We turned up, parked, lugged our gear, avoided police sniffer dogs, and patched a tent. We where a lot further back from the arena then last time, but oh well, it wasn’t like we where gonna be making the walk to the tent a lot.
Europe where also amazing, I’ve been listening to them at work a lot so knew a lot more of the songs then most people who just looked on in bemusement waiting for that one song, and when the final countdown came on, the place exploded. Aaaarrgh so good. And before they played we caught the last few songs of Turisas, who are quite possibly my new favourite band. Check them out. Amazing show.
Gary Newman was pretty boring, He was technically very good, but little to none crowd interaction. He had quite possibly the worst crowd throughout the entire thing, but watching fist fights break out among the crowd did kind of make it more enjoyable while we waited for cars.
Then Alice Cooper came on. Words cannot describe how awesome his show is… So I wont even try. Nuff said. Every video you see of Alice Cooper on youtube, cannot convey how amazing his show is, honestly. The man died at least 5 times on stage and still kept going. Fantastic shows, if you ever get to see it, do. Most bands paled in comparison to him.
We hung around the food stalls for a while, tried to get in to see Terrorvision, but where turned away by security (I just wanted to hear Tequila!) so we hit up the Bizzare ball finale. Not being a massive reader of Bizzare and having quite a sick and nasty sexual appetite I was quite looking forwards to it…I was let down, people on stilts and men dressed in giant balloons do not make a kinky evening. Honestly, I’m not quite sure what I was expecting; something with nice tits in a corset would have been appreciated. But what I got wasn’t really interesting. So we went back to the tent and slept.
Camping was good, of course as the festival has grown and more newer emo/screamo bands have been added to the stages, and along with them comes the brats. We got stuck next to some little rich kids who thought it was funny to destroy their tents at 4am. But that didn’t really dampen our experience as everybody was really friendly and we met some very cool people. The only negativity I felt was during Bring Me The horizon, CKY, and Converge, who just felt really out of place next to the likes of Motley Crue and the others. Converge even spouted:
“Fuck metal-heads and cock rockers! That’s not what this festival is about!”
Urrrrr, you’re at a metal head festival where 99% of the bands could be classed as cock rock. I just felt it was a real downer. Why you gotta be that way, man?
I was also introduced to the Black Russian (The drink, not a Black-Russian), which I will have to spread the love for. Argg so good.
The first band we saw on Saturday where SoulFly, which, in my drunken state thought where Sepultura, and was thusly disappointed. But oh well. They were very good now that I know they where SoulFly. We left early to get closer to Anthrax, well that was my plan anyway, Emily having not eaten in a day decided it was time to get some food, which she then returned because it was cold. Me, I love cold chips, so I hurriedly nommed away so that we could get closer to the front. Unfortunately the biohazard sirens had started and I was stuck just to the left of the mixing desk, you can argue that this is the best place to stand, and that anthrax brought me so much joy the year before in this very same spot…But the experience was incredibly dampened by the fact that a lot of people in this area just stood and crossed their arms (I dub these the “too cool for school” kids.) It’s not the same if people around you aren’t into it. I guess the year before it was a much smaller show, so a lot more people came to see the bigger bands. I certainly feel like having the newer smaller bands tag along certainly diluted the overall atmosphere of the thing.
The original plan was to then catch fear factory and crash out at the tent for a bit. But fear factory pulled out again so that kind of nixed that. We headed back to the tent to socialize for a bit and then slept for about an hour or two.
We where awoken by the sound of Blink182 which was kind of confusing because they aren’t on the bill. Turns out it was just good charlotte busting out a few covers. Meh. I drank some more black Russians and swaggered back to the arena to catch Motley Crue. Which was AMAZING. We got pretty close to the front. And it’s certainly awesome to see your childhood heroes so up close and personal. Also, tits! So many boobies on display for the Crue! In my drunken state it certainly made the show more enjoyable!
The black Russians where slowly doing a number on my legs so we needed to sit down fast, we perched by the strongbow tent which was playing 90’s dance tunes and slammed some triangles while watching the fireworks from Rammstein rip up the sky as the sun set. Awesome.
We then went back to the tent and passed out. Bleahhhh.
Waking up hung over in a field full of other hung over people is awesome. It’s like the apocalypse came with a tray of Vodka and Jagermeister shots. We rolled out pretty early to go see another of my idols Henry Rollins shoot the shit for an hour. The man inspires me and his attitude towards life is one that I try to mimic. Much love for that man!
Having become closer to Henry, we scooted out; avoiding the angry CKY crowds who just appeared to be there in hope that Bam would spring forth from the kick drum and proceed to skateboard around the stage with sparklers taped to his nipples. Of course that didn’t happen, and having seen the crowds disinterest CKY then proceeded to bust out a boom box and play Britney Spears songs…Piss filled beer cans blotted out the sun as they flew towards the stage. We beat an ever-quicker retreat to the safety of Madina Lake.
