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Friday, July 02, 2010


June 29th, 2010
Event – Download Festival (Saturday)
Bands featured – Rage Against The Machine, Deftones, Megadeth, Lamb of God, Five Finger Death Punch, Flyleaf, Hellyeah, Rolo Tomassi, Genitorturers, Rock Sugar.
Beer – It was a 3 tin walk just so you know.
Weather – Pleasant/baking hot
Mood – Yup

Waking up feeling extremely groggy and after popping 2 Anadin and having my ritualistic morning breakfast of an apple and a can of Carlsberg, it was soon time to make tracks towards the main arena once again for another 9 hours of the finest hard rock and metal and my first proper full day of music at a Download Festival.

I eagerly awaited the arrival of Rock Sugar. Their vocalist, Jess Harnell is every bit the entertainer – swaggering on stage to give a thumbs up, waving at the crowd dressed in a white suit, complete with cowboy hat, sunglasses and a smile that probably makes that Colgate ‘ding’. Those unfamiliar with Rock Sugar should know that they perform mash-ups of various 80s pop and rock songs. It is something that shouldn’t work – it should sound disjointed and clumsy, but in reality it’s an incredible experience. The roar from the crowd is surprisingly raucous; even the band look slightly stunned by the warm welcome (this is Rock Sugar’s first Download and first ever UK show). Harnell is the consummate professional showman – he gets the crowd warmed up with a series of chants, whoops and hollers, before kicking into their Journey/Metallica cut up, ‘Don’t Stop The Sandman.’ The sound of hundreds of metal fans singing a 80s soft rock ballad to one of the most well known metal tracks in history is an absolute joy. It’s not hard to see why Rock Sugar are so well loved; they’ve got the stage presence, the glam, the enthusiasm and cocksure attitude, not to mention this technique for constructing absurd cover-mash ups (Paula Abdul songs at Download anyone?). Harnell treats the audience to some impressions; namely Axel Rose, Paul Stanley and Ozzy Osbourne which are met with a roar of approval. They close with a fantastic rendition of ‘We Will Kickstart Your Rhapsody’; a Queen-polka mixed with Motley Crue’s ‘Kickstart My Heart’ – a sprawling set closer to end all sets and provides one of, if not the biggest sing-along of the whole weekend. An incredible performance of charismatic, heart racing rock and roll. My one gripe is the length of the set – 5 songs just is not enough; the second stage beckons for 2011…
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