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Review: Download Festival – Donington Park – 10-12th June 2011

Read here at what HTF thought of the bands that played the Friday at this years Download Festival at Donington Park..

Event: Download Festival

Venue: Donington Park, Leicestershire
Date: 10th June 2011

Hit The Floor got down with the metal heads at this years Download Festival at Donington Park and what a hell of a weekend it was! Brimmed full of bands, booze and breasts galore! Man that was a lot of b’s?? A few of us at HTF were lucky wnough to catch some of the awesome talent on this tears bill so we wanted to share with you all how truly epic the weekend was! We still are not quite over it! Are you?

Read here below at all the live action from the weekend

Destroy Rebuild Until God Shows (D.R.U.G.S) – Second Stage – 10/06/11 – Reviewer: Jasmine Sevette

It was the first day of Download, the sun was shining and my mood was sky high. Destroy Rebuild until God Shows (aka. D.R.U.G.S) were the second band of the day. Prior to Download, I’d listened to a few songs but that was the extent of it. However, from what I had already heard, I was keen to see them live and hear what they had to offer.

A twenty five minute set isn’t great, but they seemed to wow a lot of people in the given time. Like me, a lot of viewers had listened to a few songs, and seemed eager to hear more. They had a pretty good turnout, considering that they were one of the first few bands on stage. Vocalist, Craig Owens, came on stage and probably blew the mind out of all the girls watching. He looked gorgeous, and luckily had a voice to match it.

The American post-hardcore band had only formed about a year ago, so to see them playing the Second Stage was amazing. They opened their set with their first single ‘The Only Thing You Talk About’. It’s a tune to sing along with, and really shows what D.R.U.G.S is about. The high pitched singing mixed with metal like guitar licks and screams; both aspects are mixed together perfectly and they seem to grab both sides of the fan scale. It was a cheery song to start with, and I’m sure it pleased everyone including new fans to the band.

‘Sex Life’ was played around the middle of the set, and carried through a powerful beat, perfect for moshing and tapping along to. Owens vocals soared throughout all of the songs, adding a more commercial sound to the band. Being able to happily sing along with a band makes them so much more appealable. His voice is a bit different from the rest, so it really stands out.

They closed the show with another perfect sing-a-long ‘If You Think This Song is About You, It Probably Is’. The verses are a bit more edgy, leading into a powerful vocal blast that is the chorus. All of the songs played were really upbeat and really showed a positive light to their audience. They’re a new wave of music, and certainly made a great start to Download Festival 2011.

 

Hill Valley High – Redbull Bedroom Jam Stage – Friday 10th June – Reviewer: Steph Knight

Hill Valley High consists of six young lads from the South of the county who this year were one of the bands lucky enough to win a spot to play at many festivals this summer through the Redbull Bedroom Jam experience. The best way to describe them to new ears is that they are one big ball that is jam packed full of fun; you just want to squeeze them they are that cute and cuddly!

The small few in the bedroom jam stage that early afternoon was disappointing for a winning band; it was probably to do with the fact they clashed with British heroes Young Guns, who obviously have the same kind of focused audience. Although, this did not last for long!

Having a short set time did not seem to bother these guys as they bounced on stage and smashed out their pop punk style hits one after the other! As the band got further into their set, the crowd seemed to grow and bodies entered the tent whilst dancing to these guys beats – always a good sign!

Crowd favourite seemed to be ‘Sweet Talking Melody’, which consists of pop style guitar twangs with soft and charming vocals from leading man Phil Marsh. A track that has a formula like this will definitely be a hit with teenage revellers and it is inevitable that this bands career is set to blossom beautifully! A great start to their festival hit list and HTF wish them the best of luck for this summer!

 

Don Broco – Redbull Bedroom Jam Stage – Friday 10th June – Reviewer: Chris Hines

Having last seen these guys in a little bar in Torquay a year or so back, it’s clear to see the Broco boys have come a long way. Playing Download’s Red Bull Stage the Broco boys pretty much owned everyone in what was a stunning set from start to finish. With such a tight set it was almost a shame to be seeing them on such a small stage as they played with as much energy and musicianship as anyone on the larger stages. With their rapidly growing fan base though the chances of a stage upgrade for next year shouldn’t be far away.

