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FESTIVAL REVIEW: Download Festival 2017 – Sunday

The last day of a music festival can be bittersweet. Serving as the last day before returning to reality and multiple days of drinking, eating questionable food and watching countless bands beginning to take their toll, the last day of any music festival can be a memorable and soaring affair. The last day of Download Festival 2017 did not disappoint as the last day of music delivered a vast array of bands covering a wide spectrum of genres and styles. Distorted Sound brings you our last day of coverage of this year’s festival so read on and reminisce on the last day of Download Festival 2017!

BRUTAI – The Dogtooth Stage

Brutai live @ Download Festival 2017. Photo Credit: James Weaver
Brutai live @ Download Festival 2017. Photo Credit: James Weaver

Billed as a promising up and coming band in the UK rock scene, BRUTAI‘s debut performance at Download Festival had a lot riding on whether the band had what it takes to cement their place in the next tier within the scene. Thankfully, for BRUTAI, the group delivered a solid performance that showcased their professionalism with a tightly knit sound that showcased sheer potential. Solid and bouncing riffs from guitarists Felix Lawrie and Henry Ryan kept the momentum swinging, the subtle use of keys and backing vocals from Alex Lorimer added another level of depth to BRUTAI‘s sound as the band worked their through a short but efficient set. Lawrie himself is a born frontman, whose work on the guitar didn’t take the focus away from his soaring vocal lines. Overall, a solid performance from a band who are destined for great things within our world.

Rating: 8/10

Words: James Weaver

THE CADILLAC THREE – Main Stage

Download Festival encompasses all rock and metal genres, including Southern Rock bands like THE CADILLAC THREE. The iconically long haired trio from Tennessee took over Main Stage early Sunday afternoon with their catchy riffs, addictive drum beats, and authentic, heavily accented lyrics. The sun shining brightly down on the crowds beautifully complimented lyrics about small town life and drinking. Their great stage presence and guitar twangs drew in passersby, as well as delighting the existing fans who’d turned out. THE CADILLAC THREE have made a name for themselves as being sincere, down to earth and honest to their roots, traits that are definitely working in their favour. Included in the set were the fan favourites Tennessee Mojo and The South.

Rating: 8/10

Words: Dean Martin

RED FANG – Zippo Encore Stage

Gracing the Zippo Encore Stage, stoner metallers RED FANG provided countless fuzzy riffs and comedic banter to give festival goers a warm and memorable performance in the sunshine. Through the guitar work of Bryan Giles and David Sullivan, the overall sound of the band was enormous as wave after wave of hard-hitting riffing delighted the ears of the crowd. Giles and bassist Aaron Beam‘s dual vocal deliveries held their own against the vast backing sound and the result helped solidify RED FANG‘s place on a stacked lineup that day. A band made for festivals and the sunshine, RED FANG were thoroughly enjoyable and demonstrated why they are so revered in the metal community.

Rating: 8/10

Words: James Weaver

IN FLAMES – Main Stage

In Flames live @ Download Festival 2017. Photo Credit: Matt Eachus
In Flames live @ Download Festival 2017. Photo Credit: Matt Eachus

IN FLAMES are one of the biggest names in metal and whilst their recent studio output has divided core fans, the Swedish metallers gave a performance that was enjoyable throughout their slot on the Main Stage at this year’s Download Festival. Tightly polished riffing from guitarists Björn Gelotte and Niclas Engelin kept the momentum flowing and frontman Anders Fridén‘s vocals were, for the most part, effective and the stage banter inbetween tracks kept the crowd entertained. Whilst it was perhaps disappointing that a large majority of the band’s set was comprised of new material and several issues surrounding their sound, IN FLAMES still gave it their all and the result showcased why the band are so big in our world as the closure of Take This Life proved to be a masterstroke which ensured the band ended their performance on a high.

