Review – Mallory Knox (Farewell Show)

Date: Sunday 6th October 2019

Venue: The Key Club, Leeds

Supports: Kill the Silence, Led By Lanterns

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Farewell tours are always a weird kind of show as there’s a balance of being sad that a band is playing for the last time but also happy that you can celebrate it one last time. With the rain seeming to be constantly pouring outside it took care of the sad atmosphere as upon stepping foot into The Key Club it was clear that this was a celebration of everything the band had achieved over the last 10 Years.

Tonight’s Opening band were local lads Kill the Silence. Due to having some prior commitments I only managed to catch the last two songs from the set. Being somewhere between Post Hardcore and Alternative Rock, the band really had an interesting sound which seemed to bounce between. Having played one of the dates on the Press to MECO tour as well earlier in the week, I’m sure these guys will be popping up more on my radar. The fairly large crowd that were in the room when I arrived was a very promising sign. Whilst the crowd weren’t quite ready to start moshing yet, the energy was definitely building and with a play through of newer track ‘All We Are’ you could tell that people were definitely singing along. With only having two tracks that I saw it’s hard to make up my mind on this band so I guess I’ll just have to see them again before I make my decision. After tonight’s introduction though things seem very positive.

Following on from Kill the Silence were upcoming Alt Rockers Led by Lanterns. Having not listened to the band before their set but hearing glowing reviews I was excited to see what was going to come out of these guys. I definitely wasn’t left disappointed as the band opened up with ‘Smoke Screen’ which instantly brought up the energy in the room. With a little bit of work through the track by the end the crowd were very much involved and had woken up. To introduce themselves to the majority of the crowd who hadn’t heard them before they pulled out a cover for everyone to sing along to. In a twist that I wasn’t expecting they took a poppier turn and covered ‘New Rules’ by Dua Lipa however they still managed to build on the energy and the crowd started to dance and sing along much more freely. Later track ‘Composure’ really showed the incredible vocals from front man Shaun as he captivated the room throughout the track. The entire band exuded energy on that stage with a special mention needed for drummer who took every opportunity to stand up and sing along with the crowd all whilst playing a solid set. With a small pit breaking out in the crowd during final track ‘Alive’ Led by Lanterns had definitely done their job of warming up tonight crowd. Definitely one a and that ill be listening to after the show and possibly even the band to fill the space that Mallory Knox will be leaving in the scene after this tour is up.

Led By Lanterns

As ‘The Final Countdown’ came through the speakers it was time for Mallory Knox to take to the stage. It was a nice touch for the band and really helped to set the tone for the rest of the set that the band were here to have fun and celebrate their work. In a time when it seems that a lot of main stay bands are calling it quits it seems all the more important that after all the issues that Mallory Knox have overcome they are very much doing this on their own terms. Tonight celebration kicked off with newer track ‘Sugar’ and the crowd wasted no time in bouncing along despite the track being one of the bands newer releases. With a set list spanning  the last ten years including everything from the first song written for the band ‘Oceans’ all the way through to tracks from the newest album such as ‘White Lies’ there really was time for a bit of everything this evening. It was great to see the crowd give the same reaction to all tracks and really showed that the band had a core of very dedicated fans here tonight to see them off. Pulling out all the big hits in their set, the band played faultlessly with everything sounded impeccable. After having to take a break and rest for a few shows last week there was a concern that Sam’s vocals may have suffered, however this was not the case and as the band played through ‘Beggars’ it was clear that the rest had helped.

As the set drew to closer to an end the band thanked Leeds for its impact on their career and mentioning all the venues that they had played in the city over the years, from The Cockpit when they were first starting out all the way to the Main stage of Leeds Festival. With the thanks out of the way it was time to go out in style and what better way to do that than to play through three of the bands biggest track. Starting out with my personal favourite track ‘Wake Up’ this really capitalised on the energy in the room and everyone was screaming the words along. Following on from this the band launched straight into the anthemic ‘Lighthouse’. As the chorus rang out it was clear to feel the unity in the room and the fact that no one was stood still (including the band) really built everything to a fever pitch. After one final round of thanks and no need to do an Encore the band finished tonight with ‘Better Off Without You’. I’m sure this was 100% planned when they were writing the set list but I can confirm that we are not better off without Mallory Knox and it really is a shame to see them call it a day. Tonight however, was a fantastic send off and from the crowd as they were leaving The Key Club its one that a lot won’t be forgetting soon. As one final sentence to finish the review all I have to say is Thanks for everything over the last 10 years and RIP Mallory Knox!

