Visit the shop
News

Download Festival 2013 Review: Saturday - Enter Shikari, Mastodon, Young Guns And More!

Rock Sound
Rock Sound 15 June 2013 at 23.15

Young Guns, Mastodon, Enter Shikari, Iron Maiden and more in our constantly updated review of Download Festival Day Two.

image

Check out our full review of Day One of Download here, featuring Slipknot, Bullet For My Valentine, Architects, Asking Alexandria and more.

Read our comprehensive review of Download Day Three here, featuring 30 Seconds To Mars, Rammstein, Parkway Drive, A Day To Remember and more.

Download! Day two! We're here, we've had all of the bacon and we're ready to kick off our rolling review.

Fair play to Heaven's Basement: it might not even be midday, but there is precisely a metric fuck-tonne of people out in front of the Zippo Encore stage to watch them this morning. But then, everything about this band is essentially the nuts and bolts of what you want from a Download performance - from their non-nonsense rock sound, to their image, to frontman Aaron Buchanan's Justin Hawkins-lite persona. They're rough around the edges and it's by no means the most original or exciting performance we expect to see today, but a good dose of "CHYEAH!"s and "FAYUHR! FAYUHR!"s ain't too bad a way to start the second day of Download. [AR]

image

Having spent the last few months touring the length and breadth of the US, Young Guns are back in the UK with a certain hunger to impress. And clad in white and doing their best to fill the cavernous Main Stage they put in an admirably muscular performance – 'Towers', 'I Was Born, I Have Lived, I Will Surely Die' and 'Stitches' all impress, and a perfectly-judged cover of Smashing Pumpkins' 'Today' wins over more floating voters. After yesterday's metal-heavy proceedings it's nice to be eased back into the world of rock, and with a performance like this it's safe to say we'll be seeing Young Guns at more than a few Downloads over the next decade or so. [BP]


Young Guns, seconds before taking the Main Stage. For more pics like this, follow us on Instagram @rocksound

With their post-reformation momentum continuing apace, earthtone9 find themselves playing to a vast Pepsi Max crowd, another of today’s savage rainstorms driving the punters into the tent just in time to catch a typically slick showing from the rejuvenated Nottingham metallers. He might not have picked up any new moves over the years, but frontman Karl Middleton is in fine voice, his cohorts are razor-sharp, and their brief but bulldozing performance retains all but a smattering of onlookers even as the sun reappears through the ever-threatening clouds. Drummer Simon Hutchby in particular is a monster this afternoon, his boundless energy anchoring a set which crushes as much as it soars, and while their sound may no longer be cutting-edge, it’s far from passé either. The raucous reaction the ever-gracious quintet receive speaks for itself, and although ‘Tat Twam Asi’ remains one of the most ridiculous song titles ever, it’s also a killer sign-off tune. [PW]

With their cut-off black denims and Rock Star Shades on full show, Escape The Fate certainly look the part for a slot halfway up Download's second stage. Sadly though, all the metulz image points in the world can't save a band from putting in a performance as straight-up beige as this. They're not helped by a torrential downpour mid-set that sees half their crowd scarpering, but even without that, Craig Mabbitt's half-arsed attempts at commanding a rock show and his cohorts' by-the-book stage moves leave us feeling nothing but underwhelmed. Craig looks tired - bored at times - and while they may have found their place in the scene with their new cock rock sound (after many years of figuring out exactly what they are), it doesn't translate into something that could have been a headline grabber today. Wet - in more ways than one. [AR]

image

Given that the first night is often the heaviest in ways that extend beyond the mere music on offer, it's somewhat of a blessing that Mastodon are placed several places up the main stage billing on Day Two. Not just because the rumble of Troy Sanders' bass would otherwise be enough to make you say hello to this morning's omelette, but it's also that in 'Blood And Thunder' and 'Curl Of The Burl' the quartet possess songs too complex and downright heavy to be tackled early doors. Several hours and several bands in, though, and it's nothing short of marvellous, providing a quite punishing start to post-lunch proceedings. [RB]

