Live Reviews


Upcote Farm

10th-13th July 2024

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2000trees 2024 – festival review
📸Jez Pennington

To be established means “having existed or done something for a long time and therefore recognized and generally accepted”. The 2000trees name means something, to fans it means an unrivalled weekend of thrills in a chilled environment, and to musicians it’s a proving ground, a platform for new artists to shine, but also a place to reinvent yourself or test new waters in a safe place. Trees is established as a trusted sanctum for all music lovers, everyone is welcome and good times are guaranteed.

Those who have chosen to arrive at Upcote Farm near Cheltenham early are treated to what is actually becoming the highlight of the event – a special evening in the trees. Yes, Wednesdays belong to the magical Forest stage and this year the line-up is incredible. A mixture of new acts and returning heroes, the bill reflects perfectly what this festival is all about.


With the forest stage alternating with the tiny Word stage today there is plenty of music on offer. At the Word stage alone we are able to catch great sets from KITE THIEF, CARSICK, Enola Gay and Frozemode.

📸 Carla Mundy

But truly it’s within the woods that this festival reaches mythical status. To see a band like Exit Child able to enthral the earliest of attendees with their impassioned grunge, and then have the always uplifting PET NEEDS orchestrate an excitable crowd through a joyous tone setting show before Lambrini Girls galvanise the masses into a united movement all in the space of the first couple of hours just emphasises the beauty of 2000trees.

The audience are all in this together, they believe and demonstrate the ethos of kindness and acceptance which is what makes the event so welcoming.

📸 Carla Mundy

The first of two outstanding Dead Pony sets this weekend soon leads us into the business end of night one. 2000trees royalty The Xcerts understand the assignment and pull out a memorable run through of their third album, ‘There Is Only You’ to celebrate the records 10th anniversary, which is eaten up by the crowd.

It’s around this time that the looming shadow of England vs Netherlands in the Euros takes over the festival. Despite initial reluctance to show the match out of respect to the bands, organisers end up screening the game over at The Axiom. Most impacted are Dream State, who lean into the prospect by showing the football on a TV on the stage, donning football shirts and providing fans with a goal and balls to play with as they belt out the likes of ‘White Lies’ and ‘Chin Up Princess’.

Thankfully Ollie Watkins saves us from the drama of extra time which means that headliners Boston Manor get the full attention of the crowd. Another band performing twice this weekend, they use this set to play early favourites ‘Burn You Up’, ‘Lead Feet’ and ‘Laika’ in a set which is an early contender for set of the weekend.

📸 Jez Pennington

Even when the main entertainment stops however 2000trees is best known for it’s late night activities. A legendary silent disco attracts the majority, but we head next into the camps and one of the busking stages at Camp Turner. There we catch acoustic sets from InMe frontman Dave McPherson and those scamps in PET NEEDS who manage to get mosh pits and crowd surfers in the campsite!

📸 Carla Mundy

Whether in the general campsite, the family area or the VIP section, fans wake up the next morning to the relief of warm weather! It’s rained persistently in the days leading up to the event, but the ground has held up well. The music is in full flow again from half past ten as relative locals Blank Atlas deliver a great little set on the Neu stage.

The diverse and social conscious line-up at 2000trees builds on the welcoming atmosphere and Thursday morning sees the likes of The Menstrual Cramps, Cherym, Shooting Daggers and The Oozes engaging their passionate crowds.

The structuring of the stages and times means that if you’re that way inclined you can catch non-stop music from early morning until the wee early hours. Us being somewhat inclined to support new music we dash around witnessing more superb performances from Meryl Streek, Dead Pony (again) and Enola Gay (again!).

📸 Jez Pennington

We then head back into the Forest where throughout the main days of the festival you can still see a mix of full band shows, acoustic sets and other unique offerings. We are here however for the always enjoyable Sean McGowan who plays a short sharp set of fan favourites.

2000trees is often at its finest on the smaller stages, but the main stage delivers one of the best barometers for the success of acts. Cassyette is next to grace this stage and showcase why she is steadily moving up bills such as this. A thoroughly captivating blitz of energy, you’d imagine Cassyette will be back soon in an even more prominent position.

📸 Joe Singh

It’s over at the Axiom soon thereafter that one of those magical moments is taking place with Spanish Love Songs attracting a crowd funnelling out of the confines of the large tent. That’s before Kids In Glass Houses then continue their triumphant return back on the main stage, with both bands eliciting some of those beautiful sing-a-long festival moments.

As do Boston Manor as they again prove themselves to be one of the bands of the weekend and an act ready for superstardom as they pack out the Axiom for their second set of the weekend. Manchester Orchestra deliver a charming performance next on the main stage, but clearly many of the uninitiated in the crowd are left a little underwhelmed.

We then finish day two with The Pale White in the Neu tent and The Gaslight Anthem on the main stage. Both bands allow their music to do the talking as they bring the first full day to a close. The Gaslight Anthem in particular are something of a dream booking for the festival, and they don’t disappoint.