Mallory Knox

Review – Press To Meco

Date: Thursday 3rd October 2019

Venue: The Basement, York

Supports: Borderline, Chapter and Verse

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First up tonight were the local support Borderline. With a synth, a bass and a drum kit out on stage it really was interesting to try and work out what kind of sound was going to come off the stage. The best way I can think to describe it would be if you imagine Royal Blood but someone let them go wild with a synth. As they burst into first track ‘Empathy’ it came as a shock to the system but very much in a good way. The high notes of the synth were a huge contrast to the groove from the bass and drums. Shouldn’t have worked from the variety of different sounds but it actually came out very well as a mix and each instrument complimented the others for a really interesting soundscape. Older track ‘In a Vacuum’ made for a catchy number with the synth almost taking the role of a lead guitar while still mixing with the rhythm of the track. Unreleased track ‘Lara Croft’ sounded good and will be one to keep an eye on when it’s released. As the band wound down their set they mad a very poignant stand to end it with a song about some of the serious issues in the world today, only the serious issues turned out to be shark attacks. This felt very fitting as the band weren’t afraid to have fun all throughout the night. Very often an opening band will be a safe choice but Borderline were far out and it was incredible to see a band trying something complete different and doing it well so huge props to the band for stepping up and putting on a great set.

Borderline

Next up tonight were Chapter and Verse, a band that I was much more familiar with. As a little interesting fact, last time I came to a gig that was being played at The Basement, Chapter and Verse were supporting Dream State so it was quite surreal to see them again as supports in the same venue. Between the last set in York and seeing them playing the Main Stage at 2000Trees last year it was clear that the band are coming on leaps and bounds and are sure to hit their break through soon. Starting with new track Bad Blood which sounded fantastic live really hit this point home. Tonight’s mix sounded great and the band always put on a very energetic live performance. As vocalist Josh said tonight was “Like playing in a living room and watching your little brother go mad”. Keeping with the newer releases, it was great to get an exclusive play of unreleased track ‘Beauty Sleep’ which continuing the theme of ‘Bad Blood’ is a very promising sign of things to come. One of Chapter and Verse’s standout points are the incredible vocals soaring above the heavy tracks and as usual this was shown off brilliantly during ‘Ink’ with everyone stood in awe listening along. After a speech to the room about The New Breed which really built the inclusion the band finished tonight with in my opinion their best track so far – Magazines. This definitely ended the set on a high and really built the energy for Press to MECO who were up next. After another incredible set I really would love to see these guys get the recognition they deserve and play much bigger crowds and with the new tracks like Bad Blood it’s definitely a possibility.

Chapter and Verse

Keeping with the theme of bands that I saw at 2000Trees were tonight’s headliners Press to MECO. The only difference here was that the set they played there was acoustic so to hear them in full force tonight would be a completely separate experience. As with Chapter and Verse before it was quite a shock to see them playing in a 100 cap venue however with the great reaction to new track ‘Easy Life’ this will probably be the last chance to see these guys playing this level of venue before stepping up to much larger ones. As the band took to the stage, the low ceiling and layout of the venue really gave an intense intimate feeling which worked perfectly to build on the energy in the room. By the time the band reached the end of second track ‘All Your Parts Don’t Make a Whole’ the crowd were shouting the words back and dancing along. With some phenomenal harmonies between the three members of the band it made for a very unique experience as they shared the vocal duties throughout the set. New track ‘Easy Life’ got a play halfway through and sounded nothing short of incredible. Despite only being released less than two weeks ago the crowd had clearly had it on repeat as they knew every word. With the intimate setting slower tracks like ‘A Quick Fix’ and ‘Honestly’ had an amazing feel and really hit home with all the emotion you’d expect there to be. With smaller shows you tend to find the mix a little worse than other places but the opposite was true tonight and continued to impress with all three instruments balanced perfectly to really give a fantastic sound. As the band came to a close with plays of ‘White Knuckling’ and the incredible ‘Here’s to Fatigue’ it really ended things with a bang. As the band expelled all their energy from the stage it was clear that they had given it their all this evening and everyone in attendance had had a fantastic evening. Press to MECO are definitely a band to be keeping an eye on at the moment and after this tour and a new album I really hope that they get the break that they deserve.

Press To MECO

Review – Scouting For Girls”The Trouble With Boys” Album Release Show

With Crash Records killing it on the album release shows this year, next came the turn of Scouting for Girls. With their December show at the O2 Academy sold out, the opportunity to see them play acoustically in the 300 capacity Belgrave Music Hall and Canteen was incredible. As the Greg and Roy took to the stage armed with two guitars and a keyboard it was clear that this was going to be an evening to remember. Starting off with the title track from their new album ‘The Trouble with Boys’ the crowd were immediately singing the words back which really gave a fantastic feel to the event from the outset. As good as the song and reaction were to start tonight, it was dwarfed in comparison to the screams that erupted during the opening of ‘This Ain’t a Love Song’. Scouting for Girls have always had a knack for writing catchy tracks and this was very clear with the crowd dancing along through the entire song.

