The final day of DL22 is upon us – *sobs*. It’s truly been a festival to remember.
Static Dress are the hottest new name in heavy music right now – and their set makes it clear why. Fans that brave the 11am set time are blessed with a blistering selection of bangers. The group’s blending of post-hardcore and metalgaze is the perfect recipe for pits, tracks like ‘Di-sinTer’ and the mighty ‘Courtney, just relax’ generating some feral movement within the crowd.
Frontman Olli Appleyard only adds fuel to the fire, throwing himself around the stage and urging the crowds to match his intensity. By the time closing track ‘clean.’ hits, and Olli clambers into the crowd, one thing is clear – Static Dress may be new, but they put on a show that rivals the best of them.
It says a lot about Wargasm‘s appeal that they’ve drawn such a massive crowd so early in the day. Scores of fans are out in the morning sunshine waiting to see the notorious duo who are keeping nu-metal alive and well. New single ‘D.R.I.L.D.O’ sees Milkie Way lead the crowd in its infectious chant of “drink, fuck, fight, love”, before the irresistible groove of ‘Salma Hayek’ kicks in.
“I’ve had dreams about playing this song at Donington, so don’t let me down!” yells Milkie, as ‘Backyard Bastards’ kicks in. There’s circle pits opening left, right and center, and Sam Matlock can’t resist leaving his guitar behind to leap in the crowd during closer ‘Spit’. Pure, unbridled chaos in the best way possible.
Drag Race star Bimini takes the stage with a Princess Diana dress and killer stilettos. They open their Dogtooth set with breakout single ‘God Save This Queen’, accompanied with bouncy bass plucks from Tyler Damara. Whispering their way into the pre-chorus, Bimini unleashes a speedy rap for the breakdown of this track and is edged by a drum solo from Maxie. An energetic opener to say the least.
“This is great because this is my first festival,” Bimini belts into their mic. “We’re a queer fucking band and we’re gonna fuck it up,” they announce to thunderous cheers. Currently in the process of working on some new music, Bimini takes it up a notch as they lead us through a taster of what’s to come. ‘Don’t Fuck With My Groove’ is as self-explanatory as the title; a disco funk track, played with some impressive falsetto notes and angsty undertones.
“Are you ready to unleash the beast Download?!” Bimini yells, before introducing an incredible medley of The Prodigy’s ‘Breathe’ into Britney Spears’ ‘Toxic’, and finishing with Girls Aloud’s ‘No Good Advice.’ Never say Download isn’t diverse.
Bringing demonic gutturals at full pelt is frontman Niklas Karlsson of heavy metal band Orbit Culture. Summoning their own cult for the damned, Orbit Culture welcome the Dogtooth crowd with their mammoth basslines, hellish screams and breakneck speed headbangs.
This set has you questioning how they make this look so easy. Do we too have the power to unleash these vocals from within? With the deep vibrations of their music thudding through the ground, Orbit Culture get the entire tent headbanging like it’s going out of fashion. Ending on ‘Saw’, the group finish one of the heaviest sets the Dogtooth tent has seen all weekend.
Hordes of fans are scurrying to the Avalanche Tent to get a perfect view of Spiritbox’s set. There’s been a lot of anticipation for this show: it’s the band’s first in the UK.
Blue fog clouds the stage as the crowd chant the band’s name. Opening with the melodic ‘Circle With Me’, frontwoman Courtney LaPlante opens her set showing off the effortless vocals that got Spiritbox to where they are right now.
“We’ve been waiting for this moment since 2020, when we were supposed to play our first UK show. So thank you very much,” Courtney grins before cranking up the volume for ‘Hurt You’. Easily one of the biggest tracks of their set, it sees Courtney’s unholy screams blissfully followed by controlled cleans just moments after. Making the transition between the two look like a walk in the park, Spiritbox are here and out for blood.
“This makes me so happy and I hope it brings joy to you too, see you soon!” Courtney shouts after the crowd’s chants for one more song. The band then slams into their last track of the night, ‘Eternal Blue,’ the titular song from their second studio album, leaving the Avalanche stage on a euphoric high.
We all know what Rise Against stand for by now, so it’s no surprise that news reports of refugee crisis’ are blaring out over the Opus Stage speakers as the band arrive on stage and launch straight into ‘Prayer Of The Refugee’. Coming in strong with one of their biggest tracks, it’s clear this is about to be one hell of a set.
‘Satellite’ inspires some of the biggest circle pits of the weekend, as Tim pulls out a megaphone to scream the chorus. And the anthems just won’t let up, as ‘Ready To Fall’ follows shortly after. The crowd here appear to know every word to every song, and shout along with great ferocity. “We sing songs about revolution,” Tim informs the crowd to emphatic cheers before playing ‘Last Man Standing’, the band’s latest single released only a few days ago.
The newer material is welcomed as much as the oldies, and ‘Nowhere Generation’ feels like a modern day classic, showing Rise Against have lost none of their grit. And, as an avalanche of crowdsurfers is unleashed during ‘Savior’, it’s evident that this band are still one of the best in the game.
As Yonaka take to the stage, bursting into the pulsing anthem that is ‘Ordinary’, the crowd know that they’re about to witness something extraordinary. The Brighton alt-rockers’ penchant for genre-blending has resulted in a remarkable command over their crowds – able to muster excitable pits during tracks like ‘Punch Bag’, before transforming the mood entirely, fans howling along and revelling in the power of ‘Call Me a Saint’.
Theresa Jarvis’ gorgeous vocals show that Yonaka are a cut above the rest. Her performance is slick and sharp throughout, easily able to soar before diving down into the guts of punchy rap. Tracks like ‘F.W.T.B’ have the crowd rumbling along, Jarvis crying out the refrain with venom as she stomps around the stage. Closing track ‘Seize the Power’ truly feels like ending on the group’s mission statement – leaving crowds feeling empowered, the screeches of “THIS POWER’S YOURS FOR THE TAKING!” ringing in their ears.
