Download Festival 2024 – Friday Preview

Download Festival 2024 Line Up Poster Final - Header

We’re just a few days away now from the gates of Donington being thrust wide open and then Download Festival 2024 will commence! To get you in the mood, or maybe to persuade you to part with your hard earned cash for some last minute tickets, here are ten of the bands Rock Sins thinks you should be checking out on the first full day of Download 2024, Friday.

Defects – Dogtooth Stage – 1pm

In years gone by many notable young up and coming bands have been given the honour of kicking off the Dogtooth Stage on the first proper day of Download Festival. Heriot for example last year took their opportunity with both hands and slayed their performance. Hoping to match that in 2024 are metalcore maestros Defects. Having described them as 30% Parkway, 30% The Ghost Inside, 30% Bury Tomorrow and 10% old Five Finger Death Punch (some of the vocals), Defects’ recently released album Modern Error is the best “new band” album of the year for some members of the Rock Sins editorial team by a considerable distance (read our Modern Error review here). This is an absolute must see performance if you can get into the arena early enough. You won’t be disappointed.

URNE – Dogtooth Stage – 2:40pm

Another highlight of the early Dogtooth line up on Friday comes in the shape of our friends in URNE. They’ve spent the last year touring Europe with the likes of Gojira and Avatar, and their most recent album A Feast On Sorrow is jaw droppingly good. Telling the story of frontman Joe Nally’s grief and processing at the decline of a family member, there’s nothing quite like it – and that is meant as a huge compliment. The only downside is with the length of some of URNEs songs, we might only get 3 or 4 in their small set time. Not enough we say!

These Damn Crows – (Main) Apex Stage – 2pm

The best band ever to come out of the UK’s huge New Wave Of Classic Rock scene a few years back, seeing Those Damn Crows work their way up the Download line up is a deserved reward for their years of graft. A band who can provide something for all age groups, most recent album Inhale/Exhale has some got fantastic tracks on it. We’re still hoping from some old favourites from Murder And The Motive (I Don’t Give A Damn anyone?). Go check out the Crows, and then run over to URNE!

Busted – Avalanche Stage – 8:30pm

Something we never thought would happen – Busted have come to Donington. Just to be clear, we are fully on board with this. Our only concern is just how much is that Avalanche Stage tent going to be overflowing. While Charlie Simpson’s other musical life in Fightstar has brought him to Download before, this is a (in our opinion) long overdue first Download for Charlie, James Bourne and Matt Willis together. Expect to hear some of the finest pop rock songs of the 21st Century and maybe a special guest or two along the way!

Funeral For A Friend – Opus Stage – 9:35pm

A last minute replacement for Bad Omens who are very sensibly taking a break to protect their long term wellbeing, this is an intriguing booking. A new look Funeral For A Friend, fronted by Holding Absence’s Lucas Woodland after the departure of Matt Davies-Kreye was meant to be a one off thing for Slam Dunk Festival. As is often the way, the fates have aligned to allow a repeat at Download 2024 (and maybe beyond if rumours are to believed). Judging by reports from Slam Dunk and the fan videos (such as the one we’ve included below), we are very glad they have! The unexpected must see set for elder emos (along with Fall Out Boy on Saturday of course).

Mr Bungle – Opus Stage – 6:30pm

Any band containing Mike Patton and thrash legends Scott Ian and Dave Lombardo is always going to be worth your time. Experimental-cum-thrash metal outfit Mr Bungle definitely fall into that category. Given Heilung are on the Opus Stage not long after them, Mr Bungle aren’t going to have the craziest set of the day but it might not be far off. A very rare chance to see them in the flesh, be sure to enjoy songs from The Raging Wrath Of The Easter Bunny. Song titles like “Anarchy Up Your Anus” and “Raping The Mind” may not instantly sound like they have wide appeal, but batshit titles aside, there’s some very good thrash here crafted by some of the best in the game. Not to mention some of the older, more experimental songs from the band’s earlier days. It could be the most eclectic set of the weekend, and certainly one of the most interesting.

The Callous Daoboys – Dogtooth Stage – 3:30pm

The other band most likely to take the “most mental set of the day” award away from Heilung other than Mr Bungle are The Callous Daoboys. Arguably the spiritual successors to The Dillinger Escape Plan, The Callous Daoboys have blended mathcore, the heaviest elements of metalcore and added several pinches of their personality to create something truly unique. Live, it is set to be absolutely ferocious. Definitely another performance where the paltry 25 minute set time doesn’t feel nearly long enough, although in this case, it might just be to limit the body count on day one of Download 2024 as there’s still another two days left after this. Want a hint for what’s to come? Check out the chaos of when they played The Kerrang K! Pit earlier this year:

Scowl – Dogtooth Stage – 6:50pm

Just the right combination of mainstream appeal and arse kicking punk attitude, Californian hardcore punks Scowl are seriously going places. Able to turn from melody to insanity (rivalling their stage mates The Callous Daoboys) and back again in a moments notice, it’s like listening to the bastard love child of Garbage, Hole and Walls Of Jericho. It absolutely works too. Frontwoman Kat Moss has an undeniable X factor, and is a large part of why Scowl may well never play a stage as small as The Dogtooth at future Download Festival’s. They will almost certainly be back, and when they return, they will be much bigger, so see them in the more intimate location while you can* (* If you aren’t already watching Mr Bungle, this is one of many hard choices facing Download attendees this year, more on the clashes to come).

*UPDATE* Scowl have just announced they have pulled out of Download 2024 due to the festival’s sponsorship by Barclays and the ongoing situation in Gaza.

Heilung – Opus Stage – 8pm

If any band in the alternative music world deserves to call their live experience a ritual, move over Sleep Token because it is Heilung. The Nordic / German trio are like nothing else on this Download 2024 line up; Their Spotify bio describes their music as “a trance including blend that invokes the very dawn of civilisation”. That feels very accurate. Part folk, part tribal, part ambient, 100% uniquely Heilung. Overlapping with Make Them Suffer, Busted and a little bit of Royal Blood, nothing could showcase the wonderful diversity of a modern Download Festival like having those options available to festival goers at once.

Ithaca – Dogtooth Stage – 5:10pm

Another choice from The Dogtooth Stage on a day which must rank as one of its finest since it was added to the festival, Ithaca are another very welcome addition to the Download 2024 line up. Their 2022 album They Fear Us remains in the eyes of many one of the best metal albums released this decade, and their singer Djamila Boden Azzouz is a true force of nature. A band who can play live with just about anyone owing to the variety in their sound and their sheer force of will to win over an audience, Ithaca feel like another band due to explode to a much wider audience very soon. Enjoy them on the smaller stage while you can.

Honourable mentions: Black Stone Cherry, Polyphia, Hanabie, Halocene, Wheatus, Dream State, Make Them Suffer.

All of these bands and many more can be enjoyed on the first day of the 2024 Download Festival, headlined across the weekend by Queens Of The Stone Age, Fall Out Boy and Avenged Sevenfold. Last minute weekend tickets and day tickets for both Friday and Saturday are still available – Sunday day tickets are now sold out! Anyone wanting to acquire some last minute tickets to the annual pilgrimage to Donington Park can do so on this link.

Stay tuned to Rock Sins for in-depth previews for the rest of Download 2024 as the week progresses!

Download Festival 2024 Line Up Poster Final

Download Festival 2024 District X Line Up Poster

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