June 24, 2009
Live Review: Download Festival
Still the best weekend for getting rocked...
Ever since the dawn of time (well, the '80's) Donington has been the spiritual home for boozed-up denim-and-leather clad clans who yearn for nothing more than a few days in the sun banging their heads and playing their air guitars. Despite the digital-age name-change from Monsters of Rock in'03, it has remained a rite of passage for any self-respecting rocker.
Leading the charge in Friday afternoon are The Blackout, an act who have the right ghd-fringed look, but sadly fail to have an original thought in their heads. Sacramento's Middle Class Rut, on the other hand, are thinking outside the box and although they're one of the lighter bands on the bill, they pull the right rigorous shapes to charm the crowd, thereby dodging the piss-bottles.
Speaking of a load of old piss, latest addition to the reunion bandwagon Limp Bizkit waste no time launching straight into 'Break Stuff'. Now we all know that the Bizkit are bad, but it's one hell of an opener, waking up thousands of the crust-covered crowd. With his red baseball cap once again perched on his baldy head, Fred Durst looks a bit like a giant penis as he bounds around the stage throwing gang signs and using language your mother wouldn't like, but you know what? 'Nookie' might make us feel as dirty as rummaging through Jodie Marsh's knicker drawer, but their performance is a definite guilty pleasure.
Going on the amount of T-shirts and ill-advised glam-metal haircuts on display it would seem that Mötley Crüe's brand of rampant sexism is once again back in fashion. A minute into 'Kickstart My Heart' the mystery of why the doughnut stand ran out of produce seems to be solved as portly prima-donna Vince Neil waddles around looking particularly pleased with himself. While he may be, er, a little "lived in" these days he's still a great frontman. Macho posturing aside, they deliver a surprisingly hit-filled set, too.
A mere novelty, though, compared to Faith No More who are on world-beating form, still working the same frenetic chemistry that made them such an interesting prospect in the '90s. Ever the joker, Mike Patton comes hobbling onstage with a cane, clad in crimson. Whether it's 'Epic', 'From Out Of Nowhere', 'Midlife Crisis' or a short-lived rendition of Lady GaGa's 'Poker Face', you can't take your eyes off their performance for even a minute.
Patton is clearly in his element, hiding behind the red velvet curtain during 'Easy' as if ashamed of the novelty hit and poking fun at the crowd ("Hey, this is an '80's festival, right?"). As he closes with a set of show-off sit-ups during set closer 'We Care A Lot' it's clear that Faith No More are still more than fit for the task. One of the sets of the year.
The following two days don't quite live up to that standard, but there are are a few tasty nuggets to keep us entertained, such as a heavier-than-thou slot by Down, with former Pantera frontman Phil Anselmo giving a powerhouse performance. Northern Irish newbies In Case Of Fire and The Answer are maturing in leaps and bounds, the latter sounding like future headliners. Marilyn Manson's show is a typically run-of-the-mill affair, with the God Of Fuck seeming more like the God Of Fuck All these days. When he dry humps the stage he looks like an OAP in need of a hip replacement rather than an Antichrist Superstar. Now that really is shocking...
Comeback kids Therapy?, however, only seems to get better with age. Their current release, 'Crooked Timber', sounds monstrous live and they're strong runners-up for band of the weekend. More than happy to confirm that metal and cool are not natural bedfellows, Def Leppard close ceremonies for the weekend with some fromage-fuelled anthems, leaving us to conclude that if 'Pour Some Sugar On Me' makes us wrong, then we don't ever want to be right.
To read all our reviews first - days before they appear online - check out NME magazine, on sale every Wednesday
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