Download Festival: Saturday Dimebag Darrell Stage
Photographer: Sara Bowrey12 June 2007
Cat The Dog open the Dimebag Darrell stage with the ease and cool of a band that have been working the
circuit for years. The young Brighton quartet make a good impression on a sparse crowd with their brand of underground
Indie tilted to a Lynrd Skynrd vibe.
Elliot Minor are definitely something different, fusing omnipresent rock with classical music leaving an explosive result. The five piece create a heavy soundscape of violins, pianos and unusual sombre vocals. As their name would suggest, these songs are all in minor keys and they make a lasting, original impression on an intrigued crowd.
Bloodsimple draw out the emo crowd with ‘Straight Hate’ standing out as a highlight. The band are angsty in all the right ways, their uncompromising and heavy sound is enogh to start a small pit!
Bring Me The Horizon are the skinny jeans brigade with a huge following. The crowd barrier surf from start to finish and stand out track, ‘Rawwarr!’ delivers maximum impact.
As I Lay Dying play a 30 minute set of pure metalcore holding an admirable comradely as a band. Each member complements the next like a fine three -course meal that’s served with perfect timing and enthusiasm. The power of Tim Lambesis’ grinding vocals make it hard to resist offering him a Strepsil but it pleases the crowds who chant the band’s name as they leave the stage.
Unsigned Anathema draw a considerable audience considering their lack of exposure. They are essentially a doom metal band but with a twist. Their epic songs, heavy on the atmosphere, are akin to Pink Floyd but heavily peppered with a bit of goth.
Gallows bring a punk element to Download, which is represented by the diverse crowd. An anarchistic performance from lead singer Frank Carter gets the onlookers straight on his side. An extremely energetic set allows the band to hold their own without any major label support and the shunned preconceptions about their scene. They don't adhere to any rules and fuse hardcore with rock n roll. An electrifying set from the Watford lads shows why warrents the tent being so packed.
My Dying Bride’s sheer intensity stands out from what has been predominantly a light line up of music. Their tortured vocals teamed with the atmospheric violin and keyboards are surprisingly refreshing. 'My Hope, The Destroyer' gets full marks for crowd interaction from particularly melodramatic front-man Aaron Stainthorpe.
My Vitriol make a beautiful comeback to the UK after having been based
in LA for some time. Dipping into material from 90's staple album, 'Finelines' the crowd are warmly familiar
with the dream pop melodies and layered harmonies that made them so popular. Som Wardner still possesses
the charm of the My Bloody Valentine’s Kevin Shields as he shuns the spotlight humbly.
'Always Your Way' is the standout song.
Biffy Clyro create a huge level of expectancy from a visibly excited crowd. Without doubt they deliver the goods confidently, launching into 'Glitter and Trauma' which is met with rapturous response. The band are certainly at the top of the prog rock game, heavy on the distortion teamed with thunderous drums - utterly euphoric.
Satellite Party are up next, with legendary ex Janes Addiction hero, Perry Farrell comfortably having nothing to prove, just to be his fabulous self. Having created this new project purely for fun the band deliver a set of high energy party music before throwing in the odd Janes Addiction track as well. The surprise inclusion of 'Been Caught Stealing' delights existing fans, particularly with Farrell's dancer wife onstage shimmying and shaking like an exotic pin up model. Keyboards, bass and an abundance of backing vocals launch their set up with a bang. Philosophical ramblings from a poetic Farrell ring true when indeed he concludes that 'no iPod on earth can come close to the feeling of seeing live music.' Quite.
Motley Crüe sensationally pack out an overly crowded and overheated tent. A million girls stand waiting to take their tops off next to a million Nikki Sixx wannabees waiting to get a glimpse of their hero! All guns blazing they tear into hit after hit, looking lean, mean and very together. Vince Neil's vocals are strong, Tommy's drumming is exceptional, Nikki's bass is as power driven as ever and Mick Mars, despite the degenerative bone disease, manages to squeeze in some incredible solos before throwing in a bit of Hendrix!
'Girls Girls Girls' and final track 'Kickstart My Heart' are the band’s best performances as well as a stomping version of Sex Pistols classic 'Anarchy In The UK' . Tommy Lee causes hysteria by offering the front row a shot and ordering it to be passed around the entire tent from person to person. His chant 'When I say Motley, You Say Crüe' is repeated by onlookers even into the small hours of the morning.
A one hour set was just simply not enough for a band, who, despite their ups and downs over the years, have well and truly got back on the wagon. Most recent single 'Sick Love Song' is the proof that, like good whisky, they’ve only improved with age. Amusingly, their egotistic arrogance is still omnipresent with Nikki's declaration that 'British groupies have come a long way since the 80's!'