Reviews

Download Festival 2017: Sunday Review

And here we are, the final day of Download 2017. With the previous two days providing plenty of highlights the Sunday remained the busiest day for a lot of people. So we had to prepare ourselves before diving headfirst into the last day of the best weekend of the year.

Sunday

Kicking off the Avalanche stage are Grove Street Families (7) who deliver a confident set that includes a rather feisty version of Triple H’s entrance theme. From here the young hardcore mob go through a set of older material that the crowd go mad for amd then their newer releases that still need time to settle. It’s a similar story for Blood Youth (7) who start off shaky but quickly dvelope momentum over the course of their set. By the end the band have the crowd in their hand and there is a glimpse of the very bright future the band have in front of them as Reason To Stay sees the band close their set on a tremendous high.

Fozzy photo credit: Ben Gibson, Download 2017

With arguably the biggest crowd at 11am in Download history, Fozzy (8) took to the stage. The set kicked off with the bands astounding new single Judas. As more and more hungover fans joined the crowd Chris’ charisma took over. Fozzy aggressively proved why they will be one of the top bands on the next Download line up. Ending the set on the amazing track Enemy, Chris wasn’t done when the music ended as to the delight of all the wrestling fans in the audience he announced “You guys just made The List”. Red Fang (8) play an incredibly short yet sweet set over on the Zippo stage. With their stoner grooves sounding excellent in the baking sunshine, the four lads on stage all play with clear joy and the set runs at breakneck speed but never feels rushed. The riffs are thick and evenly mixed and the set is an early afternoon treat for those present. Dead! (8) a band that have been taking the UK by storm in recent times. Kicking off their set with Something More Original the crowd were pumped and sang almost every word back to them. Their set was filled with not only well known tracks, they also threw a few new ones in including Jessica and Any Part, along with a cover of The Who’s My Generation.

Airbourne photo credit: Ross Silcocks, Download 2017

Orange Goblin (8) drew quite a crowd in the middle of the day on Sunday. Orange Goblin are one of those groups that nobody claims to have heard of, yet when they perform, they rock everyone’s world. Their 9 track set really showed off their musical talents, and if they were performing in the dark, there would have been an epic light show too. Ending with Red Tide Rising, one of their more popular tracks, the crowd were sad to see them leave. In Flames (5) were also highly anticipated, having just come off tour with Disturbed and Avenged Sevenfold. However, in comparison to their performance on tour, their overall sound was poor. Their set list for Download was longer and more varied, however they frequently clipped the speakers and sounded very distorted at the back. To truly appreciate their performance, it was necessary to be at the front in the crowd. Even from behind the middle screen, the flaws in the sound became apparent. It’s a shame because that one performance is not reflective of their true abilities as a group. Australian Airbourne (9) were yet another unanticipated surprise at Download Festival. Each of the songs they played were obviously well rehearsed and perfectly crafted, they filled the arena with explosive riffs and gained a huge crowd throughout their set. Airbourne have more of a hard rock quality to their music, and they have a genuine love for performing. Chatting to the crowd in between tracks showed their honesty and positivity, which added to the atmosphere.

Dinosaur Pile-Up photo credit: Ben Gibson, Download 2017

On the back of a sold out tour with While She Sleeps, Fizzy Blood (7) take the stage to an lively crowd. After playing festivals such as SXSW, Leeds and Reading, Tramlines and Live At Leeds these guys know how to please a crowd. Playing their biggest tracks Pawn and Animals the crowd went crazy for these Leeds lads. Their grungy/alternative sound echoing around the tiny Dogtooth stage, they proved they’ll be welcomed back to Download with open arms. The sound of fuzzy guitars echoed through the Avalanche stage as Dinosaur Pile Up (8) took to the stage. The tent was packed with people standing outside to make sure they catch this amazing set. With a set full of Dinosaur Pile Up hits including the astounding Anxiety Trip, Arizona Waiting. The set ended on the bands title track from their latest album 11:11, full of grungy riffs and fuzzy basslines this was a perfect way to leave the crowd wanting more. Clearly drenched in nerves as his band Touché Amoré (8) take to the Avalanche stage, Jeremy Bolm gingerly picks up the microphone and does what he does best. Their set is a rough ride for anyone familiar with the recent events the band have gone through regarding the inspiration for their Stage Four record. Jeremy looks close to tears during Benediction and Rapture leads the crowd in a huge singalong that ticks all the boxes. Whilst all these emotions are flying around, on the Zippo Stage Ministry (5) trundle through a boring set of classic industrial metal. The riffs are there and the band sound tight but the music doesn’t deviate at all and continues along at the same glacial pace. A good breather for anyone looking for a rest but hardly a set to sing home about.