Rating: 7/10

Words: James Weaver

ANATHEMA – Zippo Encore Stage

Sandwiched in between the groove riffs of DEVILDRIVER and the industrial madness of MINISTRY is a chance to calm down and chill out with ANATHEMA. Whilst the Zippo Encore Stage’s sound doesn’t work as well as previous years when playing in the tent, it’s is great to see the prog masters higher on the bill. Their sonic shift is a nice change and played with the finesse and grace that has come to be expected of the Liverpool sextet. Vincent Cavanagh’s vocals soar throughout the field despite the instrumental intricacies being lost in the wind. Tracks from the new album The Optimist meet intrigued ears as the record only came out on Friday so most festival goers haven’t heard it yet, whilst tracks from Distant Satellites, We’re Here Because We’re Here and Weather Systems are all welcomed like old friends. It is still jarring to see ANATHEMA gracefully singing “my love will never die, And my feelings will always shine” to seeing MINISTRY bark “He wants you to suck on the Holy Ghost And swallow the sins of man”, but that kind of contrast is what Download Festival is all about.

Rating: 7/10

Words: Jack King

AIRBOURNE – Main Stage

Airbourne live @ Download Festival 2017. Photo Credit: Ross Silcocks
Airbourne live @ Download Festival 2017. Photo Credit: Ross Silcocks

By now AIRBOURNE are surely in the running for, if not the best band to play festivals. With their hard Aussie rock you can always guarantee a good time in a field full of drunk metalheads and the fun ensues straight from opener Ready to Rock. front man Joel O’ Keffe is like a general commanding the legion of drunkards in front of him to loose their minds. He comes out to greet his masses riding the shoulders of some presumably very sweaty fool in a fox coustume (or possibly a dingo costume, cause ‘Strallia) tossing out beers. Fan favourites like Too Much Too Young Too Fast are some of the best received songs of the entire festival and new tracks like Breakin’ Outta Hell go down a treat too. They could play every year and it would always be this fun, in AIRBOURNE we trust.

Rating: 8/10

Words: Jack King

CLUTCH – Zippo Encore Stage

You wouldn’t be able to blame CLUTCH if they just strolled out and delivered a greatest hits set spanning their 11 albums of rock ‘n’ roll fury. Instead, though the set at Download Festival is filled with material from 2015’s brilliant Psychic Warfare and it still goes down a storm. Your Love Is Incarceration is a left field choice for an opener but the confidence in the band’s latest output drips out of their pours with Neil Fallon squawking his tales like a manic preacher. They kick into another gear with tracks like X-Ray Vision and Firebirds setting the field alight and Decapitation Blues’ riff absolutely explodes out of the speakers. Surprisingly the highlight of the set is unreleased track How To Shake Hands with Fallon’s lyrics taking shots at modern politicians and a chorus that creates excitement for the next chapter of CLUTCH before the present is even finished being penned.

Rating: 8/10

Words: Jack King

STEEL PANTHER – Main Stage

Steel Panther live @ Download Festival 2017. Photo Credit: Ross Silcocks
Steel Panther live @ Download Festival 2017. Photo Credit: Ross Silcocks

If any band are able to call Download Festival their second home, STEEL PANTHER have earned that right. This is Michael Starr, Lexxi Foxx, Satchel and Stix’s third Main Stage appearance and they are now playing third from top of the bill but if you were judging band position on crowd size, these would be nailed on headliners. The energy and enthusiasm that STEEL PANTHER deliver in the basking sun is unrivalled and they drop a barrage of hits from all four of their major label records. Poontang Boomerang sounds like the most DEF LEPPARD track that DEF LEPPARD didn’t write and That’s When You Came In had the entire crowd singing back the equally funny and gentle chorus, STEEL PANTHER have really figured out the perfect meld between being a genuine band and a parody. Finishing the set playing 17 Girls in a Row with around 50 women on stage, dancing around the band was a brilliant way to end a huge and hilarious set that is surely the band’s last appearance at Donington where they’re not topping the bill.

