LIVE: Download Festival @ Donington Park (13/06/2009)

Date: June 13th, 2009
Venue: Donington Park
Stages: Main Stage, Second Stage, Red Bull Stage


Bring on Download 2010!

The 2009 Download Festival has some great and legendary acts gracing its main stage, including Slipknot and Marilyn Manson, and the less time experienced Pendulum too.

RATING: 8/10
DevilDriver are so intense and cataclysmic that they hold the world record for the largest ever recorded circle pit – which by the way was broken and set once again at this year’s Download set. The main stage suits them well, pulling off the previously mentioned achievement being one point to back this up, with the band members being one of the best connected to the audience all weekend. The crowd are glad to see them here too, and through songs like ‘Pray For Villains’ it’s clear to see DevilDriver are one of the bands most looked forward to this year. Circle pits and mosh pits go off instantaneously across the fields, like a minefield of sweat and flailing bodies. What a set to grab a new world record to, and leaves the crown of kings of moshpits firmly upon their heads.

RATING: 4/10
With a name like In Case Of Fire, you’d imagine an act that would border upon the realms of danger with their live performance – nothing could be further from the truth. Being dubbed as the best Irish alternative rock act since Ash is also an over exaggerated statement if this is all this 3-piece can pull out of the bag. For the most part they’re motionless, showing little passion and energy to the fact they have a relatively high slot on the second stage; an impressive achievement with their popularity status. Songs like ‘This Time We Stand’ have little to know fire in their core, and no attempt to make this any different just brings boredom levels up for the entirety of their set.

RATING: 6/10
Not long after releasing their latest album ‘Be Human’, London’s Fightstar have a lot to play with and showcase at their second stage slot. Unlike previous years where they’ve played Download Festival, the amount of bottles launched at Charlie Simpson has decreased dramatically to almost zero. Whilst singles like ‘Palahnuik’s Laughter’, ‘Grand Unification (Pt. 1)’, and ‘The English Way’ are delivered to critical feedback of screams of joy and continuous mosh pits, they just seem a bit plain in their showmanship. Bassist Dan Haigh whips the crowd up to lather more in the band’s set of alternative rock/post-hardcore onslaught, but in the stage performance itself the band seem almost static and robotronic in their delivery until closer ‘Deathcar’ comes along. Aside from that Fightstar are on good form with a set tighter than a fly’s arse, but without the physical passion it marks the difference between a good show and an excellent one.

RATING: 7/10
Watford grown None The Less are another of the lesser known acts to grace the Red Bull Bedroom Jam Stage, but that doesn’t mean they can’t kick up a decent flare in the crowd – which is exactly what the five-piece do. Their melodic metal and rock style which occasionally brushes upon hardcore cites a rather impressive mosh pit considering the band’s size and familiarity with the spectators before them. Frontman Anthony Giannaccini has a certain presence and onstage swagger about him, that along with his claims for people “to get moving” for them as much as possible and climbing on stage equipment engages the crowd to do so. Combined with the dual guitars from Owen Harvey and Joe Page, and Harvey‘s gritty harsh vocals, songs like ‘Define’ and ‘I Feel Like Your Enemy’ go down better than a girl from the Playboy mansion.

RATING: 7/10
Being one of the more out of place bands on the weekend’s line-up, Pendulum stick out almost like a sore thumb – not that this is always a bad thing, like in this circumstance. Though their electronic and synth led prowess onto the rock world, complete with an MC isn’t one that you’d expect to connect at this festival, but it does. Sure, popular chart entering numbers like ‘Propane Nightmares’ and ‘Granite’ are more than guaranteed to get a few bodies moving, but when they’re delivered with the accuracy and clean-cut end result to hoardes of raving spectators, it’s enough to put other acts who’ve been at this for years and more suitable for this festival in their place. It even sets a pretty high mark for the similar second stage headliners The Prodigy for that day, a band who are a prime influence on these juniors to that scene in comparison; though this set could leave that in question.

RATING: 2/10
Marilyn Manson‘s performance is exactly what you shouldn’t do if you’ve been offered to play the sub-headlining slot at a music festival; don’t come on influenced by alcohol or some sort of drugs, don’t play mainly new material when you have an impressive back catalogue to work with too, don’t get touch-ups after every other song in your set by stagehands. After a long introduction before having the curtain dropped and revealing the band opening with ‘Four Rusted Horses’, the eagerly-awaiting crowd were in anticipation to see Manson and long-time friend and member Twiggy Ramirez back in the whole swing of things, and a decent album the previous month to indicate the band had their fire once more. Sadly Manson‘s intoxicated and what often seemed disinterest with his slot on the bill brought the levels down from what could have been exceptional to almost utter shit. On the small plus side, it’s nice to hear old favourites like ‘The Dope Show’, ‘Great Big White World’ and ‘The Beautiful People’. Just a shame that Manson is capable of pulling off something much more spectacular and didn’t seem to bothered in trying to, but more in contemplating with the crowd whether he should wear a coat or not, and that telling the crowd “Do not do drugs… unless you get them for free”. Sort yourself out please Manson, or you could crash and burn more and more sooner than you think.

RATING: 10/10
It’s been a long wait for the Iowan masked 9-piece, but their 10th anniversary since the release of their debut full-length sees them finally obtaining their well-earned place as Download‘s headliners. Even before one of them sets foot in sight on the stage there is a constant wave of chants for them to come on and play another set they’re more than well-known for. When they finally do it’s more than worth the wait and suspense; the raising and twirling percussion, the searing and frightfully amazing guitar and bass works, the fast yet precise lead drums of Joey Jordison, the colliding of band member’s bodies and running out to the crowd, and but of course Corey Taylor‘s distinguishable and impeccable vocals is just a fraction of what brings this set to life. The classics are all there; ‘Wait & Bleed’, ‘Duality’, ‘Left Behind’, ‘Vermilion’, there’s not a single thing out of place from the first second ’til the last easily making this one of the best sets over the three day weekend. The constant reminder of the fans being the reason for this being possible is constantly brought up, and Slipknot do more than return the favour. It’s when closer ‘Spit It Out’ comes along and the trademark “jump the fuck up” act is handed out when things come to their best. Literally thousands upon thousands of people clumped in the smallest of spaces to the biggest all crouch down at Corey‘s command across the field only to jump again in unison, and send one final frenzy. Slipknot can take off knowing that their headline set at Download Festival will be one set in the history books.

Written by Zach Redrup