One thing that really sells these guys as well as their music is the fact they are all genuinely nice guys and it really comes across in their set. You can tell they are really enjoying themselves as much as the crowd with even charismatic frontman Rob…. taking time to get into the crowd to join the pit while the band give it their all.

Set highlights:  ‘Thug Workout’ (any song with the line ‘sexy girls come up to me and they always come if you know what I mean’ is gonna be an instant crowd pleaser), Beautiful Morning and the epic riffage of closing track Dreamboy.

When your girlfriend names a virtual fish after one of the band you know success is only round the corner!  2011 is gonna be a big year for Don Broco and HTF are backing them all the way!

 

Bring Me The Horizon – Second Stage – Friday 10th June – Reviewer: Steph Knight

Whether you love of hate, Bring Me The Horizon they are always up in your face. For many they are one of the best English bands that fly the UK flag to its highest across the world; this surely deserves merit from anyone.

Their set list at this years Download Festival was probably one of their most colourful, going back and forth through time smashing out their well-known anthems to the thousands of people stood watching them. Many would argue that they deserve a Main Stage slot, what with their success overseas and final recognition within the UK top 20. Never the less they decimated any sign of negativity as they played tracks from all three full-length masterpieces.

Highlights being hard to pin down as every track is as beefy and awesome as the next, but it must be said that hearing old classic ‘Pray For Plagues’ was a clear delight for many. Other gems from their second album ‘Suicide Season’ also went down a storm and the mosh pits really did start to get mental mid way through their set. The sound also seemed to improve as they continued, at the beginning it did not seem to be as good as it could have been; but finally as they played ‘It Never Ends’ they sounded incredible.

It depends on what kind of BMTH fan you are but personally, I feel their new album is one of their more prodigious and their set at this years Download Festival was certainly one that should not be forgot in a hurry. Big HTF thumbs up!

 

Korn – Second Stage – Friday 10th June – Reviewer: Clair Beckett

Korn on the Cob, you need a new job???

I think not Korn! Definitely keep up the day job boys. You blew the festival dirt right off me.

Opening with Blind is always a good way to start a Korn gig, and always gets the fans overly motivated for whats to come.  The build up keeps the audience in suspense, and after about 1min 30 in the band members began to enter individually onto the stage. The riffs build and build, until the line that everyone person knows ….. ARRRRREEEE YOOOOUUUU RRREEEEAAAAADDDY!! Don’t think I was to be honest. The question should have been are you ready to die? The crowd were more than ready, and everyone was jumping.

Impressive vocals show Jonathan Davies has still got it and was good to see Munky and Fieldy still rocking it. A real crowd pleaser was the medley of Korn hits giving the crowd the chance to hear all their fave songs including We Will Rock You by Queen, Make me Bad, Shoots and Ladders and Did My Time. The whole set came to a grand total of 21 songs!

Although a bit put out to be on 2nd stage at the same time as The Darkness on the Main stage, they kept their pride and were real pros. I cant believe how JD looks exactly the same as he did 10 years ago??? Blood Sweat and years… but still rocking the kilt.

The Darkness – Main Stage – Friday 10th June – Reviewer: Steph Knight

The Darkness were huge about 6/7 years ago after releasing their debut album of brilliance ‘Permission To Land’. They then released ‘One Way Ticket To Hell And Back’ in 2005 after seeing the departure of guitarist and backing vocalist Frankie Poullain. Shortly after the success of this album, Justin was in rehab and the future for The Darkness looked bleak. Finally, six years on and an announcement that he was well and the band were back together and set to perform at this years Download Festival. For many this was one of the best announcements of the year!

As the time came for the band to play the crowd flocked in their thousands not knowing if the band were going to be as awesome as they always had been, or if they were going to flop like a wet fish. Thankfully, this did not happen, as soon as they kicked in with the first few exceptional classic rock riffs of their track ‘Barback’ we all knew that today was a good day for The Darkness.

With breasts flying everywhere and a wave of horns by the crowd, it was pleasing to see that The Darkness were back in the driving seat yet again.

