Live Shows, Reviews — March 25, 2024 at 8:05 am

KNOTFEST – Centennial Park, Sydney – March 23, 2024


Here we are again! Knotfest is back in Australia for its second year. This year sees the return of Pantera as headliner, and who ever thought we’d see this day? So with a stacked lineup, let’s see how the day plays out in this heat.

Started the day with a special tour in the Slipknot museum and man that’s something, it’s just awesome to see these items of Slipknot fame, masks, suits, instruments, and this year Clown has allowed to be shown one of his sculptures that has never been seen before, as well as a solid gold Clown mask which was creepily amazing. The red lights, the music, the mood in there was killer and curator Caelin, was the best. She looked after us and made the experience great. If you’re a Slipknot fan, make sure you make your way into the museum when Knotfest rolls into town.

We made our way out of the museum just as gates were opening so watching the already hoard of people making their way in way cool as they all headed over to stage 2 to get ready for King Parrot to start the day. These guys are a definite drawcard as there is many a King Parrot shirt on any a fan today. They kick off the day loud, and as Australian as you want. You can hear them from afar as we get our surroundings and check out the grounds and get some early shade. Band of Sacrifice take to stage 1 and this is heavy, you can tell this is what people want today, that aggression, that metal that they crave, and this early one it’s happening. Windwaker were truly awesome, shade of Faith No More mixed in with some really heavy stuff it was really great hearing these guys up there doing their thing and they’re on my ‘must check out after the festival’ list. Thanks to the Popcultcha stand giving out stress balls the band is now being pelted by said stress balls and it’s kinda awesome watching them fly around the crowd.

Back to stage 1 and Sydney’s own Speed were short and sharp and to the point. Hardcore indeed, that was intense. Now it’s time for Skindred. This band know how to do it, I’m surprised they’re on this early but at the same time understand it as the crowd are still coming in and this early to catch one of the best live bands you’ll see on the day. Benji out front knows how to command an audience and has us all laughing and doing everything he says. Outstanding fun and a great set from these guys. Skindred are a band you should now miss if they ever tour. Escape The Fate are up next and starting solo on stage Craig sings ‘Forgive Me’ as the band then joins him and bust through this eight song set, and the crowd are loving it. Seen these guys a few times and they smashed it again today. Thy Art is Murder get things very heavy, like very heavy. Another huge drawcard today and they didn’t disappoint. Wage War keep that mix of melody and heaviness going and were also a new band for me today and have made the list, they were really impressive and so glad I checked them out, and will again.

The sun has gone away and it’s so much cooler now and that’s amazing. Can actually stay at the stages and check out the bands, but as we’re getting towards the headliners, I’ve cemented my spot and ready for what’s to come. Asking Alexandria kick it off with a bang with ‘Closure’ then get the crowd going as they keep the beats heavy. ‘Alone Again’ just may be the best song I’ve heard all day too. Damn. That was great. Keeping the tempo up with ‘Down To Hell’, ‘Into The Fire’ as well as ‘Where Did It Go?’ and ‘Dark Void’ before the first acoustic guitar of the day comes out leaving Danny up on the stage to sing the slowest song of the day ‘Someone, Somewhere’ Belting out a few oldies to close and closing with ‘Alone in a Room’ these guys put on an impressive set.

Next will be the band that surprises many. The Hu as it’s just so different that there’s nothing like it. I’ve only ever seen these guys indoors but hearing it like this in a festival environment it really takes on a new vibe and it’s brilliant. Through their catalogue and an amazing version of Metallica’s ‘Through the Never’ just being outstanding. Ready to rumble and with ‘Black Thunder’ we keep things rolling and then ‘Yuve Yuve Yu’ which is so good. Those grooves just continue with ‘Wolf Totem’ and they really dig that one. Closing with ‘This is Mongol’ I was watching a lot of people as were mesmerised and The Hu delivered what only they can. Really awesome to see these guys up there today and I’m sure walking away with some new fans.

Time for Halestorm… Lzzy walks out and acapella sings ‘Raise Your Horns’ before heading into ‘I Miss The Misery’ and once the sound evened out they smashed it. Straight into ‘Love Bites (So Do I) and Joe is up there looking like he’s straight out of Airheads and I love it. ‘I Get Off’ next and as they belt it out, Joe and Arejay take a quick break while Josh hits the keys and Lzzy belts out some Heart with ‘Crazy On You’ and then back to close the song out. Then immediately into ‘Freak Like Me’ and they’ve hit their strides and that’s awesome. Into ‘Mz Hyde’ and these heavier ones are so good today. They don’t waste a second as Joe holds a note and rings in ‘Mayhem’ and that was huge. ‘Familiar Taste of Poison’ slows it down a little and awesome but an interesting choice for the festival, but I dig it. ‘Takes My Life’ rocks things back up before Arejay’s drum solo and yes he brought the big sticks to Knotfest. Then ‘Back From The Dead’ is perfect for today and the heavier jam this offers before ‘Bombshell’ and then rockin’ out ‘The Steeple’ big time as they head to the end of their set. They jam it out a little before they end.

