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FESTIVAL REVIEW: Download Festival 2017 – Saturday

With the sun still beaming over the grounds of Download Festival (we know, we’re as surprised as you are), there was plenty of bands across the festival’s stages covering a wide range of genres across the rock music umbrella to watch and enjoy. Distorted Sound‘s coverage of this year’s festival continues, so here is our lowdown on day two of Download Festival 2017!

HACKTIVIST – Main Stage

Kicking off the main stage on Saturday, grime-infused metallers, HACKTIVIST, brought their signature sound to the ears of Saturday’s early-risers. Climbing through the ranks over recent years to take on the bigger stages, their slot at this year’s Download Festival wasn’t quite the high-energy, enthralling show we’re used to seeing from the band. Despite each member giving this performance their all, their energy felt lost amongst such a large platform, and it failed to resonate much with the surrounding crowd. Perhaps it was the early morning, but not enough of an atmosphere was generated to make this such an engrossing display of the band’s volatile musical concoction. Though their infamous cover of Ni**as In Paris turned things up a notch and finally got the audience going, this was the only real highlight of their set despite the bands hardest efforts. Thankfully, however, the band’s setlist was a pleasant mixture of new and old, and newly-appointed vocalist, Jot Maxi, felt like a natural addition to the band despite this being one of his first performances. Though the band was well equipped for the audience, Donald Duck clothing and all, the all-important spark seemed like it was missing throughout their 30 minute slot.

Rating: 5/10

Words: Jimmy Dean

CREEPER – Main Stage

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

Forget eternity, CREEPER had the entire crowd in their arms on Saturday afternoon as they took to the main stage and knocked out the performance of a lifetime. Assaulting the Main Stage with such incredible spirit, it was hard to imagine that the band only released their debut full-length album, Eternity, In Your Arms, only a few months prior to this career-defining moment. Bringing with them their unique spin on horror-punk, the band held the attention of the audience throughout their 30 minute slot and felt totally at home on the larger stage, breathing a level of confidence found only in the more experienced rock veterans. Beginning with album opener Black Rain and continuing with a set largely comprised of their latest release, the band proved themselves as one of the UK’s most exciting rock acts in years. Blast beats, heavy guitar, piano, catchy hooks, and the intertwining, mesmerising vocal talents of vocalists Will Gould and Hannah GreenwoodCREEPER had it all and the band stopped at nothing to pull out a blinding display. Dramatic, heavy, energetic and soulful in all the right places, the audience were left stunned and, understandably, were left wanting so much more.

Rating: 10/10

Words: Jimmy Dean

SIKTH – Main Stage

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

If technical metal legends SIKTH proved just one thing with their main stage slot, it’s that despite the many years that have passed since the release of their debut record (fourteen, to be exact), nobody makes music quite like they do. Pulling out an assortment of tracks from all across their career and commanding the stage with power and attitude, the band made a statement of intent – they are back in full-force and are here to take the scene by storm once again. Though a bit disappointing to hear so little from their brand-new album, The Future In Whose Eyes?, their carefully-plucked setlist of ‘greatest hits’ was more than enough to drum up plenty of excitement during their short period. Making full use of the stage, and the walkway, in particular, vocalists Joe Rosser and Mikee Goodman performed with confidence and made their presence heard. Finishing their dynamic set with a brilliant performance of SIKTH classic, Bland Street Bloom, the band even invited original vocalist Justin Hill on stage to bring their monumental set to a close. An impeccable performance from the entire band, SIKTH felt at home performing on such a large stage at Download Festival despite their only recent comeback.

Rating: 8/10

Words: Jimmy Dean

JUNIOR – The Dogtooth Stage

When you consider that Mark Andrews, JUNIOR’s bassist/vocalist is performing in the NXT Tent all weekend long you may have thought, will JUNIOR have the energy to wake everyone up on Saturday lunch time? Well any doubts were squashed right away as the boys from Cardiff ripped in to their set delivering huge pop punk riffs that wouldn’t sound out of place on a NEW FOUND GLORY or a THE STARTING LINE record. Arguably JUNIOR’s biggest hit Fall to Pieces was the stand out moment of an energetic and fun set, despite WWE’s own Pete Dunne trying to steal the show when he delivered an elbow to Mark Andrews upon the set finishing, which in return was met with a front flip off of the stage, in to the pit by the Welsh bassist.