Steel Panther photo credit: Ross Silcocks, Download 2017

With the election in very recent memory prior to their set, The King Blues (7) play a fiery set filled with a huge amount of angst towards those in power. Starting a ‘Tory Cunts’ chant, iTCH continues to prove that whether you hate him or love him he is a fantastic frontman and is certainly an icon within the new modern day punk scene. Let’s Hang The Landlord starts the set with gusto and the energy is continued throughout. Not a set for those who wish to spend the weekend away from the political barrage. If policitcs really isn’t your thing then Clutch (9) are here to guide you through one of the best hours of the weekend. Being an already fabulous band, Clutch’s set is effortless and varied, with even a brand new song being debuted in amongst staples like X-Ray Vision and the brilliant closer D.C Sound Attack that also allows for the crowd to enjoy an off the cuff jam from the musicians on stage. Simply wonderful. Known for their sexual humour and typical 80s glam style, Steel Panther (8) drew quite the crowd on Sunday evening. Their niche has served them well, and even those who weren’t fans came to watch them perform. Of course they played their more recognisable tracks such as Death To All But Metal and Party All Day (Fuck All Night), but Steel Panther provided more than just music to the crowd. Their general attitude, although slightly sexist, provided the crowd with a huge laugh on several occasions. For those not interested in the sex and rock n’ roll attitude there’s Opeth (7) doing exactly what they do best; taking the audience on a progressive musical journey tinged with death metal. Their five song set list consists of new songs like Sorceress and Cusp Of Eternity whilst the classic Deliverance ends the set in fierce style. The set is nothing out of the ordinary and is relatively safe but the band play with such grace and ability it’s difficult not to get sucked in.

Alter Bridge photo credit: Paulo Nuno, Download 2017

Following on from a surprisingly exciting set from Steel Panther, Alter Bridge (8) delivered a valiant set that immediately established them as one of the true heavy hitters of the metal scene. Opening with Come To Life, a large portion of their set included older material. In fact, only two songs, Crows On A Wire and Show Me A Leader came from their latest album, The Last Hero. Alter Bridge clearly know what their fans want to see in a show, and gave it to them. The entire crowd was on their feet and moving for the whole set, even those who weren’t anywhere near the pit at the front. The audience went especially wild for the duelling guitar solos from guitarists Myles Kennedy and Mark Tremonti. Alter Bridge got the crowd well pumped for the final headliner of the weekend, Aerosmith.

Slayer photo credit: Matt Eachus, Download 2017

Still one of the most brutally heavy and relentless bands in the world, Slayer (7) played a set that is what one would expect from the thrash legends. There are fast riffs, classic tunes and some of the most mind bogglingly guitar solos of the entire weekend. Tom Arya looks tired during the set and without the aid of big production the band rely on their ferocity and pedigree to see them through their set. All the classics are accounted for and the expected encore of Raining Blood and Angel of Death is delivered. If Slayer are unremarkable in their peroformance then The Dillinger Escape Plan (8) are utterly batshit crazy. Shrouded by a constant fog from the spewing smoke machine, the tech-metal monoliths blitz through a set that is as schizophrenic and ridiculous as it is brilliant. Playing their last ever UK show, the band are full of unbridled energy and they throw it all out to the crowd who lap it up with scary enthusiasm. For those who were unable to catch this band live, you have missed out on one of the most volatile and genuinely unique bands of this generation.

Aerosmith photo credit: Ben Gibson, Download 2017

Where Dillinger brought all of their energy, Aerosmith (7) also bring their best, but unfortunately it feels awfully flat. Of course the band play through their career spanning set with gumption and there is clear joy on their faces, but it only takes a quick look around to see the crowd thinning half way through their set. Despite being a truly classic band, there isn’t a big enough interest in them and so the set falls short because of it. Those who stay for the full set are treated to all of the bands classics, including a huge sing along to Don’t Wanna Miss A Thing as well as the sensational track Dude Looks Like A Lady. Love In An Elevator provides an early set highlight and watching Joe Perry and Steve Tyler bounce off one another for the last time does feel sombre, but after the calibre of talent on display over the previous days the fact that one classic band is leaving feels less sad and more exciting as to who will be the ones to take Aerosmith’s slot as Sunday headliner. A reflective end to a fantastic weekend.

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