Download Festival 2008 - Castle Donington, England, 15th June 2008

Event: Download Festival 2008
Written by: Baz Anderson
Published: 18.06.2008

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Download Festival - Castle Donington, England, 13th-15th June 2008 by Baz Anderson (168)
A cold night lead to a boiling hot morning and again we find the blessed lands of Donington protecting us against bad weather as we notice a colossal black cloud drift harmlessly by not raining one bit. Using our heads we found it to be a good idea to take half of out stuff back to the car that morning to lighten the load that night.



After about two hours of walking to the car and then to the festival site it was time to party with Municipal Waste on the second stage. These guys play a crossover thrash metal with short songs and lots of attitude. After the CD not impressing me much I was glad to find the live performance much more entertaining. Live they sound like a more old school kind of thrash band especially with the vocals. Half an hour seemed long enough for the band however as it was all sounding a little familiar after that time. Impressive band live but not a band you would want to watch a two hour set of.



Now, this next set was a few firsts for myself and an experience I will treasure for pure amusement purposes. Next was rapper Lethal Bizzle and if you do not know already, the English audience likes to show if they do not like something. 50 Cent was bottled off stage at a festival a few years ago and now it was time for Lethal Bizzle to face this angry mob of people who hate hip-hop. As soon as Lethal Bizzle jumped on the stage there was an awesome hostile "BOOO!" from the audience and all hell broke loose. Everything was thrown at the three guys on the stage, mostly bottles but also puddings and someone even threw their mobile phone at him. He battled through the first song and the bottles still kept coming. The stage was covered with bottles and water and yoghurt and so was Lethal Bizzle, an utterance of "oh man, we've been set up" said it all. Bravely he however carried onto the next song and when the audience still did not comply they started playing popular hip-hop songs from years ago instead of his own songs which amazingly won a fair amount of the audience over. From a musical point of view Lethal Bizzle's music was not bad, it was up beat and fun but just not the style of the festival. It must be said these guys showed guts to finish their set and finish properly and that deserves respect when you could have been seriously injured on stage or at least knocked out.



The circus was over though and it was time for some real rock 'n' roll and who better to give that to us than the Australians Rose Tattoo. After seeing these guys last time I was eager to see them again. They played a cool half hour set of true rock 'n' roll at a steady pace and even though the audience were somewhat quieter than they had been before there were some people in the audience thoroughly enjoying the set.



Apocalyptica had already started on the main stage and having not been an active fan of the band I wasn't too excited to see them, but having watched the rest of this set I have to say it was highly interesting and entertaining. Apocalyptica are like no other band out there playing these kinds of songs, thrash metal songs especially with cellos. The group finished the set with their version of "In The Hall Of The Mountain King" and left the audience wondering what that was. Obviously the sound you get out of cellos are not the same sounds you get out of guitars and bass, but it all worked very well together. The only thing that raised one of my eyebrows was the lack of any vocals that left the set feeling a little empty.



But if vocals were what I wanted then I was at the right stage for a strong female voice of the Within Temptation camp. Again, truth be told I have not been interested in this band since after the "Mother Earth" album. The set included songs mostly from albums after that one and it sounded more commercial than I could have imagined. Screaming girls down at the front could be heard half way up the field but past them Within Temptation did not seem to entertain too many people all that much. Applause after each song was enough. Still, the set finished with two songs from the "Mother Earth" album which caught my ear and made me smile, but this is a band that can only appeal to teenage girls now.



My third time seeing In Flames live and the first time since the release of the terrible new album, it made me wonder what kind of a set we were going to be given. After losing faith in In Flames a while ago and being pleasantly surprised by them live seems to be the theme with In Flames because this set was impressive. Kicking off with "Cloud Connected" the set had most of the usuals such as "The Quiet Place" and "Take This Life", but this set also included a great sounding "Graveland" and even the few new songs sounded much better in the live environment apart from one that was just still bad. Anders and the band looked pleased to be on such a big stage and happy things were going well, the audience who all seemed to be In Flames as well appeared to be having a fun time to one of their favourite bands. A surprise of the super cool and heavy "Transparent" went down well, the set finished with "My Sweet Shadow" and once again it is shown that whatever In Flames put onto CD in the studio they can always make a live show an enjoyable one.



