Download 2015: Backyard Babies & We Are Harlot
Venue: Zippo Encore Stage, Download
It's lighters aloft again at the Zippo Encore stage
A classic example of using hair of the dog to blow away the lingering hangover of Saturday night, Backyard Babies bring a welcome blast of energy-drink buzz to Sunday lunchtime on the Zippo Stage. These sleaze-rocking Swedes are battling against tinny, trebly, windblown acoustics, but they make a decent fist of melodic pop-punk zingers like Dysfunctional Professional and Minus Celsius.
Throwing skinny-jeans scissorkicks and holding their guitars aloft like Viking war trophies, Nicke Borg and his fellow road warriors go the extra mile to get the party started. Inside their heads, the Babies are clearly playing to a heaving audience of boozy rockboys and lingerie models on the Sunset Strip circa 1987. In reality, it's more like witnessing The Alarm playing to a half empty Pontypridd leisure centre circa 1983, but at least their ambition is commendable. Faced with that age-old choice between the truth or something beautiful, Backyard Babies choose the latter every time. Good effort. (SD)
The beard is bushy, the jacket is a ‘grown-up’ burgundy number, he has a long 70s-ish scarf at his waist, and the songs are a rock’n’roll leap from the metalcore of his old band, Asking Alexandria. Danny Worsnop is here to lay down his new matured rock identity, bursting across the stage with a gold micstand draped in a USA flag/scarf.
It’s not a perfect performance - there are a few timing wobbles and the sound is on the drum n’ bass-heavy side for much of it - but as a contemporary classic rock prospect, We Are Harlot brim with ability and potential. There’s a hint of Aerosmith in the brooding Someday, The One is a sassy, funky experience, and guitarist Jeff George (grinning like a tanned, American Cheshire Cat) knocks out some delicious licks and crunchy riffs.
The inevitable return of the rain coincides nicely with a cover of Queen’s Tie Your Mother Down. A charged-up Danny introduces his bandmates with such introductions as “the man with the tenacity of a tyrannosaurus rex! With NO LEGS!” Daft as a box of ferrets, but oddly charming. “We’re gonna hit you with a heavy one, then fuck off and get real drunk,” he declares. Closer One More Night is fantastic - heavy, fun and more-ish, with just a touch of Worsnop’s old metal menace. More of this and they could be immense. (PG)