Brutai had the job of opening the Dogtooth stage today. Playing Download for the first time, they showed no sign of nerves and put in an excellent performance to get the day off to a great start. They are always good live, but they’ve excelled themselves here at Download.
It may still have been fairly early when Stone Broken took to the stage but they drew a big crowd, filling the tent. They’ve built up a big following mainly through word of mouth, and it shows – when they ask the audience who has seen them before, then who is seeing them for the first time, only a handful of people said they were seeing them for the first time – with every other band I saw over the weekend who asked that question, it was a fair even split between people who’d seen them before and those who were seeing them for the first time. It’s very obvious why they’re gaining so many fans – they are such a good live band. They have great songs, play well, and are clearly having a lot of fun on stage. This may be their first time at Download but judging by the standard of their performance and the crowd they drew, it’s unlikely to be long before they’re back again.
Next up on the Dogtooth stage were Amsterdam metal band, The charm the fury. Apart from playing Bloodstock last year, they haven’t played the UK for a few years, so with the combination of that and the nice weather meaning people weren’t sheltering in the tents from rain like they normally do at Download, I wasn’t sure how big a crowd they’d draw, but I was pleasantly surprised to see the tent pretty full for the start of their set. When you think Dutch metal band with a female singer, Delain, Within Temptation, Epica and more come to mind, but this is no symphonic metal act, this is proper metal – heavy and loud. They started as more of a metalcore band but with the new album have taken a more traditional metal sound with a strong guitar riff key to the songs. Singer Caroline Westendorp sums up the name “The Charm The Fury” – she’s lovely and charming off stage, but when she starts singing it’s more of “The Fury” that comes out. It’s one hell of a set from a band that’s rapidly becoming one of my favourite live bands.
Love zombies came next bringing some pop-punk to the Dogtooth stage. Their set is based around songs from their album “Passionfruit” which is out this month (Pledge contributors got their copies some time ago). It’s a great set – Hollis is a great performer and knows how to get people involved and the songs are all fun and catchy.
Devilskin were next up – part of a really strong lineup on the Dogtooth stage on Sunday. They’re a band I’ve been wanting to see for a while now but their shows have always clashed with other stuff, so this was my first chance to see them. They certainly didn’t disappoint. It’s a high energy set as the band members constantly race around the stage, and they sound great too. It’s hard to believe they’d just arrived the day before after a 30 hour trip from New Zealand – most of us would be zombies after that travelling but they give everything they’ve got to put on a fantastic performance. I look forward to seeing them again soon.
Aaron Buchanan and the cult classics were next up. Since leaving Heavens basement to front Aaron Buchanan and the cult classics, he’s written and released a new album, and while it will still appeal to Heavens Basement fans, it’s music that is far more diverse, and that’s exactly what we get on stage today. It’s as though he’s celebrating his musical freedom by making a range of music that shows he’s no longer tied in to a particular style, and it does sound great. He’s always been a good performer, but I can’t help thinking as he stands on a riser and towers over the band and the crowd in a shiny suit, that it’s a fine line between showmanship and coming across as having a massive ego – I’m still undecided which side of the line he falls based on his stage performance. A great set though, and another band well worth a listen.
Steel Panther – love them or hate them, they know how to put on a show. Yes the jokes are crude and wearing a bit thin, but they’re not meant to be taken seriously – it’s meant to be fun. Lyrics aside they’re actually all very good musicians, and bring back the hair metal era to Download. Good fun and the huge crowd shows how popular they still are. I didn’t stop long to watch them – instead I headed over to stage two for the awesome Clutch. A band that never disappoints, and the fans know that as they draw the biggest crowd I saw at stage 2 all weekend. It’s good heavy guitar driven rock that really is a pleasure to listen to – they’re such a good band and must surely be candidates to be on main stage next time based on tonight’s set.
Alter Bridge – another great band, but the sound wasn’t good, certainly where I was standing as the guitars just seemed far too faint which is a crying shame and when you’re losing out on such a key element then it’s hard to enjoy the set despite the fantastic vocals from Myles Kennedy.
Aerosmith playing their final UK show headlined the main stage. Even before the show the band was already backtracking on the “final show” bit and it’s been speculated they’ll do a massive tour next year to celebrate 50 years as a band, and if so then that tour is bound to come to the UK. I’ve seen them twice in the last few years and they are very variable – you’ll either get a fantastic set, or a disappointing one. Happily tonight’s set is more fantastic than disappointing. Steven Tyler is one of the all-time great frontmen, and with a set that includes songs such as “Sweet emotion”, “Love in an elevator”, “Livin’ on the edge” and “Dude looks like a lady” it’s hard to go wrong, but sadly they do. With so many great songs of their own, including covers of other band’s songs is crazy – I’d much rather they’d stuck to their own songs. Despite that, the fans left happy.[flickrapi user=”planet mosh” get=”photoset” id=”72157682865631241″ size=”z” count=”100″]