Festival Review: Nova Rock 2018 Day 2

Waking up to sunshine was a pleasant surprise compared to the wet, muddy day before. Upon arrival at the festival, it was obvious there were a few hangovers in the crowd, but this wasn’t going to stop anyone from carrying on drinking and enjoying the second day.

The Struts (c) Jack Barker

First band up on the Red stage was The Struts from Derbyshire, England. There were growing cheers from the morning crowd which was slowly building all the way through the set. As soon as the band bounced onto the stage, I could tell that they were a lot more popular that Thursday’s first act. When the first song began the crowd was already clapping along, with energy that continued throughout the whole day. Lead singer Luke Spiller announced that their new single “Body Talks” was being released that day and it was the next song that they played. “Put Your Money on Me” was a definite crowd pleaser with all the “Oh yeahs” being sung back to the band.

I was excited for the next band over on the Blue stage, Nothing But Thieves, as they are from my hometown Southend-on-Sea and I had seen them a couple of times at smaller local venues. There was a cheer as the band took the stage and began their first song “I’m Not Made by Design”. The band have a very unique sound but gained a great reaction throughout their entire set. Throwing in a cover of Led Zeppelin’s “Immigrant Song” towards the end of the set, the crowd were singing along with a lot of head banging. The band finished with arguably their most well-known song “Amsterdam” just as we found a seat in the food area to tuck into our delicious bacon and camembert burger from one of the stands.

Anti-Flag (c) Jack Barker

Before Anti-Flag, an American punk rock band from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania appeared on the Red stage, an intro about peace on earth sounded before a huge cheer as the band took to the stage. Straight away, lead singer and guitarist Justin Sane said “Let me see some unity, raise your peace sign in the air!” to which it seemed the whole crowd responded. The band is well known for its politically-charged lyrics and this seemed to go down well with the large crowd that had formed. With amazing energy throughout the whole set, the band were jumping around the whole stage, on and off amps, keeping the crowd entertained. There was a slightly ironic situation when they played “Fuck Police Brutality” as there was a large group of police at the front of the stage, a presence which was noticeable throughout the entire festival.

It was now time for Arch Enemy, one of the heavier bands playing at Nova Rock. There was a huge crowd around the Blue stage and from the first song to the last, most heads were banging. Not knowing the band, I wasn’t sure what to expect and when the first song began and I heard the mighty voice of Alissa White-Gluz, it was definitely a shock. Throughout the few songs of the set that we saw before heading to the other stage, there were powerful guitar solos and theatrical poses from all of the band members with White-Gluz joining in with continuous head banging.

We quickly went to the Red stage to see OK Kid. It seemed that there were a lot of Arch Enemy fans as the arena wasn’t particularly busy. It wasn’t the kind of music that we were into, being more of the pop genre than most of the bands at Nova Rock, so after the first two songs we went back to the Blue stage to await Jonathan Davis’s set.

Jonathan Davis (c) Jack Barker

After a dramatic intro, Jonathan Davis and band members took to the stage. With an interesting use of strings throughout the set, Davis’s solo career seems to definitely be a success shown by the crowd’s reaction. Although there weren’t many people at the front of the stage, everyone was gathered further back still trying to enjoy the last of the day’s sun, but were still nodding along enjoying the music. When they played “What It Is”, Davis’s first solo single that was released in March, towards the end of the set, there were lots of cheers from the crowd who must be enjoying his new solo project.

Next up on the Blue stage was Rise Against. This band probably gathered the biggest crowd of the festival we had seen so far and throughout every song. I felt like the whole arena was singing along. Before the show began, we were approached by some tipsy festival-goers, one of whom requested to be fed pasta, which was entertaining. As soon as the first song began there were tons of mosh pits and people crowd surfing which continued throughout the entire set. Lead singer and guitarist Tim McIlrath told the crowd he didn’t want to waste time talking apart from a political message about f*ck racism, sexism, etc. and how people thought it was just a problem in America, but how the band have seen from touring worldwide that it’s a problem everywhere. After this statement, they played “The Violence” which was very fitting. The final songs were probably some of their most well-known hits featuring “Make it Stop (September’s Child)” and “Prayer of the Refugee” which left the crowd screaming out wanting more.

Last but definitely not least were Avenged Sevenfold on the Blue stage, another band I’ve been waiting a very long time to see. The majority of the crowd stayed around after Rise Against, although a good few did wander over to the Red stage for The Prodigy. As soon as the music began, screams from the crowd started along with lots of people getting up on other’s shoulders. The first song of the set “The Stage” continued with the political theme that has been a key point throughout the day. During “Hail to the King” an impressively large skeleton wearing a crown appeared behind the band representing “the king”. Throughout the whole set there were impressive pyrotechnics on stage, especially during “Shepherd of Fire” towards the end in which lead singer M Shadows made the comment “I am the fire starter!” – a reference to The Prodigy over on the other stage.

Once again, the day at the festival ran smoothly, apart from a tanker truck to empty the porta-loos getting stuck in the mud early in the day and having to be towed out by a tractor! Although there weren’t as many bands on the schedule that I was interested in, it was still a really good day discovering a few bands that were new to me.

Photos by Jack Barker Photography

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