Friday, 21 December 2012

Best of 2012

At the end of 2011, I said to myself I really should start to cut down on the amount of gigs I go to. I love live music but there’s only so much a man of my means can afford. In 2010, I went to 11 gigs (and a festival). In 2011, I went to 16 gigs (and 3 weekend festivals and one day at Download). In 2012, I went to 35 gigs (and 2 weekend festivals). So much for cutting back! I’ve made the same objective for 2013, I suspect it’ll be a lot easier to cut back from 35 but we shall see I guess. Previous “best gig” lists that have appeared on this blog have appeared in different forms. The 2011 post was top 5 gigs and top 5 festival slots. This post will be more extensive as it will be top 10 gigs from 2012 and in a separate list, the top 10 bands from their festival slots from this year as well.

Top 10 Gigs 2012

Going to 35 gigs and narrowing it down to 10 is really quite tough. There are a number of gigs that almost made it in the top 10. The following list is in chronological order – the honourable mentions.
·         Edguy – O2 Islington Academy, London 04/02/2012
·         Skindred/Therapy? – O2 Brixton Academy, London 13/04/2012
·         Cancer Bats – Relentless Garage (Upstairs), London 21/04/2012
·         Ginger Wildheart – Club Academy, Manchester 02/06/2012
·         Halestorm – Wedgewood Rooms, Portsmouth 30/09/2012
·         Alice Cooper – Bournemouth International Centre, Bournemouth 27/10/2012
·         Billy Talent – Pyramids Centre, Portsmouth 16/11/2012
·         Therapy? – Wedgewood Rooms, Portsmouth 06/12/2012
All of those gigs were really good, but the top 10 gigs of 2012 for me were really quite special. In reverse order, this is my top 10. If I have written a review about them, I will copy and paste from the review. If I haven’t, I will write a short blurb on my memories from the gig. I’ve been a bit lax this year writing reviews so I suspect a lot of my words will be new.

10.          Black Stone Cherry – Concorde 2, Brighton 12/07/2012

In preparation for a couple of festival slots, Black Stone Cherry played a handful of small gigs in the UK and one of them was in Brighton at the Concorde 2. They played their festival set with a few extras thrown in as it was a headline show. I first saw BSC in 2007 at the Wedgewood Rooms and they were superb that night, and they are just getting better and better as a live band and this was evident when watching them in the Concorde 2. The atmosphere was electric throughout the entire show (aside from maybe when they played “Things My Father Said” but considering the song, that does make sense). The set closed out on a cover of Muddy Waters “Hoochie Coochie Man”, “Blame It On The Boom Boom” and “Lonely Train” which was an excellent end to a superb gig. I’d be very surprised to see Black Stone Cherry in that size venue again, and I’m sure the intimate nature of this gig is one of the reasons I have included it in the top 10.

9.             Judas Priest – Hammersmith Apollo, London 26/05/2012

This gig was the second time I had caught Judas Priest on the Epitaph tour. The first time was at Wacken 2011 where I thought they started off quite slow but improved vastly after I returned to watching them (took a break to see Sirenia). I had concerns that it would be same this time that they would start slow. Before Judas Priest though, it was Saxon. Saxon had about an hour set which I thought was quite generous for a support slot but I was pleased with it. I was even more pleased with the fact that Saxon’s set was stunning. I’d seen them previously but never were they as good as they were on this day (they somehow managed to top this set at Wacken 2012). Judas Priest had to do something quite special in order to better Saxon, and put simply, they managed it without struggling. I wondered at the time whether being indoors suits Judas Priest better than being at a festival as there was no slow start this time. This set was essentially a best of Judas Priest set and it was outstanding. One thing which irked me at Wacken happened again at Hammersmith though. The crowd taking over vocal duties on “Breaking The Law”. I like that song, I’d quite like to hear Rob Halford sing it! Despite having to leave early, what I saw of this gig earned it a spot in the top 10. A superb Saxon and even better Judas Priest? Excellent night of live rock!

