Following on from our coverage of the action at Download 2018’s Main Stage on the first day of the festival, we’re now moving over to the Zippo Encore stage. Read on for reviews of bands all across the day on the Zippo Stage from openers Culture Abuse to headliners You Me At Six!
Culture Abuse (7) start the day on the Zippo stage in fine fashion. Their rowdy alt rock immediately hooks you in and the bands brash and in your face attitude really helps them stand out. The band draw from punk and grunge hardcore throughout the set all whilst just clearly having a lot of fun on stage. Vocalist David Kelling doesn’t seem to care what anyone thinks and already seems to be boozed up to the max and it just adds to their appeal. They might not have pulled the biggest crowd but it’s clear people there won’t be forgetting Culture Abuse any time soon. SD
Having had to cancel their planned appearance at Download 2017, Texas natives Nothing More (8) were definitely keen to make up for it twelve months later. With their unique brand of tech metal influenced rock, their energetic and highly enjoyable set drew mainly from their recent album The Stories We Tell Ourselves.
Opening with the riff heavy Do You Really Want It, frontman Jonny Hawkins boundless energy was on show from the off. Whether he was leaping from their custom Built half drum half rigging contraption called The Scorpion Tail or beckoning more out of the rapidly swelling crowd, Hawkins combined all of this with an effortless and top drawer vocal performance throughout. War For The Planet Of The Apes track Let’s Go To War was well received, before the surprise inclusion of FadeIn:FadeOut caused enjoyment and tears in equal measure. Finishing with a one-two from their breakthrough self titled album of Jenny and This Is The Time, what was a huge crowd by the end were definitely left wanting more. JG
“That band with that song,” as frontman Chad I Ginsburg proudly announces themselves, return for their second stab at Download dominance since 2011 and the CKY (8) combination of contagious classics and chilled contemporaries certainly succeed. Neatly opening with the catchy ‘Attached at the Hip’, the summer sun peeks through to complete the 2000s skate rock flashback set. You’d never think nearly 20 years have passed since ‘Volume 1’ dropped in 1999 as ‘The Human Drive in Hi-Fi’ sounds effortlessly refined on the Zippo Encore stage. While most have lost our destructive and lawless lifestyles in the decades since, ‘Sporadic Movement’ still feels fresh in front of a dense and nostalgia-committed crowd while ‘Head for a Breakdown’ from last year’s ‘The Phoenix’ translates fantastically in a live sun-soaked setting. However, it’s the hyped ’96 Quite Bitter Beings’ that everyone has been waiting for – few will forget the image of thousands of eager second stage pilgrims bellowing that infamous riff back to an almost perfect rendition of their timeless anthem. AC
Andrew WK (5) certainly likes to keep Download fans waiting, leaving 4 years between appearances wielding his pizza guitar in the scorching sun. Unfortunately for 2018, the open setting of the Zippo Encore stage fails to provide the intense, intimate setting that the party president thrives on. Not for want of trying, the party opens with the usually epic ‘She Is Beautiful’ but the indifference of the crowd dampens its impact, especially followed by the normally air-punching ‘Ready to Die’. Brand new anthem ‘Music Is Worth Living For’ seems to energise the crowd but a less than energetic ‘We Want Fun’ lets the mood down again. Although a great idea on paper, a seemingly endless countdown to flawless closer ‘Party Hard’ wastes precious time that could have been spent on ‘Totally Stupid’. AC
Korn’s Jonathan Davis (6) is certainly no stranger to Donington, rivalling Corey Taylor for the most performances at Download to date. Today he is giving his solo music its first airing, and while he is still accompanied by an ensemble of musicians (including a double bass and violin) the charismatic frontman is making his mark as a solo artist. As you would expect, the set is made up almost entirely of songs from recent release ‘Black Labyrinth’, opening with ‘Underneath My Skin’ and closing with ‘What It Is’. While the new material is solid, what really sets us alight is the addition of Queen of the Damned anthem ‘Forsaken’. Although this classic brings the crowd to life, it isn’t long before they simmer down again to a state of quiet enjoyment and appreciation.
While the set is undeniably good, it doesn’t pack quite the punch of the album. Perhaps it is simply that the more avant-garde tones lose their impact in the vast outdoor environment. Then again – you couldn’t put JD in to a tent without a crush. There are certainly standout moments, including single ‘Basic Needs’, but ultimately we are left wishing we had seen this show in a more intimate setting. LF
Closing the Zippo stage today was British rockers You Me At Six (7). Now they aren’t the typical Download band and at this stage would undoubtedly fare better at somewhere like Reading Festival. The relatively small crowd size for a headliner seems to prove this. But none of this stops You Me At Six from attacking this set with everything they have. Josh Franceschi is full of charisma today and genuinely seems to understand the significance of Download to rock fans. His vocals are occasionally a bit patchy, but his enthusiasm and passion today makes up for it and the rest of the band are incredibly tight.
In terms of the set the tracks off their latest album Night People certainly sound better live and new Fast Forward gives fans a taste of what is to come. But it’s songs off the first four albums that remain the strongest parts of the set. Save It For The Bedroom will always provide a wave of nostalgia for fans now whilst Underdog and Loverboy remain great examples of modern rock done well. For some rock fans You Me At Six are a very easy band to dump on and perhaps sometimes they do bring it on themselves. But it’s clear that the band do still really care about rock music and as Josh bellows his way through Bite My Tongue to close the set, it’s hard to be too cynical about them. SD
Stay tuned for more coverage of Download Festival 2018’s first day on the Avalanche and Dogtooth stages, as well as the rest of the weekend!
Words by Ali Cooper (AC), Sam Dignon (SD), Jamie Giberti (JG), Lisa Fox (LF).
Nothing More photo by Jamie Giberti. Jonathan Davis photo by Kyle Mcloughlin. You Me At Six photo by Jennifer McCord.