Sonisphere Festival - Barcelona, Spain, 11th July 2009
The Sonisphere festival is a new concept of itinerant festivals which "travel" all around Europe during summer. One of the Sonisphere was in UK, the other one in Germany or The Netherlands but I chose to go to Barcelona. First, because it was the nearest place of my hometown, but mainly because the line-up (which changed a bit from one fest to the other) was the best for me.
Seriously how was it possible to miss Metallica with Slipknot, Machine Head, Lamb Of God, Down, Mastodon, Soziedad Alkoholika, Gojira and The Eyes?
The Sonisphere Barcelona was at The Forum, a well known place of the city near of the sea where big outdoor concerts generally take place. And it was "functional", I mean that it was really easy of access, big enough for the 30 000 - 40 000 people who attended the show but… without any charm. It was the first edition though but when you compare the whole festival to other festivals, this one was really poor. I didn't find the press area, the VIP area was just marked by some barriers and didn't give anything special, and the whole fest was not decorated at all, except if you consider beverage and mobile phone ads decorations. This is something that the organizers will have to fix in the future if they want to be recognized by the press and festival-goers as a top notch event. A great bill is cool (of course it is!) but a nice festival is even better! I'm quite sure that it should be done in the future, they have the financial means to do it and it was just a first edition after all so, it should be changed next year, don't worry. Other than that, the fest food and drink was not cheap but not expensive too, and the stages were big enough with good sound in general (especially for the headliners). This is just a matter of "image", this Sonisphere was cool and well organized (despite the long queue for the food/drinks vouchers at the beginning of the afternoon) but lacked of charm that's all…
But let's talk a bit about the bands now! Time to take get our tickets, enter to the fest and visit it and we've missed The Eyes so I couldn't talk about it unfortunately… But Gojira was a good beginning for us and we were all proud to see that the leader of the French Metal scene was popular in Spain too! People headbanged and enjoyed the music of the French guys and Randy Blythe came on stage to sing Backbone with the band! Gojira played on the second stage at the beginning of the afternoon but it was just great to see them on such a big bill. The show was good as always, this band is growing and growing again, that's just impressive…
Gojira Set List:
The Heaviest Matter of the Universe
Toxic Garbage Island
Soziedad Alkoholika played on the main stage and here again it was impressive to see the popularity of the band. Of course, they were playing "at home" so it probably helped a lot but their music was cool and entertaining. It was the first time that I saw this band but their crossover between Thrash and Hardcore convinced me. I cannot say too that it was the revelation of the year because I simply didn't know the songs but I liked what I see and I hope to see this band again in the future, maybe outside Spain now!
Mastodon played on the second stage in front of the Mediterranean sea! It was really classy as you can imagine. Again the band suffered of a lot sound problems. It still don't understand why they cannot have good sound, it's weird. But the band did a good show too and played classic songs like "Blood and Thunder" for example. The Americans proved to the whole audience that their popularity is based upon ability and not hype. And despite the average sound they gave their maximum to a crowd which seemed to be composed of real aficionados. I like this band and it was a good show for me, no doubt about it!
Mastodon Set List:
Colony Of Birchmen
The Czar Play Video
Blood and Thunder
The Wolf is Loose
Crack the Skye
March of the Fire Ants
Lamb Of God was the second band to play on the Main Stage and the guys played as loud as possible! The sound was heavy and even quite inaudible, god damn… But the Power Thrash of the Americans was addictive and gave me the feeling that it was time to headbang! Lamb Of God played one hour approximately and we got songs from the first to the last album (including standards like "Laid To The Rest" for example.). They were quite aggressive on stage (I'm not saying that they were angry or anything) and not really friendly. But I thought that it was just their way to do concerts. After all it was only the second time that I saw the band live so I cannot tell you more but the concert was good without being the best of the day though.
Lamb Of God Set List:
In Your Words
Set to Fail
Walk With Me In Hell
Now You've Got Something To Die For
Laid to Rest
Phil Anselmo, Rex and the other members of Down were the last ones to play on the nice Second Stage. The sound was crunchy (but it's Down remember…) and one more time Phil talked a lot to the audience, joking and saying crazy stuff to the Spanish crowd. The set list was quite similar to the one that metalheads saw at Hellfest (I doubt that they changed it a lot on this tour actually) with songs from all the their albums. It was classy nonetheless with a great 'rock n roll' spirit and it was just great to see Phil on stage. The jumpy crowd should probably confirm my point of view too…
The arrival of Machine Head meant that it was the beginning of the big boys sets! The great thing with Sonisphere is that headliners played a lot and Machine Head played at least 90 minutes! Powerful as ever, the band played ALL its hits from "Old", "Davidian" and "Ten Ton Hammers" to new ones like "Aesthetics Of Hate". The show was strong as the sound which was one more time too loud to be plainly enjoyed… (when I see how good was the sound of Slipknot and Metallica, I have the feeling that it was probably done to kill a bit Machine Head performance. You probably had to see it to know what I mean). Robb Flynn and the guys were good and gave everything to produce a good show and they did it! It was great, catchy as hell and of course amazing to listen to a lot of good songs. It was a great choice to add Machine Head to this line up, we didn't regret it!
