LIVE: Download Festival @ Donington Park (Sunday – 15/06/2014)

Date: June 15th, 2014
Venue: Donington Park, Donington
Website: www.downloadfestival.co.uk
Facebook: www.facebook.com/downloadfest
Twitter: www.twitter.com/downloadfest

Rating:

Gallery:
None available

Known far and wide for the hallowed grounds on which many of rock’s heroes of the past, present and in time future have walked and played on, Donington’s Download Festival is the UK’s most prestigious rock and metal festival. Back once again, as it is every year, equipped with a line-up that draws in an impressive crowd, we got into the thick of it for the whole weekend for what could arguably be the best weekend in music all year long.


MAIN STAGE:

JAKE E. LEE’S RED DRAGON CARTEL – 5/10
As there is with every year at Download Festival, there’s always a classic rock day that takes command of the main stage for a day, usually Sunday, and that’s exactly the case for 2014. Opening up the main stage for one last time this year are Jake E. Lee’s Red Dragon Cartel. Now, with the guitarist having a history as Ozzy Osbourne‘s axe-man in the mid-80s, you’d think that his band of merry men would be able to deliver the goods and get the Sunday off to a great start. Sadly, this is not the case. What we have here is your bog standard dad rock band. Starting their set, very little of the crowd know who they’re watching onstage, and by the set’s end, very few would bother to take the effort to know anymore about them. [ZR]

WINGER – 6/10
Dad rock Sunday is continued on main stage by New York glam rockers, Winger. There are a lot of blank faces in the crowd, but those are quickly converted into smirks of appreciation as Winger bounce and dribble through an unapologetically retro set. Their no-name hits are accentuated mainly by some impressive guitar soloing work. During the closing number they’re joined, bizarrely, by The Dillinger Escape Plan bassist, Liam Wilson, who clearly seems to love Winger more than anyone in the front few rows. [MS]

BUCKCHERRY – 6/10
Buckcherry are always a solid fixture at Download, and today is no exception. Iconic frontman Josh Todd looks a lot like Keith Richards, and has a mouth like him too. Their brief appearance is peppered with booze fueled, cocaine riddled singalongs to ‘Lit Up’, ‘Sorry’ and ‘Broken Glass’. Buckcherry will continue to appear time and time again at Download, but it remains to be seen whether they’ll ever actually move up the order. They’ve got the songs, like ‘Crazy Bitch’, it’s just whether they can find enough of an angle. [MS]

RICHIE SAMBORA – 8/10
“Richie Sambora? Who? Oh, the guitarist for Bon Jovi!”. That’s the reaction from most of the festival goers lounging about in an overcast final afternoon. Sambora is joined on stage by another guitar sensation in Orianthi, and the pair set about dropping jaws across the field with their guitar battles. The thing about Sambora is that for all his anonymity, he has some fucking good songs in his arsenal. ‘Every Road Leads Home To You’ is an excellent number that dares you not to air guitar, and ‘Burn The Candle Down’ is more of the same. There are, of course, some Bon Jovi covers as well in the form of ‘Lay Your Hands On Me’ and ‘Wanted Dead Or Alive’. [MS]

JOE BONAMASSA – 7/10
American blues rocker Joe Bonamassa, much like Richie Sambora who played a few moments before him, may be one of the more enigmatic main stage appearances of the day, but the way he can work his way around the fretboard should certainly crown him as one of the best guitarists of the whole festival weekend this year. Mosh pits cast aside entirely, Bonamassa‘s work is much better enjoyed chilling on the grass, nursing that hangover of yours to songs like ‘Story Of A Quarryman’ before the weekend comes to a close. [ZR]

VOLBEAT – 4/10
Volbeat‘s past performances at Download have always been strewn full of humour and innuendos, but today it’s a play-all-the-songs approach. Newer tunes like ‘Lola Montez’ and ‘The Hangman’s Body Count’ fall rather flat for some reason. The older stuff doesn’t really come across as particularly inspiring either, which is strange considering the usual pioneering sound that Volbeat export. Lead man Michael Poulsen says practically nothing in between songs. Maybe he’s had enough of Elvis metal, just like he got bored of death metal. [MS]

