Download Festival 2015: Day three – Sunday 14 June

Download Festival 2015: Day three – Sunday 14 JuneDownload Festival 2015: Day three – Sunday 14 JuneDownload Festival 2015: Day three – Sunday 14 JuneDownload Festival 2015: Day three – Sunday 14 JuneDownload Festival 2015: Day three – Sunday 14 JuneDownload Festival 2015: Day three – Sunday 14 JuneDownload Festival 2015: Day three – Sunday 14 JuneDownload Festival 2015: Day three – Sunday 14 JuneDownload Festival 2015: Day three – Sunday 14 JuneDownload Festival 2015: Day three – Sunday 14 JuneDownload Festival 2015: Day three – Sunday 14 JuneDownload Festival 2015: Day three – Sunday 14 JuneDownload Festival 2015: Day three – Sunday 14 JuneDownload Festival 2015: Day three – Sunday 14 JuneDownload Festival 2015: Day three – Sunday 14 JuneDownload Festival 2015: Day three – Sunday 14 JuneDownload Festival 2015: Day three – Sunday 14 June

Download Festival 2015 - Donnington Park

Forget a day of rest, there’s another day of rocking at Donington to be had – our team rounds off another Download.

The Dead Daisies

The Dead Daisies

It’s day three of this grand carnival of all things heavy, and just about every camping-related condition is beginning to set in. How better to wake up the discerning Download attendee and blow away the cobwebs after another weird night’s sleep? Math-metal polyrythmns? Unsmiling black metal crushingness? No. The answer lies with The Dead Daisies, purveyors of good-time rock n’ roll.

Unashamedly refusing to reinvent the wheel, and instead rolling it to greener pastures, there is a very certain beauty in the five-piece’s classic rock: out in support of debut album Revolución, the stripped-down blast is just the ticket for the very first snatch of live music to clean the assembled punter’s ears out on this Sunday morning. They even inspire a few clap-alongs and are very visibly having the time of their lives, and the mood is infectious: after their set I return to the mud with a mile-wide grin. (Review: James Stokes)


Like a Storm

dl sunday-1 Like a storm

You don’t often see the didgeridoo among the list of instruments featuring in a hard rock band, but New Zealanders Like a Storm have a very big one with them as they take the stage to kick off Sunday’s antics. Even better, it really works – the haunting antipodean tones set over a chugging riff sound different and very cool. (Review: Dave Musson)

36 Crazyfists

Download Festival 2015 - Donnington Park

I’ll admit I’ve got a soft-spot for 36 Crazyfists, as they’re such a down-to-earth, hard-working bunch of dudes. As such, it’s great to see that they can still make it onto the biggest stages and do a sterling job waking up those watching the main stage. With belters like ‘At the End of August’, ‘Bloodwork’ and ‘Slit Wrist Theory’ they could play here every year and not get boring – here’s to many more Download performances to come from Alaska’s finest. (Review: Dave Musson)

September Mourning

dl sunday-4 Sept Mourn

On Sunday we were joined by they sun again but I decided to start my day in a tent at the Maverick stage, to see September Mourning. They didn’t have a very big crowd to play to but dressed in cosplay that consisted of nothing more that a white, all-in-one corset, white tights and white knee high boots, front woman September certainly gained a few fans, even if it wasn’t for the bands music. During their first song, it became apparent that September was having some technical difficulty with her ear piece. The technical problems seemed to continue throughout the set and although she was clearly struggling, she soldiered on. Their music isn’t bad, although they did do what I shall describe as an interesting cover of Ben E King’s ‘Stand By Me’. I think that maybe they are aimed at a more specific audience since the band members on-stage characters and songs are all based on a comic book also named September Mourning. (Review: Gemma Bywater)

Colour of Noise

dl sunday-9 CoN

Over at the fourth stage I had a gap so ventured in to check out Colour of Noise. While their singer had a fine voice and did a good job of whipping up the crowd, they were ultimately just another bunch of middle aged men playing classic rock. Solid yes but somewhat unspectacular. (Review: Dave Musson)

