Live: Download Festival 2009

United Kingdom United Kingdom | by Ruth Booth | 14 June 2009


reveal to VF the real reason Def Leppard are headlining. "Def Leppard weren't going to play until they heard we were playing," reveals Brent Smith. "We were actually going to headline the main stage, but we decided to let them do it."
"She caught a midnight train going AAAAANEEEEWAAAAAAAAAR" Journey don't need to be singing 'Don't Stop Believin'', the Download punters are taking care of that for them.
Steel Panther, the band who missed their big break because they misheard 'showcase' as 'shitfaced', are late for their press conference. Figures.
Fei Comodo
ask for a favour: "if you could just split down the middle..." they say for a massive wall of death across the packed Red Bull tent.
"We may have come from across the pond, but music is universal." Sevendust are feeling a little emotional over on the Second Stage.
Black Stone Cherry
reveal they've been asking fans at their recent gigs for setlist advice, particularly about ballad 'Things My Father Said'. Judging from the crowd singalong, they need not have worried.
Guitarist James from Pulled Apart By Horses has climbed up the speaker stack, while the lucky security guards in the pit are being serenaded by vocalist Tom. It’s par for the course in a Tuborg stage set that’s already seen group high fiving sessions.
God Forbid
crack out oldie 'Broken Promise' for the Download faithful.

Now Skin have broken into a cover of EMF's 'Unbelievable'. Maybe they haven't heard of Lady GaGa?
"Biggest gig of our career and I fuck the setlist up." Neville McDonald's a little red-faced at Skin's first show in over a decade.
Twin Atlantic
's Barry McKenna is a little worried about their Download debut on the Red Bull stage tonight. "My girlfriend had this weird dream that the Download crowd was pelting us with packs of cigarettes during our set." Okay then...
Most bands with a 30-minute slot would be squeezing in as many songs as possible, but Tesla aren't the sort to be rushed. Fran Hannon and Dave Rude fit in a guitar duel, and a little 'We Will Rock You' over on the Main stage before big hit 'Signs'.
It may be legends day on the Main Stage, but the Second stage is kicking things off screamo with Trigger The Bloodshed
"WAKE UP DONNINGTON!" yell Brides... to a virtually empty and passionless audience. Poor chaps!
Is that the Indiana Jones theme song we hear? Stone Gods sure know how to make an entrance on the Main Stage.


'People = Shit' brings the fireworks before Slipknot close with seething classic 'Spit It Out'. Have they topped Killswitch Engage's crowd surfer record from yesterday? Only a fool would bet against it.
's Corey is getting all inspirational: "This is the noise of all the people who have been misunderstood for too long and have decided to say 'fuck you'!" 
Someone's decapitated the Download Dog! There's a giant green dog head floating above the Slipknot crowd.

Tonight's a big night for Slipknot - the tenth anniversary of their debut album, their first headlining slot here. "I've been dreaming about this since I was ten," says Corey.

"'Freebird'? Fuck off!"
Sean from The Blackout is starting to regret putting a requests section into their last minute slot on the Red Bull stage.
Curfew? What curfew? The Prodgy kick off their encore with the mighty 'Invaders Must Die' and squeeze an extra 20 minutes out of their slot.
Did Sean from The Blackout just lick James on the head?! Must be the effect of being able to see one of his favourite bands on the main stage from the Red Bull tent.
Look out on the main stage! Slipknot's Jim Root just dropped a snare drum into the crowd!
We're worried early onset senility might have hit Maxim - this is the umpteenth time he's asked "Where the fuck are you Donnington?" tonight.
"Holy shit!" says Lips from Anvil, before kicking into 'School Love'. "It took me 27 years to get back here!" There's a mumble from agreement from anyone who's queued for the Tuborg stage toilets today.
Those roadies must be pretty annoyed as Marilyn Manson chucks away his mic yet again. His wardrobe mistress must be busy as he changes his top for the third time. And the less said about his makeup changes the better. Talk about high maintenance!
"This song's for everyone who's not a cunt" - Chris Cornell finally gives in and gives us a rare rendition of 'Black Hole Sun' by his former band Soundgarden.

FIGHT! Someone didn't take kindly to Chris Cornell's 'Scream' over on the Second stage, but missed and hit the guy in front of him with his pint. Mayhem ensues.
Absolute bloody madness!" is Thunder's response to the thousands watching 'I Love You More Than Rock'n'roll' in the Tuborg tent - and the hundreds more stuck outside. "It brought a tear to my eye," says Andy Rice from Staffordshire.

You Me At Six
finish their set by dedicating 'Save It For The Bedroom' to Fred Durst's Y-Fronts. Yum.