Highlights of their set list being the delightful track ‘Get Your Hands Off My Woman’ from the debut album ‘Permission To Land’. Other clear crowd pleasers were ‘Friday Night’ and arguably the bands most remarkable track ‘I Believe In A Thing Called Love’.

Overall, The Darkness were the band to beat on the Friday of this years Download Festival. What with Justin Hawkins, pitch perfect vocal and the bands phenomenal tight sound. An overwhelming performance that has many running to the box office for their headlining tour at the end of the year.

 

Pendulum – Second Stage – Friday 10th June 2011 – Reviewer: Steph Knight

As the rain arrived at Donington Park so did Australian drum and bass rockers Pendulum. Despite of the rubbish weather the crowds flocked by the second stage, even though Def Leppard were busy headlining on the Main Stage. The band gave an exploding entrance with ‘Salt In Your Wounds’ shoved in our faces and instantly the body popping started from on lookers, as did a gigantic roar. The atmosphere was already so immense, as was the phenomenal sound coming from the speakers!

Pendulum’s newest album ‘Immersion’ has rooted them a lot more fans, me included; it has diversity and depth and reaches out to a larger audience. Every track gives you the ability to go mental and not worry about how ridiculous you look, as everywhere you look there are people dancing just as mental as you do.

A slight disappointment seemed to surround the arena after their set finished when there was no sign of classic tracks ‘Tarantula’ and ‘Slam’ from their previous album ‘Hold Your Colour’. They are both vintage Pendulum numbers that deserved a prime spot in their headlining set at Download. Never the less they smashed it for over an hour, even if it did take them three attempts to play ‘Witchcraft’ due to some tech problems, but who cares! Pendulum are an epic live sensation and killed it regardless!

 

Avenged Sevenfold – Main Stage – 11/06/11 – Reviewer: Jasmine Sevette

I’d previously seen A7X a few times in various venues and at a previous year of Download Festival. When they were announced on this year’s line up, I was ecstatic and instantly signed up for a ticket. They’ve not only been my ultimate favourite bands for about six years now, but they always play an amazing show.

Crawling into the crowd that afternoon made me even more excited, knowing that everyone else squashed next to me was as eager as I was. I got a pretty good spot near the front so that I could clearly see the stage and rock stars upon it, although this did mean I was crushed for the majority of the show my mosh pits and swaying fans. However, when the group came on stage, I found myself being one of those crazy fans jumping and screaming along to every word.

‘Nightmare’ was the opening song, and the huge crowd went absolutely mental! It’s so heavy right from the beginning, a perfect concoction for a massive mosh pit. I ended up having no space for my left foot, but still found myself having an amazing time, laughing and shouting to all the lyrics. Vocalist M.Shadows has such an amazing voice for heavy rock; it’s loud, rugged and edgy, all of which make it stand out from anyone else’s. He had total control over the audience, all of whom were over the moon to see him and the rest of the band finally on stage. Every word that came out of this mouth ended up with a roar of cheers and a wave of devil horns.

The majority of the songs played were from Avenged Sevenfold’s most recent album, also called ‘Nightmare’. Lead guitarist, Synyster Gates, still rocked out to his unique mind-blowing solos, making the crowd turn crazy. ‘Welcome to the Family’, another hit from the new album, went down amazingly well. It was great to see everyone singing along to the new stuff as well as classics such as ‘Bat Country’ (which clearly went down a treat).

Since the death of the original drummer The Rev, the band hit a hard spot. In the middle of their set at Download, the band took a moment to remember their friend. As the masses of people watching joined in, I even felt myself welling up. It was really warming to see everyone united together. Shadows announced that they were going to play one of their sadder songs, ‘So Far Away’, one that I had seen at a previous gig nearer the death of The Rev. However, he soon said that instead, they would play the ever popular ‘A Little Piece of Heaven’ from their self titled album. It was one of their more quirky songs, much like The Rev himself who was slightly on the quirky side. I had wanted to see this song for years, so was thrilled when the intense drumming and string instruments came in. The chorus is timeless, and with thousands of people singing it, it sounded so immense. Even the humorous and psychotic lyrics of the song were being mirrored back by the wave of sound. I also loved the fact that they kept the audio for The Rev’s voice instead of singing the backing vocals themselves. It was as if he wanted them to carry on like normal.

