Australia’s Inaugural Download Festival Was A Resounding Success
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Australia’s Inaugural Download Festival Was A Resounding Success




Australia’s first taste of the iconic Download Festival was finally upon us and it has to be said right off the bat that it was indeed a resounding success. Great layout, not too many bands, not too many stages, and, I hope this doesn’t get taken the wrong way, not too many people. While I am all for all ages shows as I believe music is for everyone, the fact Download was 18+ meant a much smaller crowd than previous festivals of the ilk and therefore a much better experience all round. This is not singling any age group out, it’s more in the way of the number of people that attended the event that this became a better experience. Shorter lines, not as crowded, those who decided to drink were not restricted to a cage, etc.

In true Download style (as any UK attendee can attest to) it wouldn’t be download without miserable weather and for the first few hours, Melbourne’s Download became Downpour with the audience becoming a sea of ponchos as the rain came down and soaked us all.

Trying to see everyone is hardly possible and so my decision of who to witness first came to support local heroes of black metal meets sludge and hardcore, High Tension, on the main stage. Karina Utomo’s aggressive screams over the band’s brutal riffs definitely wiped any cobwebs from the eyes of those who rose early to witness this all-out attack on eardrums. These guys delivered the goods and were most worthy of opening the first ever Australian Download Festival. Something they should be damn proud of and a band I hope garner the attention they so deserve from around the world.

Australia’s Inaugural Download Festival Was A Resounding Success
High Tension

From one local band to the next, our very own Clowns took to the Avalanche stage and dived straight into a sonic barrage of melodic punk rock sending the crowd into a frenzy of circle pits and slam dancing. Packed with high energy and a catalogue of awesome songs, Clowns did what Clowns do best and that is kick out the motherfuckin’ jams. Big time. A solid performance and a reminder of just how great the bands can be in this city.

Australia’s Inaugural Download Festival Was A Resounding Success

California’s Bad Cop / Bad Cop followed bringing with them perfect songs and a great message. Merging three-part harmonies over catchy punk rock, their anthems for a new tomorrow unified everyone together as they blasted through their set completing their first ever tour of Australia. Seriously, even the grimmest of people would walk away with a smile after indulging in the sweet melodies of Bad Cop / Bad Cop. These four gals brought with them an infectious plague of punk rock perfection that infected all those in attendance and all we can hope for is a return to our shores sooner than later. Please.

Australia’s Inaugural Download Festival Was A Resounding Success
Bad Cop / Bad Cop

From catchy pop punk to grindcore, the distance between genres couldn’t be further as it was time for the hugely anticipated Nails to take to the Dogtooth stage. Possibly the most intense and chaotic band on the bill, these guys wasted no time in destroying whatever is left over of your hearing. Filled with blast beats and a mess of riffage while vocalist Todd Jones screamed his lyrics to an audience that threw themselves around in a circle pit of madness. These guys were something else and most certainly lived up to any hype that preceded their visit. If you missed them, well, you missed them. Maybe don’t make that same mistake again when they return.

It was time to head back to the main stage as French favourites, Gojira played their first show of the year to a most welcoming audience. Armed with pyro and smoke, the quartet delivered one hell of a set reminding us just why they’re one of the top players in today’s metal scene.

Australia’s Inaugural Download Festival Was A Resounding Success
Gojira

Swedish death metallers Amon Amarth, were up next and wasted no time in getting down to business. Their method of blending melody and aggression is something the Swedes do better than most and these guys were proof of that. The appreciative audience watched on as vocalist Johan Hegg swang the hammer of Thor and drank from a horn, as you do, as they smashed their way through a blistering set of some seriously heavy shit. It was pretty epic and the praise they received by the time they were done was well deserved.

