23rd June 2014
Download Festival 2014
This is our report on the Download Festival of 2014.
Reporters: Kevin Gaughan and Peter Coombs
Photographer: Kevin Gaughan.
Friday 13th June 2014
Brother And Bones Friday 14:15, Jagermeister stage
Londoners, Brother And Bones, opened the Jagermeister stage with a lively and somewhat superb acoustic set. Likened to Mumford and sons, their acoustic rock set, complete with not one, but two, drum kits, brought the plentiful crowd to their feet, showing their appreciation by waving inflatable rubber dolls while singing and dancing. Sounding a bit country-ish at times with the sliding guitar but played with attitude.
Fantastic music, performed like they meant it, by the end of the show they had got themselves a whole load of new fans.
Black Label Society Friday 16:45 Main Stage
Black Label Society are a Metal/Rock band from Los Angeles, complete with skulls attached to the microphone stand, there was no doubting the heaviness of the Black Label Society’s performance on the main stage. With the well-respected, long-haired locks and vocals of Mr Zakk Wylde adding to the driving force behind the sound of this band and with guitar solos aplenty, the heavy metal crowd loved them.
Probably the only stage in the world to do their driving metal riffs justice, as I could feel my internals reorganising themselves with every beat of the pounding bass guitar and drums. Black Label Society put on a spectacular show that was done justice by the great main stage at Download.
Rival Sons Friday 18:00 Zippo Encore Stage
Rival Sons are a Rock’n’roll band from Long Beach, California. Their sleazy, bluesy, American rock was the perfect palette cleanser for my screaming-rock-band-battered ears!
Featuring Mr. Jay Buchanan on vocals who put in an impressive performance with his superb vocal range, complimented by some superb blues breaks by Mr Scott Holiday on guitar. This band sounded pretty damned good on one of my favourite stages for the weekend and the crowd clearly loved ’em.
Opeth Friday 21:00 The Pepsi Max Stage
Opeth are a Progressive Rock/Metal band from Stockholm, Sweden. Having been around since 1990, they are one of the longer established bands at Download. Opeth’s roots lie in the ‘doom-laden shade of occult-infused Scandinavian death metal’, apparently!
Opeth played to a packed, circle-pitting Pepsi Max marquee that was heaving in time with Mikael Åkerfeldt’s growls. Complimented by the keyboard playing skills of Joakim Svalberg, they merged the slow with the metal growling well, giving the moshing circle-pitters a break from time to time.
Saturday 14th June 2014
The Dirty Youth Sat 11:50, Zippo encore stage
The Dirty Youth are a five piece, female fronted rock band from South Wales. Having packed one of the marquees at last years download, this year they were promoted to the second stage, although at the ungodly time of 11:50 on Saturday morning.
However, they did pull a healthy-sized crowd as they treated us to their Welsh rock with a commercial edge, thus making it appealing to a larger audience and rather rock-along-able. Danni’s vocals are a notable feature of this band, even at this time on a Saturday morning, they were ear-screechingly impressive.
Skid Row Sat 15:20 Zippo Encore stage
An American (New Jersey) rock band from the 80’s, Skid Row are still around, touring and releasing new material like there’s no tomorrow. They were a little rounder than I remember them and minus Sebastian Bach, but still looking good.
Having split in 1996 and reformed in 2000 with a re-invigorated fire in their bellies, it is good to see they are still around and performed a tight set at Download. It was one of those sets where every other song they played, you instantly recognised and thought ‘I didn’t realise Skid Row did this’. Sounding better than ever, it was great to see Skid Row at Download for us maturing rockers.
The Howling Sat 20:55 The Red Bull Studio Stage.
This five piece rock band from London – The Howling – is only a couple of years old but the band are producing some powerful rock music, adding an electro feel with keyboards, they produce a HUGE sound with catchy rock riffs and punchy hooks in abundance.
The Howling say they are ‘Dragging punk in to the next generation’ which could be one way of describing their sound. A bit screamo, very rock and extremely good is how I’d describe it.
Sunday 15th June 2014
The Graveltones Sun 12:30, Pepsi Max stage
The Graveltones are a two piece Blues rock band from London & Australia with tons of attitude, energy and oodles of distortion. With just a guitar, drum kit and vocals, this band makes a sound far greater than the sum of it’s parts.
Jimmy O on guitar and vocals ran around stage with a spectacular amount of energy, all while playing guitar and singing which was very impressive to watch. The music itself was high energy blues rock with a Tenacious D look and feel to it.
Steel Panther Sun 17:40, Main stage
Having been a Steel Panther virgin, I was expecting some serious, heavy metal. What I got was a huge, hilarious and very entertaining surprise!
Steel Panther are a 4 piece, glam/hair/heavy metal band from Los Angeles who are clearly in touch with their feminine sides! As lead singer, Michael, embarked on several humorous innuendo-laiden stories, bassist, Lexxi Foxx whipped his/her makeup mirror out and touched up his/her lip gloss etc. Singing humorous songs mostly about various female body parts, but all in good fun, their show provided a welcome interlude in the otherwise very serious business of heavy metal/rock.
Seether Sun 18:15, Zippo Encore stage
Seether are an American three-piece alternative rock band, although at Download they were accompanied by their new touring guitarist, Bryan Wickmann. Having won numerous awards since their birth, back in 2002, they are a band that have largely passed me by, until now.
Reminding me of Nickelback, they packed a wallop of a punch on the zippo stage, sounding hard, heavy and ballsy, with the smooth vocals of Shaun Morgan and tempos that even my misses could dance to, they had instant appeal and the crowd loved them
Alter Bridge Sun 19:10 Main Stage
Alter Bridge are a four piece rock band from Florida. Having been around since 2004, they are another one of Download’s mature American rock bands.
Alter Bridge performed a powerful set laden with rip-roaring guitar solos but lacking slightly in stage presence as most of them were fairly static throughout the set. They sounded good and their music was full of emotion and played from the heart.