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Editors Pick

Download Festival – Saturday | Live Review

Saturday night at Download saw Linkin Park play ‘Hybrid Theory’ in full. The day was full of amazing bands, check out what we thought here.

Credit: Andrew Whitton/ Download Official Site

Saturday was the only day that sold out on day tickets, and just looking at the main stage alone was enough to realise why. The likes of Bury Tomorrow, Bowling For Soup, Bring Me the Horizon and Fall Out Boy was enough to get anyone’s mouth watering, then to top it all off you have Linkin Park playing ‘Hybrid Theory’ in its entirety. If you missed out on mainstage Saturday, you basically missed out on a greatest hits of contemporary rock music. Across the other stages you had the classics like Twisted Sister and Status Quo, the black metal heroes in Behemoth and the fathers of tech metal Sikth. We were in for one busy day.

Iceman Thesis- Red Bull Stage
Moving away for the moment with all the mystery surrounding Iceman Thesis, I’d like to actually focus on the one song that they played. It’s all well and good having this whole mysterious persona surrounding you, but if your performance is sub-par then that’s something else entirely. The one track they played ‘Return to Harmony’ is a banging track, heavy as anything yet incredibly memorable at the same time. What they were able to do over the weekend was entice people into the two tents and expose them to this new track. Everything came off a hitch, the sound was perfect and for anyone a farm of the more hardcore vibe that they had going for them it would have been a hidden gem of the weekend. We just want to now know who the hell they are so we can have more. 8/10 CT

Press To Meco- Zippo Encore Stage
One year later Press To Meco move from the Red Bull Stage to the Zippo Encore Stage, that’s such an achievement for a band who haven’t even got a solid release. The three lads aren’t exactly the heaviest band on this weekends bill but they go out of their way to make sure that their sound is heard. Their set starts to busy up after the whole excitement of Iceman Thesis wears off and people release they have time to kill. The lads put every effort into their set and it all pays off as the crowd get jumping and swaying at the right moments although the stage is mighty large for the three lads- sometimes there is such a thing as too much space. 7/10 RW

Dying Fetus- Main Stage
Kicking off with an 11am start are the mind-bludgeoningly awesome Dying Fetus. Earlier on in the year, they were part of a spontaneous Twitter campaign entitled ‘#whynotdyingfetus?’, which saw an outcry of the lack of death metal bands playing the festival who deserve major recognition for their efforts. Dying Fetus sure as hell do not disappoint! With songs like ‘Grotesque Impalement’, and seeing a whole lot of pit action – with everything from a ginger-viking like man getting his nose broken and bloodied within two minutes of the action, to the desecration and quartering / beheading of a plastic baby (seriously), the crowd was more than up for the sonic assault that Dying Fetus masterfully executed. A great way to kick off the day! 8/10 JM

Cytota- Red Bull Stage
Cytota unfortunately had to follow on from the mysterious Iceman Thesis on the Red Bull Stage. They’re a band that’s slowly on the rise at the moment, not doing anything inherently ground breaking, but enough to catch the eyes of those that look for it. Their set at Download on the other hand started off with some technical difficulties, clearly finding it difficult to play their opening intro and soon having to resort to using a phone to play the sample. Overall the tracks were decent enough, with a small number of sound problems throughout just making their life a little bit more difficult, but tracks like ‘Between Jokers & Jesters’ and ‘Generation Scared’ came off a real treat and for those that walked past would have gotten a glimpse of the next generation of British rock. 7/10 CT

Fozzy- Main Stage
As midday arrives the sun is shining so much that we’re actually fearing for the pale skinned ones amongst us but Fozzy bound onstage and make us forget our worries. Opening with belting new track ‘Do You Wanna Start A War’ the sheer amount of fist pumping is getting is bloody excited for the new album. Fozzy are one of those bands a lot of people probably aren’t familiar with yet are familiar with their frontman. But it isn’t just Chris Jericho that makes this band as intense as they are, musically the band are tight and feature some of the best musicians around. ‘Sandpaper’ is a particular highlight as we sing along to M Shadows parts in our heads (we don’t want to deafen the rest of the crowd). Fozzy are one of those bands who knock it out of the bag every single time. 9/10 RW

