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Wednesday, 17 June 2009

Download 2009, we salute you

What can I say? Download 2009 ABSOLUTELY FUCKING RULED. Not eloquent, I know, but it's difficult to express in more verbose terms just how much Download 2009 ABSOLUTELY FUCKING RULED...

So here it is, in as much as a nutshell as this MADman can muster...

Day 1:

Hot Chick and I arrived early doors and dutifully purchased our 68,000 beer tokens. The first act we were treated to were nu-metalish Hollywood Undead which to be fair, weren't my bag but seemed to be getting the crowd going pretty well for a main stage opener. Mind you, everyone was so spurred on by the fact that the event had just opened and the sun was shining that S Club 7 probably could have got a circle pit going.

Sylosis were the first brutally metal band we experienced. I didn't make visual contact with these guys due to a combination of my fat arse laying on the floor through heat exhaustion and there being a big crowd, but the guttural vocal and penetrating bass drum had me intrigued. More on these guys in the coming months...

I've been a fan of "The Plot To Bomb The Panhandle" by A Day To Remember since I first head it a couple of years ago and I've seen these guys in passing before but I was keen to take in the whole set. They played with a passion and energy which surprised me - I was expecting a traditionally smiley emo-tatsic affair but they were serious about kicking the shit out of Download and to be fair, they did a bloody good job.

The revelation for me for Day 1 was Dir En Grey. I've heard a lot about these Japanese oddballs, with comparisons with everyone in the world ("A frankly Dir, Duff announcement", March 30th 2009) so I was interested to see if they'd live up to their hype. I was frankly mesmerised. From the moment that vocalist Kyo kicked into a variety of high-end notes and bassy, grindcore vocals, I could not stop watching them. The songs had tons of layers and kept me engrossed. They're not an obvious band and need listening to but I can see myself becoming a proper, proper fan...

Billy Talent impressed Hot Chick but not I. Benjamin Kowalewicz's vocal did little more than piss me off. Too much screaming; not metal harsh screaming, just pretty gay screaming. They were followed by Killswitch Engage and as I expected, 80's-namesaked Howard Jones et al fucking destroyed their predecessors. Billy Talent didn't deserve the same stage.

And much against my better judgement, I thought Limp Bizkit were un-feckin'-believably good and a major highlight of the day. EVERYONE was singing along, EVERYONE was doing terrible wigger dancing, and EVERYONE was loving it, although not as much as the two guys old fat 'n' bald Durst pulled out of the crowd to sing on stage with him. Limp Bizkit were indeed in the house and to be fair, they brought it down.

So a million beers in, Motley Crue take to the stage and kick off with "Kickstart my Heart", which kickstarted a plethora of flashing titties and massive haired headbanging. As they ploughed through classics such as "Shout At The Devil", the crowd were feeling it, I was feeling it, but couldn't help thinking, "I'm missing Faith No More..."

So Round we went. Patton and the boys smashed through "Surprise, You're Dead", "Epic" and "Midlife Crisis" like they hadn't been apart for the last decade and a half. The atmosphere was ridiculous and Mike-to-tha-P was conversing with 80,000 people like he was chatting with some mates. A clear highlight of day 1. Oh, and I got sunburnt and pissed to fuck as well.

Day 2:

Five Finger Death Punch followed by Devildriver followed by Hatebreed. For me, the main stage was the place to be. 5FDP were unbelievable, combining the brutality of Hatebreed with the melody of Stone Sour in one pit-enducing orgy of violent bliss. Definitely up there in my top five sets of the weekend. However, as I love Devildriver with a quite gay passion, I have to put these guys up there. With Guinness World Records on hand to verify the circle pit, the dust flew as these Californian thrash gods flew into the 2010 book. Sadly, I was watching from afar. Sunburnt, old, hungover and/or drunk, I just couldn't get in in time... And then Hatebreed came onstage and essentially kicked us all in the spleen, spat in our beers and slapped our mum's behinds. Good work Jasta, good work.

Oh, and Lawnmower Deth? The best version of "Kids In America" I have ever heard. Search for it. It will change your life!