I’m not a fan of Madina Lake, in fact I can actually say their music is what I imagine having a fly injected into my eyeball may feel like. But I have to give it to these kids, a band member down due to a violent beating and barefoot these whippersnappers really REALLY tried hard to entertain, and they achieved their goal! Especially considering the way CKY where acting, it was refreshing to see a young band come out and give it some welly!
We then went to the Jager-Stage to check out a band that I thought was Revolution Mother, it wasn’t and I had once again gotten drunkenly confused. I was standing among a small cluster of people watching Sacred Mother Tongue. Not really an easy mistake to make. But oh well! I’m not a fan, but I will admit to owning one of their C.D’s…I will also admit to having never listened to it.
I signalled to Emily with the “This band sucks” look, and we rambled on.
We where then faced with a dilemma of epic proportions, a friend of mines band was playing one of the smaller tents, but unfortunately the slot he was given clashed with one of the main bands that I wanted to see…What where we to do!? It certainly was a brain tickler…
“SLAYYERRRRGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGHHHHHHH!” screamed a man that was quite easily 30 stone of pure gristle as he “ran” past us, we watched him pound towards the main stage, sweat and drool flying from his massive red face. That was our sign. The decision had been made by a higher (darker) power. Follow that troglodyte! In spite of our efforts to follow the human gristle tower, we got caught up behind the mixing desk and could progress no further into the thick, chanting crowd. Unfortunately this is where most of the “Too cool for school” clique had once again congregated; decked out with crossed arms, quarter length shorts and flat caps. They certainly were not here to enjoy the show, and continuously traded eye rolls and sniggers as they pointed at my fellow head bangers that where unlucky enough to get caught up in this mire, so far from the stage. Not that this distance stopped them enjoying Slayer of course and their neck muscles spasmed before me. You bang your head sir. Bang it well. I salute you. The tendons holding my skull to the rest of my frame gave out long ago and anything remotely close to head banging will put me in intense pain for nearly a month afterwards. That’s why I cut off all my hair, so the temptation was completely removed.
After we had rocked out to the awesomeness that is slayer, and listened to them be totally awesome dudes (They are seriously some of the nicest well spoken people I have ever seen in metal, fair play to them!) Emily decided we had listened to far too much good music, and that it was time to listen to some fucking dire music to even out the awesome bands we had just seen. So I went to take a piss and she watched Bring Me The Horizon. I was halfway down the hill when their set started, and with best intentions the young mop haired rockers bounded into the audience, instruments (and probably hair straighteners) by their side, to greet their adoring fa-“BOOOOOOOOOO!”
I watched in amazement as pretty much the entire crowd that had gathered to see them erupted in booing and a hail of condiments. I saw Olli Sykes (or however you spell his bloody name) get hit in the face by a small pot of mustard. From my vantage point it looked pretty nasty. I don’t follow trends but I always thought that they where pretty “down with the kids”. Oh well, I’ve been wrong before. I was more worried about what my business would be in the toilet…I toyed with the idea of taking a dump, but that’s something that should generally be avoided at these kinds of events. So I just sprinkled in the handily provided portable urinals. Sucks to be you, ladies! After smiling at the queue of desperate women. I returned up the hill to Emily. “It’s a bit out of order, isn’t it? What about the people that actually wanted to see them play? Why would you waste time going to see a band you don’t like?” She blathered to me, I ignored her and steered us towards the shopping stalls.
Being a man who makes t-shirts, these kinds of places are perfect for me as it’s always nice to do a little market research. What shirts are selling, and what the kids want. Very geeky business stuff went on inside my head for a while. Nothing really exciting.
Then a dude came up to me and tried to sell me a C.D, he was polite but unfortunately I hadn’t got any money on me as I had only budgeted for food. I told him that I would come back with some money and purchase it later that night. Which was 100% my intention as I was filled with peace, love, and the remains of a coke bottle filled with black Russian.
“Oh yeah, and I get that you guys are on a budget” he said.
“WHAT! WHAT DID YOU JUST SAY?! DID YOU JUST CALL ME POOR!? YOU FILTHY SWINE!” These are all things that my brain screamed and tried to convert into an audible speech pattern, but all that came out was “Uh-hu, yeah man.” I was now lying, I wasn’t agreeing with you, and I certainly had no wish to purchase your bands poxy C.D now! He wandered off, and I murmured in disgust a bit. But then forgot about it as my legs, which appeared to now be on autopilot, carried me around the marketplace a little more. I had a very bad feeling in my stomach about something…Something very bad was about to happen. I thought I had finally become one with the Force, and that my Jedi training may finally begin! JOY APON JOYS!
