Download Festival @ Donington Park, 11 – 13th June 2010


It’s that time of year again as Download Festival is once again upon us. It promised to be an amazing festival and it sure didn’t disappoint.


36 CRAZYFISTS- Opening with’ In the Midnights’ and joined on stage by Killswitch Engage’s Howard Jones for a surprise guest appearance for a killer performance of ‘Elysium’. It’s clear though which song everyone is waiting for and the crowd are left waiting but finally the penultimate song ‘Slit Wrist Theory’ rings out from the speakers and goes down a treat with the crowd singing along to every word.


A DAY TO REMEMBER- As the intro for ‘Downfall of us all’ kicks in, Jeremy yells ‘If you know this, sing-a-long’, and the crowd don’t need asking twice. ADTR’s buoyant pop-core goes down a treat especially in the sun with pits opening up it all gets a little crazy down the front. Playing the same stage last year the size of the crowd seems to have doubled reflecting on how far they have come in such a short time. Closing the set with the ‘Plot to Bomb the Panhandle’ ADTR can leave the stage knowing they have probably garnered a fare few more fans.


KILLSWITCH ENGAGE- Stepping in at the last minute to replace Wolfmother and with a set full of the usual suspects like ‘This is Absolution’, ‘My Last Serenade’ and ‘My Curse’ they are determined to have a good time. Adam is once again kitted out in a cape and entertaining the crowd with some suspect jokes and toilet humour which can get a bit tiring. Howard seemed to be struggling with some of the vocals leaving it up to the crowd to sing the high notes. Closing with their inspired cover of Dio’s ‘Holy Diver’ which is the highlight of the set. All in all a slightly disappointing performance, there just seemed to be something missing.

BULLET FOR MY VALENTINE- The South Wales metallers do an excellent job of closing the second stage on the first night of Download. They pulled in a big crowd and throwing in hits like ‘Tears don’t fall’, ‘Scream, Aim, Fire’ and ‘All these things I hate’ complete with flames bursting from the stage. They truly are a band on the top of their game with a seemingly effortless performance. Matt Tuck thanks the crowd for buying Fever, having it chart at number 5 is pretty impressive feat for 4 lads from the Welsh valleys and promises big things in the future.


AC/DC- Distancing themselves from the festival as much a possible with no mention on official merchandise, demanding their own stage and treating it like their own headline show AC/DC have a lot to live up to. Kicking off their set with an animation of a runaway train shown on the big screens and with a huge train on the back of the stage and opening with ‘Rock and Roll Train’. I think they may have been trying to make a connection there! All the big hits get played ‘Back in Black’, ‘Thunderstruck’, ‘T.N.T’, there’s a strip tease from Angus Young ending with him flashing some very fetching ACDC pants at the crowd. For ‘Whole lot of Rosie’ a huge inflatable big-breasted woman joins them on stage. Closing the set with ‘For Those About to Rock (We Salute You)’ and a very expensive looking fireworks display. It’s a great show but not without it’s flaws especially Brian Johnson’s voice sounded strained and gravely.



ATREYU- A mix up with the stage times meant missing the first couple of songs as they on over an hour early with no warning from the festival organisers which seems a bit of a joke. Having listened to Atreyu on record I was never particularly impressed but live they are a different prospect. Dan Jacobs dressed like something out of the Karate Kid is an impressive guitar player and fun to watch. ‘Bleeding Mascara’ and ‘Bleeding is a luxury’ have the crowd singing along. They do well with early slot blowing away the cobwebs and helping to cure the hangover blues.

MY PASSION- Probably getting one of the smallest crowds on the second stage what with their fan base being predominately teenage girls not exactly the demographic Download is aimed at. The best part of this set was lead singers ‘chaps’ ripping and having his boxers on display, the music is not so great, and with poor vocals and some uninspired sampled beats you kind of feel sorry for them because they were obviously trying their best.

CANCER BATS- The perfect remedy to My Passion with their high-octane rock. Lead singer Liam spent the majority of the set in the audience and when on stage was head banging like a lunatic, which was an impressive sight with his Mohican. ‘Hail destroyer’ and ‘Lucifer’s rocking chair’ get the crowd moving with an intense circle pit opening up. It’s the superb cover of the Beastie Boys’ ‘Sabotage’ though that steals the show; with the entire crowd singing along it’s an impressive sight to behold.

VOLBEAT- The Danish rockers did a great job of entertaining the Download crowd going down really well with their catchy rock and roll. Closing with probably one of the weirdest choices of cover of the entire festival ‘I only wanna be with you’, yes that one by Dusty Springfield!

THE BLACKOUT- With a ‘FUCK THE BLACKOUT’ backdrop and 2 huge inflatable hands with their middle fingers up they are trying the best to be ironic. Unfortunately it falls flat on it face as both Sean Smith and Gavin fail to hit the majority of notes. I’ve heard this band be praised so many times for their live performances but high energy can only take you so far.

DEFTONES- Back and better then ever, their latest effort Diamond Eyes is a killer album. Kicking things off with ‘Rocket Skates’ followed closely by ‘Diamond Eyes’, Chino bounded round the stage with seemingly endless energy, he definitely looked very happy to be there with a big smile plastered on his face the entire time. ‘Be Quiet and Drive’ and ‘My Own Summer’ sound amazing. Deftones are defiantly back and here to stay.