The perfect place to see Empress is drifting away on a magic carpet woven solely of the finest tetrahydrocannabinols, and not in a gloomy tent while some much-needed sun streams down outside. It's not that they're not a good band, because they really are, but today's performance is a touch lacking. There's a strength and gut-punching intensity to them but the constant exhortations to put our hands in the air or to "show us what we've got" (about seven quid, at this point) detract. Had they focused on the awesome riffs – of which there were many – instead of trying to manufacture a festival atmosphere, they'd have done a lot better. [BP]

image

Over on the Red Bull Studio stage, we take shelter from the quite unpredictable elements ahead of Blackburn rockers Sky Valley Mistress. One of eight bands strutting their stuff after a stiff online battle saw them afforded the opportunity to adorn the stage this afternoon, they do their damnedest to make the opportunity count. Having already claimed that they want to be "the 21st century's answer to Led Zeppelin", their confidence isn't in question and they attack their 30 minute slot with real enthusiasm, seemingly winning over a handful of new faces in the process. [RB]

There are those who think that Alice In Chains fronted by William DuVall are not Alice In Chains. These people are wrong. Once again, the unstoppable grunge juggernauts spend their all-too-brief time onstage showcasing exactly why so many people continue to care this far down the line. Dressed almost entirely in black and with a natural stage presence you simply can’t fake, both DuVall and his partner in crime Jerry Cantrell look cool as fuck, if slightly difficult to spot on a stage that looks like the inside of a cave. The pesky wind conspires to turn the heaviest of riffs into swirling gloop, but the songs are so strong this hardly matters – from the classic ‘Down In A Hole’ to DuVall era highlights ‘Check My Brain’ and latest single ‘Stone’, they don’t put a foot wrong. They close with ‘Rooster’, ably assisted by big screen footage of one super-fan who’s come dressed as... a giant rooster. Needless to say, Download loves it. Even more than tits. [PW]

Meanwhile, over on the Pepsi Max stage, Heart Of A Coward are busy giving everyone the drubbing of their lives. One might be tempted to term this ‘chuggageddon’, such is the frequency with which HOAC unleash their double-kick driven beatdownz, showing little mercy despite the odd flirtation with melody. It’s heartening, heartfelt stuff for sure, but it does tend towards the monotonous at times. Still, there’s plenty happening out front, from the dude sitting on his mate’s shouders, air drumming with a pair of wooden spoons, to the clean-cut young chap trying to get a better view using the innovative combination of an iPad and binoculars. An attempt to instigate ‘Download’s biggest synchronised headbang’ goes down a storm, as indeed does the set as a whole, the huge and admirably diverse gathering affording HOAC a phenomenal reception throughout. [PW]

image

Given their upper-half-of-third-stage billing, to the average outsider there may not be anything particularly special about Bury Tomorrow's set this early-evening. In reality, this is genuinely life-affirming stuff, particularly when you consider that a little over two years ago there BT were a band genuinely waving goodbye to the world. Therefore, when a song written about this very fact, namely 'Lionheart' roars into life to one of the most packed-out tents of the weekend thus far, it's enough to make the hairs on your neck stand on end. With an ecstatic crowd on their side, singing every chorus and hanging on frontman Dani Winter-Bates' every word, this is one of the most heroic sets of the weekend, a fact hammered home with force as literally 500 people adorn the shoulders of their neighbours during 'You & I' before the ENTIRE crowd take to their knees before taking flight during a riotous 'Knight Life'. With a long-overdue headline tour finally kicking off in September, today only marks the beginning. [RB]

Hey, bands that aren't Jimmy Eat World: reckon you know what Playing The Hits means? You don't. They do. When you're a band like JEW, and you've just released your eighth(!) album, it could be all too tempting to flesh out your festival slot with new material so everyone can get a taste of where you're headed. Not them, though, oh no. After bursting out with 'I Will Steal You Back', from there on in it's nothing but solid gold classics - 'My Best Theory', 'Our House', 'Get It Faster', 'Salt Sweat Sugar', 'Pain', 'The Sweetness'; they're all here. And sure, there's no real element of surprise when watching Jimmy these days - each song is a note-perfect rendition of its recorded counterpart - but then there doesn't need to be. JEW are a band to hug your mates with and shout along to every word, and this evening, they let us do just that. THANKS, YOU GUYS. [AR]

image

Queens Of The Stone Age are, despite some of their relatively recent and more deceptively straightforward material, a supremely fucked-up rock 'n' roll band. This evening at Download, bathed in glorious sunshine, there's a lot of fucked-up people here and they're all into rock 'n' roll – QOTSA have come to answer their prayers. Punishingly heavy with a sleazy stomp underpinning the likes of 'Feel-Good Hit Of The Summer' and 'No One Knows', they're simply ferocious, and frontman Josh Homme's familiar malevolence seems to have been replaced by something approaching enjoyment. And when he's having a good time, so's everyone else in the vicinity. [BP]