📸 Joe Singh

The festival is in full flow now, with the weather slightly cooler come Friday, fans are ready for another busy day. It’s up to the brilliant BEX to wake the campers up, which she does to great effect with the likes of ‘Fight’ and ‘sunDae’.

📸 Gareth Bull

If you want to watch as much music as possible, you need stamina or an easy to navigate site layout, and as we catch great sets from Mouth Culture, Sløtface and Problem Patterns, we’re very grateful for the simple site layout!

VIP ticket holders at 2000trees have their own campsite, bar and viewing platform and we catch The Rumjacks main stage set from said platform next. The band are entertaining, and the platform gives a nice view of the crowd getting into the party spirit!

In fairness though that party spirit is evident throughout each day and each performance. Tropic Gold get their crowd moving in the Axiom before As December Falls solidify their reputation as a live act over on the main stage. It’s great to see even smaller acts like Other Half in the Neu tent are given the same energy they produce from a crowd not showing any signs of fatigue.

The standard of performance across the weekend is high, with no set standing out as particularly bad. Perhaps that’s because we chose correctly when looking at those dreaded clashes, but you feel that the bands take 2000trees seriously. They know the rewards of a top tier show and they put in the effort that the crowd demands.

📸 Carla Mundy

Two standout performances transpire next however as first unpeople in the Cave tent and then Nova Twins on the main stage put in epically memorable performances. unpeople come from the ashes of Press To MECO and the power of the riff remains at full strength as they get the crowd fully locked in. Equally Nova Twins ooze star power as they take ownership of the main stage crowd. If you had to pencil in a band as a potential future headliner then either of these would be good bets!

📸 Carla Mundy

Bears In Trees represent a change in pace as their pop sensibilities feel like a refreshing change of pace next in the Axiom tent. Clearly the audience feel the same and many comment on their way out how impressed they were with another band with a huge upside.

📸 Jez Pennington

The undercurrent of 2000trees has always been young British rock acts, but the organisers do sprinkle the line-up with some international flair such as headliners The Gaslight Anthem and The Chats. Up next though is grandson on the main stage who brings an element of star power himself. Many in the audience are here to see what the fuss is about, and grandson delivers a good showing which has generally positive results, albeit with a few unimpressed faces remaining.

📸 Joe Singh

The festival gets a rebrand next as Bob Vylan return for consecutive years with a sub-headline spot on the main stage. The duo rename the festival Vylanfest and state that they’ll be back next year to headline. Truth be told, they probably could’ve done so this year as the crowd take their antics to another level.

A mixture of new tracks from recent album, ‘Humble As The Sun’ and favourites such as ‘We Live Here’ and ‘Pretty Songs’ make up a thoroughly enjoyable time. Bob Vylan are one of the best live acts in the UK at present and we’d certainly put money on them following through on their headline promise!

We finish out our Friday with Hot Milk headlining the Axiom and Empire State Bastard headlining the Cave. Hot Milk have just returned from playing stadiums across the world and make a clear effort to make their headline slot special. Again, you’d be happy seeing their performance close the main stage.

Empire State Bastard on the other hand have no bells and whistles, the group fronted by Biffy Clyro’s Simon Neil and powered from behind the drum kit by Dave Lombardo destroy the Cave, causing a sonic onslaught that can only be described as magnificent. A different way to end our night compared to The Gaslight Anthem and Don Broco who will close the event, but that’s what makes 2000trees so special.

📸 Joe Singh

Campers awaken on the final day to the pitter patter of rain on their tents, and the threat of the damp stuff maintains throughout a chillier day, however thankfully the heavens never fully open.

Split Chain are our first watch today and the band who are popping up a lot lately showcase a grunge/nu-metal crossover which explains why they are a good option for an opening act. The Meffs then blow off any cobwebs on the main stage with a blistering set of punk rockers, before the poppier angst of snake eyes thrills the Axiom crowd.

📸Abbi Draper

We then head into the Forest for one last time this year. Firstly, to catch the newly formed Interlaker featuring David Jakes of Lonely the Brave and Jack Wrench of Arcane Roots. The Forest is full as knowledgeable music fans catch a glimpse of this new project. Although only a short glimpse, what is seen is more than enough to whet the appetite for what’s to come!

Next Frank Turner takes part in a live podcast Q&A and acoustic set with the Mark and Me Podcast. Moments like this are more proof of what makes 2000trees different from your standard festival.

📸 Gareth Bull

It’s then a bit of a dash to the main stage for a second The Xcerts performance of the weekend, this time more of a standard hits affair including a surprise cameo from Josh Franceschi of You Me At Six – just one of a few special guests on show this weekend.

The Nightmares in the Neu tent and The Mysterines on the main stage then both make the most of their short times on stage before we catch House of Women and Cleopatrick on the same stages although from afar as we gather any remaining stamina for the incredible run of music set to follow.

