Festival Report: Sonisphere 2014

When Sonisphere cancelled in 2012 I was beyond gutted. It was quickly becoming one of my favourite festivals, not only because of the incredibly strong line-ups delivered year after year, but also that Knebworth Park is only a ten minute drive from my house. When I heard that Sonisphere was making a return in 2014, I couldn’t wait. Before I knew it, I was back at Knebworth getting ready to watch The Defiled open the main stage.

The Defiled have built a reputation for being one of the best live bands in the UK and this afternoon’s performance once again proved this statement correct. Having played every Sonisphere to date, the band’s sound has progressed and their stage show has improved tenfold. Minutes into the set, bassist Vince Hyde smashes his bass putting the band’s set in jeopardy, but the band carry on and deliver an amazing performance.

Finnish metallers HIM played their only set of the year at Sonisphere. Having seen the band play tiny sweatboxes, I’ve always wanted to see how their set would play out on an outdoor stage at a festival. I wasn’t disappointed. The band put on a very energetic performance and got the crowd warmed up for Limp Bizkit. Highlight tracks included ‘Buried Alive By Love’ and ‘Soul On Fire’.

Limp Bizkit open their set with their 2001 hit Rollin’. As soon as Wes Borland hit the first chord on his guitar, Knebworth Park went into a frenzy – It was something that had to be seen! Fred Durst and co treated us to a load of classic Limp Bizkit tracks including ‘My Way’ and ‘Take A Look Around’. The band got so into their set, they went over their allotted set time and were nearly cut off. Fortunately Sonisphere allowed Limp Bizkit to finish off their set with the riff heavy ‘Break Stuff’.

It’s been three years since Iron Maiden started their Maiden England run. Sonisphere was the final stop of the tour and they definitely went out with a bang. The set remained largely the same from their last festival appearance at Download a few years ago. As always the band were spot on. Not many bands can do this, but every track sounded as if you were listening from CD. They are that good! Highlight’s included ‘The Trooper’ and ‘Fear Of The Dark’.

Metallica’s headline set was part of the band’s “By Request” tour. What this meant was that fans could vote for what they would hear on the night. Unfortuantely the band didn’t play ‘St Anger’ or ‘All Nightmare Long’ – some of my favourites from more recent Metallica albums. Instead, it was more of a greatest hits set. Don’t get me wrong, it was awesome, but it would have been cool to hear some songs that aren’t played live that often. The set was very enjoyable. Although there was a lack of pyrotechnics, smoke and fire, Metallica played the best set of the weekend. I’ve seen Metallica live four times now and this was by far the best performance I’ve ever seen and heard. Highlight’s included ‘Fade To Black’ and ‘Battery’. Metallica closed Sonisphere 2014 with ‘Seek & Destroy’ – the perfect way to end a very enjoyable weekend.