Download 2017 – Saturday

Irish band Dead Label kicked off proceedings on the Dogtooth stage.  I last saw them at Bloodstock two years ago and was impressed by them then, and they’ve improved further in the last two years.  They look to be having a great time on stage and they’ve drawn a good crowd despite most people probably still being hung-over at this early time.  A great set that goes down well with the crowd.

After Dead Label I headed over to the far side of the arena (a long walk) to check out Greywind.  They’re a two-piece alternative rock band from Ireland although for live shows such as today’s they have two more musicians on stage with them.  They’re definitely a band with a lot of potential and are likely to appeal to the type of fan that reads kerrang, but while they’re not to my taste I can see that they are very good at what they do.

Alestorm were next on stage 2, and even before they took to the stage their sense of humour was clear as their backdrop features two bananas that have duck heads.  Bonkers.  They put in a great set of pirate metal with classics such as “Keelhauled”, “The Sunk’n Norwegian” and “Shipwrecked” which was introduced as a song about the time Tom Hanks fucked a volleyball to death.  We also got two songs from their brand new album – “Mexico” and “Fucked with an anchor”.  A great set although the wind meant the sound wasn’t that good further back in the crowd but that didn’t seem to bother anyone watching too much.

The Lounge kittens are a quirky act – singing covers of rock and metal songs in a lounge singer style with all three singing and one of them also playing keyboards.  It’s one of those things you can imagine attracting a few people but in reality they drew the biggest crowd I saw on the Dogtooth stage all weekend – these ladies are seriously popular.  Their set has plenty of humour in their banter between songs, and their choice of songs was perfect with the crowd singing along to their covers of System of a Down’s “Violent pornography” and Drowning Pool’s “Bodies” not to mention parts of the pop-punk medley.  They took a break from rock and metal briefly to do a medley of 90s cartoon themes – Transformers, Thundercats, Animaniacs, Duck Tales, Inspector gadget, Teenage mutant ninja turtles, and probably one or two more I’ve forgotten.  That medley went down extremely well too.  The tent wasn’t just full, people were 20 or 30 deep outside the entrances listening to their set.

Wednesday 13 understandably packed out the Dogtooth stage – I’m surprised he wasn’t headlining the 3rd stage instead really.  For tonight’s show there was the added extra of him being joined by Pyrohex on stage – a group of performers including model Dani Divine who perform with fire.  A normal Wednesday 13 set is a theatrical kind of show with a few costume changes and tonight is no different, but with a couple of songs the Pyrohex girls came on stage and brandished flaming swords or crucifixes as they danced just behind the band.  Wednesday 13 takes centre stage on a step with fans blowing his hair and smoke around as he sings and performs.  The crowd were loving it right from the start, but went nuts as he started “I love to say fuck” toward the end of the set.  When you throw in cheerleaders breathing fire it takes an already great show and turns it up a notch visually.  A fantastic performance – I’m always amazed Wednesday 13 isn’t far bigger – he should be on a bigger stage at Download and performing in bigger venues on tour.  His tour later this year is one I’m already looking forward to based on this performance.

Rob Zombie simultaneously pleases and disappoints.  His shows are so theatrical normally yet he doesn’t really do much for his festival performances.  While he’s got some great songs he has a habit of dropping some of his songs in favour of cover versions – in this case “Blitzkrieg bop” and “Schools out” which is always a shame – people want to hear his songs not his versions of someone else’s songs.  Despite the negatives he’s one hell of a performer and you can’t help but watch and enjoy.


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About Ant May

I spend half my life at gigs or festivals and the other half writing the reviews and editing photos, and somehow find time for a full time job too. Who needs sleep - I've got coffee.