Download Festival 2015: Day two – Saturday 13 June

Download Festival 2015: Day two – Saturday 13 JuneDownload Festival 2015: Day two – Saturday 13 JuneDownload Festival 2015: Day two – Saturday 13 JuneDownload Festival 2015: Day two – Saturday 13 JuneDownload Festival 2015: Day two – Saturday 13 JuneDownload Festival 2015: Day two – Saturday 13 JuneDownload Festival 2015: Day two – Saturday 13 JuneDownload Festival 2015: Day two – Saturday 13 JuneDownload Festival 2015: Day two – Saturday 13 JuneDownload Festival 2015: Day two – Saturday 13 JuneDownload Festival 2015: Day two – Saturday 13 JuneDownload Festival 2015: Day two – Saturday 13 JuneDownload Festival 2015: Day two – Saturday 13 JuneDownload Festival 2015: Day two – Saturday 13 JuneDownload Festival 2015: Day two – Saturday 13 JuneDownload Festival 2015: Day two – Saturday 13 JuneDownload Festival 2015: Day two – Saturday 13 JuneDownload Festival 2015: Day two – Saturday 13 JuneDownload Festival 2015: Day two – Saturday 13 JuneDownload Festival 2015: Day two – Saturday 13 June

dl saturday-1 In Hearts Wake

The rain may have kept on pouring throughout the second day of this year’s Download Festival, but that didn’t stop us – here’s what we made of a soggy Saturday at Donington.

The Lounge Kittens

Download Festival 2015 - Donnington Park

The summer sun was a distant memory when I emerged from my tent on Saturday and as I walked up through the Download Festival Village, I soon realised that the trainers I was wearing were not going to cut it. What had only yesterday been a field of grass and dusty dirt tracks, had now been replaced with what can only be described as a muddy swamp! Knowing that the arena would not be in better shape I prepared myself with wellies and a waterproof poncho and off I went to start my second day. I knew where I wanted to be as soon as I got into the arena (which had opened late due to safety issues because of the mud). I headed straight for the Zippo Encore stage to see The Lounge Kittens. These ladies had gathered quite the crowd but I’m not surprised- who doesn’t want to hear their favourite rock songs performed in three part harmony!? They opened with Marilyn Manson’s ‘The Beautiful People’ which, as they said, meant that the Encore stage would be starting the day with Marilyn Manson and ending the day with Marilyn Manson, as he was Set to headline that night. Because The Lounge Kittens are something a bit different, they were really well received and they pulled their crowd in to the point of getting them to perform the “t-rexican wave” which, if you can’t guess from the name, is a Mexican wave done with tiny t-rex arms- it was as silly and as amusing as it sounds. My favourite part of their set was when they did a pop-punk medley which consisted of Good Charlotte, Fall Out Boy, Panic At The Disco, Sum 41, Paramore, The Offspring, Blink 182, Bowling For Soup, Lit and I’m sure there was even more than that! They finished their set with what they called the ‘Download 2015 Mega Mix’, which was another medley but made up of songs by 15 different artists that were performing over the weekend. The Lounge Kittens are definitely worth checking out if you get a chance. (Review: Gemma Bywater)

In Hearts Wake

dl saturday-2  In Hearts Wake

For those in need of a stiffer and drier wake-me-up than what was on offer from the Lounge Kittens, it came in the big blue tent courtesy of Australian metalcore mob In Hearts Wake. If you like your elevenses served with huge riffs and mega stomp parts, you were in for a treat. Delivered with bundles of energy and conviction, In Hearts Wake were the aural equivalent of a stiff coffee and a great way to blow away any cobwebs, and stay dry while watching them. (Review: Dave Musson)

Download Festival 2015 - Donnington Park

Funeral For a Friend

Over at the main stage it was time for Funeral For A Friend. This was the 5th time this band would play Download Festival during their 14 and a half year career and they showed that they still have what it takes. They may have been in the second slot of the day but they brought in a crowd who were getting involved, they even had a circle pit going at one point. They came, they played, they enjoyed themselves and they entertained- it’s basic but what more do you need from a band? (Review: Gemma Bywater)

 

 

 

 

 

 

Chunk, No Captain Chunk!

The high energy on the third stage continued thanks to a particularly bouncy set from Parisian nutters Chunk, No Captain Chunk.

dl saturday-5 CNCC!

