SlipknotEdit this event
The hype is over and the stage is set for the first UK Ozzfest in three whole years. After all the cancellations and excuses we finally get the show we rightfully deserve back here in front of 50,000 of the finest fans in the world. Makes you think that Main Stage openers Raging Speedhorn (4) must be shitting themselves doesn't it? Well if they are they certainly aren't showing it on this performance as they provide the perfect wake-up call for all of the people bothered enough to show up at 11.30 on a Saturday morning. Britain's finest knock out the greatest selection of rib-cracking riffs that have emerged from good old Blighty since tonights headliners were any good. And they do it with huge stage presence and even bigger smiles whacked across there faces. And Jesus H Christ are they loud. There's enough noise here to shatter every window within a three mile radius. Superb.
Unfortunately the same triumph cannot be duplicated by So. Cal sextet Hed (pe) (2). Today in all respects should have been an overwhelming success for Jahred Shaine and his merry men. Having seen them kick seven shades out of Papa Roach on there last UK tour it was obvious too everyone in attendance that Hed (pe) were a ferocious live act. Today, however, they sound like a fart in a wet paper bag. The Bowl is never a place for great sound but from opener 'Killing Time' to the final notes of set-closer 'Bartender' the guitars are weaker than the guy Audley Harrison KO'd last week. The tunes are all there and the Hed crew could, and should, have picked up several thousand more disciples. They didn't and this is a missed opportunity to gain the respect there talents warrant. Sad but true.
The sound problem is once again replicated by Soulfly (2.5) apart from the part where I mentioned that Hed (pe) had decent tunes. Soulfly are tedious at best it has to be said, and continue to re-write Sepultura's sublime Roots opus every time it comes to concocting a new album . Lucky that Max has made some friends in the business to save his band from complete disaster today. Tom Araya (Where the bloody hell did he come from?) of Slayer is on hand to share the vocal duties on 'Terrorist' and the Bowl erupts when Slipknots Corey Taylor, complete with mask but dressed in normal sports gear, joins the boys from Brazil on 'Jump da fuck up'. Soulfly could really do with more than just getting by with a little help from there friends.
The bowl erupts for the first time today with today’s first real heavy-weights Papa Roach (4) bringing joys to the pre-pubescent minions here today. Now it's easy to dismiss P-Roach as disposable 'Show me the money' Nu-metal to be gobbled up by the MTV-generation but here and now in the live environment they are killer and in Coby Dick they have a show-commanding frontman. He's just one big hyperactive three year old, repeatedly battering himself over the head with his own microphone before swinging across ladders and running into the crowd. OK all complaints that they don't have enough quality material are 100% justified, as they lull mid-set and dig themselves into a rut of uncontrollable mediocrity but when they bring out the big guns it is a mind-blowing experience. And the crowds deafening sing-alongs to recent singles 'Between angels and Insects' and 'Last Resort' tend to lean towards the understanding that the band may not be the flash in the pan everyone seems to think they will be.
Quality of material will never ever be a problem for the one and only Tool (5) who provide one of the most awe-inspiring sets you are likely to see even if you go to a gig every night from now 'til you're 100. This is a live experience unlike any other I have or will ever witness. Crowd interaction is a definite no-no as the band hardly even look at the crowd let alone communicate (aside from Maynard plugging the upcoming tour). Guitarist Adam Jones just bleakly looks at the sunset as though he hasn't acknowledged the crowd in the slightest, Justin Chancellor remains rooted to the spot and Danny Carey looks like the only member of Tool who should actually be in a band. Maynard never moves from his podium but is somehow hypnotically making your attention draw to him through his usual series of rhythmic limbering and beautiful vocals. God, there are so many contributing factors as to why Tool walk away with the accolade for set of the day, least of all watching the confusion on the younger members of the audience when the intellectual-rockers hit out opener 'The Grudge'. This is not as loud, obnoxious or in-your-face as any other band on this bill and they proceed to stick out like the proverbial sore thumb. But not for the above reasoning but simply because they piss on everyone from a height that would make King Kong look like Mini-Me.
If tool are the equivalent of the local boffin then Slipknot (4.5) represent the local Charles Manson wannabe. Tonight the band are decked out in new masks, with a new stage set, having just finished their new album 'Iowa', the follow-up to THAT debut record. And as if that wasn't enough in the 'Knot's favour, they show extreme confidence and faith when they open with 'People = Shit' from the said record and also play new tracks including * 'Disasterpiece', 'New abortion'* and 'Heretic song'. If you're like me, you'll need to know what this record is going to sound like just as much as that couple need to find their lottery ticket. Well, the rumors were that the new material was heavier, but nothing can prepare you for what was broadcasted at Ozzfest. There are moments that are pure black metal, all snare drums, mammoth guitars and enough bass to make your guts end up all over your shoes. 'Iowa' sounds like it'll be more 'Surfacing' than 'Purity'. Indeed 'Heretic Song' already had half of the maggot massive joining in with it's 'If you're 555 then I'm 666' refrain. Slipknot do raise one massive question tonight though, is the whole stage show going too far? Slipknot have upgraded there stage show to include pyrotechnics (6 in total) and levitating drum kits. This can be taken one of two ways. One is that it is damn cool and having big red 666 lights are cool. The other is that it's just rehashing something Kiss done a long time ago and doing it for a generation that know better. you be the Judge.
All the excitement of Slipknot makes Black Sabbath (2) * seem a bit, well....flaccid. Even from the moment that they walk onstage the crowd seem to not give a flying pig shit about them. The fact that they've changed there set-list for the first time since reforming is just inadequate because they've put too many energetic bands on before them. Sabbath just seem a dull proposition tonight. Whether it's the sun all day or the fact that they've just followed the most mental band on the planet, Sabbath are just mind-numbingly boring tonight. Even Ozzy can't get 'em going and he seems genuinely concerned. The insertions of long-lost classics *'Cornucopia' and 'Under the Sun' is still not enough but maybe, just like Slipknot before them, Sabbath were relying too much on their new song from the first full length Sabbath record in over 25 years. 'Scary Dreams' is the song in question and just like the two tracks on the reunion album, it's to be perfectly honest a big steaming pile of cow dung. It seems to start and just go nowhere based around a single dull riff that Iommi must have written in all of about 5 seconds. The reality of the situation is that Sabbath should never record again and the Reunion is past nostalgia and into just plain tiresome. A sad end to a day of extreme mixed performances.
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