An introduction to...Silent Descent
posted on Friday, 25 June 2010 @ 12:17 | permalink
Welcome to a brand new section of the blog, where I catch up with the best unsigned and up and coming bands and recommend them to you, dear readers! For the very first feature, I managed to catch up with Silent Descent, an up and coming metal outfit hailing from Dartford, Kent, a band who Metal Hammer magazine praised as 'the trance metal juggernaught the world has been waiting for'. After impressing the crowd at the Download Festival Boardie Takeover for the second year running with their innovative and exciting sound, I managed to ask a few questions!
Looking back, how did your Boardie Takeover performance feel?
After coming off stage in '09 we all felt that it would be a long time before we ever got to experience something like that again, but this year was bigger and better - it really felt like headlining one of the stages at Download.
How did the crowd respond to your set?The crowd were amazing - looking out and seeing people sing along to your songs in such mass is an unreal feeling and seeing them all jump in unity as the songs climaxed was un-frikin-believable.
How was you overall weekend at the festival? What were your highlights - musical or otherwise?!
We all stuck it to the man whilst watching Rage and our vocalist managed to get back stage for Stone Sour, being Corey Taylor's number 1 fan (and he definitely is) he was ridiculously stoked.
How did the band come together?
We've been together a good few years now, but all started back in 2004 with our vocalist and guitarist in a shed with paint pots for drums and an Argos Yamaha Pacifica - surely how all good bands start out? Over the years I think we've gone through 40-odd members, so when you say 'band come together' it's been a long old search to find the right people.
And what plans do you have for the future?
With any luck get signed to a major label and get on tour? In failing that we'll try and win Britain's Got Talent.
Finally, is there anything else you'd like to say to the readers of the website and those who attended the takeover?
Thanks to everyone that came and saw us and supported us at the Boardie Takeover! It was the maddest gig we've ever played and will hopefully see you all soon if we get touring later this year.
To hear more from Silent Descent (and I reccomend you do!), check out the band's Myspace!
If you'd like your band featured in this new section, get in contact!
Download 2010 - Wellies, Wombling and Wonderfulness - Sunday
posted on Wednesday, 16 June 2010 @ 09:49 | permalink
A less bands-packed day than the previous one, we caught the last song from August Burns Red, Composure, which showcased their unforgivingly heavy style that has transferred them from a small tent to the second stage in the past two years. Switchfoot were next reminiscent of stadium rockers Nickelback. Slowing it down for movie-moment ballad Dare You To Move, they added deeper layers of instrumental to the song giving it a heavier sound, perhaps more appropriate for the Download crowd. Singer Jon Foreman's vocals were brasher and grittier than on record - however, this proved a positive thing as it gave the songs a new kind of depth. Ending on Meant to Live, featured on the SpiderMan 2 soundtrack, the crowd perhaps didn't know much about this band, but seemed to enjoy them nonetheless.
What do you get if you cross Anthrax, Fall Out Boy and Every Time I Die? New 'supergroup' The Damned Things consist of Rob Caggiano (Anthrax), Joe Trohman and Andy Hurley (Fall Out Boy) and Keith Buckley (Every Time I Die) on vocals. A strange mix, but one that seemed to work, with heavy riffs and manic drumming, a far cry from the sugary pop-punk of Joe and Andy's previous band.
One of my favourite flags of the weekend...
During Dillinger Escape Plan, the gorgeous weather that had been working overtime turning me the colour of a mahogany dining table gave up, and the heavens opened. Having to head back to my tent for wellies, I managed to miss a fair few bands, including the inimitable Steel Panther, who covered Backstreet Boys track I Want It That Way (expect a post about that soon too!), so the next band I managed to catch were pop-punkers Zebrahead while sheltering in the Pepsi Max tent. Playing catchy and fun songs, even those who had simply ventured in for shelter from the rain were bopping along, and joining in the charming chant of 'MINGE'.
Closing the day's proceedings, and the festival itself, were the legendary Aerosmith. Opening with the classic Love In An Elevator, Steven Tyler gyrated around the stage in tight trousers and sequins. Despite being 62 years old, he had the energy of a 20 year old and a strange kind of sex appeal that I don't quite understand, but there were definitely plenty of ladies hot under the collar - especially when he stripped the sequins to reveal a tight vest. After a stunning rendition of Cryin' that showed Tyler's voice had certainly not diminished with age, Joe Perry took on lead vocals at points and gave the eager crowd 'a lot of blues in a short amount of time'. The lights went down, and some famililar opening strings were heard, and the crowd went crazy for power ballad Don't Wanna Miss A Thing. With lighters and glowsticks in the air, the mass singalong to the song gave me (and probably everyone in the arena) goosebumps.
After a short break, their encore featured dramatic and theatrical Dream On, one of my personal highlights of the set, and had Walk This Way had everybody dancing. Thanking us and each other before they left the stage, Aerosmith were easily some of the best headliners I've seen in my 6 years of attending the festival, and more than worth facing the rain and mud for.
A massive thanks go to all the people I camped with, met and spent time with this weekend. I love you all!
Download 2010 - Wellies, Wombling and Wonderfulness - Saturday
posted on @ 09:46 | permalink
Hanging out with two gorgeous ladies before Thursday's Boardie BBQ
Up and about earlier than the previous morning, I paid a wonderful visit to the Luxury Loos hair straightening facilities for a very un-festivalish grooming session, before heading for the second day of music.