STEEL PANTHER – 10/10
If you only take away one thing from this review, make it this: go and see Steel Panther live. Steel Panther parody 80s hair metal bands like Def Leppard and Poison to the point where they actually become post-ironic. Coming out all guns blazing to ‘Pussywhipped’, the songs are as hilarious as the on stage banter between Michael Starr, Satchel, Lexxi Foxx, and Stix. The early parts of the set are mainly comprised of songs from new album, ‘All You Can Eat’, before the more popular tunes like ‘Asian Hooker’ and ‘Death To All But Metal’ sound out. In between songs, the crowd is entertained by a series of unapologetically chauvinistic skits, including crowdsurfing up 17 girls for ’17 Girls In A Row’ and convincing them all to get their tits out as they walk down the catwalk in the centre of the arena. The highlight is a hearty singalong by over 50,000 people to “the song that put us platinum in Guam”, ‘Community Property’. There were some doubts about Steel Panther‘s upcoming Wembley Arena gig, but those are soundly quashed today. [MS]

ALTER BRIDGE – 6/10
Some are surprised that Alter Bridge aren’t headlining Download by now, and their massive turnout doesn’t counter those vibes. For one hour, the droves eagerly awaiting Aerosmith are treated to an all smiles affair with Kennedy and Tremonti trading musical blows throughout. The songs lack no enthusiasm, but they’re not as heavy in an arena as they are on record. Nevertheless, there are singalongs to ‘Ghost Of Days Gone By’ and ‘Ties That Bind’. Kennedy verbally appreciates the fan support in the intro to ‘Blackbird’, before he breaks out the acoustic guitar on ‘Watch Over You’. The encounter is ended with the uplifting ‘Rise Today’. [MS]

AEROSMITH – 8/10
Closing off dad rock Sunday, there’s a bunch of bands who could be enlisted to play the final few notes on the Download Festival main stage for another year. But, it feels right that for 2014, the honour is bestowed upon American rock heroes, Aerosmith. They’ve been going at the rock game for over 40 years, they have 15 albums to their name, have toured pretty much everywhere with everyone, have songs featured on cinema classics and have secured more awards than most bands could even dream to achieve. If a CV like that isn’t enough to warrant a main stage headline slot at Download, then what will?

The Bad Boys from Boston deliver a set that pretty much covers ever pinnacle track throughout their career. ‘Love In An Elevator’ and ‘Jaded’ get the huge choruses from the crowd going nice an early into their set, and already Steven Tyler‘s trademark croons have made the wait all weekend worth it. Despite some brief technical issues midway through with the screens at either side of the stage, which admittedly is an inconvenience for those keeping a watch away from the thick of the crowd, Aerosmith are on top form from start to finish, and the amount of people singing back to ‘I Don’t Want To Miss A Thing’ is bordering on magical. However, it’s perhaps ‘Dream On’ that signals just how important Aerosmith are to rock, and the following one-two closer of ‘Sweet Emotion’ and ‘Mama Kin’ cement that firmly. Thanks Aerosmith and thanks Download Festival. Downloaders, see you next year. [ZR]


ZIPPO ENCORE STAGE:

AVATAR – 8/10
Visually, Avatar are a cross between Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band and The Crow. Sonically they’re undeniably heavy with extremely European melodies. The Swedish metallers deliver an entertaining set with their circus looks, killer hard hitting riffs, and with singer Johannes Michael Gustaf Eckerström‘s commanding frontmanship. [JK]

KILL DEVIL HILL – 9/10
Former Pantera bassist Rex Brown‘s current band Kill Devil Hill sound how you’d expect them to, like Pantera. Although they aren’t just a total Pantera rip-off (god knows we have enough of them), KDH aren’t afraid to explore a hard rock edge with their sound. Singer Dewey Bragg‘s vocals and stage presence compliments their style well. The band end their decent set by making Download history with a cover of Pantera‘s ‘Mouth Of War’, and who should come out to join them other than Philip “stronger than all” Anselmo. It’s a good day to be at Donington and to be a Pantera fan. [JK]