After a little food and sit down it was time to go over to the punks of The Wildhearts. Normally punk is a no-go area for myself but I couldn't resist seeing what these guys were like seeing as I do know a little bit of their music and they are getting to be quite an old band these days. Ginger is such a comedian on stage, he is the reason the set was worth watching as he joked with the audience and probably spent more time amusing us this way than he did playing his music. He invited the audience to throw anything that was no nailed down onto the stage and the crowd were more than willing to have a bit of fun and throw bottles upon bottles onto the stage trying to hit the band as they coaxed the audience on. "Vanilla Radio" sounded great live but because Ginger had spent so much time talking to the audience and having a laugh when they started to play their last song they were cut off which was greeted by boos from the people, but still, a schedule needs to be kept to.



Armies and armies of little teenage boys flocked to the stage to see presumably their idol play next as it was time for Children Of Bodom (or "Children Of Bottom" as Ginger called them jokingly) to come and play. As I mentioned with Amon Amarth on the second day, the sound of the Download stages was fantastic, especially the bass drums thundering so much, and the same thoughts come to mind here as well. Children Of Bodom are a fast band and it just sounds fantastic when everything is right. Previously I had not been too impressed with this band live, but this set was significantly more entertaining. "Trashed, Lost & Strung Out", "Hate Crew Deathroll" and "Silent Night, Bodom Night" all sounded great live. Alexi surprisingly was not drunk either and so instead of drunken swearing and meaningless chin-wagging we had this pale young guy telling us how much he was enjoying it, still with the compulsory swear after every other word though. Still, this set went down well with everyone in attendance and put everyone in the mood for the final band of the night and the festival.



That being the reunited Cavalera brothers with the Cavalera Conspiracy and even though I do get on very with early Sepultura, I did not expect to enjoy this set as much as I did. The Cavalera brothers are back together and they mean serious business. All the bands connected to Cavalera Conspiracy such as Soulfly and Sepultura are all heavy and have a lot of symbol smashing thrashing action but when you hear it live it sounds so much more complete and so much more alive. The thick sound comes over very well and whatever the band are playing whether it being material from the "Inflicted" album or Sepultura material - it all works very well together. The set started with the title track of "Inflikted" and throughout the hour and a quarter set they had gotten through quite a few of these songs such as "Ultra-Violent" and "Bloodbrawl". The cream on the cake of the show was the old Sepultura material though, "Arise" sounded phenomenal, as did "Refuse/Resist" and "Territory". The seemingly mandatory "Roots Bloody Roots" and "Must Kill" finished the set however and left the audience speechless afterwards until finally people started telling each other how amazing the show was. For "Troops Of Doom" Igor brought his son on to play the drums throughout the song and even though he only looked about fourteen years old and looked like he was reaching over the big drums to hit them he did a fantastic job, not perfect but that child has a big potential to be a drummer in a successful band as his father was. The Cavalera brothers put me in a great mood for the rest of the night, this is definitely a band that should not be overlooked live.



After the three festival days the opinion that the Download festival is a festival for fringe wearing teenagers is just not correct. The Download festival has a bit of something for everyone and has more of a fun and friendly atmosphere than most full metal festivals. Over the three stages you are more likely than not to find a band you want to watch, and if there isn't you can always just enjoy the sun with an ice cream and relax until there is a band you want to see. Just because the festival does not have the most underground bands is not a good enough reason for metal snobs to turn their nose up at the festival. People have been going to Donington park for years and years now, longer than I have been alive, because it is the spiritual home of rock and everyone is there to have a good time and enjoy the bands they like. The Download festival caters for the musical tastes of the United Kingdom but is also much more of an international festival than I first imagined. Flags from all over the world were at the festival, people came all the way over from places like Australia, North Korea, Brazil, the Scandinavian countries and I even saw a South African flag at one point. So hats off to the organisers of Download who have done a fantastic job, hats off to all the bands that made the festival what it was and hats off to the fans that in general were ready to rock and let everyone else have a good time as well. Download is much more than a line-up of bands, even though your favourite brutal death metal band might not be playing there the whole experience is one of great fun with nothing to worry about apart from having a good time.





