Saturday, 10 June 2017

Download Festival 2017 - Day One Review

SOMETHING very weird has happened. Download Festival has had a whole day without rain. Not only that, but it was sunny - proper, fucking sunny.

'But what of the bands?' I hear you ask. Well I'll give you a spoiler alert - despite the sun and beer and quality music all around, the day all ended a bit flat. But we'll get to that.

Motionless In White - Picture by Paulo Gonçalves
For once I was at Donnington bright and early and ready when NORTHLANE kicked off on the main stage and the Aussie boys were cracking and followed by the very popular MOTIONLESS IN WHITE. Great stuff to get the juices flowing.

I moved about for a while, taking in bits of ASTROID BOYS, CODE ORANGE and MACHINE GUN KELLY. The latter of those bands I didn't quite get and their cover of Oasis' Wonderwall was appalling - even if it did get the crowd singing.

MASTODON were next on the main stage and they too were a little disappointing. Not the band, I must say. You could see they were working their socks off and giving it their all as always, but the beautiful intricacies of their musicianship were - oddly - blown away in the wind. The sound just didn't carry as best it could. I did still enjoy the set though.

And then came the double-whammy that really cranked things up for me. I love a bit of FIVE FINGER DEATH PUNCH and they did not disappoint with a fierce set that included many of the favourites including Burn MF, Was It All Away, Bad Company and ended with The Bleeding. 

Five Finger Death Punch - Picture by Ben Gibson
They were followed by PROPHETS OF RAGE, who really rocked. Chuck D has such an amazing presence and the rest of the band were superb. Their set included a poignant tribute to Chris Cornell as they played a vocal-free version of Like A Stone. Beautiful.

SUM 41's return on the second stage was a welcome one. Frontman Deryck Whibley does look like he's been through the ringer, but there is still a power and angst there and some of the new songs are excellent. Alas, I missed the classics - Still Waiting, In Too Deep and Fat Lip - as I had to get to the main stage for the headliners.

SYSTEM OF A DOWN have a rightful place in rock and metal royalty. They are as original as they are brilliant in their music creation. I was excited to see how this translated to a live performance - a first for me. And it was a disappointment. For me, Serj Tankian's voice just didn't seem up to it and Daron Malakian seemed to have the hump with him.

And I don't think I've seen such a static headline act. Shavo Odadjian made something of a fist of it, but Serj and Daron were happy to remain behind their mic stand at all times. That meant the energy that their songs possess just didn't come across. It was OK. But you expect a lot more than OK from your headliners.

No comments:

Post a Comment