SKILLET – 8/10
Nashville Christian rockers Skillet are rare faces over in the UK, despite their drummer Jen Ledger originating from just down the road in Coventry, but with the sizable turnout for their set, especially with the rain to take into account, you’d be forgiven for thinking they’re regulars here. ‘Sick Of It’ and ‘Monster’ get huge singalongs, and even those in attendance not familiar with the band are seen joining in with their infectious chorus hooks. A surprising delight. [ZR]

WE CAME AS ROMANS – 6/10
Fast becoming one of the bigger names on the modern post-hardcore market alongside the legion of Rise Records and Fearless Records signees, We Came As Romans stick themselves out from the waves of imitators with their super posi lyrics about brotherhood, maintaining hope and visions for a better world. However, what really lets WCAR down is in vocalist Kyle Pavone, who sounds as whiny as ever and just makes the whole mix sound lacklustre. However, his more shouty partner David Stephens is on top form today, bulking up ‘To Plant A Seed’ and ‘Tracing Back Roots’. Let’s not mention the major cheesefest that is ‘Glad You Came’. [ZR]

EMMURE – 1/10
Emmure have to be the worst band in the world, I swear. During their 30 minutes on stage they play no more than one note over and over, and then keep pretending that each section has a name. Some say that Emmure began as a homeless person taking a dump and then steadily moulded into a full-blown band somehow. At this stage in their career, Emmure know damn well how terrible they are and they’re not even trying to hide it any more, playing only the songs that gained them notoriety like ‘Drug Dealer Friend’, ‘R2Deepthroat’ and ‘Bring A Gun To School’. Maybe Emmure are actually musical geniuses, choosing to do away entirely with song structure and skip straight to the breakdown every time. It’s not like they’re gonna go away any time soon either, because they’ll never run out of material as EVERY SONG IS THE SAME. [MS]

SEPULTURA – 9/10
After the knuckle dragging set that Emmure provided, Sepultura‘s set is like going from a Sainsbury’s value pizza to a candlelit dinner with Angelina Jolie. The Brazilian-rooted band are still hammering out foundation-levelling songs like ‘The Vatican’ and ‘Manipulation Of Tragedy’. Terrifying frontman Derrick Green looks like he might rip off his clothes at any second and tear the faces straight off the front row. There’s no ‘Refuse/Resist’ to be heard, but both ‘Propaganda’ and ‘Roots Bloody Roots’ still sound as heavy today as they did when they were first penned. [MS]

SABATON – 8/10
Swedish war metal heroes Sabaton deliver a fun set of power metal to the second stage. Frontman Joakim Brodén basically doesn’t stop running around for the whole set, although the constant running off stage for a bit just to run back on is an… interesting technique. Despite the grim context of their lyrics, Sabaton are one of the most fun and positive bands of the festival, and they’re so captivating and enjoyable that even people unfamiliar to them can find themselves chanting their name as they leave the stage after a brilliant set. [JK]

PHILIP H. ANSELMO & THE ILLEGALS – 10/10
As stated for Kill Devil Hill, today is a good day for Pantera fans. The festival now sees their legendary frontman take to the stage with his solo work, or so we thought. The absolute hero of metal takes to the stage and opens with Pantera‘s ‘Hellbound’. Brilliant. After a couple of their own raging tracks, such as ‘Battalion Of Zero’ and ‘Family ‘Friends’ And Associates’, The Illegals then drop a cover of ‘Death Rattle’ off of Pantera‘s ‘Reinventing The Steel’. Not only are we seeing the great Anselmo play Pantera tunes, but rare and deep cuts. The highlight of the set, however, is without a doubt when Rex Brown steps out to play bass for legendary track, ‘A New Level’. A moment that will be undoubtedly burned into the minds of metalheads, this is the closest some of them will ever get to seeing Pantera. Anselmo has undoubtedly treated us this sunny afternoon, but he’s about to spoil us rotten. Covers of another ex-Anselmo project Superjoint Ritual songs ‘Fuck Your Enemy’ and ‘Waiting For The Turning Point’ make the special set that much more special. Not just a memorable set for the weekend, but in the history of Download and Pantera. [JK]

