Live Music + Gig Reviews

Zwan @ Download Festival, Donington

1 June 2003



With the real Apocalyptica having been bumped onto the Main Stage to accommodate Metallica in the Scuzz tent, the bill was running late. An awful half hour of Keith Flint’s new outfit Flint preceded the entrance of Zwan, as clouds overcast to welcome the Billy Corgan fronted band.

A tropical storm had been forecast for the weekend. Until now the weather had been more than generous but it would be foolish to place faith in the cursed British weather. Having opened with the grungy gospel plow of Mary Star Of The Sea, two songs in and Billy Corgan was singing, ironically about rain, when it began to bucket down. This wasn’t a short spell; it lasted the duration of a conspicuously short Zwan set -barely 40 minutes for a band preceding headliners Audioslave.

A number of unreleased songs where performed such as the beautiful For Your Love which had everyone itching for some heavy guitar rawk just so we could jump about and warm up. Honestly and the God’s Gonna Set This World On Fire medley perked things up, but when you’re wet through your boxers and socks, it’s difficult to stand about and enjoy a band suited to a warm dusk slot.

Fan frustrations soon spilled over by bottling the band. Rather than spread out on the vastness of the stage, the band huddled in the centre making themselves easy targets. Shirking this, the band focused and humped through a wishy-washy set received well enough by devotees at the front. The PA being remarkably honed to perfection (for once) helped this. Undulating melodies and some tight rhythm work helped ease some pleasance on this rotten rainy evening.

One sensed the band’s frustration, due to Apocalyptica’s appearance, their stage time was cut by a good 20 minutes. Corgan and co barely said a word to those who braved the brittle weather which didn’t bode well for thousands of dripping wet punters. Clearly they were just passing the time to get a good spot for Audioslave.

Just before Zwan were seemingly hitting their stride following a scintillating Jesus I, they put their instruments down and walked offstage. No one really seemed to mind, Audioslave were on next. And so the wet, sweaty girl next to me who spent the best part of 40 minutes bleating “GO AWAY! WE WANT AUDIOSLAVE!” got her wish.

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More on Zwan
Zwan @ Download Festival, Donington
Zwan @ Shepherd’s Bush Empire, London
Zwan – Mary Star Of The Sea