Who I Saw: Muse / Faith No More / Struts / ROAM / Testament
Steps Walked: 16,206 / Distance Covered: 12.33 km / Pints Drank: 8 / 'Mrs Miggins' Sausage Baguettes Eaten: 2
The rain from the night before had caused a bit of a mess. The term ‘mud bath’ was entirely appropriate as shirtless young male folk flung themselves around, not satisfied until fully covered in Donington’s finest mud. The walking boots I had bought a few years previously for hiking around the Brecon Beacons were now been put to good use. Most in our group were prepared for the conditions. Appropriate footwear was worn by all, well nearly all, there is always one after all. The trainers of a certain hairy Scottish lad (who shall remain nameless) weren't up to the job and he, very, steadily walked the site, nearly going arse over tit on more than one occasion. I felt a little smug I must say. A bit of a smug bastard actually.
Saw Testament for the first time ever and liked what they did although bit heavy for me (I'm a lightweight what can I say). They were perfect for the 'Encore' stage though, a stage that often gives a better atmosphere than the main.
Headed over to the 'Jake' stage where a few of us caught the energetic ROAM, a band that looked about 12 and whose roadies looked younger. Next up was the Struts a group that I fell head over heels for last year. They are fronted by singer Luke Spiller who looks and acts like a combination of Jagger, Mercury and Bolan. It may be nothing new but it's bloody entertaining. There was now a bit of a gap until the next band we wanted to see. We spent it productively by chatting bollocks, labouring through the mud and finding that Guinness was being sold at a few bars. I was particular pleased at the latter as the lager was tasting more and more like three day old piss…and we all know what that tastes like.
Faith No More. A unique band that at times can be equally brilliant and frustrating (although I may be alone in that opinion). They don’t always play what you want and sure enough today there is no From Out Of Nowhere. That though is a minor gripe. The band open with Motherfucker and Be Aggressive both of which sum up their no care attitude. Epic takes me back to my teenage years. There is a stunning version of Midlife Crisis that stands out as the highlight for me. You really never know what singer Mike Patton in particular is going to do (tonight at one point he takes the headphones off a security guard who quite frankly looks a little scared). Easy is sung with a knowing wink and during the song Patton jumps off the stage when he sees a fan on a stretcher and puts the microphone to the fans mouth so he can sing along. What a guy. We Care A Lot finishes an excellent and typically unpredictable Faith No More set.
There was a lot of talk of Muse not being metal enough to headline Download. Over the years the lines have definitely started blurring as to what is rock, metal, punk or whatever. On tonight’s evidence Muse rock like the best of them. According to a friend in the know the set they played was a lot more rock heavy than usual. Well whatever it was it was a quite brilliant set. Bellamy’s distinctive guitar was prominent at all times and what he lacks in crowd interaction he more than makes up for in performance. He is one hell of a musician and he and the band seemed to win most doubters over although where we stood there seemed to be a lot of Muse fans anyway. Maybe the crowd was friendlier than anticipated.
Were Muse over the top? Absolutely. Brilliant? Hell yes.
Ticket Price: £170 Weekend Ticket