And then, in what feels like a forgotten corner of the site while untold thousands wait for Iron Maiden, a bunch of unknowns called Lonely The Brave walk onto the Red Bull Studio Stage and proceed to change more than a handful of lives. That's no exaggeration, hence why Download chief Andy Copping watches side-stage as the Cambridge quintet proceed to carve pure rock glory out of the air with a transcendent 'The Blue, The Green' and a quite unbelievably powerful 'Backroads'. We've been rattling on about them for a while because their new album 'The Day's War' is such a work of art, but performances like this show that they've more than got the skills to back it up in the live arena. They are special. [BP]

On paper, Enter Shikari are the Download traditionalist's worst nightmare. Rave rock with a political message, flashy lights and a frontman who addresses the crowd with his call for human pyramids and a casual 'What you saying?'; it's hardly Motorhead or Maiden or Metallica, is it? By now though, traditionalists of any kind should know to stay way the hell away for Enter Shikari, and this evening with the sun finally beaming, they show just why they're named one of the best festival bands in the world, year after year after year. The one-two of 'System...'/'...Meltdown' and 'Sorry You're Not A Winner' is followed by the first of many air raid sirens, that sees the triangular lighting rigs above descend to just a few feet shy of the bands heads... and from then on it all gets a bit mental (or business as usual, depending on how you look at it). An hour later, and the Zippo Encore stage is left a decimated, strobe-laden mess. And we expect nothing less. If Enter Shikari had all of the money in the world, what they might do with their stage show boggles the mind. [AR]



Some bands trade on subtlety, others on strength. Counting a trio of guitarists and a shirtless Viking warrior amongst their ranks, it’s safe to say which camp Kvelertak fall into. Nevertheless, commanding an increasingly pissed-up festival crowd killing time before Iron Maiden requires a little more than brute force, and tonight Kvelertak deliver in spades. With their latest, most accessible and undoubtedly most accomplished release ‘Meir’ still fresh in the ears, it’s interesting to see how they’ve tailored their live show to match. No longer is reckless chaos the order of the day; in fact, this evening the Norwegians are a precision-tooled riffing machine. Utterly thrilling from the get-go, they up the intensity still further with ‘Bruane Brenn’ and from there on out, they have this one in the bag. As heads bang, beers spill and strangers embrace, Download may just have found its new house band. [PW]

When it comes to being punctual, you can always count on Iron Maiden. Furthermore, when it comes to blowing pretty much every other band on the planet clean out of the water, you can always count on Iron Maiden. As a spitfire soars overhead at precisely 8:50pm, one of the greatest heavy metal bands ever strides onto one of the biggest stages in the world in front of one of the biggest crowds you'll likely ever be a part of. From the opening one-two of 'Moonchild' and 'Can I Play With Madness' and beyond, this everything Maiden at Donington should be and more. Firing out hit after hit - '2 Minutes To Midnight', 'Number Of The Beast', 'The Trooper' and 'Run To The Hills' to name but only a few - the atmosphere is electric for the duration, while the set itself is every bit the Union Jack-waving exercise in patriotic theatre that so many have come to love. Right up to the blistering encore of 'Aces High', 'The Evil That Men Do' and a stunning 'Running Free', the end result is two hours of top class entertainment that few other bands could possibly muster. Job done as usual, gents. [RB]

image

Over on the main stage, Maiden are quite literally on fire; in the tent, The Hives are figuratively so. Low-key as ever, tonight the mariachi-suited Swedes play with their name in 20 foot tall illuminated letters, just in case you manage to miss frontman Pelle Almqvist’s several hundred reminders of who exactly we’re watching up there. Cheekily pompous as it is, none of Almqvist’s endless shtick would fly if his band didn’t have the songs to back it up, but from ‘Die, All Right!’, to the inevitable ‘Hate To Say I Told You So’ and the almost impossibly strung-out ‘Tick Tick Boom’, they most assuredly do. Admittedly, the ratio of talking the talk to, ahem, walking the walk is slightly skewed in favour of the former, but Almqvist is so preposterously over-the-top that they just about get away with it. A thin, trebly mix doesn’t do them any favours, but by this point in the day all anyone really wants is a show, and a show is precisely what they get. [PW]

Check out our full review of Day One of Download here, featuring Slipknot, Bullet For My Valentine, Architects, Asking Alexandria and more.

Read our comprehensive review of Download Day Three here, featuring 30 Seconds To Mars, Rammstein, Parkway Drive, A Day To Remember and more.


For more Download Festival coverage keep tabs on our Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Instagram feeds.

image

Rock Sound Online

More Rock Sound

View More