2014.07.04 – Sonisphere Festival, Knebworth, England

Date: 4th July 2014
Event: Sonisphere Festival
Venue: Knebworth Park
City: Knebworth
Country: England
Support: see timetable

Tracklist:
1. Breathe
2. Jetfigher
3. Voodoo People
4. Omen
5. Poison
6. Rockweiler
7. Thunder (Dubstep)
8. AWOL
9. AWOL Beats
10. Firestarter
11. Run With The Wolves
12. World’s On Fire
13. Spitfast
14. Omen (Reprise)
15. Invaders Must Die
16. Smack My Bitch Up
Encore:
17. Take Me To The Hospital
18. Hyperspeed (G-Force Part 2)
19. Gun Reprise
20. Their Law

Extra info:
Apollo stage timetable:
14:45 – 15:15 The Defiled
15:35 – 16:05 Anti-flag
16:25 – 17:10 Gary Numan
17:30 – 18:15 Band Of Skulls
18:35 – 19:20 Him
19:40 – 20:40 Limp Bizkit
21:20 – The Prodigy

Review:
Cast your eyes across Sonisphere 2014’s line up and its business as usual…or at least it would seem. Rock and metal reign supreme with the likes of Iron Maiden and Metallica topping the bill. Additionally metal stalwarts Slayer, Anthrax and Mastodon nestle up nicely to Limp Bizkit, Deftones and HIM. But what is this? Do we see a clutch of musical imposters on the festival’s riff heavy roster – Frank Turner?! A punk-folk poet! Chas and Dave…what the fuck?! And taking up the third summit filling spot…The Prodigy. Are the staunchly set in their ways metal masses casting their net to wider musical reaches? Some may contest that the Essex rock-ravers have no place at a “rock festival” – they’re a dance act aren’t? However, some recognise that The Prodigy headlining Sonisphere makes perfect sense, this is a collective that have fused together the most anti-social fragments of music to create a sonic-battering ram  that’s mosh worthy as it is ‘glow-sticks at the ready, let’s get our bosh on’! Punk, rave, metal, drum & bass, dubstep and God knows what else, they’ve all touched the trio’s petri dish and what morphs from this curious concoction of disparate items is uniquely The Prodigy and most importantly, it’s music to piss people off – isn’t that exactly what rock/metal should be?
Just as day is turning into night, The Prodigy turn Knebworth into a post-apocalyptic warehouse rave, albeit in a field near Stevenage. Smoke bellows as the audio anarchists appear while screens that flank the Apollo Stage, glitch and fuzz as if projecting malfunctioning transmissions from the final embers of the human race. The scene is set for Braintree’s finest to fry our eyes and expand our minds. The visceral scree of ‘Breathe’ announces The Prodigy to Sonisphere and it would appear, the Essex lads have their work cut out initially. Large chunks of the audience are divided, there’s the believers: losing their shit,  the inquisitive: bobbing their heads and wondering if it’s ok to enjoy the band’s bass heavy but guitar spewing dance-rock and then there’s the ‘arm-folders’ the “true” metal fans who aren’t budging one jot – “this isn’t metal and we’re not going to enjoy it”. WWPSM had to wonder if the guy in front of us – we’ll call him Mister Machine Fucking Head, thanks to his lovely t-shirt – was a statue because no matter how much The Prodigy ramped up the beats and the frazzled riffs, he moved precisely nowhere. Still, the non-advocates loss is our gain, after nicely limbering up Sonisphere with ‘Breathe’ the riotous threesome smashed through a vast cannon of hedonistic, cuts of dance-rock mayhem. What’s telling with tonight’s headlining slot and with The Prodigy is how they are constantly evolving, numerous tracks get reworked, introducing dubstep nuances or extended freakouts of floor quaking beats and jagged guitar slashes. ‘Voodoo People’ and ‘Poison’ receive these re-imaginations whilst ‘Omen’ remains largely in the shape of its recorded persona, it garners the loudest cheer and most enthusiastic response of the night – next to ‘Firestarter’ of course.
Towards the end of June, head-honcho and musical Svengali, Liam Howlett spoke to NME about the group’s imminent new album and the prospect of playing new jams during their allotted summer festival slots. Howlett professed the new cuts would be “violent sounding” and that “at these big shows people don’t want to hear fucking new stuff”. Well, Mr Howlett you tell porkie pies because those “violent sounding” nuggets appeared in the guise of brand spanking new tracks ‘Jetfighter’ and ‘Rock Weiler’ both of which live up to their vicious billing and whet our appetites for what the future holds concerning a much anticipated new LP.
After being pummelled for nearly an hour and a half, the slightly tentative masses are moving as one, either instigating circle pits or wafting glowsticks like its rave year zero. Apart from Mister Machine Fucking Head – he’s rooted to the spot. A three song encore rushes the band’s headlining set to a close; a frenetic ‘Take Me To The Hospital’, the old-skool rave from back in the day ‘Hyperspeed (G-Force Part 2)’ has Sonisphere reaching for the sky and then, the metal-tinged monster of ‘Their Law’ wraps up The Prodigy’s assault on a Knebworth. It would be fitting that ‘Their Law’ is the Essex boy’s parting shot, originally penned in reaction to the Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994, which criminalised raves and rave culture, the venomous howl of “fuck ‘em and their law” thrusts a middle finger in the direction of anyone doubting The Prodigy would work at Sonisphere. You’ll be hard placed finding a heavier, more aggressive and innovative act over the course of the weekend – “fuck ‘em and their law” indeed.

Poster:

Tracklist:

Pictures:

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