Saturday, 31 May 2014

Monsters of Rock, 17th August 1996 – Castle Donnington Park

Second Stage: Cecil, Honeycrack, 3 Colours Red, Everclear, Type O Negative, Korn
Main stage: Fear Factory, Dog Eat Dog, Paradise Lost, Sepultura, Ozzy Osbourne, Kiss

Donnington 1996 was to be the last of its kind for several years until Kerrang were to revitalise it with Download seven years later. Over seventy thousand people massed for a day of good, old fashioned heavy metal at Castle Donnington. The event was divided into the main stage, to be headlined by Ozzy Osbourne and Kiss, and the Kerrang stage, to be headline by Type O Negative. However, it was rumoured that at the last minute, Korn were to added to the bill. At the time, Korn were only just breaking through, but were receiving critical acclaim off the back of their cult debut album, and so demand to see them was sky high. As the two stages were to be run simultaneously, it was impossible to see all the bands on the bill. Fear Factory started the event with a great performance, which suffered only slightly due to their sound being more suited to an indoor show. Their highlight was undoubtedly “Scum Grief”. Dog Eat Dog were fantastic in every sense: their choice of songs being very well suited to a festival, audience, and their stage presence (particularly front man John C) was masterful. “Pull my Finger” and “Whose the King?” were well received. Paradise Lost played up to their gothic style well, particularly on “Once Solemn” and “Embers Fire”.


Having seen Paradise Lost, we managed to catch the end of Everclear’s set, which was very grungy, but not spectacular. Type O Negative played two songs, lasting over 30 minutes. They were interesting, but no more than that, particularly seeing as they were so inanimate and downbeat on stage. The crowd then dispersed for the stage set to be changed over and the sound checks to take place. Korn were due to headline the second stage around 20 minutes after the previous band and it was amazing to see that around fifty thousand of the crowd had gathered to see this almost unheard of band play. The sound check was the most bizarre I've ever heard, with all sorts of noises emulating from the guitars, and the bass was so low and down tuned that it shook the ground all the way back over the hill. Each band member entered one by one to play their opener “Blind” – I heard that twenty people were taken to hospital on this set alone. They played “Balltongue”, “Divine”, “Shoots & Ladders” and “Fagot”. It actually went on for longer than we had anticipated, and so we missed the musicians coming onto the main stage for Sepultura slot. Their show was marred by the death of Dana Well’s, meaning that Max couldn’t be present. Instead, guitarist Andreas Kisser stood in on vocals and did a good job, considering. They played a lot of materials off the Roots album, plus favourites such as “Kaiowas”, “Territory”, and “Refuse Resist”. 

Ozzy Osbourne is a legend. For a fat guy from Birmingham who can’t speak properly and waddles when he walks or runs, he has the most amazing stage presence. Kind of the opposite of Axl Rose in terms of grace, appearance and self-deprecation. “Perry Mason”, “No More Tears”, “War Pigs”, “I Just Want You” and “Paranoid”, were all fantastic. True he was aided by musicians such as Mike Inez and Mike Bordin, and his trusty water cannon, but it was a great set. There was a long pause before Kiss arrived, during which they blew up 4 massive inflatable Kiss dolls, and an aeroplane flew over the stage. Kiss themselves put on a typical stadium rock concert, complete with drum and guitar solos, and lights and explosions. They played (among several hundred other songs), “Shout it Out Loud”, “Black Diamond” and “God of Thunder”. Around midnight or sometime after, it all came to a close for another year (well, it was to be another seven years, but that’s another story).

9.5 out of 10 (the single day knocks off full marks on this occasion)

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