As the band took a short break from playing they spoke about how the evening was going to be slightly different and was more of an Evening with Scouting for Girls rather than just a standard acoustic gig. With that being said they then proceeded to FaceTime drummer Pete who couldn’t join them on the tour as he was expecting the birth of his child the next day. After a brief conversation between everyone on stage Pete then (using a set of pan pipes he had lying around) introduced the next huge hit to come out this evening – ‘Heartbeat’. As the song came to an end Roy opened up the floor to questions from the audience and told stories from the bands past including the tale of Roy’s first guitar and some V Festival drunkenness which led Greg to spend nearly £10,000 on guitars. It was a really nice touch for the evening and worked well to build the bond between the band and the crowd. As the night went on the crowd were treated to a live debut of new track ‘Count on Me’ during which was endearing moment where the crowd knew the lyrics better than Roy and had to help him out. Finishing off their new tracks with the main single ‘Grown Up’ the crowd were definitely on a high and as the floor was opened back up to the crowd after a bit of discussion about Greg’s favourite track ‘Double Act’ it ended with the band playing a mash up of the crowds three favourite tracks. Starting with the amazing ‘The Airplane Song’ the band played a verse and Chorus before working in the catchy ‘Posh Girls’ and finally ending the mash up with fan favourite ‘Michaela Strachan’. As the band thanked Crash Records for the effort they went into supporting and arranging this event it was time for them to finish with one last song and play none other than their first big track ‘She’s So Lovely’. The entire crowd were dancing along and singing the words back at the stage with at times the crowd being louder than Roy.

As the short but sweet set came to an end it was time for the band to retire to the snug bar at the back to sign things and take photos with everyone that wanted to. From the amount of noise in the room and everyone talking about the show it was clear that tonight had been another resounding success for the team at Crash records. Every time I review a show I put in a good word about the shop at the bottom so you may be sick of hearing this but honestly events like this really help build a great link between the artist and the audience which you don’t get in most over cities music scene. The work that Crash Records do really is an asset to Leeds and here’s hoping that these Launch Shows and Intimate acoustic gigs continue well into the future.

Scouting for Girls

Review – Leeds Festival 2019 (Friday)

Leeds Festival 2019 – Friday

As the August Bank Holiday rolled round for another year it was time to close the Festival season in style with Leeds Festival. With a huge variety of different genres on show throughout the weekend it was a shame that I was only able to attend the Friday this year but what a day it was. Unfortunately due to some pretty severe transport issues (broken down trains into Leeds and an incident on the shuttle bus route meaning we had to walk down the A64 to the site) I didn’t manage to get into the site until 3pm so it’s quite a short review but despite this all bands put on amazing sets as you’ll read below and its certainly kept my love for the festival up and I’ll be looking forward to Leeds Festival 2020 next year

 

Enter Shikari – Main Stage

After an absolutely dismal journey in to the festival things were going to start back with a high as the first band to play were special guests Enter Shikari. Opening their set with newly released track ‘Stop the Clocks’ it was a clear that this was going to be a fun set and with the inclusion of the rarely played ‘The Paddington Frisk’ a few songs later that was all but confirmed. In true Enter Shikari fashion they put on a great show and the pyro blasting out during ‘Juggernauts’ really showed that they belong on the big stages. Whilst it was nice to see them intimately at Download Festival, they really could pull out all stops for their set with the huge screen behind them displaying various different elements to add to the show throughout. With the Quickfire Round flashing by the crowd were and truly here’s for a party. The 2019 mix of ‘No Sleep Tonight’ got everyone dancing before the crushing riffs of ‘…Meltdown’ finished the quickfire round brilliantly. By the time the band finished set closer ‘Live Outside’ it was clear the level of appreciation that was shown by the crowd. With chants of “Oh Enter Shikari” throughout and Rou’s words to “Be Wild, be free and be wonderful” taken on board this really was an incredible set to start the day with.

Enter Shikari

 

Machine Gun Kelly – BBC Radio 1 Stage

Next up for the day was Machine Gun Kelly, an artist that I was much less familiar with. This seemed to be something that I had missed as there was a huge crowd packing out BBC Radio 1 Stage to see him. New track ‘Candy’ went down a treat with the crowd singing it back at full volume! After playing at Download Festival a few years ago it was good to see his heavy influences throughout the set with a cover of Motley Crue’s ‘Shout at the Devil’ from The Dirt blasting out through the tent. ‘RAP DEVIL’ also made an appearance in the set and was a masterpiece to see live! Chants of “Yorkshire” filled the entire stage as Yungblud came out to perform with MGK for ‘I think I’m OKAY’. Having missed his set earlier in the day thanks to the transport it was great to see the young Yorkshire lad taking to the stage and bouncing around. One of the standout points of this set was that Machine Gun Kelly really showed off how much of a multi-instrumentalist he is by switching things up and taking on both the drums and guitar throughout as well as his vocals. Given my lack of knowledge beforehand this was definitely a surprise for me how much I enjoyed his set and I’ll definitely be listening to him more in the future.

