We bring you the best action from the second day of the Download Festival…
DAY TWO – WITH DOM SMITH AND HELEN GILROY
FIVE FINGER DEATH PUNCH – MAIN STAGE
These boys are Saturday morning’s wake-up call. From beginning to end, the crowd goes mental with everyone at the front bouncing and throwing horns in the air. They play your usual heavy metal – loud intricate guitars, heavy bass, fast drums and a lot of growling… and they do it well. ‘Ashes’, ‘The Bleeding’ and ‘Salvation’ are crowd favourites, but they don’t really have any standout songs.
If you like your metal heavy and loud – definitely check these guys out because they will not disappoint. However, if you are looking for something new and distinctive, look elsewhere.
DEVILDRIVER – MAIN STAGE
Since 2002 Devildriver have built up a fiery reputation – Dez Fafara’s roar alone is a force to be reckoned with.
Seeing their melodic death metal live, it is no wonder that they have been termed ‘masters of the mosh-pit’ – with their heart-pumping riffs it is impossible to stand still when they’re on stage. Their songs have been perfectly crafted to build suspense in the crowd and they work the audience brilliantly.
‘Meet The Wretched’ is delivered with the force of a hurricane and the energy continues as they break into new track ‘Pray For Villains’ and attempt to break the Guinness World Record for largest circle-pit at the same time – with the way the crowd responds they probably would have smashed the record if there hadn’t have been so many barriers splitting the crowd into three sections.
SERPICO – RED BULL DEDROOM JAM STAGE
I journey over to the Red Bull stage for the first time on the festival’s second day to check out a particularly exciting new act in Serpico. Their alt-classic-rock mix is particularly attractive to these ears. The band have an incredibly dedicated following and rightly so, these lads embody the spirit of contemporary British Alternative music. Their material (particularly ‘We Own The Night’) is infectious and the live show here is around 30 minutes of non-stop energy and pure glam-tinged rock n’roll madness with some pure classic riffs thrown in there to sweeten the deal.
FIGHTSTAR – SECOND STAGE
This band is constantly improving. During this set they are on top form as they are keenly watched by the packed out second stage crowd. Charlie Simpson’s vocals skyrocket on the standouts ‘Palahniuk’s Laughter’ and ‘Paint Your Target’ while the more melodic material from the band’s latest album ‘Be Human’ (see ‘The English Way‘ and ‘Mercury Summer’) comes across ferociously well and in a way that cannot be re-created by just listening to the record. There’s nothing particularly fancy about this group, they are very much a live band in our eyes and they truly thrive within this high-pressure environment. The music that they make is pure balls-out hardcore-tinged rock music that fortunately appeals to the masses.
BILLY BOY ON POISON – TURBORG STAGE
The unfortunate thing about Download this year is that the line-up on the main stage and second stage is awesome, so lesser known bands on the smaller stages just aren’t given a chance.
Billy Boy On Poison are certainly victims of this dilemma. After the second tune, Davis LeDuke (vocals) begs half the tent to stand up – admittedly most of them are in there to escape the blazing sun. For the rest of us, they give a great show, but the apathy of a lot of the crowd sends the band into overdrive – even when Davis hurls himself off the stage he still rocks out like a boy possessed.
Sadly, this takes away from the unmistakable fact that they are an awesome band. Despite their youth this lot really get down to the roots of classic rock and roll with dirty guitars that might as well be possessed by Hendrix and an attitude that Bowie would be proud of.
This wasn’t Billy Boy On Poison at their best and quite frankly I’m amazed Davis survived to the end of the set, but they definitely show promise and passion for what they do, hopefully they will hang in there long enough to show us what they’re really made of.
STATIC-X – SECOND STAGE
Following an freaky plague of wasps (eventually cleared up by a keeper who was otherwise enjoying his weekend), the evil-disco champions Static-X take to the stage and prove to us that they are truly worthy of such a high position on the bill and such great attention. I always knew that the group had reached cult status over here but I was very impressed by the sheer volume of people that showed up whether it is for love or just out of curiosity. Wayne Static’s raw vocals pierce the thick crowd while the band relish every second that they have. Standouts include the fan-favourite ‘Cold’ alongside newer material like ‘Destroyer’ and ‘Stingwray’. Two good things came from this set, the first being the confirmation that Industrial is not dead and the second, nobody got attacked by the nasty plague of bees, not the band, not any of the punters and especially not me.
DRAGONFORCE – MAIN STAGE
I was not expecting much when I saw Dragonforce on the line-up. Power Metal – even from Scandinavian bands generally fails to impress me, so when the London-based group come on stage, I am expecting to be unmoved by their set. I am wrong.
They are full of drive and passion – the talent they have for playing live is unquestionable – the speed that Herman Li and Sam Totman shred their guitars is unbelievable. They are so much fun to watch – especially as they have extra platforms on stage for clichéd legs-wide-apart-wind-in-the-hair poses. It wasn’t even possible to get bored during their lengthy solos (during which ZP Heart spent most of his time encouraging girls to show their breasts) Even if this style of music isn’t your thing, you can’t help but like them.
