Tag Archives: faith no more

My Download 2015, Part 2.

Prev; Part 1. Next; Part 3. Epilogue.

SATURDAY

I woke up properly around 7:00 on Saturday and it was still raining, which was a good 12 hours of precipitation by that point. The sound of it pattering against the tent had provided some nice background white noise throughout the night, which meant I had slept more or less undisturbed. That is, of course, not including the time when I lay very still and ignored the officials who turned up outside, complaining about the huge tent that had mysteriously appeared next to mine. I am still not certain why they didn’t moan about where I had pitched mine, but I am fairly sure it had a lot to do with not actually being able to get hold of me. Rock up, pitch up, fuck off – there’s a lesson there for all of us.

While I sat hoping that the rain was going to subside, I rustled up some breakfast in the form of spicy noodles – which probably meant I was going to have spicy noodle flavoured coffee the next morning, but hey-ho.

Om nom nom.

Om nom nom.

Next on the agenda came the portaloos. Oh god, the portaloos. Since you’re here in my blog, you may already know that I am not going to spare you the details, but if you wish to skip forward a paragraph or two, frankly I wouldn’t blame you.

The portable toilet facilities were really badly designed in my opinion. In the past, I have been used to the toilet being a big plastic box with a big hole, and a toilet seat perched on top of it all. Grim, graphic, but does the job. This year the design included a built-in toilet bowl – a very shallow toilet bowl – with quite a narrow hole at the front for your DOINGS to get flushed into.

The fundamental design flaw became apparent when there was not enough water pressure on the flush, and your DOINGS didn’t go anywhere… Now, the toilet roll that I carry around with me when travelling has a load of polythene sandwich bags stuffed into the middle of the cardboard tube, from last year when I was out in the middle of the forest…

You can see where this is going already, can’t you?

YES. I had to put my hand inside a sandwich bag and encourage my own shit into the hole in the front of the portapotty bowl. They say childbirth is a real leveller; I am fairly sure this was pretty much up there, as life-events go.

I had been debating earlier whether I was even going to venture out to the arena that early in the day due to the weather. By this stage of the game though – with the toilet experience under my belt – rain was simply not going to be a problem. I left my hoodie in the tent because it wasn’t cold outside, and anyway, bare arms would dry quicker than clothes. On went the wellies and the plastic poncho, and I set off for the arena.

I was very clear that I had absolutely no intention of wandering back and forth from the tent like I had the day before, so anything I thought I might want went with me…

Geared up for the mud, complete with cowbell attachment...

Geared up for the mud – complete with cowbell suspended in a carrier bag from a belt loop.

The extent of the mud that had appeared overnight was pretty shocking.

Lovely weather for... erm, what likes mud again? Pigs? Pigs.

Lovely weather for… erm, what likes mud again? Pigs? Pigs.

Based on the lessons learned from the previous evening, I decided that I needed to buy a hat to hold the poncho hood down – and remembered one that had caught my eye the day before but I hadn’t had an excuse to buy at the time…

I genuinely love this hat.

Despite my expression, I genuinely love this hat.

As for the rest of the day, I had a full schedule marked up, of course kicking off with – and punctuated regularly by – pints of Tuborg. First up, the Maverick stage. [As usual, where I didn’t get pictures of my own, I have used other far better photos and linked the source page]

Chunk! No Captain Chunk! (11:55 – 12:25 Maverick Stage)

I went to see these guys on the strength of their name alone. They are young, French, and the singer knows how to work a crowd. Inoffensive – if I was 20 years younger I would probably really like them.

Mallory Knox (12:50 – 13:30 Main Stage)

I was a bit taken aback by Mallory Knox. I can only name one of their songs – Getaway, which is a total earworm, by the way – but I have a bit of thing for ginger’s and I totally fancy the singer now.

It was partway through being in a ginger-trance that I realised that the TeamRock cowbell-off was supposed to be happening. I hurried my arse on over to the TeamRock trailer in time to join in with enthusiasm to the end of what could generously be called “a fucking racket”. I did manage to meet JRock and Pete Bailey, who very nicely pretended to remember me from Twitter-spamming the station.

