Download 2014: Bury Tomorrow and While She Sleeps

With both bands seemingly sharing the same mission statement of 'fuck shit up', Bury Tomorrow and While She Sleeps storm into Donington open pits and shatter bones.

There’s always something exhilarating about seeing a young British band on the main stage at Download. Today, as the sun shines over Donington, Bury Tomorrow bring their soaring melodic metalcore to the main stage with an abundance of energy and most importantly, respect for the fans that really helps them connect. Perhaps it’s because they’re British and appealingly self-deprecating (they keep stressing that they don’t take themselves too seriously, which is confirmed by drummer Adam Jackson’s *NSync t-shirt), but when lead vocalist Daniel Winter-Bates tells the crowd “We’re just like you”, he sounds genuinely sincere. They really take in the crowd, singling out some of the weirder fancy-dress costumes and telling them “I wanna hear some ‘300’ shit” when they demand that they make some noise. The band’s set is well-executed, but it’s this interaction that really sets them apart as down-to-earth, home-grown heroes. Their energy onstage infects the audience: a circle pit opens up during Watcher, and the Winter-Bates brothers hold a crowd-surfing competition during Lionheart, which probably lost them a few Brownie points with security but totally won the Download crowd over. (7) (CM)

Following their brethren into battle are the Sheffield sons While She Sleeps. It’s their first major show back since frontman Loz Taylor underwent throat surgery and anticipation is high to see the Nothern metallers back in action… and they do not disappoint. With white WSS flags standing tall in the crowd and countless t-shirts in edging further and further forward, taking your eyes off the stage was not an option. As they power through False Freedom and This Is The Six, the Download crowd are as much a part of the vocal performance as the newly-recovered frontman. Mat Welsh takes over more of the vocal duties than previous that at times fail to stand up against Loz’s undeniable ferocity, but it keeps the circle pits spinning. But it’s the go-to tracks for any Sleeps fan that send adrenaline levels into the gathering clouds, with The North Stands For Nothing and Our Courage, Our Cancer exercising the lungs of the dedicated fans down front. As the final notes ring out and the play buttons is pushed on the closing sound clip, our hero Lawrence Taylor has scaled the soundstage with his own red WSS flag for all of Donington to see. And what we see is a band that are back in business. Fuck yes. (8) (LM)