Find out who caught the eye of our reviewer among the mudbath that was this year's monster music fest at Donington.
Mud and rain - small words that any farmer can relate to, and which were quickly absorbed by rock fans attending a gathering in a field, namely Download 2019.
Friday wasn’t great by any stretch though thousands of loyal music-lovers made the most of the many bands spread over four stages.
Flicking stages is the game with Skid Row being the first to catch our eye who naturally played old and new hits as did Tesla, Little Suzi being a favourite.
Having never seen Blackberry Smoke it was good to spend time catching their tunes.
Strong start it may have been though they did level out somewhat as their set advanced. We even had a slice of Come Together by The Beatles, which was apt considering. Dressed all in black with a plain black backdrop wasn’t the best idea but they did well.
Delain hit the Zippo Encore Stage with gusto as front woman Charlotte Wessels took charge. Their tunes had a strong heavy European feel, which comes as no surprise as they hail from Holland. Talented musicians who were colourful, powerful and respectful. Current album Hunter’s Moon was mentioned with new single Master’s Of Destiny going down well. Another viewing early next year is on the cards…
Clutch are familiar and did good with their catchy hit Electric Worries ending their set, thus prompting me to buy an album, as I will with Delain. Whitesnake once used to delight the senses with bluesy soulful hard rock tunes, now sadly not as prevalent, plugged their latest product, Flesh and Blood. Front man David Coverdale still screamed and swore his way through their crowd filling set. Slow and Easy was good, though guitar and drum solos don’t float my boat anymore as newer and older songs could’ve filled the void.
Eagles Of Death Metal played strong material dragging a great throng with them. Again, a first time viewing which the masses enjoyed with Slash on the Main Stage also dragging large crowds. Miles Kennedy’s powerful voice delivered and the gang managed to miss most of the rain.
Rob Zombie, who headlined the Zippo platform, really was a big draw. Lots of colour and theatrics with big numbers coming early, namely Superbeast, Living Dead Girl, and More Human from his White Zombie days. Another Beatles classic, Helter Skelter, brought cheers and silly banter from Rob aside, overall they got top marks from me.
Main Stage top honours went to Sheffield’s favourite band Def Leppard. Strange choice it may have been as we’d only seen them last year. This was the same show basically, a celebration of Hysteria in its entirety so no different really. Still, if I was in their shoes I guess I’d have said ‘yes’ to a fourth appearance. With Vivian Campbell completing his second gig of the day and Joe Elliott sporting a shorter hair do they once again pulled it off with lights, songs and panache.
So, yes it was muddy, wet, we had overpriced and lengthy bar and merchandise queues but sadly this is normal for these types of events. On a plus note, depending on your standing spot, I felt the sound was good and out of the 109 bands I have found some new friends to check out.