this devastatingly heavy set of hardcore gems.

Europe have a bit of a battle on their hands. Classic soft rock is all well and good - and it is well good - but when you're facing a crowd largely made up of people shouting 'PLAY THE FUCKING SONG EVERYONE KNOWS' while you're trying to get drunk dudes to sing along to lyrics they half-remember, you can't help but wondering if they'd gone down better if they'd just played 'The Final Countdown' seven times.

Deaf Havana, on the other hand, pack out the Strongbow Stage so it's impossible to get anywhere near it. Like, at all. It's clear from the queues - and the amount of people singing along - that they're going down a storm. And considering it starts raining more or less during their set that isn't just a cliche, it's geological FACT. Could this be a clear sign these guys are going to be playing a bigger slot during next year's festival season? Maybe....

But as And So I Watch You From Afar show, you don't always need big choruses or even any vocals at all to rock a crowd. Their ability to connect with a crowd despite not having a frontman - which so many Sonisphere bands concentrate on, if we're honest... - is probably down the colossal scale of their riffs and an absolute bucketload of energy.

The mighty March Of The Raptors, on the Red Bull Bedroom Jam, are nothing short of a revelation. I mean, we've loved their clout since day one but we didn't expect them to be this impressive on their debut festival performance. The force and violence of their metallic hardcore punk completely blows away the festival cobwebs - it's like we'd been waiting for a band to be this heavy, and they delivered. And then some.

Failsafe, unfortunately, don't play to the busiest of tents; which is a shame, because their muscular set was a complete joy. Equal parts power and grace and blessed with more than their fair share of massive tunes - they really could belt out of the Main Stage Pa and they'd sound perfect - the band don't seem to give a shit. Rather, they tear through their set with an almost ferocious level of intensity. Brilliant.

Gary Numan has come in character, it seems: to bolster 'Cars' he's brought a shed-load of dirty guitars and wave after wave of feedback. It's quite a short summary, but an accurate one: strangely brilliant.

Fei Comodo, though, do that whole massively embarrassing thing: 'DOWNLOAD! PUT YOUR HANDS UP!' Poor guys. They style it out - or just don't even realise until Dave from InME comes out to play for them while they dive into the pit. Mentalists.

Band of the day, perhaps, goes to the stunning 65daysofstatic, because walking into the Bohemia tent while they're absolutely murdering it is like walking into another world. When 'Retreat! Retreat!' and 'Radio Protector' hit it's like being hit with a wall of ecstasy, and the crowd is loving it like their lives depend on it. It's testament to their quality that they don't tailor the set to be any less dance-y and they still win the day.

But if you're looking for some complete glam insanity? Alice fucking Cooper, mate. Flanked by 30ft-high glittery letters spelling, unsurprisingly, his own name, he kicks off with the seminal 'School's Out', ripping out his stocks-in-trade - silver baton in hand, playful grimace and the rock star stance that has served him well all these years. Can you argue with a dude who puts his own head in a guillotine, all in the name of entertainment? What d'you mean he's been doing it for decades? That's not the point...

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

Here's our full review of everything that happened on Sunday - click here to check it out.

Are you at Sonisphere? Team RS is firing out up-to-the-second missives on the best shows you simply can't miss via our Twitterfeed @rocksound as well as chatting to all the bands who matter right here on Rocksound.tv/festivals. Keep us bookmarked on yer iPhones and BlackBerries, and if you see one of us staggering around the site just throw us the horns and send us on our merry way.

If you want to join in the fun, mark all your tweets #rsfest.

For those of you who not at Knebworth, you can keep up with all of the action at Rocksound.tv/festivals and our Facebook page. We'll be providing the best photos both onstage and backstage, the quickest and sharpest reviews and news from the festival and the funniest videos. Stick with us and it'll be like you're right there, y'hear?

Additional reporting: Helen Catchpowle, Amy McGill and Jen Thomas.

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