MOANLOAD 2018 – What The Fuck Are You Lot Complaining About? Print
Written by Rich Hobson   
Sunday, 12 November 2017 04:00

With the winter chill well and truly set in and the finishing line for ‘best release list of 2017’ within spitting distance, the time is high to get stuck in with announcements for the bands that will grace our shores come festival season 2018. With that in mind, this past week Download Festival announced its headline line-up for next June. Running from 8 to 10 June at Donington Park, Download Festival is indisputably the biggest out and out rock and metal fest in the UK, challenged only by specialist fests like Bloodstock and Rebellion in terms of sheer excitement. Yet, even with the announcement of three of the biggest names in the game, inevitably the moaners have come out in force to complain because, after all this is the same crowd that started the #whynotDyingFetus campaign in earnest.


Download 2018 Headliners


With that (and a pithy pun) in mind, here is a round-up of the acts announced for Download Festival 2018 so far, looking at exactly who they are, what you should check out if you don’t already know them (having just emerged from your pre-historic cave) and exactly why they are a great booking for Download Festival and the greater rock community…


Friday 8 June – Avenged Sevenfold




With Slipknot and System Of A Down blasting a galvanising crater into the metal scene at the turn of the millennium, it seemed for a while that the metal world was ready to churn out a whole new crop of arena-conquering, chart-topping metal acts. But then nothing happened. Despite the likes of Killswitch Engage, Deftones and Disturbed (among many others) making some phenomenal releases, metal seemed to be unable to push past the ‘respectable Academy band’ status, arena aspirations whittled away until the most they could hope for is an ensemble tour package that might break into the arena circuit, or a charity hand-out from a heritage act from metal’s heyday.


And then, Avenged Sevenfold did it. It might not have been an overnight success (in fact, it took well over a decade and four albums before fans really got on board with the band) but A7X are now most certainly the biggest band of the American post-millennial metal boom, a consummate arena-conquering metal band with riffs for miles and an expansive arsenal of out-and-out anthems.


Last Release: ‘The Stage’, Capitol Records (2016)

Essential Release: ‘Hail To The King’, Warner Bros. (2013)

Last UK Show: O2 Arena London, 22 January 2017


Are They Worthy?


Avenged Sevenfold Download 2014


In a word, yes. ‘The Stage’ might not have sold as much as the phenomenally successful ‘Hail To The King’, but the record was an ambitious and hugely impressive release, dropping almost completely out of the blue at the tail end of 2016. Since then the band have embarked on an exciting arena tour of the UK alongside heavyweight metal heroes Disturbed and In Flames (reviewed here), which included two shows at the O2 Arena in London, such was the demand. A7X have everything you could want in a headliner – they’re a big draw, they have plenty of knowledge of how to put on a spectacle and they’re not complete dicks.


There is a warmth and energy to A7X’s live effort which should more than make up for the lacklustre atmosphere of this year’s SOAD booking and the band are still very much in full conquest mode as they smash their way to the top of the rock and metal world. This is guaranteed to be a good one.


The Song You’ll (almost) Definitely Hear:



Arguably the breakout hit that took Avenged Sevenfold to new, bigger audiences, ‘Nightmare’ takes all that was great about A7X on earlier hits like ‘Bat Country’ and ‘Unholy Confessions’ and soups it up Hulk-style with a massive riff and chorus that embeds itself into the skull. Little surprise that it’s the band’s most played song in their modern setlist. Expect Donnington to bounce when this one comes out.


The Song To Hope For:



Who’d have thought when Avenged Sevenfold released City of Evil in 2005 that the band had so many hits ahead that this could be dropped from the setlist? Noticeably absent for the most part during The Stage’s tour cycle, this song is only very occasionally pulled out. But, just imagine the possibilities of hearing this at Donnington next June, the opening roar less “scream for me Donnington!” and more “Scream for me Sevenfold!”.


Saturday 9 June – Guns N' Roses




GNR header


Come off it, you know exactly who. One of the most legendary bands within the rock world, Guns N' Roses' highly anticipated (albeit incomplete) ‘classic line-up reunion’ has been a resounding success worldwide, selling out dates in minutes and arguably taking the crown as the most anticipated tour of all time. Of course, this crown is only suitable for the band who released one of the most beloved debut records of all time, GNR’s story always seemingly building up to this incredible pay-off.


Last Release: ‘Chinese Democracy’, Geffen (2008)

Essential Release: ‘Appetite for Destruction’, Geffen (1987)

Last UK Show: Olympic Park, London 17 June 2017


Are They Worthy?