Turns out I just needed to poop like I had never pooped before! A terrifying prospect at a festival, but eventually, everybody has to lock themselves in that portapotty and get down to the dirty business of defecation. Emptying your bowel in one of these things is not fun, not fun at all, while sonisphere keep their toilets pretty clean and well stocked with TP and soap: you still have to contend with paper thing walls, locks that do not work and the horrible smell of those who have gone before you. Having lasted 2 days without a movement and eaten a fair amount of festival food, I was in a considerable amount of pain and it was becoming unbearable, so sure enough I queued up and hunkered down to the business of dropping the browns at the super bowl. Thankfully the lock on my cabin worked, but a hefty pull would break the little plastic latch, exposing me in my most desperate time to the waves of my fellow festivalgoers. A nightmarish prospect for all involved. It was tense inside my cell, trying to calm down enough to relax my muscles and let it all out…I got there in the end, but my fellow tumblerites, I can tell you it was not pretty.
After deploying the famous Arnold Rimmer wipe (one up, one down, and one to polish -for the uninitiated) we trundled into the bohemia tent. Catching a glimpse of that dude from the pot noodles adverts! (Brian Posehn). We then laughed like idiots for an hour while Sean Hughes and Jim Jeffries filled the air with smut and other comical ramblings.
Then Converge came on, I hid at the back and watched Converge put everybody in a bad mood. Even Emily who is quite a large fan of Converge admitted they where shit. Oh well!
I appear to have lost a few hours here, I can’t remember anything, perhaps I was exhausted from my monster bowel movement or just drunk and sleep deprived enough to pass into a walking coma. But I have no recollection of what happened leading up to being about 3 meters away from Iggy FUCKING Pop! I thought I had quite possibly died and gone to meet God. But I was then hit by a geriatric in a moshpit. I was certainly still on earth. And The Stooges where ripping into some classics.
Iggy Pop is not human, he is not animal, he is a creature of pure energy. Did you ever see the movie Cocoon? The one about a bunch of old folks get all randy because they take a swim with a friendly alien? I think Iggy Pop must have snorted the entire contents of that pool, including the extraterrestrial creature inside it. He has a man in his employment that is present just to keep Sir, Pop from throwing himself off of tall things. And under no circumstance, no matter how much of a crazy superfan you are, assume that the stage security is there to protect Iggy from the audience. In reality they are protecting the audience from Iggy, who whirls around like you would imagine the Tasmanian devil would after snorting a gallon of coke and sticking fireworks up his own arsehole. His energy is certainly infectious and I found myself jumping and moshing with the wrinkliest mosh pit I have ever been in. While I was enjoying myself far too much, I had much more pressing matters at hand. Leading a mass exodus of my people from the Saturn stage towards the Apollo stage for the one reason I had decided to come to this festival, the moment in my life that everything had been leaning up to, the first time I was going to see, hear, and experience that magic of my childhood heroes…
Once again, in spite of leaving the wonder of Iggy pop mid-set. I was stuck by the mixing desk surrounded by the “too cool for school” crew. Emily moaned about something or other and sat by my feet, leaning on the fence. I was in dismay! My first time seeing Maiden would be marred by these dick-heads who where currently throwing bottles into the chanting crowds of Maiden fans. Grrrr. But as if by magic, a miracle happened right before my eyes. Longhaired leather jacket clad, metal heads appeared out of nowhere and jostled the hipsters out of the way! It was like the dark lords of metal had heard me and sent forth more of my kin to accompany me, the hipsters tried to push through our ranks but we held fast, forcing them further and further backwards into the night. Huzzah! Denim and leather had won the day!
When Maiden took to the stage, I was in heaven…The first few bars of their opening song caused tears of joy to roll down my face, I was crying harder then I have cried in a long long time. I’ve been a fan of Maiden since before I could read and had never had the chance to see them live. Tears blurred my vision so much I couldn’t even make out the band on the stage anymore, but it didn’t matter. I wiped my eyes and looked to my left, a hefty biker looking dude stood beside me. He saw me looking and smiled at me, I smiled back. There is a strange kind of loyalty that bands like Maiden breed, a loyalty that turns their followers into more then just fans, it turns them into a family. I didn’t feel ashamed to be blubbing my eyes out in a field full of burly bearded men and hotter then hell women. It’s a very strange feeling to find somewhere you truly belong among a group of strangers. It’s a very awesome feeling.
Maiden’s 2-hour set flew by, and Emily emerged from the darkness by my feet and asked me if I had a good time, I just nodded and took her hand. We walked back towards our tent, singing along with Eric Idol and a thousand other metal heads to “Always look on the bright side of life”. We said our goodbyes, packed our tent, and headed home. Another year of sonisphere had passed. While a few things had let the event down, nothing had ruined it. And I wouldn’t change anything that happened for the world. I may think twice about booking tickets next year, but I can honestly say that these past two years have been a life changing experience.
“If life seems jolly rotten
There’s something you’ve forgotten
and that’s to laugh and smile and dance and sing.
When you’re feeling in the dumps
don’t be silly chumps
Just purse your lips and whistle - that’s the thing.”