Download Festival comes along for yet another year, and the opening arena day welcomes a host of mainly nu-metal styled bands to the stage aswell as two reformed bands. This is the start of what is going to be one of the best weekends of the year!
HOLLYWOOD UNDEAD – MAIN STAGE
Playing the main stage opening slot for the Download Festival weekend is quite an exceptional feat, especially for a band such as young as Hollywood Undead, who have only been on the international touring and festival appearances circuit for a short while now. Whilst their set was executed as well as other previous Hollywood Undead shows, you need to pull out something a little extra to start such a festival with a bang â€“ something that the band lacked. On top of this, silly phantom of the opera-esque masks aren’t really all that fitting with the rusted aesthetic Download maintains – then again not very much does. Regardless, a set including the stomping gang mosh inciting ‘Undead’, the humourous ‘Everywhere I Go’, and the more serious toned ‘Young’ hit the crowd (many wearing masks like their onstage ‘idols’) like they’ve been doing this for years.
THE BLACKOUT – MAIN STAGE
Ever since the release of their mini-album/EP ‘The Blackout! The Blackout The Blackout!’, the Welsh post-hardcore six-piece have literally exploded onto the music scene, and after two a further two albums have only climbed further and further into the mainstream and the attention of the public. Now playing a slot on the main stage of Download Festival it seems all their hardwork has most definitely paid off for them. As ever, The Blackout are easily one of the most energetic and enjoyable young acts today. With a set ranging from the chugging and chaotic ‘ShutTheFuckUppercut’ and ‘I’m A Riot? You’re A Fucking Riot!’, or the more mellow ‘Top Of The World’ and ‘It’s High Tide Baby!’, the valley dwellers reel off all they’ve got to please everyone. The cheeky lads even manage to slot in a medley of the Friday night’s main attractions, shifting inbetween Limp Bizkit‘s ‘Break Stuff’ leading onto KoRn‘s ‘Blind’, and ending the sly filler with Faith No More‘s ‘Epic’. Even if the music ain’t to your liking, the constant whirlwinding of microphones between vocalists Gavin Butler and Sean Smith, or the eratic nature of the band as a whole is enough of a spectacle to keep you entertained. Who knows where they’ll be placed on the festival’s bill for next year.
A DAY TO REMEMBER – SECOND STAGE
Their second time back at the festival and the second consecutive year too, A Day To Remember‘s live show is an exciting and energetic one â€“ visual proof of how they’ve deserved the upgrade to second stage this year. Their back-up of recent positively received album ‘Homesick’ is made present in their setlist, ‘The Downfall Of Us All’ and ‘I’m Made Of Wax, Larry, What Are You Made Of?’ being just a few taken off the record and shoved out there effectively for the masses. The band’s rise in recent years hasn’t affected their egos either, constantly thanking their fans for their current position. Closer ‘The Plot To Bomb The Panhandle’ sets off the crowd into one final frenzy, topping off every other previous act of band appreciation, and should surely set off A Day To Remember to an almost promised slot next year.
BILLY TALENT – MAIN STAGE
It’s been 3 years since Billy Talent‘s latest album, and with another one soon to hit the record store shelves it’s a good time to show that they’re back on the game and hitting festival main stages. It seems though that perhaps their absence has made their live performance a little a bit rusty. Old numbers like ‘Line & Sinker’ and ‘Devil In A Midnight Mass’, and newbie ‘Rusted From The Rain’ are without a debt delivered with a power and flare many acts across the weekend would find challenging to replicate. Ben Kowalewicz is still a demonic and entertaining frontman in his own league, and if nothing else guitarist Ian D’Sa‘s hair is worth seeing alone â€“ and though entertaining, it can’t be helped thinking and knowing that Billy Talent are capable of pulling off something so much more.
