The final day of any Download Festival is often a bittersweet experience, armed with the knowledge that there isn’t much of the festival left to go but still plenty of music to ones teeth into (and for many, the fact that they will soon return to a warm bed and functional toilet). Download 2013 was no exception in this matter, with many of the most anticipated artists performances scheduled for the final day. There was also the matter of the festival closing appearance by a group of Germans who have taken eleven years to make their Download debut. But more on them later…
If you haven’t read the first two parts of our day-by-day Download 2013 coverage and would like to, before we launch into Sunday’s coverage, you can find the links below. You will also find the link to our reporter Matt Hill’s special look at all three days in one:
And so, on with the bands. The first thing Rocksins heard upon entering the arena on Sunday lunchtime was Dez Fafara’s (of Devildriver fame) reactivated original band Coal Chamber (6.5), who had pulled in a very healthy crowd for a spot of nu-metal nostalgia. Opening with their hit “Loco” which went down a storm with the masses, Rocksins wasn’t able to watch Coal Chamber’s full show. We did return for the last couple of songs including closer Sway, and Coal Chamber were given a rousing send off to a performance that can be classified as short but satisfying.
Five Finger Death Punch (8) can often split opinions in the metal community with their slick, polished slice of American metal, but there were not many doubters in attendance at Donington on this day as “The Death Punch” drew an enormous crowd. Ivan Moody was in commanding fashion, holding the audience’s complete attention as they rattled through favourites such as Burn It Down & The Way Of The Fist. Inviting a group of children on stage to join the band for part of the performance was a genius move, as Ivan regularly made sure that we “give it up for the next generation” (huge respect to the kid in the Asking Alexandria shirt, who knew every single word to all the songs). The new single “Live It Up” (which on record features Judas Priest’s Rob Halford) is an absolute monster of a track both live and on CD and if that’s an indication of their forthcoming double album, that may be the final ingredient in the 5FDP puzzle. This was a performance that showcased a band who tick all the boxes necessary to be absolutely massive, and if they continue their ascent they may well headline on Donington’s hallowed turf one day.
How do you follow that up? By watching Norwegian Viking metallers who bring their own Viking Longboat for their performance. The mighty Amon Amarth (7.5) had pulled out all the stops with their stage set for their first Download appearance in five years and unleashed one of the heaviest sets of the weekend to back it up. Sadly technical difficulties had meant a late start to their performance, meaning Amon Amarth were only able to play four songs. However, after three very enjoyable songs, they closed with the magnificent Twilight Of The Thunder God, offering one of the best “pure metal” moments of the whole weekend as the thousands in attendances threw the horns and headbanged as one with abandon. The only area Amon Amarth could be faulted on was the shortness of their set. Do not miss them headlining Defenders Of The Faith IV in November.
Stone Sour (9) were perhaps the surprise of the festival. Everyone knows they’ve always been a good band, but like 5FDP before them, this felt like the day where Corey Taylor and Jim Root’s “other band” took a gigantic step up. Amidst Corey’s multiple references to thanking us for having him all weekend, Stone Sour showcased just what a great array of songs they have built up over their five albums. The opening of Gone Sovereign / Absolute Zero went down a storm. Say You’ll Haunt Me incited a huge singalong, though that was nothing compared to when things were slowed down with the one-two of Bother and Through Glass.
The surprise of the day? After making a dedication to the fathers of metal Black Sabbath, Stone Sour launched into a storming rendition of the Sabbath classic Children Of The Grave; Rarely has a cover version sounded so good. The finale of Get Inside and 30/30-150 was the perfect follow on and conclusion to a fantastic hour of metal. This performance indicates that Corey Taylor could become the first frontman to headline Download with two different bands; The fact that Stone Sour had the biggest crowd of the day aside from Rammstein will surely not go unnoticed by the powers that be. They have the fans, the songs, the stage presence and in Corey Taylor they have someone with the true “X Factor” (none of Simon Cowell’s bullshit). New headliners will be needed here in the next few years and Stone Sour may well have jumped a lot of the queue on the back of this showing.
The Full Stone Sour Setlist Was:
Made of Scars
Do Me a Favor
Say You’ll Haunt Me
Nutshell (Alice in Chains cover, Corey solo)
Bother (Acoustic, Corey solo)
Children of the Grave (Black Sabbath cover)
For any long term Metallica fans, as many of us at Rocksins are, the announcement that Jason Newsted was to make his Download bow with his solo project Newsted (7.5) made an instant “must see” experience for the Sunday of Download 2013. Arriving in a rammed Pepsi Max Tent our eagerness was matched by numerous others, who greeted Jason like a long lost brother, for which he seemed genuinely touched and thanked the assembled masses numerous times.
The Newsted brand of metal, based on their debut E.P, isn’t going to break any boundaries in the metal world but it doesn’t need to when it’s played with the fire and verve that was displayed by Jason and his bandmates at Download. The performance was crowned by a rapid fire sprint through the Metallica classic Whiplash, which has arguably never sounded so powerful (“It’s F***ING WHIPLASH!!!”). With a departing statement asking us to be good to each other and to keep the metal alive, Jason had played his part in doing just that.
The choice over whether to watch 30 Seconds To Mars or A Day To Remember was an interesting conundrum, but in the end the need to acquire a prime position for what would follow 30 Seconds To Mars (5.5) meant that Rocksins spent an hour in the company of The Leto brothers and co. Opening with a very elaborate display including masked drummers wearing multicoloured masks, it was in keeping with what one would expect from a band where the singer is a Hollywood star.
In amongst the music (of which sadly there was far too little from the band’s breakthrough album A Beautiful Lie), the crowd were kept entertained with the unleashing of a plethora of firstly giant balloons and later inflatable sea life (in what is probably a Donington first). Jared also scored a couple of amusing verbal direct hits on members of the audience who weren’t enjoying his efforts, and following on from both Bullet For My Valentine and Iron Maiden on previous days, decided to announce a huge UK tour for this coming November. Except in this instance, Mr Leto rattled off every single date.
The festivities continued when several members of the audience were invited to join the band on stage for the closing Up In The Air, including a girl who ended up being jokingly mocked by her hero in front of thousands when she was so emotional she was unable to speak. 30 Seconds To Mars offered an entertaining performance and Jared Leto proved, unlike on 30 Seconds’ previous Download mainstage appearance in 2007 he is actually capable of singing an entire song without giving up half way through. What let them down was there just didn’t seem to be enough actual music in their performance, and for such a high profile festival set too many of their most well known songs were missing.
Anyone who has seen Rammstein live before knows that just about anything is possible, and that it also has the potential to be one of the best things anyone is likely to see for a very long time. There was some consternation prior to the German sextet’s performance that perhaps expectations had been blown out of proportion and that they couldn’t match up to what was being expected of them.
Needless to say, any fears of overexpectation were complete and utter tosh, proven within seconds of the opening “Ich Tu Dir Weh”, which saw Till Lindemann descend from the rafters on a mechanical lift shooting fireworks with Till adorned in a pink fluffy coat. Only Rammstein could pull this off and only Rammstein would try. The highlights were too numerable to mention individually, indeed one could argue convincingly that the entire performance was one 100 minute long highlight.
The sound, which destroyed Iron Maiden’s performance to such a large extent the previous evening was rightfully flawless throughout. The setlist was engineered to almost perfection, with some rarely heard songs such as Wolt Ihr Das Bett In Flammen and the punishing Benzin mixed in with obvious choices (and favourites) such as Links 2 3 4 and Feuer Frei. Certain stage elements from the awesome Made In Germany tour had been retained such as Till boiling keyboardist Cristian “Flake” Lorenz alive in a giant scalding pot whilst dressed in butchers garb but they still felt fresh and entertaining whilst others had been enhanced; Few are likely to forget the sight of Flake being “sodomised” by Till on a hydraulically raised platform before Till then “climaxed” over all around and beneath him.
The sound of 90,000 people taking the bait from Till and singing Du Hast in unison is something that will live in the memory for a very long time; To add to that, Till then picked up what can only be described as a firework bazooka and launched firework missiles to the sound stage which then triggered more fireworks to return to explode all around the stage in one of the best pyrotechnic displays ever seen by Donington. Moments such as these throughout the performance made you know you were watching something special. After a thunderous rendition of Ich Will brought the main part of the performance to a close, Rammstein had one more new trick up their sleeve for the encore.
At this point you might be expecting a description of an elaborate pyro display or something shocking, but instead, never a band to do what one would expect, Rammstein took it completely the other way. All we had was a piano, with Flake at the keys, and a stunning vocal performance from Till as Mein Herz Brennt was stripped back to its bare bones, and it had never sounded better. The craziness was then reignited as Sonne (minus the countdown) was blasted across the fields of Donington, and possibly the only “expected” part of the show was that the cock cannon made its now traditional appearance for the finale of Pussy.
Rammstein’s Full Setlist Was:
Ich tu dir weh
Wollt ihr das Bett in Flammen sehen?
Asche zu Asche
Du Riechst So Gut
Rammstein / Bück dich
Mein Herz Brennt (unplugged)
This was not only a performance that stole the show as far as Download 2013 was concerned, it was a performance that will go down in Donington history as one of the very best the hallowed turf has ever seen. Whether it was the greatest ever Download Festival performance is a debate for another day, but on this day Rammstein were utterly perfect. If you haven’t seen them live before, this is a plea: Please make sure you see them at least once, you’ll never regret it. 10 / 10.
And so, another Download Festival was brought to a conclusion. The eleventh annual pilgramage to the spiritual home of rock and metal wound down with one last round of partying, drinking and fairground rides and thoughts have already turned towards doing it all again next year.
Download Festival 2013 Summary
Band Of The Day – Friday – Hang The Bastard
Band Of The Day – Saturday – Bury Tomorrow
Band Of The Day – Sunday – Rammstein
Band Of The Weekend – Rammstein
Other honourable mentions – Stone Sour, Slipknot, Katatonia, Five Finger Death Punch, Amon Amarth