"This song's by someone who talks a lot of shit,"
says Josh from You Me At Six, before they kick off the second cover of Lady GaGa's 'Poker Face' to hit Download this weekend. VF's currently taking bets on who's going to succumb tomorrow (evens on ZZ Top).
 Tonight is Pendulum's 150th live show, so they celebrate by slipping in Metallica's 'Master Of Puppets' in to 'Blood Sugar'

VF spots a Spartan by the Main Stage - tonight he dines at Download, but not before checking out Slipknot.
Well done Download! The Blackout boys have turned out to the EA Hub to congratulate 400+ sweaty punters on breaking the world record for air guitar ensemble. They smashed the previous record of 319 set by Justin Hawkins' Hot Leg.
Considering Man Raze includes Paul Cook and Phil Collen, it's disappointing to see the tent so empty. But then except for some glorious solos, you wouldn't expect them to come up with rock that’s quite so "meh" either.
Poor Irish boys The Answer. People seem more interested in watching the second stage beehive being removed than checking out their classic rock stylings.
"Mud and rain" is all Anvil remember of their first ever Donnington experience, but they always hoped they'd be back. "We didn't choose Download, Download chose us."
We don't get this fuss about Down. I mean, other than those amazingly dense slabs of metal, Phil Anselmo belching and stealing banners from the audience, there's not much going on here.

A swarm of bees has apparently set up residence on the second stage and they're calling in a beekeeper. In the meantime you can expect loads of buzz bands over there, a whole load of buzzsaw guitar, and here's hoping Def Leppard don't go anywhere nearby. 'Cause they'll be asking people to "pour some sugar on". Okay, okay, I'm finished.
aren't all take take take. Throughout their set a man walks around with a lifesize cut out on a pole, with a sticker saying "win a date with this man." How community spirited! We still want our shots though.
"Let's do some more shots,"
says Wayne from Static-X - and immediately a scantily clad lady shows up with a tray of drinks. VF wonders if this service is up for hire.
We meet No Americana, unsigned pop rock chaps, who seems to get all the luck - popping their festival cherry playing Download!

"Thanks so much for coming to see us, especially with Hatebreed on over there." Charlie Simpson from Fightstar possibly a little out of touch with his audience after a double-header of 'Paint Your Target' and 'Grand Unification (Part 1)'.
James and Gav from The Blackout have also revealed they're planning something special for their slot replacing The Ghost Of A Thousand. Possibly a cover? Our only clue is some pretty brutal-looking air drumming from James...
The Blackout
's James is looking hopeful for their extra slot tonight, going up against Slipknot, Anvil, and The Prodigy "We're looking forward to seeing seven people, and that's it! But then to those seven, we'll go 'thank you very much for not watching Slipknot!' And five of them will go 'Oh no, have I missed Slipknot?’" Don't worry lads, Anvil have got a press conference later on, and we hear water and PAs don't mix...
get their cover on with Black Flag's 'Thursday I'm Miserable'.
"Any day that you're not in a hospital bed or a cellar is a fucking good day," says Jamey Jasta of Hatebreed, before launching into 'Thorns'. VF feels sorry for any teens in the crowd who just graduated to their parents' basement.
In Case Of Fire
have just admitted to being the only people on the site who missed Faith No More last night. If 'Plan A' wasn't such a tune, gents...
seem a little jealous of that air guitar attempt, so they've set up their own Guinness world record breaker - the biggest circle pit! Erm, we're counting about five out here, mate!
"I know it's early in the morning, but do you fancy a fucking moshpit?" Actually, Hardcore Superstar, we were just gonna stand at the back with our arms folded.
Rob from Kent is boiling in his boiler suit, but he says it's worth it for Slipknot - even when he's in the front row for the next nine hours! We salute your dedication, sir!
is the hottest festival in Europe - quite literally. We've even seen security wrestling one guy over a 750ml water bottle!
News just in that there's going to be an attempt to break the World Record for largest air guitar ensemble at 5pm. VF is practising her 'Freebird'.
Five Finger Death Punch
confirm "We're not responsible for your ass.” VF wonders if that's why we're having tummy trouble this morning.
VF takes advantage of the free Muller Rice while watching Five Finger Death Punch. Does life get any better than this?
Officially confirmed: 3,059 people came over the barrier during Killswitch Engage's set yesterday. Let's see if any of today's Main Stage bands can beat it!
News coming through that You Me At Six have a signing planned for 8pm tonight at the Drop Dead Clothing tent.


10:45pm “Thank you Download. It’s been a fucking long time.” It’s curtains quite literally for Faith No More’s amazing headline set tonight!
Mike Patton
strolls over to the curtains at the side of the stage, and coccoons himself in them as the crowd serenades the chorus of 'Easy' back to him. Awwww, bless.
"I may be Swedish, but I'm not fucking deaf. Where are you?" Jens Kidman and the rest of Meshuggah are giving it some math on the Tuborg stage.
Motley Crue
covering Hendrix's 'Voodoo Child'? What is this madness? Oh wait, they've put on lesbian softcore porn for 'Girls Girls Girls'. Panic over!
Mike Patton
from Faith No More hobbles onstage with a cane, dressed in a sharp red suit. He's just doing a Cobain though - two minutes later he'll throw his arms in the air as he starts crooning a cover of 'Reunited'.
That Duff McKagan's a cheeky one. Kicking off with the riff of 'Welcome To The Jungle', then slipping into a snippet from 'Paradise City'. We'll forgive you if you show us how you cut glass with those pecs.
There's a Stormtrooper queuing for the toilets. VF is confused over how precisely that's going to work...
"Okay, we were just joking. Our real name is..." Mikael Åkerfeldt pauses dramatically. "Whitesnake!" Oh dear.
"If you don't know who we are, we're Motley Crue." Opeth seem to be having an identity crisis.

