On to Download day two and the sun actually comes out to play this afternoon!
Before that, opening up on the Zippo Encore Stage was Powerflo. This “supergroup” if you will, includes Sendog from Cypress Hill and Biohazards Billy Graziadei. They deliver a brutal mix of metal, punk and hip-hop and the large crowd lap it up.
Down at The Avalanche Stage were Tigress from Essex. The band showcase their talents well and already have a good mix of ctachy songs in their repertoire which compliment vocalist Katy Jacksons’ considerable range. “Hangman” was a stand out track albeit much more sedate than some of their other tunes.
Download Deth By Lawnmower!
Back on the Zippo stage, a large crowd awaits the entrance of (as vocalist Pete Lee stated over and over again in genuine disbelief) six times Download booked nutty thrashers Lawnmower Deth. The band also included Evil Scarecrow’s Matt Burton today, and quite obviously were living out their boyhood dream up there. The stage props were brilliantly Blue Peter culminating in deth (albeit fake) by lawnmower. Great fun had by all.
On the Main Stage The Struts from just up the road in Derby were entertaining the already huge crowd waiting for the headliners Guns n Roses. The band have toured extensively in the USA and frontman Luke Spiller wearing an eye catching gold jacket certainly has more than a hint of Freddie Mercury in his style and vocal delivery.
Next up are the far more laid back The Temperance Movement. They delivery a bluesy tinged rock n roll with no frills but plenty of catchy tunes and melodies.
The sun has really come out by now and turned up the temperature on what will be somewhere in the region of 100,000 fans today. On the Zippo stage are Asking Alexandria who draw a massive crowd. With Danny Worsnop back as frontman expectations are high. Maybe it was the heat but the set lacked any real spark to get anyone but the hardcore fans excited.
Babymetal are marmite and there is no getting away from it. The crowd on the Zippo stage is still big at the start of the set but after three songs many are streaming away to watch Black Stone Cherry. It is a bit drawn out albeit it in a slightly hypnotic way.
Black Stone Cherry Blame It On The Boom Boom
Sub-headliners on Download Main Stage tonight are Black Stone Cherry. This is a step up from headlining second stage for them and off the back of critically acclaimed album Family Tree the band set about Donington in the now blistering heat. “Me and Mary Jane” and “Blame It On The Boom Boom” illicit mass sing-a-longs. The band are having a great time, so are much of the huge crowd now assembled at the stage. The next logical step for the following album cycle is a headline slot and on this performance it would be fully justified, Band of the Day.
The headliners are a band that need no introduction. As a part of Guns n Roses’ Not In This Lifetime tour which welcomes back Slash and Duff to the fold.
A 3 hour headline set kicks off at the very hot sunlit time of 7.20pm. The classics come out throughout the set “It’s So Easy”, Welcome To The Jungle”, “You Could Be Mine” and “Nightrain” to name merely four. They all are delivered in style and are rapturously received. There are also numerous covers in the set. “Live and Let Die” and “Knockin on Heavens Door” have been a staple part of any GnR set for years. Covering Velvet Revolver’s Slither literally drew gasps from the couple stood beside me. Throw in some Pink Floyd, The Misfits, The Godfather theme amongst many others.
The encore started with Patience and that is one thing you did need with this set. At times it did border on the over indulgent with a jamming session feel. Axl’s vocals also struggled at times. But then this is the tour many thought would never happen so it is forgiven by most. The set culminates with “Paradise City” and enough fireworks to blow up Parliament.