Download Festival 2005

So, it’s 11pm Thursday night and James Sherry, Alan Christensen and I are speeding on the M1 heading North to Donnington with the i-POD on shuffle providing us with a magnitude of good tunes such as the new Finch and Hundred Strong albums, We Are Scientists, Interpol, Ween, Circle Jerks, Quasimoto and many more… but we were also hoping that some serious rock would spring up as the thought of watching Black Sabbath on Saturday night made us salivate during the entire journey.

As we checked in and hit the hotel bar that was stuffed full of pro skaters and PR liggers, a haggard blonde geezer going by the name of Billy Idol comes up to the bar where we are standing and says “alright lads, do you mind if I join you?” Pints of cold Murphy’s flowed, pics were taken, and then he promptly fell asleep with his head down in the dregs on the table which brought out bare arses and camera phones in their droves! Have you ever heard the words “It’s Only Just Started?”…well you have now!

Last year, Snickers really went for it and constructed this monster bowl inside the Download Festival and although the event and the skating was electric, the area that it stood in and the set up itself was always going to have to be changed, so what did they do? Well, for starters they dug a monstrous pit that could have housed a demon and then dumped a kinked vert bowl in the middle of it that had its own stage! There was a riot brewing and it was fuelled firstly by legendary skaters such as Mike McGill, Steve Olson, Duane Peters, Kevin Staab and Tony Alva. Caballero did not make the trip due to an accident which was a bummer but with these guys and the entire World Cup Skate crew, it was all set for some serious sessions.

The practice runs were amazing to watch in this bowl. Andy Scott was like a fish out of water and Jeurgon Horrworth’s and Renton Millar’s style is something that you just cannot NOT talk about. These riders have something most skaters’ dream of. But when you are stuck in one area inside this mammoth festival it’s easy to forget that once you are able to switch off the decks, stop DJ’ing and get amongst the metal mania, there is an entire world out there full of people who want to rock with their cocks out all night long until they puke, until they are seriously hurt, and until their ears bleed! Shame that our old bar mate Bill could not come up with the goods live. White Wedding was a blast and we danced like crazy but then new songs and a version of Jump by Van Halen was too much for someone who wants Slayer and Motorhead, so Napalm Death were next in line and that is where we bumped into Powley, Munson, Potter, and G-Money who were holding drinking comps from a 2litre bottle of diet Pepsi filled to the brim with a £6.40 a bottle of cheap as fuck Horsemen Whisky…it is here that the Horsemen of the Apocalypse was born!

Now, for those of you who like to party, you may well have come across Aftershock. This vile looking stuff is potent and is almost an instant party once it gushes down the back of your throat. The tent they sponsored had all sorts of drinking games such as a rodeo lamb, motorised porcelain toilets, sumo wrestling and a crap DJ that we would have burnt off the stage within 2 songs given the chance but this place was electric anyhow. The shots flowed and Powley started getting on one! He was next found at midnight on stage at the comedy tent after booing the paid fella off the stage and taking over the proceedings that the crowd was totally down for!

The 2 litre bottle of Horseman slowly disappeared with most of it down his shirt and the raucous throng egged him on even more. I mean how can u get up there and open it up with…. A bloke walks into a pub with his mate and proclaims: “I could fuck any bird in here I want to!” He’s mate replies “How the hell are you gonna do that then?” “It’s easy, I’m a fucking rapist!”. How the hell he got away with that is anybody’s guess, but with boozed up metallers wanting a sacrifice, he was the lamb to the slaughter!

The Saturday morning was the biggest hangover you could have dreamt of and there is nothing like trying to cue up a record whilst live bands are sound checking their drums and guitars whilst you are trying to hold back the puke! There were a lot of hangovers here, but somehow people were shredding this bowl like it was a mini ramp. The longest grind comp saw a 28ft 5-0 from the ever impressive Brian Patch through a corner of the bowl to scoop $5000 followed by Omar Hassan’s huge maydays.