30 SECONDS TO MARS- Opening with ‘Night of the Hunter’ with its epic drum intro it’s a great choice and as Jared Leto struts on to the stage complete with pink Mohawk and beige trench coat the crowd go wild. It’s an absolutely gorgeous evening with the sun setting behind the crowd making the experience all the more fantastic. One of the highlights of the set is a cameo appearance from Chino Moreno for ‘The Kill’, an unlikely pairing but boy does it sound good! The new songs off ‘This is War’ are impressive live especially with the crowd singing the group parts. They are joined on stage by 6 guys on marching drums for ‘This is War’ but its finale that is truly a showstopper as Jared gets about 30 kids out of the audience and onto the stage for ‘Kings and Queens’, definitely a special end to an amazing show.


TIGER PLEASE- These guys are defiantly ones to watch and there’s more than a few people who are already onto them with the Red Bull tent filling up. It’s no easy job opening up on the Sunday especially when they know their the least heavy act on the Download bill but that by no means hampers them in any way. A very sunburnt Leon leads the band with superb vocals and the trio of songs; ‘There’s No Hero in Heroin’, ‘City Lights’ and ‘Without Country’ are brilliant and they even have some of the crowd singing along. The crowd have defiantly been rewarded for getting up early today.

STRAIGHT LINES- The second Welsh band of the day and only just second best to Tiger Please. The crowd had definitely got bigger as their definitely the more well known of the two bands. ‘Loose Change’, ‘Antics’ and ‘All my friends have joined the Army’ are all great and with his distinctive vocal style Tom Jenkins ensure that once heard Straight Lines won’t be easily forgotten.

CRIME IN STEREO- The Long Island rockers could be not be faulted on the energy put in. Lead singer Kristian Hallbert writhes around the stage like a man possessed getting a serious sweat on. Opening with ‘XXXX (The First Thousand Years of Solitude)’ and throwing in some new tracks off their latest ‘I was trying to describe you to someone’ there felt like there was something missing with Kristian struggling to hit some of the notes but they can be forgiven because they still put on a great show.


SLASH- With Myles Kennedy from Alterbridge on vocals and Slash on guitar duties they smashed out hit after hit with covers of ‘Sweet Child of Mine’, ‘Paradise City’ and Velvet Revolvers ‘slither’ mixed in with Slash’s new stuff. It’s the classics that get the crowd going though and the Gun and Roses covers are sung back by the crowd.

AUGUST BURNS RED- With kids sprinting into the pit to get a piece of the action their not disappointed as August Burns Red Metalcore/Hardcore sound rings out. Its brutal and its not pretty but it definitely does the job as heads bang and limbs flail around to songs like ‘Thirty and Seven’ off their latest album Constellations.


THE DAMNED THINGS- One of the most interesting prospects Download has to offer as the super group formed from members of Fall Out Boy, Anthrax and Every Time I Die show us what their made of. Keith Buckley’s singing voice is not the greatest but they shine on songs like ‘Bad Blood’ and ‘Grave Robber’ that are heavy and full of dirty riffs. It’s going to be interesting to hear what these guys sound like on record.

DILLINGER ESCAPE PLAN- These guys literally blew everyone out of the water, with the heavens opening up as they started playing the whipped the crowd and the weather into a frenzy with their insane guitar work and mental onstage actions. Both guitarists spend equal time between the stage and the speaker stacks, whirling around like mad men but still managing to hit every single note. Vocalist Greg Puciato prowls the stage looking up at sky and exclaiming ‘What the F**k!’. ‘Black Bubblegum’ and ‘Room Full of Eyes’ are brilliant but it’s closer ‘Farewell, Mona Lisa’ with its twists and turns that marks the perfect end to a heart stop display of musicianship.


ZEBRAHEAD- The Pepsi Max tent is fit to burst (most likely due to the appalling weather) as Zebrahead take to the stage, If you’ve seen them before you know what your in for and tonight is no different. Ali knows how to work a crowd and promises a $100 million if he can get 5 circle pits going and he comes close. The crowd are certainly up for it and calls from the stage for minges to be thrown into the air don’t go unheeded. Zebrahead are a middle finger to the Great British summer as their unashamed punk pop helps everyone to forget that the festival site is now a mudbath.

SUICIDAL TENDENCIES- With literally no idea what to expect I was definaltly pleasantly surprised. The thrash legends fronted by a huge Mike Muir absolutely killed it. With one of the best drum solos I have ever heard complete with some insane drumstick twisting and turning by one of the biggest drummers around. Mike Muir prowled the stage and turned into a very eloquent preacher between songs, teaching the crowd a few life lessons. ‘You can’t bring me down’ and a shout out to all the skaters in the form of ‘Possessed to Skate’ get the crowd moving. It’s a perfect ending to a great festival.

Bring on Download 2011.

Big thanks to Steve at Birmingham Live! For sorting everything out!

Review – Hannah Sebestjanowicz
Photos – Steve Gerrard

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2 thoughts on “Download Festival @ Donington Park, 11 – 13th June 2010

  1. Glad to see you gave Crime In Stereo a review. Awesome band, saw them at the Flapper in Birmingham a couple of weeks ago.

  2. It’s a shame you didn’t review Aerosmith as they were on 70’stsatic fire and also we may have got some pics of them. Great photos of AC/DC .. you got to love ’em!

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