This year's Download Festival turned out to be a very wet weekend with constant downpours and thunderstorms throughout the three days, but what would 'Drownload' festival be without a little bit of rain? Thick with mud and soggy from the rain, the crowds all gathered looking for a fantastic time and with phenomenal headliners Rammstein, Black Sabbath and Iron Maiden the weekend was never going to disappoint. Aside from the wrestling and the creative Zippo lighters that you could engrave in the Zippo Encore booth, as well as get hold of the limited edition Download Zippo lighter, the music line up for this year's festival was phenomenal - and we can't wait for the next Download festival already.
There were multiple highlights throughout the weekend, and as we stocked up on burgers, we headed down to the Lemmy stage to catch one of the more out-there acts of the weekend - Babymetal. Babymetal were mesmerising as they always are, with hit songs Gimme Chocolate and Road To Resistance taking the crowd by storm. A giant circle pit opened as the Japanese J-pop/metal band took to the stage and gave a fantastically choreographed performance as always.
Killswitch Engage managed to slay the stage as they always do, even in the torrential downpour that overtook their set, as the band plunged into hit songs My Curse, Strength Of The Mind and My Last Serenade, there was nothing that they can do to disappoint. A huge crowd turned out to watch the band, even in the mudpit that the Lemmy stage gave way to.
The Lemmy tribute was heartfelt and although no one knew what to expect, a touching video featured a multitude of previous Motorhead performances, along with various interviews with the likes of Metallica and Dave Grohl showed how much of an impact Lemmy had on the industry and in particular the metal genre. It was however, peculiar that there was no live music from a tribute band or a cover of Ace of Spades during the tribute, especially considering that Gutterdammerung (a Swedish movie that featured a rock n roll cast, which features a band playing alongside the movie) on the Maverick stage later in the evening had a band play the song with a fantastic reaction from the crowd, while Lemmy, of course, drove a tank in the movie.
Korn were easily one of the highlights of the weekend, and Jonathan Davies was exceptional - whether he meant to make the crowd giggle at his dad-dancing or not. They played a monstrous set and drew a fantastic crowd showing just how vital this band, who are storming confidently through their third decade together, are to the genre. Davies at one point even brought out and successfully played a set of bagpipes!
Rammstein pulled out all of the stops as the Friday night headliner with crowd favourites and a lot of pyrotechnics, fireworks and even a flamethrower on stage. How the band don't get burned is beyond me, particularly when flames are coming from contraptions attached to their faces and bodies. However, the ending was a little bit of a disappointment, as we were all expecting something big and explosive. Instead, and acoustic song followed by a song not very well known by the crowd ended the show. Nevertheless, the bizarre band led by creative genius Till Lindemann put on one hell of a show.
Beartooth stole the show on the main stage last year and definitely deserved to have a later set. Despite the rain, Caleb Shomo (vocalist) really interacted with the crowd, and aside from a few technical problems midway through crowd favourite Beaten In Lips, their set bellowed across the festival, mixing songs from their debut album Disgusting and their brand new album Aggressive. It's no surprise that In Between is their closing song.
Sixx: A.M. offered anthem after anthem during their set, as Motley Crue veteran Nicky Sixx and his band lit up the soggy day.
One of the only true rock n roll bands left is Toronto's Danko Jones. Solid riffs and sexy tunes fly through the set as they rip through Do You Wanna Rock, Play The Blues and Cadillac amongst many other sex-fuelled anthems.
MEGADETH were one of the most highly anticipated bands of the day and as they stormed through a breeze of glam and thrash-style music, Dave Mustaine was joined by Nikki Sixx for a cover of Anarchy In The UK by the Sex Pistols. The powerful sound that the band created was easily one of the best of the weekend.
Deftones were somewhat of a disappointment of the weekend, but that could be due to the style of music that they play. Some extremely high pitched screams were projected from lead singer Chino Moreno and the music would definitely be portrayed better in a smaller venue. Nevertheless, the band still appeared to be youthful despite their two-decade long career as they through themselves around the stage.
Skindred truly took to the stage like naturals as the whole crowd danced around jumped around. The tracks that they played were huge and even if you're just standing at the side watching, the set is a true joy to watch. Opening with Under Attack and Rat Race, and even playing around with Metallica and Justin Bieber songs. Benji Webbe is a true showman and the huge crowd that turned up could easily be seen to love this band, as despite the pouring rain most took off their t-shirts and spun them round their heads to do the Newport Helicopter during the last song of the set Warning.
The founding fathers of metal, Black Sabbath, were announced with the eerie donging of church bells, as a black cloud descended over the Lemmy stage. As soon as the rain began to pour, Ozzy Osbourne and co bounded onto the stage to produce one of the best live sets I have ever seen. Although Ozzy could barely stand up straight, that didn't stop the smile from beaming across his face as he wandered up and down the stage and attempted a couple of jumps. Once upon a time, Osbourne and legendary guitarist Tony Iommi were in a ferocious court battle over the Black Sabbath name, but at Download festival for their last ever UK festival performance the pair stood side by side to close their rock god story with style and a crowd of 50,000 people roaring to War Pigs. Weirdly, there was something that felt so right about singing to Black Sabbath in the pouring rain.
By the time it got to Sunday, most people were miserable due to all of the rain and nursing extreme hangovers, so those who had the Sunday slots knew they had to do something special to wake up the crowd before Iron Maiden took to the stage that night.
Lzzy Hale was in full dominatrix mode as she took to the stage in leather and heels and screamed at the crowd, distinguishing herself as one of the best female vocalists in the genre with her power-house vocals. Halestorm roared through tracks old and new, and lit up the Lemmy Stage on the Sunday afternoon.
Breaking Benjamin were the Sunday favourites, as the American band came to the UK for the first time (aside from their show at the Camden Koko a few weeks prior) due to lead singer Benjamin Burnley's phobia of flying. A huge crowd was drawn to the Zippo Encore stage, as the American band thundered through hit after hit across their discography. In addition to this, the band launched into a medley of covers including Nirvana's Smells Like Teen Spirit. The band were widely received as one of the best bands of the weekend and could easily have filled out the main stage. The whole crowd sung every lyric, as many of their fans had waited a lifetime to see them live.
Nightwish really know how to put on a show, and are one of the most distinctive bands of the genre. They really stole the show with their set, although their number one biggest fan got a good deal of exposure as he danced throughout the entire set.
Iron Maiden proved that they are the ultimate headliner for an event like Download festival as they soared through their set with huge songs Powerslave, The Tropper and The Number of The Beast. Most of the crowd didn't know many of their new songs from The Book of Souls, but nobody cared as they rocked out as the sun finally began to shine through the clouds until it set. Iron Maiden really made the whole experience of rain, puddles in our wellies, leaky tents and ten inches of mud worthwhile.
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