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Download Festival in Review P.1

June 14, 2017

Photo Credit: Ben Gibson

Download 2017 

 

This past weekend saw 80,000 rock and metal fans flocking to the holy grail of Donington Park for the 15th annual installment of Download Festival. Superseding itself yearly, Download 2017 saw music fans enjoy three days of  beaming sun (surprise!), action from the NXT squared circle, copious amounts of beer and some of the most prestigious names in rock and metal. We managed to check out the action, and had an absolute blast of a time.

 

With the first full day of music beginning on Friday, pop-punk veterans Good Charlotte (8) played a packed-out set on the Zippo Encore Stage that was bursting to the brim with nostalgic throwbacks from the 00’s. Front-man Joel Madden proclaimed that this would be a set that took fans back to high-school, and his words rang true with the band only showcasing one song off of their most recent offering Youth Authority.  Opening with 2002’s ‘The Anthem’, Good Charlotte comfortably treated fans to a solid greatest hits performance with tracks such as ‘Riot Girl, ‘The Young and the Hopeless’ ‘I Just Wanna Live’ and ‘Lifestyles of the Rich & Famous’ making welcomed appearances. It is evident that although Good Charlotte have been a unit for over twenty years, they still are able to draw in massive crowds and act as an iconic asset to the pop-punk scene. 

Photo Credit: Ben Gibson

Download 2017 

 

 

Directly following Good Charlotte were headliners of the evening, Ontario punks Sum 41 (9) who effortlessly showcased a master class in punk-rock 101. Opening with All Killer No Filler tracks ‘The Hell Song’ and Over My Head (Better off Dead)’ was totally apt, as Sum 41’s set-list reiterated the album’s title massively, with hit after hit being played (traditionally ‘The Trooper’ and ‘Master of Puppets’ also made an appearance).  Although a largely amped up and energetic set which featured punk angst in the guise of  ‘Screaming Bloody Murder’ ‘Still Waiting’ and a great rendition of Queen's ‘We Will Rock You’, the set also pulled on the heart-strings with a massive crowd sing-along to ‘Pieces’. Emotion was also emphasised when front-man Deryck Whibley paid homage to the fans of Sum-41, testifying that they are the reason he is still in music. Sum 41 proved that they can overcome trials and tribulations, playing one of the most memorable sets of the entire weekend.

Photo Credit: Paulo Gonçalves

Download 2017 

 

With the Saturday mid-day crowds nursing hangover’s, it was the job of Southampton horror-punks Creeper (8) to wake the main-stage crowd up with Misfits inspired theatrics. Frontman Will Gould led the proceedings in a charismatic and captivating manner acting as a middle-man between Davey Havok and Gerard Way.  Playing the large majority of Eternity, In Your Arms, Creeper proved why they are such an exciting and relevant band, with songs such as ‘Suzanne’, ‘Black Mass’ and ‘Hiding With Boys’ being greeted with an extremely positive reception.

 

 

It is not everyday that you find yourself in a field going from a Creeper set to a pirate-metal performance in the form of Alestorm (6), however at Download Festival anything is possible. If we are judging this performance for comedic value, this set wins performance of the weekend. Opening with the keytar to ‘Keelhauled’, the set saw a crowd sing-along to ‘Fucked With an Anchor’ and their cover of Taio Cruz’s ‘Hangover’. Alestorm certainly played a set that will fortunately/unfortunately (depending on drunkenness) stay with Download goers for a very long time.

Photo Credit: Ross Silcocks

Download 2017 

 

The pirate party of Alestorm was brutally smashed into a million pieces by the lads in Suicide Silence (7.5) playing one of the heaviest sets of the weekend. Opening with ‘You Only Live Once’ Eddie Hermida showed why he is one of the best deathcore vocalists in the scene. This was followed up by Suicide Silence’s marmite equivalent of ‘Doris’, which actually translated into a impressive live performance. Musically, the band were solid with ‘No Pity For a Coward’ and ‘Disengage’ showcasing both technicality and musicianship, a nod must be given to drummer Alex Lopez who’s drumming was absolutely stellar during the set. Suicide Silence are a band who will take no prisoners, and demonstrated their prominence within the deathcore world.

 

 

 

Moving to the Avalanche Stage was performance of the weekend, by none other than Buffalo hardcore outfit Every Time I Die (11). Now, it might seem cringe-worthy to give a band an 11/10, but the boys quite simply schooled every other band across the weekend. Giving the crowd energy, charisma in the form of Keith Buckley, and riffs for days, the band played a set that paid testament to their long-spanning career with a real mix of material. Offerings such as  ‘Glitches’, ‘Ebolarama’ and ‘Underwater Bimbos From Outer Space’ incited mosh-pits and madness throughout the tent, with guitarists Andy Williams and Jordan Buckley providing enough energy to power Castle Donington. Further highlights came in the format of ‘No Son of Mine’ and set closer, and most recent release ‘Map Change’. If you are yet to see Every Time I Die live ensure you witness the spectacle of an ETID show, as it is of the best decisions you will ever make.. period.