Rating: 7/10

Words: Jack Richardson

ALESTORM – Zippo Encore Stage & Firestone Stage

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

The pirates are back, and played two sets at this year’s Download Festival, firstly on the Zippo Encore Stage and a smaller set on the intimate Firestone Stage. ALESTORM are known for an amount of hilarity in-between details of a pirates struggles, Fray Bentos drum skins, lots of booze, and the likelihood of fancy-dress in the crowd and they did not disappoint on any front. Included in the set were old favourites, Hangover, Magnetic North, and Shipwrecked, but also the new song Fucked With An Anchor which proved extremely popular with the crowd, and could be heard being sung throughout the arena and campsites for the rest of the weekend. The smaller set included Mexico dedicated to ‘our four legged friends’ by replacing all the lyrics with ‘woof’ and reluctance from fans to accept when the set was over by hanging around chanting afterwards for more.

Rating: 9/10

Words: Dean Martin

SUICIDE SILENCE – Zippo Encore Stage

Suicide Silence live @ Download Festival 2017. Photo Credit: James Weaver
Suicide Silence live @ Download Festival 2017. Photo Credit: James Weaver

It’s fair to say that SUICIDE SILENCE have had a turbulent year in the up to their performance on the Zippo Encore Stage. Their recently released studio record was met with vastly polarising opinions and it was certainly intriguing to see how the band would handle performing at Download Festival. Needless to say however, that SUICIDE SILENCE silenced any critics or thoughts of concern by giving a truly invigorating and exhilarating performance. Opening with You Only Live Once, the band instantly showcased they were firing on all cylinders through a barrage of riffs from guitarists Chris Garza and Mark Heylmun whilst Eddie Hermida‘s delivered a range of high shrieks and guttural lows that were expertly dispatched. From the explosive closing sequence to No Pity For A Coward to the apocalyptic force of Slaves To SubstanceSUICIDE SILENCE aimed to cover all aspects of their career. That included new material too, and despite the polarising reception, here, the new material absolutely thrived in the live environment. Doris showcased Eddie Hermida thriving with his range of vocal tones whilst Hold Me Up, Hold Me Down sounded absolutely enormous on such a big stage. A truly emphatic performance that more than showcased that SUICIDE SILENCE are still fighting at the top in extreme music.

Rating: 9/10

Words: James Weaver

MAX & IGGOR CAVALERA RETURN TO ROOTS – Zippo Encore Stage

When Max and Igor Cavalera last graced the fields of Donnington they played a rough set with CAVALERA CONSPIRACY in an absolute downpour, it was a struggle to keep the crowd’s attention except for when they played some of their legendary SEPULTURA material (namely Roots Bloody Roots and Refuse/Resist). This year though they’re not toying around with new material and putting SEPULTURA’s most definitive album on display. Opening with Roots Bloody Roots would normally be a sight that would set Download Festival a light. Instead, it feels very rushed as they have an hour long album to fit into a 50-minute set (some songs were cut and some played much faster). They finally stop rushing through and find a nice groove around the Ratamahatta mark. It’s great to see Max and Igor belting songs like Spit and Dictatorshit even if they have sounded better. It’s no schtick though, it doesn’t feel like a band living in the past. Max and Igor want to be celebrating an album they love and have been dying to play it as much as fans have been dying to hear it.

Rating: 7/10

Words: Jack King

AFI – Main Stage

AFI live @ Download Festival 2017. Photo Credit: Sarah Koury
AFI live @ Download Festival 2017. Photo Credit: Sarah Koury

Despite AFI not frequenting our shores very often, besides from the die-hard AFI fans there wasn’t much buzz around them performing at Download Festival, yet despite this the Californians didn’t disappoint. Opening with Girls Not Grey set the pace for a set full of new and old songs and the new ones from The Blood Album released earlier in the year fit in perfectly. Davey Havok is his usual self, commanding the band and crowd alike from the stage and the catwalk in his sassy style, however it appeared as though something was missing for him. Occasionally throwing the microphone down after songs, he didn’t look pleased and although you would never know it from the performance, it was clear that something was off. 17 Crimes started to get the crowd interested as well as arguably AFI’s biggest anthem I Hope You Suffer however the crowd didn’t really kick in to life until the guys finished with Miss Murder. Despite the low turnout, AFI delivered a set full of top drawer songs that will leave their fans very happy with the set, even if the band themselves aren’t.

