LIVE: Download Festival 2012 – Saturday

By Tom Aylott

It’s the morning after the night before for Download 2012’s Saturday, and the weary eyed punters make their way to the main stage to see San Diego veterans As I Lay Dying kick off the day. There is little to attract attention in the performance, as the band deliver brutal screams and occasionally off key clean vocals in a sort of going through the motions way today. Despite the odd beast of a song, this is a rather uninspiring moment that probably isn’t helped by the early hour. [BT]

The largest tent of the two at Download plays host to Bedford four piece Don Broco on paper face an uphill struggle at a metal dominated festival. Following some initial sound issues knocking out an entire instrument, the boys deliver a solid set including the timeless Broco classic ‘Thug Workout’ and latest single ‘Priorities’. Regrettably, the size of the stage seems to outweigh the stature of the band a little today, but that’s not to say it wasn’t a great laugh regardless. [BT]

Bristolians Turbowolf, also on the Pepsi Max stage today, deliver an almost flawless blend of classic rock, thrash metal and hardcore for a slightly stunned Donington. After ploughing their way through a set armed with an arsenal of tent shredding tunes – ‘Read + Write’ and ‘A Rose for the Crows’ in particular sounding huge – it’s only a matter of time before the band graduate across to one of the towering main stages at the festival. [BT]

Subsequently, the swiftly rising merch machines Lower Than Atlantis find themselves engulfed by the size of the second stage, with their setup looking positively minimalist compared to others treading similar ground. Frontman Mike Duce appears understandably nervous during his banter, yet fortunately this is not evident in their performance as they play through a set taken almost entirely from their latest, ‘World Record’. New song ‘Love Someone Else’ sees the quartet move in a similar direction to their previous works, while ‘Another Sad Song’ sounds equally as harrowing in the middle of the day as it does in an intimate venue. [BT]

Four Year Strong have opted for a set stretching across their three major releases today, notably devoid of singles ‘Just Drive’ and ‘One Step at a Time’. Their punchy pop-punk sounds admissible as it entertains a reasonably sized crowd, but the Massachusetts lads are capable of sounding considerably better. [BT]

Similarly Kids In Glass Houses  deliver a perfectly good performance, yet the questionable decision to include the most commercial sounding tracks in their setlist (‘Undercover Lover’ proving particularly out of place) only serves to further separate them from their festival contemporaries, and the set’s not quite what it could have been today. [BT]

A year after Biffy Clyro delivered an astonishing headline set at Sonisphere Festival they return to UK festivals at Download with an impressive seventeen song setlist that covers almost their entire back catalogue but maintaining a clear preference to latest effort ‘Only Revolutions’. The band have becoming increasingly comfortable on the large stages, with Simon Neil (guitar/vocals) strutting across the stage and between the crowd with reckless confidence. The new material on display seemingly moves the band further into the progressive rock arena and packs less of a punch than the effervescent ‘Mountains’ or ‘Glitter and Trauma’, but overall this feels dangerously close to their own headline performance.  [BT]

Killswitch Engage have returned to Download with their original singer today, and the difference is immediately obvious. Howard Jones was an unquestionably suitable replacement, and in fact delivered more albums than Jesse Leach, but tonight’s performance is something else. Leach is a powerhouse of a performer, and despite some comical eccentricities which have always befallen the metalcore mob, an heir of maturity has been pushed to the forefront. Even king of un-PC crowd banter Adam Dutkiewicz keeps his mouth shut and allows the music to do the majority of the talking. Closing with ‘My Last Serenade’ and the anthemic Dio cover ‘Holy Diver’, it is abundantly clear that the band have re-evaluated their image, and the outcome is nothing but brutal. [BT]

Metallica finish the night off in the way that they can only really do. Donington, as is to be expected, welcomes the kings of metal with open arms, and with the Black Album being delivered backwards (obviously) this evening, the fireworks carry on to cap a fairly standard Metallica performance otherwise. [TA]