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Monday, 16 June 2014

Hey Ho Lets Go "Download 2014" A lost weekend in review.

Where to start? At the beginning? On the Friday? The Wednesday? I am fairly sure not one of you is interested in anything but the bands I can recall, the things I remember or the way it was.
I'm sat here with In This Moment, Blood Re-Issues & Bonuses playing as I am working up to a new Album review, an they are on my list to review, but they didn't play Download, so you will have to wait for that.

So we shall begin with saying Download festival I have been to them all but the first one. An I was meant to be there for that but yeah it's messy. It is my annual pilgrimage to Castle Donington, the group changes but I always stay the same, I try to watch as many bands as I can which can be hard at times as it's a festival an partying in the camp site at night can mean late starts in the morning, okay I possibly mean afternoon.

We will start with the Wednesday shall we. No bands play on Wednesdays. But then this is the thing, I left Leicester as I was staying over at a mates before heading in we left at 11 am, reached the services had breakfast. Now here is the mad bit even in the quietest years and there have been a couple not many but a couple that time in the morning the services near to East Midlands Airport and the road down to the Race Track are usually choker block, this day how ever we drove straight into the services, had breakfast then drove straight into the car park and parked not a single traffic delay at all! This was a bit of a shock.

Into the queue around 1:30/ 1:45 takes a while to load up the trolley an drag two massive tents, and bags all the way over to the gates themselves, we slowly went along down getting closer to the gates and they were searching everyone a little more thoroughly than we have seen before which was interesting, but if you're not carrying anything you shouldn't have then it's all fine, in we go and tent was up and we were down with beer by 4 pm. Just walked into our normal camping area and set up with out issue. Down the bottom of the Green camp site. Not to far from the village but just far enough to be out of the way if anything kicks off we are safe and sound. So were in Thursday happened. Involved going off site to buy beer, as the price for a crate of 24 cans was a lot steep. Like £42 - £48 steep. An Turborg possibly the most horrible larger ever created was the more expensive one!


So not an early start on the first day, arena don't open till 12, first band goes on at one, two we wander down to be in position for:

Powerman 5000, most random of starting bands, no one seemed to know any of the songs as we wandered down, I could remember a few but once they started playing we all suddenly started remembering songs by them as they played and we sang along. Good set, worked well with the crowd though it wasn't massive. But still was a good set.
Moving on to the band we really came down early for:

Skindred, As always they brought the best they can be, with great tunes, high energy rifts and mixing and such a charismatics and fantastic front man. If they tour near you go see them they are just an amazing live act, full of energy and banter fun and all round brilliant act. Rugby Choirs and Tom Jones aren't the only musicians to come out of Wales and bring the house down. Just watch out for that Newport Helicopter.

Time for food a wander and a bit of a break. Wanted to see Flogging Molly and Black Label Society kind of managed to miss both some how. Think I was in the beer Tent, could hear black label and they sounded a little off but it might have just been the sound and as I didn't see them I can't comment on this really. As it would be unfair on them. Back in place though for:

Within Temptation, as always sounded amazing, vocally amazing as always and good set, though I don't think we will ever see them much higher up the line up. Great vocalist. Check them out.

Now the act I was looking forward too and was expecting an amazing show from was Rob Zombie.
Was expecting something fantastic as every time I have seen him to date he has played a blinder, be it at the Birmingham 02, Headlining the second stage at Download 2011 or the twins of evil show in Birmingham NIA with Marilyn Manson.  He has always brought an amazing show and an amazing presence.
He couldn't be bothered. Complained that it was sunny, complained he was doing a "Party" Set, Had non of his props on stage and even asked if the Solo John 5 had been doing was long enough to take them to the end of set and walked off to be sent back out to play Dragula that he slurred the words on like many songs and just couldn't be bothered. I have the utmost respect for Rob Zombie as an Artist and I will just have to put it down to technical issues short set and something making it a bad day that just ruined what could have been magical. But I don't know all I know is what I saw from around 50 feet from the stage.

