Notice how Reading's logo reads 2010, but the Leeds Fest logo still says 2009. Screw-up after screw-up...

Ok, so it’s all over.

The completely artificial hype created by Leeds/Reading festival organisers came to a head a matter of hours ago, momentarily crashing both the Reading Festival and Leeds Festival websites – in fact, neither of the sites are back up running at full-throttle just yet.

A very basic-looking page, just with ticket links and line-up info, is all that remains for now.

You’ll have to forgive this post, it’s not often I rant incessantly (on here, at least) outside of a review, but I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to tell you why the people having bought Reading/Leeds tickets 15 minutes before any acts were confirmed are stupid.

Of course, rumoured line-ups have been flying around for months now, with stronger assertions over who will be appearing becoming more frequent in recent weeks.

Blink 182 had been pretty much a dead cert for the past year, and Guns N’ Roses rumours had been coming in from every angle. Even the odd suggestions that Arcade Fire would be a headliner on the main stage seemed well founded.

Arcade Fire as the opening band doesn't really set you up for a good weekend...

Check out the Reading line-up here, and the Leeds lineup here.

Even though some were wrong, most of these rumours turned out to be right. Arcade Fire, Blink 182 and Guns N’ Roses will all be main-stage headliners for this year’s Reading and Leeds festivals. Rejoice, for what could be the lamest attempt at a festival lineup in festival history.

So let’s take Leeds as the case in point since that’s where most people seem to go. To start the weekend you’ve paid no less than £187 for, you’re treated to Arcade Fire.

Yawn. Uninspired indie ‘alternative’ rock (seriously, is something labelled ‘alternative’ because it’s just totally unlistenable?), with not a single redeeming track. You know how some bands can be quite pants, but they have one song that’s actually pretty decent so you tend not to hate them? Yeah, not Arcade Fire.

And you know how some bands generally have at least one uplifting song to counter the melancholy ones? Yeah, not Arcade Fire.

In a depressing fit of irony, ‘Wake Up’ genuinely nearly put me to sleep.

These guys are opening and headlining the main stage at a festival that people are paying over 180 well-earned British pounds to be at. A festival that’s had the likes of Metallica and Rage Against The Machine grace the stage.

Then we move across to the next day and see the newly-reformed Blink 182 headlining the main stage with such songs as “I’m 30 but let’s pretend I’m really 15” and “Hammering the same powerchords while singing about high-school is awesome”.

Perhaps a worthy addition to the lineup if only for the upbeat, poppy songs that will no doubt get people jumping. But headlining? A bit of a bizarre elevation in status, don’t you think?

As we wind down our disappointing and over-priced weekend in the middle of a field, let’s see who kick-starts the big final day of partying. Guns N’ Roses.

Now, 15 years ago I would’ve jumped at the chance the see Guns N’ Roses in a festival lineup, but given that GNR is now literally just Axl Rose and whatever Hollywood rock band he can pull together to play his contrived tripe off the Chinese Democracy record, I’ll give this one a miss thanks.

It’s not even important that such a simply terrible, terrible album took fifteen years to make. What matters is that THIS is what Guns N’ Roses are now.

Just Axl Rose, his failed voice, and his lack of ability to write music that doesn’t make people want to hurl their iPods at a wall.

All three headliners are padded out with generic indie bands and whiny American pop-rock, topped off with grime dance sell-out Dizzee Rascal.

Well done guys – you’ve effectively turned what used to be Download Festival’s less-heavy little brother (The Darkness headlined the main stage back in ’04 ferchristsake) into a mish-mash of semi-popular mediocrity.

I’ll keep my money for this year’s Download where I can see bands that make me feel alive.



If this project goes well enough, Slash won't be using that amp for much longer!

Another video blog on the Marshall website has revealed more progress in the development stages of Slash’s recently-announced amp head – the Marshall AFD100.

The head, which is still in its early production stages, is set to be a replica of the amp Slash used during the recording of Guns N’ Roses’ rock classic, ‘Appetite For Destruction’ – an amp which has since been lost in time.

This latest video update, number five so far, sees Slash and some of the R&D team at Marshall discussing the type of output tubes the amp should have and (rather disappointingly) which amp it should be based on.

This hints that the AFD100 may turn out to be merely a signature version of an existing head just with some custom tubes thrown in as opposed to a totally new amp.

This is early stages though, so we’re trying not to cast too much judgement just yet!

The story behind the amp Slash actually used on Appetite For Destruction is a bit of a complicated one. There are a few versions of the story floating round in Internet land, some of which are not even in the right ballpark.

The most persistant one, and the one with the most credence, is that the head that our curly-haired friend ended up using was an old 1959t Super Tremolo, modded by an amp tech by the name of Tim Caswell.

The tube-driven tremolo unit was removed and modded to add another gain stage to the circuitry.

Before hitting Slash’s hands in the studio with GNR, it was used by George Lynch while he was on tour and then rented out by Slash before AFD’s recording. That’s right, the amp used by one of the world’s most famous bands on one of the most famous records in rock history was just a rental from a guitar store.

Though story has it that when it came time for the band to record AFD, the amp was already out on rental, so Slash had the store mod another 1959t in the same way.

Since then, both those amps have been lost to the sands of time – enter Marshall’s AFD100 head. Hopefully Marshall and co. will see the light and decide not to base this off a JCM800. There’s already a plethora of those amps, signature or otherwise, out there available.

Even though the choice of 6550 tubes instead of the standard EL34s would give such an amp that bit more bite and bring it closer to that classic tone, it still wouldn’t be the same.

Fingers crossed that the next video update will bring slightly more promising news – I’m not calling it quits on this one just yet!

Source: The Marshall AFD100 Blog