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Live Gig Video: Jonathan Douglas and Si Todd of Boy Jumps Ship play acoustic version of ‘Still Alive’ at Sonisphere 2014 for Gibson

 
By on Thursday, 24th July 2014 at 4:00 pm
 

Newcastle’s Boy Jumps Ship have shared this live acoustic performance they filmed at this year’s Sonisphere for Gibson Guitars; it stars lead guitarist Jonathan Douglas and frontman/guitarist Si Todd. ‘Still Alive’ features on the band’s ‘Lovers & Fighters’ EP released in June and out now on Rude Records. (Read my review of the EP here.) Watch the performance below.

[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vmH_MQlB-O0[/youtube]

 

Sonisphere 2014 Review (Part 2)

 
By on Friday, 18th July 2014 at 2:00 pm
 

The first half of John’s Sonisphere 2014 review is here.

On a scout around the site, I stumbled upon the opening few bars of what looked like shaping up to be a storming set from The Bronx. Firstly, I’ve got tremendous respect for a band with the credentials they have, doing their own soundchecks. Small things, but, they weren’t being divas. It’s just cool, OK?

When they indicated they were finishing the tuning and the ‘CHECK, CHECK, CHECKING’, they immediately stormed into ‘Kill My Friends’ with a kind of aggression that turned the sweaty confines of the Bohemia Tent into an altogether more hostile environment. The tent was the perfect environment for their set (or from at least what I saw of it), as it allowed frontman Matt Caughthran to get really up close and personal with the crowd. However, if Caughthran got up close and personal with the now extremely unwashed masses of Sonisphere, then Trash Talk frontman Lee Spielman went that one step further.

The generation gap (and tolerance gap) between bands and their respective fans for acts like Trash Talk and The Bronx comparatively to their older compatriots Metallica and Mastodon was epitomised perfectly throughout Trash Talk’s set. Spielman and co.’s unique brand of vitriolic punk is abrasive and primarily there to offend and shock. So to go along with it, it seems only right that Trash Talk’s live set was a whirlwind of aggression, party drug references and moshing. For the entire set, I was stood next to two 50-year old(ish) metal veterans with Metallica and Iron Maiden logos emblazoned on their t-shirts. During the short bursts of rage-filled lyrics, a look of confusion and puzzlement came over the two gentlemen, as the frontman and bassist threw themselves around the stage in a frenzy. Trash Talk are at the forefront of a new brand of stoner metal, where the live shows are characterised by big, brash displays of bile and vitriol, a far cry from the showmanship of Bruce Dickinson and James Hetfield, but still impressive, if not relatively abrasive.

For most of the set Spielman spent his time amongst the crowd. The masses of snapback clad ‘yoofs’ swinging their arms and elbows around and rarely making any connection with anything but thin air. Trash Talk as a band were summed up perfectly by Spielman himself early on in the set: “Short, succinct and to the point”. With most of their songs played out at around 1-minute long, he wasn’t wrong. The circle pits were the most ferocious of the festival, as Spielman ventured far enough back to find me cowering near the sound desk.

Look, I got ‘all up in his grill’:

It was this sense of incredible crowd participation and the ceaseless energy of the band that made this set one of the highlights of the day for me. Whether their own brand of party-punk would go down well on the main stage at a festival is one thing. But in a crowded tent, Spielman bent the crowd to his will superbly. Which warmed me up for something I’ve been waiting around 6 years for.

METALLICA.

Glastonbury the weekend previous was a huge milestone for the band. Arguably, the claims they had to ‘prove themselves’ at Glastonbury were completely ridiculous. They’re fucking Metallica and they’ve sold more albums than bloody Arcade Fire and Kasabian combined. Plus, name me a person who doesn’t lose all their shit during ‘Enter Sandman’ and I will go and buy a hat, then eat said hat. They answered the critics, sure. But, in doing so, they produced one of Glastonbury’s finest sets, ladened with as many singalong classics that any Chris Martin or Bono could bring.

So returning to a festival where the band will quite literally lauded as gods was going to hardly be daunting for Ulrich, Hetfield, Hammett, and Trujillo. To spice up their most recent tour and give them an excuse to globetrot without another album, Metallica are touring under the banner of ‘By Request’. Meaning we, the peasantry, get to pick the set. That means one thing. The set won’t be littered with random tracks from the deep, dark depths of ‘Death Magnetic’. Instead, it’ll be jam-packed to the brim with hit after hit.

So with the sun still shining down on Knebworth Park and after a sneak peak of ‘Glastallica’, the legendary four-piece strode on stage with a swagger unbeknown to any other act. They’ve conquered Glastonbury and they were about to defeat Sonisphere. Opener ‘Battery’ was met by a tirade of air drumming, which ceased about two and a half hours later when the band finally left the stage.

Every song was belted out with passion and the audience returned the favour by echoing every lyric back at them, from ‘Master of Puppets’, to ‘Whisky in the Jar’, which Hetfield admitted was his favourite song to play at the moment. The best reaction was reserved for ‘Enter Sandman’, as the crowd bounced in unison to the riff that has become synonymous with the band. ‘One’ was played out with a grandeur you don’t really expect at any metal show. However, for me it was ruined by some pillock next to me donning an Adolf Hitler moustache and adopting a ‘Sieg Heil’ pose throughout. Not funny in the slightest.

