If there was widespread disappointment that Ratt pulled out of Download at the last possible minute then drafting in Brit melodic rockers FM proved to be a masterstroke.
With the brilliant Metropolis a sensational statement of intent from Steve Overland and co. the need to take their new tunes on the road is pressing.
Adding a main stage festival set to this summer’s headline tour of the UK was the dream scenario for the nearly men of the late 80s scene and talk about seizing their chance with both hands – from start to finish those who did tackle Sunday’s early action were treated to something very special indeed.
Metropolis might be the band’s first original studio album for 15 years but as FM opened up with material culled from their critically acclaimed return to form it became clear that it really cuts the mustard live.
And fair play to Overland and co. for including their new songs – it would have been so much easier to go with a greatest hits set and set aside tunes which have yet to make an impression on the FM faithful let alone the wider world.
That wider world did, towards the end of the 80s and the early 90s, briefly threaten to catapult one of British rock’s brightest hopes into the big time. And tunes like Bad Luck and their bristling, blues-soaked cover of I Heard It On The Grapevine still sound incredibly cool today – even more so when filtered through the vast Castle Donington PA.
FM weren’t supposed to play Download 2010 and prior to this show there were many who questioned their suitability as Ratt’s hastily employed understudies. This timely reminder of a band capable of beating the Sunset Strip boys at their own hair metal game silenced the doubters and did wonders for the reputation of homegrown melodic rock.
And if you couldn’t be bothered to get up on Sunday to scout the veteran Londoners it could well be a decision you rue for a very long time.