Hot Chick was incredibly impressed with Hardcore Superstar and from what I saw, they were a legitimate rock option for a ball-cookingly warm day 2. Of course, we couldn't miss DragonForce. I've loved these guys for a couple of years but I must confess, they do get a wee bit tedious with the ol' guitar wankery. And ZP Theart needs to stop introducing "Through The Fire And The Flames" as "The song that made Guitar Hero 3 famous!" - it's getting a bit dry. Am I falling out of love with the 'Force? Tbc...

Marilyn Manson managed to win my "Cunt Of The Weekend" award. A huge arsenal of potential tunes, a reputation for vile behaviour, a history of causing offence and disgust. His set was like watching the Antiques Roadshow, although Michael Aspel might have been more interesting. Absolute shite. He should be ashamed of himself. Especially as he was warming up the crowd for...

Slipknot. Winners of the "Performance of The Weekend" award. Kicking off with the first four tunes from their eponymous first album, the crowd were going fucking insane. There was not a single thing I can criticise about this set, apart from the renegade spastics who refused to "sit the fuck down" as Corey requested during "Spit It Out". This being said, 70,000-odd people launching into the sky as he shouts "JUMP THE FUCK UP!!!" is a sight/feeling to behold.

My one major beef with day 2 was the sound quality of the second stage. As a lifelong Prodigy fan, I couldn't wait to see them tear it up, as I haven't see them since Reading 1998. However, the sound was similar to if they were playing in an egg box in the boot of a Vauxhall Vectra. Which, to be honest, ate shit in a big way. Not the bands fault though, so my love stays strong.

Day 3:

Further sunburnt, despite the factor 50, hungover to hell and having eaten nothing but food made from the foreskin of impoverished livestock for 48 hours, I was feeling a touch weary. So an 11:30 Tuborg got me back on the right track. The first band we caught were Turbowolf, who were a System Of A Down-meets-Biffy Clyro kinda band who I quite enjoyed. Trigger The Bloodshed were, to be honest, less than believable. I just didn't feel that their singer was right but despite the drummer being a massive ginge, he was hitting the skins with savage ability. They were technically good but together, were a bit shit.

The highlight of Sunday was again, the main stage, with a Tesla, Skin, Black Stone Cherry, Journey fixture. I thought Tesla were miming as they were so damn tight but alas no, they were just 80's hair-tastically amazing. Skin were good fun too and Black Stone Cherry continue to be perhaps the most consistent band I have seen live. This was our fourth outing with the Kentucky quartet and they are still unable to hit a bum note.

But then there's Journey. All I can say is 50,000 people singing "Don't Stop Believing" is a beautiful thing. I'll have a video up shortly so watch this space. Despite the band being so old they forgot a fair few words, this set was probably second, maybe third, for the whole weekend.

Clutch were typically cool and Southern, with Mr. Fallon a amicable frontman. Hot Chick was teenage-tastic when decade-long crush Coby Dick took to the stage with Papa Roach who, although playing a tight set, suffered from poor sound much the same was as The Prodigy had the day before.

Seeing David "Ere's a song for ya" Coverdale singing "Is This Love" and "Here I Go Again" live is truly a spectacle. How a man so haggered and old can be such a damn sexy bastard is extraordinary. I'm not gay for Whitesnake but man, that guy is one smooth mufu'er.

So all that was left was Def Leppard. If I may be blunt, I was a touch disappointed. The Leppard are kinda a bit too chilled out to close a festival and I can't help feeling they're back catalogue doesn't have as many rousing party anthems as you'd like to think. Okay, the crowd were there for "Photograph" and "Let's Get Rocked" but apart from that, there was a lot of MOR rocking, which left some of the crowd so bored that they started a fire.

Well, there it is. No doubt Ive left a couple of bands out but what do you want from me? You're probably bored of reading, you probably were after day one, so don't bitch at me...sorry, I got a bit emotional. You see, I already miss Download. This year, I got to meet a drunken Dez from DevilDriver and Frederiq from DragonForce as they ran through the crowd like retards chasing a dead butterfly. They were happy to have photos taken and like everyone else, were having a fucking awesome time.

I'm tired now. Any questions, please let me know at some point. But to summarise, Download 2009; You were the daddy.

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