We close out our weekend with Frank Turner bringing a headline worthy show to the main stage with new album, ‘Undefeated’, standing tall alongside favourites such as ‘I Still Believe’ and ‘Four Simple Words’.

📸 Gareth Bull

Creeper are then immediately ready to deliver their own headline performance in the Axiom tent. The crowd starting off up to fifteen deep outside of the confines of the tent! What Creeper then proceed to do is simply outstanding. For a band to use their headline set to open with a ten-minute rock opera and to then play almost exclusively all new material is quite incredible. Any other band would be murdered, but not Creeper.

No, the packed tent love every single moment of the set and the time simply flies by with highlights like ‘Sacred Blasphemy’ and ‘Misery’ eliciting some of those mass sing-a-long moments. A finale of ‘Cry To Heaven’ is truly awe-inspiring and again, if we are tagging bands for future main stage headline slots, then surely Creeper must be labelled as oven-ready!

📸 Jez Pennington

The big finale for us this year is a Don Broco currently out of the limelight writing their next record. Coming out of hibernation for this show, they deliver a tailor made headline performance which is up there with the best the festival will have ever seen. The band bring some of those bells and whistles but it’s their party anthems that do the talking this evening.

Over the three nights we’ve seen three completely different headline shows, and upwards of sixty acts giving it everything on stage. Some rest will now be required but with that said, you still don’t feel like you’ve been in a battle, which big festivals can sometimes become. That again is a testament to the magic of 2000trees.

Much is said of the atmosphere here (including by us in this review!), but the number of bands saying it’s their favourite festival is telling. That’s because most fans are here for the music. You can see this with the packed tents before midday and those still seeking live music gone midnight. It’s as much the people that establish 2000trees as what it is than anything else, and long may it continue to be the best festival in the UK!

📸 Jez Pennington

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Full Pelt Magazine

Vol. 44

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Full Pelt Magazine

Vol. 38

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Full Pelt Magazine

Vol. 33

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The latest issue of the Full Pelt Magazine is here, and you can download your copy for free below!

Volume 33 features our cover star Dan Patlansky as he brings the blues to Camden. Plus we review the new releases from Pearl Jam and unpeople.

Our News Report has all the latest music news including live announcements from Misery Loves Company, Frank Turner, Boston Manor, Dayseeker, Yellowcard, Stand Atlantic, Motionless In White, Holding Absence, Skinny Lister, The Chats, Amongst Liars, Fontaines D.C. and The Cult!

Plus all the best new releases including Fontaines D.C., IDLES, Loose Articles, Indoor Pets, October Drift, One Step Closer, Pillow Queens, Xandria, Fangclub, Calva Louise, Collateral, downcast, Atomic Life, The Pleasure Dome and The Exact Opposite!

Finally, we round up the latest additions to our ‘Discover’ New Music Playlist including Shelf Lives, newshapes and LOVELOST!

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Full Pelt Magazine

Vol. 31

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The latest issue of the Full Pelt Magazine is here, and you can download your copy for free below!

Volume 31 features our cover stars Slash featuring Myles Kennedy and the Conspirators as they infiltrate the masses at Wembley Arena. It’s also a bumper week for new releases as we review Feeder, Bob Vylan, The K’s, The Black Keys, Dead Pony and ANIIMALIA.

Our News Report has all the latest music news including live announcements from Noisy, The Dandy Warhols, The Black Angels, White Reaper, Militarie Gun, Tom Morello, Gun, Mothica, Glass Animals and The Commoners!

Plus all the best new releases including Bob Vylan, Dead Pony, The K’s, Boston Manor, Paul Weller, Oakman, Marisa and the Moths, Between You & Me, Raven Numan, Within Temptation, Thomas Nicholas Band, Tom Jenkins, Susan Santos, The Zutons, BLACKGOLD, Millie Manders and the Shutup, TORA DAA, Dayseeker, Mimi Barks, Alien Ant Farm, Better Lovers, BIG SPECIAL and Glass Animals!

Finally, we round up the latest additions to our ‘Discover’ New Music Playlist including HRTLSS, BEX and QUEEN LAYA!

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Full Pelt Magazine

Vol. 24

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The latest issue of the Full Pelt Magazine is here, and you can download your copy for free below!

Volume 24 features our cover stars IDLES as they celebrate the release of new album, ‘TANGK’, which we review inside. We also review ‘Intermittent Fast Living’ – the new album from PET NEEDS. On the live side of things we catch Enter Shikari in London, IDLES in London and Noah and the Loners in Norwich!

Our News Report has all the latest music news including live announcements from AC/DC, Pearl Jam, Gary Numan, Gaffa Tape Sandy, Boston Manor and Willie J Healey!

Plus all the best new releases including Pearl Jam, REWS, High On Fire, While She Sleeps, Boston Manor, Gaffa Tape Sandy, Bears In Trees, Seasick Steve, The Dandy Warhols, Mad Caddies, Stand Atlantic, Greywind, Gun, Blackout Problems and The Longest Johns!

