Hellfest Festival 2015

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Hellfest Festival 2015 – Saturday 20th June

The whole sun thing gets old kind of fast when you’re sweated out of your tent a few hours after you got in it. Still given the choice over this and Drownload weather we’ll take stupidly sunny any day. Even if we do get all crisp and shiny and call me a turkey, because this roast is done.

Hellfest skatepark
Hellfest skatepark

Not sure what Slipknot did to them last night, but the Main Stage 2 speakers keep distorting like someone’s eating a bowl of cereal behind Haken (3/5). It’s distracting for sure and undermines the technical greatness the Londoners have up their sleeves. ‘Cockroach King’ at least is bewitching, with its free keyboard, jazz funk extended jam. Sadly Haken’s prog metal leanings are too thinky for this time and they don’t ring the morning alarm bells this sluggish crowd clearly needs. (Kirsty)

On the other hand the Butcher Babies (4.5/5) arrive with energy to give away. Some of the roars and squeals fade away too early or come out a bit soft, but they sound good on the way slamming through the door kicked open wide by the likes of Angela Gossow. Carla Coates rules the deeper register, whilst the currently fire-haired Heidi Shepherd takes the higher, although she doesn’t always seem to have enough breath for the singy bits, such is the amount of running and jumping.

Butcher Babies
Butcher Babies

The crowd are lapping it all up though, especially when the ladies encourage crowd surfers to come to front for a low hi five. Shepherd semi-face plants over the side of stage on her way down, but with her and Coates ending up leaning over those up front, security holding on tight, you can safely say all those in attendance are now wide awake. (Kirsty)

Butcher Babies
Butcher Babies

The Answer’s (3.5/5) throwback blues rock was made for outdoor listening, drink in hand, friends all around. So perfect conditions today really. That said it doesn’t mean the Irish lads can just pass off a good performance and, not for want of trying, for whatever reason today they don’t leave the strongest impression.

The Answer
The Answer

‘Spectacular’s’ beautiful bass and super clear sound should be getting one hell of a response, but watching eyes are happy to just nod along. Cormac Neeson is an absolute dude though and those pipes must surely have got some folks checking out more. (Kirsty)

The Answer
The Answer

Ace Frehley (3/5) doesn’t quite have the slot he would have had with Kiss but he does bring some of that old school pizazz whipping out a literally smoking guitar at the end of ‘Shock Me’. No make-up though. There’s an attempt to get the crowd chanting “Ace” in the style of “Angus” at an AC/DC show, but that doesn’t come off in a puff of smoke.

Ace Frehley
Ace Frehley

Still ‘Rock Soldiers’ beats a solid tune, even if some members seem to be struggling (whether with the heat or other ailments) giving everything a haphazard feel, with those Kiss roots coming back for a ragged sounding ‘Love Gun.’ (Kirsty)

Ace Frehley
Ace Frehley

It’s pretty damn hot in the Valley. Close your eyes and it’s just you and ASG’s (3/5) North Carolina doomy stoner, the heat adding a certain extra element. Open them though and you can see people struggling to do much as it all washes over them. Maybe not much is needed, this isn’t exactly go nuts stuff, the band aren’t rushing; this is let it all slide and see where it goes music. Actually that’s some pretty interesting places, especially when shit goes heavy, but other times you’re run over with the same riff again and again whilst you wait for something to hook you out of the stasis. (Kirsty)

Bless them Backyard Babies (2.5/5) seem to be trying, but the Swedish rockers’ set has the rag-tag air of pub band not main stage performers – the sound is kind of all over the place and the vocals are more dodgy than punked-up. ‘Brand New Hate’ gets some horns up, but the huge crowd before them are gathering for next-up Aussie rockers Airbourne. A querying “We have time for one more song do you want to hear one” is met with a painful semi-silence. Big props that they plough on, but even the screens give up and start advertising Airbourne before they finish up. (Kirsty)

Motorhead are supposed to be louder than everyone else but two songs in and Airbourne (5/5) blow the sound system. Twice. The huge crowd hang on in there despite the delay thanks to the apologetic charms of the matey Joel O’Keeffe. He’s just so damn Aussie. It should be hard to come back from but Airbourne manage it without effort, ploughing into ‘Girls In Black’, whilst ‘Black Dog Barking’ shows real teeth.

