Distorted Sound’s coverage of Download Festival continues with our full review of the final day of Download. With the rain easing off overnight, there was no rest for those traversing the swamps of Donington Park. Here is what the team made of the final day of Download Festival 2015!
POP EVIL – Jack Fermor-Worrell
Punchy riffs and singalong choruses are the order of the day as POP EVIL take to the main stage. Kicking off with the far-too-catchy Boss’s Daughter sets the tone perfectly for the rest of their set. Vocalist Leigh Kakaty is simply magnetic as a frontman, and his commanding stage presence causes the crowd to begin moshing for what will be the first of many times today. Songs from most recent album Onyx go down best of all, but regardless, the band have more than made an impact on the British fans, and we can only hope they return to the UK soon.
36 CRAZYFISTS- Jack Fermor-Worrell
If POP EVIL were a shot of pure adrenaline to kickstart the festival, 36 CRAZYFISTS are the exact opposite. Playing to an increasingly damp crowd courtesy of the rain, and plagued with sound issues throughout, the band trudge through eight of their songs, with little indication of which is actually which. It’s a shame to see a band that’s usually so entertaining performing in this state, but the fact is, this set just doesn’t sound good at all. Brock Lindow’s vocals spend most of the time buried beneath an indecipherable torrent of noise and the drums are hardly audible. Even closing the set with fan-favourite Slit Wrist Theory can’t save what will ultimately be one of the weakest performances of the day, if not the entire weekend.
TREMONTI – Jack Fermor-Worrell
From his day job in ALTER BRIDGE, we already know Mark Tremonti’s incredible guitar prowess. What becomes apparent today is that he’s also a surprisingly great frontman. His eponymous band TREMONTI has existed as a project since 2011, but it’s their second album Cauterize that really shows what the band is capable of. Tracks like the fist-pumping Radical Change and Another Heart are expertly crafted songs, equally as good as ALTER BRIDGE’s output, yet distinctively different enough to not feel like a carbon copy. Tremonti himself is a greatly capable vocalist, and interacts well with the audience. Only time will tell whether his solo project will reach the lofty heights of his other band.
BILLY IDOL – Jack Fermor-Worrell
The last time BILLY IDOL played at Download was 2010 and whilst the weather isn’t quite as bad as it was during that performance, it’s definitely not looking too bright either. Luckily, Idol is on great form, chatting cheerfully with the crowd and blasting his way through a handful of perfectly formed rock classics from both GENERATION X and his solo career. Dancing With Myself, White Wedding and Rebel Yell are all crowd-pleasers, but it’s Idol’s other material that proves the most surprising – the balladry of Eyes Without A Face providing a stark contrast to the rest of the set’s more punk-based sound.
SLASH FEATURING MYLES KENNEDY AND THE CONSPIRATORS – Jack Fermor-Worrell
If there’s one person you can always rely on to put on a great show it’s SLASH. His last performance here at Download saw him headlining the second stage in 2012, but now the axeman is back arguably where he belongs – on the main stage. There’s also very little to be said about his backing band, THE CONSPIRATORS, that hasn’t already been said. Myles Kennedy is the perfect rock frontman, oozing charisma and talent; while the other members (bassist Todd Kerns, drummer Brent Fitz and rhythm guitarist Frank Sidoris are just as adept in churning out the rock. Obviously there’s the obligatory GUNS N ROSES songs (Nighttrain, Sweet Child O Mine, Paradise City, You Could Be Mine), but the tracks from the band’s own albums are just as impressive – Anastasia”especially giving Kennedy the chance to flex his considerable vocal muscle
LAMB OF GOD – James Weaver
A fan favourite of Download Festival, Virginia metallers LAMB OF GOD provided a set of absolute carnage, laying waste through a setlist jam-packed with groove and brutality. New singles off the highly anticipated VII: Sturm Und Drang, Still Echoes and 512, sounded immense in a live environment where as fan favourites Redneck, Laid To Rest and Now You Have Something To Die For sounded tight and showcased the five piece at their very best. If their performance is to be judged then it is fair to say that LAMB OF GOD are on a one way course to reclaim their throne at the summit of modern heavy metal.
