Download 2008 15th June 2008

A shitload of bands, a whole heap of fans and three days of total rocking out, well one day for me, but lets not be too greedy! Yes the worlds greatest rock festival is here again, and as like last year, Captain Jack has the very best report on the day that tops off the rock year for thousands of people.

The previous two days of the festival had proved to be a success, with the mighty Kiss and Judas Priest rocking the stage on the Friday, by the way I do have in my possession the entire Kiss set from the night if anyone wants a copy I would be more than willing to oblige, and Biffy Clyro, Alter Bridge and The Offspring rocking up the Saturday.
Sunday is usually the big send off for the festival, and in the past has been headlined by such bands as Iron Maiden, Metallica, Linkin Park and Guns And Roses, so it was a huge surprise to find Lostprophets as this years closing festival act, but more on that later.

This year saw a few changes to the venue, with the main stage being moved to try and cut out the mosh pits, and to try and keep the site a bit cleaner, with the smaller Gibson Stage being the only indoor stage, and the Tuborg, or second stage being on one of Donnington’s huge tarmac car parks. But the main stage did seem to be a lot smaller, and in a much tighter area than in previous years. In fact for the fist few hours it really didn’t have that rock festival feel at all, although hearing people talking, the previous two days had just about rocked everyone out.
So with 35 bands playing today, a huge choice was available, and our intrepid gang of rockers managed to get to view 12 of them, so without further ado, here is this years rock extravaganza.

The first band we got to see, funnily enough were the aptly named From First To Last, who were second up on the main stage. The band had early success in 2003 and 2004, but lead singer Sonny Moore left the band and it looked as they would fold, but they fought back and they are now working their way back. Guitarist Matt Good is now on lead, and developing into a solid lead singer as well. Despite the small number that watched them perform, they gave a good account of themselves, and for 30 minutes they had everyone’s attention. Not a bad start to the day.

Next up was a trip to the Gibson stage, and the first real surprise find of the day with Sons Of Albion. Led by none other than legendary Led Zeppelin front man Robert Plant’s son Logan, the band gave a fiesty performance of their very Led Zep style music. He is, like his father, very charismatic on stage, but with it still being early, not many people witnessed the performance, which was a shame, because it was one of the better ones on the day. Very tasty riffs, and I’m sure this wont be the last we will hear from the band.

The long trek over to the Tuborg stage was a complete waste to see this lot from Norway. The band appear to be completely bewildered by front woman Agnete Kjolsrud, who despite looking like an extra from the corpse bride, had the stage presence of an escapee from the nuthouse! Easy to describe in one simple word……shite!

You know when an ex member of Busted is on the stage, that sometimes at festivals the odd swerve ball gets thrown at you. Despite a huge following of 10 year olds, it does seem that with each passing festival season, Charlie is losing his ex-Busted tag and starting to win over the partizan rock crowds, but only just!

The next pleasant surprise of the day way Black Stone Cherry. Despite constantly touring over the last few years, and having rave reviews by the rock press, and being the support to Def Leppard and Whitesnake on their European Tour, they do appear to have slipped under the radar of a few people, but the won me over after the first song today. Good old rock and roll riffs, with a style similar to that of early Bon Jovi lit up the main stage for the first time today, and got the now much bigger crowd bouncing. And, what made them even more special was the fact the even came over to say hello to yours truly, obviously fans of the website! Yes Captain Jack, friend of the stars you know! Despite to offers of free beer and sex drugs and rock and roll backstage, we battled on for the rest of the day.

Next up was yet another pleasant surprise on the day. The cello based Apocalypica proved to be the biggest crowd draw of the day so far. Looking like a cross between Skid Row and the London Philharmonic, this unique band had the crown eating out of their hands proving that you can headband to classical music! Topped off with a stunning performance from guest singer Laguna Coil’s Chrisina Scabbia on their current single S.O.S. (no not the ABBA song!) they added a bit of class to the day, and proved that they have a great future at festivals.

Another crowd pleasing act with my personal favourite of the day aussie rockers Airbourne. If the day had been a little of track, this performance clean blew it back on track with a fantastic performance, worthy of a much higher billing slot at next years festival. Within minutes of being on stage front man Joel hijacked an Australian flag and went on to scale 50 feet into the air to tie it to the top of the speaker stands. They went on to give the best performance of the day so far, and proved why they are becoming one of the best live acts around. The AC/DC style riffs may of all been heard before, but as a live act they do exactly what it say’s on the tin, they rock.