Yes, they have a silly name and yes, their singer looks like Marty McFly from Back to the Future, but they can actually play and are a lot of fun to boot. They already sound like they’ve improved since their run supporting Tonight Alive last Autumn and show a lot of promise. Bien joué les gars! (Review: Dave Musson)

New Year’s Day

dl saturday-9 NYD

Any hard rock band fronted by a woman is bound to garner attention and so it proves for New Years Day, who take to the fourth stage in front of a sizeable crowd. Their show is theatrical, high-octane and packed full of crowd participation and they give a great account of themselves. Good stuff. (Review: Dave Musson)

Empire

dl saturday-12 Empire

Having heard a lot of positive things about British rockers Empire, I was keen to catch their fourth stage slot and it was more than worth the slow trudge up a muddy hill. They exploded on the stage with catchy riffs and infectious rhythms, tearing through a quite brilliant set that really showed what a talent they are. How they are not more famous is beyond me, as today showed that Empire could really be something special. (Review: Dave Musson)

Hands Like Houses

dl saturday-14 Hand like Houses

Back on the third stage and it was the turn of another Aussie band to entertain us poms, this time in the shape of Hands Like Houses – a ‘wave of rock in a sea of heavy’ as their singer put it. That might be so, but it didn’t stop HLH delivering a top set packed full of songs from their excellent album Unimagine. A particular highlight was ‘Introduced Species’ with its rousing chant of “we don’t belong here!” getting shouted back at the band from the huge crowd. When you’ve melodies as good as this sitting on top of some loud guitars, it’s difficult to go wrong and HLH nail it. (Review: Dave Musson)

Hollywood UnDead

I managed to catch part of Hollywood Undead’s main stage set. I like these guys, they’re another one that you find you cant help dancing to. As a rap/rock band, they are something a little bit different thrown into the Download weekend but they’re enjoyable to listen to. (Review: Gemma Bywater)

Crobot

dl saturday-18 Crobot

Back on stage four and it’s time for some dirty rock and roll riffage courtesy of Crobot, who drop some of the tastiest licks of the entire weekend. The band loses vintage swagger and style, in particular their affroed bassist, who crouches low with his legs spread wide and his guitar tucked into his body pounding his bass like rhythmic god. A cracking effort. (Review: Dave Musson)

Upon a Burning Body

dl saturday-20 UABB

Ever since their frankly awful attempt at a PR stunt where they faked the kidnapping of their singer, I’ve found Upon a Burning Body a difficult one to like. I still wouldn’t call myself a fan, but golly they know how to put on a show, tearing the third stage a new one from start to finish of their set. They also lay serious claim to the crown of ‘best dressed band’ of the weekend, looking incredibly dapper in their swish suits. With beatdowns and crowd surfers galore, UABB certainly delivered – hopefully they’ll now let their musical talents do the talking. (Review: Dave Musson)

Creeper

dl saturday-22 Creeper

Creeper were playing in Jake’s tent, I didn’t know this band and in all honesty I had headed over to wait for ROAM to start their set, but as it turned out I was glad that I did. There was a relatively small crowd gathered in the tent but they seemed excited to see the band. Looking at Creeper as they came out onto the stage, I was expecting (maybe) metal music from them. These thoughts were fed by the fact that they were all in black and the front man bared a resemblance to the likes of Andy Biersack of Black Veil Brides and Chris Motionless of Motionless In White (you get the picture), in that he was sporting a leather jacket and long black hair- I know, I should be far from judging a book by its cover by now but we are all guilty of it aren’t we!? It soon became apparent that I was wrong, Creeper have more of a punk sound about them which I was more than happy to hear! They were clearly enjoying what they were doing and they were pleasing their fans, plus anyone else who had joined the crowd in the tent. These guys have the potential to be much bigger and having just signed with Roadrunner Records, I wouldn’t be surprised to hear more from them in the near future. (Review: Gemma Bywater)

Testament

Producing tasty thrash metal since time immemorial, Testament have consistently set the bar high enough to almost transform the celebrated ‘Big 4’ of thrash (Anthrax, Slayer, Megadeth, Metallica) into a ‘Big 5‘. And as they tear the Encore Stage stage a new one at the admittedly strange time of 3:20pm, it’s not particularly difficult to see why. Singer Chuck Billy still retains his wickedly individualistic and recognisable growl and the unnervingly talented Alex Skolnick and Eric Peterson widdle all over the stage, drowning everyone not already soaked by endless rain with grinning show-off guitar acrobatics.