Then I came across my first scheduling dilemma of the day; Apocalyptica (13:30 – 14:40 Encore Stage) versus Emp!re (13:30 – 13:55 Jake’s Stage). On the basis that I already knew I liked Apocalyptica, and I had only heard of Emp!re on a list of 10 recommended drummers to see at Download, I decided I would head off to Jake’s stage to check out the band I didn’t know. I was not disappointed.

Vocals like a cross between Skin from Skunk Anansie and Benji Webb from SKindred

Emp!re; vocals like a cross between Skin from Skunk Anansie and Benji Webbe from Skindred.

I will very definitely be keeping an eye out for more Emp!re shows, because I liked them a lot.

Hands Like Houses (13:45 – 14:15 Maverick Stage)

Based on the running joke amongst my friends that I have massive man-hands, I thought it was only appropriate to check out Hands Like Houses. They didn’t set my world alight, but they didn’t upset my ears either.

Not much to say about these guys. Australian. Inoffensive.

Not much to say about these guys. Australian. Inoffensive.

Hollywood Undead (14:00 – 14:40 Main Stage)

Hollywood Undead are what we in the UK would refer to as a Marmite band; you’ll either love them or hate them. I always liked them, but thought that they were a bit of a joke band, sending up a lot of rap and youth culture. I think that’s still true, but I was impressed with the live show and I thought that a lot of the lyrics were quite clever and ironic. I have since discussed them with a friend who is also a fan, and his interpretation is that they are just showing off… I had of course been drinking for the better part of 4 hours, so perhaps best not to take my opinion too seriously.

I like Hollywood Undead and I don't care what you say.

I like Hollywood Undead and I don’t care what you say.

I then had a bit of time-killing until Rise Against, so I’d highlighted a few more bands that I’d only heard mentioned on the radio;

Upon A Burning Body (14:40 – 15:10 Maverick Stage)

Didn't leave much of a mark on my memory if I am honest.

Didn’t leave much of a mark on my memory if I am honest.

I was due to go and see Testament (15:20 – 15:50 Encore Stage) but I genuinely have no idea what I was doing. I did eat a lot of food that day, and I think that a vegetable burrito from Goodness Gracious Healthy Foods was probably involved. Followed by some chips. And an ice-cream.

Northlane (15:35 – 16:05 Maverick Stage)

I feel like I should have enjoyed these more, but without my full buy-in, the pain from my feet was really beginning to overwhelm my thinking, and I just ended out fidgeting my way through the set.

Again, nothing to really say.

Think I might give these another go at some point.

Rise Against (16:25 – 17:15 Main Stage)

Now this who I had been really waiting for. I saw Rise Against back in November last year for the first time ever, and was blown away. Despite being blinded by the lighting guy at Brixton Academy who has a massive hard-on for really bright sweeping lights, it was probably the best gig that I had seen in years – this was no less slick a performance. God, I love Rise Against.

Rise Fucking Against!

Rise Fucking Against!

Dub War (17:40 – 18:05 Jake’s Stage)

Dub War were basically the forerunners for Skindred, and since I had missed Skindred themselves at Camden Rocks a fortnight previously, I was looking forward to getting to see Mr Webbe do his thang at Download.

…not a fucking chance.

Packed out, this was as close as I could get.

Packed out, this was as close as I could get.

Bodycount (18:45 – 19:25 Maverick Stage)

Bodycount are dark as fuck. Heavy metal, rap, thrash, hardcore motherfuckers, and Ice T is a legend. Had to chip off early for FNM which was a bit of a shame.

Ice T...who also had his son on-stage. Thanks, because I didn't feel old enough as it was...

Ice T…who also had his son on-stage rapping with him. Thanks, because I didn’t feel old enough as it was…

Faith No More (19:05 – 20:15 Main Stage)

I saw Faith No More for the first time last year. I spoojed about it in another blog so I won’t go on, but this gig was better – felt a lot more like they were being themselves, where I get the impression they were told to behave a certain way last year… for whatever reason, as good as they were musically, there was an element missing that was only apparent seeing them again at Download. I fucking love FNM.

