Wednesday, 19 June 2013

SCREAM FOR ME DONINGTON!






Hey there, it's Chris! I went to Download Festival 2013 last week and it rained, thundered and rained some more with some brief, short lived sunshine! But anyway I decided, as I've been out of the loop for a week or so seeing some epic bands, I'm just gonna write a brief overview on the bands I saw over the 3 days.

So Download Festival is at Donington Raceway up in Derby, and started out as a 2 day event with only 2 stages. It's now a 3 day festival with 5 stages and with camping for 5 days and a village open pretty much 24 hours the whole week, and that village has an open air cinema, food, rides, entertainment, DJs and after parties, so pretty much for a week the race track becomes a small city of metalheads. There's 10 camps each divided into a colour, we stayed in red camp, up on a hill out of the way which was close to the village and to the arena and didn't have any problem with the tent flooding because we were on top of the hill.

The Festival for us started properly on the Thursday, when we went up into the village to watch a Hardcore band called Demoraliser from the UK who packed out the tent and mosh pits erupted the instant they hit their guitars. While I'm not a big fan of hardcore metal, I do appreciate how popular that subgenre is these days and I'll definitely be checking their material out!


On the Friday, I stayed on main stage and watched Rise to Remain, a London metal band, who I listened to their album "City of Vultures" years ago but while there's nothing bad about the album or the band, I just find them too beige, there's nothing new or gripping to the music, but I figured seeing them live would bring along something new, but nope, I still found them quite average but again there's nothing wrong with them, they just need some ideas of their own. The second band after Rise to Remain were Brighton metal band Architects who are currently taking the country by storm with their fast technical riffs. They were phenomenal and one of the best bands of the weekend for me. After that was British metalcore band from Yorkshire called Asking Alexandra but seeing as I'm not a 14 year old emo kid they're not my thing. The vocalist Danny Worsnop is the jack of all trades in the vocal department but can't master any of them, his highs, mids and low screams sounding good but nothing spectacular and they're just quite a boring band to watch. I actually felt my eyes go as I stood there watching. After them though, were a very popular American band called Papa Roach, who I've been a fan of for years, their new material is nothing on their old stuff but times change and all that jazz. They opened with "Still Swinging" off their new album which instantly got the crowd going, and swarms of people came to watch Roach, who are very energetic live, particularly the vocalist, Jacoby Shaddix, who has no trouble getting the crowd to go mental for him. Here, they played a couple off their latest album "The Connection" and also played the goldie oldies like Getting Away With Murder, Blood Brothers and Last Resort. Jacoby ran down the length of the barriers, high fiving people and then fell over in the mud and rubbed it all over himself. On a side note, Papa Roach are playing the Pyramids, Portsmouth in December so definitely going to try and get tickets for that show! After Papa Roach closed, things slowed down a bit for Down came on, who are an American supergroup from the Southern regions. The group was formed by Phil Anselmo of Pantera and are a slow stoner rock band. He irritatingly kept punching the microphone to get people to clap, he called everyone "assholes" as not many people were pitting or moving, and just talked about doing mushrooms and other drugs.

After Down, Korn came on, for me, this was a highlight of the weekend, because I haven't seen Korn in 5 years and it was the first time I've seen them with the original lineup as the guitarist Head is back who left in 2005. They played all the great hits like Shoots and Ladders, Freak On A Leash and Did My Time and they played two songs off their Dubstep album. Despite being stood quite far back, the place was packed out for them and the crowd went mental everywhere even for Narcissistic Cannibal and Get Up . Hopefully they'll do a tour again soon as I'd love to see them again, they're brilliant live. After Korn came the Welsh group Bullet For My Valentine with their cheesy, metallica-esque sounds and no more needs to be said for them. They got the crowd going but I liked them when they were really heavy, none of this "Scream, Aim, Fire" crap. After Bullet finished, the first headlining band exploded onto the stage. It's the first time Slipknot have played in the UK since Paul Gray died in 2010 so it was a very emotional set for the Knot. But the crowd went ballistic with pits exploding everywhere and screaming along. Joey's drum kit lifted and spun during Surfacing, and they played all the great songs and Corey Taylor was the star of the show, having the 80,000 crowd at his fingertips and proving once again why he is one of the best front men in metal at the moment. The only band on the other stages I wanted to see was Black Stone Cherry who headlined the 2nd stage, but I figured as I saw them twice in about 4 months, it wasn't really necessary and not worth missing Slipknot who I had not seen since 2008. Needless to say I heard Cherry put on a brilliant performance, and I really can't wait for them to finish working on their 4th studio album and to see them again hopefully next year.

