LIVE: Download Festival @ Donington Park – Saturday (09/06/2012)

Date: June 9th, 2012
Venue: Donington Park, Derbyshire


Now celebrating the 10th year since its inception, it’s obvious that to mark this important milestone in the event’s history, Download Festival was going to make it truly special weekend to remember. If we weren’t there, we would have thrown a tantrum. Here’s our review of what we thought of the Saturday of what would undoubtedly be a fantastic weekend of rock, metal, punk and alternative music:


Metalcore is pretty much the last thing you want on a hangover, but As I Lay Dying rubbish those claims as they power through a ridiculously heavy set to open up Saturday’s proceedings. As the punters slowly stagger in, they’re treated to songs from throughout their career, including ‘Forever’, ‘An Ocean Between Us’ and the ferocious ‘Anodyne Sea’. Tim Lambessis is absolutely huge and his bandmates aren’t exactly small either. Winner of the most handsome band award? Definitely. [MS]

Sadly, we were unable to catch this set.

It’s not great when the lead singer of a band starts calling the crowd “fucking cocksuckers”. Black Veil Brides set is quite bewildering, after about ten minutes the bottles and glow sticks started hitting the stage and it was obvious BVB would need to soldier through it. With multiple sound issues, a hostile crowd and lead singer Andy Biersack looking like he wanted to be anywhere else in the world apart. Apart from that, they manage to make a few off numbers like ‘Fallen Angels’ sound anthemic, but it was hard to feel anything but sympathy for them. [GS]

TRIVIUM – 9/10
TriviumMatt Heafy‘s hands from the first minute of the set right up to the closing moments, and the circle pits to ‘The Decieved’, ‘Black’ and ‘Dusk Dismantled’ prove how easy it is for Trivium to get a crowd going. Easily one of the best sets of the day. [GS]

Sadly, we were unable to catch this set.

It’s a shame that Tenacious D don’t pull out all the stops for Download because their set felt far too small. There isn’t enough going on, there needs to be some amusing video/interesting staging/pyrotechnics. Ultimately, it was two overweight guys singing stupid songs, which is fine, but there needed to be more for it to be a great gig. However, it’s hard to not go with it, especially when the entire crowd sings along to ‘Tribute’. [GS]

There’s a lot of sincerity and purity when Biffy Clyro play. The whole crowd seems to just get it, which makes for a fantastic gig. Whether it’s opener ‘Mountains’, radio botherer ‘Many Of Horror’ or ‘The Captain’, there doesn’t seem to be a single person who isn’t singing every word. Biffy Clyro really do themselves proud, especially considering they were practically supporting Metallica, which must have be a career highlight for the Kilmarnock trio. [GS]

Let’s be honest, Metallica could come out on turd covered bicycles and still completely floor the place at Download. Now in their sixth appearance here, they’ve lost none of their appeal as they effortlessly whip the crowd into a frenzy, frontman James Hetfield puppeteering the thousands, proving why they’re the biggest metal band in the world. Playing 1991’s ‘The Black Album’ in reverse is this year’s treat, featuring ‘Sad But True’, ‘The Unforgiven’ and ‘Nothing Else Matters’. As ‘Enter Sandman’ finishes out, the audience is begging for more and their screams are answered with a three song encore. ‘Battery’ is as brutal as ever, followed by ‘One’, featuring pyros, fireworks and lasers, before finishing off with a rousing singalong of ‘Seek And Destroy’ to delight fans old and new. If there’s one band that you need to see live as a metal fan, it’s Metallica, hands down. [MS]


PAGE 44 – 6/10
The Birmingham quartet play to a crowd of people milling around, some with obvious hangovers and others who just look bemused. It feels like the band are trying too hard, lead singer Adam Vygus must have said the word fuck about fifty times in half an hour, which goes from being mildly amusing to being a tad nauseating. The set is solid though, it’s energetic but runs out of steam towards the end. [GS]

FOZZY – 10/10
Chris Jericho, what a showman. Chants of “Y2J!” and “Yes! Yes! Yes!” sound out throughout Fozzy‘s impressive 25 minute set. Jericho sprints around the stage, making sure that not a soul is stood still as Fozzy blast out heavy metal anthems ‘Martyr No More’ and ‘Enemy’. Maybe it’s the fact that he’s been in front of the cameras for so long, but he doesn’t seem daunted at all by the early morning crowd. He even steals the camera at one point, to give us a Jericho-eye view of the arena. One of the bands of the weekend. [MS]

Halestorm were one of the bands to see last year, and that news has obviously spread well as they pull an impressive amount of people up the trenched slope to second stage. It’s easy for female-fronted rock bands to be gimmicky, but Lzzy Hale certainly rubbishes that claim. Dominating, sexy, talented; she’s got it all, and don’t think that the rest of the band are just a backdrop either; drummer Arejay Hale has ants in his pants the entire set and guitarist Joe Hottinger shreds like the world’s best. [MS]

I’m front-centre for my personal highlight of the weekend, Ginger from The Wildhearts. It’s a little disappointing that he plays a mostly solo career orientated setlist, but there are a couple of The Wildhearts songs in there, namely ‘Inglorious’ and ‘Suckerpunch’. He’s relatively to himself today and has dropped the Max Cavalera look for a smart black suit, but that doesn’t stop him from cracking a few jokes. If there’s one thing that this crowd needs to do now, it’s go and listen to his new album, because who knows when or if The Wildhearts will tour again. [MS]

Sadly, we were unable to catch this set.

