Download 2004: Barfly Stage, Saturday

Virtual Festivals presents the best and most comprehensive coverage of the 2004 Download Festival.

The Barfly stage is jammed full of a surprising amount of top new indie rock acts. None have hair quite as floppy as The Holiday Plan, whose emo jumps and rowdy presence give an unflinching nod in the direction of Hundred Reasons and Funeral For A Friend. They’re young, eager and desperate to win their audience over, and at the same time they appear to be having the time of their lives sharing their brand of melodic sing-a-long rock to their first ever festival audience.

Fresh off tour with Ikara Colt (billed to play on the same stage later in the day) and riding on the success of heavily played video and single, ‘All Roads to Faulta’, Your Codename Is: Milo are full of energy and enthusiasm. They play a set twisting and turning between heavy, thundering moments and the more poppy tracks keeping the audience in tune and cheering for more.

Despite plying their intense melodic-thrash wares for the best part of the last seven years, this is the first UK show for Sweden’s premier metallic riff-burners, Burst. Although they suffer mildly from a somewhat weak sound, they still exemplify precisely why they’re building such an exciting profile in the hardcore/ metal underground, with even The Black Dahlia Murder literally bowing at their feet backstage. While mysteriously neglecting tracks from their outstanding Chrome Saint Magnus LP, ‘Conquest: Writhe’, in favour of their Relapse debut ‘Prey On Life’, the set is still intense enough to have the crowd around us declaring them the best band of the weekend so far.

Thinking Danko Jones is Scandinavian, possibly Swedish, is quite forgivable, thanks to his gritty stoner-blues mantras. But this Toronto-born singer/guitarist may as well be as he slurs his sharp JSBX-style sleaze onto the Donington throng. While his ‘witty’ one-liners come off as flat as steamrolled pancakes there is still no escaping the power in his soulful bluesy rock.

Naming your band after a classic Pixies album was always going to pull in those with a taste for the unorthodox, and judging by the sugary art-pop bizarre that lights up the stage upon Suferosa‘s arrival, it seems a good a place as any to find those receptive to their charmingly distasteful racket. Constantly dancing and manically jolting her neck from side to side, vocalist Mariann is continuously vying for attention, thriving on the wide-open gazes and gaping mouths around the tent as she grabs her tits and bends over erotically, while uttering some obscenity-laced squeals. And with the filthiest mouth we’ve ever heard from such a sweet-looking Scandinavian, Surferosa are pleasing no one but those who like a bit of shock value with their pop.

thisGIRL have been in hiding writing, recording and mixing their new LP, and we would really like to know what the hell they’ve been feeding them. From promising young emo band to explosive rock hopefuls, judging by this blistering performance the future for these boys could be incredibly bright. Their debut Drowned in Sound single, ‘Hallelujah’ comes out on Monday 14 June.

The (International) Noise Conspiracy all dress like Dennis The Menace in red and black striped tops.  They thrash about stage like him too.  But they don’t talk like him.  Instead, each song is preceded by po-faced Marxist sloganeering.  They sound great playing though, groovy and hardcore with real soul in the voice of Dennis Lyxzen.  Shut your ears between songs and they’re a hell of an experience.

Competing against Linkin Park and Pennywise for crowd attention as one of the very few indie/electro acts playing, Peaches manages to attract an impressive number of punters. Despite technical hitches and a somewhat confused crowd, the American vixen (famed for her outrageous live shows and fcuk-you attitude) proves her worth and gives it her all. Still, quite why she had her management demand that VF remove pictures of her cavorting with dildos at past gigs eludes us.

Alone onstage with only a few props and costume changes to keep her company, Peaches managed to hold the crowd’s interest in a firm grip, using her trademark mix of pulsing beats, funky guitars and racy lyrics. The set mainly highlights tracks featured on last year’s album, ‘Fatherfucker’, including recent single ‘Kick It’ featuring Iggy Pop, who despite having played on the main stage earlier in the day, was represented by a video image. Peaches is a welcome and certainly unique ending to day one of the festival.

• Download Mega-Gallery!
• Back to Download 2004 Reviews Home