Go on lets have a bit more

Only seen and heard from a distance, and despite having to follow Airbourne’s crowd pleasing set, they failed miserably. Still not to worry as we sat in the sun enjoying one of the many new delights of the festival, the milkshake stand, with such amazing flavours as Dime Bar, Crunchie, Terry’s Chocolate Orange and Malteaser!

Despite coming on to the first big bottle fight of the day, Kids In Glass Houses did try their very best to rock out the Tuborg stage crowd, and despite dodging bottles of piss and the odd pot noodle, they got through to the end of their set finally winning the crowd over somewhat. Not a bad performance, but they have got a long way to go before they will win all of the Download crowd over.

Not knowing what to expect from this lot, you start off not minding the lengthy songs with the huge guitar solo’s, but after a long day in the sun, the crowd did start to fade after the 10th 8 minute long guitar solo. In truth, it all started to sound a bit same old same old, with one song blening it’s way into the next for their entire set. Despite having two very good looking and scantily clad backing singers, it all became a bit, well boring to be fair, and you can’t help thinking that singer Claudio Sanchez looks like Cousin It from The Addams Family.

Despite not really knowing any of the bands material, they proved to sound like so many bands you do like its quite shocking really. Very sing a long style, crowd pleasing to the now mellowed out fans, with influences like U2, Stereophonics, REM and such like, they managed to wake the crowd back up from the Coheed & Cambria induced slumber. I thought they would struggle to fill their 75 minute slot when they first started, but they pulled off a pretty good performance, and left the crowd relatively happy.

As lead singer Ian Watkins acknowledged from the moment he first spoke to the crowd, this was a controversial choice to end the weekend. Mainly due to the fact Watkins has extremely engaging banter throughout the set, the festivals only British Headline Act proved to be worthy headliners in a brilliant closing performance tonight.

All the well known songs went down an absolute storm with the crowd, with such crowd pleasing anthems as A Town Called Hypocrisy, Rooftops, Shinobi, 4:AM Forever, Last Train Home and the scorching climax Burn Burn sending the crowd wild, and even creating a few mosh pits despite the lack of room!

Having expected them to fail, it was a huge and pleasant surprise to find that a young British Band could pull off headlining a huge festival like Download, and leave everyone rocked out to the very last second of the festival. A brilliant performance from the Welsh rocker, who can be proud to say they rocked everyone today.

So there we have it folks, all over for another year. And already its countdown to next year, with rumours already rife that several of this years acts will be back next year much higher up the bill. The day drew to a fantastic close, and despite a shaky start, we yet again left feeling fully rocked up.

The Summer Tour 2008

Hello there folks to this weeks thankfully much shorter edition of Captain Jacks Tracks. Considerably shorter and shorter for the next few weeks as well. So why hear you ask! Well like all good things, too much of it will make you go blind, and lets be fair, I have over indulged you over the last six months with a top notch blog. So why the Summer Tour. Well, over the next few weeks, Captain Jack will be setting sail all over the country on a musical extravaganza, and this is what you can look forward to over the next few weeks in a series of Captain Jack Special Reports.

We start off with the biggest Rock event of the year with the Download Festival at Castle Donnington. Headline acts this year over the three day rock out are Kiss, The Offspring and Lostprophets. A full and fun report will be heading your way very soon.

Next up is a gig featuing one of the biggest bands in the world. Jon, Richie, David and Tico are making their way to Manchester's Eastlands Stadium to play part of their Lost Highway Tour and should prove to be an entertaining day, if not just to see just how bad support act The Feeling are going to be!

Last but not least is the first ever visit to the UK for Linkin Park's Project Revolution at the Milton Keynes Bowl. This should be a huge rock out with Linkin Park performing with Jay-Z, Pendulum Enter Shikari and The Bravery amongst others. To make it even better, Shaunio has informed me we have VIP tickets! Bring on the Champers and clean bogs!

So as you can see a very busy month ahead, so no time to put together the usual top quality blog you normally get every week. But don't fear, the special reports will be here very soon, and usual service will be resumed as soon as the summer tour is over, with more Hot Chicks than you can shake a stick at, nd the other features will be back as well!!