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Download Festival Friday live review – Donington Park, Derby

Live Review

Venue: Donington Park, Derby

Rammstein battle the elements on day one of Download festival. Check out our live review here...

As if by some now-established elemental decree, a preceding week of blazing sunshine has given way to a barely relenting, field-churning downpour just in time for the UK’s biggest rock fest. It’s clearly an annual test of the metal spirit as 90,000 people descend once more on Donington, beholden more to the metal gods than those fuckers up above.

Though their distinctive, high-pitched vocals might put some off, PUPPY [7] are determined to raise the spirits early on at the Maverick Stage. Their soaring alternative rock has an immediacy that’s impossible to ignore, helped by driving riffs and one of the most energetic drummers on Download’s entire bill. ZOAX [7] have come on leaps and bounds since their first Download show in 2013, and now boast both a devoted following and songs with enough energy and crowd-pleasing melody to convert a few more. However, frontman Adam Carroll’s wander through the pit is tame compared to Nottingham’s HECK [9]. In surely the most riotous set of the weekend, they climb the pillars, the crowd and the disabled platform with no regard for their equipment, instruments, each other or the irate stage manager. That their songs slay is almost an afterthought. KADAVAR’s [7] retro riffs and warmth are just the tonic for the muddy masses, the boisterous rumble and elongated leads staking a claim for best 70s-worship on the bill. Much like the band themselves, THE WILDHEARTS[8] songs show no sign of ageing. Ginger’s effortlessly cool performance is the obvious focal point, but the crowd know their role when it comes to the singalongs of Suckerpunch and 29x The Pain. Horns are held aloft as fallen angel Iggy Pop throws down a guitar from Heaven, igniting a battle for rock’n’roll’s soul between the forces of good and evil that sees Josh Homme, Tom Araya, Slash and Lemmy (in a tank no less) choosing sides... Yes, GUTTERDÄMMERUNG [6] is extremely silly, but The Loudest Silent Movie On Earth does come with an accomplished band playing metal classics and Henry Rollins performing in the flesh as a fire-and-brimstone-preaching priest, thrilling an inquisitive Maverick crowd.

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