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Friday, 18 June 2010

The highs and lows

As a final high-5 to Download 2010, I though I'd do a good old fashioned best of/worst of. This is a combination of me being lazy and the fact that I'm sure you've already read several hundred reviews of the event (clearly the best of which was mine). So, on to the business in hand.

The Best:

5. Semi-naked people

I don't mean the promo girls walking around in their underwear; I mean the fat/bald/hairy/old Downloaders: people that really do not give a fuck and are just themselves all weekend. It's the least judgemental place on earth and a welcome relief from the ultra-critical world in which we spend 90% of our lives.

4. Five stages

An acoustic stage? What a great shout. There's no such thing as too much metal but sitting in the sun chinning a beer whilst a quality rock band strum their way through an unplugged set is a wonderful thing. Then wander to one of the tents for some smaller bands, past the main stage for some of the biggest names in music on your way to a different stage to catch a brutal death metal outfit, and they're all close enough to avoid "I really can't be arsed" syndrome.

3. Cold beer/great Guinness

Every single pint I got was chilled to perfection, whether it was at 10:30 or 23:00. Nothing in the world is less satisfying than a warm lager. And the Guinness Extra Cold was, um, extra cold, with the creamy, velvety head you only get on a lovely fresh pint. Mmm...

2. The variety

Napalm Death and HIM sharing the same stage? Zebrahead and Whitechapel treading the same boards? Dommin and Hellyeah plugging their instruments into the same amps? It can only be Download. The people who criticise the lineup are hilarious and although Machine Head and Suffocation playing every slot on every stage would indeed be very metal, the variety is what makes Download truly awesome.

1. The headliners

Okay, Sonisphere has Iron Maiden this year but let me just spell it out for you again:

Rage Against The Machine

AC/DC was as close to perfection as a rock show could ever be, RATM brought a passion and political anger the likes of which I've never experienced and Aerosmith demonstrated potentially the greatest live vocal I have ever seen. Fair enough AC/DC bringing their own stage was a bit ostentatious and their £3m+ price tag is a bit on the renty side but you know what? That's fucking rock and roll baby.

The Worst:

5. Friday beer queue

With AC/DC headlining the main stage, it seems the extra 30,000 tickets for Download this year were all day tickets for Friday. As regular readers may have gleaned from Metal Harmony, I love a beer and subsequently drink a lot of them. Therefore, standing in a fucking enormous queue for fucking ages was a complete pain in the arse on Friday.

4. The Sunday afternoon rain

Fair enough we had sublime weather on Friday and Saturday but the biblical rain on Sunday was a bit of a buzz kill, especially as it dramatically thinned the crowd and meant me and Hot Chick were stuck watching fucking T-34.

3. Missing virtually all of Whitechapel's set

My one shocker of the weekend; we'd managed to get shelter and started to dry off a bit, only to realise that Whitechapel were playing at the other side of the site. We got there only in time for one song, which was a right pain in my arsehole.

2. T-34

I may have mentioned it previously but why the fuck this shit covers band were gracing the same stage as Suicidal Tendencies baffles me. I'm generally a bit of a miserable twat at the best of times but coupled with the rain, this completely pissed me off no end.

1. The noodles

I've done it once; "I'm bored of burgers, I'm going to try the noodles". This was the only time in my hearty-eating life I've not finished a meal. The noodles at Download are fucking horrendous. They taste of dysentery, smell like a corpse's foreskin and look as appealing as a bareback bunk-up with Margaret Thatcher. And NO-ONE LIKES THEM. There are piles of the bastards all over the site that you always end up sitting in. I hate them. Ban the fuckers, I say.

So there we have it. It's all over for now but as Metallica once eloquently said, the memory remains. But in no time at all we'll be discussing how the first announcement is shit and isn't metal all over again.

Until next week, and for those about to rock, I salute you.



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