SEETHER – 8/10
Even today, South African grungers Seether are still regularly compared to Nirvana, with the main target being frontman Shaun Morgan and his gruff voice akin to the late Kurt Cobain. Ignorance aside, Seether are, especially live, very unlike the grunge godfathers. Morgan and co. open up with ‘Gasoline’, and though talk is minimal, they deliver an outstanding set of fan favourites. Of course, it’s set closer ‘Remedy’ that receives the most woos and encourages the biggest pits for their half an hour on stage, but where else throughout Download are you going to get the Southern bounce of ‘Country Song’. [ZR]

THE PRETTY RECKLESS – 7/10
The last time The Pretty Reckless came to Download, the band played on the main stage and 20-year-old frontwoman Taylor Momsen decided to lift up her top and get her boobs out, with her nipples covered by nothing but duct tape. This year, Download don’t condone that kind of behaviour, so TPR have a boob-free set this year. You’d be a fool to deny that the focus of the band is anyone other than Momsen, but if we forget the good looks and seductive stage manner and focus on the talents, TPR are a talented hard rock act. Momsen‘s vocals a gruff and powerful through the likes of ‘Make Me Wanna Die’ and ‘Heaven Knows’, and the guitar work from Ben Phillips helps bring that necessary crunch. [ZR]

TRIVIUM – 10/10
A second stage headline slot at Download seems to be like Trivium‘s second home now. Originally scheduled to be crammed into the Pepsi Max tent this year, wave after wave of online complaints from fans forced the organisers to bunk them up, and rightfully so, as the Zippo Encore stage field may the busiest it has been all weekend. For the most part, frontman Matt Heafy takes control of the cleans whilst Corey Beaulieu commands the screams and guttural roars. A tip of the hat also needs to go to Mat Madiro; the band’s drum tech who had to learn their set within 24 hours before starting their current summer festival tour, and still manages to pull some of the band’s most complex songs with ease and precision.

They stick mainly with cuts from their sophomore full-length ‘Ascendency’, and the likes of ‘Pull Harder On The Strings Of Your Martyr’ and ‘Like Light To The Flies’ bring circle pit after circle pit to the fold. Heafy and Beaulieu‘s guitar mastery is as impressive as ever, most notably with ‘Throes Of Perdition’, and closer ‘In Waves’ brings a brutal closing of the curtains. On many occassions this evening, Heafy mentions how Download is like a home away from home, and it makes sense: their main stage slot back in 2005 really helped them breakthrough, and set them on the path to being the metal tyrants that they are today. The question is, when will Download finally put them back onto main stage where they belong? [ZR]


PEPSI MAX STAGE:

VIZA – 9/10
Viza are Los Angeles’ best kept secret. Only announced in the week leading up to Download and as virtual unknowns in the UK, you’d be forgiven for thinking that nobody would watch them opening the Pepsi Max stage. However, a healthy crowd is on hand to witness one of the most enjoyable sets of the weekend. Viza are kind of like a mix between System Of A Down and Gogol Bordello, playing what can almost be described musically as ‘gypsy metal’. Dashing frontman and Ryan Gosling lookalike K’noup Tomopoulos is confident in his every move as he controls the stage. Joined there with him are five other musicians, including one playing what looks like an electric mandolin (excuse my unculturedness). The set is rounded out by a cover of The Doors‘Alabama Song’. Viza deserve to get their break in the UK. [MS]

THE CHARM THE FURY – 7/10
Amsterdam heavy hitters The Charm The Fury are slowly creeping into being a recognised name on the UK metal scene, and with all things going well this year’s Download Festival slot will help give them a big push towards that goal. Frontwoman Caroline Westendorp conjures up screams and roars that could even send a Balrog fleeing in fear with its tail between its legs. A sample issue at the end of their set loses a bit of the built up momentum, and you can’t help but thing there’s a bit too much chugging going on, but otherwise TCTF are definite ones to watch out for for any metalcore fan. [ZR]

THE GRAVELTONES
Sadly, we were unable to catch this set.