Faith No More being Epic. Hahahha, see what I did there?

Faith No More being Epic. Hahahha, see what I did there?

Marilyn Manson (21:00 – 22:10 Encore Stage)

This was probably the biggest clash of the weekend for me. I had to decide between this and Muse (21:05 – 10:50 Main Stage), and while I know they put on an awesome show, I’ve seen them before where I hadn’t seen Mr Manson.

I wasn’t able to get very close, but I don’t think that made much difference in the long run. I was actually quite disappointed. There were a lot of lights and noise and fanfare at the start, and he flounced out seeming very pleased with himself. Oddly though, the stage kept going dark and silent between tracks; I don’t know whether he was off powdering his nose, or having a self-congratulatory wank between songs. It seemed very much about him celebrating himself, without any crowd interaction that I noticed – yes Marilyn, we’re all here because we like you, but it needs to be a bit more of a two-way exchange for my money. It might have picked up later, but at the best of times I have all the focus of a 5 year old child drinking blue Panda Pops.

The stage kept going dark and silent. I don;t know whether he was powdering his nose, or have a self congratulatory wank between songs.

Not as impressed as I wanted to be.

I very quickly wished I had gone to see Muse instead. There was a stone-baked pizza stand facing the Encore stage, and I wandered off for yet more food while I was watching. Once the Margherita was gone however, I had run out of things to keep my attention. I did stick my head around the corner at the other stage, but there was no way I was getting close at all, and I decided it was time to pack it in for the night.

The blister I had picked up the day before had grown and was now working its way up between my toes. The urgent message from my feet was that I needed to sit the fuck down, as soon as realistically possible, and I was inclined to agree.

The day a 20 year old dream came true

It’s Friday. It’s also the 4th of July, but I’m not American so I don’t really care. I guess this must be how the Germans feel when English football fans go on about winning the 1966 World Cup… It is, however, the day that I finally get to see Faith No More and THAT I really do care about.

Let’s rewind 22 years. It’s now 1992, which as it happens is a real year of musical divergence for me. I’d grown up largely on a blend of hair metal and 80’s pop, but a few hugely significant albums featured in my landscape in ’92, which really subdivided my musical appreciation. That year, me and my tape player became inseparable.

My old faithful Sony Walkman

My old faithful Sony Walkman

In 1992, there were a few albums that I quite literally played back to back for weeks on end, which fundamentally changed the way I was going to feel about music for the rest of my life. The most significant ones were Carter The Unstoppable Sex Machine – 1992: The Love Album, Nirvana – Nevermind, The Prodigy – Experience and Faith No More – Angel Dust.

I didn’t have what you could call a happy and uplifting childhood, and up until that point I had always been slightly intimidated by music that erred on the darker side, but a series of changes in my life (which thinking about it now included puberty…) led me up to a point where not only was I able to accept darker and harder music into my life, but when I did so it hit me, and hit me HARD.

Since the first time I heard Midlife Crisis, Mike Patton has blossomed into a complete icon for me. Astoundingly good voice, fit as fuck, and absolutely mad as a box of frogs. In fact, all things that still rank highly on my list of Desirable Qualities…

Faith No More played a few times in my local town in the mid 90’s, but because of the circumstances of my life at the time, I was frustratingly never able to go. They then disbanded in 1998, leaving me with nothing but an awesome back-catalogue and dreams. 11 years later they reformed, and between 2009 and 2012 they embarked on the 2nd Coming Tour which I was again unable to go to.

Then, out of the blue, it was announced that they would be playing in Hyde Park on 4th July, Barclaycard British Summer Time, along with Soulfly, Soundgarden, Motorhead, headlined by Black Sabbath. I nearly lost my shit, because Soundgarden are another band that had a massive influence on my life (1994) and then disbanded before I got a chance to see them. I got very dejected and didn’t bother trying for a ticket because I thought there was absolutely no way – with a line up like that – that I had a chance of getting one.

