It’s Friday 13th, and who better to be playing Download main stage than horror-loving metallers Rob Zombie? This music is designed for theatrics, which means it does sit at odds with the sunny weather something Rob pokes fun at.
The lack of stage production might come as a disappointment, but the frontman tries to make up for it, getting into the crowd and running up and down the barricades. The performance isn’t especially memorable, but between getting crowd chants going and a storming performance of ‘Dragula’, it’s safe to say that you don’t have to be a fan to appreciate the show.
With the other headliners for the weekend being Linkin Park and Aerosmith, both seasoned festival headliners in the UK, it fell on first-timers Avenged Sevenfold to open up Download with style.
Starting with Shepherd of Fire, what ensues is a show that doesn’t disappoint. Having clearly listened to the lukewarm reception that greeted their setlist in their arena tour last year, this time round they pull out all the stops. They play more off behemoth album ‘City of Evil’ than anyone would have expected, and a storming performance of ‘Second Heartbeat’ is a nice nod to their metalcore roots, making this show one for old fans as well as new.
A touching tribute to late drummer Jimmy ‘The Rev’ Sullivan comes in the form of So Far Away, and despite being a band that tend to not say much on stage it’s clear from M Shadows interaction with the crowd that this means a huge deal to them. It’s the sincerity in the performance of every song that makes this set so special.
They finish triumphantly on Unholy Confessions, and as fireworks shoot from the stage as the last riff plays out, it’s no overstatement to say this show was one that will be talked about for years to come.