Machine Gun Kelly

 

nothing,nowhere. – The Pit Stage

Keeping with the rap theme, it was time to catch emo rapper nothing,nowhere. an artist that I’d heard great things about but never managed to catch live yet. Working his balance of light signing and rap perfectly it was a very minimal performance but in the best way. With the confines of the tent over The Pit stage it worked perfectly with the intimacy meaning that each track hit home hard. The standout part of his set came as he finished with arguably his biggest track ‘hammer’. It was a perfect end and even managed to stir up a mosh pit in the closing moments to really release the emotion of the track. Definitely an artist that I’ll be checking out again in the future, whist the slow beats of emo rap are not usually my cup of tea this set really showed why nothing,nowhere. is really at the top of the game at the moment.

nothing,nowhere.

 

Frank Carter and The Rattlesnakes – Main Stage

Heading back to the Main Stage and changing the momentum very quickly to much heavier rock and roll, it was time to watch Frank Carter and The Rattlesnakes. Having caught them at every Leeds Festival since 2015 I knew what to expect from the set but still they crushed it. The huge crowd began moshing as soon as the first chord of ‘Tyrant Lizard’ rang out. It was great to hear the newer tracks alongside older ones and really showed the growth that both Frank and The Rattlesnakes have done over the past few years. After all these years it’s great to see them rewarded with such a high slot after his set opening the Main Stage in 2017 everyone thought that would be the pinnacle. It’s great to see the band pushing the positive messages hard and this was made clear during ‘Wild Flowers’ where he not only had a female only crowd surfer moment but also a mosh pit just for the women in the crowd. It worked perfectly to give those that hadn’t had courage to do either before an opportunity to try it without a worry and hopefully gave them a great experience to take away. Following this it was back to the older tracks with ‘Devil Inside of Me’ which went down a treat causing an absolute ruckus in the crowd. Finishing with the huge ‘I Hate You’ was always gonna be a great choice but using it to ‘”Celebrate” the current prime minister, point out the failings in the current government and encouraging young people to vote was a great idea and certainly one I hope the crowd took on board. A fantastic set to really show what Frank Carter and The Rattlesnakes stand for and how they are helping out the entire rock community. It won’t be too long before they are headlining the entire festival hopefully

Frank Carter and The Rattlesnakes

 

A Day to Remember – Main Stage

Continuing the heavier theme on the main stage were today’s main supports in A Day to Remember. Opening their set with ‘2nd Sucks’ really started the set off with a bang and what followed for the next 45mins could only be described as a brilliant set. Keeping things heavy meant that pits were opening everywhere and when rarely played ‘Sticks and Bricks’ came out the reaction was huge. Screams of “My heart is filled with hate!” were shouted back before the huge breakdown hit home and the crowd imploded on itself. After the heavy start things let up a little with ‘Rescue Me’ and the anthemic ‘Have Faith in Me’ getting massive singalongs. New track ‘Degenerates’ was added into the set and from the crowd’s reaction it’s certainly going to be around in their sets for a long time.

After the Huge ‘All I Want’ it was time to slow things down again for an acoustic version of ‘If It Means a Lot to You’ which really showed off just how good Jeremy McKinnon’s clean vocals were and by the time the song had built to its crescendo with the full band joining there wasn’t a dry eye in the crowd. Not one to put off a big finish, the band saved arguably one of their best tracks till last with the chants to ‘The Downfall Of Us All’ ringing out across the crowd and the CO2 and Pyro flying across the stage. With their set well and truly killed all that was left for the band to do was drop a huge banner down with ‘You’re Welcome’ on which only built the hype for the new album, only a few months to wait before its released.

A Day To Remember

 

Enter Shikari – The Pit Stage

No you haven’t scrolled back to the top of the post, it really is a second Enter Shikari set. Enter Shikari had the incredible ability to play two completely different sets in the same day and after their insane set earlier on the Main stage it was time for their Headline set on The Pit stage. Unfortunately due to the set times overlap with A Day to Remember, I wasn’t able catch the entire set but from the parts that I did catch it was no wonder that the tent was packed out. With old cut ‘Tribalism’ making its live debut despite being released almost 10 years ago just as I walked into the tent it was clear that this was going to be an incredible set. With the pyro and confetti thrown in it was certainly Enter Shikari’s no holds barred live show.

With big hits such as ‘Arguing with Thermometers’ and ‘Slipshod’ making appearances things were certainly rowdy and with everyone jumping into the crowd or climbing the stage framing it was clear this was a set to have fun with and definitely a great way to close the stage for the day. As the band finished with their set with ‘The Appeal and The Mindsweep II’ it was clear to see the energy was still flowing at 100% and it certainly looked like it ended the day on a high for the band. The fact that the band had pulled off two sets in the same day was one hell of an achievement and certainly one I’m glad to say that I was able to experience. I’ll say it in every review I write about Enter Shikari but it’s no lie, if you haven’t seen them live then go see them as soon as possible as it really is an unreal experience.