On the Saturday, I was a bit more adventurous and moved to different stages to catch as much as I could, however due to the rain I got to the arena a bit later than I originally planned. I arrived at main stage as Mastodon took to the stage, who I watched for about 45 minutes or so, as I'm not a fan of their live show, because they don't have much of a stage presence, but I love their studio work. We then made our way to second stage to catch Karnivool, an Australian band that are kind of like Tool with a touch of Radiohead thrown in. They were quite good but again, not very lively, so we moved over to the 3rd stage where we caught 3 or 4 songs of a band called Empress who reminded me very much of Evita, a progressive sort of metal core, they were pretty good and I'm going to check out their album when I get a chance! After them, was a band we'd been waiting for, Heart of a Coward, the lead singer used to be in a band called Sylosis who are an epic, technical metal band and are definitely worth a look, particularly their first album Conclusion of an Age. Heart of a Coward however are a bit more hardcore than metalcore. They are however very good, and their album "Hope and Hinderance" is worth a look. Southampton metallers Bury Tomorrow were on after Heart but I missed them as I had to get out of the tent for a drink and food as it was too hot and packed for me and felt very dehydrated. We arrived back in time to catch old school metallers Motorhead on main stage, who played Ace of Spades and Overkill so I was very happy to finally see those songs live! We then jumped over to 2nd stage to watch a few songs of Jimmy Eat World, while I was there they played a few songs off Bleed American but I missed The Middle which I guessed they saved till last but I'd jumped back over to main stage to catch Queens of the Stone Age who were pretty good, I'm not a big Queens fan but I like a couple of songs, and they played some new stuff as well as they've just released a new album but I've not had time to check that out yet. After a few songs of Queens of the Stone Age we then jumped back onto 2nd stage to watch Enter Shikari who got a massive reception but I'm really not a fan, and the vocalist just goes on and on about diversity and crap between songs. After Shikari we then jumped back and dug our way forward for the 2nd headliner of the weekend. The Almight IRON MAIDEN.

This was the reason I bought my festival ticket as I'm a massive fan of the Irons. Their live shows is spectacular and even if you're not a fan of their music, you'll enjoy the show. Just before they came on, a Spitfire did a couple of fly bys over the crowd, then the intro to Moonchild came on, and then they exploded onto the stage. I'd seen Maiden twice before, first time at Twickenham in 2008 for their Somewhere Back In Time tour which was based around their Powerslave album, but they just played their 80s hits and Fear of the Dark. The second time was at Sonisphere Festival in 2010 where they played Fear of the Dark and a couple of old ones but mainly stuff between 2000 and 2010, but this time at Download, it was probably the best set list, they played old stuff I'd never dream they'd play, The Prisoner and one of my favourite tracks off their first album Phantom of the Opera. Needless to say, my voice was quite hoarse by the end of the show. It was spectacular though and they said they're playing the O2 later in the year so I'm definitely going to try and get tickets for that as you can never see them enough times!

On the Sunday, we had a bit of a chill out day, arrived at the arena quite late after packing the cars. We saw Five Finger Death Punch, who got a packed crowd, and they've got a fantastic stage presence, the vocalist pulled loads of kids out of the crowd and put them up on stage and hailed them as the "next generation of heavy metallers" and then went into one of their new songs as they have 2 new albums coming out in the next few months. Another thing he did was to say the last time they played Download they were shut down because they encouraged people to crowd surf to the front and high five him, so he said he wasn't going to do that again but then added "But saying that, I'd love to meet y'all!" All three of their albums are fantastic but their second "War is the Answer" is pure gold so check that out! After Five Finger, Australian metal band Parkway Drive came on, who got a lot of pits going and were really good but wouldn't stop going on about their "fast" and "slow" songs, but I really didn't see any difference in the songs. After them, Stone Sour came on, Corey Taylor (of Slipknot) side project came on. I think it was the first time someone had ever played Main Stage at Download twice in a weekend but Corey rose to the challenge and belted out Stone Sour's classics and some of their new stuff. The goose bump bit was just him and a guitar singing "Bother" and the crowd joining in. It was amazing! And then they went into Through The Glass, one of the best songs ever written. Best album for them is Come Whatever May, if you haven't heard it and like rock music, get on it!

After Stone Sour, The Gaslight Anthem came on, who would make very good driving music, but all of their songs sounded the same and they weren't much of a stage band, but they weren't bad, however we moved over to 2nd stage after about 4 songs to catch Airbourne as I figured, I'm probably never going to watch AC/DC live so this is as close as I can get. They were entertaining but after a while the songs seemed to go into one and you lost interest. However the guitarist/vocalist running through the crowd was quite entertaining. Following them, was one of the bands that I was waiting to see, A Day To Remember, quite a lively hardcore/punk type band. It was the first time they've played here in a while and so was the first chance to see them, however they're returning to the UK early next year so here's hoping to getting a ticket! They played all their greatest hits and then some new stuff too with a new album looming. They brought Crowd Surfing Surfing with them which is where you get on top of the crowd like normal but then someone else, climbs up on top of YOU and surfs you. They said usually at their shows, one or two manage to succeed but Download 2013 destroyed it with about 20-30 people getting the job done.

 Following Day to Remember was Limp Bizkit, a band that disappeared after they thought their fan base was none existent, however they got a full crowd despite Rammstein starting on main stage halfway through their set. They played all their greatest hits ending with Break Stuff, where pits broke out even right at the back. Fred Durst looked like he crawled out from under a rock with that massive beard of his and he seemed to turned down the asshole in him as he was very modest that night and seemed genuinely taken aback by the reception he received. His guitarist looked like a total douche though. After Bizkit finished we then jumped over to Main Stage a final time to watch the last of Rammstein, where we saw the keyboardist in a gimp suit, pretty much get arse raped and spaffed on. It was disturbing stuff. The kings of pryotechnics they remain even if the music isn't up to much, but who needs good music when you attempt to blow the stage up, shoot foam out of a giant cock, shoot flamethrowers at the end of the guitars? After Rammstein we ended, we fought our way out to the car park and 3 journey home. It was well worth the £200 for the ticket, especially with Maiden and Rammstein playing and I saw some new bands to check out. Now I just have to wait for the line up to slowly be announced for 2014 and decide whether to go or not.

So yeah, it's a long one but hey, I hope you enjoyed it! Richee and Layla reviewed Man of Steel in their podcast so go over to iTunes and take a listen and subscribe to it! Also go over to YouTube and watch the HisAndHersLetsAPlay!








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