Download 2023: Day 3 – as it happened

Metallica return for their second headline slot of the weekend – plus Municipal Waste, Clutch and more

It’s day… what day is it again? This four day festival malarkey is a bit much isn’t it? Not to labour the point but it really is hot here in Donington Park for Download’s 20th birthday, and there’s probably no hotter place on site than the press-tent greenhouse. So without further ado, here’s what went down on day three.

Fever 333

Fair play to the acts performing early on the main Apex Stage this weekend, who have all come to the stage as if it’s their own headline evening performance. Jason Aalon Butler is climbing the railings and testing the famously patient Download security’s mettle. Ex-Mars Volta drummer Thomas Pridgen adds a new dimension to the project, notably on ‘BITE BACK’, and is locked in beautifully with another new recruit, bassist April Kae.

Municipal Waste

Listen, you don’t need to drink to have a good time at a festival. But if you did want to knock back a few cold ones, Municipal Waste’s early set on the Opus Stage is the place to do it. These dudes embody the ‘chug chug chug’ of hardcore’s partying side, and a couple of times Tony Foresta dedicates a song to the golden nectar. Refreshment is needed, to be fair. “This is heat-stroke inducing thrash,” he says, and it really is, before doing a funny bit pretending to be setting the next Guinness World Record for the most about of crowd surfers. 666 crowd surfers, a, ahem, official from the side of the stage tells us. It’s fun, a lot of fun.


Among the breakdowns and pitch harmonics, any good festival needs some good, friendly riffage. Trust Maryland’s Clutch, three decades in the game, to provide that with a little slide guitar and southern (sounding) soul. Neil Fallon looks so at ease in his frontman duties as his sweltering stoner rock reflects the arid dustbowl surrounding the Apex.


Things get lost in the mix a little on the main stage for Alexisonfire this afternoon, who still continue to let rip with their emotionally-fuelled post-hardcore regardless. It just need turning up a notch, because this band still have it, with classics such as ‘Young Cardinals’ and everyone’s MySpace song from 2006-2007, ‘This Could Be Anywhere in The World’. It’s great to see the balance of Dallas Green’s falsetto with George Pettit’s more abrasive style again.

Alexisonfire by Marie Ladisch

Simple Plan

It’s another Canadian throwback this afternoon with Simple Plan taking to the Apex. A lot of people are over at the main stage for Disturbed, but there’s a big enough crowd gathered here to make this a right old flash of pop-punk euphoria.

Simple Plan by Marie Ladisch

Coheed & Cambria

Wow. The domed cover of the Avalanche Stage gives Coheed the deep, crisp and sharp textures they deserve as Claudio Sanchez hits every note spot on in a set that nails the cinematic quality they’re known for and the fun air guitaring this kind of festival needs. ‘A Favour House Atlantic’ is an instant crowdpleaser, but closer ‘Welcome Home’ attracts even the skeptical to come in and give it some.


It’s round two for Metallica this weekend, making it their tenth performance here in total. The anticipation tonight naturally feels a little more measured than the first night, more of a curiosity about their approach this time around. The feeling is more casual, with the band cracking a few more jokes and playing some of the deeper cuts in the first half. At one point Lars heads to the inner circle to pick up a small child we assume is his daughter, but she’s having none of it and wants mummy. “Lars makes all the girls cry,” Hetfield jokes with a warm and wry smile.

It feels quite wholesome seeing the group act a little more down-to-earth and themselves after the pressure of the first night headliner had passed. That said, another awaited double-whammy of ‘One’ and ‘Enter Sandman’ to close it all off reminds us of their titanic scale. Perhaps aware of BMTH’s huge production scale, tonight ends in a lot of fireworks. Read our full Metallica night two review here.

Metallica by Marie Ladisch

Earlybird tickets for Download 2024 are on sale now here.