Zoax- Pepsi Max Stage
Energy seems to be the name of the game for bands on the Pepsi Max Stage this weekend. Frontman Adam just can’t stay still, but this makes for fantastic visuals as he borrows a hat from a confused gentleman in the front row, hugs a security guard and jumps in the crowd all in the space of a few seconds. Zoax are as much about fantastic music as they are about putting on a performance. ‘Jeckyll Meets Hyde’ shows off gritty deep riffs whilst ‘Burn It To The Ground’ just shows complete and utter aggression. Keep your eyes on Zoax! 9/10 RW

Bury Tomorrow- Main Stage
As the opening riffs of ‘Man On Fire’ rumbles through the main stage speakers it’s clear today is gong to belong to one band and it’s going to be a hard one to beat. Bury Tomorrow have exploded since ‘Runes’ came out and you’ll be hard pushed to find someone who doesn’t agree with their lifting greatness. The sheer amount of performances means that Dani has had more than enough time to perfect that growl and it’s incredible just how far his vocals and indeed the band have come. Main stage is a complete sauna and we genuinely feel sorry for anyone who entered the dusty, sweaty pits: although they did look very inviting! (Maybe next time eh?!) ‘An Honourable Reign’ still sounds as crushing as it ever was and latest single ‘Of Glory’ packs every punch that a Bury fan could want. The only criticism (if it even is one) is the little talk which happens before ‘Royal Blood’, we’ve heard it so often that we can quote it word for word. Maybe it’s time to switch things up a bit?! Otherwise Bury Tomorrow are the perfection of metal core music and it’s going to be a tough act for any band to follow. 10/10 RW

The Bosshoss- Zippo Encore Stage
The BossHoss
hand down win the biggest surprise of the entire weekend of Download Festival. We touched base on what would be a set of absolutely infectious riffs, flamboyant dancing (including a questionably homoerotic brass section complete with cowboy hats and leather pants whilst topless), and brilliantly executed rock tunes that would make even the most miserable of bastards want to grab their partner and have a rootin’ tootin’ good time! The BossHoss are incredible on stage as they are with their music, and it is more than evident that it translates seamlessly with the audience who lap up every single moment of this beer-soaked, dance-fuelled barnstormer of a set. Further proof that even the wildcards will give the old Download faithfuls a run for their money! 9/10 JM

Twenty one Pilots- Zippo Encore Stage
The boys from Ohio don’t really fit into any specific genre, they sort of do their own thing and then get on with it. It’s really refreshing when you find a band like this. Someone who doesn’t really care too much about what others are doing or saying and just want to get on and do what they want to. Saturday at Download started off being a dreary one, until Twenty One Pilots came on for their Zippo Stage slot. The clouds parted and the party started. It was a full on set from Tyler and Josh, playing mainly from their new hit album ‘Vessel’, by the end of the set everyone was into it, and even those that were slightly intrigued really got into it. 9/10 CT

Bowling For Soup- Main Stage
Pop punk fans were graced with oodles of fart jokes when the legendary Bowling For Soup took to the Stephen Sutton stage on Saturday afternoon. The band, who only drop by the UK on special occasions these days (like Download!), played arguably the most amusing set of the weekend (right after Steel Panther). They had everything from inflatable sheep sacrifices to inflatable penis gags. But inflatables aside, Bowling For Soup proved that they’ve still got it with the likes of ‘High School Never Ends’ and ‘1985’ going down a storm. However, the stand out point of their set was by far their performance of ‘Girl All The Bad Guys Want’. It was a challenge to find a single person in the crowd who didn’t know the words to that song. 10/10 LH

Arcane Roots- Pepsi Max Stage
For just three men Arcane Roots know how to make a lot of noise! We’re sure we aren’t the first one’s to compare them to ex-touring buddies Biffy Clyro but the resemblance today is uncanny, even down to Andrew’s fantastic beard and tightly pulled in guitar. The captivating set is dripping in energy and for a single section we forget that we’re even at Download as Arcane Roots pull us deep into their world. ‘Slow’ isn’t that by most peoples standards but it’s this track which really showcases Andrew’s vocals to an utter tee, while ‘You Are’ shows off an edge with enough of a groove you can’t stand still. Passion, enthusiasm and energy are only some of what make Arcane Roots a fantastic live band. 9/10 RW