Saying this, new drummer Arin Illejay played an awesome set. He played The Rev’s unusual style of drumming perfectly and I think he’ll be a great addition to the band in their future.

Overall, the show was amazing, and probably the best one of theirs that I’ve been to. Everything from the atmosphere in the crowd to the tone perfect vocals and instruments was spot on. It was an hour of hard rock heaven! The buzz lasted for a good few days, and even thinking about it now makes me so eager for their next show. A7X were without a doubt my favourite show of the weekend, and probably a lot of other peoples too.

 

System Of A Down – Main Stage – Saturday 11/06/11 – Reviewer – Chris Hines

The news of the now reformed System Of A Down playing anywhere was going to get people excited. With arguably the busiest main stage crowd of the weekend, fans piled in ready for the onslaught, and from the opening chugging chords of Prison Song the excitement grew until pits were forming left, right and centre.

Although not as talkative and active on stage as in the past, lets face it they are not as young and agile as they used to be, they blast through classic after classic barely stopping for breath. As the sun set on Download Festival Serj‘s voice was as hypnotising as ever and slower tracks such as Lost In Hollywood & Ariels really set the atmosphere for what was a performance we could possibly never see again.

Obvious crowd pleasers such as Chop Suey, Sugar and Toxicity got the entire crowd screaming and singing along and really enforced why they are headlining tonights bill. Only down point for me was their reworking of first album track War which lost some of it’s impact with its reworked, odd and somewhat messy bridge; a small gripe on what was an awesome show.

Download Festival goers could well have witnessed something special tonight as with the band already splitting up once there is no certainty how long they could be around. What ever happens, System Of A Down will always be remembered as one of the most exciting and unique metal bands of our time and all of us tonight were damn honoured we could witness it!

 

Acoda – Redbull Bedroom Jam Stage – Sunday 12/06/11 – Reviewer: Jasmine Sevette

Wondering around Download Festival in the rain was not fun. I looked ridiculous in an oversized ‘rain mac’ (aka. bin bag with holes), but tried to keep my head high for the day ahead. Standing under the Redbull tent was not only great for getting dry, but also gave me a chance to catch up on some of the newer and unsigned acts in the UK. It’s a real treat finding a new band that hasn’t broke out into the huge music industry yet, especially when you can tell that big things are ahead.

Acoda are a metalcore band from the Midlands, playing heavy guitar riffs and screaming vocals of the like. Personally, I’m not crazy about the music style, but I did thoroughly enjoy their set. Unlike a lot of metalcore bands, Acoda kept the crown on their toes, pushing them more and more. My boyfriend, who was stood next to me at the time, is more into the metalcore/screamo genre of metal, and he really enjoyed them! He even quoted that they were one of his favourite bands of the whole weekend, which must be a good sign.

Their sound was tight, and they clearly had a lot of practise behind them. They all seemed thrilled (and still a bit shell shocked) about playing Download Festival, and totally worked it to their advantage. If you’re going to play one of the UK’s biggest metal festivals, then you have to push all your efforts forward as far as possible. That’s exactly what Acoda did, and it pulled off amazingly. Even though it’s not my cuppa tea, I know they definitely pleased a whole lot of people and gained even more fans that day!

You And What Army – Redbull Bedroom Jam Stage – Sunday 12/06/11 – Reviewer: Jasmine Sevette

One of the things I absolutely adore about going to a festival is the random wondering around. You always end up somewhere exciting and unexpected, which is exactly how I found You and What Army. It was the last day of Download, and the rain had been pouring constantly for hours. I had a wonder into the Redbull tent to see if anything good was on, and it gave me a chance to dry off. By the time I was rid of rain, You and What Army came onto the stage. I had never heard them before, so thought it would be a nice idea to chill out and watch some new stuff.

Having no idea who they were, I had no idea what to expect. However, I was very surprised at how good they were! I fully loved their quirky rap/metal/electro combination. It was totally off the wall and really fresh. The rest of the audience seemed just as pleased, and were soon jumping around and dancing. Vocalist, Dave Brown, was amazing with the crowd, fully reaping the benefits of playing a huge rock festival. He got them jumping, moshing and singing along. His gorgeous long hair (which I had a huge urge to plait the whole time) and his mad scientist jacket made him stand out from a lot of the new bands these days. I think it showed that they know they’re a bit different, and they’re proud to show it and not be afraid of it! The rest of the guys were great on stage; moving around and helping to get the crowd stirring.

