After spending way too long listening to French ska bands at some falafel stand, it’s time for rock ‘n’ roll! And Airbourne  deliver. The comparisons to AC/DC are blinding, but they never claimed to be innovators, instead raising the flag with the motto: ‘As long as you’re alive and we’re alive, rock ‘n’ roll will never die.’ So hard is their rock, the sound system miserably packs in, leaving frontman Joel O’Keeffe to bash beer cans on his head and keep the crowd entertained. They play Chewin’ The Fat amp-free and the punters are loving it; when everything kicks back in, a cheer erupts from the mosh pit and O’Keeffe doesn’t even need to climb any scaffolding. This is rock ‘n’ roll: just keep going, no matter what shite gets flung your way.
Finntroll  are a laugh and their little troll ears open up the world of blackened folk metal to a throng of curious festival goers. Slash & Myles Kennedy  serve up Night Train, Paradise City and Sweet Child O’ Mine over at Main Stage 01; it’s basically a Guns N’ Roses show without Axl Rose. So it’s better than a Guns N’ Roses show…
Killing Joke  cast a morbid swathe over Clisson but the crowd is frustratingly thin. Turns out everyone’s gone to see Body Count ; while Ice-T’s merry marauders have packed the Warzone stage to bursting point, Killing Joke’s choppy post-punk sermons are delivered only to the devout. Which is a shame, but at least ZZ Top’s  bashful blues hook in a decent crowd. Billy Gibbons and Dusty Hill put Hellfest’s collective facial hair to shame and bash out the good ‘uns like Sharp Dressed Man, Legs and Gimme All Your Lovin’ while they’re at it.
Faith No More  are everything you could want them to be; Mike Patton takes off his shirt and swaps with a security guard, Roddy Bottum sucks his finger in the most perverse manner during Easy and a lounge version of Midlife Crisis comes from out of nowhere (woah-oh-oh-oh). Sol Invictus songs slot perfectly into the setlist and the savage drive of Superhero rocks like a bastard. What other band adorns a stage with flowers then plays a song like Cuckoo For Caca? Exactly.
Following Faith No More’s a dirty job, but someone’s got to do it. The Scorpions  have a crack at it, but the veteran rockers fall short of pipping Patton. They’re a lively bunch but Klaus Meine’s voice sounds sadly one-dimensional tonight, making opener Going Out With A Bang a damp puff rather than, well, a bang. There’s plenty of Muse-esque visual trickery and the one-two finish of Still Loving You and Rock You Like A Hurricane teeters on epic, but Meine’s vocals turn what should be a show-stopping finale into a simply mediocre offering.
Saying that, Marilyn Manson  doesn’t fare any better. The setlist is bonkers – Angel With The Scabbed Wings, mOBSCENE etc – and his heart’s in it, but our Brian just can’t pull it off. He comes in about 72,836,926 bars too early for The Beautiful People’s extended finale, he awkwardly demands bras to be thrown at bassist Twiggy Ramirez – a pity bra lands on stage after an awkward silence – and he’s a pale imitation of his shock rock shadow as he cuts his hand with a piece of glass. He’s trying, but based on this gig, a live comeback is like watching a llama install Windows XP into a pineapple – it would be amazing to see, but it probably won’t happen. That being said, he did kick arse at Download – so who knows?
Stay tuned for our full roundup of day three at Hellfest. Read our day one review here.