Blessthefall- Pepsi Max Stage
Beau really has been one of the best front men in metal music. He just has so much energy and movement on stage, although with a little girl now he’s going to have to calm it down a little bit.  On the back of their incredible new album ‘Hollow Bodies’ the boys from Arizona hit the Pepsi Max Stage to a packed crowd, and they were sure as hell about to use the most of the fans that had turned out to see their set. A large chunk of the setlist was pushed aside for ‘Hollow Bodies’ tracks, but that didn’t stop them from playing some of their other hits as well, ‘What’s Left Of Me’ and ‘Promised Ones’ to say just a couple. For a festival though, we would have liked to see a couple more of the hits and save the new ones for their own tour. 7/10 CT

Nothing More- Red Bull Stage
Texan rockers, Nothing More, took the Red Bull Studio stage by storm on Saturday afternoon, with an unashamedly great set. The band gave off an air of brazen bolshiness that instantly grabbed everyone in the room from the second they stepped on stage. So much so that passers-by were drawn into the tent to catch their set – so much to the point where it was almost packed out. Vocalist, Jonny Hawkins, was every inch the perfect frontman, with every eye in the room firmly fixated on him. Musically, the band’s performance was stellar, right from their opening track, ‘Christ Copyright’ to the closing note of ‘Salem (Burn The Witch)’. 7/10 LH

Bring Me The Horizon- Main Stage
The choice of having Bring Me The Horizon followed by Fall Out Boy on the main stage seemed like a fantastic choice in our eyes, but sadly it seems not everyone agrees. There’s no denying listening to latest album ‘Sempiternal’ that the band have achieved things that a band like Bring Me could never even thought about and their main stage slot at Download was meant to highlight this. Sadly the sound just didn’t do the band justice. In a band where Oli Syke’s vocals should be loud, raw and ferocious today’s lower end sound washes it out and makes his voice seem weak and the growls anything but raucous. Despite this the band still put on the show of a lifetime clearly practicing for their impending Wembley Arena show later this year; there’s dry ice, light shows and pyro. What gets lost in sound is made up for in visuals. The set this evening is predominately from the latest album from ‘Shadow Moses’ to ‘Empire (Let Them Sing) and sing-a-long fuck you ‘Antivist’. But it’s naturally ‘Chelsea Smile’ which causes the biggest scream-a-long. Bring Me may not have had the set we’d have wanted but they make the most of everything given to them. 6/10 RW

New Politics- Red Bull Stage
New Politics gave Download their all with their short and sweet set at the Red Bull Studio stage on Saturday. In between singer, David Boyd, wowing the crowd with his breakdancing skills, they delivered a set that oozed feel-good pop-rock energy, which drew in all manner of spectators, young and old, die-hard fans and passers-by. The band won over the crowd with supercharged performances of ‘Tonight You’re Perfect’, ‘Just Like Me’ and their forthcoming single, ‘Berlin’. However, the highlight of their set was their high octane run through of crowd pleaser, ‘Harlem’ which saw everyone in the tent on their feet and going wild for the Danish-American trio. It would have been difficult for us to have come away from their set without a smile on our faces. 9/10 LH

The Wildhearts- Zippo Encore Stage
It has been a few years since Britain’s most notorious punk influenced rock and roll band The Wildhearts have played Download, and by the beard of Zeus they absolutely whip up a storm of epic proportions. Not missing a beat, and displaying a tight, and energetic set led by frontman Ginger, The Wildhearts tore the Zippo Encore Stage a new asshole! Songs like ‘Vanilla Radio’, the breakneck ‘Caffeine Bomb’, classic chart hit ‘I Wanna Go Where The People Go’, and ‘Sick Of Drugs’, you cannot help but fall under the spell of their no-bullshit yet fun take on British rock and roll. You can’t teach old dogs new tricks, and sometimes the old school way of things are usually the best way to learn and adapt! 8/10 JM

Fall Out Boy- Main Stage
Having won the Kerrang award for best event Fall Out Boy treat Download to a near spot on copy of their ‘Save Rock And Roll’ show which captured our heart in Wembley Arena earlier this year. The set is jam packed with so much material it’s unreal, spanning more albums than we even remembered Fall Ouy Boy having from closer ‘Saturday’, to ‘Sugar, We’re Going Down’, ‘This Ain’t A Scene, It’s an Arms Race’ right through to the modern day mature Fall Out Boy with ‘Young Volcanoes’ and ‘The Pheonix’. There’s little interaction but come on would you prefer to hear Patrick and co chatting or another banging track?! You know we’re right! Thankfully the sound is much better than before and every track sounds bigger than ever, and they’re one of those bands who regardless of your feelings towards you can’t help but sing to (even if you didn’t think you knew the tracks). Although dropping ‘Grand Theft Autumn/ Where Is Your Boy Tonight’ in our opinion was a mistake, especially for all those old school fans (*cough* us!) But Fall Out Boy truly can do little wrong. 9/10 RW

