Download Festival 2013 – Saturday Review

Arriving in the arena to a sudden and torrential downpour, flapping around trying to get crap plastic ponchos on whilst simultaneously attempting to crouch over the tops of your wellies to avoid trench-foot, wasn’t exactly a joyful experience, but thankfully the rain abated as we queued for a bottle (and special edition cup) of Iron Maiden Trooper beer. Saturday is the day of unfortunate overlaps, a lineup of incredible acts spread across stages so wide that you can’t hope to catch them all, so we resign ourselves to the wishlist and hope to catch others another year.

Starting with classic Brit-rock UFO take to the mainstage for some shredding good fun, and Mastodon do a decent job of pepping up the squelchy audience with ‘Blood and Thunder’ and ‘Oblivion’, but it’s Alice In Chains who really power up, touting their signature grunge doom and gloom. ‘Down in a Hole’ and ‘Check My Brain’ stand out, but the whole set is superb and radiates a sort of nonchalant, effortless aura of cool. On the tiny Jagermeister stage, Buffalo Summer’s funked up southern rock ‘Typhoid Mary’ is getting the small but jolly crowd up and jigging about, and Download repeat offenders Motörhead are, well, EXACTLY the same as always. Despite Lemmy’s stuck record “We are Motörhead and we play rock and roll” lead in, and ‘Everything louder than everything else’ tshirts that have only had a colour update, it is a formula that works, and ‘Ace of Spades’ is as good a mosh-pit starter as it always has been.

Taiwanese metalcore kids Chthonic are as weird as ever, but lady bassist Doris Yeh is definitely gaining a LOT of new fans as the band ramp up the volume and she pulls a very metal pout… however, on the main stage Queens Of The Stone Age aren’t really living up to the hype. The sound is dead, the crowd looks bored and the quips just aren’t that funny – particularly the one about ‘No One Knows’ being a song to get laid to. I’m sure Barry White is turning in his grave. After their departure, the arena heads into instant turmoil as people rush to toilets, bars and food carts whilst the stage is set up for Iron Maiden’s prop heavy show. Bands we’d have liked to see today but missed due to there being TOO MUCH to see were, punk legends Lit, rock royalty Thunder, Norwegians Kvelertak and fellow headliners The Hives and Enter Shikari. *sigh* we just hope Download books them all again. Please.

Iron Maiden begin the evenings shenanigans with an actual Spitfire flyby. Yep, that’s right – they managed to get a Spitfire to thunder up from behind the main stage and fly over a stunned crowd. If you can tell me a band who’ve gone further for their fans, feel free to comment. A stunning set with hits ‘Fear of the Dark, ‘2 Minutes to Midnight’, ‘The Trooper’ and ‘Aces High’ as well as a raft of other Maiden classics and giant moving Eddies, makes for a spectacular night (read the complete Maiden review for more details) that will stick in our memories forever.

Thunder, Devin Townsend and more added to Download Festival

Download Festival continues to score out of the park with the announcement that a further 25 acts have been added to this year’s line up, including Thunder, Kvelertak, Devin Townsend and We Are The Ocean.

Headlined by Slipknot, Iron Maiden and Rammstein, Download Festival takes place 14-16 June 2013 in Donington Park. Weekend and day tickets are available at

Having last played Download as one of festival promoter Andy Copping’s ‘secret acts’ in 2009, classic rock favourites Thunder will be returning to Donington soil on the Saturday – hopefully guitarist/singer Luke Morley will have recovered from riding 161 miles on a pedal bike from London to Donington as part of the “Heavy Metal Truants” charity bike ride organized by Iron Maiden manager Rod Smallwood! For more information about Heavy Metal Truants go to

Following their Download debut in 2011, hardcore Norwegian punkers Kvelertak will be back with a vengeance to perform tracks from their new album Meir. The inimitable Devin Townsend will also be back at Download, this time taking it down a notch to perform on the acoustic Jagermeister stage. Also confirmed for this year’s Download with a wealth of new material to please the crowds at the Jagermeister stage will be Essex four-piece We Are The Ocean.

No stranger to Download, London’s Zico Chain are confirmed for the Friday, fresh of the back of their support slot on Steve Harris’ solo tour. Hot new metal act Blood Command – another Norwegian export  – will be looking forward to showcasing their live act this year. Blending stoner metal and garage rock, Black Moth are confirmed for the Saturday, as are hard riffers The Wild Lies.

New London punk band The Howling are confirmed, alongside local Birmingham pop-punkers Page 44 and the fierce Wounds.

The acoustic Jagermeister Stage at Download is a great chance to catch up and coming rock acts as well as stripped down performances from acts from the other stages over the weekend. In addition to Devin Townsend and We Are The Ocean, the Jagermeister stage will see the following acts: Hear Kitty Kitty, Toseland, Rob Lynch, Acoustic TV, Straight Lines, Fahran, The Killing Floor, The Afterparty, Pig Iron, Night x Night, Crash Mansion, The Graveltones, Arthemis and Avosetta, alongside acoustic performances from Walking Papers, Buffalo Summer, Crowns, Heaven’s Basement, Skin and Red White & Blues.