LIVE: Download Festival Saturday Review

By Tom Aylott

Round two of Download 2013, where we find PT Deputy Ed Lais MW and Jessica Acreman ready to shake off the cobwebs in the early hours

Waking up way earlier than should be allowed to drop our single day loser editor Tom to the train station and do a Co-op run (of course you can buy vodka at 8.30am!) was not necessarily the brightest idea, however the sausage, egg and hash brown (yes hash brown) bap care of the Co-ops neighbouring bakery was an absolute saviour. That and the promise of Young Guns at midday, and of course they live up to it.

Head to toe, and wall to wall, white (except Simon who apparently missed the all-white memo and stepped out in black shoes, tut tut). Fashion faux pas aside, the High Wycombe pop-rockers blast the hangovers into outer space as they dish out hot smashes ‘Dearly Departed’, ‘Weight of the World’ and ‘Bones’. A bevvy of Welsh ladies with us are making all the shapes, and it’s a great way to kick things off. [JA]

Now, it’s time to run over to the Red Bull tent for South Wales wonders Astroid Boys. The tent is packed full of people chanting their name, and it’s clear to see that they’re generating an incredible amount of hype at the moment. It’s completely well deserved, because they are an insanely good live band. If you don’t have fun watching them, there’s no hope for you. [LMW]

Next up Black Star Riders who, ‘Whiskey In The Jar’ cover aside, remind me why Thin Lizzy were so great. But today is the day of Lit and this afternoon I settle in to quiz a high school hero who shares loss, photography and snappy dressing in an utterly enthralling and very hoarse interview. [JA]

I allow the thunderstorm to pass before I brave the crowds, mud and hill to the Zippo Encore Stage to see that very band rock and rule. A.J. Poppoff and co tempt out the sun with big hitters ‘Lipstick & Bruises’, ‘Miserable’ and ‘My Own Worst Enemy’. Not many over 40’s could pull off the denim cut, but on or off, the man still has it. Between the tartan and the tattoos, Lit, we salute you. [JA]

Back to the press tent for all the interviews in the world: Hang the Bastard, I Divide,Heaven’s Basement, The Afterparty, Idiom, Escape The Fate, Heart Of A Coward, Bury Tomorrow, Don Broco and Rat Attack just to name a few. Interview highlights today are the utterly hilarious Don Broco (‘loose mentors’ to the Red Bull bands), the lovely Dan Winter-Bates from Bury Tomorrow and my favourite, Rob from Escape The Fate. An incredible amount of fun. [LMW]

Next on the Zippo Encore stage are Jimmy Eat World, who sound flawless as ever. They crack out all the hits – ‘Pain’, ‘The Middle’, ‘Bleed American’ – and the crowd lap up every minute. As a wussy One Tree Hill-loving girl, I find it a bit of a shame they miss out ‘Work’ and ’23’, but it’s a small price to pay when they’re this good live. [LMW]

A trip to find some Atticus beer and a burrito later, and we are ready for Enter Shikari. Sure, Rou Reynolds is a very intelligent young man but sometimes you just want ‘Juggernauts’ and ‘ZZZonked’ thrown full force in your face. Insane production and impeccable sound apparently didn’t do it for everyone as the cross legged gentleman in front of us spent the set studying the Iron Maiden pages in the festival program. We might have laughed a little. [JA]

Catching the end of Bruane Brenn composers, Kvelertak was pretty lucky and the throbbing tent is a treat. Especially the moment when the rocking is hard and a Spitfire plane flies low o’er top of us, so we knew exactly what time it is now…[JA]

We have to do a little dash between two headliners tonight: Iron Maiden on the main stage, and Last Witness in the Red Bull tent. It’s Last Witness’ last show and it’s an explosion of raw energy. They will be missed.

On the other end of the spectrum are Iron Maiden, who do a fantastic job of sounding like… Iron Maiden. It’s a massive show and they conquer Donington once again, but a two hour set ends up being a little bit on the long side unless you’re a total Maiden-head (which clearly enough here are). Hats off for the Spitfire, but we’re not all that fussed by the midway point. [LMW]