April 13, 2024

Download Festival 2017 – Friday – System Of A Down kick Download off in style

Download Festival 2017 – Friday – 09/06/17

Northlane / Holding Absence / Code Orange / Issues /
Good Charlotte / Sum 41 / System Of A Down

It’s particularly sunny in Derby, a rare occasion when the legendary Download festival takes place at the home of rock, Donington Park. Tens of thousands of people are about to kick off one of the biggest weekends of the year and we would be damned if we were to miss out on all the fun! So, wellies donned (just incase) and water a plenty, we head straight to the mainstage to watch our first band of the weekend!

We kick of the festival with main stage openers, Northlane (9). After releasing a surprise album release this year in the form of Mesmer, the band has been none stop on the touring front and they were certainly not going to slow down now! Opening with their tribute to the late Tom Searle of Architects, Paragon, they threw every bit of energy into their performance. They’re tight, enthusiastic and make an immediate impression with the growing crowd jumping, dancing and clapping along. Ending with their iconic, Quantum Flux, leaves the crowd content and wanting more. A brilliant start to the festival, with a very emotional performance! (AJ)

One of the best things about Download festival is the opportunity young and new bands get on the smaller stages. We make our way over to the Dogtooth Stage to catch Welsh post-hardcore outfit, Holding Absence (9). HA have only been on the scene for a year now, with only two singles released, they walk out on stage to a full tent. Taken aback with emotion, the boys rattle through an inspiring set, with plentiful audience participation, they leave everything on stage and produce one of the most moving and stimulating sets we have seen in a long time and they have only been going a year. The future is bright and do not be shocked when these play Download festival on higher stages in the coming years. (AJ)


Wandering over to the Avalanche Stage, past the NXT tent, we enter the packed tent that is ready for Pittsburgh’s newest global export, Code Orange (8). Without a doubt, this band is one of the most hyped bands of the entire festival, after an insanely brilliant reception to their newest album, Forever. The band open with title track, Forever, and the place erupts. The band move around stage with purpose, as the bodies fly over the barrier and the pits explode with the breakdowns. Code Orange bring a once underground Hardcore sound to the masses with their own unique twist of added electronic samples and have the crowd in the palm of their hands. They leave the stage after ending with I Am King to a rapturous reception, which will be imprinted on the minds of those there to witness it for a long time. (AJ)

Over on the Avalanche Stage Issues (9) are ready to take Download to the next level with their pop-infused metalcore. They burst onto the stage furiously, storming and throwing themselves around the stage, to which they are greeted with an equally lively reception. The frontmen Tyler Carter and Michael Born sound fantastic with their back and forth vocals through tracks from their most recent album ‘Headspace’. Bassist Skyler Acord is grinning from ear to ear from start to finish, and even throws in some bass playing crowd surfing to top off an explosive set. Tough act to follow… (DP)

Over on the Zippo Encore stage we have a showdown of two pop punk masters going head to head to steal the day from underneath of System Of A Down’s noses. A ginormous crowd gather to see Good Charlotte (8.5) play their first ever show at download festival, and it goes down an absolute treat! Opening with ‘Anthem’ they throw us straight into bouncing nostalgia central from the off, and with the likes of ‘Lifestyle Of The Rich & Famous’, ‘Girls & Boys’ and ‘The River’, things where never going to calm down. Even newer tracks from their most recent album ‘Youth Authority’ are good enough to keep everyone interested. A solid performance from the Madden lads and co. to leave Sum 41 with a challenge at hand. (DP)

Having heard mixed things about Sum 41 (8.5) live, we entered their set with an open mind. The tiny but confident frame of Deryck Whibley walks out onto stage, picks his guitar up and instantly has everyone wrapped around his finger with ‘The Hell Song’. With a 14 track pop punk belting set to smash through theirs no time to waste as both the crowd and band are on top form. ‘In Too Deep’ and ‘Fat Lip sound as fresh as they did back in 2002 and have the sea of people bouncing into the distance. Sum 41 surprisingly take on the challenge of headlining such a large stage with ease, and also sound huge leaving us wondering why was anyone even doubting them in the first place? (DP)

However as great as Sum 41 where, tonight is all about the legendary System Of A Down (9), who make headlining the festival to 60,000 people look effortless. Ripping through a 30 song set in just short of 2 hours, no SOAD fan was left disappointed. ‘Aerials’ left tingles running down our spines early on in the set, way before ‘Chop Suey!’ kicked off absolute carnage in the mosh pits way down at the front. Sandwiched in between was plenty of metal madness to keep everyone on their toes. Front man Serj Tankian was on absolute top form from start to finish. ‘Toxity’ and ‘Sugar’ both close an extraordinary set and the first night of Download in a perfect fashion. We wouldn’t expect anything less from the specialists! (DP)

Check out our Saturday & Sunday reviews (coming shortly) to see who comes out on top at this years Download Festival!

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