Download 2015: Defeater, Beartooth and Modestep

Will dubstep rockers Modestep polarise the Donington crowd?

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Power and melody are the order of the day over on the Maverick Stage – Defeater barrel onto the stage like a troupe of unruly school dropouts and waste no time in getting down to business.

They’ve already proved they’re not afraid to buck trends within the hardcore genre with their conceptual lyrics – vocalist Derek Archambault has previously confirmed that all of their songs (very specifically) chronicle the struggles of living in post-World War II-era New Jersey – but musically, they’re highly listenable. They power through the first half of the set with the likes of No Shame, Hopeless Again and The Red, White and Blues, with Archambault rousing the crowd and making a point of acknowledging his bandmates, particularly guitarists Jay Maas and Jake Woodruff. Dear Father, one of their slower, more impassioned numbers, has the audience shaking their heads and fists along with the abrasive riffs. Who said history was boring? (TDG)

Next up come Ohio crunch enthusiasts Beartooth, who’ve toured almost incessantly since the release of their 2014 debut Disgusting – and it shows. Vocalist Caleb Shomo is no stranger to outdoor festivals from his tenure in Warped tour favourites Attack Attack! and certainly knows how to work a crowd. He’s quite pushy, too. “You need to wake up, I need more,” he bellows at the crowd and attempts to instigate a dual circle pit around both of tent’s supporting poles. What follows is pure pandemonium, soundtracked by the soaring In Between, the jarring anti-hymn to a boozy lifestyle I Have A Problem and the panic at the hardcore disco of Beaten In Lips. As the latter’s anthemic chorus kicks in, Download’s security staff suddenly have to deal with a steady stream of crowd surfers, including a reveller in a full-sized bear suit and a sunburnt man who begins yelling at no-one in particular. The band have built themselves a fearsome live reputation and, judging by the packed tent, today’s performance is no exception. (SY)

It’s 2008 all over again on the Encore stage as dubstep throwbacks Modestep play to Download’s younger contingent. Their brand of clubland metal has always been polarising, and watching them perform, it isn’t hard to see why. Frontman Josh Friend seems determined to embody every aspect of lad culture that the uninitiated might associate with clubbing –encouraging the crowd to ‘get fucked up’ and ‘put their hands in the air’. It wouldn’t have been a shock if he’d instructed the audience to procure themselves a cheeky Nando’s after the set. The music, unfortunately, doesn’t redeem the situation. Friend’s vocals bounce erratically between Dizzee Rascal impersonations and a hammy pseudo-American accent on Snake and Show Me A Sign, while Seams borrows its chorus melody heavily from the Arctic Monkeys’ Fake Tales of San Francisco. Drummer Pat Lundy and guitarist Kyle Deek’s masks hint at an attempt at being the British incarnation of Hollywood Undead, but they look incongruous next to their laboured sound. Nevertheless, the crowd seems to be enjoying themselves as they jump, mosh and bounce at Friend’s command. Dubstep may have been an ear-crushing flash in the pan for the rest of us, but for these Download attendees, it’s alive and well. (TDG)

Modestep Photos: Alison Clarke