Right from the beginning of their set, Rise Against have the power cranked up to full. Opening with ‘The Good Left Undone’, they set the tone for the rest of their abrasive and energetic set.
Guitarist Zach Blair leaps about the stage in front of a crowd that’s decided, in the words of almost every vocalist so far, to ‘fuck off the rain’ and let rip – and it’s just as well, because the heavens decide to open for the umpteenth time. It’s been almost a year since their Billboard Rock Chart-topping album Black Market was released, and they seem to be still on a high as they tear through Kill It Off and Re-Education. The lyrical refrain in Collapse, which Tim McIlrath fittingly introduces as a ‘fast punk song’, probably chimes with the thoughts of Download’s muddiest attendees as he intones, ‘I don’t wanna be here any more’, but nevertheless, there’s a circle pit in full swing for most of the set. They keep the crowd on their toes with their ever-changing rhythms, and there’s even a brave soul crowd-surfing to Ready To Fall. If anyone was feeling the late afternoon slump after a few too many Tuborgs the night before, they’ve just been viciously shaken out of it.
Opening with the first few bars of Richard Strauss’s iconic Also Sprach Zarathustra (best known as the rousing introduction to 2001: A Space Odyssey) is a bold, if ostentatious move for Florida frat-boy pop punks A Day To Remember. It does the job of capturing the attention of the crowd before Jeremy McKinnon roars, literally, into action. Their first few songs are taken from their catalogue of harder stuff, and they’re chugging along as heavily as Satan’s bowels before the illusion is shattered by what’s probably the most middle-class act of rebellion ever – an empty, discarded wine carafe finds its way onto the stage.
**Rise Against **Photos: Kevin Nixon