Twisted Sister- Zippo Encore Stage
It is a rare feature that New York-based 80s glam rock / metal legends Twisted Sister come to the UK. So it is with much unbridled joy that the band provide one of the most fun, at times hilarious, and overly positive sets of the entire weekend. Musically speaking, Twisted Sister are just incredible. Their presence on stage is highly energetic for a band of their veteran age, especially noting the amazing and hyper stage presence of vocalist / legend of rock music Dee Snider, who also provides some hilarious banter in between songs. Even at one point stopping the band because he saw an airplane flying too low – but not realising there was an airport nearby, and then claiming that he “had flashbacks of 9/11”, which led to one of the most outrageously ‘laugh out loud’ moments of the weekend. But when it comes to the music, they are on top form. Anthems such as ‘We’re Not Gonna Take It’, ‘Stay Hungry’, a scorching rendition of ‘I Wanna Rock’ where thousands of people all jump up in the air with a fistpump at the same time yelling “ROCK!”, and a blistering cover of ‘Born To Raise Hell’ by Motorhead you really cannot fault the class, dignity, and respect that these guys show the crowd. Twisted Sister deserve more recognition for their efforts that you actually realise. But by all means, this was just pure, good clean fun of the most epic proportion! 9/10 JM

Status Quo- Zippo Encore Stage
Status Quo kicked off a full on party when they headlined the Zippo Encore stage on Saturday night. These guys are old hats at this kind of thing. Their set fully justified this. The old rockers delivered a set, packed with hits left, right and centre, with almost surgical precision. Opening with ‘Caroline’ it was clear from the outset that this would turn out to be a promising performance. ‘Down Down’ and ‘Whatever You Want’ had every single person in the crowd having a good old fashioned boogie, and eating out of the palm of the hands. While the highlight of Quo’s set was the obligatory performance of the anthem, ‘Rocking All Over The World’. We wouldn’t be surprised if people on the other side of the world heard the crowd singing along to it. 10/10 LH

Linkin Park- Main Stage
Saturday was the only day where day tickets had sold out pre-festival, and this set will have certainly been one of the reasons why. Seeing ‘Hybrid Theory’ in its entirety is a dream every 90’s rock fan has always dreamed of. The album is the soundtrack to a huge number of people’s lives. It is iconic, and it’s easily one of the best albums within the last 20 years. If it was just a Linkin Park set on its own you wouldn’t really have thought twice about it, but playing an album such as this in its entirety just boosts the hype around the entire thing to the extreme. So for the first 12 tracks, the band focused on ‘Hybrid Theory’, each track meticulously performed, track after track, in the exact track listing that is on the album itself. As well as the all time classics that have come off the album ‘Papercut’, ‘One Step Closer’, ‘In the End’ etc, you also have some which have never been played before, in the case of ‘Cure for the Itch’, and those tracks which haven’t been played in years, such as in the case of ‘Forgotten’ which hadn’t been played since 2002. Its mind boggling that these tracks have very rarely been heard in a live setting, and when you realise the privilege of being able to hear these tracks finally, it just makes the set that little bit special. After ‘Hybrid Theory’ had concluded the band moved into their extended history, even showcasing a couple of tracks off the brand new album ‘The Hunting Party’, everything came off a hitch, closing with some all time classic tracks like ‘What I’ve Done’, ‘New Divide’ and ‘Bleed it Out’. Overall the set was solid, and I doubt anyone will have left it feeling disappointed. All the big name tracks were played and the inclusion of Hybrid Theory was just a dream come true for large number of the fans watching.  Just don’t go playing what felt like a 10 minute long documentary explaining everything first, as that just makes the entire thing feel slightly dragged out. 9/10 CT

Reviews by: Rhian Westbury, Callum Thomson, Laura Halbert and James Paul Matthews

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