Download, the three day rock event takes place at Donington Park Race Track. The first big surprise of the weekend was the rain stopped just as the arena opened. From then on it was dry and sunny throughout….the polar opposite to 2016’s deluge!
Opening up on the Zippo Encore Stage was Culture Abuse. Whilst initially it seemed funny the lead singer appeared to be worse for wear, this quickly wore thin.
Avatar Bring The Freakshow!
On the Main Stage, Swedes Avatar really got the festival going. Bringing their full stage production for a 30 minute set is to be applauded. The already sizeable crowd get in to the swing of things. They blend theatrics and exceptional musicianship. Their ever popular song Smells Like A Freakshow ended an all too brief set. This band will without doubt be further up the bill soon.
Another European band in Kaiser Franz Josef from Austria was next on The Dogtooth Stage. Not for the first time today a band suffered a bit with poor sound but the cover of Whole Lotta Love was very good.
Dragonforce were next to have sound issues, this time on Main Stage, but even without these issues the set seemed lacklustre. Maybe not a band for such a big stage.
Marmozets were given a high slot on Main Stage and after overcoming (yes more) sound issues they belted out some choice cuts from their new album Knowing What We Know Now. Naturally they threw in some older tunes. Their cross over appeal combined with obvious talent should only see them go from strength to strength on the UK festival circuit.
Volbeat Get Download Dancing
Danes Volbeat brought their rockabilly metal to Main Stage and delivered the stand out set of the day. They have an air of confidence about them but also have fun delivering it. When they threw in “Lola Montez” early in the set the sing-along had Donington rocking. A nice twist of line up fate was Napalm Death playing. Barney Greenway their legendary lead singer was able to join Volbeat on stage to sing “Evelyn”, a studio track he guested on.
Following Volbeat were Welsh metallers Bullet For My Valentine who were back at Download for the first time in 5 years promoting a soon to be released (29th June) new album. The older classics including “Your Betrayal” and “Scream Aim and Fire” go down very well with the large crowd. The newer cuts showcased show a band intent on delivering new music again and hoping to get their star ascending once more.
A quick trip up to The Dogtooth Stage to see Brummie Grindcore legends Napalm Death deliver a blistering half hour set. Barney is on top form with the crowd. Whilst the lyrics are indecipherable to all but the hardcore fans the delivery of the music is delightfully brutal
Closing Friday Main Stage are headliners Avenged Sevenfold. Having headlined somewhat controversially in 2014, they showed they had matured in to this coveted slot. “The Beast and The Harlot” sounded particularly epic tonight. The stage set had the ability to keep attention without distracting from the band performance. They will be one of the new breed of headliners for some years in the rock and metal genre. Hopefully to be joined by the likes of Volbeat soon.
Today was a great start to the festival.