Nothing beats a little bit of classic rock ‘n’ roll. Kicking things off with ‘The Devil’s Bleeding Crown’, Danish rockers Volbeat instantly have the crowd invested. Chants of “HEY! HEY! HEY!” ring throughout the crowd, tension rising as the rumbling drums slowly ease into the thick of the track. Standout track ‘Lola Montez’ is a rousing singalong, its whiplash quick tempo a total delight, pints raised to the sky in appreciation.
Even newer tracks are met with the same fervour. ‘Shotgun Blues’ initiates a roar of delight as Michael Poulsen’s iconic, deep vocals wash over the crowd. As ‘Still Counting’s closing guitar solos ring out, Volbeat have sealed the deal – these guys are legends for a reason.
Despite their name, The Darkness are anything but. The group’s distinctive glam metal sheen is a total joy and, as Justin Hawkins takes to the stage dressed entirely in neon pink, the crowd know that this is going to be a fun set.
Every track is delivered with a sparkle of showmanship, Hawkins’ remarkably high vocals transforming the heavy instrumentals and raw guitar solos into something light and breezy. The set has the crowd dancing, clapping and singing along throughout; from the raucous ‘Givin’ It Up’ to their self-proclaimed “most famous song” ‘I Believe in a Thing Called Love’. Everybody is bouncing and belting out the words, fans young and old hilariously attempting to reach octaves as high as Hawkins.
The choice to close on ‘Christmas Time (Don’t Let The Bells End)’ only cements the good natured chaos of the set. The Darkness are unconventional, but you’re guaranteed to have a totally brilliant time with them no matter what.
Walking onto the sound of a bagpipe (and no, Jonathan Davis isn’t playing it…yet), Korn open main stage with ‘Here to Stay.’ Following up with hit single, ‘Got the Life,’ it’s clear that OG fans are in for the treat of the year as the band continue the trip down memory lane with ‘Falling Away From Me.’
It’s okay if you need a moment to process this, because we needed at least several. “It’s been 5 years since we’ve been able to play for y’all, I’m so happy to be back” says Jonathan, moments after slamming into ‘Start the Healing’ – the third track taken off their brand-new album ‘Requiem’. Bringing out deep vocals for ‘Cold’ this track is out for the kill from the second you hear the first riff, and welcomes an insane breakdown with speed-rap lyrics. After a brief respite from the stage, Jonathan returns, this time WITH a bagpipe… this can only mean one thing?! ‘Shoots And Ladders’ produces a huge roar from the crowd.
The rest of the set is a truly unstoppable playlist of Korn essentials: ‘Twist’, ‘A.D.I.D.A.S’, ‘Y’all Want A Single’, and a mash up of ‘Coming Undone’ with Queen’s ‘We Will Rock You’. Finally, as Ray Luzier hits us with an intense drum solo, Jonathan announces “the song that started it all”, as the band end their sit with the phenomenal ‘Blind’. Truly a dream setlist for Korn fans.
Steel Panther may be the most entertaining parody band the rock industry has ever had. If there’s one thing they know how to do, it’s put on a show.
Their stage presence, outrageous outfits, and continuous flow of foul mouthed jokes gets the crowd laughing to tears. But the entertainment doesn’t end there, as Steel Panther go big; bursts of smoke, fire, sizzlers and confetti are all just accessories to their electrifying stardom.
Frontman Michael Starr unleashes some very high-pitched vocals, the kind that could rival The Darkness‘s Justin Hawkins (who they bring on stage during ‘Party All Day’). The band power through some of their best known songs, including ‘Tomorrow Night’, ‘Community Property’, and ’17 Girls In A Row’ – the latter of which sees the band invite fans on stage to rock out with them. A cover of Ozzy Osbourne’s ‘Crazy Train’ that goes down a storm.
“You’re carrying the torch of heavy metal in your hands,” guitarist Satchel announces. “And you’ve got to remember, this is going to influence… other countries and shit.” If you’re looking for a serious band, Steel Panther aren’t for you. If you’re just wanting to have a great time, look no further.
Biffy Clyro have the honour of closing off the weekend – and, of course, they do it in total style. The ethereal ‘DumDum’ opens the set, enchanting instrumentals ringing out over the audience. As Simon Neil’s awe-inspiring vocals take hold of the track, the tone for the rest of the evening is set – and it’s going to be a night of top-tier rock bangers.
While Biffy are remarkable on record, their live performance is a different beast entirely. Simon’s performance onstage is positively feral, transforming each track into something unpredictably raw. James Johnston’s basslines and Ben Johnston’s drumming are also cuttingly ferocious, resulting in well-known tracks hitting in a way they never have before. ‘Tiny Indoor Fireworks’ is a sharp punch of serotonin, fireworks blasting above the stage as the track bristles with euphoria. The iconic ‘Black Chandelier’ is even more emotive, crowds screaming along with all the power they can muster.
One of the most carnal performances of the evening comes in the form of ‘Living Is A Problem Because Everything Dies’. While those roaring guitars seem brutal on record, watching Simon perform them live, fingers flying, is unreal. The intensity of ‘Bubbles’ even has him nearly falling over during its guitar solo, his furious energy all-consuming.
After a non-stop set, fuelled by a whirlwind of bodies flying and pits swirling, closing track ‘Many Of Horror’ is the perfect choice. As Simon’s charming vocals reel off the words everybody knows so intimately, it’s impossible not to sing along, basking in the glory of the moment. It’s a beautiful way to close off an amazing weekend, and, judging by the grins on Biffy’s faces, it’s clear that they know they’ve done a brilliant job.