Saturday’s bands hit the stage two hours before the previous day, but despite the apparent hangovers looming over the haggard campers the crowds still began building from the moment the arena opens. Whilst Milton Keynes based metallers Heart of a Coward bring crowds to Main stage, over on the Maverick Stage In Hearts Wake take to the stage. Possibly helped by the deplorable weather, the day’s 1st Australian band (the day seemed to be full of them) bring some hardcore tunes to stage, knocking the cobwebs off any of those who were still feeling the effects of the previous night.
The Love Zombies hit the stage like a cross between something out of ‘Alice in Wonderland’ and Blondie. Seizing on the opportunity to entertain the extra few that might be looking to avoid the rain, Love Zombies bring a bit of fun to the early morning crowd, and offer a different flavour to start the day.
At the same time on the Main stage Welsh Hardcore is the flavour of the hour, as Funeral For Friend thrash out some of their ‘old skool’ classics and fan favourites, mixed in with new material that goes over well with the growing crowd. Funeral For A Friend are another of those bands, who look comfortably playing in front of thousands on the Main stage or just as comfortable and at home playing to two hundred people in Derby the week before. They are clearly at a point in their career where they just love playing music to whoever still wants to listen, and today it’s just a casual few thousand!
The British metal scene might not be as commercially popular as it has been in recent years, but despite this bands like Malefice continue, but on shows like the one they did on Downloads 2nd stage. With their last full length album being released in 2013, I’m sure fans will be eager to get a new fix of music from the Reading based boys.
Part of the days Australian contingent hit the Main stage mid-afternoon, and they created a proverbial shit storm. Every band has the opportunity to create a ‘Download moment’ and Parkway Drive certainly did their best to do that. Despite the mud and rain, Parkway Drive had the crowd bouncing and losing their shit, in one performance Parkway Drive cemented their place in the metalcore and showed that there is no reason why they couldn’t be headlining a festival like this in the very near future.
Finally getting to Download, following some issues last year, Upon A Burning Body hit the Maverick stage between two more Australian bands Hands Like Houses and Northlane (they must have done some kind of plane share). If there is one thing you take away from Upon A Burning Body, it’s that those cats got style! Hitting the stage like metal cartel gang, Upon A Burning Body have the skills and ability to back up their strong style. As they say everything’s bigger in Texas, including metal apparently.
The Saturday Main stage line-up, offers a huge amount of variety with Rise Against ticking the punk rock genre off the days Main stage bingo card. Rise Against offer the kind of politically charged anthemic punk rock that is perfectly suited for a huge festival crowd with the set finishing on fan favourite ‘Savior.’
Apart from a break for Black Star Riders, the evening on the Encore stage makes up most of the festivals quota of Gothic bands. Beginning with Motionless In White, and their brand of industrial metalcore. The fear for Motionless In White, must be the fear that despite their sound they get paired with the likes of Black Veil Brides and more watered down rock acts, because boy, that is not them at all.
Not content with being confronted by PROGRESS Wrestling’s Jimmy Havoc, Andy Williams also manages to find to fill his usual role playing guitar for Every Time I Die. Hitting the Maverick stage, Keith Buckley and company top off the day in terms of hardcore bands with one hell of a set, which had journalists and photographers downing tools and getting themselves involved in some pit action. (Proving just how hardcore they are, later in the night Williams actually appeared at the wrestling and power-bombed Havoc through a table, proving that you don’t fuck with Andy!)
A Day To Remember will headline Download within the next three or four years, this is inevitable. What A Day To Remember have achieved is to become a hardcore band that instead of floundering in the underground, has managed to legitimize themselves and be a commercially successful hardcore band. They manage to create an infectious atmosphere, that has the crowd in raptures. A Day To Remember are headliners, who are waiting in the wings just to be given their one big chance to prove themselves as a big enough draw to sit atop of the mountain.
Back on the Maverick stage it’s “Ice Motherfucking T Bitch” and that’s from the man himself. Body Count are Body Count, they do what they do and nobody can touch them, combing an ‘old skool’ hip-hop mentality with thrash metal sound since 1990. If it wasn’t for the ‘pussyfication of man’ they’d probably be headling the festival (perhaps you had to be there).
The draw of Black Veil Brides is undeniable. They seem to have any rock fan under the age of 16 almost hypnotised by the cult of ‘BVB’. You can’t deny that Black Veil Brides are good at what they do, and there is a level of respect that they deserve in the fact that they are trying to revive a genre of music, that many people would rather stay dead and buried, which is probably harsh as you cannot deny that these guys have an audience that adores them and what they do. The type of audience that would buy a range of black toilet paper if they released it. But they’re good at what they do and they look pretty good doing it.
The days Main stage headliner is Muse, who although not everybody’s cup of tea, manage to bring in a crowd that shows that they are actually worthy of their place of the bill.
Another act arguable worthy of closing the Download Main stage, but instead assigned to 2nd stage status is ‘King of the Goths’ Marilyn Manson. No introduction or hype is needed for Manson, he’s been in the industry for nearly sixteen years. With Marilyn Manson, it is all about the spectacle and that is what the crowds got. With a church-esq back drop and seemingly the worlds largest smoke machine. Manson set about to play a crowd pleasing set, that cements his status as godfather of the Goth scene.