THY ART IS MURDER – 8/10
Aussie death metal crew Thy Art Is Murder light a fire under the giant blue ass of the Pepsi Max tent. Their insanely heavy tunes such as ‘Purest Strain Of Hate’, ‘Whore To A Chainsaw’ and the phenomenal ‘Reign Of Darkness’ all unleash armageddon upon Donington’s third stage. But, just because they’re the heaviest band of the weekend doesn’t mean that they’re not fun. Vocalist CJ McMahon‘s friendly stage banter (“we have one more song for you cunts”) and antics such as throwing drum skins and footballs into the crowd keep things light hearted whilst they play music so heavy that Satan would probably fuck to it. [JK]

FEED THE RHINO – 9/10
Feed The Rhino have been one of Britain’s best live bands tearing up a range of venues across the country for almost 5 years now, but their set today on Donington’s Pepsi Max stage feels like a coming of age for this English hardcore mob. Not only do new tracks from their latest album ‘The Sorrow And Sound’ come across slick and bouncy live, but each band member seems to of honed their skills to deliver a better set overall. Frontman and walking beard Lee Tobin‘s frontmanship has come along tenfold as he controls the tent with ease and creates chaos in an instant. Feed The Rhino deliver not only one of the best performances of the weekend, but also of their career. [JK]

THE TREATMENT – 4/10
After a band as genuine and raw as Feed The Rhino comes almost the opposite. The Treatment are obviously all dressed as rock ‘n’ roll as possible, and they play as rock ‘n’ roll as possible too. Singer Matt Jones also acts as rock ‘n’ roll as possible, when really The Treatment don’t have the tunes to come across as that rock ‘n’ roll. They feel more like a Fisher Price ‘My First Rock Band’ than they do dangerous or bad ass. They deliver a set of their average rock tunes laced with their gimmick. It’s not a bad set or badly performed, it just feels desperately forced. Good rock ‘n’ roll can be made without that sort of forced act. [JK]

CRAZYTOWN – 3/10
Some phenomenon is happening here – the Pepsi Max tent is absolutely rammed throughout CrazyTown‘s set. Logically, there’s only a few explanations for this, either Download is actually a CrazyTown con in disguise, that lots of people REALLY want to hear ‘Butterfly’ live, or they’re just eager to find out who the secret band is to follow them. To be honest, it’s probably a mix of the latter two. Once the short-lived wave of nostalgia washes over you, it’s hard to describe CrazyTown as anything other than tacky and, at times, a little cartoon-ish. Maybe it’s better to leave the past in the past. [ZR]

BLACK STONE CHERRY – 8/10
This year’s secret band was figured out pretty quickly in the run into the festival, with not-so-cryptic tweets from Andy Copping and BSC themselves. After CrazyTown‘s set, the tent immediately swells to a capacity in anticipation. Even after the BSC backdrop falls, some patrons still exclaim “it might still change”. To their utter shock, BSC do actually start playing, with ‘Rain Wizard’ whipping up a singalong straight away. For a non-fan, it’s something of a mystery as to why BSC are so popular, but with the support that they have it’s not hard to see them headlining this festival in a couple of years time. A clearly stoked BSC just churn out their hits, slamming through ‘White Trash Millionaire’ and ‘Lonely Train’. See you next year? [MS]

MEMPHIS MAY FIRE – 8/10
For a while now, it seems like Memphis May Fire have been on the cusp of finally securing some really solid tour support slots over here and there UK, and starting to build a following as strong as the one they have back home in the US. It appears they’ve definitely swooned some of the ladies here, especially frontman Matty Mullins, as halfway through set opener ‘No Ordinary Love’, there’s already a girl sat on top of someone’s shoulders with her bra off. Even though MMF may be just another post-hardcore band to most, which to some extent they are, but with pits from start-to-finish whilst the Texan upstarts roll through ‘Vices’ and ‘Prove Me Right’, it won’t be long until MMF become forerunners of the genre. [ZR]

AGAINST ME! – 8/10
Punk rockers Against Me! have released one of the best albums of the year so far, and you can still feel the wave of momentum that ‘Transgender Dysphoria Blues’ has given them. They simply blast through a set packed full of punk bangers taken from across their raging career. Whilst older tracks such as ‘Pints Of Guinness’, ‘New Wave’ and ‘I Was A Teenage Anarchist’ are still some of the best contemporary punk tunes going, tracks off their latest album definitely shine in their own light. ‘Fuckmylife666’, ‘Drinking With The Jocks’ and the album’s title-track are all huge sing alongs, as is ‘Black Me Out’ which makes a perfect closer. Supportive chants of singer Laura Jane Grace‘s name at the end of the set shows the true respect and acceptance the punk scene has for Against Me!‘s latest album and the deeply personal changes and lyrics that the band have gone through. [JK]