Helping to highlight the sheer diversity of subgenres represented by the Download lineups, Testament waved the flag for thrash with age-defying zeal and breathtaking displays of consummate showmanship, earning their place on the bill and doubly cementing their slot in heavy metal history. (Review: James Stokes)

Northlane

dl saturday-27 Northlane

Back on stage three and it’s yet another Australian band playing, this time Northlane. Another band plying their trade in the ever-crowded metalcore genre, Northlane show they are capable of the founding riffage and big choruses necessary, with some breakdowns that fans of the Devil Wears Prada would really appreciate. This lot are heading back to the UK in October and could be well worth checking out. (Review: Dave Musson)

Parkway Drive

Download Festival 2015 - Donnington Park

Another stage, another bunch of Aussies; while Northlane were tearing up stage three their countrymen Parkway Drive were doing the same to the main stage, actively encouraging those watching to get dirty and start moshing – cue lots of muddy bodies flying over the front barriers. ‘Karma’ played in a big field sounded epic as did they crushingly heavy cover of Rage Against the Machine’s ‘Bulls on Parade’. Parkway never disappoint and delivered the goods again here. (Review: Dave Musson)

Roam

Next, we greeted ROAM onto the stage. Another band with catchy music that has the potential to be much bigger. Their sound is clearly influenced by early noughties pop punk, if I had to pick just one band to compare them to, I would say New Found Glory. With them having the stereotypical pop punk sound about them, keeping their audience entertained seemed easy since it is pretty hard not to get involved when the music is so bouncy! As they played, people continued to fill the tentand they managed to excite their fans enough that they ended up having a couple of crowd surfers. Again, with the band having signed with Hopeless Records at the end of last year I wouldn’t be surprised to hear a lot more from them. (Review: Gemma Bywater)

Crown the Empire

dl saturday-30 Crown the empire

Back in the big blue tent and it’s time for yet more metalcore, this time from the dual vocalist fronted Crown the Empire. While their music is perhaps much of muchness for the genre, where CTE really stand out is in a live setting; with two singers to concentrate on, there’s certainly plenty to watch and they really know how to keep the crowd involved throughout their set, which is delivered with serious oomph. (Review: Dave Musson)

Every Time I Die

dl saturday-32 ETID

If Every Time I Die is playing at a festival you’re at, you should always make the effort to see them, because they will always be the best band you see. Download 2015 is no exception, with the boys from Buffalo delivering a masterclass in hardcore rock and roll mayhem. The band are seemingly getting better and better with age and show no signs of slowing down, not even new dad Jordan Buckley on guitar, who gives it so much that he has to vomit off the front of the stage before dropping back into action without missing a beat. Once again, ETID steal the show. (Review: Dave Musson)

A Day to Remember

Download Festival 2015 - Donnington Park

Over at the main stage, a big crowd was gathered for A Day To Remember. I had been looking forward to seeing them all day and thankfully, they did not disappoint. Greeting their fans with ‘Downfall Of Us All’ just showed how big these guys are; they had fans joining in all the way to the back of the crowd and even beyond that, up the hill where the stragglers were stood! The enthusiasm of the fans continued throughout the set and crowd surfers emerged during ‘Right Back At It Again’. Continuing to please their fans, A Day To Remember had a mascot come out onto the stage to fire t-shirts into the crowd with a t-shirt cannon during ‘City Of Ocala’. They performed hit after hit and without a doubt, they had their audience under their spell. At one point the acoustic guitars came out and they performed a cover of Oasis’ ‘Champagne Supernova’ which, unsurprisingly, everyone joined in with, and during ‘Have Faith In Me’, the band asked for ladies to get onto shoulders, which they obliged to, no questions asked. There was honestly not a single let down during their entire set, the only time I was disappointed was when they said they only had time for one more song but they went out with a bang performing ‘The Plot To Bomb The Panhandle’ to close, what I would describe as one of the best sets of the entire weekend! (Review: Gemma Bywater)

Body Count

dl saturday-38 Bodycount

Next up in the big blue tent is Body Count, the thrash-rap crossover band fronted by none other than Mr Ice T. There is huge crowd watching, and a huge crowd of cameramen on stage filming the band from up close, and the band don’t hold back. Looking beyond the sexist waffle spouted by Ice T between songs, Body Count are entertaining enough in a festival setting, even if their music is a tad generic. That doesn’t stop the crowd from going mental for them and the security guards at the front are kept busy throughout the set. (Review: Dave Musson)

Faith No More

Download Festival 2015 - Donnington Park

Since their glorious reactivation of the cooling corpse of Faith No More in 2009, Mike Patton and his band of merry misfits have brought endless fun to wherever their circus travelled, a deliriously happy unabashed nostalgiafest. Just as the charade was threatening to get a little stale, a new album in the form of Sol Invictus popped up and new songs have filled out a few spaces in the set.

