Boston Manor have come a long way since their inception, and most recently they opened up the main stage at Download Festival. A task that can obviously be quite daunting, but the Blackpool band showed no hesitation at dominating such a large audience. Where the band are usually quite pop punk in nature, their performance at Download showed a slightly different side, a heavier take on the band’s material.
This was already slightly present in tracks like ‘Trapped Nerve’ but there was a step up in terms of shouty vocals and chugging guitars. Playing tracks across their past releases it was great to see how the band have continued with experimentation on existing tracks over time. A sneak peak at new material came in the form of ‘Halo’, an infectious tune that hints at a promising sophomore full-length from Boston Manor.
Bullet For My Valentine
Welsh heavy metal band Bullet For My Valentine were greeted by a packed main stage, a testament to the relevance that they have managed to preserve throughout the years. With it also comes the sweet feeling of nostalgia, as they run through a series of tracks that have stood the test of time like ‘The Last Fight’ and ‘Tears Don’t Fall’.
It’s been a while since the band have been at Download, but after five years away they made sure that their return was memorable with a set accompanied by pyro in the backdrop and rapturous sing alongs from the excited crowd. Clearly no strangers to the overwhelming number of people all across the hill watching over the stage, the band’s set clocked in at just over an hour long with no slowdown in their infectious energy. Their performance was smooth and effortless, and surely it won’t be five years before the band make their next return.
Headlining the first day of the famed rock/metal festival was a task given to California natives Avenged Sevenfold. They’re no strangers to this slot though, having headlined the main stage back in 2014 as well. A few years down the line, they’re still just as well loved and delivered an impressive performance. Having formed way back in 1999, the band have got a hefty back catalogue to choose from that took the audience on a journey through memory lane.
There were definitely mosh worthy moments that evening, but there were also some touching moments honouring some fallen figures. A montage of videos of late drummer The Rev was displayed across the big screens, as they pay tribute to him before kicking into the track ‘So Far Away’. This was before they then dedicated a cover of Pink Floyd’s ‘Wish You Were Here’ to the recently passed Anthony Bourdain.
A headline slot at Download is never complete without some impressive lighting and pyro. Following a beautiful sunset, these effects were further highlighted in contrast against the dark night sky. Playing hits like ‘Afterlife’, ‘Bat County’ and ‘A Little Piece Of Heaven’, it proved to be the perfect way to end the festival’s opening day.
There’s a special connection Alexisonfire made with their fans a long time ago, and it’s one that is evidently still held dear by anyone who ever loved the band. Packing out the second stage, the band walked on stage to a long instrumental intro, almost teasing fans of the fantastic performance they were about to deliver. As the crowd got more and more hyped up, ‘Young Cardinals’ kicked things off and it was met with a roaring reaction.
The loud sing alongs and cheers didn’t ever cease throughout the set though, and it served to show just how many massive songs Alexisonfire have (arguably all the songs), from ‘This Could Anywhere In The World’ to ‘Accidents’. Their performance was as emotionally charged as ever, a strong solidification that the band should have never been away in the first place.
Without meaning any disrespect, Marilyn Manson has become the popular figure he is today not necessarily due to his vocal abilities, but rather it is the guarantee that he will put on a show worth remembering. With a clear knack for the theatrics, he feels almost like a gothic cult leader, and you can’t help but be hypnotised by his stage presence.
Granted, at this year’s Download he was a little more toned down than some of his more elaborate past performances, but there was still an undeniable electricity as he showcased some of the classic Manson hits, like ‘mOBSCENE’, ‘Sweet Dreams (Are Made Of This)’ as well as a special performance of ‘The Beautiful People’ featuring Dani from Cradle of Filth. Having been built up from the crass nature of it, and the “shock factor” that is present in not only his tracks but his performance, Manson has truly created a stage persona quite unlike any other.