Enter Shikari

 

Foo Fighters – Main Stage

After being warmed up perfectly by both A Day to Remember and Enter Shikari it was time for today’s headliners – rock and roll titans Foo Fighters. Now in the past I’ve described sets starting with a bang but in this case there was a literal bang as fireworks shot into the sky as ‘The Pretender’ rang out. After this incredible start the band launched straight into ‘Learn to Fly’ as a para-glider flew about over Bramham Park. After starting at 110% the Foo’s dialled things back a little as they got to ‘My Hero’ with Dave bringing out his daughter Violet to help him on vocals which went down amazingly with the crowd. As the band introductions came around in the set the pace slowed a little bit but the band pulled a wild card when a guy dressed as Freddie Mercury in the crowd was invited on stage to dance along to Taylor Hawkins cover of the Queen hit ‘Under Pressure’. It brought a great entertainment factor and the guy pulled it off well getting a huge cheer from the crowd as he ran around the stage. Bringing out both All My Life and Monkey Wrench brought the energy back up to 100%. It was good to see how they had mixed some of their older tracks in with their big hits to really give a well-rounded Foo Fighters experience. ‘Best of You’ got a deafening singalong from the crowd being almost louder than the PA system.

As the band’s two hour set drew to its closing the band weren’t really to go down quietly and a cover of the massive AC/DC track ‘Let There Be Rock’ built up all the remaining energy and prepared the crowd for the last song in the set – the legendary ‘Everlong’. With Dave Grohl dedicating it to the crowd that had been with them for the last 25 years it really was a celebration of what the band had achieved over the years and as the song closed to an end and the fireworks rose to the sky over the giant logo it was clear to see just how much Foo Fighters meant to everyone in the crows and how they become one of the legendary bands in rock music. As the set wound down and people started leaving the arena it was clear from the overhead conversations that this would be a set to go down in Reading and Leeds Festival’s history books. A Phenomenal set to really end a brilliant day of Rock!

Foo Fighters

Review – Download Festival 2019 (Sunday)

Download Festival 2019 – Sunday

I Prevail – Main Stage

Starting the day off nice and heavy I took a trip to the Main stage to see the incredibly heavy I Prevail. For a band that made their rise mostly through covers of pop songs it was great to hear that their original tracks sounds incredible. Despite it only being their second time playing in the UK they drew a huge crowd even given the fact it was only 12pm and the rain was pouring down. With sounds that were similar to A Day to Remember it was clear that the crowd were loving it with pits all throughout and plenty of people dancing along. Tracks off their new album ‘Trauma’ sound incredible with the standouts being opener ‘Bow Down’ which was an aggressive wake-up call and a great way to start the day and ‘DOA’ which got huge circle pits and singalongs at the same time whilst sounding incredible with the mix between the two vocalists. I Prevail are definitely a band that I’ll be trying to catch again in the future next time they’re in the UK

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I Prevail

Underoath – Main Stage

As Underoath took to the stage with the rain still pouring down, it was clear that the crowd was much smaller than it should have been for a band of this calibre. Not to help the rough start, the sound started a little off with the bass too heavy in the mix unfortunately affecting their sound. Once that was sorted out a couple of songs in all sounded good and the band really fell into their groove. Great vocals were on show from both singer and drummer who chimed in for a surprising amount of the tracks. With the majority of tracks coming from their new album ‘Erase Me’ it was clear that they fitted in well live. ‘Rapture’ was certainly a highlight sounded incredible and worked really well with their older stuff. The electronic element added greatly to the show to differentiate from generic metalcore and finishing with a pairing of the classic ‘Writings on the Wall’ before newer track ‘Sink with You’ went down a storm with the crowd. Finishing on a high it was great to see the triumph from Underoath despite their rocky start.

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Underoath

Starset – Zippo Encore Stage

Next up on the Zippo Encore Stage were my surprise of the day – Starset. I had heard and enjoyed a couple of songs by them on the Official Download Spotify playlist which meant that they were down to fill my time between Underoath and Black Peaks. However as the stage started to fog with smoke and the violinist and cellist appeared on stage it really piqued my interest that I was about to watch something different. As the rest of the band took to the stage in futuristic desert outfits it really was a sight to behold with the large sandy logo behind. As the tracks went on you could tell that the band were giving it 100% with early track ‘Monster’ sounding incredible. With the vocalist switching between two separate mic’s it provided a really interesting mix and the addition of some electronic elements mixed with the strings and regular band made for a great soundscape. Despite the fog machines working overtime and clouding the stage it was still a really enjoyable show to build the day up and certainly another band that I will be keeping my eye on in the future. Finishing their set with their top track ‘My Demons’, Starset certainly left a lasting impression on the unsuspecting crowd and for all the right reasons.