This band have been going from strength to strength over the past year and with the huge crowd they pull on the second stage, it looks like things are going to get even bigger for them. Sticking mainly to 2011’s ‘World Record’ material for the majority of their set, they all go down a treat, including singles ‘Deadliest Catch’ and ‘(Motor) Way Of Life’. [GS]

Sadly, we were unable to catch this set.

Playing up the Canadian thing with their entry music are Theory Of A Deadman, who are the perfect respite for the exhausted festival goers. Vocalist Tyler Connolly looks like Elvis Presley but brings a blasé attitude along with him. They’re not complex and they’re not clever, but they play good songs. Plus, there are plenty singing along for ‘Hate My Life’ and ‘Bad Girlfriend’, even if Connolly struggles with the high notes. [MS]

Everyone needs cheering up a bit what with the weather and Kids In Glass Houses do just that with their infectious brand of pop-rock. On a different day they might be the sort of band that would get bottled, but there are no projectiles today and there are even mosh pits. They’ve been poor when I’ve seen them in the past, but on this performance they’re certainly a band that I’d watch again. [MS]

Last year’s Skindred performance was the set of the weekend, featuring the now legendary ‘Newport Helicopter’, wherein everyone windmills a piece of clothing above their heads to create quite a sight. Frontman Benji Webbe is one of the best in music today with his Jamaican/Welsh accent and sparkling gold suit. Guitarist Dan Pugsley doesn’t wanna get left out either, playing the entire set with a horse’s head mask. How on earth he knew what he was doing, I do not know. The set goes without clothing removal until ‘Warning’ blares out and the Newport Helicopter flies once more. [MS]

Now without Howard from Halifax and back with original vocalist Jesse Leach are Killswitch Engage. Many are dismayed by their apparent clashing with Metallica, and matters aren’t helped with the poor sound outside the main area. Nevertheless, the songs are damn good, featuring ‘The End Of Heartache’ and ‘Fixation On The Darkness’. It’s classic KsE, almost discounting the Howard era, but still giving nods to its highlights. Guitarist Adam Dutkiewicz is as hilarious as ever, dedicating songs to “fucking your mother” and insulting us tongue-in-cheek (or, maybe, he really just hates us all). [MS]

Sadly, we were unable to catch this set.


Sadly, we were unable to catch this set.

As a relatively unknown band, as you would imagine that this is probably the biggest audience Avosetta have played for. The crowd are all into it and all the songs are upbeat and buoyant. The band has a soft centre and there isn’t much bite to the performance. They could have done with moving around more and engaging with the crowd. [GS]

DON BROCO – 9/10
Taking to the stage like they own it, Don Broco frontman Rob Damiani exudes confidence like no one else, engaging with the crowd and soon makes his way down, commanding their fans to do a press-up contest in the middle of the pit. You could argue his vocals aren’t always pitch perfect, but who cares when he’s such a good frontman. ‘Beautiful Morning’ and ‘Priorities’ stand out and the are mesmerized by the whole set. To be fair, it’s hard not to be. [GS]

Sadly, we were unable to catch this set.

THE YOYO’S – 7/10
The majority of the crowd trudge down the hill to see ex-The Wildhearts member Danny McCormack‘s band, The YoYo’s, who are playing a few shows since breaking up in 2005. Him and co-vocalist Tom Spencer play songs from their all too brief career to an impressively rammed tent. Let’s just hope they stay around a little longer this time. [MS]

Sadly, we were unable to catch this set.

Sadly, we were unable to catch this set.

These guys are everything that Towers Of London should have been; they play old school Motley Crew style rock, dress like The Ramones and are great live. It’s great to see a band who are absolutely loving playing and enjoying every minute. The band look like they would be comfortable playing anywhere, whether it’s in your front room or at Wembley Stadium. Each member looks completely insane and they’re better for it. [GS]

Sadly, we were unable to catch this set.

Sadly, we were unable to catch this set.

Sadly, we were unable to catch this set.

Sadly, we were unable to catch this set.

Sadly, we were unable to catch this set.


Sadly, we were unable to catch any bands performing at this venue/stage.


Sadly, we were unable to catch any bands performing at this venue/stage.

Written by Martin Savage [MS] and Greg Spencer [GS]

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