The mother of all rock festivals is back! After two years of delays and cancellations, last weekend saw the return of Download Festival – and, boy, what a weekend it was. While the legendary Download Pilot blessed us last year, nothing quite compares to a full-blown Download; no other festival can capture that same gusto, that glorious embodiment of all things heavy. With sets spanning from the iconic Iron Maiden, to the anthemic delights of Biffy Clyro, to a mesmerising farewell set from KISS, to the gutsy singalongs of Frank Carter And The Rattlesnakes, Download Festival 2022 served up a mighty selection of old and new – but what about the acts even further down the line-up?
Here’s 5 acts that are sure to work their way up the line-up in the years to come…
PENGSHUi’s distinctive brand of punk’n’bass is absolutely blinding. As soon as the trio take to the stage, it’s clear that everyone is in for a treat; frazzled, bass-junkie breakdowns compete with Illaman’s slick, tongue-in-cheek flow, the combination totally irresistible.
Every track manages to burrow its way into your bones, infecting you with a need to move, move, move. From the enraged howls of “EAT THE RICH!” to the giddying, deliciously tempting circle pit rouser Nobody Cares’, every voice in the tent chanting “round and round we go, round and round we go…”, PENGSHUi understand how to get your blood pumping. Whether that be via a bit of sociopolitical discourse, or just talking about a “Wiseman talking shit”, the outcome of pits and hectic howling is guaranteed. Tracks from their 2020 debut and this year’s Destroy Yourself are met with equal levels of vigour – a surefire sign that these lads are only going to continue on their epic rise.
There’s a reason Static Dress are he hottest new band on everyone’s lips; pairing slick, gorgeous emo lyricisms with a sharp post-hardcore-meets-metalgaze anthems, Static Dress are carving their own sound from relics of the past.
Bodies pile into the Avalanche Stage tent despite the set being first thing – and that alone is a sign of the movement Static Dress are kickstarting. As frontman Olli Appleyard immerses himself in the to-and-fro of each track, microphone cable the rock equivalent of a streamer as it trails behind him, the crowds match that same sense of urgent movement. Tracks like Di-sinTer see the crowd burst into pits despite the early hour, while closing track clean. sees Appleyard clamber atop the crowd as everyone howls and moshes along to every word. It’s a set that feels important – it feels like the start of something great.
The reign of Heriot is well and truly underway. Their debut, Profound Morality, dropped earlier this year, and it left its mark; guttural breakdowns and harrowing soundscapes are bruisingly feral, every note crushing down even harder than the last.
And their performance most definitely does the band justice. Delicate, quaking instrumentals gorgeously meld into pitch-black, rumbling vocals, effortlessly delivering a mix of light and dark brutality. Tracks somehow manage to feel even more visceral in person, the loud, gruelling sound spilling out far beyond the confines of the Dogtooth tent.
The set is a lesson in how to have the people wanting more – by the time the set comes to a close, everyone feels the music ringing through their minds. Every member on stage is absorbed in their craft, and the mindbending music they are able to churn out is absolute proof of it. Definite ones to keep an eye on!
“We are Death Blooms – we’re here to do a mosh and stuff.” And ‘a mosh and stuff’ they shall deliver. Death Blooms had the honour of opening up last year’s Download Pilot – an electric, once-in-a-lifetime rush – and it seems like that buzzing, nu-metalcore grit is still just the adrenaline boost the Download crowds are eager for.
Tracks like Life Is Pain, Gore and One Release’s feral cries of “PIT, PIT, GET IN THE PIT!!” are all perfectly crafted with moshing in mind. Frontman Paul Barrow conducts the crowd with ease, urging feral circle pits for Anger, or energised bouncing for the venom-laced anthem Fuck Everything. The entire set is a whirlwind, a breathtaking barrel of non-stop moshy goodness. As Barrows himself might say: absolutely sound set, tha’! More please!!
In a haze of blue, Modern Error serve up some ethereal, experimental delights in the Dogtooth tent. Clad in classy shirts, latex gloves and leather harnesses, the group visually embody the same clashing, exhilarating nature of their sound; their January debut, Victim Of A Modern Age, is truly a patchwork of poise, precision and pandemonium.
As the set bursts into life, that mesmerising chaos is perfectly translated on stage. Tracks waver between effortlessly cool breakdowns and whirring, industrial distortion, every element pieced together gorgeously. As frontman Zak Pinchin croons along to each track, there’s a true sense of him being lost in the noise – every word ripped from his guts, pouring himself out for all to see.
The crowds soak up the spectacle in awe, equally as enthralled by the sounds the group have crafted. One thing that must be said – Modern Error feel unique. There’s something exciting stitched into the fabric of their world, something that goes against the grain. Hopefully they continue to pursue all the things that make them stand out from the crowds.
Grab tickets for Download Festival’s 20th Anniversary in 2023 here.