Every year we can’t help but feel it’s not really festival season until our Wellington boots’ rubber soles hit the sturdy field of Donnington, better known as the greatest rock and metal festival of our generation, DOWNLOAD FESTIVAL! Now whilst you’re probably used to reading reviews of bands after bands, we do things a little differently here, and so we counted down each day both our best and our worst moments from the grounds themselves!
FRIDAY: 2am – If we’re going to be pedantic then our Friday at Download started with our stay in the Doghouse, a BYOB club of sorts. We would love to tell you what they were playing but we don’t remember. Our sub-editor found a glow stick at some point during the festivities and he kept it for the rest of the festival. He also fell over in excitement when they played a Cascada song.
1:50pm – Download 2017 ‘actual’ started off with a bang for us at Discovered. That bang for us was ASTROID BOYS (8) barrelling through their set at a million miles an hour. It blew the Doghouse’s bottle-of-amaretto-each hangover straight out of our asses, the continual track after track. There were definitely a few non plussed faces in the crowd but if you weren’t having a good time then what were you even doing watching one of the most promising bands of the weekend? In fact most promising bands in the UK right now…
3:30pm- After a quick run back to our tent for some food, more hair of the dog and a little bit of rest it was straight back to the Avalanche Stage for the mesmerising CODE ORANGE (9). Now, if you’ve never seen Code Orange live before then think back to the first time that you ever heard Slipknot’s Iowa, then thing of that amount of aggression and swagger, condense it into five people and put it on a stage. That’s what it’s like, none of us could look away from their set and we left thoroughly amazed.
4:15pm – Someone just suggested in the back stage that Download would do better if COLDPLAY headlined a stage. We couldn’t tell if they were joking
4:30PM Friday lunchtime was the day that we found the holy grail of all festival food, THE CHEESE TRUCK (11). This was basically our Editor’s heaven and our lactose-intolerant Sub-Editor’s hell. They took whatever you wanted and didn’t just put shredded cheese on it, they put melted cheese on it, and a lot of it. There is a question that many men have asked and it is ‘how much cheese is too much?’ the answer apparently is ‘never enough.’
7:00pm – PROPHETS OF RAGE (10) blow the lid off for what it’s like to be not only one of the most credible super bands on the planet, or to have ever existed, but what it’s like to almost be THE band of the weekend! Whether it was Tom Morello grinding his teeth on his guitar like no tomorrow, or the mass jump along to Cypress Hill’s ‘Insane In The Membrane’, all before the collateral ‘Killing In The Name Of’ almost causing Download to burst into a riot, P.O.R came, they saw, and they conquered with all the political must that seemed to be surrounding our little island at the time.
8:20pm – Girls don’t like boys, girls like rain jackets and GOOD CHARLOTTE. Whilst this band’s career was almost left hanging by a thread after their last disastorous record, you can’t fault the Madden brothers on their ability to make us party like we’re still slamming doors in our parent’s faces! Bringing the early Emo and Pop Punk in full to Donny, highlights include mass crowd surfs to The Anthem, and a euphoric level of dad dancing breaking out during I Just Wanna Live.
8:50pm – For that night’s headliners we made a decision, then reconsidered, then reconsidered again and finally was made final by walking to it. With another chips and cheese from the Cheese Tent (12) (seriously). Sum 41 (9) were incredible and the band were on rare form that night, nothing went wrong and the setlist was stacked to the rafters with banger after banger. Their accidental cover of Run To The Hills was incredible too, ‘we didn’t expect you to sing’ Derek Whibley comments. You’re at Download you can’t play Maiden and not expect us to sing… Nostalgia by the buckets!
We hate to say it though but SYSTEM OF A DOWN (6) did not seem ready for their grand come back at Download, we later found out that Serj was ill and that may account for some of it, but they played a little like a band falling apart at the seams. They warbled through the rest of the set that we were able to catch, but a Man Singing To His Noodles During Chop Suey (10) may have just stolen the show though entirely…
Back to the dog house later that night…