Westfest 2014 (Day 2)

By Clare McCabe

Date / Venue: Thursday 20th February, Vector Arena

Welcome back for round two people. The crowd for Day Two seemed a bit more subdued - perhaps still getting over Wednesday night? But definitely all ready for another big music extravaganza.

We arrived just in time to hear the last notes ringing out from the stage of Terror. But it certainly looked like Scott had already started working the crowd up into a frenzy (that would last most of the night).

First up for us was a bit of August Burns Red, with Jake doing his growly thing on vocals and moving between conducting his own little orchestra and swinging that microphone around his head. Provision was one of the highlights. ABR are known for their fast and angry music and it was in much evidence during their ½ hour set. And they certainly do love a circle pit from the audience - a theme of the night it seems.

Next up was Black Veil Brides - in all their glam rock glory. Great heavy guitars and a super bouncy Andy on vocals. A little tiff between Andy and a gentleman in the crowd (about makeup I believe) stopped them for a minute but then they were off. For a glam band, some of their tunes can be quite heavy. That growl. Those jangly guitars. Even the violin made an appearance. Andy, Jake, Jinxx et al blew through their set including A Perfect Weapon and In The End. Love them or hate them, they do a great singalong anthem live. Let's just say the girls around me were certainly members of the BVB Army.

Then it's time to convert to the big stage and await our next treat. Asking Alexandria is an English hardcore band all the way from York. And according to Danny Worsnop, their lead singer, he had only flown in that morning. No signs of jetlag though as he and the boys launched into Don't Pray For Me. First time in New Zealand for these guys and they were certainly making the most of it, throwing themselves round the stage, Danny alternating between screaming and growling. With a bit of chatter in between. At one stage Danny muttered "I'm getting too old for this s***" as he chased his guitarist round the stage. Didn't look like it from where we were watching. They played a couple of old numbers, lighters were requested, oh and another circle pit (or Circle of Death as I heard one audience member describe it). Please note crowd surfers are encouraged here.

At some stage in the proceedings Danny thanked us for having them in this beautiful country (a definite theme amongst the international acts playing at Westfest is they certainly love New Zealand). And then a final fabulous version of The Death Of Me - Oh My God, Oh My God, Oh My God - and they were gone. Off to cause trouble elsewhere no doubt.You know, one of the great things about coming festivals, is you tend to find new bands to like that you may not have heard/may not be in to. Asking Alexandria is definitely one of these.

And then, please put your hands together for KORN.

I have to say it. Tonight's event was really all about Korn for me - and I suspect a good portion of the rest of the audience.

Jonathan (looking very trim there Mr Davis) bounded on stage and launched into Falling Away. Dreadlocks flew. Fieldy slapped that bass as only he can. Ray hammered those drums and Munky aggressively played that guitar. And then there was good old Head playing in his fabulous rag-doll style, dreads flying around and hanging over his guitar. The energy here was amazing - they play together so tightly - and Jonathan was on fine form with that great big singing voice. Oh and a big welcome back to the fold Head.

Are. You. Ready?

The cool thing about seeing Korn live is you know what you are going to get. And that you are going to enjoy it. There really are no other bands quite like these boys.

Tonight we were treated to Got The Life, Dead Bodies Everywhere, Freak On A Leash and an insane version ofBlind in the encore - with the crowd singing along at quite possibly the loudest volume I heard across both nights.

And then there was Jonathan and his bagpipes on Shoots And Ladders. And the crowd heaved again. Sing it everyone - London Bridge is falling down, falling down....

Korn played for a full hour and a bit. And the crowd enjoyed every single minute of it. Jonathan, Fieldy and the rest of you guys, please enjoy Australia but make sure you pencil us in for your next tour won't you?

And then it was over. Two nights of seeing some astonishing talent, being introduced to some great new favorites and being blown away by several of the performances (Rob Zombie for the first time anyone?)

A big thank you to Mr Promoter. One of the best events I have attended at Vector to date (and there have been a lot of them). Shortish queues. Band changeover was pretty much seamless. You could find an empty toilet if you wanted. And there were plenty of smoking areas. Perfect.

I want to end this review by quoting Mr Danny Worsnop (of Asking Alexandria) from his twitter feed this morning: I think today is one of those days where me and @AndyBVB just sit together silently. Smoking cigarettes and occasionally shaking our heads.

I suspect there are a lot of people doing similar things after the last two nights at Westfest.