Written on: 24/06/2011 by jakerankin1996 (1 review written)
Download festival 2011
The download festival has been running for an ancient 41, adrenaline fueled rock, years. When I first saw the line up to the 2011 event I felt as though I was reading it from a dusty NME paper dated 1980. The big acts that were responsible to the large amount older rockers were the likes of, The Cult, Thin Lizzy, Def Leppard, Alice Cooper and Cheap trick. There were some modern bands mingled in with these and the combination of both was a pleasant surprise.
Friday was the first day of the festival and no big bands until later that night. So quite by luck we stumbled across a new upcoming band of the name Evaline. Some music journalists would say that the self wallowing lead singer brought a dark cloud of anguish over the crowd that was watching the band. Well those journalists can tell that to the accumulating crowd that were marveling at his casual coolness. The music followed suit as they easily pulled off an upbeat cover of a famous country song called, God’s gonna cut you down formally sang by the infamous Jonny Cash. The act was sealed with a roar from the crowd.
After the performance from Evaline we decided to have a wander down to the main stage where we passed the dissipating crowd who had just watched Duff McKagan’s loaded. We sat on a small embankment to watch “Black Stone Cherry”. Prior to the festival I saw this band touring small venues so I was curious as to how they were going to perform in front of 70,000 people. They were clearly very nervous but when the rain came pouring down they soon changed their tune. They needed to rapidly boost the moral of the crowd so they sang one of their most famous songs, If not the most famous, Rain Wizard. The crowd began to roar, the sky was suddenly a lot brighter, warmth began to gently trickle back into my bloodstream and the performance of “Black Stone Cherry” soon took off. The performance was drawing to a close, after they had rocked away with classics but what came next was highly unexpected. Lead singer Chris Robertson, asked the crowd if they wanted to have some fun. When of course the crowd replied an almighty yes, they broke into Adele’s “Rolling in the Deep”. You instantly saw hard rockers’ faces mellow and then their mouths twitch, by the end, they were bellowing out the chorus. Utterly brilliant.
When it became time to choose between either Def Leppard or Pendulum we were well and truly torn. On the one hand Leppard have a lot of classics but pendulum really do know how to smash it up, so to speak. The hour of the headliners struck and we found ourselves stood in front of the second stage, eagerly awaiting Pendulum. The backdrop fired into life sending shards of impressive light into the awestruck crowd. They got the crowd bouncing with all round man, Rob Swire, flitting from synthesizer to microphone. There performance hit a high when the intro to Propane Nightmares began to blare out of the speakers. Then the mc, Benjamin Mount, set into a rap and the song crashed and burned right there, it simply was not needed and neither was he. Throughout the act all that came from his lips was colorful language and nonsense rap. Although you do have to look at the positives and Rob Swire was the shining star of pendulum. If he was a little more charismatic then he could quite easily be a front man. On the way back we passed the main stage and were shocked to see just a mere 40,000 people watching Def Leppard.
Saturday came with yawns and bleary eyes as lack of sleep hit hard on the download encampment. We got our day planned out fairly quick as there were a lot of main bands we wanted to see. We wandered from stage to stage catching, bands from Dio Disciples to Hollywood Undead. The day turned into a peach with two fabulous bands left to see. The almighty “Avenged Sevenfold” were first and I was a little curious about them. Recently their drummer died and I went to see them with dream theaters drummer before Download, who had just stepped in to cover but with reading the program we saw they had a new one. They came out to a rather spooky backdrop, with gates and a haunted house lining the rear of the stage. The tune to “Nightmare” began to play as an excited cheer bounced around the arena. The drummer, Arin Ilejay, thrashed away and first impressions were certainly good as he kept time and threw in some astonishing fills. The backdrop suddenly changed and an image of the band members all sharing a united hug with the passed away drummer popped up. The lead singer announced they were dedicating there next song to him and that song was, Afterlife. The song soon kicked in, crowds massed, people sang and Avenged Sevenfold were a total hit.
We stayed in front of the main stage as System of a Down were the headliners for the evening. Lead singer, Serj Tankian, came strutting out, his perfectly groomed beard mirroring the stage set behind him. They started of with some slow songs that got the crowd moving but nothing spectacular. Then the legendry song lyric was spoken into the microphone, “Why do we always fall apart”. The crowd screamed in excitement of what was to come and possibly the heaviest track to be played at download set in, B.Y.O.B. In my short music watching life have I every seen a crowd bounce so ferociously as I did when that track was played. The band obviously sensed the vibe coming from the crowd as no song that they further played slowed down. The light show was amazing, the music was amazing and recently reformed System of a Down were amazing.
The last day of the Download Festival 2011. The last day of a rock congregation of this kind for a whole year. The thought saddened many but we still had 11 hours of pure rock music left and we weren’t about to waste it. I spoke earlier of a few bands which gave download the title of being retro. At 7:25 pm, I found myself stood in front of one of these bands, The Cult. I, being young and not knowing much about older music, felt a little lost when they began to play. Although as they sang the chorus a few times I found myself singing along with them as they sang it the third time. The older rockers around me had beaming smiles laden on their face and I must say that I had a little smirk too. The aging lead singer, Ian Astbury, had a certain knack with making the crowd laugh and generally have a good time. They set into a version of “Wild Flower” that consisted of fabulous minutes of solos and altering vocals. There performance certainly made me want to discover The Cult and recommend them to others my age.
The night drew on, the sky darkened and slowly I felt the festival drawing to an end. One act left and that would be it for another year. All I wanted was for it to go out in a bang. That bang was hopefully, Linkin Park. They began 20 minutes late as an impressive backdrop and set was being put up. A video suddenly flickered into life, it was an aging man talking of the a-bomb then the screen began to falter, the bomb exploded and linking park burst onto the stage. They started strong and hard, really getting the crowd bouncing and rocking along. They hit big classic songs and added new mixes with the help of Joe Hahn smashing it up on the turntables. Lead singer, Chester Bennington climbed down from the stage and jumped into the crowd where unbelievably he sang one of their most famous songs, “Bleed It Out” note perfect. The bang I was speaking of came and the screams from the audience confirmed it. Download festival of 2011 was in one word, Unforgettable.
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