Oh Download; as Britain’s biggest gathering of night-creatures, soundtracked by the likes of Black Sabbath, Metallica and Biffy Clyro, nothing could be bigger, louder or hairier. Oh yes, it all looked very good from my merchandise tent. I was more of an onlooker; a day-dweller sent to provide overpriced band times and profiles to the vampires. However, I found that watching Download 2012 unfold in front of eyes was an enriching experience and here’s what I learned…
1. Those scary looking metal-heads are actually really nice…
This may make me sound like a naive, stereotyping fool, but when you compare these lovable rockers to the pretentious, oh-so-indie bellends that wander the fields of Reading festival like it’s a fashion parade in affected nonchalance, it’s obvious who comes off better. These guys just love the music, the fashion isn’t like a competition – it’s a signifier – and strangers were united by a common interest, rather than exchanging judging looks and moving on.
2. But some are wankers.
To the long-haired mole who insisted on doing an Arnold Schwarzenegger impression for LITERALLY hours on end, laughing every time like he was the new Jim Carey, and then jumping into a bin; you aren’t funny, and now I can’t watch any of the Terminators without breaking things. It’s not John Connor they need to kill…
3. Chase and Status can put on one hell of a show.
Unfortunately, I could only observe as the biggest and most exciting set of the weekend unfolded on the main stage beyond me. The whole crowd were mental; pits were forming everywhere and the music was both deafening and fantastic. Anyone who was skeptical of such an act’s presence at Download will now be eating their words.
4. The Prodigy have still got it.
It was the only set I got to see in full and what a set it was. All the classics were present, songs like ‘Smack My Bitch Up’ and ‘Breathe’ caused shivers, as well as a couple of new tracks that sounded equally fantastic. Despite the band beginning to age, they show no signs of slowing down; the onstage energy they displayed was unparalleled.
5. I don’t know who Rise to Remain are, but they are kind of a big deal.
After their set’s presence was in debate after the initial two hour delay, a flurry of agitated fans demanded to know details, as if the band were a criticially ill member of their family, one conversation even unfolding as such;
Anxious Goth – ‘Are Rise to Remain still on?’
Me – ‘I don’t know, I’m just a programme seller’
Anxious Goth – ‘They better fucking be’
I’m still not sure how it was my fault.
6. Cancer Bats deserve the hype.
While the band’s set was cancelled, their good friends Billy Talent (I’m not sure how friendly they really are) let them on stage for one song. To be honest, in this one song the band blew Billy Talent(less, HA) completely out of the water, their raw energy smashing their counterparts’ often banal and average songs.
7. When it gets really muddy, like dangerously muddy…
The logical solution is to put a layer of hay on the mud to get rid of the danger. A lot of horses went hungry that day for no reason.
8. Everyone loves Tenacious D.
The comedy-metal duo drew a huge audience with their expletive ridden set. I almost felt sorry for Theory of a Dead Man, who were more like Theory of a Dead Audience when ‘Beezleboss’ came on!
9. Old people love metal…
I couldn’t quite believe the amount of older people running towards a stage frequented by a serious-looking hairy man with a pointy guitar singing about goblins and fairies, The Lighthouse Family this was not. And finally,
10. Pop-punk hasn’t been this popular for years.
We all knew it was happening; Green Day have three albums on the way, Blink-182 have reformed and Sum 41 have… spiky hair, but You Me At Six’s reception on the Zippo stage showed a new level of popularity for the genre. Stood outside the arena I often couldn’t make out who was on, but I could hear songs about failing teenage romance and see big crowds; the genre is definitely the place to be at the moment. Kudos to those of you who saw Wheatus at The Talking Heads, at this rate they’ll be as big as U2 by next year.