DOWNLOAD KICKS OFF IN STYLE

There's all-new songs, smashed guitars and low-flying aircraft at Donington Racecourse...

DOWNLOAD FESTIVAL got off with a bang tonight (June 10) as ‘indie day’ dawned on the monsters of rock.

As aeroplanes flew low over Donington Racecourse, the festival, which was this year expanded to three days, cranked into gear while the sun shone.

Even Feeder got into the spirit of metal on their Main Stage headline appearance, with frontman Grant Nicholas smashing a guitar and exclaiming; ‘I’ve always wanted to do that’, while over on the Snickers Stage, Billy Idol was covering Van Halen’s ‘Jump’ alongside his own hits ‘Rebel Yell’ and ‘Dancing With Myself’.

But the main nostalgic attraction of the day were Biffy Clyro, who followed their London Forum comeback shows with an equally thrilling reminder of why they are legends, playing classics including ‘Freak Scene’ and their version of The Cure’s ‘Just Like Heaven’.

Earlier on, Megadeth debuted a brand new song, the thumping ‘Asexual’, to an adoring Main Stage crowd at the start of a busy festival season that will also see them play major slots at the T In The Park and Oxegen.

Other highlights of the day were a farewell performance from My Chemical Romance, a hit-packed set from Garbage and a ferocious Pavement on the Snickers Stage.

But all eyes had been on Sonic Youth, to see how their urchin-rock would go down with the heavy metal crowd. Despite having to briefly halt the set before ‘This Is For The Poor’ due to technical problems, they made it to the end of the show unscathed.

Earlier on, singer Dominic Masters told NME.COM: “The way I look at it is that as much as we’re an indie band, we’ve probably got a harder edge to us. Johnny listens to the Sisters Of Mercy, James listens to the Sex Pistols, Martin listens to Manchester bands and I listen to [/a] and [a]. So we’re not your average everyday indie band, we are an indie band and we always will be.”

“But because we’ve got a harder-edge element and I have to sell 40,000 records to qualify me to get my second album, we have to go to a new demographic of audience, and that means if I’m playing at Download, I’m playing at the Guilford festival, I’ve got to play to a new demographic of audience. This festival, with Slayer and Black Sabbath offers up a whole new world of possibilities.”

Tomorrow is the Ozzfest day, with a headline show from the original line-up of Black Sabbath.