Oh man here comes the heavy. Lamb of God just exploded onto the stage with ‘Memento Mori’ and they immediately sound phenomenal, ‘Walk With Me In Hell’ and ‘Hourglass’ are amazing and I can tell this is not only going to be a show, it’s going to be a schooling on how it’s done. Stopping the set during ‘Ditch’ to help someone in the pit, I respect that so much and after he was safe, they jump back into the set with ‘Now You’ve Got Something To Die For’ and it’s like they never stopped, the power is back on and it’s wild. Immediately into ‘Ruin’ and man what a band this is, they are so ridiculously good and the band is so tight, it’s scary. Things get slower and almost doom with ‘Vigil’ and well done to whoever gets the green ball thrown back into the crowd from Randy. If you were here you know why. The drumming is insane in ‘Descending’ and they are not mucking around anymore, no time to breathe as they’re making up for lost time and it’s time for ‘Laid To Rest’. After seven years away it’s so good to see these guys back and closing their set with the biggest circle pit for ‘Redneck’ and that was insane. Lamb of God, wow that was impressive.

Time to get Disturbed. Opening with ‘Hey You’ and it’s the perfect opener not only for the set but from their latest album and the band sound great and David’s vocals are as impressive as ever and I’ve seen Disturbed many, many times and it’s always a pleasure when they play. Straight into ‘Stupify’ which fits perfectly in as song two and then as the stage lights up red it’s time to raise those fists, all 10,000 of them. This track is one of my faves of theirs and it didn’t disappoint tonight, it’s truly a site at a festival seeing the way the crowd raise those fists and it just makes the day what it is, it’s unified. Then one of my other favourites with ‘Prayer’ and man his voice is just so powerful and they’re not messing around tonight. Taking things up a notch with ‘Bad Man’ and this is heavy, and that melodic thing that Disturbed do so well shines through here. Cover time, and one of their best. Their cover of the Genesis classic ‘Land of Confusion’ and it was killer. ‘The Game’ gets everyone clapping along and again, that groove.

Now it’s time for the big one, the massive ballad and close to the best cover ever done (in my opinion), their version of ‘Sound of Silence’. Stopped for an emergency but then back and man that’s some feeling in that song. So powerful. Now the sirens ring out for ‘Indestructible’ and that’s such a great song and perfect for a festival setting. Up next ‘Don’t Tell Me’ starts slow at the front of the stage as Lzzy Hale comes out to help belt this one out. What a power ballad!!!! Something this festival did not have many of today I can tell you that! Some audience participation for ‘The Light’ and then getting heavier with ‘Stricken’ and some killer guitar work from Dan in this one. Only a few to go, and ‘Unstoppable’ is one of them and damn this is chunky. The next is the one most of us found Disturbed with, with that trademarked “ooh wah ah ah ah” it’s time to get ‘Down With The Sickness’ and that was sensational, and you could tell the one that got the biggest reaction of the day so far. Everyone is happy and as they start on the next track, their last of the set ‘Inside The Fire’ and they absolutely smashed it. Disturbed are consummate professionals, they are an amazing band and they delivered today. Here’s hoping we see them back for their own tour sooner rather than later.

Pantera!!!! I never saw them back in the day and I truly thought I’d never get to see Pantera on stage but since they’re back with this legacy run with Zakk Wylde and Charlie Benante there was no way I wasn’t going to enjoy every second of this. An amazing video package introing the band before opening with ‘A New Level’ and wow that’s huge, but as they take us into ‘Mouth for War’ and it’s actually really hard to take your eyes off Zakk, he’s a machine and truly the only one that could’ve stepped into the shoes of Dimebag. This song is intense and that’s what this band is about. That was brilliant. ‘Strength Beyond Strength’ is “slow and fucking heavy” as Phil put it and ‘Becoming’ had everyone singing back and it’s just a treat to hear these songs played live. ‘I’m Broken’ has flames and is as heavy as you’d expect, I can’t wait to hear this guitar solo. Nailed it. Damn throwing in a ‘Demons Be Driven’ outro that got heavy!

‘5 Minutes Alone’ fuck yes!!!! Easily my favourite Pantera track that I never thought I’d hear live. Stoked. Back to ‘Vulgar Display of Power’ and their um… ballad? It’s time for ‘This Love’ and I think all I can say here is wow, it went for almost seven minutes long and was brilliant. What a song. ‘Floods’ has some great video footage of Dime and Vinnie and was such a great tribute, man it’s sad and happy at the same time seeing this footage, sorely missed. Zakk keeps playing and it’s hauntingly awesome. ‘Walk’ is up next and man, I just can’t tell you how good that was. As The Hu ran on stage to join in the whole place was all about this song tonight. Rex rings in ‘Domination / Hollow’ and the heaviness just keeps on chunking along. You can tell it’s almost time to go home as ‘Cowboys from Hell’ starts and it was truly amazing, the whole explosion of that song shows that along with Phil and Rex, it could’ve only been Zakk and Charlie that stepped in to do this. Closing with ‘Fucking Hostile’ and it truly was, they smashed it out and took every ounce of kudos they deserved. As the crowd starts to make their way out Phil sings us out with some ‘Stairway To Heaven’ and with that Pantera have destroyed Sydney… For the brothers, for the fans, for legacy.

Knotfest 2024 has delivered again, what a day and it’s just a treat to see the way the metal crowd is, it’s an amazing day, everyone is there to just enjoy and get a sense of release hearing some loud and heavy live music. With Slipknot returning for next year’s festival all I have to say in closing… is it 2025 yet?


Essential Information

Venue: Centennial Park – Sydney

Date: March 23, 2024

Presented by: Destroy All Lines, TEG, Finely Tuned

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