Bristol newcomers Idles, Creeper, and AFI among other highlights
Cai Trefor
13:18 11th June 2017

Download Festival has a legacy of its own, risen from the ashes of the Monsters of Rock Festival, the history that belongs to the Castle Donington event is the stuff of legend.

Every band and their dog has played, but only a select few have had the privilege of headlining. Ever since Biffy Clyro were given the honour of closing out Saturday night, festival devotees, Biffy mega fans, curious attendees and typical trolls have been debating whether they are worthy headliners for such a prestigious festival that has such an emphasis on heavier music. The simple answer is hell yes.

The Scottish trio have proved time and time again that their live performance is of a world class standard. Not all of their music may be suited to Download as they’ve tip-toed towards a softer sound over the years, but this doesn’t mean that they are any less worthy.

Opening on ‘Wolves of Winter', they are as visually compelling as always, complete with a gigantic light show, fireworks and even streamers. And giant beach balls for Bubbles as always.

Biffy do one thing better than anybody else: making weird music sound accessible to all. Coming from the roots of post-harcode, it’s a joy to witness 50,000 screaming along to tracks as technically complex as 'There's No Such Thing as a Jaggy Snake'.

'Living is a Problem...' and 'Black Chandelier' still come across as epic masterpieces. The musicianship that they display is incredible. Brothers James and Ben Johnson on drums and bass are tight as glue, whilst Neil’s aggressive playing style on guitar (most notably on 'That Golden Rule') would make the riff lords of Download proud.

Neils voice is utterly perfect throughout, but it shines most when he performs an acoustic rendition of 'God and Satan'. Even at a festival as hardcore as Download, the beauty of this and the likes of 'Medicine' leaves everyone stunned.

In fact as a nod to the festival’s metal roots, when the band closes on 'Stingin' Belle', they up their sheer onstage velocity to the point it causes the last and biggest pits of the day.

10 years ago they played in the afternoon on the second stage as a precursor to their mainstream success. Tonight they returned and collectively proved any hint of doubt wrong as they put on a performance of a lifetime, consolidating themselves as worthy headliners for any festival, metal or not.



Other highlights

Elsewhere was a packed day of music and one of the bands on top of everybody's to see list is Creeper. From day one, Creeper have been dreaming of playing on the biggest stages possible. Channelling their inner My Chemical Romance, today the Southampton shock rockers finally got their chance and they seized it. Will Gould's impressive voice Freddie Mercury inspired stage presence proved that he is more than comfortable holding his own on such a daunting occasion. With tracks like 'Misery' and 'Hiding With The Boys' and the euphoric 'I Choose to Live' being sung back at them at just midday, this will be their proudest moment to date.

Trash Boat
On the Avalanche Stage, Trash Boat create mayhem with their faster take on Pop Punk. They might not be the tidiest of bands musically, but that doesn't the crowd going nuts to the likes of 'Tring Quarry'. It's crowdsurfing galore for the band's biggest show to date.

It's shocking to think that this is pirate metal lunatics Alestorm's first ever Download. Their songs of drinking rum, shipwrecks and basically just more drinking fits the atmosphere perfectly. With a sea of fancy dress pirates in the crowd, Alestorm put on a wacky, hilarious and yet highly skilled showcase of everything that's fun about metal on the Zippo Encore stage.

The Dogtooth Stage is the place to be for up and coming acts and this is no more obvious than when Idles perform. Their indie punk rock onslaught to the small but dedicated crowd is blinding. With a passionate political backbone to their sound, Idles are similar to Slaves, Cerebral Ballzy and Fat White Family but with a stronger conviction to musicianship. This is the start of massive things to come.

It's always a special occasion when AFI play a rare UK show and despite the sparse crowd at the main stage, their career spanning set is still a highlight of the day. Davey Havok is a master of the game, throwing out all of the stage moves without missing a beat vocally. His voice is as strong as ever but it's a shame there was an underlining sense of a lack of excitement

Sub-headlining the main stage, Florida Pop Punk kings A Day To Remember throw everything but the kitchen sink at the massive crowd. They don't leave anybody disappointed with their collection of hits including 'All I Want' and 'Paranoia' that cause a constant wave of crowdsurfing throughout their triumphant set.

Wednesday 13
Back over at the Dogtooth Stage, horror-punk villain Wednesday 13 manages to cram in an almost theatre like production onto the tiny bit atmospheric stage. Complete with fire breathers and costume changes, Wednesday wows the crowd that goes ten rows deep outside the stage.