Bad Religion. I really didn't know what to expect here. I had no clue at all, never seen them before know the odd song and know how long they have been around, was glad I saw them though they didn't light me on fire they played very fast and very well but I have nothing to compare them too. Some jokes thrown in but that was about it really, they might have been playing their hearts out they could have been dialing it in, I just don't know but they did play well if they didn't light a fire under the groups backsides.

Here comes my highlight of Friday. An the rest of the groups too. Ave......... hahaha Nope wasn't A7X it was the might and the amazing Offspring.
Playing Smash, from intro to intermission to end, throwing in hits from Americana and the last single from Rise and Fall, You're going to go far kid (Dance fucker Dance)
20 years on, and while the years are seen on their faces, they still play as hard and fast as they ever did, the crowd was behind them pits appearing, dancing and singing along at the top of their voices, at one point even drowning out the band and the main stage with their cries along to hits like Pretty Fly for a white guy and Self Esteem. Crowd interaction as always was done in the form of little in jokes and they banged out hit after hit with efficiency and a greatness that these only veterans can bring. Set finished with 15 minutes to spare. I do wonder if they had anything left in them after that to do an extra encore but the stage hands never gave them a choice and started breaking the set.


The plan was to make the Arena for Fozzy.......... This was a massive fail mainly on my part as I had spent a lot of the evening Drinking with people around the camp site and I didn't crawl out of bed till late. An then pretty much started drinking again in order to avoid the hang over, Music festivals the only place where it is acceptable to down 3 pints before the kettle has boiled to make the coffee.

We aimed once more for 3 pm as we weren't missing bowling for soup. An as it's the only video I could  find have some of their Download 07 appearance.
I am a massive bowling for soup fan they are up there in my seen more times than I can could list of bands. An after 20 years they have retired from big tours, so this might have been the last time to see them for a while. They cram so much into a set it is unreal, jokes songs and they never miss a beat. Crowd interaction going on through songs after songs during songs just non stop party band and they are such an amazing group of guys to see play and it is a shame it might be so long till I get to see them again. Just go find their work buy it get everything you;'' love them you might even know more songs than you think.

As I really wanted to check out Richard/Crane featuring Whitfield Crane and Lee Richards a new project I skipped Killswitch Engage. An then passed out for a bit. R/C though are a two piece acoustic project, this is a new path for both of these guys getting out those songs within them and down, they say every time they do a new project it will be different and this is going to be a journey through music with them and their creativeness. Was a very gorgeous pieces and I am looking forward to the finished album. Which the first one will be Acoustic. Don't expect Ugly Kid Joe or God Smack though but something new and very interesting.

Right I'm awake I have hiccups, need to get too 2nd stage as the wild hearts are ab-o-ut t-o pl-ay, was so uncomfortable no idea where they had come from but they were pissing me off and then I herd that opening rift of sick of drugs and I ran off full speed straight to the front of the crowd pushing my way though to get a decent view. I do love the Wildhearts. Ginger the ever charismatic front man, the band behind playing in unity as always and once more some hard hitting fast paced songs that just make you want to BOUNCE and sing along. Always amazing watching the Wildhearts and Ginger.

Twisted Sister.... Oh My God I Wanna Rock! Amazing presence fantastic front man funny as hell and just some very hard hitting Rock and Roll. Low flying planes though and New York bands not always the best thing especially when Donington Park is directly under the landing path of East Midlands Airport. First random moment of the set. While it was towards the end of the set. Second stand out moment was the tribute to Motorhead and Lemmy. Dee Snider is a true gentleman of Rock and Roll.

Now this is where it gets a little complicated. I started to wander. I watched the first 20 minutes of the Quo set and the boys were on fire they said was a short set due to the football.... Sorry what!? I'm at a rock festival I couldn't give a shit about the world cup play music not sports. Read the results on your phone later and let the bands play. I wandered to third stage and caught a bit of Behemoth not really my thing but from what I could see sounded good were playing well and I did like the out fits, the set layout and the special effects. An as they were playing Linking Park, now not my cup of tea but sounded clean and well presented I didn't look towards the stage but I got to hear crawling and one step closer which are the only songs I know by the band and they sounded really good, before heading back over to the 2nd stage for the End of Quo, some random conversations with people around me and some hard core air guitar, then back to camp and more beer.