SUICIDE SILENCE – 5/10
2014 sees Eddie Hermida (now formerly of All Shall Perish) heading Suicide Silence, and if you don’t know why then you probably are an alien to the band and/or the genre entirely. While he’s clearly giving it his all, stacking a domineering pose as he surveys the mayhem below, the rest of the music sounds muddy in the mix. It’s difficult to pick parts of songs apart, even on ‘No Pity For A Coward’ and ‘Disengage’. New song ‘Cease To Exist’ sees a huge circle pit erupt that envelops most of the Pepsi Max tent, later creating ample room for the kids in the audience to flail their arms about like brain damaged seals. ‘You Only Live Once’ doesn’t feature, but the set is closed with ‘Fuck Everything’. It’s taking time for Suicide Silence to piece themselves back together again, but despite the disappointing audio the inter-band relationships look to be stronger than ever. The world awaits with baited breath the arrival of new album, ‘You Can’t Stop Me’. [MS]

THE USED – 6/10
Six albums in and still a strong member of the pack, The Used have outlived their admittedly more grander scale peers My Chemical Romance but still haven’t quite progressed to stage headlining material. Of course, there’s a bounty of The Used fans scattered across the Pepsi Max tent, and frontman Bert McCracken‘s vocals seem to be on the top of their game. Favourites ‘I Caught Fire’ and ‘The Bird And The Worm’ get the biggest sing alongs, but McCracken‘s new found topic of discussion of starting revolutions and anarchy seem a little forced and off putting. Still, how can you not enjoy set closer ‘A Box Full Of Sharp Objects’ on a lukewarm Sunday evening? [ZR]

THE DILLINGER ESCAPE PLAN – 9/10
If you’ve been sick of bands being unable to encourage certain crowd reactions over this weekend, then The Dillinger Escape Plan are the perfect dose of chaos to end your Download 2014. The mathcore innovators descend their awesome silhouettes onto the stage and within the first few notes of ‘Prancer’ the tent has already kick started all the crowd behavior that Download doesn’t want to see, without the band having to say anything but “Hi there”. Lit only by a backlight and some truly disturbing and dark projections behind them, TDEP‘s frantic silhouettes then smash into ‘Farewell Mona Lisa’, whilst the dark figures on stage are truly unpredictable for faster songs, during slower moments of the set the way they move and flow is equally captivating. A Dillinger show can have people thrashing manically at one moment and then have them arm in arm singing along to their Mike Patton-esque hooks in the next. Guitarist Ben Weinman is able to throw some crazy shapes whilst still playing some of the most technical music without missing a note, whilst vocalist Greg Puciato is one of the most exciting frontmen to watch. Blink and you’ll miss it, suddenly Mr. Puciato has climbed up the side of the stage. After throwing his mic into the crowd and climbing down, momentum is lost slightly, before the band then continue to smash through their set. After a weekend of rules and regulations being put on bands, The Dillinger Escape Plan prove once again that they’re the most unpredictable and uncontrollable live band on the circuit. [JK]


RED BULL STUDIO STAGE:

DEAD CITY STREETS
Sadly, we were unable to catch this set.

ARTHEMIS
Sadly, we were unable to catch this set.

LIFE ON STANDBY – 7/10
Scottish alt rockers Life On Standby take to the Red Bull Studio stage to show Donington what they’re made of. Singer Erin Donnachie shows off her ranged vocals with their rock and roll delivery over alternative and electronic rock to deliver a fun performance. An energetic, fun and promising set is delivered. Life On Standby definitely turned some heads and earned some fans. [JK]

CHINESE MISSY
Sadly, we were unable to catch this set.

KID KARATE
Sadly, we were unable to catch this set.