Enter Shikari – James Weaver
ENTER SHIKARI have remained popular in a scene that is overloaded. But their performance was nothing short of immense to say the least. Backed with a light show that teased with epileptic tendencies, ENTER SHIKARI gave a performance packed with energy and fuel for thought. Tracks from the band’s latest record The Mindsweep held their own against fan favourites like Juggernauts and Sorry, You’re Not A Winner for example. Yet the St Albans four piece unleashed a performance that isolates the band amongst a sea of mediocrity, through absolute musical precision and true showmanship, ENTER SHIKARI have more than proved that they carry the responsibility and potential that they are more than capable of eventually headlining the hallowed grounds of Donington Park.
MÖTLEY CRÜE – Jack Fermor-Worrell
All bad things must come to an end – that’s the message MÖTLEY CRÜE have been using to promote their final tour before the band goes into retirement. It’s definitely tongue-in-cheek, especially considering how their performance tonight is as far from bad as possible. Kicking off with Saints of Los Angeles and flanked by a pair of scantily-clad backing singers, along with a heck of a lot of spikes, the legendary quartet proceed to blast through an enormous back catalogue of hits that spans over 30 years. Same Ol’ Situation, Too Fast For Love and Dr Feelgood all sound excellent, and Vince Neil’s voice rarely falters noticeably.
It wouldn’t be a Crüe show without some gimmicks though, and while Tommy Lee’s Crüecify drum kit can’t be used at festivals, bassist Nikki Sixx does at one point wield a bass-mounted flamethrower to great effect. It’s ridiculous and over the top, but at the same time, pretty standard for MÖTLEY CRÜE. The band don’t stop at simply playing their own songs either. There’s even time for the band’s Americanized cover of THE SEX PISTOLS’ Anarchy In The UK, which is distinctly better than it sounds on paper, mostly due to the considerable talents of guitarist Mick Mars.
As the final notes of Kickstart My Heart ring out, it seems as though the band are done, but that’s not the case. After a couple of minutes, Sixx, Neil, Mars and Lee return to the stage for a final rendition of epic ballad Home Sweet Home, which takes on a far more bittersweet tone, given the occasion. MÖTLEY CRÜE might be almost gone, but they’re definitely going out on top – miss their November tour at your peril.
KISS – Alex Piercy
Regardless of your status in the music industry, the Sunday night headliners at Download will always have a heavy mantle to hold. If any band holds the legacy, the following the right glitter encrusted shoes to fit the role, it should be KISS. Sadly, it was a performance that left the audience divided, some leaving the festival star struck and the rest underwhelmed. By no means did KISS give a poor performance, this was a highly choreographed and tight space show, for the diehard you got exactly what you expected, and this was a KISS performance as pure and ridiculously un-simple as they come.
THE DARKNESS – Alex Piercy
Sweaty, ridiculous and intoxicating. 3 words to describe THE DARKNESS’s secret set at the Maverick Stage on Sunday afternoon. At first, the crowd was confused as the band, minus vocalist Justin Hawkins began to play a 3 minute rendition of the opening riff to Barbarian. Many began to whisper rumours that Justin was back to his old ways, that there must have been a punch up backstage, or an issue with the sound. As even THE DARKNESS began to look confused as the repetitions of the riff began to build, the rumours began to stick. Justin Hawkins appeared, sporting a fresh new trim and escorted by a platoon of fully suited Vikings, marching through the entire crowd to take his rightful place on stage and belt out the rest of Barbarian. What followed was a set full of hits. It was old school rock and roll, with just the right level of stupidity to make the performance larger than life, exactly the party Donington needed to make that final push through to Monday morning.