FESTIVAL REVIEW : Download Festival (Day 1, Friday) – Slipknot, Judas Priest, Dragonforce, At The Gates & More
Owais 'Vitek' Nabi
The second band on the agenda was At The Gates who were on good form and blasted through a good setlist featuring “Slaughter of the Soul” and “Blinded by Fear”. As they left the stage we decided to scour the press area for anyone of interest. We had a quick chat with Vinnie Paul (Hellyeah) and Tomas Lindberg (At The Gates) still fresh faced from their performances.
Blues Pills had a large enough crowd considering the time of day. Their first Download performance went down well with the bluesy rock subduing the crowds attention, playing tracks such as “High Class Woman” and “Devil Man”.
Whilst the bands were changing over I went to briefly see Lacuna Coil whom weren’t as engaging as I had hoped but otherwise performed well. Clutch were on afterwards performing some great tracks, dealing out a great vibe with its southern and stoner tinged rock, and vocalist Neil Fallon being humble to the crowd at the end of their set. “The Mob Goes Wild” was definitely the highlight.
Judas Priest were phenomenal, Rob Halford is still going strong and was on top form with his falsetto notes, first seemingly struggling but then went full force and impressed me. The stage presence was intriguing with the images on the back screen especially the Nordic styled visuals during “Valhalla”. “Breaking The Law” and Rob riding out his Harley for the encore of “Hell Bent For Leather” were one of the highlights of the festival.
As typical for Download Festival the rain started and began the inevitable mud bath which would soon ensue. It did add to the atmosphere as Slipknot powered through their set with a spectacular pyrotechnical stage show. The addition of Sid Wilson dancing around added some amusement after the ferocity of the ‘crazy test’, featuring tens of thousands of crouching fans ready to jump up during “Spit It Out” at Corey Taylors command. Doing an encore of “People=Shit” and “Surfacing” which ended the first day on a real fuck the word mentality.
After the heavy crowds dispersed we checked backstage one last time for anyone still lurking around to no avail. Calling it a night we walked back to the campsite but got lost along the way as the usual route had been fenced off. Finding three guys making the same journey turned out to be Danny Leal and Sal Dominguez from Upon a Burning Body, who agreed to an interview after their performance Saturday afternoon. Luckily their merch guy was with them as he scolded a security guard who directed us back the way we came. Ending up with us being let through the fencing he was posted at and on our way to party.
Click Here To Read Day 2 Report