Managing to catch 15 minutes of The Blackout playing an acoustic set at the Jagermeister truck, and despite the band's admission that it was out of their comfort zone, their songs translated well to the stripped-down session. This was cut short by a wander to the Main Stage, where Atreyu were playing early due to a switchover with Flyleaf, who were running late. When performing at the festival a few years ago, the vocal performance was poor, with drummer and clean vocalist Brandon Saller often out of tune. This year however, he showed his talent as a musician by keeping both the vocals and drumming perfectly tight. Combined with frontman Alex Varkatzas providing the more agressive, screaming vocals, the band gave a solid and exciting performance.
Everybody loves a man-train!
Comparisons of Flyleaf singer Lacey Mosley are often made to Evanescence's Amy Lee, however Flyleaf blew Evanescence's shaky 2007 performance out of the water today. Mosley could well be one of the best female vocalists in rock, with not only a pitch-perfect voice with incredible range, but also the ability to emit agressive, angsty growls and screams. The rest of the band were energetic and engaging, with one guitarist climbing onto a speaker stack and diving off, all while keeping musically tight with the rest of the band.
Sticking at the main stage, Five Finger Death Punch brought the aggressive metal sound they are known for, with an attitude to match. A band that split the crowd, there were both cheers and boos when their set was cut short due to Ivan Moody inciting crowd mayhem during Dying Breed. Perhaps in a fashion that could be considered arrogant, the band wore their own t-shirts, but arrogance aside, the band's fans seemed satisfied despite the shortened set.
After casually taking in Lamb of God (not a massive fan, but clearly popular with the Download fans), avoiding Megadeth and taking some boys shopping (yep, I didn't even buy anything!), The Blackout gave their fourth performance in just two years. The sextet had a special addition, Kids In Glass Houses drummer Philip Jenkins, and a charming 'Fuck The Blackout' banner which summed up their faux-egotistical yet self deprecating manner perfectly. Singalongs were inevitable and rousing, particularly to the beyond infectiously catchy This Is Why We Can't Have Nice Things. The band also gave an instrumental tribute to headliners AC/DC and Rage Against The Machine, as they had done in 2009 with the year's big bands.
Download 2010 - Wellies, Wombling and Wonderfulness - Friday
posted on @ 09:34 | permalink
All aboard the shuttle bus!All over the web, there are probably plenty of blogs cropping up about the weekend - and plenty of pictures. So I've decided to illustrate mine with a personal touch. Instead of professional looking pictures of the acts, expect to see shots of what really made my weekend - the people, the moments, the things that made the weekend truly memorable, accompanied by little anecdotes from the weekend. They're likely to be posted on the wrong days, as they cover the Wednesday and Thursday too, but hopefully they'll give you all an insight into how it's so much more than the bands that truly made it a fantastic weekend.
36 Crazyfists were on their usual excellent metalcore form, despite below par sound quality, and the personal peeve that their best known track, Slit Wrist Theory, was played at a faster speed - something which seems to often happen at their festival performances. They also showcased new tracks from their upcoming release, however it was clearly the oldies that had the afternoon moshpit fiends working overtime.
After a run (well, a leisurely stroll via the hog roast stand!) over to the second stage, this year named the Ronnie James Dio stage as a tribute to the fallen metal superstar, A Day To Remember played a storming set. Two years ago, the Florida clan were playing to a small but devoted crowd, but this year presented a huge mass of bodies extending back into the space, showing how far these guys have come in such a relatively short time. During their set, it's easy to see why, as their mix of catchy tunes and crunching breakdowns had the crowd singing, stomping and causing a riot.
Chilling with boardies at the Download Forums Boardie BBQ. And yes, that gorgeous vision in shocking pink is my boyfriend.
Back to the main stage, Killswitch Engage (replacing Wolfmother, who were forced to pull out due to illness) showed exactly why they are considered a Download favourite. Despite yet more problems with the sound, a seemingly running problem, the crowd's voices were in full force for their closing track, their cover of Dio's Holy Diver, not unusual as a closer, but this year, it felt understandably more poignant.
When it comes to supergroups, Them Crooked Vultures hold some of the rock world's most prestigious stars, drummer Dave Grohl, . However, their set was middle of the road, relatively dull and certainly didn't put the 'super' in supergroup. A newish conception with just one album to their name, most of the punters seemed to know exactly WHO they were, but when it came to what they were playing, it was a different story. The set did serve as a nice opportunity for a few to indulge in a nap though, before the evenings headliners...
Now, I'm torn on AC/DC. Before discussing the set, lets look into their appearance with regards to Download Festival itself. Their name was missing from merchandise, they didn't appear on the lanyard or programme, and it generally felt as if they were playing a gig at Donington Park, that happened to coincide with the festival. Fair enough, the band are a massive coup for the organisers to book, especially as they vowed never to play a festival, but many seemed to feel the band were snubbing the festival.
Controversy aside, the band blew the majority of the festival punters away. Issues with vocals and a ridiculously long solo were thrown aside as the band blasted out their biggest hits, sending the crowd wild to Back In Black, You Shook Me All Night Long and the other songs that have made a massive impact on the history of rock music. The stage show was as epic as expected, with a large train and blow up doll - 'Rosie' to those who know a bit about the band. As someone who's not a massive AC/DC fan, I probably didn't appreciate it all as much as the die-hards, and disagree with their snubbing of the festival. Despite this, they managed to impress me and entertain, giving a performance that could easily be remembered as legendary.