We've all been there. Or actually, unless you've gotten extremely intoxicated and then had to play songs for over 10,000 people, you've probably never been there. Brody Dalle (vocals, guitar) of the Distillers didn't want to be there, that's for sure. Stumbling onto the stage, she mutters an atonal "Lets drink," in her classic husky overtones, and fires into the first song. Normally this would be seen as charismatic, but not when you're a blonde punk chick from America.
There was some seriously bad planning on the Download Scotland management's part today, as the Distillers clearly do not fit into, as punk artists, what is basically a metal festival, with the exception of the forthcoming Iggy and the Stooges. What could symbolise the fact that they didn't belong here better than the lack of two bass drums on their drumkit? Simple symbolism, remember it for the future.
As you surely guessed from the first paragraph, Brody was clearly hungover as she "attempted" to "sing" her “songs” for a crowd of increasingly disinterested "fans". You may have noticed the abundance of quotation marks in that last sentence, but do not adjust your web browser, there are reasons behind them, reasons which show why the Distillers didn't deserve anything higher than two out of five for their "performance" today.
Firstly, Brody's hungover state meant that she just couldn't be bothered to sing some parts of her songs, taking a sneaky, yet obvious rest during some of her choruses where the bassist and other guitarist backed up her vocals, allowing them to go it alone. Obviously she hasn't realised that you pay the price for having a unique voice - people notice when it's not there. The bassist should just leave the Distillers and form a band called "The Band Formed By The Guy Who Was The Distillers' Bassist But Stephen Kyle Doesn't Know His Name", as he was the star of the show, even though his performance was completely mediocre.
Secondly, did anyone actually come to Download Scotland to see the Distillers? On the rare occasion that Brody spoke, about six people raised their hands in the air. Meanwhile, the applause after songs would be outclassed by the clapping after England score a six at Lords Cricket Ground. Yes, it was that bad.
So, to be honest, if the organisers had just put a ghettoblaster on a stool in the middle of the stage and put a Distillers CD on, the crowd would have probably had a better time than they did today. As they played on through songs, which could have just been called 'Song #1', 'Song #2', and so on; they were that similar, they were constantly hailed on by a barrage of beer cups, toilet paper, and anything else that could become an average projectile. Maybe the fans wanted the stage crew to go and clean the shit off the stage, since they were hurling toilet paper.
Of course, this review wouldn't be complete if I didn't mention the fact that the reason most people were watching the Distillers was the unifying anticipation that she might get naked at any second. A crowd of kids at the front had come prepared, holding up a 'Show us your tits!' sign. Nothing of the kind happened, but honestly, if the band was fronted by a male, their music and their performance would not have been tolerated at all, and they would be playing to a barrier, another barrier, and a plethora of rubbish lying on the grass.