Tuesday, 24 June 2014

Download Festival, 5th – 6th June 2004 – Castle Donnington Park

Saturday: The Dillinger Escape Plan, Opeth, Monster Magnet, Cradle of Filth, The Distillers, Iggy Pop, Sum 41, Linkin Park
Sunday: Breed 77, Turbonegro, Ill Nino, Soulfly, Damageplan, Machine Head, Slipknot, Korn, Metallica

And so 8 years on from the ‘96 festival we found ourselves back at the racetrack, this time on the Friday in order to camp over, as the festival had moved to a 2-day event. It had actually been brought back the previous year, with Audioslave playing, and Metallica making a surprise appearance on a second stage, and the latter had been chosen the headline the final night. 

The Saturday line up was one of the most disjointed in the festival’s history. We watched Monster Magnet (incredible – “Im never going to work another day in my life!”) and Iggy Pop (fantastic) as well as Cradle of Filth (interesting) and bits of Sum 41 (totally forgettable). Missed the Distillers (not fussed) and caught only a snippet of Opeth (curious – had little knowledge of them, only to discover their magnificence fully the following year). Worst of all, however, was Linkin Park. Bland, dull, nu-pop metal. Terrible.

On Sunday, having packed early and avoided the leaking sewerage of the campsite, we caught snippets of Turbonegro, Il Nino and Breed 77 – all three were fairly forgettable and I only recall a fat man in a top hat (Turbonegro) and a dreadlocked foreign guitarist (Il Nino?). Soulfly were quite good, as were Machine Head (set list: “Imperium,” “Ten Ton Hammer,” “The Blood, The Sweat, The Tears,” “Take My Scars,” “Descending the Shades of Night,” “Davidian,” and “Block”) and Slipknot. However, Slayer were moved to the second stage due to a late arrival and swapped with Damageplan, who were fantastic. Probably the highlight of the entire festival was their cover of “Walk,” together with a blazoning improvised solo from Dimebag on a silver Dean guitar that threw off sunlight onto the crowd. His final UK performance? 

Korn played “Right Now,” “Falling Away From Me,” “Got the Life,” “Here To Stay,” “Freak on a Leash,” “Blind,” “Shoots & Ladders,” “Dead Bodies Everywhere” and “Fagot.” Jonathon Davies wore a strange black kilt, whilst Head was not far off leaving the band, so it was probably the last chance to catch them with their original line up.

Then the two hour wait for Metallica during which time my sunburnt head was smashed with an assortment of urine-filled bottles. Little did we know that their tardiness was due to Lars being ill and it was only as a result of Dave Lombardo and Slipknot's Joey stepping in that saw the gig fulfilled with most material coming from the first two albums and the Black album. Not their best performance, but one of their most memorable.

9 out of 10 (a decent headliner on day one would have pushed it up to full marks)

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