Having attended every Download festival weekend since 2005, I was gutted to have to miss the festival last year for some super annoying gallbladder surgery. But next weekend, I’m making a welcomed return (gallbadder-free) and I’m just ridiculously excited about it. It’s undoubtedly one of my favourite weekends a year – I get to see my huge ‘Download family’, get stupid in a field and enjoy a whole load of wicked awesome bands. Seriously, it’s the best.
If you’re going this year, or just fancy checking out some new bands, here are five bands beyond the obvious headliners (‘mon the Biff!) that you should definitely give some time to. And if you’re going and have any recommendations for me, leave ’em in the comments below!
(P.S It’s totally not too late to get tickets! The bands play Fri 9 – Sun 11 Jun at Donington Park, with campsites open for entry from Wednesday lunchtime)
Completely one of my favourite bands around at the moment. At last year’s 2000Trees festival, they were one of the bands of the weekend, and absolutely smashed it at the Electric Ballroom earlier this year. With their roots in punk, but a wide range of influences, it’s sort of like AFI and Alkaline Trio had a baby that made a super-credible punk rock musical. Seriously, if you haven’t already. Listen. To. Creeper.
2. Trash Boat
If you’re into pop punk, and Trash Boat are one of the bands standing out amongst the growing . More influenced by the heavier side of the genre than the super-pop sounds of All Time Low etc., expect catchy songs that still have plenty of bite.
AFI are actually a band I’ve liked since I was about 15, but just always missed seeing live for some reason. Download will be the first time I get to see them, and I’m SO excited. From the punk of their early releases to the cleaner sound of some of the more recent albums, it’ll be awesome to hear some of my favourite songs growing up live – as well as tracks from 2017’s The Blood Album. Which is really good, by the way.
I don’t actually listen to Krokodil on the regs at home, but I’ve seen them live before and they really bring it. They’re on the heavier end of the spectrum, compared to the other bands I’ve mentioned here, and put on such a good live performance. So if you like your music loud, make sure to check ’em out.
5. Astroid Boys
I’ve only just discovered Astroid Boys, but they offer something totally different to what’s about at the moment, fusing heavy riffs with grime beats and raps. I do tend to much prefer their tracks with guitars and a heavy influence to some of the more ‘straight up’ ones, I’m always interested in bands who offer a crossover between genres people would consider pretty opposite.
6. Knuckle Puck
More pop punk, this time from the US. Despite only having one full studio album to their name, Knuckle Puck have made a name for themselves, touring with the likes of Neck Deep and State Champs. There should be some new songs on the cards for their Download performance, and I’m definitely looking forward to hearing them.
7. Four Year Strong
Another band on the ‘harder’ side of the pop punk club, Four Year Strong mix more hardcore punk-influenced riffs with a bouncy energy that’ll have everyone in the Avalanche Tent jumping off their feet. I’ll 100% be joining in.
8. Touché Amoré
From raw energy to raw emotion – Touché Amoré’s moving State Four was one of my favourite albums of 2016, although I’m not sure how ready I am to hear songs from it live, it’ll certainly be an emotional experience.
Who’s off to Download this year? Who are you most excited about seeing?
P.S I’ve started a photobox on millioneyez for the best festival snaps! Check out the site, and add yours!
Image: Ross Silcocks, Download 2016