Live Music + Gig Reviews

Download 2004: Day 2, Other Stages @ Donington Park, Leicestershire

6 June 2004

The smaller stages had to fight tooth and nail for crowds on this – surely the most Metal day in the history of our fair green nation. The Barfly stage had a healthy but changeable audience for unknown suprises such as Mooney Suzuki and Hurricane Party, with made-up alt-metallers Do Me Bad Things attracting a sizeable throng

Trapt managed to improve somewhat on the travesty that is their debut album, aka American radio rock at its most mundane, but finding inspiration from their sound is like trying to refine a Lada into a Lotus… It just ain’t gonna happen. Nevertheless, the frequent swear word to up the rebellious “metal” attitude did them no harm, as did their only reason for existence, the semi-bearable Headstrong, during which it is rumoured some people actually started sweating, though no concrete evidence was found of this.

Hoobastank continued the in the soft “pop metal” vein, with all the remaining Linkin Park fans emerging from their hiding places, to pogo to the latest Incubus rip-off merchants playing very forgettable songs on very expensive pieces of musical instrumentation that were criminally under used. The Linkin pop posse needed to clear off before the next band arrived or the Snickers Tent would have been guaranteed some extra crunch…

After the affectionate place that Metallica’s set now holds in my heart, Jamey Jasta and his buddies were the most inspirational, damn heavy and phenomenally unique band of Download 2004. Hatebreed sit in a class of their own. No straight edgers, they ain’t hardcore and no Napalm Death wearing fogies, they ain’t old skool, and that dear reader is exactly their genius. With the chunkiest, dirtiest riffs this side of Biohazard and the deepest, most ferociously brutal vocals ever to grace the second stage, once Jasta had barked out the opening lines of Tear It Down, the kids went absolutely ape.

For the subsequent 30 minutes, the least densely populated pit I have ever seen proceeded to beat, thrash and break dance to Hatebreed’s untouchable back catalogue. Perseverance set the already bleeding crowd onto an even higher level of frenzy, swiftly followed by Live For This which rung through the tent like a stadium anthem.

Drowning Pool have had a tough couple of years. When on the brink of superstardom they lost frontman Dave “Stage” Williams to a fatal medical condition, and have had to completely re-evolve to survive. The new and “improved” Drowning Pool isn’t so much improved as imitating what went before, with Bodies providing the only real stand-out from their set.

Over on the Barfly Stage, blues/stoner rockers Danko Jones were infecting their minute mob of die hard fans with rock so groovy that spontaneous dancing erupted all over the floor. Exhibiting some brilliant tracks from their latest offering, We Sweat Blood, such as the contagious Forget My Name, Danko and co should be playing to a much, much bigger crowd.

The Dirty Americans surprised many folks, many of whom had attended on the back of the band containing former Workhouse Movement members. Playing a brilliantly retro, Zeppelin-tinged set, they won many a new follower today, with a healthy bounce up at the barriers for current single Strange Generation.

Nicki Sixx was untouchable with his new band Brides Of Destruction, with sure fire crowd pleaser Shut the F**k Up! doing exactly what it says on the tin. They even chucked in a couple of Motley Cr’e numbers, which I’m convinced most of the youngsters were pretending to recognise, and they closed their trash rock set with Shout At The Devil to thunderous applause.

What with Damageplan being upgraded to the main stage, and Slayer‘s continuing postponement, there was a gathering mass of ravenous headbangers swarming between the main and second stages, as rumours flew as to where the godfathers of speed/thrash metal would play. After a muffled but pleasant enough set, with the biggest cheers as they announced their final song, Life Of Agony looked anxious to escape the wrath of the Slayer mob.

Pray tell then which truly thick PR man had the bright idea of delaying Slayer even further to place emo boys Taking Back Sunday on next?!?!? As this was announced to the Slayer fans, they decided that they had waited politely for far too long, and insults, bottles (both empty and full) and various projectiles pelted the stage in fury. To their credit, they convinced the post-punk melodic pop kids in the rear to face defeat and not play, and then Slayer erupted on the Snickers stage.

Kerry King looked suitably evil as the band pulled out their back catalogue effortlessly. Reign In Blood, Necrophobic, all the classics were there in what was a set adored by both wrinkled fan and newcomer alike. Tom Araya’s voice needs some serious therapy though if he is to continue his brutal touring regime.

Bowling for Soup played pop punk which you should avoid like the Download crowds did, The Suicide Girls disguised soft porn stripping with the corny title of Burlesque Show, Oh, and Him looks like a her and has a band that are too good for his songs, and you should have been watching Metallica.

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