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Starset

Black Peaks – Avalanche Stage

After the surprise shock from the very impressive Starset before it was time for Black Peaks, a set that I knew from previous experience was going to be top notch. As I entered the Avalanche Stage tent it was clear to see the huge amount of people packing the tent and the anticipation was hanging in the air. As the band opened up with newer track ‘Can’t Sleep’ the tent fell into silence at the spectacle they were witnessing. With vocalist Will Gardner pulling out all the stops to deliver his fantastic mix of clean and unclean vocals and the rest of the band absolutely smashing it, it was clear that they had earned a reaction of this level. One of the surprises of the set was the Pyro the burst from the stage despite it only being 3pm and on the 3rd Stage. It was clear that everyone knew that this was going to be one of the standout sets from the entire weekend. Finishing with older cuts of the huge sounding ‘Say You Will’ and the incredible ‘Glass Built Castles’ ensured that the entire tent was moving. The only negative to pull from this set was that they only had six songs to impress but from this set, they’ll certainly be taking to the larger stages in the future. I have no doubt that Black Peaks will have picked up a new bunch of fans from this set and just in time for their headline tour in October.

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Black Peaks

Amon Amarth – Main Stage

Unfortunately due to the timing of the set Amon Amarth fell victim to me only being able to catch part of their set before heading off but boy did they pack a lot into the three songs that I caught.  A huge crowd had turned out to see the mighty Vikings and as they kicked off their first track it was incredible to see everyone banging their heads along to the huge riffs! Bringing heavy hitting drums and incredible sounding guitars with the deep vocals tying it over perfectly it really was a masterclass in metal music for everyone in attendance. With a huge amount pyro flying left, right, and centre and two Vikings engaging in combat on stage during ‘First Kill’ it really was a see it to believe it spectacle, being more of an entertainment set rather than just purely musical. As third track ‘Way of the Viking’ came to a crushing end it was time for us to leave which felt like a fitting end to their set for us. I can’t wait to get to enjoy the full Amon Amarth package later this year when they tour the UK as the posters around the arena were suggesting.

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Amon Amarth

Beartooth – Zippo Encore Stage

After cutting Amon Amarth short, it fell to Beartooth to ease my judgement and show why I was watching them and not still at the Main stage with the Vikings! As it turns out it was very much the correct choice. Having seen Beartooth a fair few times I knew what to expect but as with every performance they seem to improve on themselves. Given the huge size of the crowd it was clear that they are certainly rising through the ranks. Starting the set with a bang the band came out and immediately smashed into ‘Bad Listener’ performing to perfection, it really was a guide for what was about to follow.  With a mix of tracks during their set from all three albums it’s clear that fans both new and old of the band are very passionate with the crowd screaming along to every song. The reaction to newer track ‘You Never Know’ was incredible with everyone’s (and I do mean everyone!) fist pumping and head banging along. After a short speech talking about the importance of mental health on the community and how the band had helped him along personally, Caleb launched into final track ‘In Between’ which really finished the set with a huge bang as the crowd went crazy screaming all the words back. This really felt like a special set from Beartooth and I can’t wait to see them again on their 2020 tour.

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Beartooth

Lamb Of God – Main Stage

Next up for the day as it was drawing to a fever pitch were the Death Metal titans Lamb of God. As the crowd flocked to the Main stage to catch the huge band it was clear to see they were an band in demand and even clashing with the huge Anthrax hadn’t had too much of an impact on the numbers in attendance. Starting with arguably one of their biggest tracks in ‘Omerta’ things started off in great fashion and with ‘Walk With Me in Hell’ coming only a few songs later it was clear that they were firing on all cylinders with the band sounding incredible.  Unfortunately for me, this energy didn’t seem to continue for them throughout the set. Whilst it was still clear that the majority of the crowd were still rocking along there was just something off for me personally which I can only put down to the ability of all the bands that had put on stunning sets today beforehand. I’m definitely glad to have caught Lamb of God live though as they’ve been on my wish list for a long time and the early tracks really hit home well for me showing just how devastating the band can be live.

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Lamb of God

Fever 333 – Avalanche Stage

After the slight disappointment of the previous set it was time for things to hit the high notes again with arguably one of the most talked about sets of the weekend FEVER 333. Having been lucky enough to see their secret set exactly a year ago at Download Festival 2018 it was great to see the band back again playing to a much bigger crowd. As the first notes of ‘Burn It’ rang out the entire tent turned into a warzone with everyone both on the stage and in the crowd moving non-stop until the end. With the huge pairing of ‘Made In America’ and ‘One Of Us’ coming not far behind it was a brilliant showcase of just what the band had achieved so far in their short spell. With a short break for the band to show off their technical prowess with a drum solo and beatbox which included all three members hitting the drums as it came to a climax. Unfortunately due to the nature of a drum solo it did sap some of the energy from the crowd and the band had to put in more effort to the second half of the set to bring it back up. Luckily the setlist had been set up so that the huge ‘Out of Control’ could restart the movement with a bang. As the bands set drew to a close with ‘Hunting Season’ it was clear to see that the tent was back up to fever pitch – pun very much intended. As the band left the stage it was clear that through these demonstrations they were attracting a huge following and were only going to grow even more from here. With the headline demonstrations later in 2019 it was clear that there is no stopping FEVER 333 and that is very much a good thing!

