Avalanche Stage Highlights – Download Festival 2018 | Live Reviews

Source: Matt Higgs

Cancer Bats

Heavy. Sweaty. Visceral. That’s how we would describe Cancer Bats’ set. The Canadian band didn’t leave a second to waste, keeping the tempo and energy levels at a high throughout their forty-minute set. The undeniable energy of frontman Liam Cormier is one that very quickly transfers onto the audience, starting with the band kicking things off with ‘Gatekeeper’, taken off their recently released sixth album The Spark That Moves and from the get go, circle pits started forming.

With their breakthrough album ‘Hail Destroyer’ celebrating ten years this year, it was a reminder of how the band have continued to release bangers throughout the years. The album’s title track still resonates as much as it did then, proving to be one of the crowd favourites, alongside the band’s brilliant cover of the classic Beastie Boys track ‘Sabotage’.

Source: Matt Higgs

Mayday Parade

Seeing Mayday Parade in 2018 is a crazy experience, especially with the nostalgia and sentimentality that comes with it. With their massive choruses, the band’s songs are the epitome of the noughties sound, and somehow their tunes are still just as catchy now as they were then. Quite evidently there were more than just a few people who grew up with the band, highlighted by the packed tent of the Avalanche Stage singing along passionately to the likes of ‘Jamie All Over’ and ‘Jersey’. 

However the band had more to offer than just that nostalgia aspect, treating the audience to newer tracks like ‘It’s Hard To Be Religious When Certain People Are Never Incinerated By Bolts Of Lightning’ and ‘Piece Of Your Heart’. One thing’s for sure – the band’s habit of picking criminally long song titles will never change, and neither will the emotional nature of their songwriting and performance.

Source: Matt Higgs

The Fever 333

For what was meant to be a secret set, The Fever 333 gathered a hefty crowd for their performance. It’s all very justified though, as they delivered was what arguably one of the most memorable sets of the weekend. At the front of it is vocalist Jason Butler (formerly of letlive.) who is an absolute cannonball on stage, and he’s accompanied by guitarist Stevis Harrison and drummer Aric Improta.
The band’s very first performance on UK soil proved to be a success, but quite honestly their unrivalled stage dominance makes it hard to not feed off their energy. Showing their political stances in lyrics that make you think, the punk rock trio voice this with aggression and frustration. Performance wise, it was something that kept you on your toes, as was the case with Jason Butler who even climbed up the side railing at the end of the set to add even more emphasis. With a live show like this, The Fever 333 are definitely not a band to miss out on.

Puppy

It’s early in the day Sunday, the final day of Download and a majority of people were probably battling a pretty nasty hangover. That didn’t stop Puppy from drawing a massive crowd into the tent of the Avalanche Stage. Even if people didn’t come to watch the set as a Puppy fan, they most likely left as soon. The band’ sound is an interesting one, partly because it’s so genre defying.

For the most part they’ve got the instrumental characteristics of a metal band, but there’s an effortless transition between chugging riffs and twinkling guitars. At the heart of it their tracks make you subtly head bang along but the fact that it’s also paired with some pretty fuzzy/ ethereal vocals, the result is something that truly stands out. After jokingly asking the crowd to chant for “one less song”, the impressed audience ended up asking for more.

Source: Matt Higgs

Jamie Lenman

Saying that Jamie Lenman is an interesting performer would be an understatement. He’s got a certain stage presence that has you giving him full attention from the second he walks on that stage, starting off with ‘Hell In A Fast Car’. He’s accompanied only by a drummer, but that’s more than enough to give the Avalanche stage exactly what they’re looking for. Catchy hooks come natural to Lenman, take for example in ‘All Of England Is A City’, and he seamlessly went through the set, everyone happily voicing the lyrics back to him.

The amount of Reuben shirts present in the crowd (even a decade later) indicated that there was probably quite a few people waiting for the former frontman would treat them to a blast from the past. Luckily Lenman didn’t disappoint as he kicked into ‘Every Time a Teenager Listens to Drum & Bass a Rockstar Dies’, before ending his set with another massive sing along to ‘Mississippi’.