Finally, we round up the latest additions to our ‘Discover’ New Music Playlist including Cosmic Ninja, Exploring Birdsong and paradise fell.!

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Live Reviews

Slam Dunk Festival

Temple Newsam, Leeds

Sunday 28th May 2023

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Rock fans know that festival season is upon us when we get to the late May Bank Holiday weekend and Slam Dunk Festival brings rock and punk fans to Hatfield and Leeds.

This year that journey takes a little longer for some due to traffic issues, probably borne out of the fact that both events are sold out. Leeds in particular feels like the Temple Newsam is bursting at the seams today.

Queues are unimaginably long for merch, toilets, food or anything else, but thankfully the music (and weather) is very much on point!

We start the day in the ‘Knotfest’ tent for rising metallers Heriot, who attract a decent sized early crowd. That crowd is treated to a blistering set of gloriously heavy goodness and a spirited performance from a band on the cusp of bigger things.

It’s then a short walk over to one of two outdoor main stages, the ‘Amazon Rock Scene’ stage, where we will spend most of our day today. Taking this stage next are VUKOVI who absolutely own the stage and showcase their superb new album, ‘NULA’. Singer Janine is able to hold the audience in the palm of her hand and orchestrate the first truly great set of the band.

Logistically the event may be remembered for the wrong reasons, but musically today is fantastic, with that set from VUKOVI one of many that will live long in the memory for all the right reasons.

Thinking, we’ll go for a quick wonder around, it’s clear that nothing will be quick today, but we do catch a glimpse of girlfriends who are very impressive for the time we can stay. Soon though we must head back down the hill to catch Trash Boat.

This is a band that has grown significantly in almost every sense of the word over the past few years. Their latest album, ‘Don’t You Feel Amazing?’, was one of the most surprising of 2021 as the band took their sound to new heights. Today they use the stage to bring many of these tracks to life and the crowd are clearly appreciative of another excellent performance.

Trash Boat are followed on stage by Holding Absence who have just announced that their third album, ‘The Noble Art of Self Destruction’, will be out later this year. Their set today is a good mix of old and new including brand new single, ‘False Dawn’ and fan favourite ‘Afterlife’, which gets a monumental response from the passionate crowd.

Soon enough it’s over to Wargasm who are becoming one of those marmite bands where it’s almost cool to hate them. The energy and ferocity that they put into their show however can’t be denied and whilst the energy levels for some of the crowd starts to sap, the band push through with tracks such as ‘Backyard Bastards’ and ‘Spit.’ getting everyone back moving.

We then head over to the other end of the festival site (very slowly) to the ‘Kerrang’ stage where the tent is overspilling already ahead of Boston Manor. The band are on top form right now and have every person singing along to their gargantuan anthems. As they conclude their time on stage with ‘Halo’ you can’t help but think that Boston Manor deserve to be absolutely huge.

It’s a blast from the past next as Slam Dunk keep up their track record of reformations with Kids In Glass Houses. Playing their first shows in almost a decade the band focus their set on ‘Smart Casual’, which will be getting a re-release later this year. Songs like ‘Saturday’ and ‘Give Me What I Want’ still have it and so do the band who fly through the set like they’ve never been away.

Sticking to the same stage we are soon graced by PVRIS who deliver another really good performance which features a well structured setlist. Lynn Gunn leads the trio through a selection of their popular tracks with ‘You and I’ and ‘My House’ both getting big audience responses. The band will return with their fourth album in July, and new track ‘Goddess’ goes down very well today complete with guest spot from Charlotte Sands.

We are at the business end of the day now and up next on stage are Billy Talent who are able to deliver a pure masterclass in how to make the most of a shortened festival set. Banger, after banger, after banger as the band deliver suckerpunch after suckerpunch. The crowd reciprocate the bands energy and by the time the set finishes with ‘Red Flag’, the band have done enough to claim the band of the day moniker!

In the clash of the headliners, we opt to head to the ‘Dickies’ stage for punk icons The Offspring. The band have an endless stream of hit songs, and tonight the band focus more on their back catalogue then they did at Hatfield yesterday.

Their covers section in the middle feels a little too much considering their short time on stage but nobody can deny the final run of tracks which provides a great end to a packed day both musically and in terms of the volume of people on site!

Slam Dunk is a trusted brand these days and musically they’ve delivered once again, but there are undoubtedly some logistical issues that need to be fixed. Perhaps they’ve once again outgrown their homes and need to find bigger accommodation, one thing is for sure though and next May will again see a packed line-up heralding the dawning of a new festival season.

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Read our review of The Offspring live in London

Live Reviews

Download Pilot Festival 2021

Donington Park

Friday 18th – Sunday 20th June 2021

Download Pilot Festival Poster

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The live music industry is built on togetherness, built on shared experience and built on the power of emotion. The last 18 months have been highly emotional for all the wrong reasons. Together the world has shared an experience that has terrified and devastated us.

