Download Festival 2015 7

Download Festival 2015

Holding a special place in every metal heads’ heart, Donington once again hosts the gathering for all that is heavy.
Getting off to a shaky start with teething problems over the new cashless payment system and heavy rain on Friday night, local legends Judas Priest get the party started by arriving to the stage on motorbikes. But it’s not until Slipknot show up that it really feels like it’s begun. Being Download’s ‘go to’ band for years now, singer Corey Taylor acknowledges that once again Slipknot is home”. Bringing the perfect blend of brutal and sing along, ‘Psychosocial‘, ‘Duality‘ and ‘The Devil in I’ all get the crowd worked into enough of a frenzy to forget that the rain has just turned torrential. If anything the weather adds to the apocalyptic vibe; triumphant and then some.

Main Stage
Main Stage

Photo Credit: Gobinder Jhitta –  Download 2015

Saturday gets off to a groggy damp start but kicks up a gear when Bay Area Thrash legends Testament take the Encore stage.  Faith No More are also returning to Download, with a new sense of purpose and their first new album in over 10 years ‘Sol Invictus’. We get new tracks like ‘Black Friday’, ‘Motherfucker’ and the excellent ‘Superhero‘, as well as many of the usual classics. Mike Patton is in mischievous form, messing with the security and teasing the crowd. Towards the end of their version of Commodores‘ ‘Easy‘ he spots a fan being brought out on a stretcher by medics, he hops off the stage and gets the poor casualty to the sing the last line of the song. Faith No More are at their unpredictable and genre-blending best.


The headliners Muse are also not strictly ‘metal’ but quickly dispel any doubts about their position on the bill, opening up with the monster riff to ‘Psycho‘ from new album ‘Drones‘ and a massive production of flames, lasers, projections and giant black beach balls. Other highlights include new song ‘Reaper‘ which channels Van Halen, Rage Against The Machine and 80s pop. ‘Stockholm Syndrome’ is as rifftastic as ever, and for an encore we get the epic Ennio Morricone on Mars of ‘Knights of Cydonia’. Truly an epic set.



Muse  – The moment when Matt Bellamy hurled his guitar across the stage as flames erupt. In a word: rock.



New Years Day

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Hands Like Houses

Sunday sees the weather improve slightly; at least the air is no longer wet and trench foot is only a minor possibility now. The last day is traditionally the more sedate line up for Download. Billy Idol may have ‘White Wedding’ and ‘Rebel Yell’, but has little else to win over new fans. Still, he’s in good shape and seems to be having a blast, so fair play. Likewise, L7 are here to re-tread old glories, but the back catalogue just isn’t strong enough to hold our interest, so we wander over for Slash. Given the choice between seeing Guns N’ Roses current ‘line-up’ and Slash, there’s no contest really; singer Myles Kennedy is more than capable of delivering the back catalogue, and is far less likely to storm off the stage in a strop. Sure they have their own tunes and they’re fine, but at the end of the day, all we want is to sing along to ‘Sweet Child O’ Mine’ and ‘Paradise City’.

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September Mourning

Motley Crue are here on their farewell tour – a long farewell that actually began July 2014. The set is all killer, no filler with all the extras such as Nikki Sixx’s flame shooting bass, backing singer/dancers, and pyrotechnics. Motley Crue have epitomised the sleazy partying decadence of L.A. for over 34 years, and deserve their place in the pantheon.  By the time they get to a heartfelt encore of ‘Home, Sweet Home’ it’s clear that yes, lads, you will be missed.

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Not forgetting the smaller stages, which saw energetic and theatrical sets by the likes of September Mourning, New Years Day, The Qemists, Bodycount and Suicidal Tendencies.

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The Qemists

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Suicidal Tendencies

So it remains up to Kiss to close the weekend. Making Muse look positively restrained, Kiss play through their hits with flames, zip lines, platforms, glitter bombs and everything else you can think of. But underneath the bombast and ego is a solid rock show; ‘Detroit Rock City’, ‘Cold Gin’ ‘Rock N’ Roll All Nite’ all hit the mark.

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As the last bit of shiny confetti falls and ‘God Gave Rock n’ Roll To You’ plays out over the P.A, the weary but happy crowd make their way back into the darkness.

What is perceived as a niche musical interest is in fact anything but. Spotify recently released figures that show that Metal is the most listened to genre on its service. Metal has always had ‘outsider’ status, but Download proves that when 90,000 ‘outsiders’ come together, it’s one Hell of a party.

Photo credit: Mark Williams (except first image)

God is in the TV is an online music and culture fanzine founded in Cardiff by the editor Bill Cummings in 2003. GIITTV Bill has developed the site with the aid of a team of sub-editors and writers from across Britain, covering a wide range of music from unsigned and independent artists to major releases.