Year on year festivals seem to be a wholly male world and there have been years where it’s been tough to even fish out one female on the Download Festival line up but something seems to have shifted in 2018. From looking at the lineup alone it’s incredible the amount of females gracing the stages including a few on main stage and while the split between genres is probably never going to be equal it makes a pleasant change.
Alongside the below bands which we’ve mentioned shout out to In This Moment, Bad Cop Bad Cop and L7 who also few the flag for women out there showing it is possible.
Employed to Serve
Woking based- Employed to Serve are one of the most exciting bands to come from the UK scene and with plenty of noise around the band we knew we had to check them out. Opening with ‘Void Ambition’ front woman Justine Jones’ screams pierce through the strong crowd gathered at the Avalanche Stage and the hardcore riffs reverb around the tent. When listening to the band it’s hard to know that the person providing the deathy screams is a woman.
When riffs come in this much abundance it’s hard to stand still as the band work through a small selection of tracks including ‘Good for Nothing’, ‘Platform 89’ and ‘Beg For Rain’, the later something we secretly hope for as the sun blasts down on Download. There’s technical riffs, splashes of melody and heavy breakdowns aglore so even if you’re not a hardcore music fan you can appreciate the band’s oozing talent.
Marmozets were away for quite some time now but made a very welcomed return when they recently took to the main stage at Download. The family band released their latest album Knowing What You Know Now earlier this year, a clear progression evident with the four years passing since the release of their debut album.
Just as with the record, they kick off the set with opener ‘Play’, and though it was early in the day, it was enough to get the crowd pumped up. The “weird and wonderful” aspect we know and love of the band is still very much evident, and frontwoman Becca Macintyre is as vibrant as ever – her energetic presence sparking up the already sunny day. A noticeable change in their performance is the seemingly larger importance of cleaner vocals, hooks ringing loud and melodically.
There’s something utterly mermerizing about Rolo Tomassi frontwoman Eva Spence as she bridges the gap between two distant vocal styles switching between demonic screaming and melodic overtly feminie singing. For over 12 years the band have been ignoring the rule books and pushing their own unique vision and if the amount of people crammed in the Avalanche Stage tent is anything to go by they’ve done right.
Their fifth full-length album Time Will Die and Love Will Bury It came out earlier this year as they blast through tracks from it like ‘Rituals’ with it’s spooky electronic keyboard sounds and blasts of heavy riffs and ‘The Hollow Hour’ which has an atmospheric build up. Eva moves around the stage at such a speed she seems to disappear from sight for seconds while her brother James is a whir of energy as he moves from behind his keyword to centre stage with his microphone.
The Pink Slips
Download is always great for discovering young talent, and this year’s festival was no different. Granted, it wasn’t Los Angeles punks The Pink Slips’ first time playing at Donington Park, but it was the first time that they have played the main stage, an applaudable feat. At the centre of the band is the ever so quirky Grave McKagan (yes, she is in fact the daughter of Guns N Roses’ Duff McKagan), whose presence on stage definitely makes it definitely to look away.
Whether she is rolling on the ground or yelping out lyrics, her raw honesty rings true. Much like the company she’s got beside her on stage, the band have that “don’t give a shit” attitude and don’t seem to make any effort into delivering a clean, polished performance. On the contrary, The Pink Slips are a pretty weird bunch, which isn’t necessarily always a bad thing.
A lot of the appeal surrounding Babymetal is the crazy concept of it and how the contrast of Sumetal, Moametal and Yuimetal to the talented musicians behind the band create something so kooky that somehow it works. Driving what was easily the biggest crowd we saw at second stage throughout the weekend, the band created a performance surrounding the the storyline of The Fox God and the Chosen Seven.
Nothing against the musicianship of Babymetal (because it is one that shouldn’t be faulted) but the appeal of the band is definitely the show that they put on, something they delivered to all the curious spectators. Despite the language barrier, nothing stopped the crowd from mumbling along to the likes of ‘Gimme Chocolate!!’ and ‘Karate’.
Ever since Slam Dunk Festival we’ve certainly sat up and noticed Swansea five-piece Dream State so of course we had to see them at Download. The band’s pop-tinged chorus’ are infectious and help the band win over the crowd with pure ease as they pound out tracks like ‘Help Myself’ and ‘White Lies’ from ther recent Recovery EP. CJ is clearly a natural frontwoman as she captivates the audience with her brutal honesty and raw emotion when talking about addiction and her past demons. She never wants to stay too far from the crowd as she sings from the barrier and crowd surfs during the set.
There’s something truly exciting about this band and we’re sure you’ll be seeing and hearing plenty more of them.
One of the most exciting bands in the UK rock scene today, Milk Teeth’s fanbase is one that is ever-growing, and shows no signs of slowing down yet. Jumping from one high to another, the band showcase all of their punk rock goodness, from ‘Nearby Catfight’ to ‘Brain Food’ to ‘Owning Your Okayness’. Blistering through their set with such confidence, the young band make it clear that they’re not meant for anything other than this.
Guitarist/ vocalist Billy Hutton delivers a passionate, enthusiastic performance anyway but at one point even climbs up the railings on the side of the stage as he shouts his lyrics down to the massive crowd before him, a true highlight of the set. The band seem humbled by the turnout and reactions of the audience but instead of letting it phase them, they let it feed their performance.