download-poster-new@ Castle Donington, Second Stage, June 14 2009

Still to break the UK in a big way, Stateside enormodome regulars Shinedown were determined to use their Second Stage slot at Download as a platform for bigger and better things.

Playing with the swagger and focus you’d expect from a band with six million album sales and counting under their belts theirs was a set rich in quality, albeit lacking the variety to excite potential fans. 

Noisier than Nickelback but able to reel off one stadium rock anthem after another it seems Shinedown’s time must come soon on this side of the Pond. No band in history has hit the top five of America’s mainstream rock chart with its first 10 singles and yet 99% of the UK’s rockers still appear oblivious to the strength of this Jacksonville, Florida quartet.

Having said that most of the other 1% were massed in front on the Download stage on Sunday singing every word of humalong hard rockers like Second Chance and the awesome Devour.

Singing along to The Sound Of Madness was self-confessed Shinedown fan and lead singer of Black Stone Cherry, Chris Robertson – but the multi talented vocalist was alongside big mate Brent Smith rather than sweating uncontrollably out front.

Their destructive vocal duet was the highlight of a short but incredibly sweet set. In fact it was one of Sunday’s must-see moments full stop. Smith might have riled a few of the hotter and more impatient members of the audience with his overblown mid-set musings on life, the universe and everything but you can see why he’s able to hold a US arena crowd in the palm of his hand. The guy can talk as well as he can sing.

And for a band chasing global success that’s no bad thing.