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A Quiet Night Out (Download Festival Feature)

Thursday, 13 June 2013 Written by Sam Jones

Download has, since its first staging back in 2003, become a byword for everything loud, hairy and metal. On June 14, Iron Maiden, Slipknot and Rammstein will descend on Donington Park to headline another weekend of guttural roars, blastbeats, flame-throwers and good times.

For those of a more sensitive disposition, Download also has something to offer. Hidden among the leading lights of rock and metal on this year's bill are stars from the worlds of punk and indie, giving fans the opportunity for a quiet(ish) night out at the UK's heaviest festival.

The Gaslight Anthem – Main Stage, Sunday

Led by the charismatic Brian Fallon and toting a bag of tunes influenced by a collective youth spent with one ear pressed up to the radio, the Gaslight Anthem will showcase their anthemic punk and roll on the main stage just prior to the headliners on Sunday. Like Bruce Springsteen, their spiritual forefather and sometime collaborator, the band's songs are tailor-made for big crowds and balmy evenings. Their latest record – 'Handwritten' – is packed to the gills with chunky guitars and singalongs, offering a neat throwback to their early releases while maintaining the Americana that crept into 2010's 'American Slang'.

The Hives – Pepsi Max Stage, Saturday

Rammstein will bring flame-throwers to the main stage on Sunday, but the fireworks might belong to the Hives. Some predicted that the Swedes' blend of garage rock and sartorial elegance would grow old, but they were wrong. With Howlin' Pelle Almqvist, an unholy cross between Mick Jagger and Dennis Lyxzén, at the helm and some killer tunes littered throughout their back-catalogue they remain one of the world's finest live bands. Take your dancing shoes and a stupid grin with you, as this one's going to be fun.

Jimmy Eat World – Zippo Encore Stage, Saturday

The kings of American emo – the proper kind, at least – Jimmy Eat World have been turning out top-class alt-rock records since 1994. In 'Clarity' and 'Bleed American' they produced a brace of towering classics, and they're back again with 'Damage', their first release since 'Invented' in 2010. With so many songs that demand to be shouted among like-minded souls, this could be a major highlight of the weekend. Tell your mates that you've got something in your eye, that's all.

Devin Townsend – Jagermeister Acoustic Stage, Saturday

One of metal's most enduring chameleons, Townsend will perform in a stripped-down environment as headliner for Saturday's acoustic stage. The former leader of Strapping Young Lad, Townsend has dipped a finger in almost every pie that metal has to offer. Combining intricate guitar work and his distinctive voice – smooth baritone one minute, face-melting scream the next – this will offer fans the chance to see one of modern metal's greats in his rawest form. Turning up early for this one may be a necessity, as Townsend won't be shy of friends at Download.

Sonic Boom Six – Red Bull Studio Stage, Sunday

One of the UK's hardest-touring bands, Sonic Boom Six will headline the Red Bull stage on Sunday, bringing their distinctive clash of styles with them. Equal parts punk, dub, grime, hip hop and ska, the Manchester five-piece released their fourth full-length in 2012 – a self-titled effort on Xtra Mile – and produced another batch of high-energy, political anthems. Perfect for those after a change of pace, but with enough energy to dance into Monday.





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