The events of the last 18 months have taken an incomprehensible toll on humanity. The pandemic has destroyed lives and livelihoods. The live music industry was obliterated overnight. The people that make the spectacles that we enjoy happen were forgotten about.

While the world attempts to peek through the curtains at a “new normal”, the live music industry is left waiting. Waiting for support, waiting for proper guidance, waiting for a chance. Well, just four weeks ago that chance arrived.

A Government trial event to test the viability of the return of packed festivals and events you say? Spring into action the incredible people behind the scenes who make the live music industry work! In a short period of time, heaven and earth have been moved and here we are at Download Festival.

A much smaller, makeshift, Pilot version of Download Festival at the hallowed grounds of Donington Park. 10,000 people in a field, no social distancing, no masks, no inhibitions.

Credit goes to all involved for creating an event of that scale on such short notice, and to all the acts playing with no preparation. As the gates open, one thing is for sure, the fans want this, no, the fans needs this.

The reality of the situation is that the organisers could have put an old man playing the spoons on stage and the fans would have lapped it up. The opportunity after all that everybody has been through to witness live music is cathartic.


The fact that this may be the most exciting Download Festival line-up of all time only helps to amplify the anticipation as fans gather in the tented second stage for Death Blooms. Almost every person on site crams in to witness that first taste of live music in far too long.

The band make the most of the atmosphere with a storming set that sees the audience let go of all remaining inhibitions. I doubt the majority of those in the tent knew of the band in advance, but they certainly left with a memory that will last forever.

For this special event there are just two stages. Next to the tent is the outdoor main stage which opens with a raucous set from Hot Milk. Kicking off with their latest single ‘I Just Wanna Know What Happens When I’m Dead’ the band show the crowd just what they’ve been missing.

Listen to ‘I Just Wanna Know What Happens When I’m Dead’ from Hot Milk on our Spotify Hot List!

There is no need to worry about those dreaded clashes at Download Pilot Festival. That’s because the acts on the two stages alternate, allowing the music starved fans the opportunity to watch every single band if they so wish to.

Every band this weekend gets a good sized crowd and a warm reception with it, especially the early bands on Friday. Malevolence are next to grace the second stage and assist the audience in releasing their pent up energy with a heavy hitting set.

A repercussion of the pandemic has been the amazing new albums that have been released without the showcase of the live setting. One such album is ‘Glue’ from Boston Manor. That wrong is righted next however as the band storm the main stage and air the likes of ‘Everything Is Ordinary’.

An early standout performance from the band sees them mix new and old with ‘England’s Dreaming’, ‘Laika’ and ‘Halo’ eliciting some of the first full blown sing-a-long moments of the weekend.

Those sing-a-long moments continue with Holding Absence on the second stage as they get to unleash tracks from their sensational album ‘The Greatest Mistake of My Life’. ‘Afterlife’ in particular is a contender for song of the weekend as the band present their credentials for superstardom!

Read our review of ‘The Greatest Mistake of My Life’ from Holding Absence

The Friday action continues with two bands with extremely dedicated fanbases. Neck Deep get the main stage bouncing before Sleep Token captivate the second stage.

It is then down to Frank Carter & The Rattlesnakes to bring the first day to a close on the main stage. Always an unstoppable force of nature on stage, the band make the most of the platform to make a statement. That statement says that this band is ready to headline the regular event.

With a setlist spanning their three albums, the band even treat fans to a selection of new tracks including the catchy ‘My Town’. There are guest appearances from Joe Talbot, Cassyette and Lynks, there is a giant circle pit around the sound tower and there is even a cover of ‘Ace of Spades’.

Frank Carter & The Rattlesnakes saw an opportunity to headline a festival, to headline the first festival back, and they grabbed it with both hands. This was one of those sets that will be talked about forevermore!

Listen to ‘My Town’ from Frank Carter & The Rattlesnakes on our Spotify Hot List!

After hours entertainment comes from a silent disco as the hastily arranged festival shows the skills and creativity of the music industry. You have to stand back and admire the achievement of those involved to create an event on this scale in the time given.


On to Saturday now and the musical delights continue as Lotus Eater, Conjurer, As Everything Unfolds and Bleed From Within blow the cobwebs of the early morning audience.

Next two young bands with big futures introduce themselves to festival audiences. Both The Hara on the second stage and Wargasm on the main stage elicit strong reactions from those watching.

Listen to ‘Your Patron Saints’ from Wargasm on our Spotify Hot List!

After a solid showing from Tigercub, one of the veteran acts of the weekend, A, school the up and coming bands on how to engage an audience. An age appropriate walking circle pit being a nice change of pace in the midst of a hectic weekend. Finishing with ‘Nothing’, A show why they are the perfect festival band.

Two things become apparent as the weekend progresses. When dissecting the hastily put together line-up, the quality of British rock music is put in the spotlight and it more than holds its own. Secondly a good deal of that talent is female. Vukovi and Yonaka both deliver set of the weekend contenders next.

