A few observations about this year’s Download…
Download 2016 may be over, but the memories – not to mention rogue aches and pains in our legs/backs – will live on. It was an amazing three days of music which gave us a lot to savour and even more to think about, stuff like:
1. WAS THIS THE BEST IRON MAIDEN SHOW EVER?
Could well have been. At least top three. The cauldron, the massive Mayan Eddie, the fact that they included six new songs and you didn’t even notice they didn’t do Run To The Hills until after they were finished… This was a classic, ladies and gents. Let’s just hope they were recording it for Live At Donington II.
2. WIND AND RAIN MAKE BLACK SABBATH BETTER
Black Sabbath (the band) opened with Black Sabbath (the song). No need for the usual forboding stormy intro on a tape, we had it all live. Which, actually, was quite an enjoyable way of getting sucked into Tony Iommi’s monolithic intro riff.
3. RAMMSTEIN’S NEW SONG IST WUNDERBAR
And catchy to boot. ‘Ja! Nein! Rammstein!’ By the second chorus, we were all at it, talking German like we’d been living in Berlin our whole lives. And they opened with it as well. Ballsy, but they were right to do it.
4. BIFF BYFORD HAS A NEW NAME FOR THRASH METAL
The Saxon vocalist introduced 20,000 Ft as, “A thrash metal song we wrote in 1980. We didn’t call it thrash metal then – we called it Crazy…Fucking…STUFF!”
5. JOE DUPLANTIER HAS THE MOST FRENCH WAY OF TELLING A CROWD THEY’RE NOT LOUD ENOUGH
It’s pretty standard for rock frontmen to enquire after the wellbeing of their audience, then pretend that the reply isn’t suitably loud and request another, more vociferous attempt. Most do this by implying that last night’s gig-goers, or possibly their grandmothers, could do better. Joe Duplantier sums up the Gojira crowd’s initial response as “comme ci, comme ça”. He gets a louder reaction second time around, implying that there are many Francophones in the tent. Or just that everyone gets how this works by now.
6. DEFTONES ARE STILL THE COOLEST BAND ON THE PLANET
Additional to this: has Chino ever looked as happy onstage as he is right now? Also: Stef’s shirt. Amazing.
7. NAPALM DEATH.
Even after all these years, they are still the heaviest band at every festival they play.
8. NOTHING CAN STOP AGAINST THE CURRENT
Even as the least metal band at the festival, their irresistible melodies and charisma are bulletproof.
9. GRACE JONES HAS, TECHNICALLY, APPEARED AT DOWNLOAD
One of the more leftfield celebrity cameos in bizarro rock movie Gutterdammerung, screened on the Maverick Stage on Friday, comes from ’80s pop star and supermodel Grace Jones, in the suitably imperious role of an African goddess from Hell.
10. NIGHTWISH FANS ARE…
Awesome. They’re just awesome. Look at him go.
11. HALESTORM DON’T FUCK AROUND WHEN IT COMES TO DRUMSTICKS
12. BABYMETAL ARE GETTING VERY GOOD AT MAKING CIRCLE PITS
They just ain’t settling for no half-arsed circle pits…
13. POTTYMOUTH ENGAGE
Yep, when it comes to bad-taste, Killswitch Engage’s guitar hero Adam D is still the king of the dirty-minded castle.
14. VIKINGS ARE EVEN MORE METAL THAN WE THOUGHT
Short of Iron Maiden’s Eddie and Tony Iommi’s fingertips, Amon Amarth’s dragon-head drum-riser was the most metal thing onsite.
15. JUMPSUITS ARE AWESOME
That said, maybe only Juliette Lewis can wear an Evel Knievel-style jump suit with white heels and still look cool.
16. JANE’S ADDICTION DON’T MIND HANGING AROUND
We still can’t get over this. Or just HOW much swagger Perry Farrell has.
17. THE MEN THAT WILL NOT BE BLAMED FOR NOTHING HAVE THE MOST RANDOM SING-ALONGS
Not only do the London steampunks have songs about chimney sweeps and Charles Darwin, they managed to get the crowd bellowing the name of 19th Century celebrity engineer Isambard Kingdom Brunel.
18. LAST, BUT NOT LEAST: DOWNLOAD 2016 WAS AWESOME…
And so were you guys!
Don’t forget you check out our list of The Top 10 Greatest Download Performances Of All Time below!