Earlier this week, yours truly previewed the first in a series of articles covering the entire Download Festival. Okay, well maybe the entire lineup is a bit of a stretch. But in an attempt to identify just how versatile and truly enthralling this year’s festival is, without the first-look syndrome of “Oh, wow that looks terrible – I’m not going” coming into play, Friday’s preview narrowed dozens of bands worth checking out. Already, it’s proving a challenge just narrowing down who to see, if we can estimate who is set to play at approximately the same time. But we can wait for stage times to be thoroughly sure.
Now, as we have another nice spring weekend to look forward to, I’m going to be running down the second day of Download, which has arguably even more excitement running up and down the lineup. This should only add to the pre-fest fever we’re suffering from just 3 weeks out of the Donington Park spectacular. Because I’m not, at all. No. That would be silly.
SATURDAY 10TH JUNE
Saturday’s main stage headliner is none other than Scottish rock maestros Biffy Clyro. Marking their first headline appearance at Download, having previously sub-headlined to Metallica in 2012 and with numerous main stage appearances under their belt, Biffy’s 2017 return should be about ten steps up from their last. They have the power with their powerful and engaging rock euphoria, and the presence of a modern-day Rush-meets-Foo Fighters, which has proven to be of appeal to fans of all genres encompassing rock, pop and indie. You won’t forget the name Biffy Clyro anytime soon, and you most likely won’t forget their set at Download 2017.
Right underneath them are Florida icons A Day To Remember, another band who mark their highest appearance at Download ever in 2017. With their slick blend of metalcore, alternative rock, pop punk and everything in between, the Ocala mob always unleash a vibrant set, with songs being bellowed from miles back in unison and an excess of moshpits during those hellacious breakdowns. Definitely a must-see. Right before them, will be AFI, whose self-titled album (their 10th in total) has catapulted them back into the fold of rock bands with plenty left in the tank. The Saturday evening on the main stage will definitely be ripe for the pickings of any alternative rock fan who fancies many a sing-along, a headbang and some vivacious solos and ballads. Can’t go wrong.
Although we have yet to confirm this main stage schedule is complete, so far, as it looks, the crowd in the middle of the afternoon will be spoiled once Pierce the Veil take the stage. Their fourth studio album Misadventures marked its first birthday last weekend, and has been met with almost universal praise, and songs that appear at Download coupled with the old crowd favourites should be a treat for many. Not least because they will be suitably warmed up courtesy of Of Mice & Men, who should be a topic of interest without Austin Carlile not performing vocal duties, so the metalcore outfit will have a tough challenge ahead of them, but those vicious breakdowns will still be resolute.
Whilst the crowd adjusts from their Friday hangovers, the main stage festivities treats them to some crazy math metal eloquence from SikTh, horror punk from the rock industry’s hottest prospect in Creeper, and grime-metal bile from UK mobsters Hacktivist. If that’s not a hangover cure, then I’m not sure what will be.
As always, the lineup barely stops there. Saturday has more bands to offer than Friday in terms of quantity, and to name just a few there’s 30 other bands on display if the main stage doesn’t pique your interest. Shock rock fans everywhere are lucky with Rob Zombie headlining the Zippo Encore stage, whose horror-themed antics and no-bullshit rock antics give him a perfect slot to shock the Download world. Not least because The Devin Townsend Project precede Mr. Zombie, and if the extreme brainchild of Devin Townsend (the metal industry’s Roger Waters, in my opinion) doesn’t cement him as band of the day, I’m not sure what will. Having just wowed the UK again in celebration of the 20th anniversary of Ocean Machine, TDTP will undoubtedly do the same again in 3 weeks.
Coheed And Cambria’s prog-alternative rock creativity is always a treat live, and the diverse range of tunes that the band can dish out will be a decent visual whilst the beers continue to flow. It might be prudent to rest up after Max & Igor Cavalera Return to Roots, which, if their name is anything to go by, suggests that a Sepultura history lesson is on the cards, and that lesson is aggressive, vicious thrash from the depths of South America – fans of the heavy be warned. You aren’t prepared. Adding to the Zippo schedule are Norwegian metallers Kvelertak who have come leaps and bounds in the last few years, from supporting Metallica and Ghost on their tours to unleashing all kinds of black’n’roll hellfire with new album Nattesferd.