Well! Two weeks ago, one of my old friends from school, Jay (who has now been elevated to Utter Hero status in my life), returned from whatever godforsaken chunk of South America that he is living in these days and announced that he had a spare ticket, and – more importantly – that I could have it. I was so excited that I ran off up the pub garden in an explosion of sheer joy.

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So, back to 4th July 2014, and I start out my day with a round of naked Pilates. The naked bit is not a prerequisite, nor even something I have done before; I was simply still somewhat drunk from the night before and couldn’t be bothered to even put on a robe. I followed this up with a breakfast of Cumberland sausages and a fried egg, while flitting around my house in an excited frenzy of dancing and wriggles to the soundtrack of Winamp on shuffle mode. (It’s worth noting at this point that the last two songs offered to me were Dead Kennedys – California Über Alles and Orchestral Manouevres in the Dark – If You Leave . Thanks for that utterly jarring clash Winamp.)

In the train station at Northampton, I ran into a group of 5 other people who – based on the long hair in ponytails, shorts and tattoos – I immediately assumed were also headed the same place I was. I hate to stereotype, but I was absolutely correct. Being the friendly and sociable creature that I am, I of course made a beeline for an entirely different part of the train carriage and put my headphones on so that I didn’t have to talk to anyone.

The ticket stated doors at 13:30, but the Facebook event page suggested 12:00. I was more inclined to go with the ticket so I had taken the train just after midday, which would be an hour into London and thus giving me plenty of time to get to Hyde Park for 13:30.

No. No it wouldn’t. I had chosen The Slowest Train In The World, and it didn’t actually reach Euston station in London until nigh on 13:30. By this time, I was so vexed and worried about potentially missing Faith No More that frustration and impotent fury were arcing out of my body, and I was very nearly driven by sheer stress into climbing onto the headrest of the seat in front of me, using only my fingernails for purchase. Think of an angry kitten spitting and swearing from the back of an armchair and you’re about there.

As it happens, I needn’t have worried, because if I had taken the time to check, FNM were third in the running order, and Soulfy – who were first – weren’t even due on until 14:45. However, I didn’t know that at the time, so when I hit Euston I took off like a rocket – or as close to being a rocket as you can get in the packed London Underground. I’d checked with Jay and the closest tube station for where I wanted to be in Hyde Park was not in fact Hyde Park Corner, as you might imagine, but Marble Arch. I had to change from the Northern line to the Central line, but all proceeded smoothly, if in a very stuffy and sweaty manner, given it turned out to be one of the hottest days of the year.

I arrived at Hyde Park to the blessed lack of sound of anyone playing. It was hot and sunny, with a nice breeze and lots and lots of beer tents, mostly designed to look like the set of a spaghetti western. Marvellous.

DSCF2508 DSCF2507 DSCF2505 DSCF2504 DSCF2503I very quickly gravitated towards the dark fruit cider, and accepted that it might be a very messy day from here on in.

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Obligatory selfie.

Soulfly were due on at 14:45. I am a big fan of Sepultura, Soulfly and the Cavalera Conspiracy, and would in fact probably listen to an album of Max Cavalera belching the Brazilian national anthem, but since I have managed to catch up with them and see them in Birmingham in February, they weren’t top of my hitlist for the day.

Interesting stage, complete with massive playback screens and a complete of Ents.

Interesting stage, complete with massive playback screens and a pair of Ents.

Nevertheless, your blood cannot help but stir when you hear Roots Bloody Roots kicking off, and while I got the call to say Jay was around and I went off on a mission to find him, Jump Da Fuck Up and Tribe were still tugging at me.

Max Fucking Cavalera.

Max Fucking Cavalera.

It didn’t actually occur to me to start making a note of the playlists until after Faith No More had started (my short term memory is disgraceful at the best of times, let alone when there are pints involved). I have no recollection of what else they played but fuck it, if it’s important to you, I’m sure someone else has posted it.

There was actually another hour until Motörhead were due on, which made for a nice chilled out pace to the day. There was a lot of sitting around, drinking beer and applying the highest factor sunscreen I could find (I didn’t trust that the 50SPF I had applied before I left would last any length of time).