In the legends session, Steve Olson threw mad carves and power slides in a war helmet, Tony Alva slashed at the coping in his crazy Dog Town style, Duane “Master of Disaster” Peters threw sober invert to smiths, roll in reverts and more proving that he is better in the flesh than in videos. He won $1000 just for being him which will come in handy with new kid with Corey Parks who is in the Die Hunns band with him. Mike McGill brought his classic McTwists, Sean Goff packed Todd Twists and McGill even asked to learn them after seeing Sean rip it up!

Nicky Guerrero picked up on sad plants that he has not done for years, Tomas Madsen skated better at other events, but impressed, Tomas Kring is really starting to push his game forward, he is one to watch for the future with frontside ollie to nosebonks from low to high on extension and amazing fs smiths around the corners of the bowl. Jim the Skin “the man with the best lien to tails in the business” put Cov on the map, 14 year old Ben Raemers stunned the entire platform with a Mute 540 on his second run!

Munson, John Nixon, his best mate Wingy and Blackwell ripped it up with and Benji Galloway’s kick flip indys, and back tails round the bowl corners, crazy bonelesses and tech wizardry won our hearts over. He is officially now riding for Crossfire Clothing. Not bad for our first rider knowing he is the WCS Number 1 right now…stoked on Benji, check the interview on our site this month with footage at Rom, it will blow your mind!

Hey James, what was going on outside of the Snickers Bowl? Well, aside from all of the drunken chaos, lunatic skateboarding and general bedlam, there are some awesome bands playing over the course of the weekend from the hottest new rockers to a handful of absolute legends of rock. Saturday morning I left Zac to DJ and headed to the main stage to check out punk nutters The Dwarves. First time I saw this band the gig ended after five minutes when the frontman Blag was punched into the drum kit and the whole gig ended in a hail of flying instruments. These days their gigs last longer, in fact today they refused to get off stage and just kept pounding out the hits until they cut the power. They’ve got ex-Queens Of The Stoneage beardy bassist Nick Oliveri back in the band and they showed the metal kids exactly how punk should be played.

Later in the day legendary eighties thrashers Anthrax hit the stage and took the older audience members amongst us back to our distant youths with a set of metal classics with vocalist Joey Belladonna back in the ranks. They played fierce and furious renditions of all their best tunes, slaying the audience with the likes of ‘Indians’, ‘Caught In A Mosh’ and ‘Medussa’.

Of course, Saturday was all about Black Sabbath. The greatest band in rock bar none. The true inventors of heavy music. Still the fucking daddies. But first, rock hags Velvet Revolver pump out some of their own tunes whilst most of the audience waited impatiently to hear some Guns n Roses classics. They didn’t let us down, saving the best to last as they hurtled through ‘Mr Brownstone’ – still the best song about drug abuse ever. And then there was Sabbath. As the sun came down and the opening slow doom chords of ‘Black Sabbath’ rained over the crowd there was a real moment.

Donnington is right near an airport and the planes come down really low over the crowd day and night. Just as Sabbath hit the opening rush of their self-titled anthems, two planes roared over our heads, the whole audience exploded and the hairs stood to attention on the back of our necks! It was a magic moment and from then on they played classic riff after classic riff, carving through the likes of ‘Into The Void’ and ‘War Pigs’ with the power of men half their age. These guys are nearly sixty for fuck sake! Younger bands watch and learn! Sure, Ozzy’s voice may have been a little off at points but this did nothing to detract from the awesome power before us. All hail the metal kings! Zac will tell you what mental stuff happened next!

Well, how do I explain the carnage that reigned after this gig? We left Dave Duncan and the lovely Jen, and headed for the Aftershock tent with 20 UK peeps, who were all blagged in through the back door to avoid queuing, and 10 aftershocks later, The Horsemen were ready to fully Riot! My shirt was ripped off my back as Powley hung from the tent poles! The DJ was abused so much to play classics, he was forced to find a Slayer record and we started the biggest mosh pit going!