Adding to the diversity are deathcore-meets-nu metallers Suicide Silence, whose recent self-titled album has sparked a great deal of controversy, but the fact remains that they are remnant of a demonic beast when on that stage. Regardless of how we feel about the studio material, the guttural screams come in spades and the same unforgiving beatdowns are still at the forefront. This would be perfect continuing after a half hour of pirate-themed-metal anthems courtesy of Alestorm, whose antics on stage are more than adequate as we begin to digest more beers, as we get lost in a fantasy voyage with them across the seven seas. San Antonio metal outfit Nothing More and Bristol rockers Tax The Heat open up the Zippo Encore stage and whoever fancies some old fashioned rock with modern twists should be on the lookout if you are stuck on choice.
The Avalanche Stage offers a variety of even more flavours, with more of a focus towards the punk side with ventures into other terrain. Headlining this night are Canadian pop-punk mavericks Simple Plan, who have proven capable of standing firm amongst the likes of Green Day and Good Charlotte (the latter playing the day before) and being a staple of Vans Warped Tour. They may be something of a throwback to some at Download, but they are far from anything but a novelty. The same can be said for The Story So Far, whose West Coast pop-punk antics will definitely be what it says on the tin; unadulterated, energetic and pulsating if the Avalanche Stage is anything to go by. That is if Epitaph’s metalcore bruiserweights Every Time I Die haven’t destroyed the stage beforehand, whose chaotic metalcore-hardcore punk myriads cements them as another dark horse in this hallowed ground.
Post-hardcore symphonies courtesy of Crown the Empire, in true Rise Records fashion, deal a thoroughly engaging live atmosphere, with Knuckle Puck boosting the pop punk flavours and licks in charming quantities, with their two subsequent annual Alternative Press nominations being well justified. Brighton emo quintet As It Is and crossover extroverts The One Hundred make for decent alluring sonances whilst Sweden’s Normandie, as openers, are no strangers to wowing those marvelling at the heavier side of their synth-rock hooks and the Saturday should be no different.
It’s important to mention that the lineup is still yet incomplete, with more acts still to be announced. But you wouldn’t think it without looking at the poster, and that Dogtooth Stage schedule looks even more encompassing in its offerings. Any fan of horror rock will be spoiled rotten with Wednesday 13 headlining the stage, complementing an already impressive troupe of fear-fuelling mammoth rockers, and in fact being debatably the most vicious of them all. Southampton cover band The Lounge Kittens will be some much-needed comic relief with their lounge covers of old rock and metal classics, whilst San Francisco post-hardcore quartet I The Mighty will channel their experimental malleable hooks into another passionate setlist full to the brim of soaring melodies.
A surprising addition to the lineup is Australian rock trio Sick Puppies, whom you may remember from the Free Hugs Campaign that made the rounds on YouTube in 2006 – their song “All The Same” became something of a breakthrough for the band. After a lineup shuffle and a new album last year, the Sydney rockers are poised to shake the ground and turn some heads from the UK, and the hope is that this is the start of more UK appearances.
That covers the majority of the Saturday, where there are still plenty of bands to announce and stage times to be confirmed. But to reiterate, the music might not be to everyone’s taste, but if you’re into some wrestling, you can watch some NXT which will be taking place over the course of the weekend. If the Dutch wildcard Aleister Black doesn’t pique your interest, maybe his theme song will. Could there be anybody more metal?
Sunday preview coming next week. Metal Recusants will also be keeping you all updated with any additions and changes as and when they happen.
Read Friday’s preview here.
Download takes place at Donington Park from 9th June-11th June 2017. Weekend tickets and day tickets, including RIP Packages are still available.