Download festival 2009
For years, the Donnington race course has been the spiritual home of Metal. Birthplace of the old Monsters of Rock Festival, the millenium paved the way for the birth of metaller’s paradise, Download…
This year saw the coming together of Rock Gods, Metal Mad Men and Weird-ass Dance music. And frankly we wouldn’t have it any other way.
Download – Festival lowdown
This year at Download, everything’s got bigger. Main stage – bigger. Second stage – bigger. Number of people -bigger. Line-up – bigger. And this has lead to a number of changes to the festival itself.
Getting around? For those who went last year and are in a position to make comparisons, the biggest plus was the shorter walk between the village camping area and the Arena itself. Although… it was still too long for those I spoke to. Hopefully when they have the track finished for the upcoming F1 they’ll get it right?
Toilets? Always important at a festival. The toilets still smelled, but were cleaned far more frequently. And many thanks to whoever started handing out the loo rolls on Sunday at the main stage.
Festival food? Every type of food was available, including some delicious vegan options and Domino’s Pizza.
Download 2009 acts – and the headliners
Obviously there was no way to see every act, so here are a selection of acts from different days… And, of course, the headline acts.
It was a wild weekend for The Blackout. Through their official set was early on Friday, due to another band’s cancellation they headlined the Red Bull Bedroom Jam stage on Saturday. From what we saw on Friday, they will have had the crowds behind them. And the balls to play a quick medley of Fat Lip/Epic (by two of the biggest acts on that stage that day) gave them a massive round of applause.
Down on the Turbog stage, Bleed From Within gave us some monstrously loud trash metal. These guys will be going somewhere, and are some of the nicest guys you’ll meet.
Back at the main stage, Staind had the whole crowd singing their hit ‘Outside’. Though some were disappointed that Fred Durst didn’t come out and sing it with them.
Ben Kowalewicz of Billy Talent was a bouncing ball of energy, running from one side of the stage to the other. Spookily, the blistering sun greyed up when they started their latest single ‘Rusted by the Rain’.
Returning to the stage from a few years of silence, Limp Bizcuit buzzed the crowd with a surprising amount of joy and a strong feeling of nostalgia. They just kept Rollin’ Rollin’ Rollin’.
Motley Crue hit the second stage in the early evening with a heartfelt performance. Sure Vince’s voice was a bit raw, but the power and energy they poured into the set more than made up for it. And there was a great mixture of their old school classics (‘Girls Girls Girls’) and their new tunes ( ‘MF of the Year’). They promised to be back next year (fingers crossed).
The last word on Friday fell to Faith No More, having just recently reformed and blowing some of the more recent bands of the day off their feet. Really only one word describes it: Epic.
Sunburn and Metal all round on Saturday! Five Finger Death Punch surprised me with a interesting mix of singing and screaming. I’m looking forward to seeing more of them in the future.
Down – heavy New Orleans Metal Gods took control of the crowd and had the most respect laid at their feet. And they lived up to that hype, playing loud and hard to the cheering punters.
A break from the metal was offered in drum and bass act Pendulum, who managed to turn a sun ravished field into a nightclub with their hits ‘Propane Nightmares’ and ‘Blood Sugar’. Every age group seemed to be dancing to them.
Chris Cornell entered the second stage of a string arrangement of his former band Sound Garden’s ‘Black Hole Sun’. Another one who had the set list just right, by mixing his old tracks from Sound Garden and Audioslave with his own to make something special.
Stop Press: It would seem not all is well in the Marilyn Mason camp, however! A man that used to be known for his wild stage antics seems to have been lacking energy of late. Not so good. One can only hope to blame his relative apathy on a life of constant, rigorous excess.
Finally, as the sun setted on another day, Slipknot headlined the main stage. And after all the years of trying to, they deserved it. The music was a kick in the teeth, reminding us all that ‘People = Sh*t’ and Corey Taylor’s command of the crowd is some of the best I have every seen, with him getting the whole crowd to crouch and jump up on his word. And some of the best pyrotechnics to be seen all weekend lit up the Slipknot stage.
Interestingly, a more retro 80s feel lay around the main stage on Sunday. Journey started the trend off with ‘Midnight Train’, proving you didn’t need to be fast or loud to have the whole crowd with you this weekend.
With ZZ Top, we settled into a relaxed mellow afternoon. The constant drumming seeming to match our restless hearts. Not ones for many words, songs like ‘Cheap Sunglasses’ and Cover ‘Jailhouse rock’ spoke of their years of experience and professionalism for them.
Second stage had the younger acts, Buck Cherry being one. Their dirty and edgy rock impressed many, and their hit ‘Crazy Bytch’ made more than a few girls dirty dance. Metallers dancing dirty to edgy rock makes everything right with the world.
My personal fave of the weekend was Papa Roach. Who, while playing their recent hits for the newbie fans, also treated their old fans loyally by ending the set with two of their old school tracks. By ‘Last Resort’ the place had gone crazy…
And the award for the most thankful band of the weekend goes to Trivium who were clearly filled with gratitude at playing at Download and couldn’t stop saying it. The circle pits for their songs where amazing – and they were nice enough to request their fans to pick up the fallen.
The whole festival was topped off – yep, the final headliner act – with Def Leppard. Def Leppard! Lighters were well and truly out for ‘When Love and Hate Collide’, and ‘Let’s Get Rocked’ encapsulated the feeling of the crowd for the entire Download festival weekend. Never has a better song been played by a better band at the end of the best rock festival.
All in all, Download ’09 rocked our socks and burned our backs. Those who were there know why, and those who weren’t? Get your ticket for next year.
Cause this weekend was what rock and metal is all about.
Steel Panther made a world record attempt for the largest air guitar ensemble at Download Festival 2009…?