Big thanks go to Alex Darling of LD Communications for allowing me to do this.
Written, and photos by Barry Anderson



 



Written on 18.06.2008 by
Baz Anderson
Member of Staff since 2006.
More articles by Baz Anderson ››




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albatros - 18.06.2008 at 08:34  
Wow, what a comprehensive report. Good work, thank you.
Bararey - 18.06.2008 at 09:56  
Poor Lethal Bizzle guys
Jigoku Shoujo - 18.06.2008 at 15:57  
Written by Bararey on 18.06.2008 at 09:56

Poor Lethal Bizzle guys

I've seen and heard about people throwing eggs, fruits, vegetables and bottles at artists they don't like, but throwing yoghurt, pudding and cellphones is new to me.
Bararey - 18.06.2008 at 16:42  
haha,, that guy must have run out of yogurt already

But seriously how they managed to continue with their set with all the hostility they encountered is something to marvel at
Piro - 18.06.2008 at 16:54  
There was a rapper that appeared at "Sounds of the Underground" at the webster theatre, its an indoor venue, so people didn't really have anything to throw, but what they did have they threw, ranging from loose change to paper balls. Some people even threatened to kill him, and he just left the stage because the booing was so loud you couldn't even hear him.
rock_2_thrash - 19.06.2008 at 08:03  
Was the cellphone a N95 8 GB one??? The reviewer could've included the model/make
deathovertime - 19.06.2008 at 19:56  
Why the hell would they send Lethal Bizzle there anyway? I thought Download was supposed to be more of a metal festival, but those are exactly the reasons why I don't go.
Varegan - 28.06.2008 at 02:24  
rappers in metal festival?! I'm sure their asses needed some kicks!!! and they deserve what they have get!!! I wish i could be there, then i could gladly throw a big brick trough their faces!!!
Ozman - 28.06.2008 at 13:39  
Written by Varegan on 28.06.2008 at 02:24

rappers in metal festival?! I'm sure their asses needed some kicks!!! and they deserve what they have get!!! I wish i could be there, then i could gladly throw a big brick trough their faces!!!


Download is NOT a metal festival... it is a festival like Lowlands, Roskilde, Pinkpop etc. so music from all across the board.
Promonex - 28.06.2008 at 13:58  
Written by Ozman on 28.06.2008 at 13:39

Written by Varegan on 28.06.2008 at 02:24

rappers in metal festival?! I'm sure their asses needed some kicks!!! and they deserve what they have get!!! I wish i could be there, then i could gladly throw a big brick trough their faces!!!


Download is NOT a metal festival... it is a festival like Lowlands, Roskilde, Pinkpop etc. so music from all across the board.

Which doesn't stop the audience of such festivals to show their despise for unloved genres. The same happened to German rapper Sido at Rock am Ring. Unlike Lethal Bizzle he chickened out though.
Ozman - 28.06.2008 at 14:25  
Written by Promonex on 28.06.2008 at 13:58

Written by Ozman on 28.06.2008 at 13:39

Written by Varegan on 28.06.2008 at 02:24

rappers in metal festival?! I'm sure their asses needed some kicks!!! and they deserve what they have get!!! I wish i could be there, then i could gladly throw a big brick trough their faces!!!


Download is NOT a metal festival... it is a festival like Lowlands, Roskilde, Pinkpop etc. so music from all across the board.

Which doesn't stop the audience of such festivals to show their despise for unloved genres. The same happened to German rapper Sido at Rock am Ring. Unlike Lethal Bizzle he chickened out though.


I know it doesn't stop them. But that sort of behaviour just shows how fucking intolerant most so-called music lovers are. If you can even have the decency to let someone finish their set then you are certainly NOT a music lover. At least show a bit of respect. If you don't like it walk away grab a beer and chill out.
Promonex - 28.06.2008 at 14:38  
Written by Ozman on 28.06.2008 at 14:25

I know it doesn't stop them. But that sort of behaviour just shows how fucking intolerant most so-called music lovers are. If you can even have the decency to let someone finish their set then you are certainly NOT a music lover. At least show a bit of respect. If you don't like it walk away grab a beer and chill out.

Most German hip hop - and Sido in particular - ain't music though.
Bubblehead 101 - 09.10.2008 at 18:31  
yeah!!!
Introspekrieg - 09.10.2008 at 18:38  
Sure it is fun to joke about, but anyone who is disrespectful enough to actually throw projectiles at a performer on stage needs to be smacked upside the head with a bottle... closed-minded fucks.
Great review though and great pics!
dave77 - 13.11.2008 at 05:27  
Axl rose will walk right off the stage if someone throws something at him. That caused riots in
St Louse if anyone remembers
As far as the teenagers are concerned I'm getting a little old. I'm not sure how much longer I can keep up.
ROck on!

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