Another day, another plane. I awaken from my slumber as a 747 roars over my tent, shaking the fabric and lighting the place up. As I my heart returns to its normal pace and I finish wiping the liquid terror shits from my sleeping bag I emerge into the sun and my last day of Download 2013.
After much sitting about and drinking we head forth on the long walk to the arena, the walk is as usual interspersed with inbred fuckwigs screaming ALAN and STEVE for the 500th time this festival, no matter though as I’m on my way to see Amon Amarth and they have something special in store.
After successfully smuggling in some whisky (thuglife) I head towards second stage to see the prow of a Viking longship on the stage which I soon decide is their tour bus. Joining a crowd of the bearded and the unbearded, but all unwashed, we wait for the show to start. Something appears to be wrong as the start time comes and goes, the crane camera men operate the camera to entertain the crowd but the waiting goes on.
Finally the band take to the stage only for the sound to briefly fail, the second it clips back into life elicits one of the loudest cheers I heard all weekend and also started one of the most brutal pits of the weekend. Being a mature adult I of course dived right in. From War of the Gods they powered into The Pursuit of Vikings which allowed a death metal crowd to jump like we were at Europe again. Following up with a new song from the upcoming album (review soon), Deceiver of the Gods, a circle pit soon broke out which left most of us knackered.
At this point lead singer/lead Viking, Johan Hegg, informs us they only have one song left which seems to shock the crowd and becomes the talk of the day (or at least the talk of the day with me, maybe it was because of the Amon Amarth tshirt). As disappointing as that was, the rendition of Twilight of the Thunder God that closed the set was anything but. Midway through the set the entire pit sat down and began rowing like we were in a giant boat, one of the highlights of the festival right there, I only hope someone recorded it.
After they sailed back off on their tour bus I limped out for an explore and a purchase of the Maiden beer which, though as expensive as sin, came with a free cup. I’m a sucker for a free cup. Even my girlfriend has one now. Cups for all! During this time the excellent Rival Sons were playing, I can’t tell you too much about the set but it sounded brilliant, if you don’t know them definitely check them out.
Sunday is Gods day, so it seems only fitting that a band fronted by a decaying pope entertain us. Ghost were a strange one, as much as I enjoy their music the open air in the sun setting just didn’t do it for me. The songs were of course amazing and played incredibly tightly, but the overall vibe never really kicked in.
Airbourne were next up and in a fit of health and safety spoiling our fun, it seems someone “Joel proofed” the stage with black bin liners to prevent him climbing as he usually does. This didn’t stop him running into the crowd instead to play a solo, though not as spectacular as hanging 60ft in the air, it is still something fun to see. The set flies by in no time and comes to an end all too soon with Runnin’ Wild. People can say what they like about Airbourne, seeing someone THAT into rock n roll is inspiring! And the way they spoke about Iron Maiden’s Spitfire and Eddie fest was a good way to connect with the unwashed masses in front of them. They know how to work a crowd!
The next hour was a long one. I’m all for being open minded but fuck 30 Seconds To Mars square in the hole. The disrespect he showed some members of the crowd (a guy clearly waiting for the next band was berated for not joining in in front of the whole crowd), camera guy was told to hurry up. etc The ego radiated off the stage and couldn’t be escaped. I could rant on but why waste space when I can talk about the next band.
Fucking Rammstein! When I say they exploded onto the stage I don’t mean that in an energy way, I mean it in a fire way. The flames started with Ich Tu Dir Weh and didn’t let up until Pussy. Front man Lindemann makes an imposing figure and appearing in a pink furry top makes him almost more intimidating. The set was full of the classic Rammstein trademarks, the flame masks in Feuer Frei! The fireworks over the crowd in Du Hast, the Pussy foam cannon. Also returning were some old favourites including the cooking pot in Mein Teil where Lindemann tries to cook keyboard player Flake alive. Flake incidentally spends most of the set walking on a treadmill yet somehow is still stick thin. He only steps down from the keyboard riser to be cooked, play a surprisingly haunting piano version of Mein Herz Brennt and to perform one of the more infamous stunts.
Bending Flake over during Bück dich, Lindemann proceeds to whip out a fake penis from his trousers and mimics inserting it. All the while they’re on a platform that’s rising higher and higher. Reaching “climax” Lindemann withdraws and sprays the crowd with white liquid from up high before smashing the keyboard to bits. Sexy.
Outside of the stunts and tricks (setting stage invaders and standing under a rain of sparks for example), a highlight of the set was the ballad Ohne dich which suited a straight performance far more than a bombastic one.
Describing the show really does it no justice, safe to say Rammstein again have proved they are one of the greatest live bands to exist.
And so ended the live portion of Download Festival 2013. There was more fun to come in the village, with most of the campsite pulling virtual all nighters the Fun House was packed, the rides were running through the night, people were screaming Game of Thrones quotes at each other (far less annoying than ALAN) and drunken victims were getting slammed off benches. Special mention goes to the guy that used a flag pole to vault into a toilet who incurred the wrath of the Terminator security guard, may you rest in peace.
Until next year!