Download Festival 2017 – Sunday – 11/06/17
Fozzy / Blood Youth / Dead! / Fizzy Blood / Airbourne /
Aaron Buchanan & the Cult Classics / Steel Panther / Basement /
Alter Bridge / Aerosmith
It’s the final day of Download 2017. The sun is still shining, the sunburn is starting to turn to tan and the cup collectors are soon to be cashing in to get that sweet, sweet £14.67 they’ve been working for all weekend. But that is later; right now we are dragging ourselves to see one of the most highly anticipated bands of the weekend, Fozzy!
Straight out of the gates, Fozzy (9) fly across the stage, filled with energy and making sure everyone who got up early to see them got what they bargained for! Chris Jericho continually interacts with the crowd, thanking them for being up early, making sure everyone is having a good time and making sure everyone is going to get a beer later, the perfect host! Fozzy are more than just Jericho though, as they tear through their set in emphatic style, with heavy riffs, solos and even bloody fire dancers and it isn’t even noon. This is the second time they have played the main stage at the festival and it more than looks like home to them. After opening with Judas, the band close with favourites Lights Go Out and Enemy, leaving Jericho to declare that “Download just made the list”! Simply, a brilliant beginning to the final day of Download! (AJ)
As we mentioned before, Download is the land of opportunity for younger bands, as our next band experienced in 2015 when they played the equivalent of this years Dogtooth Stage. Blood Youth (9) had only been a band for a mere three months at that point, but two years, plentiful touring, two EPs and a highly praised debut album later, the Harrogate bunch have definitely earned their spot on the Avalanche Stage. The four-piece walk onstage and bring the thunder, opening with heavy riffs, breakdowns and catchy choruses in the form of Dead Space and 24/7. The band feed off of the crowd’s energy, with nonstop movement, following the pit with front man, Kaya Tarsus, regularly making his way to the front barrier. After a monumental set including pits a plenty, an awkward beach ball knocking over a mic stand and plentiful thanks from the band, they end with Reason To Stay, and if this performance proves anything, is that you need no more reasons to support this band than they are without a doubt, one of the best British bands going right now, with an incredibly huge sound, a solid fan base and songs you can not only sing but go totally insane too! (AJ)
Following Blood Youth’s knee trembling performance, Dead! (7.5) had the task of keeping the standards high at the Avalanche stage, and managed to do enough to keep the tent bouncing throughout their furious set. Fresh from their festival circuit around Europe Dead! Take it in their stride, and full of confidence they power through a short and sweet set. ‘Skin’ has everyone bobbing their hands along, before new track ‘Jessica’ boasts a catchy huge explosive chorus. If the new tracks are anything to go by Dead! Will certainly continue to rise up in the coming months and years! (DP)
A quick trip over to the Dogtooth stage provided us with some Fizzy Blood (7.5) who equally brought a rowdy show to Sunday’s action. The band tear through a short set of wild rock, and don’t look out of place at download as they seem to be fully charged and moshing their way around the stage, leaving us all feeling pretty knackered just watching them. With an album due for release later in the year, make sure you catch them before they burst out onto the scene. (DP)
Over at the Main Stage stacks of Marshall Amps fill the back of the stage meaning only one thing… Airbourne (9.5) are ready to take off! The Ozzy imports are full of electricity with their AC/DC like rock to get Download festival moshing in the blistering sun. Joel O’Keeffe is the perfect frontman. He’s full of energy, knows how to get the crowd going, and his screaming vocals are on point throughout the set as he thrashes out tracks from their four Studio Albums with high enthusiasm. If he’s not rocking out, he’s riding a man dressed as a Kangaroo around the crowd smashing cans of larger open with his head and throwing cold ones into the crowd. With huge tracks like ‘Too Much, Too Young, Too Fast’, and ‘Live It Up’, Airbourne were made for stages this size and with their live sets notched up to level 11 from start to finish you cant help get involved! (DP)
Today’s Dogtooth Stage band comes in the form of Aaron Buchanan & The Cult Classics (9). Aaron Buchanan isn’t a stranger to Download, after only performing on the second stage four years ago with former band Heavens Basement. Since leaving HB, Aaron Buchanan has been in the studio and working harder than ever. Back with a new band, a new look and making it a family affair with sister Laurie Buchanan rocking vocals and lead guitar as well, the band take to the stage in a huge way, with cranked amps, huge drums and a gnarly bass tone. Aaron comes out wearing a purple and black tailored suit, immediately taking to a platform, centre stage, Mercury-esque in his style and belts out that familiar classic rock tone. Commanding in his stage presence and experience, Aaron and co send the tent into a frenzy of dancing with intense riffs, enchanting vocal melodies and give a performance that would be worthy of the mainstage, with an audience to boot. Unfortunately, we had to leave a few songs into the set, but what we can presume is that they continued to perform to a full tent for the remainder of their set and the people left happy, gagging for some 80’s rock and maybe with some ringing ears. The cult Classics bring that classic rock (go figure) back into the forefront with a modern twist and we can’t wait to see their entire performance when they hit the road! (AJ)