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Fever 333

Enter Shikari – Avalanche Stage

For most bands following the explosive and very impressive FEVER 333 would be a tough challenge but luckily for me today final band and Avalanche Stage headliner Enter Shikari were the true champions of live performances and were on top form. Having previously headlined the Zippo Encore Stage in years gone by it seemed to be a downgrade to be headlining the third stage however the confines of a packed out tent complete with the Intimate venue tour they had done earlier in the year brought the perfect atmosphere to the set. Starting out with ‘The Appeal & The Mindsweep I’ was a master stroke with the entire crowd screaming along and following it up with my personal favourite Enter Shikari Song ‘Quelle Surprise’ it really was one giant mosh pit from the very beginning. With a very varied setlist covering all aspects of Enter Shikari’s sound it really was musically impressive and went to show that a band can experiment outside of set genres and pull it off perfectly jumping from the huge anthems of ‘Take My Country Back’ to the heaviness of ‘Slipshod’ to the technicality of ‘There’s a Price On Your Head’. After displaying the wide variety the band have, they decided to take it up another notch with the new version of the ‘Quick-fire Round’ which always goes down a treat at their shows. Amongst the usual heavy hitters the inclusion of a new ‘No Sleep Tonight’ remix went down perfectly, it really was a masterclass in how to mix songs perfectly and as the bad finished up with the fantastic ‘Live Outside’ there wasn’t a single person who left the tent without a smile on their face having just witnessed a perfect set. I may be biased given that they are my favourite band but seeing Enter Shikari play live is one of the most incredible things in music currently and certainly a must if you haven’t already. They were certainly the perfect way to end the whole festival on a huge high with easily the best set of the week for me personally. I can’t wait to catch them again in the summer playing at Leeds Festival.

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Enter Shikari

 

 

Review – Download Festival 2019 (Saturday)

Download Festival 2019 – Saturday

Royal Republic – Main Stage

Starting the day off with a trip the Main Stage, I was very keen to check out Royal Republic. Coming out to new track ‘Fireman and Dancer’ really set the fun mood for the upcoming set. Newest album mixed perfectly and older tracks like ‘Tommy Gun’ went down a storm. Deciding that they couldn’t manage to get the largest or most people in a single circle pit, Royal Republic decided to think outside the box and go for the most small circle pits. As ‘Don’t Stop Moving’ rang out the crowd were a sight to behold with pretty much everyone running around. Finishing on ‘Baby’ got a huge singalong to really warm everyone up for the day ahead. Extra points go to the band for not only appearing in matching red velvet jackets but also for playing Main Stage at Download Festival and brining out a keytar on multiple occasions (Even if it did cause a few technical difficulties). A very energetic set to start the day right and certainly a band to give a listen to if you haven’t heard them before.

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Underside – Dogtooth Stage

Not many bands start with a demon figure on stage but then again Nepalese metallers Underside are not many bands. Started off 100% but a few songs in and had a technical issue. Luckily skill of their drummer kept the audience captives with an intense drum solo. Once the band were back on track they picked up from where they left off with the crushing guitars really hitting the tracks home and the vocals coming crashing on top of them. Unfortunately the set had to be cut short thanks to the earlier issue but not before the huge Sky Burial and then the duelling solos of both guitarists to finish off their set with a punch.

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Palisades – Avalanche Stage

After a short break in the music it was time to head to the Avalanche Stage to check out metalcore act Palisades. The band only seem to come over to the UK for festivals and the occasional support slots. Bringing a majority of tracks from their newest album Erase the Pain to their set worked well and the crowd bounced along throughout. Title track of the album ‘Erase the Pain’ drew a huge reaction from the crowd and was certainly a highlight of the set. A very tight performance from the band and fantastic vocals both clean and screamed. Palisades definitely need to do a headline tour soon to build on their hype over this side of the pond.

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Skindred – Main Stage

Starting off with a bang Skindred launched into ‘Sound the Siren’ which started the crowd bouncing straight from the beginning. A few songs in they brought out Gary Stringer from Reef to provide some guest vocals over ‘Machine’ which worked as a nice contrast to Benji’s vocal style. Despite the rain still tipping down, they held the crowd well within their hands with everyone dancing along seemingly oblivious to the downpour. To finish off in typical Skindred fashion the crowd participated in a very damp Newport helicopter while the band crashed through ‘Warning’. Leaving the stage to ‘Nobody Does It Better’ it was hard to disagree with their choice of songs as they always put on a fantastic show and draw a huge crowd.

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The Hu – Dogtooth Stage

Having piqued my interest in the download playlist and having five minutes spare between Skindred and Trivium I felt it was only right to take a trip up the hill to see The Hu. As we approached the Dogtooth Stage it was clear that half of download had the same idea as there were rows and rows of people packed out of the tent to catch the sensations! Unfortunately due to the distance outside the tent it was hard to comment on their sound however everyone that had managed to fit in the tent seemed to be loving it so hopefully there will be another chance to catch them in the future.

