The “Taste” in “Taste Of Chaos” is something of an understatement – with ten acts on show, “Banquet” would be a better description.
It is a tremendous logistical feat to pull this off, but the organisers managed it by using the left-hand side of the stage as a “second stage” for acts such as Bleed The Dream and Reggie And The Full Effect to play in between the “main” bands.
The first of these was Story Of The Year. Frontman Dan Marsala sauntered on to the stage and broke into Take Me Back, while the rest of the guys exuded ease and confidence and played as if they were headlining. The crowd instantly warmed in response. SOTY definitely had their Weetabix this morning, jumping off all the speakers, even synchronising back flips, and generally feeding off the energy of the crowd and throwing it straight back at them. All this was combined with a solid set, with Anthem Of Our Dying Day and Until The Day I Die standing out. Towards the end, the crowd was asked if they would join SOTY when they headline in April next year. The response was genuine agreement, with SOTY having deservedly earned themselves new fans.
Unfortunately, Rise Against fell foul of a terrible sound mix at the beginning of their set, something that they seemed to not fully recover from. The likes of Swing Life Away and Dead Ringer began to make them sound good, but a mess of Give It All did not do them any favours, especially with such strong acts surrounding them.
There was then an outflow of younger, smaller people and an inflow of larger, more gnarled veterans, thus heralding Killswitch Engage. Killswitch are possibly a strange inclusion on the bill, but most certainly a good change, and a chance to show the younger members of the audience that things can get heavier. I would love to give a more detailed synopsis of Killswitch’s performance, but this reviewer just had to get in the pit and leave the real world behind. With such beasts of songs as Irreversal, Rose Of Sharyn and My Last Serenade, it is no wonder that The Used frontman Bert McCracken joined them to add his scream to Just Barely Breathing.
And so to the start of the main pull tonight. With dedicated fans already behind them as they took the stage, The Used could have played a jazz oddessy and still gotten as many screams. Thankfully they did not, and opened with the perfect jumper-rounder Take It Away. They gave the crowd everything it wanted in a polished performance, and the audience karaoke was in full swing with I Caught Fire. The Used kept their set short, but definitely sweet, and any band that can make a group of 15-year old girls start a mosh pit has got my vote…
Funeral For A Friend had to prove something to me tonight – their recorded output had always been a little on the soft side for me, but I was intrigued to hear how their sound would transfer over live. The response to their entrance was high-pitched, and the energy on stage kicked the songs up a good notch on the Richter Scale. The vocals were a bit lost in a wash of bass and drums, but the female backing singers around me were keeping up just fine.
With people tiring a little after a long evening, Roses For The Dead and Red Is The New Black ensured that there would be some bleary eyes in the classroom tomorrow. There was a welcome inclusion of Juneau, and the new single History was heartfelt and sung with passion. Gareth and Matt bantered with the crowd, and from the opening ring of Streecar to the ending of Escape Artists Never Die, their set was a fitting finale to an intense and satisfying “festival”.