PENDULUM – MAIN STAGE
Great crossover (electro-rock) acts are hard to find these days, but you really have to hand it to Pendulum. This is one of the biggest crowds we will see all weekend and certainly one of the most electrifying performances. Unfortunately Rob Swire’s vocals on the band’s defining track ‘Propane Nightmares’ are somewhat drowned out by the sledgehammer beats and humongous riffs while the band’s MC Ben Mount needs to come up with something more original than “Download!” every five seconds. That being said though, energetic tunes like ‘Hold Your Colour’ sound much better live than on record and for a band with so many electronic elements and such a grand lighting-rig, aesthetically everything goes off without a hitch. At Download, Pendulum cement themselves as one of the UK’s most vibrant and essential acts.
MY PASSION – RED BULL BEDROOM JAM STAGE
How many bands do you know that can tear up a stage like a Tasmanian devil and still look pristine by the end of it? That is what My Passion do.
The small audience, initially dominated by the young, grew quickly as the band came on stage. It is great to see an audience of such a range of people (as far as you can get at Download) coming to see what My Passion are about.
The band are very energetic, as always – and full of a new excitement, most likely as this is their first Download and, as they said, this was a dream come true. A large portion of the crowd was singing along to the popular ‘Crazy and Me’ – it’s easy to see how their blend of metal, punk and electronica could translate onto a much larger stage, hopefully sometime soon.
As the end of their set arrived, Laurence René (vocals) dedicated ‘Thanks For Nothing’ to, “All those who didn’t think we’d make it”. Rightly so, because in their three short years, these boys have achieved more than most would hope to achieve in ten.
MARILYN MANSON – MAIN STAGE
For all those who thought the return of Twiggy would be the saving grace for Marilyn Manson… you are wrong.
The stage is draped in a large black cloth with three lights pulsating to a siren – the crowd is already restless and taking time over this did not help.
The band’s most popular songs such as ‘Irresponsible Hate Anthem’ and the Eurhythmics cover ‘Sweet Dreams’ are received with mild applause and as the show went on and more unfamiliar songs were played, the booing from the crowd just got louder.
Manson is in a poor state – he doesn’t finish one line of any song – the last verse of ‘The Dope Show’ is replaced with ‘et cetera’ being repeated many times. His once notorious stage show consisted of two over-sized stage lights and people bringing on some card with ETC scrawled over it so Manson could then throw the sheets into the crowd. He didn’t even go backstage to sort himself out after each song; instead he had stagehands running after him as if he wasn’t able to look after himself.
As he announced to the crowd, “As an adult supervisor – do not do drugs… unless you get them for free” it just becomes more apparent that he cannot be bothered anymore. On the plus side – drummer Ginger Fish was on top form and gave his all, but on the whole, this performance was truly tragic.
Marilyn Manson – please check yourself into rehab.
THE PRODIGY – SECOND STAGE
Bloody hell. I have never had a harder time (being that I walk with sticks) getting to a show in my life, even smackdown in the middle of a festival. It was an incredibly dumb idea to stick The Prodigy on the second stage Download!
Even though I had to break my sticks over people’s skulls just to get a look-see, this was without doubt the best festival set I have seen in my life. The band are on top form, and despite Pendulum’s rockin’ performance only a short time ago, seeing The Prod in action will really make you realise who the real kings of worldwide electronic-drum n’ bass-dance-rock music are. It’s true, this lot certainly know that they are the shizzle, but they use that un-rivalled confidence and pour it all back into the live show. Even though it’s the evening, it’s still hotter than you could ever imagine, but with ‘Smack My Bitch Up’ and ‘Run With The Wolves’ these lads make everyone (probably for the first time this weekend) completely forget about their sunburn and blisters in favour of dancing their sweaty bums off as part of what we shall describe as the ultimate rock-rave.
SLIPKNOT – MAIN STAGE
It’s hard to believe that it was 10 years ago that Slipknot first came to our ears with their self-titled album. Not personally being a fan, I’m not sure what to expect.
The band slowly invade the stage and because there are so many of them, they can pretty much do whatever they want and they still sound tight. It’s such a great show to watch – from The Clown’s jerky elevating drum kit to the impressive pyrotechnics they had during ‘Before I Forget’, it is apparent that their effort has certainly paid off – in budget and experience.
They have the most loyal fans I have ever known – when Corey Taylor tells you to sit down, if you don’t, the fans make you – which contributed to the most surreal experience of the festival – the whole audience sitting down in the middle of ‘Spit It Out’ – according to Corey, it was the most people ever to get down at one of their shows. ‘Psychosocial’ was hurled at the audience who instantly launched into multiple mosh-pits – each song was delivered with vitality – they said themselves that they were fulfilling a life-long dream by headlining Download – and they did it very well.
For more information visit the Download Festival website.
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