So Friday of Download Festival is done and we caught a few bands in amongst any work at the festival. It was a lot of fun and the weather was almost perfect for the entire day. Check out who we saw below.
Skindred take to the main stage and they’re incredibly loud. You can hear them over the noise of the 3rd stage, despite us at the time being nearer to that as we exit the press area. Benji pipes up, “let’s get the first heavy metal Harlem Shake” and proceeds to do just that to a bit of riffing guitars. They end their set with songs that engage the crowd fully and maybe they might want to open with them next time and lure the crowd in earlier because there’s lots watching, but nobody joining in until the end really, safe for the front two rows. There is a sea of tshirts swinging as Benji gets everyone to do what he has titled, “the Newport helicopter”. It’s an amusing and enjoyable sight to behold from up on the hill.
The Amity Affliction
The tent is packed for The Amity Affliction and it’s the first sign that this tent is probably not big enough for the job. There was an “Amity” chant when the singer was like “half of you won’t know who we are”. The crowd prove they did know exactly who the band were and just who they had come to see. The band play their new song to the crowd sing along quite loudly. There are a lot of hardcore fans here. There is crowd surfing during the set in the small tent. Including a bear. It’s funny either way.
Black Label Society
Black label Society are here to just do their thing and rock regardless. And that’s just what they do and they’re well rehearsed as ever. There’s a big crowd, some just sitting and chilling, others headbanging away. It may be a tad early in the day for Black Label Society but they go down well overall.
The crowd in the tent enthusiastically cheer when the band take to the stage and them proceed to get their groove on. The band is certainly rocking and the crowd is spilling out of the tent. It’s possibly too small to be the 3rd of 5 stages. Either this tent needs to be bigger for this band or they need to be moved up the bill next year. A stunning performance.
Lively and energetic as ever, the band have the crowd eating out the palm of their hands. Lead singer, Jason Butler, climbs the lighting rig in what seems like a manic idea to us, but he seems to engage the crowd even more and makes it down safely again, which we’re glad of. Rock and roll!
It’s a little acoustic area, right by the 4th stage tent and within enough distance that every time someone loud is on the second stage you can hear them, which is a tad disappointment because it’s acoustic sets and it should be pride of place in this space where it’s located. Lenman jokes with the crowd and gives it his all, encouraging sing-a-longs from the crowd and even giving an amazing acoustic to the max performance with just vocals and his backing band helping out with stamping and clapping. An amazing set and he still has one to give.
The crowd are lively down the front as ever during Rob Zombie and there seems to be a big gathering for him over in the main area at main stage. He’s on at the right time, but it’s daylight still and it feels like it loses some of it’s horror spark, despite today being Friday the 13th (enter dramatic drums here! – DUN DUN DUUUUUNNNNN). But overall a mighty performance and a great build up to the headliners.
Jamie Lenman – Part 2!
So this time Jamie is back with his whole band and they’re plugged in and ready to rock. And rock they do. It’s the hardcore/metal side of the album and it’s loud and energetic. He does stop the show however to joke again with the crowd and to call his saxophone player onto the stage. They stop the metal for a moment and rock out with everyone with a little bit of latin. They play Tequila by The Champs and the crowd get involved by shouting ‘Tequila’ enthusiastically, before he lures back into the metal once more. Highlight of the friday goes to this man easily.
What can you say about Avenged Sevenfold that hasn’t already been said? The massive stage size doesn’t seem to phase the band at all. They rock as hard as ever and play a great host of songs. Matt involves the crowd as much as any frontman can when it’s this size audience and he talks to those down the front. They play a host of songs, different from their last arena shows.
Matt gets the crowd to get their lighters and mobile phones out to light up the field for Jimmy as darkness falls and they play So Far Away in honour of their fallen drummer. It’s a wonderful sight to behold for the whole band and a fitting tribute to a man who would’ve loved to have played this festival as a headliner with the rest of the band.
They encore twice, playing more hits each time and round out their set with A Little Piece Heaven (to much sing-a-long) and Unholy Confessions (to much mosh pits). A fantastic performance and a fantastic end to the day, even if it did freakishly only rain during Nightmare, literally from beginning note to end and that was it. Either way they played a great mixed up set and engaged the whole crowd. A true headliners performance.