Airbourne
Airbourne

We suspect some are here to see AC/DC on the cheap, and Airbourne themselves don’t shy away from the comparison with O’Keeffe taking to a crew member’s shoulders for a Angus Young-style run along crowd. It’s fucking rock n roll though and you’re grateful to Airbourne for carrying that torch. As O’Keeffe winds the crank handle of the air siren that heralds ‘Live It Up’, you really hear them break out of homage and into something that they’ve stamped their own name on. Should have been the set opener really. (Kirsty)

Airbourne
Airbourne

Saturday at Hellfest is in full swing. The sun is up, the beer is cold and the company of thousands of French metal heads is rather good. The heat is on and if feels as if we’re stuck somewhere in California, not the North end of France. And what better music to accompany such great moment in life than Slash with Myles Kennedy and The Conspirators (5/5)!?

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Slash with Myles Kennedy and The Conspirators

The former Guns N’Roses guitarist with his musical entourage appear to be in excellent shape sounding tight as ever and bringing some real-life rock’n’roll entertainment to Hellfest. When it comes to Slash being the entertainer, he doesn’t really need to do much apart from absolutely killing it on the guitar, as he does always and anyways. He simply gets away just with being the living legend in front of our eyes and just staring at him in an absolute amazement is the best entertainment any classic rock fan can ask for. Meanwhile the rest of his band with Myles Kennedy from Alter Bridge taking care of the vocal performance are working their asses off to the keep the energy up where it belongs.

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Slash with Myles Kennedy and The Conspirators

With songs off his latest albums, like “You’re a Lie,” “World On Fire” and “Anastacia” pleasing those who have done their homework and introduced themselves to Slash’s latest work being mixed with original Guns N’Roses tracks like “Nightrain” and “You Could Be Mine,” Slash with Myles Kennedy and The Conspirators put on a show that’s not just musically dynamic, but also broad and eclectic.

Slash is the ultimate professional and knows exactly what his crowd came and paid their money for, so he throws in the ultimate Guns N’Roses classics “Sweet Child O’ Mine” and “Welcome to the Jungle”. Suddenly the whole of Hellfest turns into the ultimate 80’s sing-along party and there’s no doubt that Gn’R spirit still lives on. (Anna)

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Slash with Myles Kennedy and The Conspirators

Certainly poor old Coffins (2.5/5) are playing to a small number. We could say it’s because everyone seems to be trying to get their ticket value out of Slash but to be honest Coffins are really quite dull to watch. Frontman Tokita looks like he’s equally trying really hard and not making any effort, his vocals the wrong side of crappy. The doom black n roll elements offer a lot to like, but as good as the band are they seem to be on a largely different wave to Tokita and unable to paddle over the gap. (Kirsty)

And just after Slash has managed to walk off the stage, it is time for English industrial rock pioneers Killing Joke (3.5/5) to take over.

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Killing Joke

With Jaz Coleman up front and in great shape, the band are greeted by slightly sparse, yet keen crowd.
With hits, like “Requiem,” “Wardance” and “Pandemonium” marking the absolute highlights of Killing Joke set, the band deliver a performance that’s musically tight, polished to perfection, however lacking a dose of excitement.

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Killing Joke

However with the sharp use of electronic effects and Gothic themes throughout their music, Killing Joke still manage to stand out as a completely different beast of a band even after nearly 40 years of existence. (Anna)

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Killing Joke

Ensiferum’s (3.5/5) intro music is deceptively light trad-folk. Then the blast beats and windmilling begin – simultaneously. On his own Markus Toivonen’s vocals come out oddly weedy, but the gang chants and epic singing are strong through and through, bolstered further by the crowd. At times you could dance a jig, bang your head and get in a round all at the same time. And fair play to you if you’re able to do that. Mostly though you’re getting lost in the Finns’ storytelling, the could-they-be-true tales, which is the tradition of folk all round the world. Whether it comes with metal guitars or not. (Kirsty)

Next up on the Main stage are the American legends, the ultimate Rock’n’roll heroes and the one and only band that rocked ‘the beard’ look decades before it became a trend. ZZ Top (5/5) don’t need much introduction as every self-respectful rock music fan will be familiar with at least one or two of their most famous masterpieces, like “Legs,” “Gimme All Your Lovin’,” “Sharp Dressed Man” as the list goes on…

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ZZ Top

From the very beginning in 1969 to this day ZZ Top and their music remain one-of-a-kind.
It comes as no surprise that it takes no time for ZZ Top gents to get the crowd moving to the groove and within the first seconds Billy Gibbons, Dusty Hill and Frank Beard, have hit the stage, the whole festival turns into one hell of a party Houston, Texas style. Pass us the Bourbon!

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ZZ Top

ZZ Top have always had their own unique ‘whiskey-soaked blues’ rock’n’roll sound, as they have also had the hits. …and the looks, obviously. Wonderfully enough, today’s ZZ Top performance appears to be all about the hits, as the band don’t hold back to perform some of the good, old sing-along anthems that include the previously mentioned hits as well as Jimi Hendrix’s “Foxy Lady,” “La Grange,” “Tush” and more.

