So two days of rock and metal carnage down, one to go. And as this punter walked down towards the Main Stage on the Sunday morning of Download Festival 2013, I couldn’t help but smile at the wires attaching the stage to the sound tower, knowing what they were for. But more about that later…
First on the agenda today were the second band to feel the effects of the 2012 rain, Cancer Bats (8). “It’s great to finally be able to play this stage!” shouts frontman Liam Cornier, who ended up fronting on the Pepsi Max tent last year instead. Always a top festival act – and live act in general – the ‘Bats soon had the crowd going and their cover of the Beastie Boys’ ‘Sabotage’ was a real sight to behold. The highly anticipated return of Coal Chamber (5) proved a big hit with the people who had seen them back in the day but for everyone who weren’t too familiar with their music it was forty minutes of bland, average nu-metal. No wonder Dez Fafara has had more success with DevilDriver…good job Five Finger Death Punch (9) were on next to pick up the pace again: they tore the stage a new one with a set enlightened by Ivan Moody bringing on stage a group of children and hailing them as ‘the next generation of metalheads’ before playing ‘Ivan Says’ with them and the audience (because his mother named him Ivan and not Simon). Even a non-appearance by Rob Halford for ‘Lift Me Up’ can’t dampen the brilliance. They’ll give Avenged Sevenfold a run for their money on tour in December for sure.
Parkway Drive (9) kept the energy riding high with a setlist heavy on songs from recent albums ‘Atlas’ and ‘Deep Blue’ and got a huge amount of crowd participation in to boot, even if the ambition to crowdsurf a guy in a fox costume from the barrier to the back of the audience fell flat on its face. But regardless of how well both they and Five Finger Death Punch whipped Download into a frenzy, neither couldn’t match the performance that Stone Sour (10) put on next. “I would say it’s good to be back…” joked Corey Taylor in reference to his first appearance on Friday night; he sounded just as good as he did then and the band were on fire: their cover of Black Sabbath’s ‘Children of the Grave’ was nothing short of phenomenal and ‘Through Glass’ provided one of the biggest sing-a-longs of the entire weekend as well. Over on the Zippo Encore stage, Airbourne (8) brought flames and power, and with the scaffolding made Joel O’Keefe-proof, the frontman instead elected to run through the audience as his mid-set stunt than climb the rigging to the roof of the stage. 30 Second to Mars (7) rounded off support proceedings on the Main Stage; they battled hard to win over a crowd again waiting for the headline act, but they were very enjoyable to watch and should have a good reception on their winter UK arena tour on the basis of this. In particular, opening song ‘Closer to the Edge’ was just as powerful as on record, if not more so.
The rumours of this particular show being their last on UK soil are rife, but if it turns out to be so, then Rammstein (10) went out with a bang. And then another one. And another one. And then repeat until the last strains of closing song ‘Pussy’ die away. What was displayed here can only be described as a masterclass in how to put on a stage show, something that both Slipknot and indeed Iron Maiden could have only DREAMED of. Even before the curtain dropped, fireworks were going off all over the place, and when it finally did vocalist Till Lindemann was descended from the roof on a platform showering sparks and wearing a rather fetching pink fur coat. We had fire from the floor, rockets from the sound desk (attached to the wires mentioned earlier), burning mic stands and a stage intruder set ablaze with a giant petrol pump. Spare a thought as well for keyboardist Christian ‘Flake’ Lorenz, who was cooked in a giant melting pot and had miniature pyrotechnics attached to his clothes before – and readers of a nervous disposition might want to skip this little bit – coming out in a gimp outfit and being ‘sodomised’ by Lindemann with a dildo that squirted liquid in all directions. But they don’t always need to have flashy effects – Rammstein are more than capable of showing us their softer side, and even though ballad ‘Ohne Dich’ has yet more sparks, the decision to open their encore with just Till, Flake, a piano and their newer version of ‘Mein Herz brennt’ was a stroke of genius and simply beautiful. Rounding everything off with the aforementioned ‘Pussy’ and a giant foam spurting cannon decorated like a penis, Rammstein finished in style having made the whole thing look easy. A debut performance to tell the grandchildren about for sure.
With that, Download Festival was done and dusted for another year. The big question now is how they will better this in 2014. I have very little doubt that they won’t. See you next year!
Rammstein setlist (additional info in italics)
Ich tu dir weh
Wollt ihr das Bett in Flammen sehen?
Asche zu Asche
Du Riechst so gut
Links 2 3 4
Buck Dich (‘Rammstein’ intro)
Mein Herz brennt (piano version)