My expectation for the first two days of Download was somewhat low in terms of the line-up, given my predeliction for the classic rock era. However the stunning weather went some way to raising the spirits and Blackwater Conspiracy rewarded a sparse crowd on the Zippo Encore Stage with an impressive set of southern rock flavoured tunes.
Amongst the other highlights, Five Finger Death Punch didn’t carry on the brutal opening throughout their set and went a little flat midway through. However I really enjoyed what I saw and they engaged the crowd throughout even coming down off the stage to greet the knuckleheads who had weathered the baking hot weather to see them.
Prophets of Rage, playing their first UK/European show, are quite capable of headlining with the wealth of material they have to pick from with their associated bands, Public Enemey, RATM, and Audioslave. Rap fused with metal has often left me bewildered and politics in music is a potent although sometimes off-putting mix.
Tax The Heat were touted as the next big thing a few years ago and I wondered what all the fuss was about. Thankfully I warmed to them after catching them at various indoor and outdoor festivals, today they cemented their reputation as a good honest rock n roll band. Look past the sharp dressed suits and focus on the songs and it becomes clearer why they are one of our brightest bands at the moment.
The same can be said for Raveneye, the recent supports slot with Kiss in Europe have done this power trio a power of good and their songs suit a big stage.
The main stage today was hardly exciting for a hardened classic rock fan and only Creeper showed any real individuality compared with the likes of Pierce The Veil, AFI and A Day To Remember.
Ten years ago Biffy Clyro appeared further down the bill, as headliners this year I found their set mindnumbingly over complicated. More suited to Reading or even Glastonbury and judging by the thinning crowd I wasn’t alone in making my way to the second stage and Rob Zombie.
Compared to much on offer this weekend – with a general lack of impressive stage sets or production values – Zombie and his crew provided real – memorable – entertainment.
The organisers of this year’s event might need reminding that Castle Donington is historically a rock/metal affair. Thankfully normal service would be resumed on the Sunday.
Review and photos by Darren Griffiths
The latest Facebook Live session from Canadian singer-songwriter Josh Taerk
(Sunday 25 April 16:00 EST, 21:00 GMT)
It’s an Anniversary Show celebrating a year of Sunday Sessions.
Next session: Sunday 23 May, 21:00 GMT and 16:00 EST
David Randall presents a weekly show on Get Ready to ROCK! Radio, Sundays at 22:00 BST (GMT+1, repeated on Mondays and Fridays), when he invites listeners to ‘Assume The Position’. This show was first broadcast on 18 April 2021 and includes the Top 10 albums at www.getreadytorock.com for that week.
UK Blues Broadcaster of the Year (2020) Pete Feenstra presents his weekly Rock & Blues Show on Tuesday at 19:00 ( BST, GMT+1) as part of a five hour blues rock marathon “Tuesday is Bluesday at GRTR!”. The show is repeated on Wednesdays at 22:00, Fridays at 20:00). This show was first broadcast 20 April 2021.
Listen in to Get Ready to ROCK! Radio…
Click the appropriate icons at the top of the page.
Featured Albums w/c 19 April 2021 (Mon-Fri)
09:00-12:00 STEPHEN CRANE Kicks (AOR Heaven)
12:00-13:00 THE TREATMENT Waiting For Good Luck (Frontiers)
14:00-16:00 AMY SPEACE & THE ORPHAN BRIGADE – There Used To Be Horses Here (Proper)
Power Plays w/c 3 May 2021 (Mon-Fri)
THE COLD STARES In The Night Time (Mascot)
NATHALIE MIRANDA Battle Scars (You Won’t Forget My Name) (indie)
RAMES Eleanor Street (indie)
THE STEADY LETTERS The Blue (indie)
CRIMSON RIOT Shatter (Golden Robot Records)
THUNDERMOTHER You Can’t Handle Me (AFM Records)
Tweets by Get Ready to ROCK!