"I did not fly halfway around the world to hear this bullshit!"
screams Jonathan Davis. Sorry sir, we'll do our best to scream louder, sir.
This may well be the first time bagpipes have ever made a Main Stage Download appearance. There may be a reason for this. Korn, there's making a stand for diversity, and there's making a stand for diversity. And then there's bagpipes.
slot a brief cover of 'We Will Rock You' into 'Coming Undone'. 'Will'? 'Will' Mister Davies, you be-kilted twirling nu-metal menace?
Three large bangs come from the front of the main stage. In the press tent, someone wonders aloud if someone's snapped and assassinated Dursto.


Not only have Limp Bizkit returned to Download to save rock, they also save one punter from getting squashed at the front, bringing the lucky sod onstage with them for 'Rollin''! Everyone's joining in with the ONLY Nu-metal Macarena ever, and VF is off to join them.
Enter Shikari
at least make an effort for their "secret" set, Chris trying to play bass with flippers on in vane through a set that includes rareities like 'OK Time For Plan B' and newie 'Step Up'. No such problems for their drummer Rob Rolfe, who climbs onto his kit in a vest and pants. Sexy.
Howard Jones
has a huge sweat patch down his lovely light blue shirt. Howard, we can see you're wearing something underneath. C'mon, if Adam D can do the metal vest (albeit with a leopardskin cloak) then surely you can?
Bring Me The Horizon
kick off with 'Diamonds Are Forever' with Oli Sykes heading into the crowd, and coming out covered in water. At least, VF thinks it's water...
Japanese metallers Dir en grey go down a storm on the Second Stage - with the exception of Karou's choice of tracksuit bottoms. "He's trying to rip off Jonathan Davies!" says Dom from Liverpool.
Killswitch Engage
make an early bid for Most Vulgar Onstage Comment of the weekend: Howard states, "I like vaginas which look like sushi dropped on the barber shop floor," while Adam D declares "I came to drink your beer and show my genitals to every single woman here." No wonder we see one guy running from the pit covered in blood.
We bump into Hexes frontman and Radio 1 DJ Dan Carter. "I'm in a hotel, the rest of the band are camping. They said 'Think of us, when you're in your hotel, I said 'Yeah, I will'."
attempt to do a press conference with no PA whatsoever. We think we hear something about crisps.
Lauren Harri
s (yes, Steve from Iron Maiden's daughter) is bringing it old skool on the Tuborg stage.
Parkway Drive
bring the biggest pit so far today on the Second stage.
"You're booing Canada? We're like your little brother!" Obviously Billy Talent were expecting a little more love for their homeland. However, judging from the reaction to 'Try Honesty' and 'Rusted In The Rain', the receivers of the first Main Stage boob flash of the weekend have little to complain about.
The Blackout
are replacing The Ghost Of A Thousand, headling the Red Bull stage tomorrow. Book your seats early, kids...
A Day To Remember's Jeremy McKinnon
seems to be having a bit of trouble reaching those high notes. Still it doesn't seem to bother the punters chanting along to 'Downfall Of Us All'. 


"I might need you to sing a little on this one."
Staind’s Aaaron Lewis leads the biggest singalong of the day so far on the Main Stage.

Dir en Grey's Karou tells us he's most looking forward to Faith No More today - he's not seen them before so he's "happy for the opportunity to see them". Good choice, sir!

While waiting for Dir en Grey to finish up, we discover The Blackout covering Limp Bizkit's 'Break Stuff', then blending it into Faith No More's 'Epic' over on the main stage. Wonder what Dursto and Mike Patton make of that?
Public Safety Warning - look out for a gorilla trying to hump people. He's armed and dangerous. Well, not so much armed...

tell us they're doing a DJing set over the weekend. Unfortunately they don't remember when. BAD PUNK MONKEYS.
News just in that Bring Me The Horizon are planning a signing session in the Drop Dead Clothing Tent at 7pm. A Day To Remember will be there at 4pm, and Red Bull Stage headliners Blackhole at 6pm.
Over on the second stage, party boys Steadlur cover '(You Gotta) Fight For Your Right' by the Beastie Boys. As we needed convincing!


"It's not as glitzy as you might think... just to have nice toilets and a dressing room with our name on the door is amazing to me!"
Festival-goers, now Red Bull stage stars, Young Guns destroy our illusions about what it's really like backstage at their first ever Download experience.

Back in the arena, Jesus (a.k.a Adam from London) is looking forward to Faith No More later today. Wait, what?


Rumours run wild in the press area. Is Steadlur's drummer missing?

Yep, the sun’s still out. What happened to those scattered showers, Met Office?

VF wakes up at a sunny (sunny?) Download to find The Ghost Of A Thousand have cancelled their Saturday set due to "urgent family matters". More on this when we have it.

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Send to my phone!Photographer: Sara Bowrey

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