The Telford based band have a great history behind them, playing the stage alongside acts such as Hadouken and Kids in Glass Houses and many of the people watching them seemed to already be big fans of theirs. I’m just gutted that I hadn’t listened to them before! I thoroughly enjoyed it, loving every moment. It definitely put a brighter note to the gloomy day. A bit thumbs up from me!

 

Gwar – Second Stage – Sunday 12/06/11 – Reviewer: Chris Hines

Who doesn’t want to watch a group of monsters rip people apart and fire blood everywhere whilst playing metal at a festival? Does it matter what they played? Do I even remember? All I know is that everyone in the world should be forced to watch Gwar at least once in their life. Gwar is more than just a band; Gwar is an experience.

If you haven’t seen or heard of Gwar then I guess the easy description is think Lordi (I take it you must watch Eurovision?) but with more blood and more metal! Oh, and don’t forget the band gimp that gets abused on a regular basis. Did I mention there was a fight between the band and a guy with a bandsaw blade for an arm and a giant robot as well? Well there was that as well!!!

I really don’t know what else to say except it’s not everyday I get to see the Queen get her tits ripped off! Yes that actually happened as well!

Only downside to the set was they were cut short just as front-monster Oderus Urungus was about to finish off in style by urinating on the crowd from his massive, deformed monster penis. All more reason to catch them again I feel!

If you don’t see Gwar if they are near you then just don’t talk to me ever again.


Bowling For Soup – Main Stage – Sunday 12/06/11 – Reviewer: Jasmine Sevette

There was only one band that could cheer up the grumpy and wet festival junkies, and that’s Bowling for Soup! Their chirpy and cheesy tunes were sure to bring out the smiles, and they sure well did.

They played a set list of classic sing-a-long tunes, all of which turned the gloomy crowd upside down. Everyone was soon jumping around and singing the humorous lyrics anybody would find funny. I remember singing and dancing to the huge hit ‘1985’, and having such a fun time, it was like being a birthday party of something! Everyone of all ages was having a complete blast, and it really lifted everyone’s spirits. ‘Girl all the Bad Guys Want’ was another gem, getting everyone partying along and singing to the hugely cheesy American vocals. It felt like a time warp, turning everyone into sixteen year old kids, moshing and singing with each other.

Vocalist Jared Reddick was hilarious on stage, backed up by his companions who also gave the crowd of Download a comedy show. His skills with the crowd were some of the best I’ve ever seen. It was like he knew everyone individually as friends as he had a casual chat with us. One of the funniest things I have to say was when he asked everyone to start swaying their hands, then abruptly stopped the song in order to question a member of the audiences reason for waving a huge inflatable penis in the air. It was brought up on the stage by security, shortly followed by guitarist Chris Burney trying to shove it up a massive inflatable sheep. I was laughing my head off – definitely a Download Festival memory to keep!

Their forty minute set flew buy, and it was soon over which was gutting. They had really lifted spirits for the day, and put everyone in such a good mood! They didn’t care about the rain, they just wanted to put on a good show and they exceeded brilliantly in helping bring the festival spirit back to Download.

 

Disturbed – Main Stage – Sunday 12th June 2011 – Reviewer: Steph Knight

What can you say about Disturbed? An honourable band that are respected for their musical ability. They have individuality, rapport and are 100% in their own league of music. They seemed so humbled by the turn out of people in front of them; how could anyone be shocked at this? Yes, it was raining, but not one person cared! Everyone got down to some thick and decent metal whilst skating in the mud – Epic!

Highlights to include a new favourite ‘Asylum’ from their newest release also titled ‘Asylum’, a track with a fierce guitar riff and exceptional vocals from leading man David Draiman. Then you had your obvious crowd pleasers, ‘The Game’ and closing number ‘Down With The Sickness’ from their first work of art ‘The Sickness’. Both brilliant sing a long numbers as are all of the Disturbed discography.

