Photo credit: Caitlin Mogridge
Although there’s a sea of metal and classic rock shirts taking over the fields of Donington, Blood Youth are bringing their brand of hardcore to the Avalanche stage. Playing to a growing crowd, the Harrogate group put a good account of themselves with Kaya Tarsus’ visceral and melodic vocals battling against Chris Pritchard’s blaring guitar. With selected cuts from their short, but impressive, back catalogue, it’s a ferocious showing with ‘Failure’ serving as a thumping injection of adrenaline. While ’Reason To Stay’ closes their set, hinting at their ability to produce the occasional hook. If they can produce a few more like that, then you can separate themselves from the pack. (3/5) (SR)
In realistic terms, In Flames haven’t produced an album that has lived up to sheer emotionally battering brilliance of 2006’s ‘Come Clarity’ in the past few years. That hasn’t stopped their live show from being just as electric and entertaining. With a cooler of beers primed and ready in the centre of the stage, the Swedes knock out melodic death metal banger on melodic death metal bangers with smiles plastered across their chops and plenty of horns held aloft as they do so. Though they aren’t the leaders of the pack that they once were, they still know how to put on a fun, jubilant and inch perfect half hour of music. (3/5) (JR)
Photo credit: Matt Eachus
Back in the Avalanche stage tent, Touché Amoré arrive for their first Download appearance. Unsurprisingly, it’s riddled with emotion as frontman Jeremy Bolm bawls out feelings in a state of raw catharsis, with his band mates supplying an unrelenting blast of rapid post-hardcore with the occasional soft break. This allows everyone in attendance to truly be compelled by Bolm’s visceral and strong emotions.
At their core is drummer Elliot Babin supplying a dominating display, putting emphasis on to the angst shown on older cuts ‘Home Away From Here’ along with ‘And Now It’s Happening in Mine’. Nonetheless, it’s songs from the emotionally heavy ‘Stage Four’ as ‘Benediction’ and ‘Rapture’ are sung back to an overjoyed Bolm. With the main stage offering masculine songs about grabbing your shaft and banging girls all in the name of “fun”, Touché Amoré are a welcomed counteract through real passionate songs. (3.5/5) (SR)
Ever since returning from their brief hiatus, everything has been coming up “milhouse” for Ipswich five-piece Basement. Their Donington debut is the latest in a series of impressive achievements. With 40 minutes to kill, they waste no time by delivering fan favourite after fan favourite. For those who have followed the bands since their debut album (’I Wish I Could Stay Here,’) you could consider this greatest hits set, and rightly so. ’Whole’, ’Aquasun’, and ’Crickets Throw Their Voice’ soar throughout the tent early on, as Andrew Fisher leads the mass singalong.
Their core ’90’s influenced alt-rock anthems fill the large tent perfectly, as a glowing Fisher bounces around the stage before encouraging the band’s very first “wall of death” during the bassline drop of ’Promise Everything’. As ’Covet’ ends things on a high with a sea of voices singing back and crowd surfers, you’re left feeling only bigger things are coming Basement’s way. (4/5) (SR)
Opeth may just be the coolest bands on the entire planet. Captivating a bumper crowd with their beautifully constructed progressive metal while sporting rather fetching sunglasses to block out the hazy evening sun, the band make this whole music thing look very easy indeed. Mixing the rough with the smooth perfectly and packing in enough guttural punch to put many a band to shame, there aren’t many better bands suited for a lazy Sunday at a festival. Legendary stuff. (4.5/5) (JR)
All things must come to an end, but when they do make sure they go out with a bang. Taking to the stage for their last ever UK performance, it’s clear that The Dillinger Escape Plan aren’t taking any prisoners. As Greg Puciato demands that the sound is turned up so “we can punish these fuckers even more”, this is already down as one of the great download moments. Blinding lights batter the eyelids while the band’s technical brilliance is displayed on a completely different level altogether as they put their bodies on the line to make sure no one is forgetting them in a hurry. There will never be another band like this, and seeing them go hurts like hell. (5/5) (JR)
Photo credit: Ben Gibson
So after three days of music, overpriced food and drink and the occasional viewing of WWE NXT, it’s time for Aerosmith to grace Donington with their presence one final time. With a drawn out introduction, they kick things off with ‘Let the Music Do the Talking’ and while for the thousands watching up and down the hill it lives up to their legendary status; Steven Tyler struts and wails as you’d expect. Nevertheless, as they settle into a cluster of standout hits, it’s clear Aerosmith are not the tightest band we’ve heard all weekend. ‘Cryin’’ is especially messy yet ‘Livin’ On The Edge’, ‘Love in an Elevator’ and ‘Janie’s Got a Gun’ momentarily put things back on track.
However with a set stretching two hours, there was always going to be lulls for the casual Aerosmith fan, and they don’t help matters by playing a couple of Fleetwood Mac covers (‘Stop Messin’ Around’ and ‘Oh Well’). Expectedly, ‘I Don’t Want To Miss A Thing’ provides a grandiose singalong for the throng of people in attendance, while ‘Dream On’ and ‘Walk This Way’ ends the festival on a (slight) satisfactory note. (2.5/5)
Undoubtedly Aerosmith tick all the boxes when it comes to being a legendary rock band; top-notch production, big guitar solos, charismatic frontman etc, and while it’s clear they’re still a big draw, a changing of the guard is needed. Thankfully, Download Festival 2017 looks set to begin a transition for the yearly event. Bands of Aerosmith’s generation are fading (and disappointing), while a host of new and exciting bands thrived, living up to expectations and leaving a lasting impression. Rock isn’t dead, but it is evolving.
View more of Already Heard’s coverage from Download Festival 2017 here.
Words by Sêan Reid (SR) and Jack Rogers (JR).