This all went very wrong. I was going to see Buckcherry if it killed me. It very nearly did, was an early start, so beer in hand as I was going to have to drive the next morning get the "light" drinking in early on the way down to the arena. So off for breakfast, beer in hand, have breakfast, then its right were off to the arena, me thinking I would have time to get back to the tent change the battery on my E-Cig grab an extra beer just to finish them of on the walk and dump things like my trench coat and stuff in my pockets. Nope no no no not allowed were going. Off we wander. We get to the Arena entrance and Buckcherry come on stage. Damn It All. It is jammed tighter than a sardine can and were not getting in in a hurry so I get to listen to a distorted sound as the wind is up and at that range everything is bleeding together. Get through the gate and they start Crazy Bitch. Yeah last song of the set that's how long it took to get in, I manage to get from the arena entrance to the barriers before they get half way through the song. So if you saw a 6'2" guy running across the Download arena heavy leather trench coat billowing that was me. I'm sorry if I knocked anyone over I think I dodged, jumped and skipped round most people.
Any way back up for lunch and the usual meet up spot, I do love Deli Kate, possibly my favourite food stall, they do all the rock and metal festivals go check them out. Is it Deli Kate or Deli Cate? I don't remember they have been standing at download 5 years now, they also do blood stock and this year Alt Fest. As well as a few others.

Crash at the top of the hill for some Richie Sambora, Crowd which is singing along look small from where we are, sound is okay but he is no Jon Bon jovi, he can play the guitar but he hasn't got the same range as his band mate. Though once he starts playing the well known Bon Jovi tracks the crowd picks up and starts singing along.

Joe Bonamassa???? I sat I watched It did nothing for me. I recognized one song, which is played to death and isn't that impressive, the performance was good it just didn't get me going or make me want to go purchase his CDs. I ended up wandering went past 3rd stage and saw them trying to crush into the tent for Crazy Town which I didn't expect at all but they were just surrounding the 3rd stage trying to get in.

Volbeat, You know what I own their albums, I rarely listen to them, I was really impressed and I should possibly go back and listen to them again really nice show, some good tunes some interaction with the crowd and very pleasing set thoroughly enjoyed them and once I learn some words might even try and see them on their own tour.

Sorry Steel Panther you just don't do it for me.

Seether, never herd them before had no idea what to expect was pleasantly surprised though, some really nice tricks with delay peddle and loops. Really good performance had my foot tapping and bouncing along to songs I didn't even know. Shall be checking them out more once I have some funds to do so.

The Pretty Reckless.
Last time they played download I was shocked and amazed at how good they were, I didn't expect to like them I got their Albums and have enjoyed them. Now I don't know who's fault it was if it was the bands if it was the sound techs but the bass was so high that you couldn't hear any words all you could feel and I do mean feel was the bass drum and guitar. It really spoiled the set, when they did eventually get the bass lowered she appeared to mumble her way though the songs while the other mic the guitarist was using was clear and audible. This wasn't a wind issue this really was a set up issue and should have been fixed.
Several kids in the crowd more dads in the crowd just to leer over her dancing around on stage being provocative. Worst set of the whole festival though I have herd that Bring Me The Horizon didn't do that well either, but I don't know as didn't see them.

Back for Aerosmith. An the last two tracks of Alter Bridge.
Was it going to be the same lack luster performance of 2010 or was it going to be an energy fueled explosion.... BOOM straight off the bat it was high energy and 5 songs in I'm all okay they are playing to their potential lets go see Zebrahead for a change, we never go see Zebrahead......

I had no idea what I was letting myself in for here, the 4th/5th stage depending on how you look at it is tiny, and packed! High energy fast fun rap rock punk show. With some great little moments, but only a 25 minute set and so much packed into it including this.....

Yes that is a member of the band paddling a raft across the top of the crowd! 

It all gets a bit hazy after that much jollity was had around the camp site many jokes and stories told and a lot of laughing singing and doing really bad impressions before rolling in and calling it another Download Festival brought to a close. Roll on Download 2015 and another great 6 days of Alcohol, Music, Sun and fun.