8.             Pulp – Royal Albert Hall, London 31/03/2012

I think from a personal perspective, Pulp had an awful lot to do in order to save this gig. Cat’s Eyes were the support and I think I drifted off to sleep (impressive considering I was standing). Pulp, however, were superb. Seeing Pulp indoors made for a better environment than seeing them at Reading (even though that set was also superb). It was also cool to hear them play some different songs than they did at Reading. One thing I remember very well from this gig was a moment of crowd participation. As everyone entered the Royal Albert Hall, we were handed key rings in the shape of a guitar with the Teenage Cancer Trust logo on. These key rings were also torches. I thought nothing of it at the time but during one of the songs, all the lights in the Hall were switched off and everyone with a key ring switched on their torches, making it look like there were stars all over the venue. It was a really cool moment. The gig finished on Disco 2000 which is my favourite Pulp song, so I was happy with that.

7.             Guns N’Roses – Manchester Arena, Manchester 29/05/2012

GnR were superb. I am so glad that they were as good as they were. I really like GnR and I hated the fact the only things I could say about the one time that I’d seen them live were bad. I can now turn around to people and say that GnR are well worth your money and time, which they are. I've seen people ask why fans still support Axl Rose and buy into his self-perceived idea of how a "rock star" should behave. I was one of those people. Now I get it. Last night’s show was outstanding. Axl Rose was near 100% in terms of his voice and how good he sounded which was a main concern of mine. Within 2 songs that concern was gone.  I think I mentioned it earlier but there was only one song where I thought his vocals didn’t hold up, and that was during the quick part of You Could Be Mine. One small part of one song from a 3 hour set – oh well. All in, it was a superb gig. I still don't like the need for the extended solos (I've no problem with the band members solo songs with them on vocals). I also still don't think starting a gig at 11.10pm is a good thing. I really enjoyed the gig and would pay to go see them again (but again, the clouds would have to align in order for me to be able to do it). I felt like I was gambling on seeing GnR after Download 2006, and I now feel like that gamble paid off. Now, I know that seeing them at their own show is a safe bet for a great night/early morning.

6.             Rammstein – O2 Arena, London 24/02/2012

This gig was nothing short of outstanding. From the opening entrance through the crowd to the very end it was stunning. The stage show I have done my best to describe but my words alone cannot do it justice. Rammstein's show blows anything else on the live circuit out of the water. Performance wise they were tight as ever. Overall, tonight shows why Rammstein are selling out the O2 Arena. I am beyond happy to have seen this show and this setlist. I will close with some well chosen words from The Quietus, who also discussed the week where the O2 hosted both The Brits and Rammstein (I hope their prediction is correct).

“Above all though, tonight - and indeed Rammstein’s very existence - proves ultimately that if you show people innovation, not contrived homogenised crap, if you show people dedication and talent, not auto-tuned flash-in-the-pans, you can make something of both commercial and artistic value. We won’t be staring at Ed Sheeran’s hair in 12 months time, but we’ll certainly be staring at Til Lindemann’s fake ejaculating penis for at least the next 10 to 15 years.”

5.             Refused – The Forum, London 12/08/2012

Before 2012 started, I knew very little of Refused. I knew the song “New Noise” and the song “Liberation Frequency”. They were announced as second stage headliners for Sonisphere 2012 before it got cancelled and because they were playing a festival I wasn’t going to, I didn’t look into them much. However, Sonisphere got cancelled and they got added on to the Download 2012 line up. I then researched them more and realised how much I liked their stuff. I watched them at Download ahead of seeing Megadeth and before the first song had ended, I knew I made the right decision. I actually remember saying to a friend after seeing the advert for this gig “I probably won’t go” and then saw them at Download and that instantly changed to “ok I’m going to see them in London”. That decision was a good one. The set contained a few more songs than their festival sets but it was still so good. I am hoping they do another reunion tour because even without new material, it would be so worth seeing.

4.             The Wildhearts – The Forum, London 17/12/2012

Before I went in to this gig, I felt it was going to be one of my gigs of the year. I was very late to The Wildhearts party, getting into them early 2008. I saw them on their Chutzpah tour in 2009 and I remember leaving that gig in such a good mood and telling every friend I saw that evening (who hadn’t gone) just how good it was. I remember being gutted that I couldn’t make the Xmess tour in 2009 and then even more so when the band went on hiatus after that. However in 2010, I saw Ginger solo for the first time and that gig was almost as good as my first Wildhearts experience, if not better. Since then, I’ve seen Ginger solo as often as I can afford (including full band and acoustic shows) and at festivals. I’ve never left a Ginger gig disappointed. The only thing I’d not done was attended a birthday show. From what I’ve heard of previous birthday shows, they have long set lists and have varying special guests coming up to do some of their own songs or different ways of doing Ginger/Wildhearts songs. This gig was a birthday show, but a bit different from previous birthday shows. This one had Ginger’s solo band as the support band, and The Wildhearts headlining.