The gimmick for the day was that one of the songs was picked by the crowd – coming out on top by a whisker was ‘…And Justice for All’ and finishing off the set we had a rousing rendition of ‘Seek and Destroy’, which stopped any early leavers dead in their tracks so they could throw their horns in the Saturn Stage’s direction.

At Sonisphere, Metallica arrived with absolutely diddly shit to prove. Somehow though, they left proving something. So did the new guard, under the guise of Trash Talk, showing they can put on a show.

But, when it comes to stadium rock and getting a mammoth crowd going – leave it to the undisputed kings of thrash.

Well played boys. (10/10)

 

Sonisphere 2014 Review (Part 1)

 
By on Thursday, 17th July 2014 at 5:50 pm
 

From the moment I arrived there was a definite air of nostalgia around the place. Sonisphere is undeniably a festival for a section of the gig-going public, that is too lethargic and stubborn to embrace the pace of change music is making at the moment. They lament the days ska disappeared (if it ever was) from the mainstream music agenda and don the t-shirts of band who are certainly not playing the festival, but they want you to know ‘THEY CARE!’

Underlining the wistful air of sentimentality were ageing veterans of ska Reel Big Fish. They’re a band who knows how to cater for the longingly nostalgic audience, and that’s by playing nothing but the hits. There was only one song from their newest release ‘Candy Coated Fury’, which consequently got the same kind of reaction from the crowd that you would expect if Aaron Barrett came out onstage dressed as Vladimir Putin and started spouting anti-Ukranian propaganda.

The rest of the set was a journey through the nether regions of the California six-piece’s assorted back catalogue, which finished somewhat triumphantly with their rather enjoyable cover of ‘Take On Me’ by a-ha. They received a lukewarm reaction from the crowd for the majority of their set, barring the final cover which provoked slightly more frivolity. (6/10) But, their inclusion on the line-up is one of the things which confuses me about Sonisphere as a festival.

It’s a metal festival, targeted at the black t-shirt wearing population who choose to grow their hair past their neck, swing it around them like a lasso at random times, seemingly to display their dominance as either the smelliest or sweatiest member of any crowd. So what is a ska band like Reel Big Fish doing there? And what have bands like All Time Low and Weezer been doing hanging around the likes of Anthrax, Slayer and Megadeth?

Somehow though, when it works, it works beautifully, as the Dropkick Murphys showed later on the Saturn Stage, emerging after a musical prelude that was almost long enough to rival the theatricality of ‘Glastallica’ the previous week. The run-up doesn’t serve to stifle the flow of the show though, as the seven-piece bound onstage like a bag of excitable puppies let loose in the kitchen when you’re chopping the veg for dinner. They aren’t bloody annoying like those puppies though (I’ve got a thing against dogs at the moment as I think I’m allergic, OK?).

Set opener ‘The Boys Are Back’ is flowing with the kind of good cheer you find at your local pub when it’s Irish night and the beer is flowing. Ken Casey has the pride his music enthuses rolling out of him in droves, whilst vocalist Al Barr looks every bit as mean as ever dressed in the kind of polo shirt and cap you see Frodo Baggins wearing in Green Street before he slogs someone right in the gob.

Barr is a marauding presence, as he paces menacingly along the front of the stage, stirring the crowd into a frenzied whirlpool. It’s singalong anthem after singalong anthem from the Massachusetts homeboys. My personal highlight had to be a rip-roaring cover of the traditional folk number ‘Black Velvet Band’, which was furnished with a gloss of punk bite. The audience was joined in unison for the penultimate tune, as they covered AC/DC’s classic ‘Dirty Deeds Done Cheap’, before skipping of the stage to one of their classics, ‘I’m Shipping Up to Boston’.

This all proved to me that you didn’t need to be a roaring, denim jacket wearing, Satan-worshiping metal band to fit in at Sonisphere. You were welcomed with open arms as long as your music had a bit of an edge to it. Dropkick Murphys had that in spades and left Knebworth Park as champions, after a rabble-rousing set that William Wallace himself would have been proud of. (10/10)

Sandwiched in between Reel Big Fish and Dropkick Murphys are titans of sludge, Mastodon, who troop through a set with just enough of their classics to justify a good outing for songs from their new record ‘Once More ‘Round the Sun’. ‘Chimes at Midnight’, ’High Road’ and ‘The Motherload’ sit unobtrusively next to tracks like ‘Oblivion’ and ‘Blasteroid’, as the band take you away to a starry-skied world with their thudding, yet entirely melodic tunes.

At the helm, Troy Sanders conducted the orchestra of majesty behind him, whilst still grasping the 30,000 strong audience within the palm of his hand, from up high on the Saturn Stage. The titanic melodies that Mastodon have made their trademark over the past decade soared out over the fields of Knebworth, drawing in a considerable crowd. They’re the kind of outfit that the smaller bands who graced the weekend’s line-up can watch slam out a set of huge tunes and give them the will to aspire to play higher on the bill. (8/10)

By comparison on the same Stage, Alice in Chains produced an utterly flaccid performance, devoid of any real showmanship. They bumbled through a set which catered for anyone wanting to hear the hits, as ‘Man in the Box’ and ‘Them Bones’ received an airing. For a band gracing the upper echelons of rock royalty, the crowd could most definitely have expected something more than the dour showing they got from the titans of grunge.

