After an incredibly heavy night in The Doghouse (which mostly resulted in Jamie screaming TUNE after every song) and back at camp, we woke a little weary but ready for action after a delicious breakfast a la Steve*.
(* For those not in the know, this is Vodka and Orange- I do not recommend it.)
If you missed part one of Rachel's Download review, you can read her take on the Friday here. Now back to the Saturday action....
We first checked out While She Sleeps- a band that seems to incite such passion and loyalty from their fans. Around the camp and the arena were many black and white flags with their fantastic yet simple logo, and they drew a strong crowd to kick off just before 2pm. The boys from Sheffield lunged onto the stage and smashed through a short set list without letting up, opening with Death Toll which has seen huge recognition on the mainstream cycle. Crowd favourite “This is the Six” did not disappoint, and the closing songs saw Loz climbing the sound stage with a red WSS flag. Worth seeing again, as sound issues marred an otherwise interesting performance- 6.5/10.
Now fully woken up and in the groove, it was time to go back to my youth with the ever hilarious Bowling For Soup. Despite never being the tightest band when it comes to performances by traditional standards, they are ultimate showmen and made me absolutely cackle with their crowd interactions. All the classics were there- Bitch Song, Punk Rock 101, Almost, High School Never Ends, and then they finished off with the ultimate double whammy ; Girl all the Bad Guys Want followed by 1985. Everyone, even the dourest rockers, were singing and shimmying along, and everyone felt just a little bit sad when the sheep was slain by the most unworthy knight. This band were a huge highlight of my weekend, and was made all the better by meeting Jaret Reddick in the crowd during Linkin Park and drinking red wine from a bag with him. 8.5/10.
Killswitch Engage were next on the list, and the first time I have seen them with new frontman Jesse Leach since Howard left back in 2012. Jesse has quite obviously stepped back into the shoes he originally filled in the early days of the band, and he manages to own the tracks penned by Howard in an amazing fashion. No, he doesn’t sound like Howard, but the power of Jesse’s voice is truly incredible and he gives these songs his own stamp. The rest of the band, as always, was incredibly tight and the set list consisted of a smattering from the most recent album, Disarm the Descent, as well as the anthems from As Daylight Dies and Alive or Just Breathing. Personal highlight was, of course My Last Serenade – the song I hold solely responsible for my laryngitis the week after. 9/10.
Fall Out Boy came next, and in general I was fairly disappointed. Having never seen them before, I had truly high hopes for the performance, and I had my dancing shoes on following the two great sets from Bowling for Soup and Killswitch previously. The band played all of the classics, including This Aint a Scene, Sugar we’re Goin Down and Thnks fr th Mmrs , and we all danced around like we used to as teenagers. But I did spend half the time wishing we were at a venue with a roof over our heads so that the atmosphere could build up a bit- there just wasn’t quite the oomph I had hoped for. They then proceeded to close the set with Saturday, one of my least favourite songs by them- I can only imagine they chose it because they were playing on the Saturday. Not so witty. 6/10.
Fall Out Boy on the Stephen Sutton main stage, Photo by Andrew Whitton.
Finally we came to Linkin Park, who played Hybrid Theory in its entirety in the “first half” and then a collection of new and old (mostly new) in the “second half”. Now my ratings for these two halves are vastly different, mostly because everyone just wanted Hybrid Theory and nothing else, but also because I felt in the second half the band was just going through the motions as opposed to killing it.
Hybrid Theory, from beginning to end – absolutely flawless. What made this album truly great was the way they blended hip-hop with metal/rock in a consistently dark way, inspiring an array of emotions through every song. Everyone knew the words to Points of Authority, and this was no different at Download with everyone feeling b’dass as the rapped along. The connection between the band and the crowd was palpable, and I genuinely felt lost in the moment. A 10/10 for me.
Linkin Park wow'ing Donington with Hybrid Theory. Photo by Andrew Whitton.
The second half, however, saw the crowd disconnect from the band and vice versa. Their hearts didn’t seem in it when they were promoting new material- maybe they were tired, or they were focusing more on remembering the songs, or perhaps they already had an idea in their heads that the crowd would all leave once Hybrid Theory had finished. The crowd did stay, however, with baited breath- and yet we were not blown away. Sure, there was a smattering of older material, such as Numb, but there were many classics missing and when they finished we were all left feeling a bit… deflated. 5/10.
And thus the end of day two was upon the Download Festival goers. Stay tuned for the final part of Rachel's write-up with her take on the Sunday of Download 2014!