Ginger’s set started with him alone on stage playing the beginning to “Just Another Song About Someone” and band members were coming out one by one to join him and play along with the song. After this opening came the first of two new songs (most of the set was comprised of songs released in 2012, but what I mean is really new songs) from the Ginger/Victoria Liedtke project Hey! Hello! The song was “How I Survived The Punk Wars” which I thought was great anyway but live it is excellent. After this song was a crowd favourite in the form of “Girls Are Better Than Boys”. A triple pack of 555% was up next with “Taste Aversion”, “Forget About It” and “Confusion” and another song from Hey! Hello! – “Swimwear” The set finished up with a cover of Cheap Trick’s “surrender” and a Silver Ginger 5 song – “Sonic Shake”. For these last two songs, the band were joined on stage by Clam Abuse band mate Alex Kane. This was an excellent set. It was great to hear some Hey! Hello! live.

A big black curtain was draped over the stage, and after a short while. The house lights went off and you could hear the opening notes of “Nothing Changes But The Shoes” which was an ace opener. One funny moment did happen when the black curtain came down and took out the microphone stands. It would have been perfectly excusable if the set list was a “best of” from this point onwards but there were a few songs thrown in that I can only assume were unexpected (another song from the first EP was played and a couple of B Sides were played). The absolute highlight of the set for me was the trio of Mazel Tov Cocktail, Caffeine Bomb and Suckerpunch.  The main set closed with “29x The Pain” and “Love U Till I Don’t” which was a superb pair of closing songs before the encore.

The encore kicked off with “Nita Nitro” which was very well received (not that the rest of the set hadn’t been, but the introduction of this song got a very loud roar from the crowd). At the conclusion of this song, Ginger introduced his son Jake on stage and he came out with Ginger’s manager Gav and other people to sing Happy Birthday. After the birthday wishes, The Wildhearts + Jake played “Vanilla Radio” which was awesome. We started to get some more guests on stage at this point. Ginger took over on drums as Kavus Torabi, Chris Catalyst and Dom Lawson came out to play a Cardiacs song (“Is This The Life”) with Jon Poole on vocals. After that, the band covered a Jason & The Scorchers song – “White Lies” with Warner E Hodges from the band joining them on stage. He stayed on stage and was joined by former Wildhearts guitarist Jef Streatfield for a rendition of “My Baby Is A Headfuck”. The solo responsibilities for this song were handed by Warner E Hodges, with Ginger bowing in front of him. For the final song, Warner and Jef stayed on stage and were joined Jake, Rich Jones, Alex Kane, Hot Steve and Victoria Liedtke. The last song was “I Wanna Go Where The People Go” and it was such a superb way to finish what had been a fantastic gig.

3.             Faith No More – Hammersmith Apollo, London 08/07/2012

I remember being really gutted when Faith No More got announced for Sonisphere 2012. I wanted to see them at Download 2009 but couldn’t get the funds together to go. Now they were back on their second leg of their reunion and as they were headlining the Sunday, I wouldn’t be able to go for the day due to work. Also, just thinking about this now, but Refused and FNM close to a festival? My word.  Anyway, Sonisphere 2012 got cancelled and bands that were playing made alternative arrangements. Faith No More announced 2 London gigs including one at Hammersmith Apollo. I arrived at the venue slightly before the support had finished and saw Mike Patton singing with them, so that was kinda cool. The next hour was waiting. I’m not sure if there were technical problems or they waited an hour to build up tension. If it was the latter, it worked because as they came out on stage, the atmosphere was incredible. They worked a snippet of Tom Jones’ “Delilah” into the opening song “Woodpeckers From Mars” which was great and then played “Midlife Crisis”. I had to leave early to make sure I got my train. This gig would have been Number One on the list had I been able to stay until the end and hear them play “We Care A Lot”. Alas.