People have gathered in masses back out to the main stage to catch party animals Steel Panther (8) who know exactly how to hold a show. Full of childish humour and countless sexual innuendos, the California comedy rock quartet keep everyone fully entertained, with dashes of live music between. They don’t sound as tight as many other bands on the main stage, but what they lack in sound they more than make up in entertainment value. ’17 Girls In A Row’ ironically finds around ten times the amount of girls on stage to dance and party with the glam rockers (as well as multiple selfie opportunities), which turns the main stage into complete chaos for the closing of their set. (DP)
Back to the Avalanche Stage for the final time this weekend, we find Ipswich’s own, Basement (9). Opening their Download debut with Whole, the tent stirs, and much like any Basement show; they are soon drowned out by the voices of the audience, as is a common theme for the entire set. Be it a newer song such as Aquasun or Promise Everything, or a classic such as Earl Grey or Cricket’s Throw Their Voices, the band enjoy the admiration and the crowd enjoy the band. As vocalist Andrew Fisher explains how happy and honoured the band were to be, he declares his disappointment at the pits and calls for a wall of death…yup…Basement had one of the biggest walls of death at Download 2017, much to the gleaming reaction of the band, as Fisher smirks and laughs, “I never thought that would happen, that was our first ever wall of death, cheers”. What Basement brings is versatility and dynamics to the festival, with a strong crowd connection, classic songs with heartfelt lyrical content and a modern rock sound, there is no wonder that they are one of the most cherished underground bands in the UK. (AJ)
It’s surprising to see so many people leaving at the end of Steel Panthers set when Alter Bridge (9) are prepping to follow up, but those who did stick around were treated to a show full of hard rock from a very talented line up. Packed with bellowing vocals, electrifying guitar solos and power driven drums, Alter Bridge are up to the challenge of main support for one of the most iconic rock bands in the world. They play just short of an hour with ease and the sheer talent in the form of Myles Kennedy keeps the crowd’s eyes locked onto the stage and screens as he powers through ‘Show Me A Leader’, before breaking into a battle of solos between himself and guitarist Mark Tremonti, one that would give Slash himself a run for his money. ‘Rise Today’ closes out the set in style to a well earned applause as they leave the stage proudly concurring Donington Park. It was an incredibly strong performance from arguably one of the most underrated bands around. (DP)
Finally after a weekend full of music and madness across six stages, the band of the weekend are ready to give Download festival a rock n roll show to remember. Still unsure if this could be there last performance in the UK ever, as they recently stated they may have changed their minds, Aerosmith fans have gathered in their thousands to witness a show to remember.
A packed out field fades out into the distance from the main stage as Aerosmith (9.5) roll up on stage and as ever frontman Steven Tyler and guitarist Joe Perry are straight down the catwalk to get up in the faces of the crowd from the start. Opener ‘Let The Music Do The Talking’ it’s the perfect opener with a bold statement of intent from the legendary band who have countless hits to speak for themselves packed into tonight’s set list. It’s no surprise to find the likes of ‘Cryin’, ‘Living On The Edge’, and ‘Love In The Elevator’ thrown straight into the mixer with such an arsenal of hits, and it’s exactly what the crowd want to hear as the noise levels rise to heights that have not yet been reached this weekend.
Now, they may be getting on a bit, but you can’t take anything away from Aerosmith. Still full of energy, screaming solos and bellowing vocals the ‘Boston Bad Boys’ are on top form and sound exceptionally good as ever. Aside their performance there is some highlights of the bands career passing through the years on the screens, including some old footage of their Download Festival performances from 1990 to present, which was a fantastic touch to the show.
After a couple of Fleetwood Mac covers and some more hits from the Aerosmith back catalogue, the most rare beautiful moment at Download Festival hit us as Steven Tyler took to the catwalk to sing ‘I Don’t Wanna Miss A Thing’ leaving thousands singing their hearts out streaming with tears for an emotionally powerful performance. Fortunately we weren’t a trembling mess for long as ‘Rag Doll’ and ‘Dude Looks Like A Lady’ closely followed to pick up the party mood and have us all dancing and singing along to resume normal service.
A mighty performance of ‘Dream On’ had Steven Tyler playing his piano before finding his way on top of it, singing away over Joe Perry rocking out a blistering solo. As ever, only one more song is noticeably missing and without further delay ‘Walk This Way’ closes Download Festival in emphatic style leaving the band being blown away with CO2 cannons and confetti as they applaud the crowd for what might be their last show on UK soil. Certainly a special one to leave on, but we can only hope Aerosmith can string out this tour for one more UK performance before we finally say goodbye to one of the biggest rock bands around. (DP)
Review: Danny Peart & Adam Jones