Evil Scarecrow

dl sunday-13 EvilS

Over this incredible weekend I saw all kinds of different bands, including some iconic ones, but never did I think that one of my highlights of the entire festival would come from a band performing third on the bill in a tent! I didn’t know who Evil Scarecrow were but today I had decided to stay with my Download companions and check them out. Whilst we were waiting for the band there we were handed inflatable crabs, I had no clue why (yet) but of course I obliged and took one! The crowd that had gathered to see Evil Scarecrow overflowed from the tent that housed the Maverick Stage, so I was starting to think I had made the right decision in sticking around. It was the second song in, ‘Robotron’ where they really took a hold of me. Not only did the entire mosh pit do a robot dance, the band also had robots on the stage dancing. Tell me, who isn’t going to be impressed with robots coming out of the speakers during a song to do a robot dance!? And by robots I mean boxes constructed and painted to look like robots; the front-man was in no denial about the cheese factor of their home made robots and he actually said that all these main stage bands may be able to give us pyrotechnics but no other band would give us “blue peter metal”. They were so entertaining both during and between songs. Another example of their “blue peter metal” arrived for ‘Space Dementia’ this time they had a robot carrying a box and from that box appeared an alien. I don’t know about anyone else but I was genuinely impressed; I can only imagine what they would do if they had the budget of some of the bands that had played during the weekend. Also during ‘Space Dementia’, slow motion circle pits were going on as people “moon moshed” because “earth’s gravity had been switched off”. The fans were then treated to a rendition of the Thundercats theme tune, much to the delight of everyone that was there. If the show so far doesn’t sound bizarre enough for you, allow me to introduce ‘Crabulon’ (now the inflatable crabs were starting to make sense), A robot-crab-man joined the band on stage and people started to throw their inflatable crabs around, and with lyrics such as “Well little Kraven, when a robot and a crustacean love each other very much he uses his hard drive to impregnate the crustaceans eggs. However the process of robo-insemination is far too complex for the human mind!” how could I not be amused!? But this song was not done with entertaining me yet. They had the entire crowd get their “crab claws” in the air and then I witnessed something I never thought I would, an entire mosh pit doing a crab shuffle from side to side! This may all sound a bit like you really had to be there, but honestly, this band kept myself and the rest of the tent thoroughly entertained from beginning to end. It was a shame that their set had to end so soon, the crowd even chanted for them to return. I have no doubt in my mind that these guys could take a bigger stage and I hope to see them doing so in the future. (Review: Gemma Bywater)

Code Orange

dl sunday-17 Code orange

Following Evil Scarecrow was Code Orange. To put it politely, this band were not for me and they hadn’t managed to hold on to much of the crowd that had been there for Evil Scarecrow. They had this constant noise playing throughout their set behind their songs; their one vocalist’s microphone wasn’t working and there is only so many vocals you can get out when your lead singer is also the drummer (although, fair play to the guy, that is some multi tasking). I just wasn’t impressed with them at all although but I know that there were people in the tent that were specifically there to see them and it wouldn’t do if we all had the same taste in music, would it? (Review: Gemma Bywater)

The Darkness

dl sunday-18 Darkness

I stayed put at the Maverick stage for the [not so] secret band The Darkness. By the time the band started, the tent was beyond full and people were gathering all around he outside. The band were on stage and playing but they were yet to be joined by their front-man Justin Hawkins. After a short amount of time, the band started to signal to us that we should in fact be looking to to the back of the tent; since I was at the very front it took me a while to see what we were looking at but then I saw him emerging- Justin, surfing through the crowd on Viking shields as other Vikings surrounded him.

