After three days or heavy metal at Castle Donington for Download Festival 2008, Thrash Hits .com looks back on the weekend. Hugh Platt picks the most memorable moments.
Most Impressive Pit
Bleeding Through’s metalcore barrage managed to whip the mosh pit into a maelstrom, coaxing out a circle pit around the entire sound desk for new track, ‘Orange County Blonde and Blue’.
“Oh shit, we’ve been set up,” cried Lethal Bizzle, after walking out into a hail of bottles not seen since the Daphne & Celeste Massacre of 2000. Bizzle countered this by shouting his own name, seemingly as many times as there were half-drunk cups of beer thrown in his direction.
For sheer brain-and-ball-busting brutality, nothing came close to Ted Maul. From the moment they walked on surrounded by scantily-clad dancing girls, the London six-piece ripped into the Gibson Stage like a burning Panzer tank with a death metal penis cannon.
It has to be Ginger from The Wildhearts for having the plug pulled seconds into set-closer ‘29x The Pain’. The frontman blew most of his bands’ slot joking with the crowd about the projectiles thrown at him.
Most Impressive Crowd
Despite a late-afternoon slot, drum’n’bass-types Pendulum drew a crowd big enough to shame many headline acts. Never mind that it sounded as dangerous a skinhead poodle, half the festival seemed to be at the second stage for their remix of ‘Voodoo People’.
After the slowly diminishing returns of Sepultura and Soulfly, there were doubts about Cavalera Conspiracy. After a brace of Sepultura classics, a quick blast of Nailbomb, and a rendition of ‘Roots Bloody Roots’ as fierce as anything we’d been dreaming of during the years when Max performed it with his gang of hired hands, the Brazilians seemed a tribe reborn.
With ‘Fuck Lostprophets’ t-shirts for sale on the merchandise stands, the Welshmen had a fight on their hands to show they deserved their headliner-status. When they closed the festival with a blistering ‘Burn Burn’ – literally, as the asymmetric fringes of the front rows were almost singed off by a rack of flamethrowers that probably cost more than their entire debut album took to record – the reaction they got proves that booking Lostprophets was money well spent.
Kid Rock being “too ill” to play, despite tabloid reports of the redneck partying in London the night before. And especially because his absence led to an extension of…
The Worst Performance
If ‘Mad’ David Draiman’s identikit-metal was half as dangerous as the Hannibal Lecter garb he dons for his stage entrance suggests, we might’ve been entertained, but Disturbed’s performance was as pedestrian as a lollipop lady’s day at work.
The Best Performance
This weekend, KISS stood head, shoulders, and ridiculous platform soles above everyone else. From ‘Deuce’ all the way to ‘Detroit Rock City’, from the tip of Gene Simmons’ monstrous tongue to end of the zip line Paul Stanley swung out over the crowd on during ‘Love Gun’, KISS backed up their claim to be the biggest live act of the planet with enough pyro for a Baghdad wake-up call.