Australia’s Inaugural Download Festival Was A Resounding Success
Amon Amarth

It was great to see Mastodon on our shores again and from the adulation and applause they received they were sorely missed. They tore their way through an hour long set of their signature prog metal which has landed them a cult following the world over as they manage to pull together an interesting mix of styles and genres and mash them together to create a sound that is instantly recognisable as their own. These guys have so much interesting material that they must definitely be at that point where choosing a setlist becomes a strenuous task. Still, these guys managed to put together a set of heavy hitters that surely left the punters satisfied.

Australia’s Inaugural Download Festival Was A Resounding Success
Mastodon

For over three decades now, Suicidal Tendencies have been releasing albums of skate punk meets thrash metal and have become more than a household name. From creating controversy with their band name alone to songs about assassinating the president, ST have been misunderstood. Vocalist Mike Muir’s PMA (positive mental attitude) and thought provoking lyrics have always been to the point. Sure there are moments of juvenile songwriting such as I Saw Your Mommy, but it’s the message behind songs like You Can’t Bring Me Down that resonate so strongly with the fans. Whether you’ve been stepped on, put down, bullied, or just pushed to the side, it’s a song like YCBMD that gives you the strength to get back up, raise your middle finger and just move on. Oh and it’s also one hell of an opener. For those not yet hip to the world of the drumming icon that is Dave Lombardo, bashing the skins like the legend he is for a band such as ST is like a dream come true. The guy is one of the best drummers on the planet and this was proof why.

Australia’s Inaugural Download Festival Was A Resounding Success
Suicidal Tendencies

Possibly the most hyped band of the day would be Prophets Of Rage - a supergroup with a message so powerful that NOT listening to them could be seen as unconstitutional. Prophets Of Rage did everything you wanted them to do and more. It was a moment to testify and we were ready. Tom Morello’s guitar work is hailed as some of the best and while playing a solo with his teeth, the words "Fuck Trump" emblazoned on the back of the guitar let us know just how they felt about the current state of things back home in the USA. Their set consisted of a homage to each member's past projects including covers of Public Enemy, Cypress Hill, Rage Against The Machine, and a loving tribute to Chris Cornell with a cover of Audioslave’s Like A Stone with guest vocals from the entire audience of Download Melbourne. Finishing with the RATM mega hit, Killing In The Name. Prophets Of Rage delivered one of the most powerful sets of the day and we were sad to see it end.

Australia’s Inaugural Download Festival Was A Resounding Success
Prophets Of Rage

Finishing the night with a choice of Korn or NOFX, I chose NOFX. I’ve never been a fan of Nu-Metal and so I opted for the legendary punk stalwarts as it had been many years since my last NOFX show. Fat Mike and his band walked out on stage doing what they are known for: talking a lot and giving shit to the other bands on the bill. Some may say it’s a tired schtick but it’s one they stick to. Tearing through old classics like Moron Brothers, Linoleum, Fuck The Kids, Stickin’ In My Eye, as well as newer tracks like 72 Hookers, Six Years On Dope and I Don’t Like Me Anymore, an hour might not be long enough for NOFX. Their 18 song set borrowed heavily from their The War On Errorism album and as each track went on, the crowd got more and more mosh heavy with bodies flailing around in all directions. Once their last song came to an end, a girl standing next to me screamed out “this was the best night of my life!” A fitting end to the first ever Download in Australia.

Australia’s Inaugural Download Festival Was A Resounding Success
NOFX

I personally enjoyed everything about Download and I only hope that next year the rest of the country can experience such an event. Besides all those things I mentioned at the start, it was extremely well run. I can only look forward to next year. Thank you to all involved.

Australia’s Inaugural Download Festival Was A Resounding Success
Download Festival....we'll see you in 2019.

Carbie Warbie's comprehensive photo gallery from Download is featured on our sister music website, GigBill. Here are some fine examples. Weblink will be available soon.

Australia’s Inaugural Download Festival Was A Resounding Success
Good Charlotte

Australia’s Inaugural Download Festival Was A Resounding Success
Ocean Grove

Australia’s Inaugural Download Festival Was A Resounding Success
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