Download Festival 2012 Review: Saturday
Rock Sound festival coverage, presented by Vans!
Second day of the festival and NO bands are cancelled, NO stages are running late and there is NO rain. Yes, yes and YES!
Over in the Pepsi Max tent, Bedfordshire #lads DON BROCO are pulling a sizeable crowd, despite their early billing. Opening with newie ‘Priorities’ (complete with yes, a fantastic slice of The Walk to finish), their set is as energetic and as brilliantly gimmicky as ever. While it’s the classic ‘Beautiful Morning’ and ‘Thug Workout’ that demand the most action from out front (the latter seeing Bobby D getting down and dirty in the crowd, leading them all in a hefty session of push-ups), new tracks ‘Fancy Dress’ and ‘Actors’ hint that their forthcoming debut album is brimming with festival hits, just waiting for stages like this. AR
Click on the image above to see pictures from Black Veil Bride's set.
Off to the Zippo Encore Stage, and TURBONEGRO’s first proper festival set on UK soil in a while with new henchman Tony Sylvester (or The Duke Of Nothing as the Turbojugend like to call him) is going down a right treat. Bowling out camp-as-you-like and clad in a Union Jack furry cape (naturally), Tony and his death-punk posse burst straight into ‘All My Friends Are Dead’ and the faithful in witness give their new figurehead a rapturous and welcoming reception. The thing with The ‘Turbo is they’re all about unity – unity of fans, and with their new frontman unity of nations – and today, just as Tony declares ‘We’re All Norwegian’ before breaking into 'I Got Erection' , it certainly feels that by just watching them, you’re part of something. And that’s what festivals are all about, right? AR
Click above to see photos.
TRIVIUM owe a hell of a lot to Download; after all, without that main stage opening slot in '05 their career might have been very different. And Matt Heafy and co know this and are suitably thankful on what feels like something of a homecoming show for the band - launching into a one-two gut-punch of 'In Waves' and 'Pull Harder On The Strings Of Your Martyr' with gusto, they immediately get the enormous crowd firmly on their side. Later, a ferocious 'A Gunshot To The Head Of Trepidation' and 'Rain' satisfy the old-school fans and the relentless headbanging of Heafy and bassist Paolo Gregoletto providing more than enough entertainment for a Donington that's proud to host them. BP
If LOWER THAN ATLANTIS are nervous about stepping out onstage in front of what is almost an entirely metal crowd they don't show it. Rather, frontman Mike Duce is on fine form - last year when they played the Pepsi Max Stage he looked a touch overawed but today he's confident and funny as fuck - and the band know how to put on a show by now. '(Motor) Way Of Life' and 'Beech Like The Tree' are welcomed like old friends, and the brand new 'Love Someone Else' goes down a charm with a crowd that's clearly up for something other than chugging metal and dudes in sleeveless Motorhead T-shirts, but the enduring image is that of Duce and co playing a tough set on a tough day... and absolutely killing it. Great stuff. BP
Click on the picture above for Four Year Strong live photos.
Click on the image above for photos.
“I don’t think you can deny it – we’ve rocked you all extremely hard this evening,” says TENACIOUS D’s Jack Black – and they’re not doing a bad job, having supplemented their signature acoustic guitars with a full band to add some riffs to their two-man comedy. Honestly, their style is an acquired taste – you either love it or draw a total blank – but Black and Kyle Gass pull one of the biggest crowds of the weekend so far, with ‘Fuck Her Gently’ getting a deafening roar of appreciation, and the crowd shouting every word of ‘Tribute.’ Plus their set is filled with some of the most good-natured and affable jokes of the day, and they still manage to namecheck Satan in every other song – so that sort of makes them the perfect Download band. AB
Click the photo for shots from Mallory Knox's set at Download
The Red Bull Bedroom Jam Stage isn’t totally packed out for MALLORY KNOX, but the punters who make an appearance are clearly genuine fans, as they give singalongs to their ‘Pilot’ EP that rival the more established bands on the bill in volume (plus by now, the mud is so bad that people only venture to this tent with an incentive – certainly not to speculatively check out new bands). And that makes for a contagious positive atmosphere as they rattle through 'Oceans' and 'Keeping Secrets,' with the band unable to keep the grins off their faces throughout their half-hour show. It’s their first Download appearance, they’ve been camping out and getting muddy with the rest of us, and the emphatic ‘One More Song!’ chant that rings out at the end of their set is thoroughly deserved. AB
For KIDS IN GLASS HOUSES, things are being a bit difficult. They might be pulling a bigger crowd than the bands set to follow, but it's not the most dedicated. Having pretty much written off the fluffy-feather-jacket concept of the last album by now, today they're a balls-out rock band and thats, y'know, fine. Yes, they struggle the maintain interest, which itself is a total beatch, because in truth, this evening they're tighter than they have been in a long time. It could have gone better, BUT by the time Aled is belting out the bestest bits of 'Saturday' through the microphone, it's very much a case of 'fuck the metulz, this is happening'. AR
Click on the image for a Skindred picture gallery
Download may be celebrating ten years of rocking the masses, but it's worth remembering that this is something SKINDRED have been doing longer still. Rightfully hailed as one of the UK's greatest live bands, today is yet another example of exactly why they hold such titles. With frontman Benji Webbe clad in the snazziest gold jacket this side of Eurovision, the likes of 'Rat Race' and 'Pressure' provoke some of the biggest and bounciest pits you will ever see, while a rendition of 'Trouble' (complete with a snippet of AC/DC's 'Back In Black') sees thousands upon thousands of fists pumped skywards. The atmosphere is electric, the crowd swells for the duration, and by the time the Newport helicopter (YouTube it) arrives during an explosive 'Warning' it's difficult to imagine any other band on the bill evoking such a quite breathtaking response. RB
