Every respectable metalhead and rocker’s favourite time of year was upon us, the festival of mud, booze and, more importantly, rock and metal that is Download – or Donington Monsters of Rock if you are over 40 – enveloped June 12-14th.
My festival experience was kicked off on the Zippo Encore Stage (other lighters are available!) by bluesy Swedish psychedelic rockers Blues Pills. Having released their self-titled debut album 11 months ago, Blues Pills unleashed their well-formed mix of early Fleetwood Mac and Jimi Hendrix on their Donington debut with style. The bassy guitar sound mixed sweetly with lead singer Elin Larson‘s powerhouse Janis Joplin-esque vocals; vocals which hold a similar power to – bear with the unconventional comparison – Beth Ditto from those one-hit wonders Gossip.
The ominous rumbling bass of the anthemic ‘High Class Woman’, with its euphoric chorus, stood out, along with the pacey cut-and-thrust of rocker ‘Devil Man’, which counteracted the previous two ballads nicely. These numbers bookended their short but sweet set which basked in surprisingly good weather. The crowd may have been small in relation to the weekend’s big hitters but they were no less appreciative, and rightly so.