A personal favourite must be mentioned, ‘Liberate’ from their second album ‘Believe’. A beast of a track with lyrics that embed themselves within your skull and the definition of a head banging record.

The best part of Disturbed is their stage presence and this was blatantly one of the best parts of their show. Therefore, an undoubtedly fantastic performance from these legends as was expected and a well-deserved spot on the Sunday line up of this years Download Festival.

 

Rob Zombie – Main Stage – Sunday 12/06/11 – Reviewer: Jasmine Sevette

Many have been waiting a good few years to see the mighty Rob Zombie, and finally prayers were answered. For fans this was one of the main reasons they wanted to attend this years Download Festival, so we were hoping the show would be well worth the wait and money.

They were headlining the second stage, meaning that their show was clashing with main headliners Linkin Park. However, the crowd still turned up and proved ever eager for the crazy circus that Rob Zombie was about to show. For me, they sum up a huge crowd of people at the festival. Their music is beautifully heavy, chugging and perfect for any metal loving head banger.

The opening was spooky, with the eerie piano playing and automated voice recordings. The word ‘ZOMBIE’ flashing in the background, red smoke gushing over the audience and the flaming statue of a man really set a creepy ambience, perfect for Zombie’s fantastic appearance. The twanging guitars of first song ‘Jesus Frankenstein’ kicked in, before the heavy riffs blew out from the speakers. The beginning lyrics “All Hail!” queued Zombie’s entrance, as he magically appeared from the burning statue. He looked like a god, with the fans going crazy down below. I think I fell in love with him as soon as his raging rough voice boomed out (even with his outrageous zombie gear on).

Many of the songs seemed to carry through the same backing riff. Very heavy, very metal, and very Zombie. Even so, they were all incredibly fun, perfect to shake your head to and dance around. The wet and muddy conditions didn’t put anyone off. Wellies were sliding all over the place and moshers still did their best. ‘Sick Bubblegum’ really sent the crowd crazy, with its chanting chorus and hair swishing perfectness. The lyrics “rock motherfucker” could possibly sum up the thoughts of any Download Festival fan, so it went down pretty well.

Other classics like ‘Living Dead Girl’ and ‘Dragula’ went down a treat with everyone. They’re a bit more danceable than the other tracks, so people were moving around a bit more rather than just your standard head bang. Rob Zombie and his crew sounded spot on, hitting every note and beat. I personally think they sounded even better than the CD! Not something you find a lot now with live music.

Everything about Rob Zombie’s show was amazing. They demonstrated the perfect metal show – heavy riffs, moshing, devil horns, boobs shown on the big screen and most of all, a crowd who were crazy from start to finish. I’d been waiting for years to see them, and I was blown away. They were so much better than I expected, even though my expectations were already high. I can honestly say that I am in love with Rob Zombie himself after the show, and can’t wait to see them again! One of my favourite shows of Download this year by far.

 

Linkin Park – Main Stage – Sunday 12th June 2011 – Reviewer: Steph Knight

It was disgusting to see the crowd crumble over such poor weather conditions. Who cares if there was a hurricane outside? Linkin Park were headlining the main stage, one of the most influential rock bands of the decade, therefore, if you left due to a bit of a down pore more fool you! The weather got better and it was that time to watch arguably the best band on the line up today.

Firstly, having a set list that contains twenty-two hits of awesomeness is both impressive and utterly overwhelming. Linkin Park proved themselves worthy of their success, as their performance was mind blowing! A band that sounds better than their CD is sort after these days and they definitely proved themselves one of the handful.

Highlights of their set were old classics such as ‘Crawling’, ‘Numb’ and ‘Papercut’, but it was not just listening to these tracks that the crowd loved it was the way the band portrayed them to us, it was outstanding. Leading vocals from Chester Bennington and Mike Shinoda were amazing and pitch perfect through out, in fact the entire band were complete perfection. It was obvious to see that the sea of horns were filled with fans that grew up to this bands music, a fantastic experience to be apart of and an honour for anyone watching.

Overall, they were creditably one of the best bands to play the entire festival and such an epic end to one of the best weekends of many people lives. Well done Linkin Park and a massive thumbs up to Download Festival! Until next year! 🙂

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