Download 2014: The Answer, Quicksand, Letlive.

Fresh from a command performance for the Heavy Metal Truants on Friday night, The Answer are in upbeat mood as they follow Drenge onto the Zippo Encore stage.

“Download, are you ready to get down?” asks Cormac Neeson, as the Northern Irish quartet start big with New Horizon and Spectacular…though sadly not the special Samba version of the song they’ve released to tie in with the World Cup. The first of the band’s two sets today (they’ll reappear in acoustic mode on the Jagermeister stage later this evening) is a triumph: the Downpatrick band might not have the commercial clout of fellow travellers Rival Sons, but their constituency is loyal and appreciative, and the likes of Under The Sky and Come Follow Me are greeted like Top 10 smashes. Neeson high-fives the front row, salutes the crowd as “beautiful people” and exits stage left to well-deserved applause. (7)

Quicksand’s last UK festival appearance, at last summer’s Reading festival, was a disappointment, a mild-mannered display that did nothing to add to their justified reputation as post-hardcore scene trailblazers. Today is different. With a beefed-up sound and an audience expanding minute by minute, the New Yorkers more than compensate. Freezing Process and Brown Gargantuan sound huge, and the closing one-two of Delusional and Landmine Spring are transcendent…not least when Walter Schreifels closes the latter by playing drums on an extended coda. The legend is restored. (8)

By rights, tonight’s Letlive. show should be below par, what with Jason Aalon Butler being forced to hobble around the site on crutches, as a result of an onstage tumble earlier in the week.. Come showtime, however, medical advice is set aside, with the livewire frontman casting his supports aside and doing his level best to bring his usual kinetic energy to the show. “We wrote this song specifically for festivals,” he states ahead of The Dope Beat. “I can’t get off my feet, so maybe you can do it for me.” A hyped-up audience is only too happy to oblige.

“The last time I was here I was a very angry person,” Butler says as the set comes to a climax. “Three years later, I’ve learned how to love myself. Without this, I would never have known love.” Bless. (8)

Paul Brannigan
Contributing Editor, Louder

A music writer since 1993, formerly Editor of Kerrang! and Planet Rock magazine (RIP), Paul Brannigan is a Contributing Editor to Louder. Having previously written books on Lemmy, Dave Grohl (the Sunday Times best-seller This Is A Call) and Metallica (Birth School Metallica Death, co-authored with Ian Winwood), his Eddie Van Halen biography (Eruption in the UK, Unchained in the US) emerged in 2021. He has written for Rolling Stone, Mojo and Q, hung out with Fugazi at Dischord House, flown on Ozzy Osbourne's private jet, played Angus Young's Gibson SG, and interviewed everyone from Aerosmith and Beastie Boys to Young Gods and ZZ Top. Born in the North of Ireland, Brannigan lives in North London and supports The Arsenal.