English rock band UFO started the day off with a 40 minute set on the main stage. It was obvious that there were plenty of hungover people from the night before attempting to enjoy the music while lying down. Despite this, they played a brilliant set and managed to wake most of the dead. After a few coffees and possibly one or two pints, we stood amongst the audience to witness the mighty Mastodon. The sun decided to come out and scorch the crowd while Mastodon smashed Donnington to pieces with songs like Blood and Thunder and Oblivion. Although, I must say, the greatest part of their set was towards the end – simply because next up were the incredible Alice in Chains.
With the very sad passing of Layne Staley threatening the bands future, it was always going to be a huge amount of pressure for whoever decided to take over as lead singer. William DuVall took to stage, and it became instantly clear that Layne would’ve been happy with the new front man. His voice almost sounded the same as Staley’s as he sang some of the old favourites such as set opener Them Bones, while newer songs sounded fresh and heavy with all-to-well known A.I.C rattling bass lines.
Next up were Uncle Acid And The Deadbeats. One word – AMAZING. This band are highly unknown, having started their career as a band on YouTube giving their album’s away for free – Download marks one of their first ever festival appearances. I am proud and delighted that I was part of the electrifying crowd. Each song burst into the tent with the weight of seven bands. Blood Lust and Poison Apple shocked the audience to the core and sent vibrations from our feet to our mouths. They have just announced that they are supporting Black Sabbath on their European tour this winter so watch this space.
It’s because of Uncle Acid’s epic set, however, that I am slightly disappointed that I decided to run and catch the beginning of Queens of the Stone Age. Missing Uncle Acid’s final song meant we got a great place in the crowd for QOTSA, and therefore a perfect place to notice how strange Josh Homme was acting the second he got on the stage. He started by asking the crowd why ‘some guy’ was dressed as Mario from Mario Kart and then continued by pointing at a helicopter and asking the world why it was flying sideways. When the set finally got its legs No One Knows and new single My God is the Sun proved to be great crowd pleasers, but I was disappointed that there didn’t seem to be a lot of effort put in to many of their other songs.
Thankfully, to cheer me up, Norwegian band Kvelertak entered the arena. Their set was just what I needed to bring back the fire in my belly. Bruane Brenn from their new album Meir created one of the most insane atmosphere’s I’d felt yet at Download Festival. The mosh pit may not have been the biggest, but it was by far one of the best sets of the day.