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Download Festival 2017 – Saturday – 10/06/17
Creeper / Sikth / Junior / Casey / Of Mice & Men / AFI /
Every Time I Die / A Day To Remember / Devin Townsend / Biffy Clyro
After a successful first day at Download 2017, the weather is still holding out as thousands of fans pull themselves out of their tents with a groggy hangover. Fortunately there is plenty of rock and metal on show to cure even the worst hangover!
As the crowd makes it’s ways through the gates at mid day it falls to no other than Creeper (7) to get everyone back into the party mood. The Southampton Horror Punks didn’t look out of place on the Download Mainstage and pulled a great crowd, which is unsurprising with belters like ‘Black Rain’ & ‘Suzanne’ early in the set to get everyone moving. After a hectic set, it was ‘I Choose to Live’ which closed the set a little softly and felt somewhat underwhelming after such a great start. (DP)
Since their reunion at Download in 2014, SikTh (8) have been on a monster ride. Multiple UK tours, both their own headliners and also arena tours with Slipknot, as well as an EP and now a brand new album, The Future In Who’s Eyes?, their latest challenge is this years mainstage. The band take to the stage and immediately run all over, engaging with every audience member watching them. If you give them the time of day, they will look you right in the eyes, scream their songs and make you love them. Whilst there were sound issues, it didn’t phase them one bit and with the utmost professionalism, proceeded to smash their mainstage debut! (AJ)
You will see a theme of bands that we tend to catch on the Dogtooth stage this year, which is that they’re mostly Welsh. Whatever is in the water there, we need to bottle it and send it around, but we digress. Whilst most associate Download with metal and rock, we can’t miss Pop Punk out and today’s PP comes in the form of Junior (9). This trio have been on the scene the past few years, but have recently found more fame with bassist and lead singer, Mark Andrews, gaining more notoriety through his career as a professional wrestler (yeah, pro wrestler and a rock star, mad aint it?). The tent is full and Junior put on a performance like they’re headlining the main stage. Energy, dancing, catchy songs and an even cool crowd pleaser in the form of a limbo contest in the middle of the pit sets Junior up for one of the more unique sets of the weekend. With songs and melodies as catchy as Fall Out Boy and Panic! At The Disco combined, do not let this band slip under the radar!
After a quick break, we find ourselves back at the Dogtooth stage to find one of our favourite bands, Casey (8.5). Casey bring sad and lyrical brilliance to Download in the most artistic of ways, with an engaging and heart felt performance, the Welsh (there it is again) post Hardcore unit bring out the swaying and have a large crowd response to their lyrics, with notable participating screams from the audience during Darling and Little Bird. With many in the audience wearing Casey merch, it is obvious that they are smashing the proverbial glass roof and we expect much bigger things to come!
Of Mice & Men (8) have gone through quite a lot in the last year or so, and after their frontman Austin Carlile stepped down from the band for health reasons, it left the remaining four members to either call it a day, or pick up what they have and power on through together. Fortunately it was the latter and they find themselves now playing the Download Mainstage. The quintet look solid together and hold the monstrous stage with ease as they tear through a set full of ferocious tracks to make sure everyone knows they are as strong as ever. Lead vocalist/bassist Aaron Pauley sounds fantastic, and tracks such as ‘Would You Still Be There’ are blisteringly good live on such a huge scale. It’s safe to say things look promising for the next chapter of Of Mice & Men. (DP)
Following that fantastic performance, anyone would be a little nervous about following it up, however Pierce The Veil (8) have taken on much larger tasks at hand before and they are more than equipped to grab this opportunity with both hands. The dull clouds part and the sun shines down on the mainstage as frontman Vic Fuentes and co power through the likes of ‘Bulls In Bronx’, ‘Dive in’ and ‘Circles’ as the crowd back them up with giant circle pits and mosh pits making use of every bit of available space. ‘King for a Day’ as ever closes the set and PTV leave knowing full well they gave it everything they have to concur the Download Mainstage with their hardcore punk party anthems. (DP)
One act that stands out today on the line up is no other than AFI (7.5), who with their 10 albums in the past quarter-century as a band are deservedly given the chance to prove themselves at the heights of the legendary DL mainstage. You can’t knock the effort these guys put into the show, particularly frontman Davey Havok who is doing everything he can to get the crowd moving and singing along. Unfortunately for AFI the crowd at times seem a little un interested making life a little difficult for AFI, but they don’t hold back. A great and slightly unappreciated set comes to a close with the hit single ‘Miss Murder’ that instantly livens up the crowd, before the frontman leaves the stage with a mic drop looking slightly frustrated. (DP)
Now, over to the shade of the Avalanche tent, New York legends, Every Time I Die (10) are putting on a master class of destruction. From the start, the crowd dedicates every part of it’s being to Keith Buckley, who is almost immediately up in their grill on the front barrier. After seeing a young child on their parents shoulders, he praises the parents saying it’s a favourite part of these festivals, that, and when a bloke in a Pikachu onesie ends up in a pit. After slaying through songs such as The New Black, Thirst and Bored Stiff, in the weirdest of coincidences, the token festival Pikachu soon appears in to fly over the barrier thrusting their fists in the air with the rest of the crowd. Combined with Jordan Buckley, Andy Williams and Steve Micciche throwing their bodies and instruments round in a chaos filled set, the band exit to Map Change and the tent begins to disperse, content and filled with joy. (AJ)
The chatter around the mainstage soon turns into excitement, and A Day To Remember (9.5), take to the stage with plenty of intent to come out on top at download festival this year, and what better way to do that than kicking off the show with a trio of absolute belting tracks. ‘All I Want’, I’m Made of Wax, Larry…’ and ‘The Plot to bomb the Panhandle’ send download into absolute carnage with crowd surfers, mosh pits and circle pits naturally forming left right and centre with little need of encouragement from the frontman Jeremy McKinnon, who rather effortlessly wanders around the stage like this is just ‘another one of those shows’.