Listen to ‘Seize the Power’ from Yonaka on our Spotify Hot List!

Those Damn Crows, Twin Atlantic and Stone Broken all put in crowd pleasing performances before While She Sleeps attract and entertain a huge crowd on the main stage.

Soon though it’s time for the scorecard for band of the weekend to be thrown out the window. Creeper are able to deliver an out of body experience as they headline the second stage. There are goosebump raising moments galore as the band turn the festival into their own theatre of oral and visual magnificence.

Listen to ‘Midnight’ from Creeper on our Spotify Hot List!

It is then left to Enter Shikari to bring the Saturday night party and they don’t disappoint. If there was ever a band born to get you moving it’s Enter Shikari. They do just that as they also get to showcase newer songs live for the first time.

‘satellites**’, ‘{ The Dreamer’s Hotel }’ and ‘THE GREAT UNKNOWN’ fit in perfectly with classics like ‘Sorry, You’re Not A Winner’, ‘Juggernauts’ and ‘Mothership’. Much like Frank Carter & The Rattlesnakes and Creeper, you can see the special treatment Enter Shikari have given this opportunity and that makes for a stunning spectacle.


Come Sunday you’d imagine fatigue would be setting in. All this action after so many barren months, you could forgive the crowd for tiring and the festival atmosphere sapping. Instead energy is pumped in by bands such as Static Dress, Saint Agnes, Cassyette and Employed To Serve.

The fans reciprocate said energy as they continue to let loose to Chubby and the Gang, Loathe and Higher Power. The passion and pure joy of both fans and musicians to be at a festival is at times overwhelming. This event was destined to be an emotive affair but even through that emotion the quality of the music on offer shines.

Next on the main stage is Lonely The Brave complete with change in singer. A set mixed with fan favourites and new tracks from ‘The Hope List’ shows the band are still an exciting prospect. Can the band now finally take that next step? On their showing here, yes they can!

Read our review of ‘The Hope List’ from Lonely The Brave

For those fans catching every band the pace is relentless and it’s to the second stage next for Jamie Lenman. Lenman powers through a sublime set that gets the crowd moving and features another appearance from Wargasm.

The quirky goodness of Elvana attracts a huge crowd to the main stage as the festival heads towards its climax. The band show just why they are perhaps the perfect Sunday afternoon festival act as they get the crowd singing along to every word.

Massive Wagons are able to take the second stage by storm before a sadly technically challenged The Wildhearts limp off stage. The Wildhearts are a top quality band and the issues with their sound perhaps show the effects of an enforced hiatus for musicians and crew members alike.

It’s on that note that once again praise must be heaped on the organisers, the crew members, the festival staff and yes the bands for making this event such a success. That is only amplified by the incredibly short timescale.

Realistically this has been a once in a lifetime event (we hope). Download Pilot Festival as an event is excellent and would be a great addition to the main Download Festival. It’s the atmosphere and camaraderie however that makes this festival so special.

We are down then to the final four bands, the final acts before reality is set to strike again. Up first on the second stage are Trash Boat who get the tent bouncing, especially with a stunning cover of Linkin Park classic ‘Given Up’.

If there is a perfect festival band it’s Skindred. Put them on any stage in any slot and they will attract a huge crowd. With a sub-headline slot on the main stage, the field is full as Benji Webbe and co put in a seamless lesson in crowd engagement.

The final act on the second stage is also no stranger to the festival scene. Although Frank Turner has played Download Festival in the past, even he acknowledges he may not be the typical Download act. Nobody cares though, as he puts in a typically euphoric performance.

The crowd are not just treated to the set staples but also to new song ‘The Gathering’ and heavier version of ‘Little Changes’. There are sing-a-longs aplenty as Turner does what he does best and that is entertain!

Check out The Full Pelt Music Podcast with guest Frank Turner!

That just leaves Bullet For My Valentine to close out Download Pilot Festival. A festival which we wish was never needed but are so glad that it happened. Bullet For My Valentine are long time Download favourites and they deliver an apt conclusion to the event.

We are treated to a unique take on ‘Run To The Hills’ from Iron Maiden complete with a perplexing vocal contribution fron Benji Webbe. We get new material in the form of ‘Knives’ and of course we get favourites such as ‘Scream Aim Fire’ and ‘Tears Don’t Fall’.

‘Waking The Demon’ is the final song to ring around Donington Park, and we can only hope and pray that this event can wake the demon that is the festival scene. The fans may have been lab rats, but what a stunning lab it was! Thank you Download Pilot Festival for such a cathartic weekend.

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Read our review of ‘Bodies’ from AFI


Album of the Year 2020

Photo by Andrea Turner from Pexels

Who is going to make the Full Pelt Music Top 20 Albums of the Year List?

2020 – a year we would all much sooner forget. Certainly not the year we had all envisaged. Real life has been traumatic and upsetting for many. The effects of the virus have been disastrous for the music industry, with the collapse of live music and many delays and production issues for albums.

