The Download Festival’s line up this year was near stellar. The Cure, Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, She Wants Revenge, The Black Angels, all in one day? Not to mention this was to be The Cure’s only uncancelled show on the tour they postponed until next June. That’s 9 whole months, people.
One thing that was great about last year’s festival was the way it was organized. You walked in the gate, they gave you a backstage pass looking laminate that had the set list on it. If there was a second stage (I don’t remember one), the set times were definitely not as conflicting as this year’s. And they had posters.
This year was not as stellar. No set times to hand out aside from one place I saw it posted. The second stage was too much of a hike if you were trying to catch sets in between the main stage acts. There were presumably cool looking vendors and booths set up, but everything was so spread out and not labeled that it didn’t promote exploration. There was a stage were they were interviewing the bands and the audience could ask questions, but who knew what band was going when. And they didn’t have posters.
That said, I had a great time. We kicked it off by watching 65 Days of Static, an instrumental distortion rock band from England. They have a nice, heavy sound that near rattled our brains out right off the bat.
Next was She Wants Revenge, who played a set list heavy on their new songs. They sound better every time I see them. It was also nice to see a good turn out for their set, heavy with people who knew every word of every song.
A quick hike to catch the last few songs of The Black Angels’ set- where the sun was beating down on us and I felt like I was back home at ACL. They belonged on the main stage.
Off to catch what I am ashamed to admit was my first time to see Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, who I’ve liked for a long time and have had 2 botched attempts at seeing this year. It met my expectations, for sure, but would definitely prefer to see them in a small venue. Then there was a scary moment that only the audience saw- light fell from high up on to the stage. Ten feet or so to the left and it would have done some serious damage to Peter Hayes.
Next was my exercise in torture. ***RANT ALERT—AFI FANS, READ NO FURTHER!!!**** Am I missing something here? People go crazy for this band. It, and everything about it, is like nails on a chalkboard for me. From the acronym (A Fire Inside? Come on…), to the whole screamo whiny boy thing, to the Blaqk Audio Depeche Mode rip off side project. Now, myself being a rabid fan of certain bands, I try, grasp if you will, to find the lure that these rabid AFI fans are going crazy about. And they really do go crazy. There were some girls up at the stage schmooze talking security the minute the stage started getting set. One in particular was foaming at the mouth trying to get the main stage hand’s attention. And when the band finally hit the stage…people knew every word, every fist pump, every beat. I tried, I really did. But once Davey Havok started running around they stage like a hyperactive twelve year old practicing his karate moves, I could not stop rolling my eyes. The only thing I can find to like is their energy. They did a cover of Ziggy Stardust, which they didn’t massacre. And then I did actually stand up for Miss Murder…which is an OK song that isn’t as annoying as the others and I know the chorus.
The Cure. After that I definitely needed a cure. They really blew me away in every way possible. Just as I felt seeing Bauhaus on this same stage last year, it is amazing to see a band that is the origin of a musical and cultural movement. I hadn’t seen that many sulking, black-wearing pale people in one place. There was a lot of effort put in to attire for this show. And there are a lot of people trying to untangle their teased mop heads today. One attendee held up a Robert Smith doll that looked homemade for almost the entire show.
A two and a half hour set of hits and a new song was enough to send the audience to the moon. A little apology was even slipped in about the tour postponement. Take a look at the video to have a taste.
The Cure’s setlist (thanks to suprefan on the Coachella boards)
A Night Like This
The Baby Screams
The End of the World
Pictures of You
New Song from upcoming album
How Beautiful You Are
Just Like Heaven!
If Only Tonight We Could Sleep
Signal to Noise
One Hundred Years
Shiver and Shake
Three Imaginary Boys!
Fire in Cairo
Boys Don’t Cry
Jumping Someone Else’s Train
10:15 Saturday Night
Killing an Arab
Play For Today