As you might expect, having recently returned from the yearly soiree to Donington for the 2014 Download Festival, Rock Sins will have loads of coverage in the coming days and weeks. But before all of that takes over our lives for the next god knows how long, we had a few things we wanted to get off our chests about this year’s Download (all good things). So without further ado, here’s six things we learned and observed at Download 2014….
1) High Five for Good Organisation
The first thing that struck us (and an awful lot of other people said the same or very similar) that in general how well organised the festival was this year. The experience that media outlets such as ourselves had had for the last several months in dealing with some of the behind the scenes people continued for all on site. From the camp pathways actually being gravelled rather than mud-slips waiting to happen to the toilets being checked, cleaned and resupplied very regularly (especially in the arena), everything just seemed to be that much better handled this year. Even the queue to get into the campsite, the bane of everyone’s existence seemed to have a much better degree of control about it. There will always be some things that don’t fall into this, but overall we must tip our hats to Live Nation and the people on the ground keeping it all flowing smoothly, more of the same next year please!
2) Steven Tyler Defies Nature
Steven Tyler (yes he of Aerosmith fame) is sixty six years old, or it should definitely be said, sixty six years young. Anyone who caught Aerosmith’s absolutely blinding festival closing performance cannot have failed to notice just what top form Mr Tyler was on. Countless singers have long lost their vocal powers well before they get to their sixties yet there was barely a note out of place on Sunday night as Aerosmith surpassed even their own lofty standards from their previous performance at Download four years ago. Steven Tyler also displayed the energy of men one third of his age continuously dancing around the stage like a loon and generally having a great time. He’s also in physical shape that would shame the majority of twenty five year olds. Quite frankly we don’t know how we does it (even if he does have a lot of money), and whatever he’s on, we’d like some of it!
3) Avenged Sevenfold Doubters Eat Humble Pie
A fair portion of the Internet absolutely shit itself when Orange County boys Avenged Sevenfold were announced as the first Download Festival 2014 headliners back in the Autumn of last year. Not big enough, not good enough and not enough tunes were amongst the more polite bits of mud slung at M Shadows, Synester Gates and friends. Well on Friday Avenged answered their critics with a resounding FUCK YOU of a performance. Full of enthusiasm, with a great stage set, a perfect setlist and a fair amount of pyro that any band other than Rammstein would be happy with, Avenged delighted the assembled masses with almost two hours of metal that went down a storm. We’re sure they’ll be back to do it again at some point in the future.
4) Bowling For Soup Should Be The Download House Band
Download and Bowling For Soup go together like Fish and Chips, or any other stereotypical British pairing you can think of. It just works. 2014’s visit to Download by BFS was no exception. A hilarious main stage performance involving the sacrificing of an inflatable sheep by a night of the realm was (somehow) even further upstaged by an unbelievably hysterical acoustic performance (particularly as BFS main man Jaret Reddick had had, shall we say, quite a few beverages by then). Having drawn one of the biggest main stage crowds all weekend, the love for Bowling For Soup at Download has never been more evident. Give them a mid afternoon slot every year and fun is guaranteed.
5) You Can Never Have Too Many Comebacks
Bands retire and then return years later all the time, for a number of reasons. For money, for the glory, for being bored at home and wanting to get back out on the road, for wanting to reunite with their friends and play some classic songs for their fans. Download 2014 saw a range of comebacks with bands such as Crazytown and American Head Charge either making their Download débuts after recent reformations or returning to Donington after absences of many years and getting the band back together (some with more success than others it should be said). One comeback topped them all though, as SikTh returned to Download after an eight year absence. Their performance on the Red Bull stage on the Saturday night was the band’s first show in nearly seven years, and they nearly burnt the place to the floor with their performance. Welcome back SikTh!
6) Trivium Overcome Adversity In Style
Your drummer is almost brand new, a month ago your frontman blows out his voice in spectacular style and up to a week before the performance you’re not sure if he’s going to be able to go ahead with it. A lot of band’s in Trivium’s shoes would have pulled out of the festival long ago to protect their singer, but then a lot of band’s aren’t Trivium and don’t have Trivium’s relationship with the UK. Matt Heafy soldiered his way through Trivium’s headline set on the Zippo Encore Stage in style, even when you could hear how screwed his voice was when he spoke. Ably assisted by Corey on the growling vocal duties throughout, their performance was nothing but a success.
That’s just a handful of the things we learned at Download 2014. Stay tuned for a full day-by-day review of the festival, not to mention loads of interviews from backstage at Donington and our very own Matt Hill’s annual “Matt Report” on the happenings of the 2014 Download Festival.