Rating: 9/10

Words: Jack Richardson

ALTER BRIDGE – Main Stage

Alter Bridge live @ Download Festival 2017. Photo Credit: Paulo Gonçalves
Alter Bridge live @ Download Festival 2017. Photo Credit: Paulo Gonçalves

Being hyped as future headliners can make or break a band and there was a lot riding on ALTER BRIDGE‘s sub-headlining performance on the Main Stage at Download Festival. The band have soared in popularity in the modern era through consistently successful arena tours and festival appearances in the past and their performance at this year’s festival demonstrated professionalism and utter quality. From the chugging riffs on Isolation, the bombastic movements of Metalingus and the deep hooks of Ties That Band being just glimpses into a stellar performance, ALTER BRIDGE were firing on all cylinders and it was a marvel to behold. The band acted as a unit on stage with Myles Kennedy‘s iconic and soaring vocals leading the line consistently throughout. Ebbing and flowing throughout, with the ballad to Ghost of Days Gone By acting as a perfect respite before roaring into Cry of Achilles for example, ALTER BRIDGE just kept on giving in a performance that captured why this band are rising into one of the biggest bands of the modern generation of rock.

Rating: 9/10

Words: James Weaver

THE DILLINGER ESCAPE PLAN – The Avalanche Stage

Despite the aggravatingly small crowd for one of the finest bands to ever record music’s last show in the country, THE DILLINGER ESCAPE PLAN were on form tonight. Solid opener Prancer continues to set off crowds as it has done for the past couple of years. The band’s chaotic moments shake the tent to its core whilst they throw themselves around as if their always stellar light show is actually inducing epileptic fits within them. The slower and captivating moments like One Of Us Is The Killer slowly sludge out of the speakers, Greg Puciato sensually (yes, sensually but still aggressively) leads the room through epic choruses of Milk Lizard and Black Bubblegum. It would be a lie to say that the band were better than ever or to say that it was the spectacle of a farewell that fans wanted, it was business as usual to a degree. However, when it’s the final chance to see one of the most important bands in the world of rock and metal the attendance and performance analysis aren’t important, it’s just time to immerse yourself in their songs one last time. As 43% Burnt opens guitarist Ben Weinman throws himself into the crowd for one last chaotic goodbye.

Rating: 8/10

Words: Jack King

AEROSMITH – Main Stage

Aerosmith live @ Download Festival 2017. Photo Credit: Ben Gibson
Aerosmith live @ Download Festival 2017. Photo Credit: Ben Gibson

Billed as the last chance to see them in the UK, there was an enormous amount of anticipation for AEROSMITH‘s closing performance for both Download Festival and the rock titans themselves, and for the most part, the Goliath’s of rock and roll did not disappoint. Armed with an arsenal of some of the biggest songs in rock, AEROSMITH gave a performance that reflected their status in the elite. From the swinging melodies to Sweet Emotion, the emotion-inducing Cryin’ to the soaring crescendos of I Don’t Wanna Miss A ThingAEROSMITH left no stone unturned as they rolled out anthem after anthem that resulted in sing-a-longs from a swelling crowd. In terms of the actual performance of the band itself, it wasn’t the tightest or the best fans have become accustomed to, but that did not detract from the band’s ability to thrive on the biggest stage. The chemistry between Joe Perry and Steven Tyler was moving and satisfying to witness as they played off each other’s strengths and overcame each other’s shortcomings whilst Joey Kramer, Brad Whitford and Tom Hamilton kept the beat and rhythms flowing by excelling in their respective departments. Closing the set with a triple barrage of Dream On, a cover of Mother Popcorn and Walk This WayTyler showcased his flair as a frontman with solid vocals and a persona that engulfed the stage. Whilst it wasn’t the best performance in the band’s lengthy career, AEROSMITH ended this year’s Download Festival and and as the book closes on one of the biggest bands in rock music, one thing is certain, there are enormous shoes to be filled.

Rating: 8/10

Words: James Weaver

And that’s it! Our coverage of the UK’s biggest rock music festival is done. If you haven’t already, read our coverage of the Friday and Saturday of Download Festival 2017 and we will see you next year!

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Distorted Sound Issue 24 COVER

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