You’d think therefore that selecting an Album of the Year list would be difficult due to a lack of new music! We are however talking about the most creative and adaptable industry and in fact compiling this list has been hard for the opposite reason. Even through all the sadness and despair this year, we have been graced with some amazing new music.

More so, the uniqueness of this year has created a special connection to the music released during the most troubling times. This is therefore a highly competitive list and all 20 entries deserve high praise!

We have been counting down the list as part of our #AdventCalendar of music over on our Twitter Page. Be sure to follow us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram by clicking the icons below!

Finally, before we talk through our Top 20 Albums of the Year, a special mention to Yungblud and his new album ‘Weird!’ which we recently reviewed here. Released after the compilation of this list, the album is a stunning piece of work and had it been released earlier would have been competitive at the top of the list! But, now to the countdown…


‘Petals For Armor’

In a year that doesn’t seem to want to end, January seems a lifetime ago when Paramore’s Hayley Williams announced her debut solo album ‘Petals For Armor’. By the time that album arrived, the world had descended into chaos and all touring plans had been cancelled. When the album did emerge in May it represented a ray of light in dark times, and showed Williams has a lot to offer outside of Paramore.

we suggest you check out:

Hayley Williams – ‘Simmer’


‘The Universal Want’

When Doves returned from an eight year hiatus in 2018 the band initially basked in that reformation glory. Thankfully for fans though it hasn’t taken long for the band to head back into the studio and the resultant album ‘The Universal Want’ is a timely reminder of what we had been missing.

we suggest you check out:

Doves – ‘Prisoners’


‘Power Up’

After a tumultuous few years with the tragic loss of Malcolm and departures of Cliff, Phil and Brian, AC/DC could have been easily forgiven for riding off into the sunset having had one of the greatest careers of any heavy rock band. But then that wouldn’t be the AC/DC way of doing things would it? Instead we get another classic AC/DC album in ‘Power Up’ with Williams, Rudd and Johnson back in tow!

we suggest you check out:

AC/DC – ‘Shot In The Dark’



The Shauna Tohill led REWS have somehow managed to equal if not surpass their debut album with sophomore release ‘Warriors’. Packed with punchy, catchy, bouncy rock and roll, we challenge you not to throw your heart and soul into this album just as Tohill clearly has.

we suggest you check out:

REWS – ‘Birdsong’


‘Strange Days’

With The Struts you should always expect the unexpected. This is not a band that plays by any kind of rule book. So why wouldn’t they team up with guests as diverse as Tom Morello, Phil Collen & Joe Elliott, Albert Hammond Jr and yes the actual Robbie Williams? ‘Strange Days’ solidifies The Struts reputation as the future of rock.

we suggest you check out:

The Struts – ‘Strange Days’


‘Wake Up Sunshine’

‘Wake Up Sunshine’ is somehow the eighth studio album for All Time Low, which makes me feel very old. Thankfully this isn’t an album that rests on any laurels and the band continue to deliver the goods with another very solid album added to that back catalogue.

we suggest you check out:

All Time Low – ‘Monsters’


‘Imploding The Mirage’

By now we know exactly what to expect from The Killers and thankfully their first album without lead guitarist Dave Keuning still delivers that classic feel. With the likes of Lindsay Buckingham instead contributing on ‘Imploding The Mirage’, there is even an air of freshness to their sound.

we suggest you check out:

The Killers – ‘My Own Soul’s Warning’


‘We’re The Bastards’

When Phil Campbell And The Bastard Sons released their debut album, to the surprise of many they delivered a classic rock masterpiece. Any doubters thinking they couldn’t do it again have now been proven wrong with the release of ‘We’re The Bastards’ In our recent review (here) we stated “The bands fans are the loyal kind hence their lyrics proclaim “…’cause we’re the bastards, and you’re a bastard too…”.  If you’re in to good old fashioned rock and roll, give this album a listen and you too will be in that club”.

we suggest you check out:

Phil Campbell And The Bastard Sons – ‘Son Of A Gun’


‘Father Of All…’

‘Father Of All…’ may not sit highly amongst the bands back catalogue if we are being honest, but an average Green Day album is still a very good album in the grand scheme of things. Despite this album pre-dating national lockdowns the album has remained on rotation throughout the year which is a testament to its real qualities.

we suggest you check out:

Green Day – ‘Oh Yeah!’



