Reading time: 3 minutes.
From the ashes of the mismanaged Soundwave, a new event for punk, rock and metal lover reborn: Download Festival.
Since its advent in 2003 in the UK, Download became quickly one of the biggest European metal festivals. Here in Oz, we could only dream of something like Wacken Open Air, Sonisphere and Rock Am Ring.
Soundwave was the only light that brightened up the summer for people like me, but with Download Festival landing in our Continent, we don’t feel so isolated anymore.
Needless to say that the lack of proper metal festivals is due to the lack of metalheads here Downunder.
Somehow, Live Nation decided to partner up with two Australian music companies, Unified and Secret Sounds, to give birth to the Aussie version of the British music mega-show.
The Festival itself was well organised: the stages were spaced out properly, a fair bit of food and drinks options were available, like plenty of merch shops and water stations.
I spent most of the time bouncing between the two main stages, the Red and the Black.
My day started shooting Luca Brasi, a tassie rock band that got its name from a character from “The Godfather”, followed by I Prevail, american hard-core punk band, promoting their new album “Trauma”.
After that, 45 minutes of Airbourne, a younger version of AC/DC. The singer (Joel O’Keefee) wouldn’t stand still for more than a 1/4 of a second. I had the chance to take a good picture of him only when he stopped to skol a can of VB. Warning: they are highly addictive. If you see them once, you want more.
The Victorian band left the stage in the capable hands of Behemoth, Polish band that is mostly defined as black-death metal. Whatever you want to call their music, they’re kick ass, always were and always will.
From the occult-themed music of Behemoth here comes someone I have been wanted to see for ages: Anthrax.
I saw Scott Ian (the only original member left) playing with the Damned Things at the House of Blues in Los Angeles in 2012, opening for Volbeat.
Now I finally got to see the iconical trash metal band; I felt like we were back in the early nineties. With them, I have seen two of the big4.
And after a piece of metal history, the line up continues with Rise Against. Why? Nobody knows. I believe the american punk band should have played earlier in the afternoon, to leave the evening set to veteran bands. I still enjoyed their show, don’t get me wrong.
Their controversial lyrics, touching topics like homophobia, animal rights and environmental issues, are a hipster magnet. I almost expected to see fans in front of the stage eating avocado on toast sipping cold brewed coffee.
THE BIG ONES
And here comes the Rooster. Alice in Chain’s performance appeared as a nostalgic tribute to Layne Staley.
The band is often referred to as one of the big four founders of grunge, all coming from the Seattle area: Nirvana, Soundgarden and Pearl Jam.
That was thirty years ago. Along the way, someone died with a needle stuck in his arm, another pulled a trigger, while a third decided to use a rope as a necklace.
Despite fans still mourne the original vocalist 17 years after his death, William Duvall filled in seamlessly, and thanks to him there is more to come.
The show must go on. And what ‘s more metal than a 67 years old gay Metal God dressed in a stud-filled shiny leather robe hitting notes as high as a mountain while riding a motorcycle on stage?
Judas Priest are a must see, that’s it, not much else to add.
I had a bit of time to charge the battery of my camera before the final show. The actual final show: Slayer’s last Tour, and the only performance in Australia. With this, I can tick the box of the third Big 4, just Megadeth are left.
Impeccable, as always, until the very end. Tom Araya, famous for his wilderness on stage, had to stay put and let the crowd take care of the headbanging. That did not make their performance less enjoyable, and even though I have never been a huge fan, I am so glad I got to see them.
I run to have a glimpse at Ghost, the incredible Swedish pop-metal band lead by Cardinal Copia, the fourth stage of evolution of Papa Emeritus, the character used on stage by vocalist Tobias Forge, but their fantastic show didn’t justify the fact that I was missing the very last performance of one of the best bands in the history of music; therefore, I quickly went back to the Red Stage to enjoy the last hour of Slayer.
Oh, by the way, Ozzy Osbourne was supposed to headline but bailed at the last minute due to health reason.
I hope he gets better soon.
Did we miss him? Not really.
The pictures have originally been taken for the website Metalitalia.com
Check my music gallery here