Here we are once again, entering the gates to Australia’s newest and proudest alternative music festival, DOWNLOAD! We’re walking into year two of this festival down under and the first for Sydney. The clouds are present, the heat is present and the crowd is ready. It’s worth noting that Ozzy Osbourne was originally scheduled to headline but had to pull out due to a run to the emergency ward with pneumonia.
Alright, let’s do this!
It’s an edgy start to the day with the rain hitting early and gates opening some 20 mins late. Punters are calm and respectful and we’re all in, no issues. Perth’s Voyager open the main stage, followed by kiwi teens Alien Weaponry, getting the crowd are well and truly warmed up ready for the day ahead. Alien Weaponry easily make the highlights for the day; a band still in their teens drawing an insane crowd, putting the rest of the day into high expectations.
Aussie rock legends Airbourne have been given a set on the main stage in Ozzys absence. I won’t lie, I didn’t even know they were still a thing. But it’s apparent they are as the entire crowd chant their name over and over, summoning Joel O’Keefe to the stage. Throwing VB cans into the crowd with a backing of 24 guitar cabs, Airbourne may possibly take out first place.
Down on the Dogtooth/Avalanche stages we’re blessed with Aussie bands High Tension, Twelve Foot Ninja and Thy Art Is Murder. Thy Art call for a circle pit around the sound desk, which if you’re struggling to imagine, is like having 200 people run laps around a small house. Sum 41 close off Dogtooth with an incredible set. With vocalist Deryck making it clear they’re “assholes” for not returning sooner, I’m sure we will see them back out here in no time.
Closing Avalanche are Swedish rockers Ghost. Slated as the new Alice Cooper, Vocalist Tobias Forge can command the crowd at a heartbeat. Backed by his band of nameless ghouls, Forge’s alter ego Cardinal Copia struts the stage, thrusting and winning the crowd with his charming charisma. It’s a world of difference from his previous Papa Emeritus. We’re treated to the full Ghost stage set up, something the Brisbane side show couldn’t accommodate.
The main stage has brought us some of the biggest names in rock and metal such as Anthrax, Judas Priest, Rise Against and Behemoth. Most notable of course are metal gods Slayer on their final ever tour. The main stage is packed as far back as it can go, with everyone trying to catch their last memory of Slayer. Taking a huge chunk of the absent Osbournes set time, Slayer have been given a whopping 90 mins set. With a set list comprised of tracks from as far back as their 1983 debut ‘Show No Mercy’, right through to their last release in 2015 ‘Repentless’, this is a show that would impress any Slayer fan. With an abundance of scorching flames reaching across the back of the stage. It’s easy to see why there was no issue in bumping the metal giants up as headliners.
As bodies descend into the darkness after a long tiring day, it’s clear the rain that mother nature threw our way couldn’t stop us. The humidity almost did, but we survived. The people showed their love for the music, they’ve shown dedication and given hope that this world renowned festival, only new to our shores, shall spread on into the years to come. Now we sit back, wait a few months for the next line up. Farewell Parramatta Park, you have served us well. Until next year!
IMAGES (c) Dan Maynard