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Trivium – Main Stage

As we headed back down to the main stage to catch Trivium the skies had started to clear and the sunshine flashed through the arena. For those still slightly damp the huge amounts of pyro flying from the stage will certainly have dried everyone off. As the band kicked things off with the huge ‘The Sin and The Sentence’ it was clear that they were here to bring the metal to Download this afternoon. As the band paid tribute to the festival for giving them their big break all those years ago  it was clear this was a set for the fans and a little bit of each album was thrown in for good measure. With Matt Heafy’s voice sounding incredible and the rest of the band putting on a crushing display behind him it was clear that they were fully deserving of the spot that they had earned. As the set drew to a close with the combination of  ‘Capsizing The Sea’ and ‘In Waves’ it was clear just how many people had turned out for their set as the cries of “In Waves…” were deafening and the crowd movement jumped to another level completely. Expect Trivium to be hitting the arenas next as they certainly put on a show for Download

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Die Antword – Main Stage

Turning the bass up to 11 after Trivium were this year’s controversial booking in Die Antwoord. Whilst they didn’t fit in with the other bands playing the festival they certainly fit under the alternative banner. Given the massive crowd that were there it was clear that everyone was just as intrigued to see what they would be like as I was. As it turns out not even the band knew why they were there but as they smashed through their hits it was clear that most of the crowd were getting involved. As a true marmite band it was clear that they received huge crowd reactions to their more popular songs such as ‘I Fink U Freeky’ and ‘Ugly Boy’ with the entire place bouncing along. In contract lesser well known songs like ‘Cookie Thumper’ kinda fell by the wayside and the crowd dropped off a little. Finishing their set with possibly their heaviest track in ‘Enter The Ninja’ you could feel the bass vibrating the entire ground and as they left the stage it was clear that there were a fair few converts in the crowd. Whilst Die Antwoord may not have been to everyone’s taste there it was clear that they can put on a very energetic show. For those who don’t venture outside of metal too often it was a chance to catch something different to the normal at Download.

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Halestorm – Zippo Encore Stage

As the Main Stage was cleared for Slipknot’s huge stage show to be set up, the majority of the crowd headed over to see Halestorm play a monumental set headlining the Zippo Encore Stage. Starting off with the mighty ‘Do Not Disturb’ and ‘Uncomfortable’ the band really showed that the new album was a huge leap in the right direction for the band. As the music raged across the crowd everyone was banging their heads and this just seemed to raise the energy coming off the stage. By the time came for Lzzy to do an acoustic version of ‘the silence’ the crowd definitely needed the calm. With the acoustic rendition showing just how powerful Lzzy’s voice is it’s no surprise that she is regarded as having one of the best voices in rock! As the set cracked on there was a mandatory break as with every Halestorm show for a drum solo from Arejay, unfortunately I’m still not a big fan of drum solos and this one was no different as it seemed to take a huge amount of the energy out of the performance. Luckily for me this picked back up straight after as the band smashed through ‘Freak Like Me’ with incredible ferociousness. Towards the end of the set the band brought on fellow vocalist Asami from the band LOVEBITES – who played earlier in the day – to do a joint rendition of ‘Love Bites (So Do I)’. It was a very impressive nod to the band that had clearly taken their inspiration from Halestorm. To finish off their set with a bang they chose top track ‘I Miss The Misery’. With soaring guitar solos and a hell of a scream from Lzzy the band certainly left the stage with everyone begging for more and with the arena shows later this year it’s clear that it won’t be too many years before Halestorm could headline the entire festival!

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Slipknot – Main Stage

Coming out to a combination of ‘People = Shit’ and ‘{sic}’ to create an incredible atmosphere from the start really set the bar for the rest of this evenings set. There was a reason that they had headlined multiple times and they were certainly here to deliver this evening. New track ‘Unsainted’ got one of the biggest reactions of the night from the crowd despite not being released too long before the festival. As the band smashed through their set with pin point precision it was clear to see just how good Slipknot had become and how amazing their live show was. As the set drew on older cuts such as ‘Custer’ sent the crowd into a frenzy and by the time the band got through ‘All Out Life’ anyone would be forgiven for having no voice and no knees left after all the jumping and screaming. Slipknot on the other hand were far from done with a fantastic version of ‘Spit It Out’ complete with the crouching and Jumping on a scale that could have shaken the earth before finishing their night off with the “National Anthem of Download Festival” in ‘Surfacing’. As their set came to an end, it really hit home the reason that Slipknot keep being given the opportunity to headline at download, they always bring a killer show. With the new tracks going down brilliantly it will be interesting to hear the new album when it is released and then see how those new songs transition into their set. There is one thing for sure though, it’s certainly an exciting time to be a Maggot!

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