Download Festival: Day Three – Castle Donington, UK

Download lineup

The final day of a festival is often filled with many emotions: a wonderful weekend sadly coming to an end; another day spent celebrating brilliant innovative and life affirming music; hours spent trying to dry your tent out… So it again proved with Sunday at Download.

Leaden skies greet the hordes either nursing hangovers of epic proportions or gathering their belongings for the trudge back to cars and the dreaded long trip home. It’s cold on the field so a bit of warming up is required. Bacon rolls and coffee do part of the job but Dead Daisies do the rest in a punchy late morning slot that has a much bigger crowd than perhaps even they were expecting. Dead Daisies inhabit that strange world where it is perpetually 1986, eternally sun-soaked California and every band is the last gang in town, riding steel horses into sunsets or the arms of star crossed maidens. As you have probably guessed, I thought it was terrific and an object lesson in how to warm up a crowd.

Sweden’s h.e.a.t. have gathered plenty of plaudits for their two albums of 80’s inspired rock and from this performance it’s easy to see why – they are pumped full of energy and chutzpah and have a genuine love of big tunes and even bigger riffs. It may not be the most original sound of the day but it does the job very nicely indeed. Finland’s Von Hertzen Brothers finish the morning off in predictably brilliant fashion with vocalist Mikko Von Hertzen channelling his best John Travolta via a natty white suit that he does well not to get covered in the ubiquitous festival mud. The VHB brand of rock is so packed full of intelligence and hummable tunes, particularly the peerless ‘Flowers and Rust’, it does make you scratch your head as to why these guys aren’t absolutely massive but their time will come…..Please make it so.

Backyard Babies’ raucous and efficient cock rock gives way to the studied and equally efficient metal of Mark Tremonti who does Alter Bridge without the tunes (if you’re not a convert) and Alter Bridge with added metal (if you are). I’m in the latter camp, as are most of an appreciative if slightly wet crowd on the main stage. The new songs from his second album, Cauterize seem to stand up equally well with the more familiar tunes from All I Was (both Fret12) too. Boxes ticked, job done.

Blackberry Smoke are the perfect band for a warm sunset, cold beers and a barbecue, so the presence of rain, wind, rain and some more rain probably didn’t help their cause but I found their performance compelling in an insouciant and entirely charming way. Billy Idol, by contrast, is a bit of a man for all seasons and you can tell why: he has an arsenal of hits that most bands would give their right arm for. You have to pinch yourself that this is 2015 and not 1985 but Idol turns in an effortless performance of crowd pleasers that you know and love- of course there’s ‘White Wedding’ and ‘Rebel Yell’ but it’s ‘Flesh for Fantasy’ and ‘Eyes Without a Face’ that are the standout tunes. Idol has this look of a man who won the lottery, the football pools and the EuroMillions over one weekend – he simply cannot quite believe that he is still the draw that he is – and, even more brilliant, no one in the crowd seems to begrudge him one iota of his considerable success. Bless him.

In much the same way that people gripe about Cavalera Conspiracy and how it’s not the REAL Sepultura (yawn, boring, get over it) so there is a similar constituency that seems to surround former Guns N’ Roses guitarist Slash and his latest incarnation with Myles Kennedy from Alter Bridge. Honestly, I don’t know what the problem is: what’s not to love about an artist playing a blinding set of classic song after classic song peppered with huge tune after huge tune from his latest solo records? I tell you what’s not to love: nothing. Slash clearly writes mega tunes in his sleep and his set is one hour of aural bliss. The 55,000 or so on the main field lap it up like a horde of very thirsty Pavlovian dogs. And rightly so.

Lamb of God, photo by Susanne A. Maathuis

Lamb of God, photo by Susanne A. Maathuis

Likewise, the same old situation (song pun entirely intended) for LA’s Motley Crue. Crue, midway through a thoroughly deserved and valedictory world tour to say farewell are another act that many can’t seem to wait to sneer at. “It would be better if Vince Neil could sing better”- kids, Vince Neil hasn’t been able to sing since 1981. This isn’t the point at all. Crue are about the glamour, the sleaze, the rock, the roll, the girls, girls, girls. They bring a show that is part rock opera, part vaudeville, all fire and brimstone. Of course they are absurd and ridiculous- THAT IS THE WHOLE POINT. It is absolutely silly and absolutely brilliant- all at the same time.

And so we come, finally, inexorably, to the self-styled hottest band in the world, Kiss. Arriving on site in a fully badged up Kiss-copter, the New York quartet turn this corner of a foreign field into a veritable circus of pomp, circumstance and old style rock n roll. There are stadium rock shows and then there is a Kiss show. There isn’t one second that passes by in this blistering set where there isn’t something going on – fireworks, drum risers, zip wires, crowd singalongs, flame throwing, blood vomiting all in glorious technicolour and all set to a soundtrack that you know and love. As an end to the best music festival I know, it is both fitting and invigorating.

I’ve booked my place for next year already.



Chelsea Grin Announce Upcoming Tour Dates

Chelsea Grin have released an extensive schedule of upcoming tour dates.

