Download's lesser stars shine in the blazing sun

Download 2009 review

published: Wed 17th Jun 2009

around the festival site (1)

Friday 12th to Sunday 14th June 2009
Donington Park, Leics, England MAP
£135 weekend, £65 any day, camping is an extra £25
last updated: Thu 11th Jun 2009

Mankinis? Jägermeister? Ridiculous tan lines? Heavy Fucking Metal? Needless to say, it's Download time, and given the pant-crustingly awesome array of bands on display this weekend, only a fool would bet against 2009 being one of the best festivals of the 21st century. As if that wasn't enough, early signs of a washout seem to have been unfounded, because Friday morning proves to be hotter than Satan's Sunday roast lamb.

In This Moment
Which, luckily, seems to suit Steadlür perfectly as their cocksure party rock provides the perfect way to launch the second stage for the weekend. A high-tempo Beastie Boys cover puts the shine on a well-received performance, and allows follow-up act In This Moment to arrive to a chorus of sun-kissed, shit-eating grins. They don't quite match the gusto of the openers, but they still put in a good enough shift, even if a cover of Blondie's 'Call Me' is a tad ill-advised at best.

Not long after on the main stage, professional grumps Staind go some way to making everyone wonder exactly how in the hell they ever bagged a record deal, let alone a number one album. Sure, 'Outside' draws an inevitable singalong from those still hankering for the nu metal era, but on a day like this, is all this moping really necessary? No such self-pity from Sylosis of course, who deafen just about everyone within a half-mile radius of the Tuborg tent thanks to their riveting display of progressive, thrashy metalcore mayhem. They'll go places, those boys.

Dir En Grey
A quick jog back to the second stage sees Japanese metal punks Dir En Grey cause all sorts of mayhem to a modest but startlingly devoted audience. They've amassed one hell of a cult following on these shores despite not using English lyrics, and it's difficult to see any bystanders not being won over by what is one of the most energetic and, quite honestly, bloody bonkers sets of the entire weekend. By comparison, Killswitch Engage are somewhat low on energy, but high on outrageously obscene jokes courtesy of guitarist Adam Dutkiewicz, back in the fold after his recurring back injuries and clearly glad to be here. 'Holy Diver' is undoubtedly the highlight of a solid set, but then Dio songs tend to be the highlight of any sets they feature in. Especially Dio's.

Limp Bizkit
Limp Bizkit are by far one of the most anticipated bands of the weekend, and to be fair they draw all kinds of pandemonium from an absolutely massive crowd. The band themselves aren't particularly mind-blowing to watch, but Fred Durst's decision to bring two fans on stage to jam out go down a treat and ensure that the set is far from a disappointment. Bizkit bum chums Korn are the closest thing Download has to a house band, and yet they continue to be almost frustratingly enjoyable to watch. Jonathan Davis is still carrying an extra pound or two, but the enthusiasm he squeezes into genre-defining tunes like 'Falling Away From Me' makes it easy to forgive those chubby little cheeks of his.

While the main stage prepares for one of the most hyped reunions of the last few years, Mötley Crüe attempt to roll back a few years of their own with a set that throws in a couple of numbers from last year's 'Saints Of Los Angeles' album as well as the usual fanfare. The likes of 'Motherfucker Of The Year' and 'Saints...' don't quite match up to 'Primal Scream' et all, but they still draw a strong response, and the presence of a huge backing screen complete with funky psychedelic videos suggests that while the Crüe might lack the edge they once had, they still have showmanship in abundance.

Naturally, there's only one band on the bill tonight (and arguably the whole weekend) that's had people talking more than any other. Faith No More's headliner slot raised the eyebrows of some and the boners of many, but if you're not even a bit excited by the prospect of Mike Patton and co's first festival slot in over a decade, then you probably shouldn't be here. Faith would have to have been truly spectacular to live up to the mania surrounding their return, and though the lack of practice tells at times, no one can argue with storming renditions of 'Midlife Crisis', 'From Out Of Nowhere' and...er... Lady GaGa's 'Poker Face'. Well, they're unpredictable chaps if nothing else.

around the festival site (2)
review by: Merlin Alderslade

photos by: Luke Seagrave / Chris Perowne

Friday 12th to Sunday 14th June 2009
Donington Park, Leics, England MAP
£135 weekend, £65 any day, camping is an extra £25
last updated: Thu 11th Jun 2009


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