2.             Green Day – O2 Shepherds Bush Empire, London 23/08/2012

On the 10th August, I had a ticket to see Less Than Jake in a small club in London on the 23rd August. Sometimes announcements are made which make you think twice. Green Day announced they were playing London on the same night. This would have been my first time seeing Green Day so I had to go. I’ve heard nothing but good things about Green Day live so I was excited, despite not knowing what they were going to play (aside from testing some of their new material out). They did test some new material out and it was very good live. Aside from the new material, the rest of the setlist was essentially a best of Green Day set, which I was very happy about. Early on, the set had “Welcome To Paradise”, “Burnout” and “Know Your Enemy” in a row which was ace. I could talk about all the highlights from this gig but I’d probably be here for a very long time. I will mention towards the end they did a jam/melody in which they played “Teenage Kicks”, “Stand By Me” and “Hey Jude” by The Undertones, Ben E King and The Beatles respectively which was ace. Closing out on “American Idiot” and “99 Revolutions” , Green Day signed off triumphantly and it was an outstanding gig. I’m going to see them again next year doing a stadium show, which I’m sure will be superb, but they’ll will have to do something really special to top the intimacy of this show (strange thing to say that a gig held in a 2000 cap venue as intimate, but it was!)

1.             Metallica – Stade De France, Paris 12/05/2012

No words I type can sum up the level of excitement which runs through me as soon as The Ecstasy of Gold starts. 9th time be damned, in that environment, it gives me Goosebumps every time! The famous video finished and the song died down and out on stage were Metallica! I could go now and talk through each song but I will talk about some personal highlights. I love the opening combo of Hit the Lights and Master of Puppets. They are songs you wouldn’t expect to open the set with but it just works. It was the same opening to Sonisphere last year and it’s excellent. On the other European dates before this one, the 3rd song was due to be The Shortest Straw (same as Sonisphere again) which I was fine with. However, as the final notes of Puppets finished, Hetfield came to the microphone again and said “Paris....NO REMORSE!” which was immense as I hadn’t seen that song live since 2008. For Whom the Bell Tolls is always awesome live. The 5th song had been changing up throughout the tour but it seemed to be one of Blackened, Battery or Fight Fire with Fire. I was hoping for Battery but we got something completely unexpected. “From Beyond Magnetic...this is Hell and Back!” I was blown away as I didn’t think I’d ever see a Beyond Magnetic song live but also because I love Hell and Back!

There was a video introducing The Black Album with some facts about the album and some old clips. The whole performance of it was solid. Sandman, as always was superb. It was great hearing stuff off the album I’d never heard live before like The God That Failed, The Struggle Within and Through the Never (specifically). It was great hearing The Unforgiven and Wherever I May Roam as I’d not heard those live in over 5 years. All in all, the Black Album live was stunning. The direct result of going to this gig is that I have a lot more love for the Black Album than I did beforehand. Now, The God That Failed is one of my go-to Metallica songs, when previously it wasn’t.

It was then time for the “encore” which was a minute before a very familiar backing tape started up. After a lot of looks around the crowd to see if everyone could hear what I was hearing, it turned out I wasn’t going mad, and Metallica were about to kick off the encore with Battery! It was absolutely....yeah! I have no words for just how good it was. The band then disappeared and the trademark fireworks went off to signify that One was about to be played. What happened while One played though will stay with me for a long time. There was an absolutely stunning laser show. No, I mean absolutely stunning. I can’t find a good video of it from Paris, so here is one from 
Belgrade. Just mind-blowing. The set finished with the old favourite Seek and Destroy and we all went home a happy bunch of people. See, I said earlier I wasn’t going to talk about every song and I didn’t. I just talked about my highlights. There were a lot of them.

I went to a lot of good gigs and that list was tough. It may not come as a surprise to anyone that has read any gig lists or anything of mine previously that Metallica topped that list. But, here is a list they didn’t top, and that is my top 10 festival sets of 2012. No honourable mentions this time. Just the top 10 with the words copied from the relevant festival reviews.

10.          Anti-Nowhere League – Download 2012

Really didn’t know what to expect from this set and truthfully, only went to see them so I didn’t have to watch all of Steel Panthers set. I’d only heard one song by them and that was the original version of So What. Before they got to So What, which closed the set, they played an absolutely stunning set. They played songs called Streets of London, Woman, I Hate People and We’re The League – all of which were superb. They were a real surprise package for me but I’m so glad to have seen them.