As ever ADTR pull out all the stops with blasts of CO2, fire, fireworks, T-shirt cannons, beach balls and loo rolls to make sure nobody lost interest for one second. The 16 track set comes to a close with an explosive finish to ‘The Downfall Of Us All’ leaving us all breathless. This is a band that are so good live you can mark it as an experience instead of just a live show. They’re too big to headline the second stage but not quite big enough to headline the main stage just yet, but if they can pull all the stops out with another outstanding album in the next couple of years, all that could change in an instance. (DP)
Devin Townsend of the Devin Townsend Project (9) is an interesting character. Full of self loathe, anxiety and a fear of general human interaction, you can’t help but wonder how he is so bloody talented and excellent at what he does with those specific fears. The band immediately opens with Sky Blue album opener, Rejoice, a perfect combination of heavy and modern Dev, ie, loads of orchestral brilliance and layers of synth. The crowd rejoice, (hope you liked that one) as the Canadians run through heavier, but still incredibly prog material such as Failure, Deadhead and March Of The Poozers, with consistent and engaging interactions from Devin, regularly questioning why he is up on the stage and general human engagements. No poop or fart jokes yet. With the set drawing to an end, notable DTP tracks, Kingdom and Grace sing through the Donington Park with passion and a bit of love, but what’s a festival without some love songs? Oh, and during the solo to Kingdom, Townsend did pretend to perform cunnilingus on a security guard, much to his and the crowd’s amusement, but that was the only debauchery of the set. The DTP continue to be one of the most consistent and talented bands in the Metal genre and we can’t wait to see them on that main stage one day.
We end the day on the mainstage, waiting for the one and only, Biffy Clyro (11). Biffy were subject to some heavy criticism when they were announced as headliners way back in 2016, mostly from bitter elitists, who considered them a pop band who just got chose because they had tattoos and played guitars. Oh how wrong and ignorant those people were.
After a near sold out arena tour in December 2016, the band had the best stage show of the weekend, with a mental lighting set up, sound and pyro (but we will get to that). Opening with Wolves Of Winter, the Scottish three-piece (with help from the extremely talented, Mike Vennart and Mike Ingram) threw everything they had at the home of Rock. For those considering the Biff to be too ‘soft’, Neil and the Johnson brothers really showed them where to shove it, with huge hits, quirky funk and mega riffs in the form of Living Is A Problem, Who’s Got A Match (with plentiful huge pyro flames throughout) and 57 all making it in the set early on. Slower songs such as Bubbles and Friends And Enemies lulled the crowd into a false sense of security, which was to then be shattered by upbeat mega hit, That Golden Rule, which was then followed closely by the gnarly and rough Animal Style. Even the Download crowd is susceptible to radio bangers and a good sing along, as proven when the band play Mountains and Many Of Horror, but then finish their main set with a frantic rendition of The Captain, leaving Download wanting more.
After a minute break and an acoustic performance of God And Satan, the band throw out set list rarity There’s No Such Thing As A Jaggy Snake, which sends the crowd into a frenzy and then they finish up with Opposite’s lead single, Stingin’ Belle. The end of Stingin’ Belle is greeted with a monster amount of pyro, both from the mainstage and then the surrounding sound towers, lighting up the festival more than last years headliners, Rammstein, surely grounding the planes from the nearby airport. With fireworks filling the sky, feedback blaring from the speakers, a soaked and shirtless Simon Neil says goodnight and ends with a huge “we are, BIFFY, FUCKING, CLYRO”, just for those in the back who didn’t know who just blew their minds with that performance. (AJ)