Download Festival: Day Two Highlights

Parkway Drive
(Image: © Kevin Nixon)

Last night, Avenged Sevenfold proved that heavy metal is alive and well. But tonight, Guns N' Roses are out to show that rock 'n' roll will never die. Download is noticeably busier today and there's a lot more boozing going on... which sounds like all the ingredients for a good time!

Here are some of the highlights from the second day of Download festival 2018.

Rolo Tomassi

Having just released a contender for Album Of The Year with Time Will Die And Love Will Bury It, it's heartening to see such a strong and vocal crowd turn out for Rolo Tomassi at the Avalanche stage. Firing on all cylinders, the Yorkshire noisemongers blast out an emotional mix of aggression and tenderness, tearing Donington a brand new one. It really does beg the question, why aren't this band huge? There's something very special going on here. 

The Fever 333

Having only been announced two days before the festival, and their name missing from all line-up posters, the tent is buzzing with anticipation for The Fever 333. Today is their first ever UK show and it's impossible to take your eyes off the stage. Jason Aalon Butler runs amok like only he can, throwing mic stands, monitors and plastic cups all over the stage, while guitarist Stevis Harrison hurls himself around and drummer Aric Improta shows off his backflipping skills. The political and societal message that underpins everything The Fever 333 do is delivered with vicious potency, as Jason preaches his gospel of positivity to Donington. When the full album comes, get ready for this band to blow all the way up.

The Struts

You gotta love a band who know they have to pull off a big show then proceed to do so. The Struts have spent much of the last year wooing US audiences, and they know they've neglected their homeland. Luke Spiller's suffering from a cold but doesn't let it show, and all that time spent working the Foo Fighters' audience pays off. They look at home on the big stage, they're not afraid of engaging a crowd that isn't theirs, and the fact that this is almost a local gig is obviously a big deal. Rock needs this band to do well, and the signs are good. 

Crumble Shack

If there was an award for festival food, Crumble Shack would get our vote. Choose your crumble, add a topping, finish with custard, and you have it: festival nirvana in a cardboard pot. (Our recommendation: cherry crumble, gingernut topping). Groundbreaking. Magnificent. Delicious.  

Parkway Drive

Playing just before Guns N' Roses on an entirely different stage isn't the best of slots at a festival, but Byron Bay brutes Parkway Drive still draw in thousands of mosh-hungry metalheads to the Zippo Encore stage. And they're bringing the heat. Opening on a one-two of Wishing Wells and Prey, it becomes a powerful barrage of flamethrowers and CO2, singeing the eyebrows of the first five rows. They're packing all of this into the Metal Hammer Golden Gods on Monday and it's going to be batshit.

The Temperance Movement

The Temperance Movement follow The Struts, and while their set in near-faultless and Phil Campbell in fine voice, you get the feeling there's some reluctance to embrace the Download audience in the way The Struts strive to. And that's a shame, because this audience have clearly embraced them.   

Guns N' Roses

This is it; the moment we've all been waiting for. Attracting a crowd far bigger than anything else seen this weekend, Guns N' Roses deliver three hours of classics and covers to a sun-soaked and heavily refreshed Donington. Slash's solos, Duff's inimitable swagger, Axl's wails - this is the stuff of legend, and it's happening right before our eyes in 2018. Sweet Child O' Mine, Rocket Queen, You Could Be Mine, Knockin' On Heaven's Door... whatever you want from GnR, they've got it and then some. The world's greatest rock 'n' roll band? Very possibly.

More on Guns N' Roses at Download.