Rating: 7/10

Words: Jack Richardson

EVERY TIME I DIE – The Avalanche Stage

Every Time I Die live @ Download Festival 2017. Photo Credit: Ben Gibson
Every Time I Die live @ Download Festival 2017. Photo Credit: Ben Gibson

Armed with a setlist spanning their entire back catalogue, The Avalanche Stage quickly descended into adrenaline-fuelled chaos as EVERY TIME I DIE took to the stage on Saturday evening. Tearing up Download Festival with one of the heaviest soundtracks of the day, the band were in full command of the audience throughout their blistering 40 minutes of aggression and high-powered energy. Further proof that they are one of the finest hardcore bands ever to grace the airwaves, EVERY TIME I DIE produced a performance that was impossible to turn away from. Captivating the entire audience with their sheer amount of unrivalled energy, each track sounded huge and hit with a tonne of force. Taking hold and never letting go, the band delivered on a high-intensity show filled with nothing but raw attitude from start to finish, and frontman Keith Buckley was on top-form as he effortlessly dispatched his signature primal vocals and transformed the audience into a rowdy, explosive crowd. An absolutely stunning display of beautiful chaos, this was one festival performance that will still be felt in the months to come.

Rating: 9/10

Words: Jimmy Dean

A DAY TO REMEMBER – Main Stage

A Day To Remember live @ Download Festival 2017. Photo Credit: Ben Gibson
A Day To Remember live @ Download Festival 2017. Photo Credit: Ben Gibson

A DAY TO REMEMBER have grown into one of the biggest bands of the modern era of alternative music and their billing at this year’s Download Festival represents just that; a sub-headlining slot to BIFFY CLYRO on the main stage. An imposing feat indeed but one that the American outfit smashed with absolute ease. With a tight and polished sound, A DAY TO REMEMBER ploughed through a lengthy set that covered a bountiful collection of fan favourites alongside a nice addition of tracks from last year’s Bad Vibrations. The rhythm and pacing was timed expertly with a triple barrage of The Plot To Bomb the Panhandle2nd Sucks and Right Back at It Again early on in the performance showcased that A DAY TO REMEMBER had a statement of intent and the energy was utterly infectious. Frontman Jeremy McKinnon oozed off the energy of both his bandmates and the crowd itself and his vocal deliveries reflected that through towering growls and soothing clean lines. Flutters of melodic breaks, like Have Faith In Me and a moving performance of If It Means A Lot To You, for example showcased the band’s versatility and backed with an arsenal of pyro, beach balls and t-shirt cannons, A DAY TO REMEMBER gave a memorable and gripping performance; one which gave backing into belief that this band have the potential for a future headliner on the biggest stage.

Rating: 9/10

Words: James Weaver

BIFFY CLYRO – Main Stage

Biffy Clyro live @ Download Festival 2017. Photo Credit: Matt Eachus
Biffy Clyro live @ Download Festival 2017. Photo Credit: Matt Eachus

When Scottish rockers BIFFY CLYRO were added to the festival bill as Saturday’s main stage headliner, it’s fair to say that there was a bit of backlash amongst the Download Festival community. A band often unfairly associated with mainstream pop following several chart-topping hits, from the minute the band began with opening track Wolves Of Winter, it was clear that people were wrong to judge the band’s ability. What followed was a densely-packed performance of inventive alternative-rock, demonstrating some of the band’s biggest, festival-filling tunes that held the crowd in the palm of their hands. Accompanied by impressive stage production and a setlist that packed in plenty of variety from the headbanging realms of That Golden Rule, to the anthemic qualities of songs such as Biblical, BIFFY CLYRO even had the time to tone things down for a couple of intimate acoustic numbers, too. Though the band did neglect much of their older material, a rare performance of There’s No Such Thing As A Jaggy Snake made for an incredible surprise that erupted throughout the audience and reminded of their excellent back catalogue. Closing with a performance of Stingin’ Belle that concluded with an intense firework display, it was easy to be floored by the band’s (literally) explosive set. Equal parts heavy, melodic, loud and energetic; the Scots proved without a doubt that they are capable of dominating any festival at all, especially that of the home of rock and metal.

Rating: 10/10

Words: Jimmy Dean

That’s day two done and dusted! If you haven’t checked out our coverage of day one (you can do that right here) and keep posted as we bring you our coverage of the final day of Download Festival 2017!)

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Distorted Sound Issue 24 COVER

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