CREATE TO INSPIRE – 8/10
Essex newbies Create To Inspire are one of the final Red Bull Studios Live At Download winners to perform at the festival this year, and evidently they’re also one of the strongest contenders when it comes to a live show. As with all of the other opportunity’s contenders, CTI are abundantly thankful for being where they are today, and frontman Sean Midson‘s sometimes emotive screams beside the rest of the band’s post-hardcore stylings shows signs of a band who are still in their infancy stages but, in time, could be one of the next up-and-comers on the UK circuit. [ZR]

THE MAGNUS PUTO – 7/10
Bristol ska electronic rockers The Magnus Puto are yet another curveball on the Download line-up this year. Their dual fronted grime-y raps over bouncy ska beats get energy going in the Red Bull Studio tent. A small crowd of metal heads and emo kids skanking is one of the finest sights of the weekend. Whilst they knew they were outsiders to this festival, The Magnus Puto know their audience well and actually deliver a fun set from a normally annoying genre. [JK]

ADELPHIA – 5/10
Pop-rockers Adelphia have already had a festival appearance this year at Hit The Deck in their hometown of Nottingham, which the band confessed they weren’t 100% fit for due to frontman Nicholas Crampton falling ill, but still they pressed on. Unfortunately, even in a healthy state, Adelphia‘s pop-rock is very much by-the-numbers and beige. Crampton sounds an awful lot like Josh Franceschi, and as a whole Adelphia just sound like a bargain bin edition of You Me At Six. What’s needed here is sharper hooks, more soaring vocals, and an identity that is their own against a sea of other bands doing the same thing, but much better. [ZR]

REIGNWOLF
Sadly, we were unable to catch this set.

HEART IN HAND
Sadly, we were unable to catch this set.

POLAR.
Sadly, we were unable to catch this set.

MONUMENTS – 9/10
Djent is like beatdown hardcore’s smarter, more agreeable brother. While beatdown hardcore involves punching the living shit out of everyone and everything around you, djent is more about enjoying the groove of the music. Monuments are one of the leading lights of the UK djent scene, and their performance as the penultimate act in the Red Bull Studio tent further massages that reputation while gaining plenty of new fans. Vocalist Chris Barretto‘s afro hypnotises you into bouncing up and down and Browne, Steele, Swan and Malyan‘s musical accompaniment turn you into a human pogo stick. The pit is more about having fun rather than trying to injure the nearest 10-year-old. The amount of “sorry”s and “excuse me”s are almost like a Canadian subway at rush hour. Monuments unleash ‘The Amanunensis’ (djent for “it’s time to bounce”) on June 23rd. It won’t be long until Spencer Sotelo is watching from the sidelines and taking notes. [MS]

ZEBRAHEAD – 8/10
As the final act of the weekend on the Red Bull Studio stage, Zebrahead gain the dubious honour of drawing one of the most violent crowds of the day. It’s a constant mosh pit for ‘Postcards From Hell’ and ‘Rescue Me’. The on stage bar is the perfect opportunity for two small chaps dressed in lederhosen to have a drinking contest for some reason, before someone is launched onto the crowd in an inflatable dinghy to be crowdsurfed around. ‘Anthem’ brings the curtain down on what has been a set by a band that are still providing the same energy that they exported 10 years ago. [MS]


JAGERMEISTER STAGE:

STORMBRINGER
Sadly, we were unable to catch this set.

FIZZY BLOOD
Sadly, we were unable to catch this set.

VERSECHORUSVERSE
Sadly, we were unable to catch this set.

MILK TEETH
Sadly, we were unable to catch this set.

OXYGEN THIEF
Sadly, we were unable to catch this set.

JON GOMM
Sadly, we were unable to catch this set.

NICK OLIVERI – 8/10
Nick Oliveri is an odd fellow, isn’t he? Seemingly constantly embroiled in some sort of scandal, maybe it’s apt that the ex-Queens Of The Stone Age bassist has chosen to go on a solo tour. New album, ‘Leave Me Alone’, can maybe attest to Oliveri‘s current mental state, and a couple of snippets of that are played. The Jägermeister stage is usually home to some cutesy-wutesy acoustic numbers, but everyone begins to look increasingly bewildered at Oliveri‘s “death acoustic” set. The set contains plenty of covers, including QOTSA‘s ‘Millionaire’ and ‘Six Shooter’, before finishing with a Mondo Generator tune, ‘Outlaw Scumfuc’. [MS]


Written by Zach Redrup [ZR], MG Savage [MS] and Jack King [JK]

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