BRING ME THE HORIZON – SECOND STAGE
Since the release of their sophomore album ‘Suicide Season’ last year, steel city’s Bring Me The Horizon have been relentlessly touring country after country in its support. The recent departure of the band’s original rhythm guitarist Curtis Ward hasn’t made any impact upon their set, with the metalcore mob still powering forward as strong as ever. Mainly sticking to tracks from the latest album like ‘Football Season Is Over’ and ‘The Comedown’, the energetic nature of the performance is excelled only by how tight and well each song is delivered. Oliver Sykes often gets in on as much action as possible, jumping off the stage to the crowd and almost being dragged off into the abyss of fans. It’s not until ‘Chelsea Smile’ however that levels shift from energetic to utterly mental. With drummer Matt Nicholl‘s crashing drum sequences, guitarist Lee Malia‘s distorted riffs of chaos, and Oli Sykes‘ literally rolling about in a fit of rage onstage â€“ all backed by the obsessive fans singing back every single lyric â€“ Bring Me The Horizon could easily be one of the highlights of the whole weekend.
LIMP BIZKIT – MAIN STAGE
Limp Bizkit are one of many bands from the almost dead nu-metal scene that attempted to carry on through the struggle this state of affairs created and failing every step of the way, and eventually leading to an unofficial hiatus. When 2009 comes around, Fred Durst and co. come back with their original line-up, and are one of the main acts of Download Festival. Surely this can only mean theyâ€™re going to come back and give a show that will almost literally kick you in face? Wrong. Sadly this couldn’t be much further from the truth. Fred Durst is still as poor of a frontman as he was back in the band’s fall of power and popularity, often shouting lines like “What up Download?” with the lack of passion and legitimacy to deliver it with authority and meaning, and soon become repetative and droning. Undoubtedly it’s great to hear classic favourites like ‘My Way’, ‘Break Stuff’ and ‘Rollin’ (Air Raid Vehicle)’ from the creators themselves, but if it’s done like this then maybe they should return to the blackboard again and brainstorm some ideas of improvement. Otherwise their return could very possibly have a minimal lifespan.
KORN – MAIN STAGE
With nu-metal-esque bands being ever present on Friday’s main stage this year, it’s only fitting to have the grandfathers and founding bands on the slot. Korn being eagerly awaited by a huge turnout don’t fail to disappoint, delivering the goods with a blistering set of fan favourites and crowd pleasers. They’re all there; ‘Freak On A Leash’, ‘Blind’, ‘Here To Stay’ and even a surprising insertion of ‘Helmet In A Bush’ from their 1994 self-titled debut. The absence of original members Brian ‘Head’ Welch and David Silveria in recent years hasn’t quenched the flame in the band, with every member giving it their all. Guitarist Munky (complete with face-paint) and bassist Fieldy work the main stage alongside the band’s captivating and clearly emotionally filled frontman Jonathan Davis, who works up the crowd with rallying taunts like “I didn’t come half way across the world to hear that, I said are you having a good time?”. “If you don’t know this song, then you’re not a Korn fan” he claims before bursting into ‘Got The Life’, inciting an almost landmine effect of moshpits in the crown. Though sadly ending on an arguably poor cover of Pink Floyd‘s ‘Another Brick In The Wall’, Korn are most definitely contenders for one of the best acts of the weekend.
FAITH NO MORE – MAIN STAGE
Holding a status and position such as Faith No More‘s, and then reforming and performing a headlining slot at a festival such as Download there’s bound to be a huge amount of spectators turning up to see such a rare performance, or just to see what all the fuss is about. Coming onto a stage drowned in large red drapes, and Mike Patton and co. taking their positions in formal attire, slick hair, and in Mike‘s case even a walking stick. This front is soon deteriorated though, when songs like ‘The Gentle Art Of Making Enemies’ showcase Patton‘s Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde like stage presence; changing from erringly calm to completely erratic and insane. At times he’s even bringing out a megaphone to make sure he’s heard â€“ as if the speakers and PA system aren’t enough. This seems to be the only flaw within the band’s set though. Despite the fact that Patton clearly has enough energy and ballsy charisma for half of the crowd and the band, it seems that he is the only one making the effort to come back on the radar with a huge TNT scale bang, and though hearing classics like ‘Mid Life Crisis’ and ‘Epic’ coming from their creators, there’s just that wish to see something a little more epic on the occupiers of the main stage â€“ no pun intended.
Written by Zach Redrup