Not raining, not sunny (yet) and the ground is dry!!!
Now a friend of mine was so gutted that she wasn't going to get to see Coal Chamber live for the first time, she made me make two promises. One to go and see them and enjoy it, and secondly to not tell her anything about it. So, if you're reading this (you know who you are), close your eyes for the next few sentences...
Right, now I've got that out of the way, Coal Chamber graced the main stage on Sunday after calling it a day ten years ago. Dez has been to Download with Devil Driver, who were brilliant. This was exceptional. I've never seen Coal Chamber before, and 'back in the day' you either liked Korn or Coal Chamber. I liked both. But Coal Chamber won the battle this go 'round. The only thing that could have made this a magical moment would have been the return of bassist Rayna Fox, but that's just being selfish and greedy.
If there was an award for biggest surprisingly brilliant act at Download, it would go to Five Finger Death Punch. I was a fan of the first album, but have found myself slowly drifting away from these LA based, hard hitting metallers. FFDP were epic on all levels. Brutally hard hitting when they need to be, but fun and interactive. After an incident shortened set in 2010, FFDP promised not to instruct the crowd to go surf crazy. Instead, they pulled all of the kids out of the pit, brought them on-stage to raucous applause. Played a game of 'Ivan Says'. Then went back to kicking ass. I don't know who the security guard was that brought the ire of frontman Ivan Moody, but if I were him, I'd probably have found a different stage to be around. FFDP lost me about halfway through their second album, they won me back on Sunday.
Parkway Drive brought their brutal riffs...
Amon Amarth brought a Viking Boat.
Parkway Drive brought Hard hitting metalcore drums...
Didn't you hear me?
Amon Amarth brought a VIKING BOAT!!!
Parkway Drive ripped the shit out of the Main Stage...
Amon Amarth brought a fucking boat...
Viking Metal Vs Australian Metalcore
Shit, they were both brilliant.
And then there's Corey Taylor's other band Stone Sour...
I've seen Stone Sour before, they are so not Slipknot. This is a very special moment in music history if you think about it. You've got a front-man & guitarist (Corey Taylor & Jim Root) for two of the most successful bands on the planet at the moment, and they both played the same festival. In my life, I've seen some epic sing-alongs, but I'd be remiss if I didn't mention what can only be described as beautiful when 'Bother' was sung by Taylor and the massive crowd at a level whereby you could still hear a pin drop. Finishing with a rousing 30/30-150, it was almost as if two different bands had been on-stage. Simply class.
I'm still not sure what to make of 30 Seconds to Mars. I don't know. I just don't know. Now, if I were to go off the reaction of half the crowd, they're the greatest band ever. Or if I go with the other half, they're terrible. Ahhh, a 'Marmite' band. Haven't had one of them in a while. I don't think anyone should be booed though. Not ever. Musicians work hard. So you don't like it, that's fine. Plenty of other stuff to see. Seriously annoys me that... Sorry... OK, so here's my thoughts on them. Performance wise, really really good. Musically, exceptional. Vocally, spot-on from what I've heard of them. Do I like them? Meh, not sure. Don't dislike them. I suppose that's about as even as I can be.
Airbourne I like. Airbourne were great. If ever there was a band that was perfect for every festival ever, Airbourne is that band. Meanwhile, The Gaslight Anthem are another one of those bands that has flown under my radar, that I'll check out more of. Bringing a kind of party atmosphere and getting the crowd dancing (even those in the food & beer queues).
Limp Bizkit... What can you say about Fred Durst apart from, he's one hell of a showman. Not a big fan of the beard he's sporting these days, but then again, I don't have to live with him. Now to be fair to fans out there, I only stuck around for two songs because I wanted to have a good spot for the Main Stage. What I did see was Limp Bizkit at their best. Crowd going mental and ripping out the favourites. Fair Play to those who stuck around for the whole show, but I really really wanted a good spot for Rammstein.
Am I ever glad I did that. While I'd like to have seen more of Limp Bizkit (perhaps Download could take a page out of another festivals book and alternate stages) Rammstein was never going to be worth missing. If ever there was the text-book way to end a festival, it would be written by Rammstein. Pyrotechnics, Fire, German Industrial Metal, Lights, Keyboard Players roasted in a giant pot and a Giant Foaming Penis – Rammstein brought it all.
You don't have to understand the lyrics of Rammsteins music, and that's the beauty of it. You can sing along or mumble along or whatever you want to do. Just don't look away from the stage. It's a show. From start to finish, you feel like you're part of something. There's no talking, just music and a show. But my personal highlight musically has to be their revamped rendition of 'Mein Herz Brennt'. Till Lindermans slowed down vocals accompanied solely by Christian Lorenz on piano was something that will live with me forever. Rammstein closed the hell out of Download 2013. By comparison against last years slightly sodden weekend, this was by far much improved, and while I'm sure there's other things the organisers could do to improve the festival, overall it was a great weekend enjoyed by this old rocker, all the other old rockers... and all the younger ones.
Best Shows: Slipknot, Rammstein, In this Moment & Idiom.
Biggest Winners: Slipknot & the Slipknot fans - for breaking the barrier at the front twice.
Biggest Losers: The Sound Engineers.
Biggest Surprise: Five Finger Death Punch.
Ones to Watch: The Algorithm & Idiom.
Best Comeback: Coal Chamber.
Best Moment: Battle of Britain Spitfire Flyover – Iron Maiden.
Well done Download 2013 and thank you to all of those who attended & played. See you next year
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