Roy Goodall checks out Download at Donington Park

Northlane warm up backstage at the Download festival at Donington Park
Northlane warm up backstage at the Download festival at Donington Park

Commencing and headline by Rainbow back in 1980 with only a cluster of acts the menu at Donington Park has morphed beyond recognition, with 2015 seeing 123 bands over three days taking to the various stages. And that’s not counting stuff that goes off in the campsites.

With Counterparts and Krokodil opening up the smaller Maverick Stage I managed to engage with Gnarwolves, a threesome hailing from Brighton who for me did good.

Part Jam went down well as did other tunes from their album Chronicles Of Gnarnia.

Over on the main stage All That Remains, Hell Yeah, At The Gates did their best but the crowd did seem to swell somewhat for Lacuna Coil. Dressed in mainly black this popular sixsome have a diverse range which I like and with several million album sales under their collective belts I’m not the only one.

Back on The Maverick Stage Beartooth did their thing. A fivesome from over the pond and fresh noise to me as were many bands this weekend, this is something organisers Live Nation are keen to help generate. Again a sterling job was done with their punk metal riffs and with two album releases Beartooth are a band to watch out for.

Five piece Five Finger Death Punch are growing in popularity and I enjoyed Under and Over, Lift Me Up and even the steadier track Bad Company. They got three kids

up on the huge platform and sung Burn, a song that was full of swearing and for me a silly song, especially sung to three impressionable young children.

No such nonsense from British icons Thunder who played a great set of new and older tunes to a happy but rain-spattered crowd on The Zippo Encore Stage.

Sadly I didn’t catch headliners Black Stone Cherry but did see bits of London quartet The One Hundred on Jake’s Stage with their brutal affront and catchy number Downfall and British legends Judas Priest knock out Breaking The Law and Hell Bent For Leather, complete with customary entrance of frontman Rob Halford astride his two-wheeled mean machine. Saturday was slightly wetter yet the enthusiasm remained with all stages getting good viewing figures. Northlane, a new one on me were good with the band on fire throughout. Main stage stars and current darlings Black Star Riders held the masses, opening with Bound For Glory and a collection of Thin Lizzy tunes, namely Jailbreak and The Boys Are Back In Town, with their own tunes cemented in between.

Marilyn Manson was also well supported, opening with a new tune from his latest album and the dancefloor filler Disposable Teens, Mobescene plus others. I felt they could have been slicker as we got quite a gap between songs, something main stage debut headliners Muse didn’t do. A different crowd to their normal gang they went down well with great production and strong songs. If nothing else, they made new friends at Donington Park and I, for one, will be back.

Picture of Black Star Riders by Roy Goodall