Download Festival 2012
Last weekend saw the 10th annual Download Festival, one of the biggest rock and metal music festivals in the world. Seeing as it was a special anniversary they pulled out all the stops in a bid to make it one to remember. Well we went along and battled the rain and the mud in order to bring you a little taste of Donington at its finest!
Well, Friday got off to a wet start. After a very muddy couple of the days in the campsite we were looking forward to seeing some actual grass in the arena, nevermind the bands. This was not the case. All lined up and ready to go, the crowds descended upon the arena gates only to learn they were delayed in being opened due to the conditions inside, not really what you wish to hear. Sadly, due to this delay, the opening bands on each stage had to be cancelled as they were running approx. 2 hours behind.
Again, due to this delay, we missed the first band on our hitlist, The Quireboys. We could hear them perfectly as we queued and queued to get inside, and they sounded fantastic, but well it isn’t really the same is it? Same again with Terrorvision on the second stage, by the time we got in the set was nearly over. I am guessing these delays left a lot of fans very saddened but I guess that is mother nature. Another bout of bad luck saw pioneers Europe also having to cancel their set. Delays on the road in caused them to run extremely behind. Boos were heard from the crowd as the announcement was made, shame really as we were looking forward to checking them out!
Next up on the Zippo Encore stage were the recently reunited Little Angels, who were pretty fantastic I have to say. Singer Toby Jepson looked nothing but delighted by the reception the band received, and despite not playing together for 18 years, you would think not even a day had passed. Following on, things took a more progressive twist when Opeth hit the stage. Not being huge fan may have hindered by experience of them sadly, as I couldn’t truly appreciate their presence on stage. Great musicians, but not the most exciting of the weekend lets say. The same can be said for Nightwish who played next. Completing their line up with new singer Anette Olzon, the band played a set which really seemed to please the majority of the crowd, but sadly it all sounded a little too Eurovision for me. Olzon is that little bit too caberet, and at times the songs just seem bizarre.
The headliner on Download’s second stage this evening is the legendary Slash with Myles Kennedy and The Conspirators. As the rain continues to fall they blast through a set complete with Snakepit tunes, Velvet Revolver, classic Guns N’ Roses and of course a handful of tracks from the bands latest album. There is something quite magical about the evening, the band are on fire and the crowd loving every second. Hearing hundreds of thousands of people singing the words to Paradise City is one of lifes great moments. Despite the weather, Slash and the guys did the job and made everyone forget we were in a rainy field in Donington, well until we had to return to the swamp in the campsite afterwards that is.
As Saturday came, again did the rain. Not ideal, but as the song says, the show must go on. The mighty Saxon kick off the day for us on the main stage, pulling quite the crowd which is pleasing to see. They to me are a fantastic metal band who don’t get as much credit as they deserve, and Biff Byford, what a legend eh? Wheels of Steel was a highlight of their short but rocking set.
Next up we trekked back to the second stage to catch an extremely short but very satisfying set from the one and only Ginger Wildheart. Playing a smattering of bizarre but brilliant tracks from his new triple album, he made the crowd laugh, he made them sing and he made the rain go away, pretty awesome. Turbonegro followed with their own brand of glam punk. Make up, sailor outfits and glitter tinted punk rock, hilarious and excellent all at once.
Back over to the mainstage for the highly amusing Steel Panther. Now, it may be exactly the same set we have seen from them time and time again, but it doesn’t make it less funny. I don’t think I have ever seen so many ‘boobies’ on the main screen. The Treatment were next on our hitlist over in the Pepsi Max tent. As always they were solid and sounded brilliant. They work hard and it clearly pays off as the crowd sway and sing along, they deserve to be on a bigger stage.
Something special from Corey Taylor this evening, again in the Pepsi Max tent with an acoustic set from the Slipknot/Stone Sour frontman. Aswell as some amazing sounding unplugged Stone Sour tracks, he attempted the ‘Knots Spit It Out and it weirdly works. Aswell as a few covers of Nine Inch Nails and Alice in Chains, it made for a very interesting set. And onto tonights headliners, Metallica. I have to say I had been looking forward to this very much, as The Black Album is probably my favourite of all the ‘tallica albums. Worth it simply for The Unforgiven, Nothing Else Matters and Sad But True. One word, epic. I can’t say much else, apart from I definitely lost my voice after singing long.
Onto the last day, the Sabbath, and the day Sabbath were playing, coincidentally. Or not. Weirdly the sun came out, typical on the last day. But as the mud began to dry, and our skin began to burn, we headed over the second stage to see our chums Rival Sons. Unfortunately their set was cut short due to technical issues but they were fantastic. Although a little different to some of the other acts on the bill today, the impressed the crowd, and Jay blew us away with his voice. Looking every inch the rockstars they reminded everyone what real rock and roll sounds like.
Sebastian Bach took the stage next and I can report the pipes are still intact! He blasted his way through some old Skid Row tunes aswell as some tracks of his brilliant Kicking and Screaming album and made a lot of women in the crowd very happy with his rendition of I Remember You. Afterwards Ugly Kid Joe played another great set which ensured mass sing alongs in the sunshine.
Megadeath impress as usual, even if Dave Mustaine has made a few choice words in the press lately, you cannot deny the power that Megadeath bring to the stage. The same can be said for Soundgarden. Although slightly out of place with all the metal on the main stage today, the grunge pioneers were incredible. Black Hole Sun was simply beautiful in the dull sunshine, and classics like Outshined, Jesus Christ Pose and Fell on Black Days had the crowd in awe at Chris Cornells voice.
And then, then the mighty Black Sabbath took to the stage to close the 10th year of Download. Truly inspirational performance. Thankfully, the naysayers were hidden away tonight and the crowd embraced the band alongside drummer Tommy Clufetos and made this the highlight of the weekend. You have not heard a crowd sing until you have heard them sing to Iron Man. Tony Iommi looked humble and his name was chanted over and over, and Geezer played it cool as ever. Ozzy looked like an excitable child onstage and sounded in great shape. It really was a moment to behold as the sun went down and the fireworks went off left right and centre. They wanted it to be special, and special it was. Here’s to next year!
And the third Download headliner is….
Self confirmed last night, Download Festival had no choice but admit it was true. Since their last appearance at Download, headlining the second stage in 2009, the group played to 65,000 fans at Milton Keynes, their biggest concert to date. No doubt this had a key part in bumping them up to main stage headliners!