The dust has settled on another Download, the votes have been cast and RUSHONROCK is ready to deliver its final verdict on the UK’s biggest and best rock and metal party.
There was sun, rain and everything in between but the music was all that mattered. And once again an eclectic bill didn’t disappoint.
Here’s the best and the worst of Download 2015 from where we stood.
BAND OF THE WEEKEND
Von Hertzen Brothers
The flying Finns played twice inside 24 hours but whether you caught the band’s low key acoustic set or saw them in full flow on the second stage then the end product was the same: folk tinged hard rock played with refreshing enthusiasm and a raucous disregard for convention. Slow burners where the British market is concerned, Kie, Mikko and Jonne von Hertzen scored a third number one album back home with this year’s New Day Rising and it’s a record that’s already resonating with classic rock fans across the UK. Download can be their springboard for sustained success far beyond Scandinavia.
Playing Jake’s Stage on Saturday evening, prior to a guest slot with label mates Ghost on their biggest North American tour to date, the female fronted psych rockers stole the show – albeit in front of a handful of well-informed festival nerds. With the follow up to 2013 debut The Circle And The Blue Door in the pipeline, these are heady times for singer songwriter Rosalie Cunningham and her retro buddies. Purson’s look and sound is distinctive, different and impossibly addictive at a time when rock and metal is becoming dangerously bland.
THE DOWNLOAD DUD
The black sheep of the Kiss family had the ideal chance to point the middle finger at his former employees ahead of Sunday’s night’s high-profile festival-closing set but Ace blew it. From his laissez faire attitude to a preposterously tame smoking guitar, his truncated set never got out of second gear. Nobody could begrudge Frehley his decision to pepper a second stage slot with Kiss Klassiks – as long as he did them justice. Sadly this was an opportunity lost by one of the finest guitarists on the planet.
Just when did Alter Bridge’s frontman get this good? The yin to Slash’s yang and in the form of his life, the experienced frontman ruled Sunday’s main stage with an iron fist – never slackening his grip on a crowd expecting fireworks from rock’s number one guitar hero but hardly expecting this from the man on his right. Let’s face it – Kennedy can sing the Guns N Roses standards way better than Axl ever could and before long these will be the live versions of Paradise City and Sweet Child O’ Mine that the fans remember as the very best.
A toss up between the atrocious weather and the woeful decision to put Blackberry Smoke up against The Darkness after the latter booked their ‘secret set’ for Sunday afternoon. Thousands missed out on Southern Rock’s rising stars while thousands more were denied a welcome fix of the Hawkins brothers by choosing to support Georgia’s finest. The ugliest of clashes.
The cashless ‘dog tag’ system worked a treat for the vast majority of fans with long queues at the beer tents and worries over lost dosh a thing of the past. No fun for the few that experienced glitches but the way forward for Britain’s biggest festivals.
The range of eateries improves year on year but the Texas Smoker takes first prize due to its massive amounts of tender meat, mouthwatering coleslaw and super friendly staff.