Are we? Guns N' Roses’ phenomenal return to form has ignited anew the passions of rock fans and critics alike, the band blasting apart any unsavoury memories one might have of the past two decades of late-arrivals. Guns N Roses in 2017/18 are a machine, precisely honed to offer the absolute maximum enjoyment a classic rock band can, their show so immaculate that it allows all three of the band’s ‘key’ members a chance to shine in the spotlight.


With some of the biggest rock hits (ever), you can bet that Donington will be roaring loud enough to be heard from East Midlands Airport on 9 June. We reviewed the show back in June and had no compunctions in naming it one of the best performances of the year, in spite of the shoddy surroundings that London’s Olympic Park offers to rock fans. Just thinking of how good this is going to be at a proper rock venue is enough to induce shivers of pure excitement so powerful they show up on the Richter scale. Well played, Mr. Copping.


The Song You’ll (almost) Definitely Hear:



I mean, take your pick. GNR play all of the classics (and more) during their sets, which often run towards the three-hour mark. Quite how this will work at a festival remains to be seen, but expect to lose your voice before midnight on 9 June.


The Song To Hope For:



Even with three hours’ worth of set time, some songs are bound to get missed. ‘My Michelle’ is most certainly one of these, noticeably absent from the band’s setlists in the UK. Axl at his most venomous, the band at their punkiest, this is pure filth of the highest order and we need it at Donnington. Of course, we’d be happy to settle for a rendition of ACDC’s ‘Riff Raff’ too…


Sunday 10 June – Ozzy Osbourne


Ozzy header




The Prince of Fucking Darkness, that’s who! The voice behind the band that basically invented heavy rock and metal, Ozzy is (rightly) revered as the voice behind some of metal’s most impressive anthems, ranging in everything from ‘War Pigs’ and ‘Paranoid’ to ‘Crazy Train’ and (more recently) ‘I Want To Hear You Scream’. A manic performer and an irrepressible personality, Ozzy is one of the biggest icons in the game.


Last Release: ‘Scream’, Epic (2010)

Essential Release: ‘No More Tears’, Epic Associated (1991)

Last UK Show: Hammersmith Apollo, 21 June 2011


Is He Worthy?


And here, it gets contentious. Of the three Download Festival headliners, Ozzy has been met with the most criticism, in large part due to perceived performance issues fans encountered during the Black Sabbath tour(s). On legacy alone, Ozzy is more than a worthy headliner, having fronted two of metal’s heaviest hitters from the genre’s early days. What’s more, he hasn’t played the UK in a solo capacity since 2011, even longer if you consider the re-introduction of Zakk Wylde as lead guitarist (making 2008 the last time Zakk/Ozzy toured together in the UK), meaning this is only the second time this decade that we’ll be seeing the Ozzy Osbourne band.


Throw in the fact that this show will be (much like Black Sabbath’s show before it) Ozzy’s ‘farewell’ performance for UK festivals and there’s plenty to be hyped about when Ozzy comes around in June. He might not be completely retiring (he has admitted that the odd show here and there might still pop up) but this could very well be the last chance many fans get to hear Ozzy belt out the likes of ‘Crazy Train’ and ‘Mr. Crowley’, or indeed see the legend in person. And that’s the thing; on a good day, Ozzy most certainly does belt out the tunes, his energy untouchable for all but the most energetic bands around. Ozzy will never phone in the performance, so we can expect something very special next year regardless.


The Song You’ll (almost) Definitely Hear:



In a canon of out-and-out classics, few define the excessive bombast of the ‘80s than Ozzy’s ‘Crazy Train’. Massive in every sense of the word, this is the song that put Ozzy back on the map post-Sabbath and (if the setlist allows) could be a very triumphant moment for Ozzy’s first ever appearance at Download.


The Song to Hope For:



A bit of a cheat, this one. As one of the ten most played songs in Ozzy’s canon, this isn’t one really that runs the risk of being dropped. And yet, of his canon this one could offer the biggest moment of his set (thus its selection). Taken from the spectacular ‘No More Tears’ album, this track was (part) penned by no other than Lemmy Kilmeister and would be a spectacular tribute to the fallen icon – one which has been sorely lacking from Donington since his passing, even with 2016’s ‘tribute video’ (never forgive, never forget).


In Summary:


With three of the biggest acts on the planet already booked for the festival, Download Festival 2018 looks to be one of the strongest ever iterations of the fest, enough to rival even 2010’s spectacular ACDC/Rage Against The Machine/Aerosmith line-up. All that remains now is to see who makes the cut for the undercard – the part of the line-up that often sees Download sink or swim. No matter who it is, you can expect plenty of complaints (after all, this seems to be almost tradition for Download announcements by this point) so expect another #moanload in due course!


Download Festival tickets are on sale now, via and through various UK ticket retailers. Consult the website to see which retailers are genuine – don’t get stung on the false ticket market. If you want more Download action to tide you over – read our review of the 2017 festival!


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