Coming to a close with a more… mixed set of shows for our review of the final day of Download Festival 2016, here’s how I fared on last Sunday at Donington Park.
** Sadly, I ended up missing four bands I had planned to see on the Sunday due to cancellations leading to timing issues. I’m sure Gojira, Don Broco & The Kenneths were nothing short of excellent**
Starting the day on an extremely sour note are Georgian Metalcore bastards Atilla, a band we managed to catch by some sort of horrifying twist of fate, much like SHVPES. However, the show we witnessed this Sunday afternoon couldn’t be further from the comparatively stunning show put on by those young men. I can’t say I’ve heard so many calls to commit fellatio and buy merchandise at a show in my life, with this band’s motive far from musical integrity. Ripe with misogyny, sexism and straight up egotism, Atilla put on a showing of heavily generic metalcore with hip-hop, nu-metal tinged influence that, quite frankly, should have just stayed where it belongs with the rest of the cash-in nu-metal bands: the fucking bin.
Frank Carter & The Rattlesnakes
Thank the lord for Frank Carter. Hitting the stage in an impressively dazzling suit, the ex-Gallows and Pure Love frontman treated an absolutely packed out tent to a frantic, no holds barred thirty minutes of pure punk rock fury. Powering through a plug-pull toward the start of their set due to the inciting of a wall of death, The Rattlesnakes put on the finest set I’ve seen them perform thus far, despite the inclusion of their fairly bland new track Snake Eyes. With a moving rendition of Beautiful Death toward the end of the set, it’s clear we’d just seen one of the best of the entire weekend. Next time, main stage please.
Zippo Encore Stage
A welcome return to Donington, Billy Talent treat the soggy masses dedicated enough to stick around to a smattering of classics from their grand collection of four stellar records. Making the most of their stage time, the group brought the biggest production I’ve ever seen a band bring at that place on the bill. Sticking closely to the safest bets with the inclusion of two new tracks from their upcoming record, the band beat the rain with ease, with moods only coming down when news was revealed to the crowd of the tragic Orlando shootings less than 24 hours before. Nevertheless, Billy Talent brought a headline set to Download Festival, and one can only hope it’s just a taste of even bigger things to come.
Zippo Encore Stage
Arriving as their debut performance on the hallowed grounds, Jane’s Addiction brought their ethereal, alt-rock style to Download Festival in the only way they know how, and boy was it a treat. Featuring a minimalist stage show, the bands employed dancers both shocked and intrigued as they were suspended above the crowd using only hooks in their very skin. Speaking out with an apology for their last UK festival performance, the band more than made up for past mistakes with their set of classics, including an impromptu cover of Bowie’s Rebel Rebel. A stunning, nuianced performance, and for my money the real headliner of the evening.
Uuuuuuuuuuggghhhh. Iron Maiden. I really love Iron Maiden. They’ve written some of the best songs ever put to tape, the live shows are fantastic and Bruce Dickinson is just all round a lovely fellow. So, after Jane’s Addiction had laid waste to the Zippo stage this Sunday, we thought we’d head down and get a decent spot and watch, despite deciding before that we’d give it a miss as I wasn’t too big on the new material. So, after being forced to stand near a group of old, drunk, bald fifty year olds who thought it was hilarious to scream at people, piss onto the floor and flick cigar butts at people, Iron Maiden finally hit the stage. Great, I thought, this should be good, I’m in the mood for some hits. What I got was the total, polar opposite. Deciding to play six (SIX! OVER A THIRD OF THE SET!) tracks from their latest album with a mere one or two clocking in under six or seven minutes. No Number Of The Beast, Aces High, Run To The Hills, Running Free, The Evil That Men Do. What followed was a circle-jerk of a set that had to be seen to be believed. Spectacle was largely gone, the sound was incredibly muted and the crowd were especially horrendous. Yes, the band were on their predictably good form, yes there were one or two good tracks thrown in, but by the time we got decent material I was long past caring. Ending the weekend on a sour, disappointing note, we were left in bad moods and wishing we’d gotten to bed two or three hours earlier instead. Of course, no-one will agree because they are Iron Maiden and they frankly shit gold and piss Sunny D, but for us, it was a very frustrating end to a weekend filled with some top notch performances, despite the awful, awful weather.
You know I’ll be there again next year though. ‘Til next time, folks.