I didn’t expect it to come this soon into the festival, but Friday night brings us the first great disappointment of Download in the shape of Rob Zombie.

Those are words I never thought I’d have to write but yes, Rob Zombie at Download was thoroughly disappointing. For the record, I love Rob Zombie, to the point of borderline obsession, and seeing him is always a highlight but, sadly, everything seemed to be going against him on this occasion.

It’s been said many times that Rob Zombie is one song and a stage show, take away the stage show and you don’t have anything left, and today that theory was definitely put to the test. Armed only with a backdrop featuring some of Universal’s classic monsters, today Rob would have to rely on his charisma and the tunes but, unfortunately, the sound guy had other ideas as the set was plagued with sound issues, some of which Rob himself acknowledged, but still it seemed today that was not meant to be the Zombie overlord’s day.

Rob Zombie has a lot of songs and, in particular, songs that are designed to be played to a field full of drunken metalheads that want to dance their asses off. No one will ever deny the man has tunes but this seemed like Zombie-by-numbers; he never seemed to click with the audience and he looked like he was going through the motions, a fact that was made all the more obvious by the lack of bells and whistles that usually accompany him. The songs, some of which are bona-fide classics, didn’t hit with the same punch they usually do and, dare I say it, there were parts during the set where I was left a little cold and bored.

Rob Zombie is a world-class showman and usually delivers the show to end all shows – his second stage headline show at Download in 2011 will go down as one of the best in history – but it seems like today that with everything going against him, this will be a set many will soon long to forget.

Rob Zombie – Official Website

Download Festival – Official Website

Photo credit: Andrew Whitton