Photo Credit: Ben Gibson

Download 2017 

 

Saturday’s headline slot came in the form of Kilmarnock rockers Biffy Clyro (10), who last played the festival in 2012.  Although receiving the smallest crowd of the big three headliners, Biffy played a set that knocked both System of a Down and Aerosmith out of the water in terms of musicianship, edge and aptitude. Seemingly acting as the end of the Ellipsis tour cycle, Biffy literally went out with a bang, with fireworks and pyro appearing en masse within their set. Commanded by frontman Simon Neil, Biffy’s set included songs which spanned the entirety of the bands career; delving all the way back to ‘57’ which featured on 2002’s Blackened Sky to more recent offerings such as set and Ellipsis opener ‘Wolves of Winter’.  It is a no-brainer than Biffy are a live band who are absolute masters of their craft, and this was showcased within favorites such as ‘Biblical’, ‘Who’s Got a Match?’, ‘That Golden Rule’ and ‘Mountains’ to name but a few.  A further highlight came with Simon Neil’s solo acoustic performance of ‘God & Satan’, which was both emotional and inspirational. What was special about this show was Biffy’s incorporation of ‘There’s No Such Thing as a Jaggy Snake’ from Infinity Land into their setlist. Proving naysayers wrong, Biffy Clyro cemented their position as a modern band more than capable of headlining heavier festivals such as Download. 

 

Photo Credit: Matt Eachus

Download 2017 

 

 

The main-stage was opened bright and early on the Sunday morning by Fozzy (6.5). The band opened with their most recent release ‘Judas’, and it was clear from the off that Fozzy were carried by the charisma of Chris Jericho, who was playing up to all the stereotypes of a typical rock ‘n’ roll front-man.  The set included a Krokus cover of ‘Eat the Rich’, ‘Sandpaper’ and ‘Enemy’ but largely felt like it was a primarily a WWE crowd who had simply appeared to be part of Jericho’s ‘list’.

Photo Credit: Ben Gibson

Download 2017 

 

 

After playing back in 2015, Harrogate’s finest Blood Youth (9) returned to play to a much bigger crowd this year on the Avalanche Stage. With a set full of energy, angst and ‘big fat riffs’, the boys had the crowd moving from the offset, with ‘Dead Space’ inciting mosh-pits and beach balls galore. The enthusiasm was kept at 100, with  tracks from EP release Inside My Head such as ‘24/7’, ‘Mood Swing’ and ‘Closure’ all making appearances within the set. It was evident that the band were overwhelmed with the turnout for their set, with the crowd spanning from the front to back of the tent, demonstrating how a solid work ethic and rigorous touring schedule has given Blood Youth a massive following. The band’s progression was even clearer when the opening to ‘Failure’ hit, and the crowd went into absolute frenzy. Blood Youth are a band to watch, as their success is only going from from strength-to-strength.  

 

 

 

It is fair to say a Download Festival Sunday is not complete without a nod to classic rock. Hailing from Australia, Airbourne (7) brought their Breakin’ Outta Hell tour to Donington, and acted as the closest tribute Download will be getting to AC/DC for the foreseeable future. Led by Joel O’Keefe (for a section of the set on the shoulders of a kangaroo), the band led a packed out crowd through songs such as ‘Ready to Rock’, ‘Too Much, Too Young, Too Fast’, ‘Live it Up’ and ‘Runnin’ Wild’. The band acted as a perfect pre-cursor for the evenings 80’s rock festivities, and certainly showed the Main Stage crowd how to party on a Sunday.

Photo Credit: Ross Silcocks

Download 2017 

 

Following this, were US parody rockers, Steel Panther (5); whose shows are synonymous with tongue-in-cheek humour that is sometimes simply downright unnecessary. With a crowd that was actually larger than those seen for headliners Biffy Clyro, the band made it through the set using groupie jokes, misogyny and the same 'ad-lib' that were being used by the band in 2012.  Musically, the band were tight (there is probably a pun there) when performing, with Satchel’s classical guitar training being particularly notable during the set. Steel Panther’s set-list was made up of older classics like ‘Eyes of a Panther’, ‘Death to all But Metal’ and ‘Community Property’, but also fused with newer songs like the creatively named ‘Poontang Boomerang’ and ‘Goin’ in the Backdoor’ . It is fair to say Steel Panther can still attract a massive crowd, but over time their gimmick is slowly growing old…

Photo Credit: Ross Silcocks

Download 2017 

 

 

 

Highlights of the 15th Download Festival will be broadcast on SKY ARTS on 23rd and 24th June from 9pm-midnight. 

Tickets for Download Festival 2018 will be on sale this week.

For more information go to www.downloadfestival.co.uk

 

 

 

 

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