Picking up with Pennsylvania's Halestorm midway through their emotive half hour set of metal for the masses was something of a blessing. Only having heard about fifteen minutes of their rather bland sounding Evanescence tribute act made me grateful that I hadn't had the misfortune of catching the first few tracks. 'Familiar Taste Of Poison' was a bearable, somewhat atmospheric, five minutes in a blink and you'll miss it set that also featured something resembling a drum solo that ended with all four members banging away at the percussion in a style reminiscent of street act Stomp, very strange.
There was only one band on this bill that I really wanted to see though and that was Buckcherry. With only an eight song set in which to make their mark on the evening the guys waste no time ripping into 'Tired Of You' and 'Rescue Me' from 2008's 'Black Butterfly' album. Sadly it's obvious from the start that the sleaze driven groove of the tattooed love boys is swaggering way above the heads of most of tonight's audience. On paper Buckcherry look as out of place on this bill as Alice In Chains did on the US Clash Of The Titans and although respectful applause comes their way after each song it seems apparent the majority of the people here have no idea about anything from Buckcherry world. Josh Todd's tattooed torso struts left and right and Stevie D belts out the backing vocals like a headbanging demon while BC co-founder Keith Nelson wraps up the sweat drenched anthems of debauchery with solos literally bristling with fire. The sound during Buckcherry's set is possibly the best mix I've ever heard within the Pavilions' walls and the minimal lighting, mainly red for the most part, conjours up the feeling that I'm witnessing the devil's favourite sons partying in Hell, well Plymouth at least, close enough I guess.
With a fresh album to push though 50% of the set is pulled from the new 'All Night Long' opus. Getting nasty with 'Oh My Lord', 'It's A Party', 'All Night Long' and the blistering crunch of the sublime 'Dead' all showcase just how great the new album is and the material sits perfectly and seamlessly alongside tried and tested classics. With the essential 'Lit Up' bridging the middle of the new tracks and the rousing 'Crazy Bitch' finishing things off, Buckcherry finally have a few people showing signs of life but it's too little too late and the guys leave the stage having delivered a fully charged performance that passed most people by. Could Papa Roach do any better and set the night on fire with their angst ridden rock 'n' roll? Well surprisingly no, not to begin with anyway. Fully expecting the crowd to kick off big time with the arrival of Jacoby's crew, they stay relatively calm throughout the opening bursts of 'Kick In The Teeth' and the radio friendly 'Lifeline'. Loud in voice but quiet on action it takes a few songs to for the crowd to find their feet start getting rowdier. 'Scars', 'Getting Away With Murder', '...To Be Loved', 'Forever' and 'Hollywood Whore' are all high flyers in the popularity stakes and progressively keep pushing the bar higher. Jacoby bounds up and down the barrier's edge, leaning over into the crowd, encouraging more pits and surfers and generally ratcheting up the party atmosphere before they wind up the set with some classic slices of 'Infest', 'Between Angels And Insects' and a storming 'Last Resort' wrap things up in a riotous singalong and leave me heading out for some liquid refreshment and rehydration.
Bumping into an old friend on the way back into the arena I catch the opening trio of Disturbed's set from right at the back. A huge stage-wide video screen dwarfs the stage flashing continuous images of a psyched up David Draiman storming his way through the corroded corridors of a run down mental hospital as the three Disturbed musos already onstage run through 'Remnants'. Drainman bursts through the last door and straight onto the stage launching head first into the title track of the latest album, 'Asylum'. Considering he had only recently had some serious surgery for a throat condition he could have been forgiven for not firing on all cylinders but, respect to him, he was bang on the money without one hint of any trouble with not a single fault. 'The Game' is next up to the plate with that familiar bark snapping over the razor sharp six string delivery of Dan Donegan who's busy slamming out a nu-metal master class in mechanical mega riffs and technical ecstasy.
Standing at the back just ain't my thing though and I was soon being dragged back down towards the front through a stormy sea of raging bodies and swirling pits. 'Prayer' and 'Liberate' lash out a hard hitting brace from the highly acclaimed 'Believe' album ahead of the more current 'The Animal' and 'Inside The Fire'. I had been worried that Disturbed's same old same old approach would become a bit boring but with only just over an hour for their headline slot it really is a case of a greatest hits night which makes this whole thing a lot more enjoyable than I thought it could be. 'Stricken' and 'Stupify' whip up the frenzy in the pits again and after being caught in the spin cycle of the circle pit one too many times I make like Jim Morrison and break on through to the other side cramming up close to the stage for the highlight of the night, 'Ten Thousand Fists'. From Draiman's hand held video camera the sold out Pavilions' crowd, now finally reaching fever pitch, is flashed up across the huge video screen fists aloft and psychotic. With thousands of fists pumping in unison it's the flat out attack of 'Down With The Sickness' that takes the final slot of the night, a crowning glory for undisputed metal titans currently sitting pretty at the top of their game.
I dragged my heels considerably on the way to this show and wasn't convinced I'd enjoy anything except Buckcherry but afterwards I left pleasantly surprised and fully entertained, all for the bargain price of just 25 quid. No complaints from me, I'll certainly be heading for another Taste Of Chaos if the next package is as flavoursome as this one was.
Oh and 'Land Of Confusion' was as cool as fuck!