Skin and Cancer Bats also play Saturday at Donington Park
Rolo Tomassi kicked off day two of the Download Festival (June 12) with a lunchtime set on the Ronnie James Dio Stage.
During their show the Sheffield experimental hardcore group asked the audience to sing ‘Happy Birthday’ to Ellen Godwin, co-founder of Holy Roar Records, the label which put out their 2006 ‘Untitled EP’. The large crowd obliged and the band followed the birthday rendition with ‘Kasia’.
Frontwoman Eva Spence then spoke about how the band had been at Download in 2008, but played to a crowd “a third of the size” as the one watching them today.
“It’s incredible to come back and play on this huge stage, which made me so nervous before I came out,” revealed Spence before ‘I Love Turbulence’.
Finishing up with ‘Party Wounds’, vocalist and keyboard player James Spence advised the crowd to check out Canadian act Cancer Bats, who were also playing the Ronnie James Dio Stage in the afternoon.
In turn, the Toronto hardcore heroes pulled one of the biggest second stage crowds of the day, pulling out a rendition of their Beastie Boys cover ‘Sabotage’, along with favourites ‘The Sorceress’, ‘Hail Destroyer’ and new song ‘Scared To Death’.
Thanking the crowd, frontman Liam Cornier said: “I know you guys are saving your energy for Rage Against The Machine, but I wanna thank you for coming out this early and partying with Cancer Bats.”
Lamb Of God later paid affectionate tribute to the Main Stage crowd, with frontman Randy Blythe telling Donington, “I gotta tell you this is our favourite festival in the world to play. The UK knows how to bring it.”
The Virginia thrash metal band ploughed through songs including ‘Ruin’, ‘Dead Seeds’ and ‘Laid To Rest’, before which Blythe expressed a message of solidarity, saying: “Don’t anybody put you down for the way you are or the way you dress, you guys are beautiful to me.”
Playing the Shangri-Las track ‘Dressed In Black’ in full over the PA before they took to the stage, Finnish romo-metal act HIM opened on the Ronnie James Dio Stage to blazing evening sunshine, playing songs such as ‘Heartkiller’ and ‘Rip Out The Wings Of A Butterfly’.
The band also treated the crowd to their cover of the Chris Isaak hit ‘Wicked Game’, which black beanie hat-wearing frontman Ville Valo introduced by singing the chorus acapella.
1990s hard rockers Skin played an enthusiastic set to a full tent at the Pepsi Max Stage.
“C’mon girls… Give us guys a chance,” said frontman Neville MacDonald by way of an intro to ‘House Of Love’. MacDonald also thanked the crowd for the reception they received when they played Download in 2009, adding: “It’s been an absolute blast to be back here again this year.”
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They finished their set with singles ‘Look But Don’t Touch’ and ‘Tower Of Strength’ from their 1994 self-titled debut.
The band, who reformed last year, also played a well-received 25-minute acoustic set yesterday (June 11) on the Jagermeister Stage.
Stuart Cable‘s band Killing For Company had been due to play the Pepsi Max Stage this morning – however, their set was cancelled after the former Stereophonics drummer was found dead on Monday (June 7).
Cable was honoured in a video tribute on the Main Stage yesterday evening (June 11).
NME is coming live from the Download and Isle Of Wight festivals this weekend. Head to NME.COM/festivals for the latest news, photos, videos, blogs and more straight from both sites.