Seven Must-See Acts At Download 2023

The rock and metal weekender swings into gear...

Download reigns supreme as one of Europe’s foremost rock and metal weekenders. A place for alt crews to assemble en-masse, it’s almost more than a festival – it’s a way of life. Friendships are forged on site, relationships blossom, and before you know it a whole new generation have emerged to pick up the mantle. It is, quite simply, a vital experience.

Rolling round once more, Download Festival returns to its natural home to welcome hundreds of artists, ranging from iconic names in heavy music through to the latest Gen Z alt trailblazers. There’s something for all tastes at Download, ranging from biting underground ferocity through to a bit of cheese – it’s a place of no judgement, y’see.

This year Clash intrepid reporters Emily Swingle and Ims Taylor will be on site, reporting live and direct as Download unveils its furious surprises. Here, the dynamic duo pick out seven must-see acts from the bill.

Static Dress – Saturday 12:00, The Opus Stage

Already pushing the bar higher with each live show – or rather, as of their latest Slam Dunk sets, pushing the massive wooden crucifix with hooded man included – Static Dress will be opening up the Opus stage on Saturday morning.

Their opulent post-hardcore is as sonically intense as it is conceptually rich, and as energising as a doubleshot espresso so if you’re tired after Bring Me’s mammoth headliner the night before, don’t worry. Your coffee can wait, run along to the Opus stage. 

Snayx – Thursday 15:00, The Dogtooth Stage

Oi! I said Oi!

Riling with punk sensibilities and a ferocious alt-rock charm, SNAYX are set to storm the Dogtooh Stage on Thursday afternoon with their forked-tongue stompers. A smelting pot of dynamic sounds, the trio fluidly slither between woozy indie-rock, floor-rumbling riffs and punchy socio-political anthems with avengeance.

So, if you’re hoping to howl along to some ferociously charged tunes, SNAYX are most definitely the band for you.

Demob Happy – Friday 15:40, The Avalanche Stage

Grungy, sludgy indie-rockers Demob Happy will be delighting Download’s audiences on Friday, with their slow-burner riffs and retro stylings – a perfect cool-down from last night’s Metallica performance, huh?

They make up for their more downtempo cool with dense, driving instrumentals that ring out as piercingly as any good shred, and fresh off the release of Divine Machines, they’re sure to be in a mood to celebrate. 

Mimi Barks – Thursday 15:50, The Dogtooth Stage

If someone is willing to drench themselves in blood, it goes without saying that they’ll put on a pretty entertaining show. Mimi Barks is the blood-soaked siren in question, and her abrasive brand of trap metal perfectly suits her cursed, horror-tinged theatrics. With her jagged structures and distorted instrumentals, Barks’ creeping, unpredictable sound is sure to keep you on your toes.

Thursday is your chance to catch the DEADGIRL herself – and, most importantly, to see whether she’s knocked out those gnarly black contacts again.

Witch Fever – Friday 13:50, The Dogtooth Stage

Mass has come two days early, but we’re devout. Witch Fever’s devilishly good debut ‘Congregation’ of last year was certainly devotion-inspiring, and they’ve gone on to exceed themselves at every gig they’ve put on since – which is a lot.

Now, at their inaugural Download Festival, Amy Walpole and the gang are set to lead us in a hell of a passion over on the Dogtooth Stage, with bellowing doom-punk and fervent, rage-fuelled delivery ready to radiate around Donington Park.

RedHook – Friday 14:00, The Avalanche Stage

If you’re hoping to bounce around to some buoyant electro-rock, then alt-rockers’s RedHook might be the band for you. An eclectic patchwork of glitchy rap-rock, technicolour pop-punk and metal, these Aussies are a guaranteed good time.

The group’s latest album ‘Postcard from a Living Hell’ was overflowing with bangers and balls-to-the-wall attitude, and we’re certain all the fresh tracks are going to feel absolutely electric at the Avalanche Stage this Friday.

Kid Bookie – Saturday 14:10, The Dogtooth Stage

South East London rapper Kid Bookie has quickly made a name for himself in rock and metal circles – he’s even been given the seal of approval from Slipknot’s Corey Taylor himself, the pair collabing on not one but TWO tracks already.

Taking to the Dogtooth Stage on Saturday, Kid Bookie is sure to delight the Download crowds eager for a little tasting of nu-metal; his sound is playing a crucial role in the nu-wave of nu-metal. Breathing new life into the genre with his trap beats and sharp hooks, Kid Bookie is totally unmissable.

Words: Emily Swingle / Ims Taylor

Follow Clash

Buy Clash Magazine