Nobody should be surprised at the quality of Boston Manor’s albums anymore. With the release of their third album ‘Glue’, the band have now delivered three high quality albums with plenty to unpack.

we suggest you check out:

Boston Manor – ‘Liquid’


‘Women In Music Pt. III’

With ‘Women In Music Pt. III’, Haim have let it all hang out with a statement of an album that takes listeners on a musical journey of wonder. Taking elements of various genres and given them that now classic Haim twist, this album is a stunning piece of musicianship.

we suggest you check out:

Haim – ‘Now I’m In It’


‘Use Me’

With the release of third album ‘Use Me’, PVRIS have continued their evolution into something majestic, enormous and vital. The bands growth had been put out there for all to see and this album just encapsulates the power of Lynn Gunn.

we suggest you check out:

PVRIS – ‘Dead Weight’


‘The Human Condition’

On ‘The Human Condition’ we get the Black Stone Cherry that we all love, just doing what they do best. Full of head banging and foot stumping this record sees the band confirm that they are here to stay, and that they have plenty left in the creative tank.

we suggest you check out:

Black Stone Cherry – ‘Again’


‘What The Dead Men Say’

‘What The Dead Men Say’ is a stunning piece of work that captures a band that has hit their peak. Trivium have mixed the lessons learnt from their past with their recently rejuvenated vigour and have come out the other side with an album that stands up that anything that they have previously released.  

we suggest you check out:

Trivium – ‘Catastrophist’


‘Sex, Death & The Infinite Void’

The release of ‘Sex, Death & the Infinite Void’ was a rocky road for Creeper, and not just because of a global pandemic. Various internal struggles and personal demons had to be overcome before Creeper could make their grandiose return. Sadly this return coincided with a certain virus which hampered the typical over the top promotion of a Creeper release. Thankfully for the band the record itself is brilliant enough to shine through even the darkest times.

we suggest you check out:

Creeper – ‘Born Cold’


‘A Celebration Of Endings’

As we hit the top five Albums of 2020, things are very tight. A terrible year has thankfully seem some amazing music emerge to see us through. Biffy Clyro are another band whose plans were destroyed by this horrible virus, with tours cancelled and the album delayed. The early single releases from ‘A Celebration of Endings’ however provided much joy in the early period of lockdown.

When the full album finally found his way into the public domain, little did fans realise the treat that was in store for them. Biffy Clyro always evolve with each release, but they somehow manage to retain that Biffyness to their music. This is a unique band and ‘A Celebration of Endings’ is a unique record that mixes both the beautiful and the heavy as only Biffy Clyro seem to be able to.

we suggest you check out:

Biffy Clyro – ‘End Of’


‘Nothing Is True & Everything Is Possible’

Another band whose releases were a small positive in the huge negative that was the first national Lockdown was Enter Shikari. It was clear from the start that ‘Nothing Is True & Everything Is Possible’ was going to be a very special album. The connection felt now with certain tracks only serves to ensure that this album will forever be seen as one of, if not the best Enter Shikari album.

All the normal quirkiness is there, along with the more mainstream elements incorporated into 2017’s ‘The Spark’.  In fact, on this album Enter Shikari may have actually made the perfect Enter Shikari recipe and in turn the perfect Enter Shikari album!

we suggest you check out:

Enter Shikari – ‘satellites**’


‘Post Human: Survival Horror’

Yes, ‘Post Human: Survival Horror’ is technically an EP, but it is just so outrageously good that it had to feature and feature high. Precursors such as ‘Ludens’ and ‘Parasite Eve’ had promised something special but I don’t think anybody predicted anything this good.

When we recently reviewed the record (here) we told you “This new EP takes the best elements from throughout their career and combines them in one stunning masterpiece of an album.”. Bring Me The Horizon prove with this album that the best is still to come!

we suggest you check out:

Bring Me The Horizon – ‘Obey’


‘A Hero’s Death’

The battle for the number one spot this year was fierce. Actually, the battle for the top 5 was fierce this year. Fontaines D.C. are the band that gets the number two spot, but this album deserves Album of the Year. ‘A Hero’s Death’ shows that the band are no flash in the pan and builds on the basis of debut ‘Dogrel’. This album actually feels a step above that debut album, and is another that has created a huge personal connection during this tough year.

This record has already rightfully brought the band much acclaim and we can’t wait to hear these songs live. Fontaines D.C. are an unstoppable songwriting force and with ‘A Hero’s Death’ they have placed their claim to be the band of their generation.

we suggest you check out:

Fontaines D.C. – ‘I Don’t Belong’


‘Ultra Mono’

It has been a crazy year, and this list has been heavily influenced by that. As mentioned the top of this list is massively impacted by new music I heard during the height of the initial lockdown. ‘Ultra Mono’ was an album that I was already extremely excited to hear; and the stream of songs released during Lockdown only served to raise that excitement to a fever pitch.

Thankfully IDLES didn’t disappoint and when the album arrived it was a pure masterpiece. It shows a natural progression on the bands first two records and grows the bands sound. It still captures what made us all fall in love with the band but by incorporating new elements into the bands sound the album shows that IDLES are no one trick pony.

Above all other releases this year and those that feature in this list, this was the album that we needed this year. In a year where we have all been knocked down one way or another, IDLES and ‘Ultra Mono’ has been a call to arms, to pick ourselves up, dust ourselves down and keep going.

we suggest you check out:

IDLES – ‘Model Village’

So, there you have it, the Top 20 Albums of 2020 as considered by Full Pelt Music. We are sure that your lists will be different to ours and we want to hear them, so why not share yours with us on social media!