Download Festival 2023 – Friday. Nova Twins take to the Apex stage as the midday sun hits it’s highest and brightest, beaming down a heat almost intolerable if it wasn’t for the vast amounts of water, beer, cider and general Download chaos to distract us.
The Twins put on a performance that equals their enthusiasm as they state, “It’s been our dream to perform here on this stage!” And my goodness, they do not let the opportunity pass them by. Cramming their award-winning set into 35 minutes has got to include a huge amount of careful picking, but Nova Twins do it with ease, putting on a show that is wildly brilliant, musically astute and just a damn good time.
Phenomenal bass work from Georgia South as she pedal boards her way through the set, setting a nearly identical play through to their studio recordings. Amy Love is a firecracker of energy, completely owning the stage and its audience in its entirety.
With some really great songs coming from their most recent album, Supernova, it’s about time the band were put on the Main Stage. They absolutely slam it to the wall of brilliance.
Hot Milk have been on the rise, certified by their main stage presence here on a scorching Friday. Candy Coated Lie$ is a smasher onstage as the Mancunian band return to Download, performing previously in 2021, with a whole load of pop punk pleasure.
The post-hardcore elements come to life through the colossal Download sound system speakers, which only adds to the excitement for their upcoming album release, A Call To The Void due to drop 25 August.
The party is in full swing, with the sky a blistering bright blue above the now shirtless, jacket-less and (in some cases) trouser-less punters. It’s a long walk to the centre of the pit of the Apex stage but well worth it to grab some smile-eyed moshing as Hot Milk vocalists Han Mee and Jim Shaw coax up the audience into a laughing frenzy, swinging their guitars to the beat of their music.
A short quip about being “finally signed” gets the response of a crowd in support. Just like their name, Hot Milk are growing into something blazing with the music heavier and perfectly procured for the festival scene.
Following them was Neck Deep which we caught a fair bit of. From what we got, they were having a whale of a time on the Apex stage, animated beautifully by frontman Ben Barlow.
When I say beautifully, I mean guts in hand, tongue to your face wonderful as the band put on a raging performance filled with profanities and heavy grunge pop punk lacings. God, they’re a good time. Bright blue shining tinted sunny’s and a Download audience that just won’t quit.
Smash Into Pieces
It’s Swedish rockers Smash Into Pieces first visit to Download’s Opus stage, and judging by the reception, the main stage beckons. With the usual mix of massive hooks and frenetic stage presence, the quartet blazed as brightly as the sun beating down on the black t-shirted masses.
Frontman Chris Adam Hedman Sorbye manages to switch gloriously melodic and clean vocals to eviscerating growls with ease, adding an edge to their soaring material. Let Me Be Your Hero saw one of the first singalongs of the day, the Swedes grinning as arms and voices were raised, the euphoria of the moment sweeping across the field in front of them.
As December Falls
Across on the Avalanche stage, As December Falls had a rammed tent in their hands, the young band grasping the opportunity to play Download as a dream come true. New single Mayday and the frenetic Carousel spoke of maturity and potential that could see them break through into the bigger leagues, the social media work they’d been doing paying dividends as word of mouth spread quickly.
Without a doubt, one to watch, ADF are built for stages like this, their fanbase is growing rapidly, and they have the ability to reach a whole new generation of fans, turning them into lifelong converts.
Whilst this mayhem was going on, the hugely entertaining Elvana was slaying on Opus, the blend of Elvis and Nirvana a headily intoxicating one that was exactly the joyfully absurd one that demanded to be soaked up.
Community singalongs and absurd banter may be the antithesis of some of the Blackened Metal artists on the scene but could be loved by everyone.
Take Part: Are you at Download this year? Who are you looking forward to see? Want to get in touch and tell us how it’s going? Email MetalTalk Editor Steve Ritchie to tell us how it’s going for you. Download@MetalTalk.net.
MetalTalk Download 2023 coverage can be found at MetalTalk.net/tag/download-2023
Download 2023 will see the festival celebrate its 20th anniversary with an additional day, meaning four days of live music in total.
This year’s MetalTalk team is:
For Download 2022, visit MetalTalk.net/tag/download-2022