Perhaps with all the line-up changes William DuVall and co. have gone and lost what made them so brilliant to watch. Or maybe the four-piece couldn’t handle the almost unbearable rays of the sun beating down from high upon the Saturn Stage. (5/10)

Stay tuned tomorrow for the rest of John’s review of Sonisphere 2014.

 

Preview: Sonisphere 2014

 
By on Wednesday, 26th February 2014 at 9:30 am
 

Emerging from the smouldering ashes of its Britannic demise, Sonisphere returns after what appeared to be ‘an indefinite hiatus’ year in 2013 – it seemed the inevitable excitement/carnage that ensued post-The Big Four in 2011 was too much for Sonisphere’s Knebworth bash to handle. It was obvious the festival was suffering in 2012: they were in the proverbial doldrums of booking acts, with their top billing going to aged hair metallers Kiss – followed by Queen and Faith No More – I suppose again though, post-The Big Four the question is for any metal band booker, where do we go from here?

In true Fawkes from Harry Potter style though, the festival has spread its wings and is spreading a trail of thrashy fire around Knebworth in preparation for the festivals erstwhile rebirth-as-it-was(ish).

The line-up will cater to both the most seasoned mosh-bandit, to the slighter rocker – anything from your fully kitted out – I’m talking all the clichés, studded jacket, trousers the colour similar to that seen on a solar eclipse and piercings from ear to ear- heavy music fan, to the meekest of rock enthusiast, who furtively enjoys a bit of ska.

To start of proceedings arguably one of the best live acts still doing the circuits, The Prodigy will be kindly falling in line with the phoenix metaphors with their displays of twisted firestarting. While the classics, ‘Firestarter’, ‘Breathe’, ‘Poison’ and ‘Out of Space’ will be sure to whip any crowd into a frenzied mass, it’s tracks like ‘Omen’ and ‘Take Me to the Hospital’ from their most recent record ‘Invaders Must Die’, which are more familiar with the younger generations who will be putting their bodies on the line at Knebworth.

Joining them on Friday’s bill are fresh from the Kerrang! tour band, Limp Bizkit, bringing with them a host of nu-metal nostalgia along with some new material which has even included a collaboration with that stand-up character L’il Wayne. If that’s not your cup of tea, the 5th of July sees THE Iron Maiden appear at Knebworth, supported by the thundering riffs of Deftones and the not-so-thundering-riffs, but wholeheartedly rocking Frank Turner and The Sleeping Souls.

Bruce Dickinson’s Union Jack waving exploits not cutting it for you? Thoroughly incredulous towards ‘The Number of the Beast’? Fear not, the thrash on the Saturn Stage will be tantamount to your approval – enter Slayer. I challenge you – nay, I dare you – not to well and truly lose every semblance of ‘your shit’ when ‘Reign in Blood’ drops. They’re an institution before being a band, and if their cult following doesn’t sell out Knebworth alone, Alice in Chains and Metallica (with maybe a less menacing Lars Ulrich pictured at top) should do the trick in equal measure.

Add to that equation, that if you snag a weekend ticket ASAP, you’ll be able to help choose 17 out of 18 of Metallica’s set. So you’ll be looking forward to a Sunday closing set chocked to the block with the hits you want. And really, what else could you want?

To book tickets and more information on Sonisphere as it returns for a new year, visit their official Web site.

 

Linkin Park & Metallica to Headline Sonisphere

 
By on Tuesday, 10th February 2009 at 10:32 am
 

2009 will see the first edition of the fresh festival Sonisphere. The event will tour Europewhere the UK will host the climax of the event which would have already visited Holland, Germany, Spain, Sweden and Finland. The UK event will be in Knebworth, England on the 1st and 2nd of August.

It has recently been announced that Nu-metal masters Linkin Park and the one and only Metallica will be headlining the Knebworth show. Other acts include Lamb of God and Mastodon with dozens of others to be announced.  Metallica are hard to impress but Lars Ulrich is already jumping up and down – “We’re stoked to be touring England and Europe with Sonisphere. Summer festivals in Europe are what Metallica do best. We can’t wait to see all of our fans over there.”

Knebworth might ring a few bells to you. Why? There are many possible reasons, but it is famously home to the phrase “The pen is mightier than the sword” by Edward Bulwer Lytton. But this is not all, It is also known as the home of rock as the Hertfordshire home has been host to the likes of Led Zeppelin, Oasis, Queen, Pink Floyd, Rolling Stones, Chuck Berry and Deep Purple.

The festival is expected to be a great success due to its touring  aspect but the only way to really find out is to go. Tickets go on sale this Wednesday 11th Feburary at 9am GMT. If your interested then be quick as tickets will be snapped up quickly. If you want more information then visit the fancy Sonisphere Website.

 
 
 

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