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DOWNLOAD FESTIVAL 2017 – THE YEAR THE SUN SHONE

 

Arriving for the final day at our festival experience, once again the entry was nice and smooth and after I had pepped up having had a lovely coffee from the complimentary press area, I was wandering around and seeing a fair amount of Aerosmith t-shirts…

As we went headfirst into the final segment of Download Festival, with it being Sunday morning you can bet that there were more than a few hangovers in the crowd this morning. Good thing we had Orange Goblin to forcefully blast the cobwebs away! Kicking things off in style the huge human with an even bigger heart that is Ben Ward, stalked the stage when opening up the Main Stage for the final time this weekend. Ensuring that everyone could hear the band from miles away you can bet the Orange Goblin guys received a warm if slightly fuzz welcome from our Download punters.

Disappearing for a little while to conduct some pretty brilliant interviews that will be heading your way shortly, I was away from the main stage to be able to speak to some very kind members of bands that would grant me an audience with them. However I made sure not to miss out on the Main Stage performance as the Swedes temporarily took over for In Flames. Supporting Avenged Sevenfold on their most recent arena tour, In Flames are fast becoming a new band entirely. Of course there are always going to be the kind of people who believe that the band ended at Come Clarity but if you look at the renewed line up, its hard to fault it!

Bursting onto the stage the band effortlessly worked their way through “The Truth” among others though they are temporarily stunted when singer Anders Friden adresses a big problem. Emerging from back stage the band pick up what could be no bigger than a lunchbox, that would fit one beer can, if you don’t know the Swedes then let me tell you they definitely drink more than one can of beer! After the joking is over the band return to the stage to deliver an absolutely destructive “Take This Life” which, still, after years and years of hearing it never ceases to amaze me. A triumphant set that will see fans heading out in their droves to see them with Five Finger Death Punch later in the year!

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Matt Eachus – Download 2017

Though the sun might be shining its nothing compared the heat that is felt over on the Zippo stage when DevilDriver arrive. Releasing their brilliant record Trust No One last year, the band are absolutely on top form lately. Having changed line up, it would seem that the weaker links of the band have been rectified with this earth shattering performance they give today. Dez is in good spirits, perhaps owing to the fact that he gets to play with pal Al Jorgensen of Ministry fame. It also marks the tenth anniversary of theworlds largest circle pit which was indeed ignited in these very grounds. An absolute triumph from start to finish.

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Caitlin Mogridge – Download 2017

As I finish up another interview the faint din of classic Rock ‘n’ Roll can be heard emanating from the main stage, followed by a “Fuckin’ yeah!!!” Which can only mean only one thing. Checkin the rigging to see if I can spot Airbourne’s Joel O’ Keefe it seems that I would have to look closer to the crowd as the man is riding another bloke in a fox suit whilst plying guitar and you wouldn’t expect anything less from an Airborne show. Known to be a total nut job O’ Keefe and his brothers have quite literally no other care on the planet than delivering the best Rock ‘n’ Roll show that you can get. Without fail, their sense of urgency of “Whats he going to do now?!” is questioned every time. Whether it be like the Sonisphere moment when O’keefe climbed the rigging and solo’d or a day today. As the notes of “Too Much, Too Young, Too Fast” ring out everyone in the field is screaming Airbourne. Business as usual then.

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Ross Silcocks – Download 2017

Making waves in the Metal world recently, The Charm And The Fury released their brand new record The Sick, Dumb and Happy. Originally skeptical about the band, I found that my skepticism was misplaced after hearing the record and realising these guys can really groove! Heading over to The Dogtooth Stage I would see the band come out swinging. Proving that girls can do it just as well, if not better than boys, the band were on absolute fire and judging by some of the people I spoke to before and after the show the band gained a hell of a lot of fans with that performance.

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Ross Silcocks – Download 2017

Walking back over to the main stage the sounds of sorts of debauchery its got to be Steel Panther. Cameras firmly on the band, the audience wasn’t able to broadcast for the sheer amount of boobs in the crowd, standard show then. Despite Download’s efforts to make the festival as family friendly as possible, it would seem that this ragamuffins want the entire opposite. The genius of Steel Panther though is the fact that the band are able to write songs that are as catchy (as an STD) as they are funny. Blasting out their calling card in the form of “Death To All But Metal” mid way through their set its proof that Satchel can still shred anyone under the table and Michael Starr‘s vocals have yet to give up the ghost!

