Download Festival : world’s biggest metal festival : live review
Recently music festival’s popularity and ticket sales have been questioned, and after the news of Sonisphere being cancelled, live music fans might have been nervous about what festivals would be next for the chop.
Luckily for rock and metal followers Download did go ahead, and managed to reach its decade mark, and everyone wanted to come along and celebrate – even the rain.
If you went to Download this year, chances are that eighty percent of your belongings are cakes in mud, your down fifty pounds after buying three meals in the arena, your thighs and calves are looking much more toned after struggling through the swamp and if you were extra lucky you might have had a very sozzled Callum Best point and shout in your face – ah sigh, what a guy. Oh yes and apart from that you saw some rock bands Metal-i-something and that guy off that TV show The Osbourne’s band.
Once arriving at Download rumours of acts being cancelled filled the air, and unfortunately the rumours were true Europe, Cancer Bats and Rise to Remain all were taken off the bill due to weather complications. Luckily Cancer Bats managed to play again the next day.
Scarborough band Little Angels chose to reform for the festival and dragged a good lot of the crowd to the Second stage with them. The band not only attracted the audience but really impressed them.
Main stage was then taken over by metal heroes Machine Head. The crowd were electric, baying for blood and desperately throwing themselves to the front and touch Mr Flynn.
One of the most controversial acts to be booked for the Main Stage at Download was The Prodigy. The nineties electro dance act seemed like a gamble for a festival that is dominated by metal. The gamble paid off and the arena was bursting with fans ready to rave. They didn’t even need to try and sway audience opinion as they were transfixed. After all, a song about a sinister arsonist is pretty darn punk.
Saturday spirits were slightly higher after the rain decided to take a short break. Fozzy woke everyone up with a chuckle, the bands front man appeared to be in love with the spotlight. Grabbing the mic singing to the camera and prancing all around the stage, so much so it seemed like second nature. Then, it dawns on you, the front man is none other than Chris Jericho WWE wrestler. The Canadian riled up the crowd wrestling fan or not, and apart from the soggy song, ‘Sandpaper’, they were great guilty pleasure watching.
After a quick venture over to the Pepsi max tent to see Brit rocker Yoyos please old fans, it was a jump over to the Main stage to have Trivium blow you away.
Apart from a bitter twitter rant from lead singer Matt Heafy about the closure of several Road Runner record offices, Trivium have been quiet and hiding in the recording studio. Matt’s growl rattle the rails around the park, and the drums shook your ribs and showed you what you had been missing. The band were increasingly grateful for the support they had gathered and paused in between songs to let their fans know just how much. The band were full of energy and ran up and down the podium, whilst the guitarist shred his fingers down to the bone.
If the screams had got too much for the audience the next audience were there to bring the laughter. Eighties glam rock parody band, Steel Panther. The band had an army of fans waiting for them in pink leopard print leggings, blonde wigs, headbands and guyliner. They introduced themselves to the crowd before instantly cracking open the STD jokes. Playing songs such as ‘Asian Hooker’ to arguably one of the biggest shows they’ve done they kept their nerve. Without asking, the band were constantly flashed and the side screens became boob vision. Along with two seconds of fame, all the girls were treated with a response from the band along the lines of, ” you dirty little whore”- let’s hope granny doesn’t accident turn over to the festival highlights. They were then joined by Corey Taylor half way through the set who duetted with them on ‘Death to All’, which made the crowd that little bit wilder. Though some parody bands might loose a little bit of energy, these certainly were still on top of their game, but you wouldn’t expect anything less from men that have sex with 17 girls in a row.
Next comedy act on the bill were Tenacious D their blend of comedy and tasty rock to entertaining thousands of festival goers. The duo played alongside an inflatable Phoenix with the body of a penis. The thing that went against the band was that they have two epic songs and you can hear everyone pleading silently to play Tribute and F*** Her Gently, everything else was just a delay to those moments.
Biffy Clyro followed the twosome and the three Scotsman filled the park with song. Though starting out as a rough edged experimental metal band and turning into a household name, goes against the grain for some bands, this has only increased their popularity, surprisingly without malice or resentment. With camera shots directly in their face the audience were provided with an extreme close up to the band.
Then it was game faces, your head was about to be flung around in a circle, hands firmly around your air guitar and only have consumed luke warm water to ensure that your vocals would be in perfect condition, as Metallica were about to come and rip your face off.
It was safe to say that the were one of the main driving forces for the ticket sales and it was definitely worth the wait. As promised they played The Black Album in full with no blemishes. At the end of the set they even walked down to great some of the loyal fans before, Lars Ulrick spoilt it by spitting water in their faces.
Aside from Ozzy, the main guest was the sun, and everybody was its biggest fan. The macs had retired and as a compromise the wellies remained.
Steve Bachman and his band entertained the masses on the second stage. His long blonde hair enviably shone in the son as he circles his head along to the music. The band played a mix of cheese edged eighties power rock and rock power ballads. The audience swayed along and punched their fists to the tempo.
Lamb of God, received the majority of the sun and the crowds second wind. Circle pits decorated the crowd and growls sailed through the air. The bands set seemed to end as quickly as it began, but was memorable.
Another act dripping in credibility was Soundgarden. The park seemed more full again, and it wasn’t obvious whether crowds were gathering for Cornell or Sabbath, the band played flawlessly regardless. They weren’t the most energetic but the creamy raspy voice of Chris Cornell was a great juxtaposition with the sunshine.
By the end of Soundgarden’s set, the fans had descended and getting to the front of the stage would be a life or death situation. There was a buzz in the air that turned electric once the montage of the band came up on screen.
When Ozzy arrived on stage, the crowd’s reaction was ecstatic, but it was confusing, as he looked confused and dithery. The Prince of Darkness, looked on at the thousands of people and drew life from it, he gathered his energy and all of a sudden had a crazy look in his eye that said he was ready. Sabbath tore the park apart before finishing explosively with fireworks soaring across the sky.
A bittersweet reminder that you had been to the festival but it was over. Next year more sun please, or at least a country worth of tarpaulin.