The One Hundred – Saturday – Avalanche Stage
Having seen The One Hundred before we have a certain expectation of them but what we didn’t expect was to see them pull a massive crowd and quickly become one of our highlights from the whole festival. But that’s exactly what happened.
The bands debut album Chaos & Bliss came out earlier this year and it was an appropriate name for their whole set as the four lads dish out half an hour of genre-smashing brillance mixing hardcore, nu-metal, hip-hop and electronics into their music in a way few bands can do. Dressed in floral shirts and with frontman Jacob in a peach shorts and tee combo they show the whole of Download that rock music is whatever you want it to be. They’re not going to follow the norm so why should we?!
The set really shows why the Londoners are a buzz band at the moment mixing in tracks like ‘Kingsmen’, ‘Downfall’ and newest single ‘Dark Matters’. 9/10 RW
Casey – Saturday – Dogtooth Stage
South Welsh five-piece Casey are not a band you want to sleep on. So many aspects of the band’s set strung together to create a vibrant story. For the most part the band werehalf-hidden behind a mist created by the smoke machine in the Dogtooth tent. Characterised by their highly emotive post-hardcore sound, the haze surrounding them created a very fitting gloomy effect.
Throughout the set we are presented with a mix of aggression, ambient melodies, and occasional spoken word with emotionally charged lyrics right at the forefront.
Above all, what the band have tapped into is the art of storytelling, as all the pieces fall so effortlessly together.
In a dynamic performance, the five-piece showcase the multitude of tricks they’ve got up their sleeves. Judging by how crammed it got in the tent despite clashing with bands like Pierce The Veil and Knuckle Puck, it’s safe to say that Casey are well on their way. 8/10 SW
The Lounge Kittens – Saturday – Dogtooth Stage
Last time The Lounge Kittens played Download Festival they opened up the second stage but this time they may have been on a smaller stage but just as many people came to watch the fiesty trio put some elegance into Donington. There looked like they were more people outside the tent trying to get in than inside so well done if you cottoned on early enough to bag a space where you could see.
They opened with their version of Drowning Pool’s ‘Bodies’ followed up by one of the biggest sing-a-long’s with their Pop-Punk melody which they premiered last time in the fields of Donington ranging from Bowling For Soup and Blink 182 to Panic! At The Disco. The way the kittens manage to blend so many tracks into a coherant and harmonizing way is just incredible.
Everything about their vocals is spot on from the raspier vocals of Timia and the dinosaur obsessions of Zan to Jen keeping it all together with a keyboard under hand. With another two melodies to come including a 90’s TV show compliation and a Download mixup with many of the artists playing it’s no wonder why they’re so popular as they fail to leave anyone not singing along with a smile on their faces. 9/10 RW
Wallflower – Sunday – Avalanche Stage
11am on the final day of Download is not exactly a time we wanted to be awake, but in order to catch Wallflower we were willing to make the sacrifice. Granted the band’s emo, ambient alt-rock vibe was never really going to fit right in at the festival, but it really was a shame to see how sparse the tent was for their performance. Did it affect their spirit though? Evidently not, as even then they seemed humbled by the turnout they had.
There are so many elements and layers to the genre spanning sound of Wallflower. From almost psychedelic one second to rougher semi-growls the next, there are plenty of curveballs that the band manage to nail one after the other. ‘Mas Eu Quero Mais’ is clearly the band’s biggest track, and with anthemic chorus like that, it’s easy to see why. Be sure to keep an eye on this band, as they’re definitely going places. 7/10 SW
Blood Youth – Sunday – Avalanche Stage
Off the back of the release of their debut album Beyond Repair, Blood Youth made a welcomed return to Download. Clearly feeling right at home, they stormed into their set with no hesitation. The band’s high energy rapidly transposed to the growing crowd, and as their set progressed things continued to get heavier.
For the most part the band wear their heart on their sleeves, but sometimes it isn’t too evident as the lyrics are masked by a racing beat and prevalent riffs. The forceful energy calls for the formation of mosh pits and the in your face attitude takes it to an extra level of intensity.
Blood Youth are young, but they sure as hell know where they’re going. With a debut album now out in the world, this is just the beginning. They’ve got a selection of fantastic songs to play, and they’re going to make you listen. 7/10 SW
Dead! – Sunday – Avalanche Stage
Dead! burst out on stage with relentless energy and in no time they had people bopping and dancing along. With such upbeat, feel-good melodies it’s almost hard to watch the band and be still – even if it was just a light tapping of the foot. The band command the stage with confidence beyond their years.
Even in such early stages as a band, it seems that many have already clung to their infectious tunes, with a number of fans donning merch while many more excitedly sang along. Those newly acquainted with the band needn’t feel left out though. They too were given the chance to participate when Dead! kicked into their rendition of the classic hit ‘My Generation’, with many older members of the audience nodding in approval. All in all, whether you knew the band or not – this wasn’t going to stop them from their mission for a good time. 6/10 SW
Touché Amoré – Sunday – Avalanche Stage
Witnessing Touché Amoré is a constant split between nursing a heavy heart and catharsis in finding solace in the grief and heartache that Jeremy Bolm screams about. His impassioned yelps strongly contrast how soft-spoken he is when humbly thanking the crowd between tracks. The band power through song after song with the same ferocity. Though most tracks are short and snappy, they hold such great weight, oftentimes leaving you breathless.
“For what it’s worth…I’m sorry / and at the end I swear I’m trying” the crowd shout along to ‘Amends’ and for a brief second there’s a moment of silence as a cloud of intensity passes through the Avalanche stage. It doesn’t last too long though, and the band waste no time as they kick back into ‘Benediction’. Touché Amoré were emotionally draining, but they are a crucial band in our scene who deserve to be at the forefront of contemporary post-hardcore. 8/10 SW
Basement – Sunday – Avalanche Stage
Surprisingly the only wall of death we witnessed all weekend came from the most unsuspecting band – it was none other than Ipswich five-piece Basement. It also quickly became evident that nobody was having a greater weekend than vocalist Andrew Fisher, who sported a wide grin that didn’t leave his face. The responsiveness of Basement fans has always been a big part of what makes their gigs so great, and even in a tent undoubtedly also filled with strangers there certainly was no shortage.
The band released their third album Promise Everything last year and while they’d been away for a few years it was evident that fans were holding out hope for their return. Judging by the reaction to recent single ‘Aquasun’, many would agree it has definitely been worth the wait. Yet it was the goosebump-inducing echo of the crowd singing along to ‘Covet’ that truly showcase what it is that makes Basement so special. They didn’t need any more reason to smile about, but it was a triumph like no other. 9/10 SW