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ZZ Top

ZZ Top put on a show that’s truly positive, entertaining and 100% bad-ass. Billy Gibbons remains the ultimate rockstar and there is no one here at Hellfest who could ever about it. (Anna)

Mike Patton is talking about “putting some heaven into the Hellfest” and how “you’re gonna like it” from a stage filled with beautiful flowers backed by a band dressed all in white. We can’t tell if he wants to fuck us or if this is some mass offing cult spiel. Either way Faith No More (4.5/5) sound really bloody good, whether it’s the smooth slow jam of ‘Evidence’ or the chanted ‘Be Aggressive’. There’s a real danceable quality to everything they throw out, something that’s sometimes lacking from ‘metal’ bands. It’s brilliant stuff basically, without the worry of genre boundaries. If it feels good, do it yeah?

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Faith No More

‘Epic’ drags very real screams out of some of the crowd and ‘Midlife Crisis’ seems very together still at this point in its life, the crowd singing along unaccompanied before the band go into a short funky lounge-singer version. ‘Easy’ sounds like it could have come from their own catalogue, the song playing on as Patton hops off stage to swap shirts with security, even though “it’s not quite my size.”

Faith No More
Faith No More

Faith No More aren’t one of those “we love you” gushing bands who are grateful the crowd turned out. We get the feeling we’re supposed to the grateful ones, and oh we are. (Kirsty)

Faith No More
Faith No More

And then Hellfest split the sky. Blew it into a million beautiful pieces with what have to be some of the best damn fireworks we’ve ever seen. Well with everything around the site already burning away, what did they have left to light up but the sky?

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Centered around a massive H and backed by Queen, AC/DC and other such legends, it’s about being the biggest, loudest and most awe inspiring. About something that will hopefully leave an impression and stay with people. So like all of the music here this weekend then. (Kirsty)

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And what better band to storm the stage after us witnessing the greatest firework show seen at a music festival ever!? You got it. it’s Scorpions (5/5) – the living legends hailing from Germany and bringing tonight to an uplifting ‘grand finale’.

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Scorpions

As this year marks the 50th Anniversary of the band, Scorpions made sure to put on a show to remember. You’d think that half-a Century would have exhausted these German rockers at least a little, but all our suspicion is declared senseless once the band hit the stage with “Going Out With a Bang” off their latest album Return To Forever.

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Scorpions

With an unstoppable energy that seems to work as the driving force behind Scorpions, the classic rock legends show no sign of stopping now or in the near future, as they blast out hits both old and new and prove themselves to be the ultimate gods of rock’n’roll anthems. “Wind Of Change,” “Send Me an Angel,” “Still Loving You” and, of course, “Rock You Like a Hurricane”… Scorpions got them all.

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Scorpions

And with what seems like a performance staged to a the highest level of perfection and thought through to the tiniest of a detail, Scorpions prove that they’re still on top of their game and there simply ain’t no competition for these dudes. They got the tunes, they got the energy, they still got one Schenker in the band and they got the crowd that simply adores them. (Anna)

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Scorpions

But that, ladies and gents, is not just it. While Scorpions might not be the easiest act to follow, it seems that if there was a man capable of not only coming on after the German rock legends, but also upstaging them a little, it would be Marilyn Manson.

But wouldn’t it just be a bit too boring if everything went as smoothly as expected!? Would it be Marilyn Manson if he didn’t make himself ‘the talk of the night’?
Mr Mansosn did, indeed, make himself the talk of the night, yet, the feedback wasn’t as great as you’d have imagined and Scorpions were not upstaged even by and inch.

Tonight at Hellfest 2015 Marilyn Manson’s performance was simply disappointing and there are absolutely no other words to describe it. The show was dull, it had no consistency and no matter how hard Manson’s band tried to pull it together, the man himself just ‘wasn’t there’. Mixing hits like “mOBSCENE,” “Disposable Teens” and “Sweet Dreams (Are Made Of This)” with songs that appear like something even Manson himself hasn’t ever heard of, the show struggles to live up to any great expectations, as Manson doesn’t seem too bothered and keeps walking off the stage leaving his band to finish songs without him.

Tonight’s show must have been a true heartbreak for those who have either grown up with Manson’s music or fallen in love with his art along the way. And those who’ve seen Marilyn Manson at his best, know what he, as an artist and musician, is capable of and just how mind-blowing of a show he’s willing to put on when he’s focused and 100% ‘there’. Maybe tonight just wasn’t ‘his night’… (Anna)

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