While many would undoubtedly greet deep cuts from the band’s heyday with zeal, the delivery of a new album – and the frenzied live delivery of the fresh material – happily allays fears of the reunion being a cynical cash-grab. In further defiance, the band rocket through classics like 90’s anthem Epic, their cover of the Commodores’ Easy as well as the cooly funkalicious Evidence.

The Sol Invictus songs aired today truly come alive and transcend their recorded counterparts: always the sign of a great band, Faith No More are a rare beast that are preferable in a live setting to the studio. Darting around furtively in their back catalogue, they produce the likes of Last Cup of Sorrow and We Care a Lot with a flourish.

Singer Mike Patton has clearly lost none of his eccentricities, as he sidles up to a member of on-stage security, pinches his headset and barks a terrorist alert into the microphone. Later, as a member of the audience is being stretchered off, he darts down from the stage to let him sing: such acts are timely reminders of how badly missed this genre-hopping indefinable act have been. Long may it continue. (Review: James Stokes)

Black Veil Brides

Download Festival 2015 - Donnington Park

I decided that I would be spending the rest of my evening over at the Zippo Encore stage to see sub-headliners, Black Veil Brides and the Encore stage Headliner, the one and only Marilyn Manson. There were cheers as the backdrop fell and revealed the album art from the Black Veil Brides most recent, self titled album; following that there was only a short wait before they took to the stage. As always the majority of the crowd, even at this huge festival, appeared to be made up of mostly younger girls who were ecstatic to see their heroes on stage. As they opened with ‘Faithless’ I had to admire how good front man, Andy Biersack’s voice was; I had seen them in the past but he had blown his voice at a previous show and although he performed, he admitted that it wasn’t to his full potential, so to now be able to hear what he can really do was honestly amazing. After their first song Andy thanked the fans for coming out to see them and said that he was truly grateful as without us [the fans] the entire festival wouldn’t exist therefore [we] are proof that “rock is not dead!”. Throughout the entire set there were some pretty epic pyrotechnics going on which fit in nicely with the rest of the stage show. All but 2 songs in that were performed were from the bands latest album and their album previous to that- The Wretched And Divine which meant that they did have to cut out quite a few of the favourites but this didn’t ruin their show at all. When Andy announced their last song I couldn’t quite believe it was over already, but as they say, time flies when you’re having fun! They finished with ‘In The End’ and since that is one of my personal favourites, I was happy but I wanted more from the band and as the fans chanted for them to return for an encore (that was not going to happen), it was clear that they could quite easily have held the crowd and put on an even more spectacular show had they have been in the top spot! (Review: Gemma Bywater)

Andrew WK

dl saturday-42 AWK

Without doubt there a few men more suited to bring the party than Andrew WK, so it’s no surprise at all to see the third stage rammed for his headline set. Kicking into ‘It’s Time to Party’ with a beaming grin and fist-pumping galore, Mr WK is an absolute joy to watch. He clearly has so much fun on stage that you can’t help but feel great about yourself, those around you and life in general. With songs as downright brilliant as ‘We Want Fun’, ‘She is Beautiful’ and the glorious ‘Party Hard’ Andrew WK is every bit the headliner and sends everyone off to watch Muse with a huge smile on their faces. Can we just book this guy for every festival from now on please? (Review: Dave Musson)