I am going to take a moment here to compliment the toilet facilities. It may seem like a small thing, but when you are required to sit down and use toilet paper 100% of the time that you are in the bathroom, and based on the usual experience of a night out in Northampton, it is absolutely delightful to find more toilets than you actually need, all with sufficient toilet paper supplies, seats and locks, and none of them swimming in fluid that you don’t want to question too closely.

On the other hand, whoever was in charge of sorting out Wifi can Fuck Right Off. Seriously. I would be DELIGHTED to find that person and have stern fucking words with them. The 3G signal just wasn’t even worth mentioning, however there was a public Wifi channel you could access… although, I never really did pin down exactly where that was located. It sure as shit wasn’t anywhere near to close to where the stage was. You could pay for 24 hours premium Wifi access for £3 (reasonable) but it relied on getting on the fucking internet in the first place to pay via PayPal. After numerous attempt and an unholy amount of swearing, I managed to complete the transaction…only to find that I didn’t get access to a different all-singing all-dancing Wifi network – it was the same one, which was still equally inaccessible from where I was. I am prepared to admit that there is a chance I may have missed something, but I was not in any way pleased.

Motörhead came on at 15:45, and I have to admit that I am not a big fan. Not that I don’t enjoy their music, I have just never really paid attention. I love Ace of Spades, because that was in the first Young Ones episode I ever watched. They played it, which pleased me, but I would not have a clue about the rest of the set list. So sue me.

His Warty Majesty

His Warty Majesty

Faith No More were due up at 17:15, so again more wandering around in the sun, and more beer. And then came one of the most exciting moments of my adult life.

Mike Actual Patton. No other words.

Mike Actual Patton. No other words.

Faith No More hit the stage in full priest costumes, and opened with Zombie Eaters. Mike Fucking Patton. Right THERE.

I am pretty sure I remember what they followed up with and the order, but I still hadn’t picked up my notepad until about 4 songs in, so I make no apologies for any errors. The eventual notes I did make look like they were written by an epileptic toddler.

Wrote these with the pen gripped between my arse cheeks, by the looks.

Wrote these with the pen gripped between my arse cheeks, by the looks.

Anyway, to the best of my recollection, this was the actual set list, but I will be delighted to update if anyone has anything I missed.

Zombie Eaters
From Out Of Nowehere
Epic
Caffeine
The Gentle Art of Making Enemies
Easy
Midlife Crisis
Everything’s Ruined
Cuckoo for Caca
King for a Day
LEADER OF MEN [new track]
Ashes to Ashes
ENCORE
GET THE MOTHERFUCKER ON THE PHONE [new track]
We Care A Lot

Fucking awesome. They were album perfect, and Mike Patton is an absolute god. He spent some time between tracks quoting The Exorcist and anointing the crowd with, frankly, anything he could get his hands on…but largely bottled water. “The power of Christ compels you!” Combining this with the priest costumes, is this a hint for the next album, or are they just having a giggle? Who knows, we shall see. I have included a photo from a source far better placed than I was, just because it is totally warranted.

They played two new tracks, and I didn’t even realise that’s what they were. I knew that I didn’t recognise them, but I just figured they were from the King For A Day, Fool For A Lifetime album that I haven’t really listened to as much. I am now stupidly excited at the prospect of a new album. Whatever the actual title of the track ends out being, what is currently being referred to as Get The Motherfucker On The Phone was fantastic. I was giddy, and grinning like an idiot. An unquiet part of my soul had been stilled and I was really really happy.

I shuffled off to get some food (incidentally, I found a spare pair of chopsticks in my pocket this morning, that I don’t remember picking up…) and I genuinely did not envy the people who had to clear this place up. There were crushed plastic beer glasses in drifts everywhere. On my way to the food stands, I saw a couple of girls merrily kicking their way through a pile of glasses like they were Autumn leaves.

I had had a brilliant day; the weather was amazing, Faith No More had been excellent, Mike Patton was just Mike Patton… what I wasn’t prepared for was for Soundgarden to be even better than Faith No More. I am not talking from the perspective of a music critic, just me, from inside my little old head.

Soundgarden played at 19:00, and they were incredible. Chris Cornell explained that since it probably wasn’t going to happen all that often again, they were going to play the whole of the SuperUnknown album. I almost came right then and there. I was sure I had heard rumours somewhere of Chris’s voice having suffered over the years, but they were absolutely not true. I managed to get a better angle on the stage and get better photos than I did with FNM.

Soundgarden

True to his word, they played the SuperUnknown tracklist (I’ve included it for reference) although I don’t recall them playing Half – I was however distracted right when it would have been played by an impromptu 5-person circle-pit, 50m out from the stage (it goes to show that you can’t put metal fans out in the sun, with beer, and expect them not to jump about for any period of time.)

SuperUnknown
Let Me Drown
My Wave
Fell on Black Days
Mailman
SuperUnknown (joined by Mike McCready)
Head Down
Black Hole Sun
Spoonman
Limo Wreck
The Day I Tried To Live
Kickstand
Fresh Tendrils
4th of July
Like Suicide

It was mind-blowing. I am not in any way ashamed to admit that I had tears running down my face by the end of Black Hole Sun. Chris Cornell has a voice that can just make your core vibrate. At the start of each song, he spoke a little bit about the inspiration for each one, or where the title came from, and it was absolutely like being taken on a journey through the album with them.

Just before Head Down, Chris mentioned it was 20 years since the album was released. 20 years?? I reckon that is what triggered the tears after Black Hole Sun. Don’t get me wrong, his voice does funny things to me, but at that moment, I felt in equal parts like the kid who first bought the album on tape – living and breathing this music for the first time – and the adult two decades older, and it was like every experience I had had in that 20 year period hit me over the course of a song or two.

Music is a special and beautiful thing, and I swear that anyone who says they don’t really listen to music is missing a massive part of the human experience.

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Kim Thayil

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Matt Cameron

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Ben Shepherd

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Chris Cornell

I was totally spaced out by the time Soundgarden finished. I knew where Jay and his friends were going to be, but I wanted to be alone and absorb what had just happened to me. There was a whole Dance section that I hadn’t noticed earlier, and it looked like some kind of carnival was going on, so I went and enjoyed that for a little while.DSCF2581 DSCF2582 DSCF2587 DSCF2588

Black Sabbath were due on stage at 21:00, and it was a proper spectacle. They opened with War Pigs, and for a guy who can barely string a sentence together, Ozzy can still wail with the best of them. I think I read somewhere that War Pigs is 44 years old, and do you know what? It still sounds pretty damn good.

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I am going to be honest here, I am not a big Sabbath fan. Don’t judge me. By the time they started playing, I was nowhere near drunk enough to throw myself into the experience, and I ended out just hanging back and observing. They were bloody good, just not anything I felt bought into.

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Tommy Iommi

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Moar Tommy Iommi

Geezer Butler

Geezer Butler

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Ozzy

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Tommy Clufetos

I had had a mind blowing day, and Sabbath were not going to add anything more to it. There were shiny fairground rides and stalls selling meatballs to capture my attention.

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It’s so pretty…

I ended out settling on a pot of strawberries and cream, because I’m posh, innit?

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Not quite Wimbledon, but I prefer my version.

I felt that I had truly taken in everything that the day could offer me, and decided to head home.

I jumped the couple of tube trains back to Euston, and headed back to Northampton just after 22:00. Some wannabee Lothario, replete with too many instrument cases to be realistic, was trying to gather himself a harem on the way back home. I was polite, but managed to duck out of the conversation while his attention was drawn by a couple of blond ladies. I was able to get my earphones in and get settled into a corner without drawing too much attention. Hello Brumlebassen! By the time I next sneaked a glance from between my eyelids, the blonds had disappeared and he had moved to the back of the carriage.

I got home completely unmolested and feeling truly happy with the world. Things that I missed out on two decades ago have now been restored unto me. All is right with the world.

Mike Patton photographed in San Francisco, CAMarch 8, 2006© Jay Blakesberg