Day 2 of Download had lots to offer for the Metal-heads – particularly on a Metalcore front and for those who like it on the extreme side. There was plenty in store for the rockers too across the stages and, of course, the highly anticipated performance of Linkin Park’s Hybrid Theory in full! Here’s our lowdown on Saturday’s happenings at Download 2014.
Wakey wakey, rise and shine DEATH METAL styled! Why not Dying Fetus? Yeah, why not!? Following the internet campaign that got them there, mainstage quaked as Dying Fetus (6) set foot on-stage for one of the weekend’s heaviest sets. Frantically paced kick drums, with seriously snazzy guitar riffs and solos set day 2 of Download off in heavy style. The turn-out was great too!
Flying the flag for the Brits, after a highly impressive intimate set last year to a rammed Pepsi Max stage, Bury Tomorrow (10) commanded the Main Stage oozing yet more star quality and giving a masterclass on how to smash the mainstage and then some. And boy were there plenty of highlights! As they made their entrée, BT’s Davyd Winter-Bates and Kristan Dawson strutted along the main stage runway having a mini circle pit of their own inciting the crowds on both sides of the barricades to follow suit. In a bid to break the done to death sit-down-and jump- up, which it has to be said that far too many bands at Download 2014 attempted, frontman Daniel Winter-Bates came up with a new concept – lie down and jump up! As you can imagine the concept in practice didn’t quite go as expected, but kudos to him for trying something just a little bit off the wall. And you can’t forget the “Chicks only Pit” down the left hand side! Tracks from the band’s new album ‘Runes’ held their own, whilst the usual crowd pleasers ‘An Honourable Reign’, ‘Royal Blood’ and ‘Lionheart’ sounded massive as a sea of crowd surfers closed one of the weekend’s most memorable sets.
They were followed by fellow Brits While She Sleeps (9) which saw several WSS flags flying high over the tightly pack crowd. This performance marked the bands return following frontman Loz Taylor’s throat surgery and boy was it a great comeback show. Sheffield’s Metallic Hardcore-rs dazzled, with circle pits spinning from the get-go as the band launched into ‘Death Toll’. It was quickly followed by ‘Dead Behind The Eyes’ and ‘This Is The Six’ with the crowd yelling every word. ‘Seven Hill’s’ triggered a wave of crowd surfers with Loz proudly waving a giant red, While She Sleeps flag as the song came to its end. The finale? One epic rendition of ‘Our Courage, Our Cancer’ which saw Loz clambering up to the sound desk tower scaffolding, leaving the flag fluttering over the Donington crowd.
The fun was injected in bundles throughout the entirety of Bowling For Soup’s (8) set. With the band completing their UK Farewell tour at the tail end of 2013, the mainstage was rammed to catch the band on what will now be a rare UK appearance. And they certainly didn’t disappoint with their amusing on-stage banter, fun songs and of course, the giant inflatable sheep which was cruelly slaughtered on-stage by a knight! One of the highlights being the random pause mid-song (complete with music) for a photo opportunity as the whole band strutted along the mainstage runway striking their best poses at all angles. ‘Almost’. Check. ‘High School Never Ends’. Check. ‘Punk Rock 101’. Check. ‘Girl All The Bad Guys Want’. Check. ‘1985’. Check. Just perfect for a sunny day at Download.
On their second Download appearance with Jesse Leach at the helm, Killswitch Engage (9) upped the ante, once again proving that they are forced to be reckoned with. Though problems with Adam D’s guitar may have slightly hampered the first few songs, Killswitch slayed the mainstage with a mix of old school KSE, Howard Era fan-favourites and, their newest Jesse led metal anthems. During the outstanding ‘My Last Serenade’, Adam D legged it down the mainstage runway and picked up a stray shoe that had been thrown onto the stage. He began using it briefly as a guitar pick (Guitar picks are clearly over-rated!) before lobbing it back into the crowd and going walk-about down the frontlines on the barricades. Tracks from ‘Disarm The Descent’ were explosive with ‘A New Awakening’, ‘In Due Time’ and ‘No End In Sight’ and the emotional ‘Always’ providing endless highlights. After well and truly smashing it out of the ball park with ‘My Curse’ and ‘In Due Time’, the band concluded with ‘The End of Heartache’ as the crowd sang in unison one last time. Surely a bigger slot awaits Killswitch Engage on their next visit to Donington Park.
Pop-Punkers, Fall Out Boy (7) took us on a trip down memory lane with a greatest hits orientated setlist – perfect for the ultimate summer festival if we dare say so with the band on fine form. The likes of ‘Sugar, We’re Going Down’, ‘Beat It’, ‘Dance, Dance’, ‘Thnks Fr Th Mmrs’ sounding as epic as ever. They closed with the very apt ‘Saturday’.
And then came the headliners. The late-80s and 90s “Kids” gathered en-masse for a night of serious nostalgia to witness the mighty Hybrid Theory played in full and, party like it was the year 2000 all over again. Anticipation was high. Would Linkin Park (9) kick the night off with the debut album that catapulted them onto greater things or would they end the night with a bang? Or would they shuffle the order up and go all Metallica on us!?
All would be answered in the short documentary that graced the big screens over mainstage of the band discussing playing Hybrid Theory in full with frontman Chester Bennington commenting that he couldn’t wait to hear the crowd just freak-out when the band would play Papercut. And the crowd did just that as the band launched into Paper Cut receiving a hero’s welcome as they entered the mainstage. ‘In The End’ and ‘Crawling’ saw the singing reach full volume and then some with the atmosphere at mainstage just incredible. The evening also saw the rare appearances of ‘Forgotten’ and ‘By Myself’, and ‘Cure For The Itch’ (in full) received its live debut. As ‘Push Me Away’ drew to its close there ended one of those “Okay, I can die happy now moments”. If you missed it, you truly missed out.
The second half the set offered a mix of fan favourites and tracks from the bands brand new album ‘The Hunting Party’; ‘Guilty All The Same’, ‘Until It’s Gone’ and ‘Wastelands’ which were well received. Mike Shinoda did at one point throw a single copy of the album into the crowd. You have to wonder if the album actually remained intact or if the person who caught it is even still alive after the inevitable mad scramble for the CD. The likes of ‘Numb’, ‘New Divide’ were in there too, and the set closers ‘What I’ve Done’ and ‘Bleed It out’ ended the night in style with the loudest singing all weekend long.
Many will undoubtedly say that the set lost some momentum after the strength of Hybrid Theory’s tracks and deliverance; however, the band delivered (as always) an impeccable performance. The only real criticisms are the lack of tracks from Meteora such as the ‘Breaking The Habit’, ‘Faint’ and ‘Somewhere I Belong’, and ‘No More Sorrow’ and ‘Shadow of the Day’ from Minutes To Midnight but, you can’t have it all. Yet again, another phenomenal headliner performance at Download Festival from Linkin Park.
Photography courtesy of Jamie Giberti