June 30, 2016 Download Festival Day 2 Rocks Paris, France 6-11-16
While Day 1 of Paris’ Download Festival ended with the mystical Swedish band Ghost, Day 2 promised to be just as exciting on Saturday, June 11th. This time including an impressive lineup that featured Twins Atlantic, The Struts, The Inspector Cluzo, Shinedown, Arcane Roots, Mass Hysteria, One Ok Rock, Amon Amarth, Jane’s Addiction, Apocalyptica, Saxon, Babymetal, Biffy Clyro, and Korn, French fans had a chance to enjoy acts that do not visit all that frequently. With that in mind, a massive crowd gathered early, working their way around to all three stages, eager to catch as many of the bands as possible.
Kicking off the day at Stage 3 was American Hard Rock leaders Shinedown at 2 PM, but just an hour later, over at Stage 2, it was time for France’s own Mass Hysteria. Pioneers and faithful representatives of French Metal, Mass Hysteria comes with over twenty-two years of experience and has eight albums to their name, including 2015’s Matière Noire. Sung primarily in their native language, their songs revolve around political lyrics, and their music fluctuates between Nu Metal and Electro. A familiar name on the French scene, they were a perfect early offering of Industrial style Metal.
As always, Mass Hysteria’s performances are an event, and with a backdrop simply representing their logo, they immediately opened with the song “Chien de la casse.” Mixing and matching their set with tracks like “World on Fire,” “Contradiction,” and later “Plus que du métal,” they were razor sharp in their delivery. Ending with their hit “Furia,” the audience bounced up and down while Lead Vocalist Moustapha “Mouss” Kelai beautifully demonstrated his abilities to sing. Those who missed the Paris set can check out their new live CD/DVD out now, entitled Le Trianon.
Next up, around 4 PM, it was time to head over to the main stage for Heavy Metal legends Saxon. With a career that has spanned nearly four decades, England’s Saxon are considered one of the pioneers of Heavy Metal. Keeping the legacy alive with founding members Vocalist Biff Byford and Guitarist Paul Quinn, long time members Drummer Nigel Glockler, Bassist Nibbs Carter, as well as Guitarist Doug Scarratt round out the lineup. Added to Download Festival following Motörhead’s cancellation, due to the passing of Lemmy Kilmister, Parisians were quite excited to welcome Saxon to the city.
Still as energetic as ever, the South Yorshire based band took the opportunity to present some tracks from the latest album, 2015’s Battering Ram, before going into classics such as “Motorcycle Man,” “Power and Glory,” and “20,000 Ft.” Playing a total of twelve songs, they also included many tracks from the later portion of their career followed by more favorites including “Crusader,” “Wheels of Steel,” and closer, “Princess of the Night.” True to form, they will continue playing the European Metal tour circuit this summer, so be sure to head out to rock with the one and only Saxon.
Back over at Stage 3, at 5 PM, it was time for England’s Rock band by the name of The Struts. A relatively young band, together just over five years, The Struts are a blast of retro style Rock. Making a big impression with their 2014 debut album, Everybody Wants, as recent as a few months ago they also toured North America to much praise.
Consisting of Luke Spiller (vocal), Adam Slack (guitar), Jed Elliot (bass), and Gethin Davies (drummer), they came out revved up as they blasted out “Roll Up.” An adrenaline rush of Classic Rock mixed with Glam Rock, they cruised through a set that included more ear-catching tracks from their debut album including “These Times Change,” “Could Have Been Me,” and “Kiss Me.” Recently re-releasing their debut with five new tracks, anyone who has not heard the album yet need to pick it up to see what all the fuss is about with this talented, promising band.
With plenty of music in between, including performances from One Ok Rock and Baby Metal, Amon Amarth hit Stage 2 at 7 PM. Hailing from Sweden, the Viking Metal leaders have built a career on epic storytelling lyrics, uncompromising melodic Metal riffs, and energy-packed live performance. Coming off the release of their tenth album, 2016’s Jomsviking, the most extreme of the Metal acts to perform on Day 2 of Download Festival were ready to show exactly why they fit right in.
Coming out with sheer force, they opened with “The Pursuit of Vikings,” a track that had fans pumping their Metal horns in the air as they proceeded on with others such as “Runes of My Memory,” “Death in Fire,” and “Deceiver of the Gods.” With windmill headbanging complements of Vocalist Johan Hegg, Guitarists Olavi Mikkonen and Johan Söderberg, along with Bassist Ted Lundström and Touring Drummer Jocke Wallgren provided thick Melodic Death Metal orchestration to please the hungry crowd. Igniting a frenzy on the ground with “War of the Gods,” “Raise Your Horns,” and “Guardians of Asgaard,” the triumphant set concluded with the epic “Twilight of the Thunder God.” Those who missed these Heavy Metal titans will have a chance to catch them as they continue to conquer their way through Europe over the summer.
over at the Main Stage at 8 PM, the time came for the Scottish Rockers known as Biffy Clyro. Halfway between Alternative Rock and Neo-Prog, Biffy Clyro have been in the game for over twenty years now. A long time indeed, Lead Vocalist/Guitarist Simon Neil was only fifteen years old at the time. Now older, wiser, and more refined, the band has garnered a great deal of attention in recent years with a list of award nominations. Set to release their seventh studio album, Ellipsis, July 8th, the band is calling it perhaps the best record they have ever made.
