Sunday, 30 September 2012

Off We Go - Download Festival

It is the time of year again where the organisers of the Download Festival start ramping up to the next year’s festival. Much like Christmas, the start of the UK festival season seems to start earlier each time around, but it doesn't annoy me that Download has announced their 3 headliners for 2013 (whereas seeing Christmas items in August/September irks me). The festival booker, Andy Copping, addressed the earliness of this announcement saying that “if the headliners are booked, it makes sense to announce them” or something to that effect. I couldn’t agree more.

Download 2012 had a fantastic set of headliners and it seemed almost impossible to me that they would come close to it for the 2013 festival. That would not be a bad thing though, because they set the bar really high with the 2012 headliners (in my opinion). This is entirely my opinion, but if you look at the last 3 years, there were 2 good years and one not so good year in the middle. The headliners were:

2010: AC/DC, RATM, Aerosmith – Three really strong headliners, capable of headlining most/all rock festivals. AC/DC in particular a strong booking as they don’t tend to play festivals anymore. 

2011: Def Leppard, System of a Down, Linkin Park – Bit of a weak set of headliners for me. Def Leppard are a good band and I want to see them live, but they also headlined in 2009, and it was too soon for them to come back. SOAD were immense at Download (went for that day especially to see them). Haven’t really cared for Linkin Park in about 5-6 years. 

2012: The Prodigy, Metallica, Black Sabbath – Three really strong headliners again. The Prodigy are the best and biggest non-rock band to play Download in its history. Metallica playing the Black Album in full was a superb show and the return of Black Sabbath to home soil was something special.

Looking at this, I assumed Download 2013 would not be to my exact tastes and I probably wouldn't end up going. Then in the last two weeks, they have announced the three headliners for the 2013 festival. They are:

Friday - Slipknot
Saturday - Iron Maiden
Sunday - Rammstein

They are a superb set of headliners. Two of them played Sonisphere 2010 and I thought then that Soni 2010 had a great set of headliners. Download 2013, despite having 2 of those bands, looks better. I'll explain why later. For now though, I'm going to look at the bands.

1)    Slipknot

Slipknot was somewhat of an unexpected booking, but I am happy with it. I say unexpected for a couple of reasons. Firstly, I think with rumours and leaks, people (myself included) were expecting Pearl Jam to be announced. I think, being honest, I'd have preferred Pearl Jam - but that is only because I've not seen them live. Back to Slipknot though, it is their first appearance at Donington since they headlined the festival in 2009 and they released a live DVD of that show. I watched it being streamed live and it was really good, so I can only imagine how good it was to be there in person. Another reason why Slipknot was an unexpected booking as they have no new material to promote. They recently released a best of album but nothing new. I hope they will mix up their set a little from their last UK visit (Sonisphere 2011) but even if they don't, it will still be great as they are a superb live band. There is one song I'd like to see live which I've not seen them play live which is My Plague. That song is one of the three that got me into the band (along with Wait and Bleed and Left Behind). Slipknot bring it live and the show that comes with it is always good.

2) Iron Maiden

Iron Maiden was the first band to be announced for Download 2013 - what a start! Iron Maiden is always a good band to see live so this again is a superb announcement. Iron Maiden at Download 2013 is a better announcement than Iron Maiden for Sonisphere 2010 for one reason - Maiden England. I'll be completely honest - when it comes to Iron Maiden, I prefer pre-1992 Iron Maiden material than the newer material. Don't get me wrong, it is good stuff, but the classic era material is classic for a reason. In my opinion, The Somewhere Back In Time tour was better than the A Matter of Life and Death tour, and the Maiden England tour will be better than The Final Frontier tour. The Maiden England tour focuses on the Seventh Son era of Iron Maiden with some other classic material from around that time thrown in. The setlist of this tour played in the USA is:

1)    Moonchild
2)    Can I Play With Madness?
3)    The Prisoner
4)    2 Minutes To Midnight
5)    Afraid To Shoot Strangers
6)    The Trooper
7)    The Number Of The Beast
8)    Phantom Of The Opera
9)    Run To The Hills
10)  Wasted Years
11)  Seventh Son of a Seventh Son
12)  The Clairvoyant
13)  Fear of the Dark
14)  Iron Maiden
15) Aces High
16) The Evil That Men Do
17) Running Free

That is an excellent classic packed Iron Maiden setlist. I still prefer the Somewhere Back In Time setlist but this set has a number of Maiden songs I have not seen live so I am really happy with it. Iron Maiden is another superb live band and a cracking announcement for Download - their first Donington appearance since 2007.

3) Rammstein

I've heard the words "Rammstein rumoured for Download" since I first went to Download in 2006, and I suspect they were rumoured before then. They had never appeared at a UK festival until the second leg of the European "LIFAD" tour, which appeared at Sonisphere 2010. One thing which people always say about Rammstein is that the live show is amazing. Having seen different versions of it, I can confirm this is true. They are also a great live band. Much like Iron Maiden, the tour which followed the "LIFAD" tour was a best of tour. The setlist was:

1)    Sonne
2)    Wollt Ihr Das Bett in Flammen sehen?
3)    Keine Lust
4)    Sehnsucht
5)    Asche Zu Asche
6)    Feuer Frei!
7)    Mutter
8)    Mein Teil
9)    Du Riechst So Gut
10)  Links 2-3-4
11)  Du Hast
12)  Haifisch
13) Buck Dich
14) Mann Gegen Mann
15) Ohne Dich
16) Mein Herz Brennt
17) Amerika
18) Ich Will
19) Engel
20) Pussy

That to me is almost the perfect Rammstein set list. It needs a little more LIFAD (Waidmanns Heil) and some other material from their back catalogue (Zwitter, Benzin, Rein Raus) but I don't know what I'd cut from the setlist in incorporate these songs. The stage show was utterly mental to go along with that show. I expect the songs that were on the "B Stage" to be cut for their festival setlist - because I don't expect there to be a "B Stage". That would make their set more "festival friendly" in terms of length. I know already that it will be immense and I know that Rammstein finally playing Download is a big deal. I think their quote about playing Download is arguably the best festival related quote ever. Picture the scene, Download 2013 is the 11th Download Festival. I suspect the bookers have tried, or have wanted to book Rammstein for most, if not all of them. So for the 2013 festival, Download has finally booked Rammstein. When asked, Rammstein said the following:

"It's just a festival, not a moon landing".


So the 3 main bands out of another 100+ to be announced have been announced and Download 2013 is looking awesome. I have already booked a hotel (as the camping last year, whoa) and booked a ticket so Download 2013 is on. I am hoping for some great bands in the undercard but I'm already excited for the festival. Well played Download, well played. 

No comments: