Slightly tired after our excellent Friday night at Download 2013, but still highly motivated and full of excitement, we arrive to the arena early enough to catch Black Star Riders (aka ex-Thin Lizzy), as they play the Main stage.
It’s a wonderful way to start a day at Download with such classics like “Jailbreak,” “Rosalie,” “Whiskey In The Jar” and “The Boys Are Back in Town”.
Black Star Riders formed back in December 2012 and are members of the most recent Thin Lizzy line-up. Their first album All Hell Breaks Loose was released in May, 2013 and today, alongside classic Thin Lizzy tracks, Black Star Riders perform new songs, like “All Hell Breaks Loose,” “Kingdom of the Lost,” “Bloodshot,” “Hey Judas” and more.
Just out of curiosity, we come down by the Red Bull Studios Stage and catch a little bit of Black Moth set.
Their female vocalist Harriet Bevan has got a great stage presence, their sound is somewhat between psych and stoner rock with big riffs and catchy hooks. And despite the early hours, they’ve managed to fill up the Red Bull Studios tent just right.
Soon after, we head back to the Main stage to catch Mastodon.
These guys never disappoint and even this time, despite the English summer rain, they put on a hell of a show. Performing a great selection of everyone’s favourite Mastodon songs and, blasting out everything from “Oblivion” and “Curl of the Burl” to “Blood and Thunder” and “The Sparrow”.
Next up are Alice In Chains bringing Seattle vibe to the holy grounds of Castle Donington and delivering a mind-blowing and emotionally replete set. Jerry Cantrell and William DuVall perform in an admirable harmony and make the classic Alice In Chains songs, like “Them Bones,” “Down in a Hole,” “Man in the Box” and “Rooster” sound authentic.
Alice In Chains gives us a good mix of the old material and the new. Performing “Hollow” and “Stone” off the new album Devil Put Dinosaurs Here and “Check My Brain” off Black Gives Way to Blue, their set seems well structured and sounds incredible. Definitely one of the festival highlights so far.
Next band to take the Main stage is a band that you just can’t miss, even if you’ve seen them multiple times and more. It’s Lemmy with the boys. It’s Motorhead. And they play rock’n’roll.
By delivering a classic Motorhead set that includes songs, like “Killed By Death,” “Ace Of Spades” and “Overkill”, they manage to cheer up every single member of the audience. To make their show even more of a treat, they invite former drummer Phil ‘Philty Animal’ Taylor to join them on stage during the set.
Meanwhile, on the smallest stage (The Jagermeiser Stage), Devin Townsend is performing an acoustic set, but as you might have guessed, the stage is way too small for Devin. There’s quite a number of people who have gathered to see him, and in the back of the crowd, it is quite impossible to hear a word Devin’s singing, which sucks.
However, it’s always good to see his face anyway. Hopefully he’ll be back next year to perform on a much bigger stage.
Next up on the Main stage is one of the most anticipated bands of the weekend – Queens Of The Stone Age.
They start their set without mocking around with much stuff off their new album …Like Clockwork, as they know exactly how to please their audience by playing a great deal of classic tunes, like „Feel Good Hit of the Summer,” “No One Knows,” “Little Sister” and “Go With the Flow”.
They do, however, throw in some fresh tunes, like “Keep Your Eyes Peeled,” “I Appear Missing” and “God is the Sun” and they are sounding exceptionally good, so make sure you check out their new album, if you haven’t done that yet.
But while most of the people at Download 2013 are enjoying QOTSA, we wander off to The Red Bull Studios stage to check out Voodoo Six – an upcoming band from London who are currently on tour with Iron Maiden as their main support act.
The Red Bull Studios Stage tent is packed out, so this Iron Maiden tour must be really helping them to gain some well deserved recognition.
We already had the opportunity to see Voodoo Six play Download festival last year and from tonight’s set we can only appreciate that the quality of their performance has increased significantly.
The band is sounding tight, they seem to have gained a lot of confidence and the energy on stage is nothing but positive.
Keep you eyes and ears open. You will be definitely hearing of Voodoo Six again soon.
To make the most of today, we head down to The Pepsi Max Stage to catch one of the hottest bands on the bill – Kvelertak.
They’re coming all the way from Norway and always making sure they bring heavy riffs, epic hooks and an owl. You read that one right. An owl.
At the very beginning of their set, the singer Erlend Hjelvik appears on stage wearing a stuffed owl over his head.
By this minute in time, they have already won over the audience.
Kvelertak are know for their powerful three guitar sound, but unfortunately the sound engineer seems to have wandered off to grab a beer and left the sound desk without attention, which slightly disappoints. However, their set is as exciting as it gets. Their stage appearance seems unpredictable and wild. And their songs rock.
Performing only four (but lengthy) songs, the band prove that ‘Kvelertak’ can be put in the dictionary as a synonym for ‘cool as fuck’.
And it’s finally time for one of the most exciting performances of Download 2013. It’s time for no one else, but Iron Maiden!
To mark the start of their Maiden England set, the band surprises the audience with a little something. Something like a Spitfire plane flyover.
Seconds later Iron Maiden lads storm the stage and open their set with “Moonchild”. The stage setup is looking epic, the band is sounding great and the energy in the crowd is electric, as we’re witnessing a legendary band make history in front of our eyes. Iron Maiden have returned to Download festival for the first time in six years and they’ve made sure to come back with quite of a performance.
Songs that follow are “Can I Play With Madness,” “The Prisoner” and “2 Minutes to Midnight” – all absolute classics signalling that tonight we’re in for a treat.
The stage show is as epic as it gets. There was fire, there was lighting and there were multiple Eddies appearing on stage. However, the sound quality was affected by occasional wind, but that did not seem to bother too many of those 90’000 Maiden troopers out there.
Tonight’s set list was one big highlight itself, as the band just kept playing classic track followed by another classic track.
We had “The Trooper,” “The Number of the Beast,” “Phantom of the Opera,” “Run to the Hills”… and the list goes on. Iron Maiden show just simply does not get any better than this.
However, Iron Maiden is a band that you should be watching while standing in front of the stage, as the show and stage setup just doesn’t seem to work that well if you’re watching from the left or the right side of the stage. So take it as your Iron Maiden tip for the future and go see them whenever the greatest heavy metal band rolls into town near you.