Having not toured in a couple of years, France was eager to see the band take the stage, and an overwhelming positive cheer ensued when they began new song “Wolves of Winter.” Eager to keep the momentum going, they moved quickly along, following up with “Living Is a Problem Because Everything Dies” and “Biblical,” before later playing favorite “Bubbles.” Compared to Metal bands that performed earlier in the day, the atmosphere was much calmer for Biffy Clyro, but the audience was completely enthralled as they dancing and sang together to interesting tunes such as “The Captain,” “Many of Horror,” as well as “Mountains.” Performing fourteen songs in total, Biffy Clyro put on one hell of a show that only adds more anticipation for the release of Ellipsis.
With the hours winding down, there were only a few acts left before Day 2 of Download Festival was concluded. Having already provided an afternoon filled with diverse Rock-n-Roll, at 9 PM Jane’s Addiction would close out Stage 2. One of America’s quintessential Alternative Rock bands from the genre’s golden era, Jane’s Addiction have a name which proceeds them. Led by the unique voice/personality of Perry Farrell, the equally as colorful Guitarist Dave Navarro make the band a must see. Following a few breakups, the band has been back together since 2008 with Farrell, Navarro, Drummer Stephen Perkins, and newest member, Bassist Chris Chaney. With that in mind, their visit to the city of love would be met with a sea of fans eager to see just exactly what the theatrical Rock band had to offer.
Celebrating the 25th anniversary of their sophomore album, 1990’s Ritual de lo Habitual, for the occasion they were accompanied on stage by two dancers. Creating an atmosphere from the get go with opener “Up the Beach,” Navarro immediately dazzled on guitar. With the dancers helping to visually interpret their music, the set featured well-known hits such as “Stop!,” “Ain’t No Right,” and “Mountain Song.” Giving the audience a taste of later material, ala 2003’s Strays, “Three Days” followed before the signature “Been Caught Stealing.” With Farrell’s voice sounding as distinct and strong as ever, the audience were in the groove all set long until the final moments when they closed with the blistering “Whores.” Jane’s Addiction now turn their attention to touring The States this summer with dates ranging from July 15th until the end of September.
While Jane’s Addiction’s performance wrapped up on Stage 2, the Main Stage was preparing to host one of the biggest bands of the festival, Alternative Metal icons, Korn. The final act of Day 2, they would be met with a massive crowd before their scheduled start at 10:30 PM. Adored worldwide for their pioneering sound, Korn has continued to conquer generations of Metalheads the world over two plus decades since their inception. Officially reunited with co-founding Guitarist Brian “Head” Welch now since 2013, Korn is a rejuvenated bunch as they look to extend their career far into the foreseeable future.
With a simple decor surrounding them, Head, Guitarist James “Munky” Shaffer, Bassist Reginald “Fieldy” Arvizu, and Drummer Ray Luzier took their positions as orange lights penetrated the stage. Immediately followed by Lead Vocalist Jonathan Davis, Korn invited the audience to dance along as they opened with “Right Now” followed by the bass-rattling “Here To Stay.” With Davis immersed in his performance, the emotion on his face was explicit as he unleashed his tormented vocals on other signature Korn tunes such as “Falling Away From Me,” “Coming Undone,” and “Shoots and Ladders.”
With everyone cheering for more, more came with newer favorite “Hate” prior to a powerful drum solo by Luzier. With Luzier showing tremendous skill behind the kit, the solo still kept heads bopping before the set kicked back in with “Blind,” “Did My Time,” Y’all Wanna a Single.” Engaging the audience any chance they could, Davis made hand gestures while Head, Fieldy, and Munky made eye contact and shared smiles with enthusiastic fans in the crowd. Closing out with a cover of Pink Floyd’s “Another Brick in the Wall,” this would only be a table-setter for a killer encore that featured “4 U,” “Got the Life,” and, of course, “Freak on a Leash.”
Performing for over an hour, Korn delivered one of the loudest and heaviest performances thus far at Paris’ edition of Download Festival. Overall, the city could not have hoped for a better Day 2. Not only did Korn steal the heart of fans this late into the evening, but pressure was mounting as many awaited Day 3 less than 24 hours away.Photos by Michela Cuccagna