Apr 28: Amsterdam – Saint Paul, MN
Apr 29: The Waiting Room – Omaha, NE
Apr 30: The Castle Theatre – Bloomington, IL
May 01: Newport Music Hall – Columbus, OH
May 02: The Intersection – Grand Rapids, MI
May 03: Emerson Theater – Indianapolis, IN
May 04: Expo Five – Louisville, KY
May 06: London Music Hall – London, ON
May 07: Upstate Concert Hall – Clifton Park, NY
May 08: Crocodile Rock – Allentown, PA
May 09: The Canal Club – Richmond, VA
May 10: Tremont Music Hall – Charlotte, NC
May 12: The International – Knoxville, TN
May 13: Zydeco – Birmingham, AL
May 14: Underbelly – Jacksonville, FL
May 15: Backbooth – Orlando, FL
May 16: Vinyl Music Hall – Pensacola, FL
May 18: Scout Bar – Houston, TX
May 19: House of Rock – Corpus Christi, TX
May 20: Empire Garage – Austin, TX
May 21: Tricky Falls – El Paso, TX
May 22: The Rock – Tucson, AZ
May 23: Sala – Cuauhtemoc (MX)(Chelsea Grin and The Word Alive only)

chelsea grin the word alive like moths to flames sylar tour

Jun 13: Greenfield – Interlaken (SI)
Jun 14: Download Festival 2015 – Leicestershire (UK)
Jun 16: Fibber Magees – Dublin (IR)
Jun 17: Belfast Sub Bar Queens – Belfast (IR)
Jun 19: Jera On Air – Ysselsteyn (NL)
Jun 20: Graspop – Dessel (BE)
Jun 22: Amadeus – Oldenburg (DE)(with Texas In July)
Jun 23: Vixhall – Aarhus (DK)(with Parkway Drive)
Jun 24: Musikzentrum – Hanover (DE)(with Texas In July)
Jun 25: Barrak – Ostrava (CZ)(with Texas I July)
Jun 26: Topfest – Piestany (SLO)
Jun 28: Club Tapper – Tallinn (ES)(with Parkway Drive)
Jun 29: Melna Piekdiena – Riga (LAT)(with Parkway Drive)
Jun 30: Re: Public – Minsk (BEL)
Jul 02: Reading 3 Club – Tel Aviv (IS)
Jul 03: Schlachtlof – Wiesbaden (DE)(with Texas In July)
Jul 04: Vainstream – Munster (DE)
Jul 05: With Full Force 2015 – Leipzig (DE)

chelsea grin european summer 2015

With Boris the Blade

Aug 13: The Rosemount – North Perth (AUS)
Aug 14: The Corner Hotel – Melbourne (AUS)
Aug 15: Wrangler Studios – Melbourne (AUS)
Aug 16: Fowlers Live – Adelaide (AUS)
Aug 19: The Small Ballroom – Islington (AUS)
Aug 21: The Factory Theatre – Sydney (AUS)
Aug 22: The Brightside – Brisbane (AUS)
Aug 23: The Lab – Brisbane (AUS)

Download Festival announces King 810, In Flames, L7 + 20 more


The full line up of the UK’s Premier Summer festival, Download Festival, is beginning to take shape with the addition of 23 more acts including Thrash Metal Kings Testament and legendary Brit Rockers Thunder.

The most high profile of today’s announcements, King 810 are confirmed a year after they had to cancel their spot on the bill due to the arrest of vocalist David Gunn.



Download Festival on Facebook

Billy Idol, Rise Against, etc Added To Download Festival 2015


Download Festival has announced more acts for the upcoming edition. The newest batch of artists include:

Billy Idol
Lamb Of God
Black Veil Brides
Rise Against
Eagles Of Death Metal
Hollywood Undead
Body Count
Every Time I Die
Parkway Drive
Backyard Babies
Motionless In White
Crown The Empire
Mallory Knox

They will be joining the previous announced lineup of Judas Priest, Five Finger Death Punch, Black Stone Cherry, Muse, Faith No More, A Day To Remember, Marilyn Manson, Mötley Crüe, Slash featuring Myles Kennedy and the Conspirators, and Enter Shikari.

Download Festival Add KISS, Motley Crue, Slash, Enter Shikari To Lineup

Download Festival 2015 Complete

Download Festival has announced their headliners for Sunday, June 14th as KISS, Motley Crue, Slash and Enter Shakiri. They will join First Day headliners Slipknot, Judas Priest, Five Finger Death Punch and Black Stone Cherry; and Second Day headliners Muse, Faith No More, and A Day To Remember.

Tickets will go on sale Thursday at 9 am (UK Time) here.

Muse, Faith No More, A Day To Remember, Marilyn Manson Added To Download Festival 2015 Lineup

Download Festival 2015 2

Download Festival 2015 has announced the Saturday June 13, 2015 headliners as Muse with special guests Faith No More, A Day To Remember and Marilyn Manson. This comes following yesterday’s announcement of the first day’s lineup of Slipknot, Judas Priest, Five Finger Death Punch and Black Stone Cherry.

Tickets will be going on sale Thursday, November 20th at 9 am here.

Stay tuned tomorrow for the final day’s headliner announcement.