Gig Pigs Wales
Download - Donington
June 10-12 2016
We went for a quick beer and a sit down before returning to watch Sixx:AM.
With this being Nikki Sixx's side project during the latter part of his Motley Crue days, they had been built up and eagerly anticipated. They were charismatic, and engaging, although I'm not sure I'd go to one of their gigs.
We caught a bit of Rival Sons, who were great, as always.
As Megadeath took to the main stage, the rain began. Megadeth as always churned out skull smashing riff after riff. Dave Mustain and Co were just stunning.
Proceedings were closed by Black Sabbath at their final Download appearance, who had their ever faithful fans eating out of their hands. Musically, they were brilliant -talented, and playing many older tracks so that the crowd could help Ozzy out with the lyrics that didn't always come easily to him.
That left Iron Maiden who had flown into the nearby East Midlands airport the day before. A polished lesson on stage production that many bands could only dream of. They had the Download crowd eating out of their hands from the moment the lights went up.
Bruce is a brilliant performer and the rest of the band support him in a way that only a tight group can.
Sunday was o be the best day musically. There were a lot of bands we wanted to see, and some 'stage clashes'.
Our first band were on the Maverick stage - Wild Lies. We saw them at Planet Rockstock last December, and had thoroughly enjoyed them. Six months on, they were more polished, more professional, and more at ease with the crowd. The tent was packed, with a huge crowd helped in by the rain.
They were followed by The Raven Age. They have developed in the 8 months since we saw them supporting Steve Harris British Lion. The months jetting around with Iron Maiden have done them no harm at all. They have a great sound and use the stage well to completely engage the crowd.
We made it to the Lemmy Stage to see The Temperance Movement. It was great to see them again. Phil Campbell uses the whole stage, and has so much energy on stage - he is a bit like a duracell bunny!
Hailstorm followed. Lizzy has an amazing voice and is backed by very talented musicians. We had not seen them on their UK tour earlier this year so it was brilliant to catch them here. She is amazing to watch and how she moves around the stage on those heels is a sight to behold!
Shinedown are one of my favourite bands at the moment,so it was great to see them at Download. Performing a set including many well known tracks, they had the audience captivated. They were humble in their acknowledgment of the crowd and the dedication of music fans standing out in the rain to watch them.
The appearance of Disturbed brought mixed reviews from some people. We loved them. David Draiman has a voice which is so distinctive and powerful and the band have musical skills that tenable them to deliver a set which combines their own music with covers from various artists, including the haunting version of 'Sound of Silence'.
They rounded off the set with a medley and saw several people join them on stage. The inclusion of a Rage Against the machine' track was met with loud cheering and singing from the crowd.
When we got ready to go to the festival site, we could tell that it was going to rain. It was just a question of when and how much.
We got there in time to see Santa Cruz, who were first on theZippo Encore stage. A Finnish band, they managed to keep the crowd engaged. I really enjoyed their set, but by now i was getting a bit excited in anticipation of Inglorious who were second on the Encore stage.
We had seen Will earlier on who was looking relaxed, but eagerly anticipating the chance to appear on their biggest stage. He said to us 'I haven't seen it yet, but it is the biggest stage we've played on. I'm looking forward to using a lot of it!'
They were our highlight of the day. Nathan settled into the set quickly and didn't seem at all phased by the huge crowd. This is a band that is destined to make it 'big'. They are talented, and clearly enjoy entertaining their growing fan base. I am really looking forward to seeing them again soon.
After The Amorettes, we returned to the Lemmy stage to catch up with friends, eat Pizza, drink beer and check out the main stage acts. Killswitch Engage were brilliant. They were very loud, very bouncy and a bit (a lot) sweary!
The Lemmy tribute was poignant,with some clips of Motorhead, interviews with people who knew him, loved him and made music with him.
A lot of people, though seemed to take the lull in the music as an opportunity to check out bands on other stages.
Korn were the penultimate act of the night and were truly brilliant and well deserved their slot. They were engaging and talented and seemed to have regained their mojo. It would be great to see them again soon.
By now, the rain had set in, and it was cold. Half of the gig pigs decided to get the early bus back to the hotel, thereby missing a fantastic set from Rammstein.
Rammstein delivered a set worthy of the first night headline act. With a stage show that was full of fire, it had the whole crowd ignoring the rain and singing along. Even though the lyrics were in German, everyone had a pretty good go!
The Gigpigs will be tracking Rammstein down again.....
We'd decided that the R.I.P hotel package would be the best option for us. I wasn't that keen on camping, in case the weather was poor. As it turned out, it was the right decision
We arrived at hotel - Radisson Blu, and settled ourselves in for the night. We planned an early start on Friday morning to make the most of the predicted sunny day.
Met a few fellow giggers.
Got sent to the naughty corner.
Bring on the music!!!
2016 was our first experience of Download. Organisationally, we have nothing but praise for those who worked tirelessly over the weekend to deliver an event of such a high standard.
The weather was not kind to anyone and by the time we left after Iron Maiden on Sunday, the whole site seemed to be awash with mud. However, the measures that the site management took overnight seemed to keep the ground safe to walk on.
The hotel staff were helpful and although we all tried hard not to traipse mud in, it was inevitable that the public areas became a bit grubby. By the time we left on Monday morning, the place looked sparkly clean and ready for its next set of guests.
And a very special thank you to the people who kept the loos clean and decent!
With so many stages and so many bands on each stage, we had to decide who we wanted to see and draw up a plan.
The first band to grab my attention was Royal Republic from Sweden. They had a great sound, and would get any crowd bouncing. I really enjoyed them.
We moved on to try to get a good spot at the Dogtooth Stage as the next band we were keen to see was the Amorettes. As it happened, we saw the two earlier bands - the Weirds who were followed by In Search of Sun - both of whom we enjoyed.
As the rain began to pour down, the Dogtooth stage filled to bursting point. Gill, Heather and Hannah gave a brilliant performance and really justified being at Download. A bigger stage next year please!