Download 2014: Powerman 5000 and Skindred

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Following on from the high-impact sets from main stage newbies Miss May I and Crossfaith, we checked out the next two big names - Powerman 5000 and Skindred.

Next to hit the main stage are Powerman 5000, fronted by Spider One, who is pretty much just as crazy as you’d expect from the baby brother of Rob Zombie (and while we’re at it, from somebody who calls himself Spider One). The band’s stomping, industrial metal might have been better suited to the darkness of the tent than the main stage, and they get off to a somewhat modest start. Nevertheless, once they play the more recognisable hits such as Bombshell and When Worlds Collide, they’re instantly able to draw a bigger crowd. After the set finishes, Spider peaces out, wishing the Download crowd “Goodnight”. It’s 3 o’ clock in the afternoon… (6) (CM)

Smash the state, Kill The Power and raise your fist aloft – Skindred, the most ‘street’ rocking outfit to come out of Wales are in da’ field. And probably one of the most fun (yet cheerfully face-punching) live acts around. The ‘ragga-metal’ masters made a guerilla-style video in the Mumbai slums for the aforementioned track (and title of their fifth LP), and today they channel that vigour into a bass-thumping open-air setting. Though not without a sizeable sideways smile.

Frontman Benji Webbe don’t take no prisoners. Seldom is audience participation taken to such levels of no-fucking-around force (though he does like to say ‘fuck’, a lot). “Get your fucking hands up, bitch!” he shouts, before storming into the metallic, monster bass-thumping Ninja. “Fucking SEEEE bitches!” An uncompromising stance, admittedly, but one that reaps immense joy and crowd bouncing all round. Dancing erupts, bearded men in zebra hats nod very earnestly, and the sight of robust mosh pits suddenly obeying Benji’s commands to “wave like the Queen” is quite wonderful. As is the ‘heavy metal harlem shake’ generated after Kill The Power lays down it’s final electro-meets-metal-meets-reggae chops.

The final flourish? An en-masse ‘Newport Helicopter’ of crowd T-shirt swinging, as an emphatic Warning draws proceedings to a close. Bangin’ and then some. (8) (PG)