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FESTIVAL, June 12-14 2009
Green flew the flag (or banner) for Get Ready to ROCK! at Download. She
reports the highlights of one of the rock calendar's premier events...and
the not so good bits...aka "the jobsworths"...
is the UK's ultimate festival for heavy rock and metal providing three
days of pure fist pumping, head banging action coveted by rock bands and
fans from all over the world. The line-up for the festival this year
was undeniably better than it has been for a while; it resembles more what
'Monsters of Rock' use to be with bands such as ZZ Top, Faith No More,
Whitesnake, and Def Leppard, and not forgetting the return of the metal
Looking at the line-up for the festival this year the climax was
definitely the Sunday. Friday was not half bad though. Glam rock founders
Motley Crue arrived on the second stage at 20:35 and started off
their set with song 'Kick-start my heart' and later performed well known
'Girls, girls, girls'.
Unfortunately a bit of the energy from this band was lost; the screens
were not working so it was a tad difficult to see the glam rock legends.
All the same they pulled off a good show, not the best that they could
have, probably because these guys should be a headline band.
watching the dodgers of death 'Motley Crue' something emerged to excite
things further; Hardcore Superstar were having a stroll through the crowds
going completely unrecognised, so I managed to get a picture with lead
singer Jocke, who was more than happy to pose with us and was overall a
very pleasant man.
a metal band with a very distinctive sound had a difficult spot being
wedged in between 'Faith No More' and 'Limp Bizkit', there was a danger of
fans topping up on their beer instead of watching Korn. Thankfully, this
was not the case. They performed a set of their greatest hits and were
very much adored by the crowd.
Faith No More headlined the main stage on the first day. They'd
split up for around eleven years reuniting in February 2009. After talking
to many members of the crowd and many campers there didn't really seem to
be that much excitement generated around this band.
performed songs such as: 'We Care A Lot' and 'Ashes To Ashes' and also a
rather disturbing version of Lady Gaga's 'Poker Face'. Really there is
just no need, do they not realize people come to Donington to get a break
from s--t like that. Apart from that minor blip they got the crowd going
and gave a rather enjoyable performance. I think it is safe to say you
either have 'Faith' or you don't, you either love them or hate them.
I think this
is a good opportunity to explain something very evident at this festival;
Political correctness. You'd expect that heavy rock festivals wouldn't be
so much affected by the insane wave of political correctness enveloping
the country. Unfortunately they are now more than ever.
Gone are the
days of Woodstock for example, where you'd see a group of hippies stoned
with their friends watching a good band with a bottle of their favourite
beer they had brought in.
security is tighter than a camel's arse in a sandstorm. The dumb, cocky
and rude stewards seem to assume they are all doormen; they do extensive
searches of everyone upon entry. They block people from crossing a simple
road when one car is coming, which is quite frankly insulting as they
assume people don't have the intelligence to cross a road without getting
run over and killed.
actually rummage through your bags touching the content which is not
allowed! And another killer: When the motorhome camp were leaving after
Def Leppard on the final night the stewards blocked them in and wouldn't
let them leave, so a camper had to call the police so they could be
released and the stewards were told they cannot imprison people.
Day two and things start to get very exciting at Download. Heavy rock
legends Thunder graced the Tuborg stage at 18.40. Singer Danny
Bowes' vocals were extremely powerful and the Tuborg tent was overflowing
performed the remarkable 'Love Walked In'. They had pure skill and their
energy and passion was definitely shared with their adoring fans. They are
following up the download performance with a farewell tour. Sad news for
fans as these are such a brilliant band, all I can recommend is: if you
want to see them again, give them an email and let's not let this be
sleaze metal rockers Hardcore Superstar played the second stage at
12.40. Their singer Jocke provides screaming yet melodic vocals
accompanied by a glam rock/ metal guitar sound.
is very original, they have brilliant energy and these guys should be the
next big thing. If you haven't heard any of their songs have a look on
YouTube and I think you'll be pleasantly surprised. They were singing
songs from new album 'Beg for it' but also included the well known hits
'We don't celebrate Sundays' and 'Bag on your head' and the crowd loved
OK there were some pretty big acts on the second day of Download, but, I
thought GRTR! readers would appreciate in sharing in the experience of
of you will have heard of Anvil and I went along to see the Canadian demi-gods
of metal after watching the extremely entertaining 'Story of Anvil'.
unfortunately playing the Tuborg stage which was too small for a band of
such intensity and passion. Each and every song Anvil played was
accompanied by an amusing story about its creation. They were full to the
brim of energy and the raw power of heavy metal oozed from their pores.
seemed tighter than ever. Lips and Rob are the best example of never
giving up and if you have enough self-belief and drive you really can
achieve anything. Their love and dedication to metal is finally being
appreciated and recognised as they embark on a supportive tour with AC/DC.
Only possible criticism: the absence of the dildo.
The Prodigy arrived on the second stage at 20.35. As there was
speculation about a band of this sort headlining at a rock/metal festival
they were clearly wanted and were definitely worshipped.
The size of
the crowd kept on growing for this band. The bottle fights began before
they even hit the stage. When The Prodigy finally arrived the fans were so
excited it was probably a record for the amount of breasts to be shown on
the big screens. The band were insane, they were fast, furious and
brilliant. The crowd definitely felt the intensity of this band as one by
one people exited The Prodigy mosh pit with cuts and bruises and blood
oozing from their war wounds. Their songs included hits such as 'Firestarter'
and 'Smack my bitch up'.
Day three at Download Festival arrived with some of rocks biggest legends:
Def Leppard, Whitesnake and ZZ Top.
talking about the big guns I feel it crucial and just to mention here
The 69 Eyes. Inspired by 'The Sisters of Mercy' and all the way from
Finland these self- proclaimed 'Helsinki Vampires' were absolutely
fantastic bringing to download their touch of glam metal. Although they
were sadly let down by their road crew's inability to fix up their
equipment and lost fifteen minutes of their set they definitely redeemed
American legends of rock ZZ Top had the third slot on the main
stage. They have longer beards than Santa Claus and have been rocking for
around forty years. They achieve a coolness that no English band could
achieve. They still sport the exhaust microphone stands and manage to
synchronise not only their (similar to The Shadows) dance moves but their
guitar playing too.
absolute masters live and definitely something to see before you die. They
performed 'Gimme All Your Lovin' and a string of their familiar hits. No
small talk, no cheesy lines, just ZZ Top: three men completely ruling the
stage doing what they do best.
More orange than a factory of tango and more groomed than Paris Hilton's
dog, Lord Coverdale blessed the stage with Whitesnake. Although
Coverdale definitely has a personality and a stage presence his voice is
definitely not what it used to be. Coverdale seemed to be having an
absolute ball. Everybody clearly enjoyed mega hit 'Here I Go Again'. They
proved they can still hold their own and still entertain their fans.
Def Leppard's last appearance at Donington was twenty three years
ago. If for some obscure reason anyone had been slightly bored up until
this band's performance ( highly unlikely) Def Leppard put on such a good
set that even a puritan nun would have been so excited she would have let
her convent down.
possibly do this band justice with a few words on a page, they have so
many brilliant songs, and so many good bands on the same day before them,
it would have been easy to have not expected too much, but they were that
absolute icing on the cake to a perfect festival.
played a compilation of their best known hits and proved themselves one
million times over to be the headlining act of such a tremendous day.
an astounding weekend it will be near impossible to top next year.
"If I have to give
out any more of these damn things I'll throw myself into The Prodigy's
photos by Betsy Green
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