Download Festival 2015 - Donnington ParkMarilyn Manson

Finally the end of day two had arrived and Marilyn Manson was here to finish it off in style. I am very much a fan a Marilyn Manson’s older music and I don’t have much knowledge of his newer material so I wasn’t expecting to know many songs in this set, but how wrong I was. He did open with ‘Deep Six’, a song from his new album- The Pale Emperor but then he went way back to the year 2000 and performed disposable teens, much to my delight. Other than ‘The Beautiful People’ (which we all knew he would play because I don’t think he would get away with missing out that classic) I thought performing a song from Holy wood might be the limit in how far back he would go in his career, after all it has been fifteen years since that album was released, but he really did surprise me. Not only were we treated to songs such as ‘Rock Is Dead’ and ‘The Dope Show’ from 1998 album Mechanical Animals and ‘Angel With The Scabbed Wings’ and ‘Tourniquet’ from 1996album Antichrist Superstar; he actually went way back to his first studio album – Portrait Of An American Family, which was released in 1994 (!) and he performed ‘Lunchbox’. Needless to say my day was made to hear the old songs fill his set. Not only did he perform these older songs, he performed them well; Marilyn Manson, vocally, is as brilliant as he has ever been. Usually when it comes to a stage show, Marilyn Manson is quite the performer with props and costume changes but time here is limited so we didn’t really get any of that, although, he did have a knuckle-duster microphone which he switched for a knife shaped microphone at one point. The only thing that really let him down was the long gaps between songs, I don’t know why they were there but they were long enough that the crowd had a chance to calm down and even though he won them straight back over with the start of every song, it would have been better if these gaps had have been shorter or not there at all. Finally closing his fantastic set with ‘The Beautiful People’ (like I said, we all knew it was coming) meant that my Saturday of rain, mud and music had started and finished with the same song on the same stage (well played by The Lounge Kittens). (Review: Gemma Bywater)

Muse

While doubt continues to linger over Muse’s recorded output – with newest opus Drones inspiring adulation in some and confusion in others – the prospect of them as a live act has been undeniably thrilling for nigh-on a decade, with next year marking an astonishing ten years since they casually destroyed Reading and Leeds in 2006.

All dressed head-to-toe in black, with a suitably dark-themed new album to promote and enough pyro to start (and win) a small war, Muse jut their chins out and turn their laser cannons to Donington. Having decimated almost all of the free world in their quest to burn their unmissable live shows into the memory of every living organism, all unturned stones are gradually being ripped from the soil and consumed.

Representing the latest long-player Drones tonight is a choice sprinkling of tracks that jostles for attention in an increasingly ram-packed setlist, as Muse are now in the league of extraordinary artists who have so many songs to choose from that there is never quite room for every expected favourite.

New song Psycho opens the grand ceremony, the long-awaited home for a guitar riff Muse have been toying with for years. It sets the course admirably for an evening of naysayer-silencing heaviosity, for Muse have cannily geared tonight’s set towards the headbanger-savvy whilst also tickling their more ardent disciples under the chin.

Another new’un follows in the shape of The Handler, keeping a steady course in crushing riffs but bringing the tempo down just in time for frontman Matt Bellamy to take to his grand piano for the hysteria-inciting intro to New Born, which plays its part with his second greatest guitar creation after the classic Plug In Baby, to come much later.

After the forever soul-rinsing Hysteria comes an especially generous sequence of the rarely-aired Micro Cuts, Dead Star, Agitated and Citizen Erased: all golden oldies, all righteously heavy. It’s a wonderful two-footed gesture that deftly proves to the disbelieving that the stadium-bothering trio have got the musical muscle to justify their billing at the top of the pile, while rewarding the faithful.

A ping-pong match between new songs and setlist staples rounds off the rest of the evening.  While set-staple Starlight is nowhere to be heard – presumably for failing the heaviness test – the inevitable constants Supermassive Black Hole, Time is Running Out and Stockholm Syndrome are deployed to excellent effect.

Going toe-to-toe with those admittedly aging perennials are more new cuts, Dead Inside, Mercy and Reapers. They may not actually be better songs (although time will always have the last word on their future ability to cling to setlists), but they do inject some freshness. All are pleasant additions and proof that Muse still have a few ideas in the tank, Reapers helping Matt Bellamy to reinforce his guitar hero credentials with aplomb and the juddering dance of Dead Inside showing off more of the band’s exploratory intrigue.

After a speech from John F. Kennedy no less, the assured victory is rounded off with the so-so stomp of Uprising, the deathless Plug in Baby (signalled by Bellamy’s amusing call-and-response just using noises from his guitar) and perhaps the greatest tune ever to escape from Muse’s otherworldly capability for fusing sheer madness and a rocking tune, the bonkers triumph of Knights of Cydonia.

The Download Festival had been conspicuous by its absence from Muse’s list of conquered lands, while the likes of Glastonbury have seen grand returns. It may have been a long time coming, but the Teignmouth Trio pulled zero punches in winning over this most hallowed ground.

Next: the moon? (Review: James Stokes)

Third and fourth stage photos: Dave Musson

Main and second stage photos: Katja Ogrin

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