He got on to the stage and the band went on to play ‘Barbarians’. With an entrance like that we were sure to be in for a good show! We were treated to all of the songs you would want to hear from The Darkness, such as ‘Growing on Me’, ‘Get Your Hands Off My Woman’, ‘Love is Only A Feeling’ and of course ‘I Believe In A Thing Called Love’ plus more, and with each song Justin was constantly on the move, gyrating his hips as he went. The Darkness put on an all round good show and they were another one that people wanted more of when their short set was over. (Review: Gemma Bywater)

Three Days Grace

dl sunday-24 3dg

Following what was almost a mid-afternoon headline slot from the Darkness would be a big ask for anyone, so for Canada’s Three Days Grace – relatively unknown over here – you always felt they fighting a losing battle. They gave it a decent stab and would certainly be worth checking out if you like your rock hard and anthemic, but after what had gone on before their set did feel like something of an anticlimax. (Review: Dave Musson)


dl sunday-28 madball

Veterans and legends of the New York hardcore scene, you don’t see Madball playing festivals in the UK too often, so this set was something of a treat. It was also something of a lesson to younger bands; Madball leave it all on the stage with a frantic and furious performance that you just can’t help but nod your head and stamp your feet to. There’s punk energy, gang shouting and big fat breakdowns to devour and it’s all really rather ace. On this showing, you can see why they are such an important and influential band. (Review: Dave Musson)

Slash, Myles Kennedy and the Conspirators

It seems that pretty much anyone not watching Madball was instead watching the living legend and guitar hero Slash, as he belted out a range of hits from his back catalogue with the help of Myles Kennedy and the Conspirators. There is something eternally appealing about hearing Stoke’s finest guitarist playing classics like ‘Nighttrain’, ‘Sweet Child O Mine’ and ‘Paradise City’, while his solo stuff is not too shabby either. Add to that mix the supreme vocal talent of Myles Kennedy and you’ve got possibly the perfect band for any rock festival. Come back any time Slash, we’ll be there to watch.

(Review: Dave Musson)

Man With a Mission

dl sunday-32 manmission

Dipping out of watching Slash for a bit, I take a punt on Man With a Mission. All I know before heading into the fourth stage tent is that MWAM are Japanese and wear wolf heads – not just masks, full heads – while on stage. Having seen them play a quite brilliant and quite bonkers set, that’s pretty much still all I know. Despite this, they were brilliant – completely off the wall but loads of fun. (Review: Dave Musson)

The Ghost Inside

dl sunday-34 TGI

Back to the third stage for more hardcore, this time from The Ghost Inside. I’m always interested at festivals to see how many people watch a band from the side of the stage – it seems like the more people gathered in the wings marks out the bands to really sit up and take notice of. Well, there’s plenty to watch The Ghost Inside and they justify the interest with a furious set that, if you like things fast and heavy, simply ticks all the right boxes. (Review: Dave Musson)

Motley Crue

As the final day neared the end, I headed over to the main stage with what looked like everyone else in the arena, we were gathered to watch Motley Crue. This was to be Motley Crue’s last ever UK festival performance, after their upcoming tour, they’re calling it quits after 35 years (or there about). As this was part of their final tour, the song ‘So long, Farewell’ from The Sound of Music was played to the crowd before we welcomed Motley Crue onto the stage. Being a band who have been on the scene for around 35 years they had a massive amount and of fans of all ages there to see them- the older ones that have been there from the beginning, the children (who were old enough to attend Download) and everyone else in between. Even after all of these years Motley Crue are rocking as hard as ever. Obviously, after so long together, this band have built up a huge catalogue of music and all of the songs they performed at Download were real crowd pleaser-s, including their cover of The Sex Pistol’s ‘Anarchy in the UK’. A band as big as this were never going to not have fire involved in their show but they took it to another level! Nikki Sixx (bass) had a flame thrower on his guitar! Tommy- Lee (drums) was sat in the middle of a flaming pentagram and they had flames all around the stage which made the show visually spectacular. When the band finished their set, people did shout for more but as time went on it appeared that Motley Crue were gone and their final show at Donington Park was over. Fans began to move out when Tommy-Lee appeared back on the stage playing a keyboard, he was joined by singer Vince Neil and they started the song ‘Home Sweet Home’. The fans rushed back to their places and sang along from beginning to end. It was the perfect finish to a final show. I think that it is safe to say that the rock community will miss the presence of this iconic rock band. (Review: Gemma Bywater)

