If the third day of Download had anything going for it, it’s that it began with the sun shining (all be it briefly). There was an argument to be had that on at least the main stage on the Sunday, it was very much a day of ‘Dad rock’, with Billy Idol, Slash, Motley Crue and KISS topping the bill.
The morning on the 2nd stage was started off by Dead Daisies, who are a group made up of former members of the likes of Thin Lizzy, Guns ‘n’ Roses and Motley Crue. There was a lot of hype going into the set, with the festival site being adorned with a huge central billboard suggesting that people make it out for the bands set. Dead Daises play solid rock music, that in fairness may not be to everyones taste but that clearly has a fan base, especially with the type of day ticket holder that was here for Sunday’s line-up.
September Mourning are like a walking graphic novel, with a whole back story behind them. Although the set is plagued with technical problems, it is easy to see the potential that the band carry and you can easily imagine them putting on a huge theatrical stage show that would make KISS look like a small pub band.
Touring with the likes of Marilyn Manson in the States, it won’t be long until they find themselves over here on a support run which will open them up to the masses, and give them the push they need.
For saying We Are Harlot are making their UK début, they don’t exactly need an introduction. Their self-titled album début album received stellar reviews, which is not really surprising considering it’s coming from the man who fronted Asking Alexandria for all those years. Harlot have stripped the rock genre back to it’s roots, but not in a clichéd jokey way like some of those before them. We Are Harlot are bona-fide rockstars, and for saying this was their first appearance on UK soil, they certainly made an impact.
Secret sets at Download are now the norm, it would just be great if they could actually stay secret. The Darkness were announced as a secret act about four days before the festival, and judging by the massive crowds around the Maverick stage, it was a smart choice by festival organisers. Opening the set by being paraded through the crowd by a Viking parade (yes, you read that right), Justin Hawkins is the kind of frontman that had he been playing in the 1980’s he’d have been a groupies favourite.
You may not like the bands flamboyant brand of rock, but with the crowd so massive you cannot deny their appeal to a large percentage of the Downloaders’ in attendance.
On the main stage Slash feat. Miles Kennedy and The Conspirators (yeah, they kind of need a new name), gave the crowd a pleasing set featuring not just Slash tracks, but also Miles Kennedy renditions of both Velvet Revolver and Guns n Roses classics, which may or may not have been better than the originals, it’s all depending on who you ask.
When Sweden does metal, it does metal well! Case in point: In Flames, the Swedish death metallers have been doing this shit since 1990 so they know what they are doing- reinventing and changing their music as they have progressed, not that stops them providing the crowd with a career spanning set.
The Ghost Inside are quickly becoming hardcore supremos, and with a fist-pumping and headbanging set on the Maverick stage they are steadily cementing themselves as one of the best bands in the genre.
The penultimate band on the Zippo Encore stage, Lamb of God bring their brand of groovy metal to the bulging crowd that have endured the weekends shitty weather on the 2nd stage. They are another band playing Sunday’s 2nd stage line-up that are veterans of the game, and know exactly how to play a festival set. They bring a level of intensity and power that is unrivalled.
It was touch and go as to whether Enter Shikari, would even be able to fulfil their 2nd stage headline slot after having to cancel their Bristol warm-up show through frontman Rou being hospitalised. Well they say you can’t keep a good man down, and seemingly you also can’t keep one of the best live bands in the UK down either, because they pulled themselves together and fucking killed it! What Enter Shikari do is stand alone, they are able to create awesome, catchy, melodic, anthemic tunes, that also carry a strong message. Hands down performance of the weekend. Enter Shikari are magnificent.
With a couple of arena shows planned for later this year, I’m going to go out on a limb and say Download 2017, Enter Shikari will headline the main stage and it will be legendary!
The Main stage also played host to Motley Crue and KISS to bring the festival to an end, both bands played solid sets that the crowd seemed massively responsive to. Unfortunately it just ain’t my bag baby, but it brought Download 2015 to an end with a crowd pleasing sing-along, and literal bang (fireworks..laaaame) that left I’m sure left all the Dad’s smiling.