The final day of Download Festival saw us starting things off over on the Jake stage for Beasts. With the promise of slightly better weather and some fresh hay laid down to soak up the rivers of mud, Beasts got our day off to a flyer. On a day that held so many old names up at the top of the line-up poster, it’s nice to find something a bit fresher too!
September Mourning are an early visual treat on a day where the ultimate kings of image will be headlining later on. With September all dressed in white and her band all in black ghoul outfits, they look the dogs… but, a stilted set robs the performance of the atmosphere it demands. Wonderful powerful vocals and some gritty riffs can’t rescue a bit of a let-down of a set.
Colour Of Noise brings together a few legends from the past to make a bit of a hard rock super-group. We get the big rock tunes in the smallest tent, and we think there are plenty of people onsite who just missed one of the performances of the weekend.
There seems to be no stopping Evil Scarecrow these days. CB remembers seeing them supporting Soulfly at Rock City a few years back and laughing our tits off. They were brilliant, but a bit of a novelty act. You couldn’t watch them too many times…
How wrong can you be?
Numerous appearances at the HRH shindigs, the dizzy heights of headlining CackBlabbath’s own Twitrfest and THAT performance at Bloodstock Festival last year has kind of cemented the fact that you could watch this band all day every day and never get bored. They’ve built up a loyal and passionate following over the years. The Evil Scarecrow crowd must go down as one of the most creative out there. Bringing along any prop that even loosely ties in to an Evil Scarecrow song; today there are robot limbs and inflatable crabs to make the band feel at home on their Download debut.
Yep, Download. That’s the league they are in now and it’s fully deserved. The tent is full to bursting for an early set and as per usual, they are absolutely brilliant.
It’s fantastic to see a band we’ve followed for years making success for themselves, we just hope they will still talk to us now they are big Monsters of Rock!
And now for a major player on our ones to watch list. It’s the long awaited return of Backyard Babies to the stage. The ‘Babies are looking svelte as if the break has done them all good. Dregen’s hair may have fallen out but his guitar playing is still as amusing as it is masterful. He looks like his body wants to go four different directions at once.
It’s too brief a comeback show, but it’s a good one. New song ‘Thirteen or Nothing’ is a good indication of things to come and old favourite ‘Brand New Hate’ sounds killer.
It’s about now that we realise just what a good job the grounds staff have done overnight. The rivers of mud have been soaked up and the amount of hay that’s been laid down would rival the Grand National stables. So we’re able to skip over to the Jake stage to catch some LTNT without sinking into the turf as we were yesterday.
The alt-rocking three-piece are new ones are us; we don’t mind admitting. Mixing up some grungy Soundgarden flavoured riffs with some rock’n’roll attitude too, we’re impressed. A great stage presence and some catchy riffs and songs that we must investigate further when we get home and dry out.
Now, it’s time for Download Festival’s annual ‘How many people can’t we fit in a tent?’ contest. The Darkness are 2015’s attraction and the tent is fit to burst. Justin is on his way to the stage through said crowd and it’s a struggle; he’s got a few Barbarians in tow too!
A splendid entrance see’s Justin finally onstage and the band tear into (no surprises here) ‘Barbarian’
It’s peeing it down outside; but that isn’t why the tent is rammed. The Darkness are well and truly back, with their new album being a scorcher and a performance like todays, they are on their way to being one of the UK’s premier rock bands (again).
Slash has been a regular visitor to these shores since his first solo album a few years back. An all-star line-up in his band has helped propel him back onto the big stages with ease of late. And that’s where a star like Slash should be.
The sound isn’t too great for his set. Myles’ vocals tend to dominate the mix (at least where CB are stood) and the legendary guitarists riffs and solos fade into a bit of a wet fart.
Of course, when half the set is one massive sing-along, that doesn’t matter too much.
When the band rip out the compulsory ‘Paradise City’ towards the end, it does give you goose pimples to think that Slash is back playing that song where the original video was filmed all those years ago. Every now and then, you need a little nudge to remind you how lucky you are getting all these amazing bands on a platter. That was one of them!
Three Days Grace were big news over on the Maverick stage. Pulling in the punters from all directions; the band are from a similar vein to their fellow countrymen, Nickleback. Melodic but rocking, they had the tent in the palm of their hands throughout the set. Some big songs and a big stage presence from the Canadians.
Aaron Keylock has been cropping up at a lot of festivals that we’ve been attending over the past year or so, and with good reason. A young guitar god in the making he looks confident, as do the rest of his band, up there on the Jake stage. Whilst his performance is a little stripped back compared to the fire and glam of today’s Main stage attractions, he still mesmerises with his guitar skills and bluesy rock.
Mötley Crüe are saying farewell today. And in a few months time when they come back on tour too.
The Crüe are not short of tunes, that’s for sure. ‘Dr Feelgood’ – ‘Too Fast For Love’ – ‘Same Ol Situation’ – ‘Girls…’
Loads of ‘em!
And the stage show is massive. Flames? You’ve seen nothing like this since the Kuwait oil fires. It’s impressive, to say the least. Kiss have got to follow this.
You can’t help but notice that Vince can’t keep up though. He’s out of breath and his nasal whine is sparse and he misses more vocals than he hits. The backing vocals are all on tape, which is not unusual in ‘live’ music but painfully obvious today. Which just leaves you wondering what else is on tape?
They basically wow everyone with flames though.
By this time, we can confirm that this is the coldest day in Download history, so any warmth from pyro is welcome. We’ve swapped the lager for hot chocolate and there’s just one band left of the festival. A big one…
With bands like Mötley Crüe realising it’s time to call it a day, you have to wonder when Kiss will hang their clogs up. Tonight sees the old rock’n’rollers braving the cold for our viewing pleasure and they actually come up trumps.
The last couple of Kiss shows we’ve witnessed have been okay. Nothing special, but alright. And visually, Kiss always hit the nail on the head.
Tonight, they are magnificent. Paul Stanley leaps around the stage, hanging over the edge for the photographers and thanks to the face paint, could easily be mistaken for someone literally half his age. His banter with the crowd is, as always, comedic but as he points out… “There’s no computer music or tapes tonight, everything you hear is us”
We wonder who he’s having a dig at?
It certainly is all live too; everyone drops a clanger at some point in the set but it doesn’t matter one bit. The fireworks, the floating stages, the legendary blood spilling etc. is all there but more importantly tonight, Kiss absolutely deliver the goods on a musical level. They just seem heavier than usual today, and both the main voice sound stronger than in ages.
A victorious end to a festival that even the most persistent of terrible weather couldn’t dampen. It was great fun!
*All photos by Rob Woodhouse for CackBlabbath apart from ‘Kiss’ by Danny North for Download Festival