Machine Head Set List:
Ten Ton Hammer
Aesthetics of Hate
Struck A Nerve
Descend the Shades of Night
Slipknot was the most controversial band of the day! At least that was I thought at first because after some hours in the festival, I quickly understood that the band was a lot more popular in Spain than in France. I mean, sure Slipknot is popular here but essentially with young fans but in Spain everybody, even old guys, were wearing shirts of the band. It was impressive…
But now, what about the band? Well Slipknot was good actually and a lot more professional than in the past. On the other hand even if the guys were really pro, I missed a bit the craziness of the show that I saw in 2005 at Graspop. Now Slipknot is "clean" but at least it's also a lot less messy! The show started with the 4 first songs of the first album (it was just a great moment full of old souvenirs for me and a lot of people) and Corey said nothing until the end of those songs. The naughty "psycho" ambiance was just great (and I'm not a fan of the band at first, I'm just objective here). Even if his percussion and his mask were on stage, #3 was not in attendance as a result of the sudden death of a member of his family. The band seemed to be really touched (obviously) by this sad news and I think that everybody had this feeling. Even though they were honest as hell and played as best as possible to entertain the crowd. We listened to all their hits from "Wait And Bleed" to "People = Shit", "Vermillion" and new songs like "Psychosocial". The new guitars solos were good actually and give something else to the music of the band. The end of the concert was simply crazy with a new demonstration of the "rotative flying" drum of Joey Jordison (while The Clown was "abusing" his elevating percussions set!!!).
It was good show, really and the concert finished with "Spit It Out" and the famous moment when the band asked to the audience to crouch and to jump at the "go!". I didn't think at first that it was a show for me but objectively I had a great time with Slipknot and I can tell you know that they deserved to be the real opening act of Metallica. It was what I call a real show!
Slipknot Set List:
Wait and bleed
Before i forget
Spit it out
Outro: Til we die
The day was great, the bands were all really good but the final was just "demoniac"! After a little musical break (including "Heavy Metal Thunder" of Saxon) the place became black and the anthological scene in the cemetery of the "The Good, The Bad And The Ugly" started to be played on the screens (fucking shivers on my whole body…). The entire crowd sang along the fantastic chorus of the Ennio Morricone's song and when it stopped a little introduction played by a harpsichord began… it was not a dream, it was "Fight Fire With Fire"!!! And holy shit what a way to begin a concert! Metallica was on stage and started the show with one of its most violent song followed by the naughty "Creeping Death", "No Remorse" and "Of Wolf And Man"! Hetfield didn't talk a lot at first but everybody understood that Metallica was motivated as hell and when they played "Fade To Black" (a song that I was not expecting a lot actually) everybody was jut hypnotized and just sang like if it was only a reflex… this feeling was really special.
Hetfield talked a lot more and explained that he his back was blocked 48h before the show and that he couldn't move a lot tonight. But he was on stage with his band mates who were all really good tonight. Despite what I heard in the past, all the musicians were good and the sound was excellent. Metallica played two new songs (which were really well received by the crowd) and forgot all its "problematic" musical period before that they returned to the "Black" album with "Sad But True". The lights switched off again and some (real) explosions, flames and machine gun sounds began to assault the Main Stage. Metallica played a wonderful "One" and played two new sings again to finish with four fantastic songs "Master Of Puppets", "Blackened", "Nothing Else Matters" and "Enter Sandman" (including the famous "Ho Yeah!!!" moment)… Wow it was a real slap in our faces…
Metallica came back on stage for the encore with their cool cover of Queen's "Stone Cold Crazy" song and finished with the fast and punky "Phantom Lord" to close the chapter with, of course, "Seek And Destroy"! Metallica played 2 hours and it was just fantastic. Sure it was my first time with the Bay Area Thrash legend but if some of you still believe that they're not good anymore, I will simply say that you're stupid! Metallica live is a monster and they don't need a ton of artifices on stage but just their instruments to kick your asses. Just have a look at the bill, it was only good bands and Metallica won by a terrible knock out without any contest (you one of these bloody naughty one, when you stay on the ground for 5 - 10 minutes…).
Metallica Set List:
Fight Fire With Fire
Of Wolf And Man
Fade To Black
Broken, Beat And Scarred
Sad But True
All Nightmare Long
The Day That Never Comes
Master Of Puppets
Nothing Else Matters
Stone Cold Crazy (Queen cover)
Seek & Destroy
It was a fantastic idea to go to Barcelona for this concert. All the bands were great and we were not disappointed by any of them. Sure the festival still need to improve a bit its organization but I have the feeling that it could become a must if they still find the way to propose such kind of line up and if they can understand that audience like festival with a real " true spirit" and not only a "promotional/ads" one. Changes should change in the future, I'm quite sure of it and then metalheads will start to all talk about a new "must see".
Thanks go to Itxao and Sonisphere for the accreditations.
PS: Sorry no "real" pictures this time but I decided to go to this concert a bit late and it was too late to get a photo pass. I will be faster in the future
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| Marcel Hubregtse
Grumpy Old Fuck
| Marcel Hubregtse
Grumpy Old Fuck
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