Ready, Aim, Fire!
Playing at Download Festival for the third consecutive year, Young Guns required no time at all to adjust to life on the second stage. Making his appearance with freshly bleached hair, vocalist Gustav Wood bore a slight resemblance to Sacha Baron Cohen's fictional character Bruno, but there was little to laugh about as the British quintet blazed into a lively performance. The group were perceptively unfazed by the significant crowd that they had drawn and looked keen to match the heat on stage to the glorious warmth being enjoyed by the sunning Download crowd.
Opening promisingly with the energy-injected 'D.O.A.,' the five-piece whirled through a set that saw them reel off hits like 'Winter Kiss' and 'Crystal Clear' with a rousing degree of fervour, despite the fact that the performance tally of these songs is mostly likely cruising in triple figures. Although their vocal harmonies were executed notably well, any synchronized shouts unfortunately just sounded messy.
With the exception of penultimate song 'Daughter of the Sea' (incidentally a satisfyingly riff-heavy highlight of their 'Mirrors' EP), the entire set was extracted from their debut album 'All Our Kings Are Dead,' and with a limited discography, this is always going to be a drawback for the group. Whilst Young Guns have always offered a great live show, it is always the SAME live show and those seeking any variation or excitement within the setlist should prepare themselves for bitter disappointment. However, ending perfectly with 'Weight of the World,' Young Guns rounded off a set that they should nevertheless be very proud of.
Having risen from the fourth stage to the third stage and now to the second stage, one naturally wonders whether their respectable performance would warrant a promotion to the main stage for Download 2012. Young Guns are certainly hard workers and have rightly been able to enjoy a staggering rise to fame. However, the band is still in their infancy and should not be too expectant of continual elevation. On the other hand, if Young Guns enjoy another equally successful year, who knows which slot they will be worthy of filling come next June.