Leeds and Reading are offering lacklustre bands this year - so who would you pick?

There’s been a lot of controversy over the recently announced Leeds and Reading festival lineups. Hell, my rant on how thoroughly dire the entire lineup is has been my most popular and most commented post on my blog so far.

So if I’ve been throwing insults at artists this way and that, explaining why those bands don’t make a great festival lineup, who do I think is deserving of my praise as festival headliners and big-name acts?

The whole thing got me thinking of who I would have at Download, my festival of choice, to make it totally perfect. But I found myself having to omit bands because they’d broken up or members of the band are no longer with us.

But what if there were no boundaries? No feuds holding bands back. No constraints of death or age. If we could have any bands and artists we wanted, dead or alive, to play the festival of our dreams.

So I’ve come up with this, rather rudimentary, poster for Six StringsFest 2010. Click the thumbnail to the right to check out my choices, though I’m sure you can make out the main headliners from their logos.

Six main headliners, and another six to back them up - thems the rules!

Let me run you through my headliner decisions, which were much harder to finalise than you’d think.

Before you tuck in and read, leave a comment – what’s YOUR ideal festival lineup?

Pick four for each day – two headliners and two other artists to follow them on stage. Choose wisely!

First Day (Friday)

First up, to kick off the whole thing, we’ve got Pantera. The brutal, relentless force mixed with the band’s ‘groove metal’ style would really kickstart the festival at 500mph right off the bat. Seeing as there are two constraints on the band, Six StringsFest would be the only chance we’d get to see the boys again!

The band broke up in 2001 after long-term problems with vocalist Phil Anslemo, and all chances of a reunion went totally out of the window on December 8th 2004, when ex-guitarist ‘Dimebag’ Darrell Abbott was shot on stage with his new band, Damageplan, by a deranged ‘fan’ who sought to kill him and his brother (drummer Vinnie Paul), who managed to survive unscathed.

Having the boys back together to play again as Pantera in their prime would be a musical dream come true, so they’re number one!

Lamb of God continue the relentless metal force of the first day with chugging thrash riffs, brutal pits and the inevitable ‘Wall of Death’ as the set would finish with their signature mosh-pit tune Black Label.

Second Day (Saturday)

Now I know that Van Halen are still around, and still gig. But they’re getting on a bit now, and the band were at their prime in the early 80s when David Lee Roth still rocked the microphone. He was the better frontman (since replaced by Sammy Hagar) and helped the band create their greatest tracks so no substitutes!

After a good old-fashioned rock and roll arena gig, Steve Vai would take the stage to let the magic flow from his fingers for an hour while everyone would get high purely from the aural ecstasy that he creates whenever he picks up a guitar. We could all chill in the afternoon sun with a ton of beers and some sexual music.

Final Day (Sunday)

Another band still rocking the stages, but having suffered from numerous lineup changes, is Ozzy Osbourne. While Ozzy is still, obviously, a part of the band my choice in this instance would involve deceased guitarist Randy Rhoads. The man died in a tragic plane crash in 1982 and never got to fulfill his full potential both with Ozzy and as a musician, being only 25 at the time of his death.

So I’d invite him back to the stage to play at Six StringsFest, so I could experience something that I wouldn’t ever have the chance to.

And then to wrap up the weekend’s headliners, Kiss would take the stage with a slew of proper rock songs, stage moves, pyrotechnics and performances of many tracks which are all a part of rock and roll history.

So guys, this is my perfect lineup. As I said before, let me know yours. Comment with your lineup and a few details of why. If I get enough good ones, I’ll do a follow up post with a few of the best. Get scribbling!

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.

</rant>

35 years and still rocking - Lemmy and the boys have still got it!

2010 marks Motorhead’s 35 years together as a band, and to commemerate this momentous date in metal history, the band will be playing 15 dates in the UK as part of their world-wide tour.

Starting on the 8th November this year, at the Music Hall in Aberdeen, Motorhead will make their way across Britain finishing up in Brighton on 28th November.

Tickets will cost £26 for all venues, excluding London which will cost £32.50 (plus any additional booking fees or postage costs for those ordering online).

Tickets go on sale as of tomorrow (19th March) so get buying quick – God only knows what these slips of rock and roll glory will cost once they reach the innevitable mark-up hell of eBay!

The dates are as follows:

  • Nov. 08 – Aberdeen, UK – Music Hall
  • Nov. 09 – Glasgow, UK – O2 Academy
  • Nov. 10 – Newcastle, UK – City Hall
  • Nov. 12 – Blackburn, UK – St. George’s Hall
  • Nov. 13 – Llandudno, UK – Arena
  • Nov. 15 – Derby, UK – Assembly Rooms
  • Nov. 16 – Manchester, UK – Apollo
  • Nov. 18 – Leicester, UK – De Montfort Hall
  • Nov. 19 – Bristol, UK – Colston Hall
  • Nov. 21 – Southampton, UK – Guildhall
  • Nov. 22 – Cambridge, UK – Corn Exchange
  • Nov. 24 – Wolverhampton, UK – Civic
  • Nov. 25 – Leeds, UK – O2 Academy
  • Nov. 27 – London, UK – Brixton O2 Academy
  • Nov. 28 – Brighton, UK – Centre

Source: Metal Hammer