Shirts were all ripped off as The Horsemen charged over 1000 people that spilled drunken bodies, drinks and teeth everywhere. Munson’s voice roared “Keep on going Horseman!” as we flattened anything that moved in sight until the entire tent realised they were out of their depth to 6 of the finest from The Apocalypse! We even bare-backed a fat metaller who hung out with us all night! With his shirt ripped off his back, he thought he was in the club whilst Powley snogged his bird for a photo and then let himself down by pissed himself at the bar without even knowing about it! (I am crying with laughter as I write this!) All I can remember is chants of “This is the early night we all wanted!” from James, and “Let’s burn the tent down!” from Alan.

But it all came to a sudden end when I managed to find a Jacuzzi in the tent full of semi naked people and went stumbling over to check it out in disbelief! I was hovering gently over some ply wood that covered the other half of this bubble fest and was about to fall just as a security guard dragged me in time before I plunged into the dirtiest, festival filled dirty water that would have taken me out! I was of course ejected and all I can remember on the way out was Powley in his piss soaked jeans crying, “will someone please kick me in the bollocks!”

We left that tent in ribbons and somehow a beautiful blonde stranger in a sports car magically appeared and picked us up and dropped us back to the hotel where Tony Alva was fighting off the Law brothers for the second year in a row! Don’t ask me how that happened, I guess it’s what happens when you are a Horseman. James ended the night by spewing up a tasty mixture of spicy Mexican Pringles and After Shock in our sink and I pissed into a fire place at the bar.

Sunday was obviously a bigger mess! We are all pickled to the bone by now with 6 hours sleep across 3 days! Put it this way, if the lights in the bowl had blown, the comp would have been saved by the shining red colour from Sean Goff’s eyes! How he skated on Sunday was beyond explanation! The best trick comp was won by Jeurgon’s fakie 720, the same best trick as 2004 mastered by PLG. Omar came second with a massive fs double heelflip fs air over the elbow, Andy Scott threw in fs tailslide shuv in and a bs tailslide shuv in, in the same run but came 3rd with an Alley oop kickflip board varial.

Renton alley-oop kick flip 5-0’ed. Dave Allen’s alley-oop eggplant on the extension was monstrous and got him into 5th. You are a beast Dickie, that was the nuts mate! Mattias Nylen pulled back smith shuvit, and a meat grinder (where you pop out, spin your board from your wheel and pop back in fakie) I’m sure he was taking the piss but the Swede won dollars for this show! Overall, Jeurgon took all 3 main prizes with highest air at 11.5ft including the main £10,000 pro bowl prize, he cleaned up this weekend and the best thing about it, is that he is a Euro rider. Its awesome news for everyone really but with style like that it was always gonna be that way. Omar came 2nd, with Renton 3rd for the main event. Hey James, what was the highlight of Sunday for you?

Slayer. Say it again, except this time scream it…..SLAYER!! Feels good doesn’t it? Now throw your head back, hold your arms in the air, do the metal salute with your fingers and scream Fucking SLAYER MAN!!! While Sabbath are the masters of slow doom, Slayer go to the opposite end of the spectrum and hurtle along at an almost inhuman speed. There’s something not quite right about drummer Dave Lombardo. The sheer speed and power he can conjure up behind the drum kit propels Slayer faster and harder than any other metal band and this afternoon (Slayer should have been headlining!) they prove themselves to be true legends of metal with earth-shattering renditions of ‘Angel Of Death’ and ‘War Ensemble’. It’s little surprise that Slayer are still the skaters metal band of choice. Skaters like it fast, and it doesn’t get any faster than Slayer. We missed Motorhead but Pritchard & Dainton said they were awesome, lucky gits….

So, to cap this off, you will not find a better skate and rock related festival this year in the UK as this was The Daddy of them all without a doubt. No extreme bollocks, fruitbooters, or happy sac idiots, just plain gnar. If you missed it, then you will have to wait until next year. It will take us that long to recover! Well done to Snickers who provided massive VIP treatment all weekend and worked hard to get this to a superb level. I got home to find slapped man-hand marks all over my body! Thanks Munson you Essex munkey!

Like tattoos they left a mark of The Horsemen clan that would never be removed – and as the saying goes….”We Take No Prisoners and No One Gets Left Behind!”

Zac and James