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Download Festival (Machine Head, Slash, Prodigy) - Donington Park - 8th June 2012 (Live Review)

Friday, 15 June 2012 Written by Jon Stickler
Download Festival (Machine Head, Slash, Prodigy) - Donington Park - 8th June 2012 (Live Review)

Do you really need to read this review to find out how kick-ass Download Festival 2012 was? Ask anyone who has been before, come rain or shine, for five days a year Donington Park hosts one of the best live music events the planet has to offer. Despite getting off to a bad start weather-wise (does anyone remember being quite moist this time last week?), 100,000 people descended upon five stages to watch over 100 bands and celebrate the 10th anniversary of the UK's premier rock and metal festival, Download. Throw the horns people!

ImageSo after a relatively hassle free journey from Cardiff, on our Friday morning arrival it was pretty clear that mud and rain had taken centre stage for the first three days of the festival. Encouraging to see that the conditions had failed to dampen the spirits of festival goers who embraced the waterproofs, wellies (ahem, and whisky) to keep on rocking with a huge variety of bands on offer for the first day of music on Friday 8th June.

We were gutted to find out that both Cancer Bats and Rise To Remain had their opening main stage performances chopped, due to health and safety bods delaying the opening of the arena *shakes fist at the sky*, however it was business as usual for Fear Factory who stepped out to kick-off Download 2013. Following Burton C Bell and co, pop-punk rockers NOFX delivered a set that saw a large chunk of download happy to endure the hideous conditions at the front of the stage. Despite vocals being occasionally lost to the wind, NOFX entertained a sodden crowd as best as they could considering the hindered start.

Cloaked by clouds and the occasional fall of drizzle, Download Festival's main arena was buzzing by the time Machine Head arrived to stomp the boards on the main stage. Not so much to report on here as Machine Head are just Machine Head. And that is fucking awesome in every way. Living up to the expectations, a slightly subdued crowd lifted around the mid-point of a set that featured tracks such as latest offering 'Locust' and a roaring rendition of 'Halo'. The cheers grew in appreciation as the set tailed off, with more and more festival-goers getting into the Donington spirit. The band looked genuinely chuffed with their accomplished mission of hauling everyone back into the mood to raaawwk. Hell! Chase & Status, Slash, The Prodigy are all still yet to make their appearances too!

Risking trench-foot, onwards into the night we went. Chase & Status, probably the most controversial booking to ever hit the Download main stage, had the job of warming up the strobes for headliners The Prodigy, while former Guns N' Roses axe swinger Slash rolled out a powerhouse headline set over at the second stage. Firing through tracks from his self-titled debut solo album and his magnificent second offering 'Apocalyptic Love', a huge crowd opted for top-hats over techno and we even got to hear some Velvet Revolver on top of five GNR classics including what must have been the crowd sing-a-long of the day, 'Sweet Child O' Mine'. Silver-tongued Alter Bridge frontman Myles Kennedy once again giving a sensational master class on how to sing a rock song.

We managed to catch the end of The Prodigy headline set. Lets just say these guys give it their all on stage. Those who argue that Donington is no place for a non-rock act take heed. Watching the performance from a distance, the light show was fantastic and lit up what was prior to nightfall a pretty dreary looking arena. The burrito I had earlier in the day wasn’t the only thing causing a rumbling in the guts, with bass thundering across Donington as Keith Flint and co stormed through a set drawn heavily from latest album 'The Invaders Must Die'. The testosterone-fuelled techno warms everyone up for the afterdark entertainment, with the added bonus of some stunning pyros. Mmmm toasty. With 'Firestarter' and 'Omen' fuelling the walk to the festival's Village, from downpour to downright awesome, Download Festival has well and truly begun!

Check out Stereoboard's Download Festival 2012 Saturday review here. For further information on Download Festival's 2012 line-up, please visit www.downloadfestival.co.uk.

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