In 2002 or maybe 2003, Rock Sound saw BIFFY CLYRO in a shithole in Camden Town. The band got through a song and a half before all their equipment broke and they had to call time on the show. Today, they played before Metallica at Download and owned the place: 'Mountains' and 'The Captain' simply soar over a festival blessed with some late-evening sun, and the singalongs that accompany 'Bubbles' and a triumphant, joyous 'Many Of Horror' are immensely heartwarming. They also play two new songs - one unnamed one that sounds like defunct noise-terrorists mclusky (no, seriously) and one called 'The Joke's On Us', which sounds like another classic-in-waiting. And the reaction when the band slip gracefully into 'Folding Stars' - yeah, they played 'Folding Stars' an hour before Metallica take the stage - is huge. If any set could be seen as a headline warm-up it's this one - Andy, Live Nation: get Biffy to the top of the bill. They can do it. BP
As both the frontman for Slipknot and Stone Sour and a solo artist, Rock Sound columnist COREY TAYLOR has a legion of fans waiting to see him on the Pepsi Max Stage – the only problem is, he’s so oversubscribed that there’s a good thousand-or-so people spilling out of the tent by the time he starts. The result means that latecomers hear a combination of his acoustic set and BIFFY CLYRO’s Main Stage assault. With such dedicated fans, Taylor has a certain freedom in his setlist choices today – so we’re treated to covers from Nine Inch Nails, Alice In Chains, Pink Floyd and, oddly, U2’s ‘With Or Without You,’ with a little help from Jason Rappise and Halestorm’s Lzzy Hale. Add in the reason the tent was packed out in the first place – to hear songs like ‘Snuff,’ brand new track ‘Taciturn’ and an acoustic ‘Spit It Out’ – and his is one of the most emotional, affecting sets of the night. AB
Click above for photos from the set.
Entering to Thin Lizzy's seminal 'The Boys Are Back In Town' is as fitting an arrival as can be as far as KILLSWITCH ENGAGE are concerned. Marking both the band's first UK appearance in some time as well as one of their first following the return of original vocalist Jesse Leech earlier this year, the sights and in turn sounds of opening numbers 'Fixation On The Darkness' and 'Rose Of Sharyn' are initially more than a little strange. It's a nonetheless strangely emotional opening (despite bandana-toting guitarist Adam D interrupting Leech's brief words with erotic tales of "going deep"), while musically the quintet are tight and concise. 'Life To Lifeless' ignites one of the livliest circle pits of the day, and the timing of a soaring 'My Curse' couldn't be better as the sun finally emerges from the clouds. Ending with a run through 'My Last Serenade' that raises almost every voice present and a crunching rendition of Dio's 'Holy Diver' that sends thousands grinning into the sunset, KSE can consider their return a most successful one indeed. RB
FEARLESS VAMPIRE KILLERS put on a technically stunning set over on the Red Bull Bedroom Jam Stage – their harmonies are note-perfect, their guitarists don’t miss a note of their duelled riffs and their stage presence is upbeat and energetic. And with the theatrics of their full-on make-up and outfits, there are parallels that can be drawn with a latter-day My Chemical Romance – the only difference is, the grandiosity of MCR’s performances came after an overwhelming response from fans – not before. And on a smaller stage with serious competition elsewhere, the overall effect is muted, not triumphant. Nonetheless, there are a few of their die-hard fans in the crowd, who make the effort to sing along and rock out to their songs – and for everyone else, FVK have a bizarre cover of ‘Club Tropicana’ and a few lines from ‘Killing In The Name’ by Rage Against The Machine to keep them interested. Shabba. AB
Going up against Metallica (at fucking Download of all places) is always a stiff draw. Regardless of what's going on over at the Main Stage though, YOU ME AT SIX do their absolute damnedest to prove their relevance here today over on the one beneath it. And you know what? Despite everything, they pull it out of the bag. Every festival has it's own 'Do they really deserve it?' act, and the fact that this many people are singing 'Loverboy' and 'Stay With Me' at the absolute top volume of their lungs (despite what's going on elsewhere) is an absolute testament of YMAS's validity. Oh yeah, and that lad from Bring Me The Horizon came out at the end for a bit, which was just br00tal. And there was pyro. Fuck yeah, lads. AR
That METALLICA are marking their latest stint as Download headliners by performing the classic 'Black Album' in its entirity has been a major talking point in the Rock Sound office since the last calendar year, and the seemingly never ending sea of people gathered to witness the occurrence suggests that it's been no different outside of our four walls. Opening with a supercharged 'Hit The Lights' before tearing straight into 'Master Of Puppets' and 'Four Horsemen', any thoughts that their set would be completely overshadowed by such a rare novelty alone are quickly dismissed. That said, when the main event arrives the highlights come thick and fast - the superb 'Struggle Within', the thunderous duo of 'Holier Than Thou' and 'Through The Never' and the classic, familiar stomp of 'Sad But True' to name but some - while the decision for each track to be performed out of conventional order lends proceedings a sense of unpredictability that keeps the set fresh for the duration. It's a largely but not exclusively impressive performance, mainly due to the inclusion of tracks off the pointlessly released 'Beyond Magnetic' EP putting a minor, temporary downer on events, but for the most part this is Metallica at their modern day finest. There may rarely be a summer that passes without Metallica inhabiting a festival stage on these shores, but for tonight at least the experience is as unique as it is satisfying, providing the perfect end to a long and gruelling second day. RB
Remember, if you want to read our review of yesterday's action (featuring The Prodigy, AxeWound, Chase & Status, Upon A Burning Body, Machine Head, While She Sleeps, Billy Talent, NOFX and more) then click anywhere round here. Below is a cheeky taste of what you'll find...