Feature by Helen Tytherleigh
Over the weekend of the 8 – 10 June the 10th anniversary of Download festival (or should I say 'Brownload' festival?) took place at the legendary Donington Park. It wasn't the best weather, to say the least, and the festival didn't exactly get off to a great start. There was wind, there was rain and combined with thousands of rock and metal fans there was a hell of a lot of mud (hence the revised name: 'Brownload').
On the Friday afternoon Rise to Remain were due to open the festival and kick off the music on the main stage. However, sadly their set was cancelled along with Cancer Bats due to a one hour delay in opening the main arena. The delay was caused because of the state of the ground and that was before the arena had even opened.
Friday highlights included NOFX who were hilarious to watch and really got the crowd going, lifting everyone's spirits. That afternoon I made the daring decision to watch The Defiled and While She Sleeps rather than Machine Head, but I'm actually really glad I took the risk. Both bands were excellent and While She Sleeps lived up to the killer reputation they've gained over the last few years.
Later Chase & Status were really well received and provided a great warm up for The Prodigy's explosive show. I chose instead to watch Nightwish who didn't have a great sound but had pyrotechnics going off all over the place, followed by Slash with Myles Kennedy for solos aplenty and 'Sweet Child O' Mine'/'Paradise City' sing-alongs.
Saturday began fresh and early at 11am with As I Lay Dying, one of my favourite bands of the whole weekend after Metallica and Lamb of God. Halestorm was a further highlight of the morning – front woman Lzzy Hale has an extremely impressive voice as well as the ability to perform in sky-high heels. Steel Panther were brilliant and brought out special guest Corey Taylor to sing on 'Death To All But Metal'. Tenacious D were one of the slight letdowns of the day, despite having an exploding eagle to finish their set. They simply could have done with rearranging the set list, as they played a lot of their new material and not so many of their older, more well-known songs. Metallica, performing the Black Album along with a full set, were simply outstanding, no question. I genuinely got goosebumps watching them. An unforgettable experience.
Sunday began with We Are The Ocean who had a significant lineup change due to the very recent departure of frontman Dan Brown - having lost his screaming vocals, their sound changed completely and not for the better. Black Label Society had Zakk Wylde soloing for a good half of their set. He was also wearing an impressive feathered headdress. Lamb of God followed shortly afterwards creating numerous pits all over the crowd. They were on top form and played quite a few tracks from their new album, as well as the inevitable 'Redneck'.
To finish the day I chose to watch Periphery before joining the humungous crowd watching Black Sabbath. As a huge fan of tech metal I couldn't not watch Periphery who were absolutely exceptional and honoured that people had come to watch them rather than Sabbath. However, Black Sabbath were a magnificent way to conclude the weekend. Ozzy was hobbling all over the place and it was amazing to see Tony Iommi playing despite his condition. Ozzy was talking about a new album but whether or not that'll happen we'll have to wait till next year.
Despite the disappointing weather, everybody donned their wellies and raincoats, grabbed a pint and enjoyed an awesome weekend. The rain wasn't going to stop anyone having an amazing time. Happy 10th Anniversary, 'Brownload'.
Feature by Helen Tytherleigh