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Ross Silcocks – Download 2017

Though the real spectacle comes from an absolutely humongous crowd singing out the lyrics of “Community Property” along with a total stage invasion of what looks like everyone’s girlfriend, wife and significant other stolen onto the stage for “Seventeen Girls In A Row“. I might not be good, clean fun but Steel Panther always deliver the goods when it comes to an energetic live show, even if it might have a massive dildo making a guest appearance…

Stiffening up for the biggest sonic contrast of the weekend, I head over to the Zippo Encore stage for Opeth. Supporting their gorgeous release from last year that was Sorceress, the band open with the title track and its funky bass line worms its way into the crowd. A typically high brow and humorous Akerfeldt greets the audience charming everyone in attendance before the graceful ten minutes of “Ghost Of Perdition“.

Picking an interesting set list that combine eras of Opeth you might have thought were entirely disparate the song choices today, like the monumentally heavy “Cusp of Eternity” are absolutely perfect for both setting and crowd. Not able to perform their usual evening long slot, it feel as though the band aren’t allowed to get really going. Ironic when you realise the band have been playing for about fifty minutes. After pitch perfect renditions (c’mon its Opeth) of their tracks its the final high e string tingling of “Deliverance” is brought home. After the final section of its rhythmic genius the band gracefully bow out until next time. Having made old fans weekend whilst simultaneously gathering a plethora of new fans in the process.

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Matt Eachus – Download 2017

As the sun begins to enter into the haze of that classic double whammy of main support and headliner the tones of Alter Bridge can be heard all throughout the site. Triumphantly stalking the stage both Myles Kennedy and Mark Tremonti remain as modern Rock’s dynamic duo. Hard to believe that its the ten year anniversary of Blackbird the band do it justice by performing “Ties That Bind“. Sounding out throughout the site that HUGE guitar solo is absolutely genius and still sounds just as fresh as it did some ten years ago.

Coming off the back of their 2016 release The Last Hero, Alter Bridge have evolved from so much more than just a day time Download band. Now, the band have an entire festival at their disposal which makes the likes of “Crows on A Wire‘ incredibly heavy, no doubt the band have pulled out the big guns for the kind of crowd that is gathered here tonight but its absolutely astounding how tight this band are live. Not to mention the vocal range of one Myles Kennedy could be heard from the stratosphere! Its makes the likes of “Show Me A Leader” truly as anthemic as it has been portrayed on their video series. It has to be said, Alter Bridge have truly come into their own in recent years and now with a headline O2 Arena show under their belt and tickets flying out quicker than you can say Creed out the door the sky is the limit.

 

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Ben Gibson – Download 2017

Completing the classic Download trifecta, we’ve had our something borrowed (System of A Down) something new (Biffy Clyro) and finish on something old! I know thats not how the saying goes but nevertheless, its unquestionable the sheer energy that Aerosmith still possess! Having been in their prime when yours truly wasn’t even around its spectacular to see that their performing spirit is still alive today. Bowing out graciously, this will be their final performance not only at Download’s fields but in the UK full stop.

Hanging up the metaphorical jacket the band have decided that enough is enough, kicking tonight’s performance off with “Let The Music Do The TalkingAerosmith come out swinging! Of course there are the classics that are worked through the likes of “Cryin’” though the crowd get down to “Love In An Elevator“. Despite it being their farewell performance here tonight the sense of life in Aerosmith is truly tangible. I find it amazing that a band that was going when I wasn’t even born still have this kind of energy with them. Joe Perry’s infamous psychedelic guitar hooks of “Sweet Emotion” slowly worm their way into the crowd and Steven Tyler’s mouth does really look as big as it does on TV. Though no one can escape the Armageddon tearjerker that is “I Don’t Want To Miss A Thing“. With a set like tonight’s you would do well to heed their words, ending with the classic riff of “Walk This WayAerosmith prove that their music is truly timeless.

And so comes yet another year of Download to a close. Miraculously, save for a small shower when A Day To Remember took to the stage, this year has been the warmest in absolutely ages! What I do feel is incredibly important to mention is that the organisation that was put forward this year was absolutely second to none. The idea of recycling has never been more important and proving once again that the Metal community is one of positivity everyone was doing their bit. Similarly the sentiment of Download Festival has been very much in keeping with our Metalhead ethos. To coin a phrase Led Zeppelin’s “The Song Remains The Same” would be apt here as Download will forever remain the UK’s true home for Metal. As the final notes of Aerosmith thunder off into the distance, these hallowed ground will see another exodus but with it will bring even more people next year as the host of Downloaders increases. Despite the divide that might be apparent in the world, this weekend, metalhead’s from all different, creeds, cultures and colours were able to truly enjoy an absolute feast of Metal music.

Until next year Download!

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