Show Review: Iron Maiden @ Download Festival (Donington Park, Castle Donington) on (Saturday) June 15, 2013

- Sep 09, 2013 at 07:47PM
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Our first port of call on the Saturday is hard rockers Heaven's Basement who are making a bit of name for themselves with their frill-free hard rock and, by the looks of the swelling numbers as they smash through the likes of "Fire Fire" from their 'Filthy Empire' album, they’re a band who will soon by muscling their way up bills like this one.

Over on the main stage, High Wycombe rockers Young Guns make their entrance dressed head to toe in retina-damaging white outfits and deliver their familiar slick sounding pop tinged rock like we all expected them to. However, while we’re fans of Young Guns, there is a much more exciting prospect over in the smaller tent as returning Nottingham ragers Earthtone9 are warming up ready for their set. Many people clearly know the ET9 story - once touted as our answer to the Deftones, little support was given by the mainstream press forcing the band to call it a day. They returned to a bit of fanfare again last year and, despite battling with sound gremlins throughout their set, those who packed out the tent to hear tracks from their new album alongside old favourites, welcome them back with open arms. The VIP area on the other hand was still full of twats who don’t know what they were missing.

Check out Iron Maiden playing live at Download 2013



Back on the main stage though and the heavens opened as progressive heavyweights Mastodon took to the stage and bludgeoned their way through their fifty minute set with the likes of Blood And Thunder sounding heavier than anything that will be heard in the main arena today. Escaping the rain for a bit we head back under cover for the brilliantly clinical Heart Of A Coward who, featuring ex-Sylosis frontman Jamie Graham, kick up a right shitstorm with the Fear Factory meets Strapping Young Lad rage of songs like Killing Fields.

The Alice In Chains story is a sad one, we all know that, but hearing the current incarnation of the band jamming out the classic Them Bones confirms that, in vocalist William Duvall, the band have got a bona-fide rock star. He may strut about the stage with a cool, calm, reserved persona but once he opens that mouth and lets’ fly there can’t be a fan of the band on the site that is left doubting his ability.

Decision time now – do we go to see Brit rockers Thunder or do we stick it out at the main stage for seasoned veterans Motorhead? Well, after much deliberation we head to the second stage for a bit of Dirty Love but, as we do, our journey is helped on its way to a soundtrack from behind us that features heavy metal anthem Ace Of Spades. Thankfully, Thunder were equally as brilliant and, even though we do question Danny Bowes fashion choice in 2013, there is no getting away from the fact that they wrote some crackin’ tunes in their time, a fact confirmed as we turn around to see Download head honcho Andy Copping grinning from ear to ear behind us.



Queens Of The Stone Age on the other hand just scream attitude and, as Josh Homme and the band stride out to and launch into Feel Good Hit Of The Summer, the Download “cool” factor just went through the roof. Of course the weather was rubbish but, with a new album to promote, they didn’t let that matter bother them warming everyone up nicely for the returning headline tour later this year.

After the brash ear-battering we got from Motorhead and the cool swagger provided by Queens Of The Stone Age, emo rockers Jimmy Eat World came across just a little bland and forgettable over on the second stage however, watching second stage headliners Enter Shikari decimate the crowd with their punk/dance/rock crossover insanity, you were left in no doubt that this band should really be bigger than Pendulum. With the second stage crowd turning into a crowd surfing mass of bodies, frontman Rou Reynolds joined them as the band thundered through gems like Sorry You’re Not A Winner with unbridled, unhinged brilliance ending the day in chaotic fashion.

Unsurprisingly, despite Norwegian nutters Kvelertak and cocky Swedish rockers The Hives both packing out the third stage tent, there was no doubt that Saturday night belonged to headliners Iron Maiden who set the bar ridiculously high by announcing their entrance with a spitfire flyover. With rumoured figures in the region of eighty to a hundred thousand people packed in to the main stage arena, it was obvious from the off that this was going to be big and, with Bruce Dickinson and his men making a welcome return to their second home, the Maiden faithful were treated to a flawless performance, including all the classics from The Prisoner to Number Of The Beast and a show that will be talked about for years to come.

Check out Iron Maiden playing live at Download 2013

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