Butcher Babies

dl sunday-37 BB

What could be a better addition to furious thrash metal than two burlesque strippers belting out some quite terrifying vocals, while basically just dressed in their underwear. Well, not much judging by the amount of people watching Butcher Babies. For some reason, I’d always written the Babies off as a bit of joke band, but my God they’re very real and very good. The two front women might look like they’re only in the band to make men come and watch them, but they are two of the fiercest, most powerful and most awesome metal vocalists you’re likely to see. Wow! (Review: Dave Musson)


dl sunday-42 yellow

So, how to round off a pretty heavy bill on the third stage? With a pop-punk band that features a violinist among its lineup of course. Yellow card themselves admit they were nervous about their lofty placing on this stage given who had played before them, but the packed tent couldn’t care less. In fact, Yellowcard quickly proved to be a fantastic way to round off this stage for the festival, with their bouncy, infectious tunes putting everyone in a good mood. Their endless jumps and even a backflip from violinist Sean Mackin go down a treat – as does Mackin’s version of Sweet Child O Mine later in the set. By the time they get to finale ‘Ocean Avenue’ everyone in the tent is on board and singing along at the top of their voices. Their name might not look right on the poster, but in real life Yellowcard absolutely nailed this one. Genius. (Review: Dave Musson)

Enter Shikari

Prompting several epic micro-quests to not only find mobile phone coverage but to use Twitter for long enough without accidentally sacrificing my mobile to the great mud-oceans of the site, the question hanging over Enter Shikari’s presence after their prior Bristol date cancellation is worrying to say the least.

However, after much pawing of phone screens and unanswered tweets, yet another hearty slog through the mudslides to the festival’s second stage washes away any memories of doubt as it eventually transpires that singer Rou Reynold’s illness appears to have passed without issue. Virginia metallers Lamb of God sew up their preceding set with the flattening Redneck and Black Label, and everyone sets about reassembling themselves before the St. Albans dance-rock crew come on.

Enter Shikari have spent around a decade perfecting their live show, and tonight they improve on every memory of past triumphs with a party atmosphere and clear displays of organic bonhomie and camaraderie. Choice airings from new album The Mindsweep slot in comfortably alongside the venerable The Mothership and bona fide anthem Sorry Youre Not a Winner.

Looking visibly bemused to have nicked a sizable chunk of crowd from the nearby KISS, Enter Shikari still look, sound and feel like a real band, champions of the DIY approach. To look upon where it has taken them in such a short space of time is nothing short of remarkable, and the future bodes extremely well.  (Review: James Stokes)


Download Festival 2015 - Donnington Park

Finally it was time for the band that would be closing the entire weekend, Kiss. What can I say really? They were everything that I expected. They were platform boots, costumes, make-up, fire, over the top lighting, fireworks and, of course, Gene Simmons tongue. Their lighting was so vibrant that it made the stage glitter which was very apt for this glam rock band, it also literally lit up the sky. Everything that they do is just over the top, not in a bad way, they are real showmen. They went one step further than even Motley Crue with their fire display, at the end of ‘War Machine’ Gene Simmons did a little bit of fire breathing! And more stunts were to come when the band played ‘Love Gun’ as Paul Stanley was suspended out over the crowd. They banged out hit after hit and of course nothing disappointing, they’re Kiss! They returned for a 3 song encore but the real explosions came with ‘Rock And Roll All Night’.

Download Festival 2015 - Donnington Park

There was glitter confetti that exploded at the start of the song and continued to fall throughout and there was more fire during the chorus. At the end of the song and for the actual finale of the night there was huge Catherine wheels on stage and the drum kit rose up on a platform whilst Gene Simmons and Tommy Thayer were taken out over the crowd on their own individual platforms. Meanwhile Paul Stanley smashed up his guitar and there were more explosions, glitter and fire. You may think that is an excessive end to a show but they weren’t done yet, they had an entire firework display to complete the night and to draw an end to a fantastic weekend. Kiss well and truly closed Download 2015 with a bang. (Review: Gemma Bywater)

Third and fourth stage photos: Dave Musson

Main and second stage photos: Katja Ogrin

Dead Daisies photo: James Stokes

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