Friday night brings only a few hours sleep and we wake to the sounds of Five Finger Death Punch, recently in Dublin to support Lamb of God. For such an ungodly hour FFDP draw a healthy crowd, with singer Ivan Moody even getting a circle pit going within minutes despite the heat. Such activity was to continue with Devildriver next up, singer Des Farara inviting the audience to join them in an attempt at the circle pit world record during -Meet The Wretched’, after the Guinness Book Of Records denied their 2007 Download attempt. State declined the offer, decided instead to watch them from afar. It’s a tough one to call but we think they might well have cracked it this time.
After all that excitement, Hatebreed were a more relaxing affair, with the Connecticut band hitting some nostalgic points with the rockers in the crowd, ourselves included. Up next were Down who, as always, put on a spectacular show. Ending their set with -Bury Me In Smoke’, ex-Pantera frontman Phil Anselmo launched into a few bars of -Stairway To Heaven’ before dropping his mic and walking off.
If you’re not a Dragonforce fan by this point, it’s safe to say that you never be. They did their best to please their hardcore fans and perhaps lovers of dad rock by playing songs from all four albums. Their sleezy ploy of having very semi-dressed nurses delivering drinks on stage to the band was off putting enough but when these ladies began flashing the crowd at the request of the band it just made the whole affair look cheesy, dated and Dragonforce like dirty old men. All you need to know is that their song -Through The Fire And The Flames’ made Guitar Hero 3 famous, as State was off to the bar. After this downer we needed a little pick me up and thankfully Pendulum seemed to have the answer. The Australian based drum and base turned electronic group opened their set with -Showdown’ which was enough to have us swinging our hips in a matter of minutes and they didn’t let up for the next hour or so. As with last year, destined to be one of Oxegen’s highlights.
Saturday’s performance of the day was yet to come, although little did we know it would be the best for comic value only. As the crowds began to gather for Marilyn Manson it was quite possible that 90% of the total festival was congregated in the main arena to see the God of Darkness. To our surprise he opened with new album track -Four Rusted horses’ an album track from his new album -The High End Of Low’. At first it wasn’t that noticeable how off the mark he was but being huge Manson fans it soon became apparent that this show was going to be like watching car crash TV. Even legendary bassist Twiggy Rameriz back in the fold (although now on guitar) wasn’t enough to save this dire performance. It was hard to tell if Manson was highly intoxicated or simply seeking attention with his entourage of make up artists fixing his face after every song but it was obvious the other band members were unimpressed with his antics too. He spent the guts of five minutes asking the crowd -coat or no coat’, boring some people so much they began to leave. Healso thought it was a good idea to have a couple of costumes, one of which was a type of white raincoat with a hood that made him resemble a raver in a white boiler suit.
As bad as all this was it began to become amazing for the sheer comical entertainment. At one point he began singing into a light as he believed it was the camera to project him onto the big screens, he had to hold onto a bar to -rock out’ to some riffs and portrayed that he was a little out of sorts by dancing to non existent beats. At points we just felt sorry for him. By far it’s possible that this was one of the worst musical performances he has ever done, but definitely the best comedy ever.
Laughing and crying at the same time after Manson set it was time to walk over the hill of hell to the second stage. The Prodigy were one of the day’s most anticipated names and the metal fans of Download absolutely loved them. A lot of people had left Marilyn Manson early in the hope of getting a good spot for Keith Flint and the boys and the gathering crowd amused themselves with that old Donnington stand-by the bottle fight. Drawing largely on the -Invaders Must Die’ record with a few old favourites thrown in, the Prodigy one out simply because they were enjoying themselves as much as the people watching them and State would take them and Pendulum over the old guard of Dragonforce and Manson any day.
Photo by Luke Seagrave – © eFestivals.co.uk