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!

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Find out what's been blasting through my speakers over the past week!

Welcome to Tom’s Pick Of The Week – something which I’m hoping will become a bit of a regular weekly post over here at Six Strings And A Pick.

I’m not sure whether it’s because, so far, this blog has been lacking in personal touch (I’ve very much just been reporting news) or whether it’s because nothing really happens in the music biz over the weekend in terms of press output and I just don’t like seeing my stats chart take a nosedive when there’s nothing to report.

Whichever makes me look better. I think the personal thing does, so we’ll go with that!

Basically, each weekend I’ll sum up my week’s listening in a nice Top 5 of stand-out songs, and why they’re so killer. You folk will appreciate it more than the friends on my Facebook list will appreciate being bombarded with status updates on why what I’m listening to is better than what they’re listening to.

Not that I’m intolerant or anything.

This kind brings me to my number one… (So here comes my first top 5, folks – expect future posts to be lacking in the past few pars of waffle!)

(CLICK HERE TO READ MY PICK OF THE WEEK…)

You'll have to be quick to be able to grab one of these rare bad boys

This year Ibanez will be celebrating the 20th anniversary of  seven-string guitars, through the release of the highly limited 1990 Reissue Universe, with its number one endorsee, Steve Vai.

The uniquely ‘swirled’ seven-string guitars will be available in “highly limited numbers” according to Ibanez (though they have yet to reveal how ‘highly’ they mean) and are replicas of the many models Mr Vai had made for him in 1990.

Sporting the amazing paint-swirl design that epitomises the trippy creativity that Steve Vai is so famous for, the guitar features a basswood body, rosewood fingerboard, five-piece maple neck and a slightly tapered ‘C’ shape to the neck contour.

On the hardware side of things this seven-stringed sensation is loaded with two DiMarzio BLAZE humbuckers (in the bridge and neck positions) and a single-coil version in the middle pickup. Topped off with a Ibanez Low-Pro floating bridge, the guitar really opens up loads of playing possibilities.

These psychadelic axes are the holy grail for Steve Vai fans

A video released on Steve Vai’s official YouTube channel tells the story of how he collaborated with the guitar giant 20 years ago. In it, he explains how he stumbled across the idea of a seven-string purely by accident.

“I was sitting in a room with one of the guys from Ibanez and he was telling me about a guitar he had that had eight strings, and I said […] ‘Seven strings I can understand’ and it was then I thought up the idea of putting a seventh string on a guitar.”

Steve goes on to say how the mere idea of a seven string, and particularly when he finally had some killer prototypes in his hands, really opened up a huge number of possibilities in his playing.

Some of which are incredibly apparent on the album he was recording at the time, Passion And Warfare.

Check out the video, as well as the product page on the Ibanez Japan website and the cool ‘1987-2010 JEM & Universe Chronicle’ which let’s you feast you eyes on Steve Vai’s immense array of guitars over the past 23 years.

Given the highly limited nature of these axes, and the way they’re produced, they’re not gonna be cheap so you best get saving now!

Fancy soaking up some of the Steve Vai magic? Then look no further!

That’s right, folks, legendary guitarist and melter of faces Steve Vai will be gracing our shores to give a master class at London’s Guitar Nation Festival in May.

The neck-shredding extrodinaire will be teaching budding guitarists on creativity and “what you need to know to move yourself forward and reach that higher plain as a musician”. Sounds awesome, doesn’t it? To be taught by one of the greatest axe masters in guitar history!

Tickets for the event, taking place at the London Olympia on the 8th and 9th of May, are on sale now, so grab them while you can!

For more information about what else is going down at the festival that weekend, visit the Guitar Nation website.

Other appearances include Whitesnake bassist Bill Murray and master classes on finding your sound featuring Phil Beaumont from Orange amps, so if Mr. Vai isn’t enough then there’s plenty on offer.

Grab your tickets before they sell out!

Sources: Steve Vai Official Website, Guitar Nation 2010 Website