We continue our Download Festival 2016 review with a look at some of the highlights of a very soggy Saturday. Starting with some of, if not the best sets of the weekend…
Largely catching SHVPES by mistake, the second (and not final) Dickinson fronted band of the weekend put on an impressive showing as early on in the day as they were. Whilst the crowd was smaller than you would hope, the young boys showed potential and an acute stage presence, making the most of their short thirty-minutes-or-less set time. With valiant attempts at crowd participation such as a crowd surfing challenge for a few cans of (what I assume would be very warm) lager, SHVPES impressed when really, I was only expecting background noise as I waited for the next band.
Back again with yet another outstanding performance worthy of the biggest rooms the country has to offer, Black Peaks outgrow the stage on their very first Download Festival set. Treating an incredibly strong crowd to their patented mix of techy, schizophrenic, heavy metal tinged rock (I have no idea how to describe your sound guys, sorry), the band put on a show worthy of opening the main stage at the very least. Watch out for these boys from Brighton, because next time they won’t be hidden away in a tent.
Following Black Peaks is never going to be easy, really. When Turbowolf hit the stage, I turned to my partner and confessed to feeling a little worried about the Bristol ladies and gentlemen. However, the second the band threw themselves into opening track Ancient Snake, any trepidation melted away amongst a mass of psychedelic rock and roll, including the live debut of brand new track Domino. The stage presence eminating from the band was absolutely palpable, and despite a few setlist qualms (that could very easily just be myself being picky), Turbowolf put on yet another set-of-the-weekend contender, and it doesn’t even stop there.
Continuing the trend of all the best bands being pushed onto stages far too small for them, seeing a young band like Milk Teeth not only pack out their tent but exceed it’s limits tenfold was a joyous sight to behold. With a generously lengthy set filled with a selection of tracks from debut record Vile Child, the joyous energy on stage absolutely infected the crowd, and, once again, left us wondering just why Milk Teeth are stuck in this tent when bands like Buck and Evans are opening the second stage.
Much like Korn, it should simply be illegal for a band to come onto their set so fucking strong. With a combo of Rocket Skates, My Own Summer & Be Quiet And Drive, it was incredibly clear that Deftones planned to level Donington Park from the second they put pick to string. Sadly, the mood was dampened severely by the, well, damp. Torrential downpours led to an infuriatingly muted atmosphere throughout the set, despite a heartfelt, crushingly sound performance able to go toe to toe with any other band this weekend. It’s important to note that this is in no way the band’s fault, and they put on a stunning show with one of the best setlists of the weekend, but it wouldn’t be the last time the weather lessened one of the evening’s acts.
With their final ever show at Donington Park looming, apprehension was the word for Black Sabbath’s show Saturday night, and I cannot say it wasn’t deserved. Starting weak, Ozzy began the show struggling with his duties and looking lost amongst it all. However, I’m pleased to say this was a mere stumbling block for the heavy-metal icons. Armed with the best setlist of the weekend and simply the best riffs ever written, songs like Into The Void and Snowblind sounded predictably colossal. Never missing a beat, the rhythm section of Clufetos, Butler and, of course, Iommi put on a blinding performance, marred only by the absolute downpour that accompanied it. I mean, it was fitting for Black Sabbath, but by the hour mark as I sat in a puddle with not a single dry inch of skin, it got pretty grating. Once again, no fault of the band whatsoever, who put on yet another stunning show, and a fitting end to their reign at Donington Park.
Check back tomorrow for the final instalment in my review of Download Festival 2016, featuring Frank Carter & The Rattlesnakes, Iron Maiden and more!