Download Festival: Sunday - 12th June 2016 - Donington Park
So here we are, exhausted, drenched, muddy, really wet, and half way to developing tinnitus. It feels like a first world war trench in the arena, but we wouldn't have it any other way. Day three of Download awaits.
There is something to be said for a female fronted rock band who can wail, with guitar and voice like Halestorm front woman Lzzy Hale. Strutting onto stage with a confidence of a rockstar with many more years experience Halestorm are a sight to behold. Blasting out hits 'I Like It Heavy' and 'Love Bites (So Do I)' the band are tight and clear with it. A drum solo in such a short set is a misstep though.
Coming on stage with ultimate fan interaction song 'Ten Thousand Fists' Chicago's Disturbed know exactly how to interact with their crowd. Sounding loud with their metal crunch they run through a greatest hits set plus some special guests in Blaze Bayley (formerly of headliners Iron Maiden) on a The Who cover and Lzzy Hale from Halestorm on a U2 cover. It's a special moment but with Limp Bizkit having done the same for the last 5 years, I wish people would stop covering 'Killing In The Name' by Rage Against The Machine. It's a classic but can grate when all you want is RATM again to reform and see the originals perform it.
What can be said about Saxon that hasn't been said before. Going since the 70s Saxon are headlining a side stage and use all of the available space and crowd interaction that they can. Again, like Disturbed, it's a greatest hits set with a cheeky new song added for good measure. Biff Byford's crew know what to do and do it well. A salt of the earth band for troubled times. Saxon give as good as they get and deliver a well rounded set with panache.
Some would say Iron Maiden have done it all and got the t-shirt. Then done it all again. Five times. Just to collect the t-shirts. With frontman Bruce Dickinson's cancer battle now over Maiden bound on stage with extra energy and with a show to put on. Initially the energy doesn't translate to the crowd as there is a problem with the sound but that quickly corrects itself due to the professionalism of the Iron Maiden team. Running through classics and new songs in equal measure the rockers are on top form here, Dickinson running around like a headless chicken energised the crowd and a massive roar goes up when he announces they'll be back to tour the UK next year. Happy days!