As I sit down to write this, the second part of Rocksins’ Download 2012 preview, it’s currently brilliant sunshine out and temperatures in the mid to high twenties (somewhere around 80 degrees for those of us who only understand farenheight). We should all cross our fingers, get out our lucky charms and pray to whatever higher power you believe in to keep the nice weather going, or to postpone it and have it come back in time for Download. 2010 had some miserable rain amongst it, especially on the Sunday where by the time Aerosmith had finished their headline set the campsite had turned into something resembling Glastonbury. Though I didn’t camp last year, I’m sure the torrential downpours which made a lot of people give up before the likes of Linkin Park and Rob Zombie had hit the stage last year were similarly bad, so everyone think warm dry thoughts for this year!
Anyway, back to business. Saturday promises, in my opinion, to be one of THE great days in Download history. The depth and variety in the artists appearing is enormous. Again, as with our Friday preview (which you can read here), we’ve highlighted ten acts we really think you should see, and then a handful of honourable mentions too. If you missed the first part of our preview, covering the Friday, you can read it here on this link.
Well this article is hardly going to start with any other band is it? The biggest metal band in the world playing the album that has sold the most copies of ANY album in America over the last twenty years in it’s entirety plus a load of other hits? You’d have to be stark raving insane to not have a good view of this. Metallica always deliver on the big stages, and this is one of the biggest of them all. They have good history at Donington, and when they were last here six years ago it was the turn of Master Of Puppets to get the full airing. This promises to be just as memorable. The highlight of the weekend for many, even with the Sabbath reunion the next night. Do Not Miss This.
Last seen on the UK festival circuit sub-headlining under Metallica at Reading and Leeds four years ago, Jack Black and Kyle Gas are back to entertain us all once again as The Mighty D! With their album Rize of The Fenix having hit the shelves last week, fans can expect an airing of favourites new and old. Tribute and Wonderboy promise to be two of the days’ big singalongs if they choose to play them, while F*** Her Gently might cause some interesting acting in the crowd too. A live rarity, make sure you catch Tenacious D on the Jim Marshall stage before Biffy and Metallica.
Another of the days true entertainers, Steel Panther are currently riding as high as they ever have done. Second album Balls Out proved very much that Feel The Steel was not a one off flash in the pan, and a serious of sold out UK tours over the last three years has proven the appetite for the Panther is growing year on year. As Donington’s been known to have some rather promiscuous ladies over the years, something tells me Steel Panther might be enjoying themselves long after their performance has finished. Their signature hit sums things up nicely: Death To All But Metal (and similar things).
Still only in their mid twenties which is crazy when you think how long they’ve been around, Trivium are firmly established as one of the current generation of mainstream metal bands. Last album In Waves struck the right notes with a lot of people, and the band are currently at their highest profile for a number of years having recently headlined Metal Hammers’ Defender of the Faith III tour across the UK. A band who after nearly a decade have managed to silence most of the haters, they’ve a hatful of great songs to pick and choose from to shred their way through at Donington. Expect headbanging and circle pits aplenty at the Jim Marshall stage mid afternoon.
Donington newcomers and current darlings of the American hard rock and commercial metal scene, Halestorm will almost certainly make a big impact at Download 2012. Singer Lzzy Hale has got one of the most impressive female rock voices currently going, and the recent released album “The Strange Case Of” is packed full of songs that lend themselves towards being festival anthems, particularly The Rock Show and Freak Like Me. Having had a piece of huge mainstream exposure thanks to being covered on the most recent season of Glee, 2012 is the year of Halestorm. Head over to the second stage early to watch them prove it to you.
Seven years ago, back when the second stage at Download was still the Snickers Tent, A band fronted by then WWE superstar Chris Jericho made a big impact at Download 2005. Seven years later, Chris has been in and out of wrestling a few times, and Fozzy have been firmly established as a serious metal band in their own right with some fantastic songs such as Enemy and Martyr No More, powered by the riffing skills of “The Duke Of Metal” Rich Ward. The Fozz are regular visitors to the UK, having toured their last album here several times, including a great appearance at Sonisphere Knebworth last year in the pissing rain, and now they’re back on the hallowed turf of Donington on the second stage once again, this time outdoors. Expect Fozzy to come out and kick the day off the right way. Worth getting up for, even if you have a raging hangover!
Always guaranteed to be one of the best bands at any festival they play at, the wonderfully unique Skindred are just a great live band and seem custom built for festivals. As has been said countless times before, Benji Webbe knows how to involve a crowd like few other frontmen, demanding nothing but constant participation from an audience and usually getting it. Making it onto the Download lineup late this year after swapping over from the now defunct Sonisphere, you’ll find Skindred high up the bill on the second stage on Saturday, as there was no room for them over on the Jim Marshall by the time they were added to the lineup. Who knows, there may even be another festival wide session of the “Newport Helicopter”.
Fans dreamed of Jesse Leach reuniting with Killswitch Engage for years. When Jesse and Adam D reunited in Times Of Grace last year hope was kindled that one day it might be a possibility. Then Howard Jones decided to step down from his duties as Killswigch frontman after nearly a decade and the speculation went into overdrive. Then one day, a picture of the rest of Killswitch Engage with Jesse appeared on the homepage of their website and the rest was history. Their first performance together in the UK in roughly a decade is sure to generate tremendous interest and the fact they are only on the second stage shows the competition for places at Download this year. It’ll be very interesting to see Jesse’s take on some of the later Killswitch songs, or indeed what the set looks like. Another don’t miss event.
Flying the flag for young, talented British metal bands once again are our friends in Sylosis, who return to Download after a three year absence, having been spending most of their UK festival time at Knebworth in recent years (along with High Voltage last year). Sylosis’ performance in the Pepsi Max tent at Download 2009 was the first time a lot of people sat up and took notice of the band, so seeing them back in there three years later makes me think it’s going to be crushing room only in there. Expect absolute carnage incited by the likes of Reflections Through Fire and Sands Of Time. Potentially clashing with both Tenacious D and Skindred, there are yet more hard choices to be made.
Keeping Sylosis company in the Pepsi Max tent is the Slipknot and Stone Sour frontman doing his solo act which has ben so well received at Sonisphere in years past. Expect reworkings of Slipknot and Stone Sour material along with some interesting covers and bits and pieces of Corey’s solo work, a real meshing of material of all sorts. Coming just a couple of weeks after the second anniversary of Paul Grey’s death (RIP) some kind of tribute to his friend and brother in Slipknot would not be at all unexpected either. Corey always holds a crowds attention in a special way, and this I’m sure won’t be any different.
In addition to our ten picks, there’s some other bands and acts we recommend you check out across the many stages of Download on the Saturday including: Brit rockers Kids In Glass Houses, post rockers Lower than Atlantis, Wildhearts frontman Ginger and the rapidly up and coming Don Broco to name a handful.
This year’s Download 2012 Saturday really does contain something for everyone, and there’s a reason why it was the first day to sell out of day tickets. Get ready for another one of those memorable Donington Days!
The third and final part of our Download preview, focusing on the Sunday and the return of Black Sabbath will be up in a few days. In the meantime stay tuned to Rocksins for any other Download Festival news updates and the latest general rock & metal news.