9.             Testament - Wacken 2012

Testament owned the stage. Blasting through several tracks from their brand new album while still playing other newer material and classic songs, this made for a stunning set. Testament is a great live band on their worst day, and this seemed to be one of their best days. Towards the end of their set, they paid tribute to Randy Blythe, lead singer of Lamb of God who has recently been incarcerated in the Czech Republic on charges of manslaughter. By far and away, Testament’s set was the best on Saturday.

8.             Dropkick Murphys – Download 2012

This set was awesome. The sun was starting to drop as they played and it was just a party atmosphere. They are a really fun band to see and I am glad I chose to see them over Soundgarden, who I’ve heard nothing but bad things about. Their cover of AC/DCs TNT was excellent as well

7.             Edguy – Download 2012

This band are just outstanding. This set was only 30mins and they were one of the best bands of the weekend. The atmosphere in the tent was immense. Tobi is another superb front man although his jokes and talking were scaled down a bit (there was a penalties joke and he admitted to being a Bayern Munich fan). All I can really say is they were stunning – come back soon Edguy!

6.             Refused – Download 2012

Absolutely superb. I’ve got nothing bad to say about this set whatsoever. I had listened to some Refused before the set and really liked what I heard but live it is so much better. New Noise was actually stunning.

5.             Dimmu Borgir – Wacken 2012

The main reason for coming back into the arena though was to see something really quite special, as Dimmu Borgir (10) were the main act of the day and they were performing with an orchestra (Czech national if memory serves) and a choir. I saw Dimmu barely fit on a little stage in a 450 capacity room in Manchester, so to see them on such a grand scale was quite something for me. Their music really sounded good when they played with the orchestra and choir. The orchestra/choir also played Dimmu songs without the band which sounded superb as well. All in all, this was a really unique and fantastic set, making symphonic black metal bigger and bolder than it had ever been before.

4.             Saxon – Wacken 2012

Saxon signalled their intentions early on to rock the shit out of Wacken by kicking off with Heavy Metal Thunder. It must be a real challenge for Saxon to put together a setlist for a 90 minute show considering how much material they actually have, and Biff Byford actually said when putting the draft setlist together, they did not include Crusader (which they then played). The set consisted of songs from throughout their legendary career and I often found myself wondering “how is this band not huge in the UK?” It is something I still do not know the answer to. Their 40th anniversary is coming up in 2016. I wouldn’t be shocked to see them back at Wacken for an anniversary show then, if that isn’t the final one. That would also be really cool to be at. 

3.             Metallica – Download 2012

Another superb set from Metallica. They really were outstanding. The setlist was the same structure of the one I saw in Paris (which makes sense as it’s on the same tour) but much like Paris, there was a surprise thrown in there. Song 3 over the tour has been Shortest Straw or Fuel but in Paris we got No Remorse. At Download, we got the tour debut of The Four Horsemen which was immense for me as I hadn’t seen it since Wembley in 2007. The atmosphere in the crowd was electric throughout the entire set which certainly aided the enjoyment of the night. During Nothing Else Matters I joined a circle of random people swaying and signing the song. It was a great moment. I should say at this stage I was using an umbrella as a walking stick, which was in the middle of the circle. A random female used it as a stripper pole and a random man used it as an air guitar – both uses were very funny. I opted to depart at the beginning of One and listened to the rest of the set list on the walk back to the campsite – not because it was bad but because I was in pain. Metallica were on top form at Download and long may they continue coming back to the UK. 

2.             Volbeat – Wacken 2012

I had already booked a ticket for Wacken 2012 long before Volbeat were announced (now I’m thinking about it, long before I’d actually been to their London headline show) so when they were announced in a major slot, I was delighted. Their set consisted of the very best of their material, a new song and some awesome special guests. During 7 Shots, the band were joined by Michael Denner (Mercyful Fate guitarist) and Mille Petrozza which was cool (first time seeing Mille on stage without a guitar!) and for Evelyn, much like when I saw them in London, they were joined on stage by Barney Greenway from Napalm Death. Volbeat are a top quality live band and proved it once again with this set. Michael Poulsen announced that Volbeat had just received a Platinum record for their sales in Germany, which was a cool moment. The set closed on their cover of Dusty Springfield’s I Only Wanna Be With You, Pool of Booze, Booze, Booza and Still Counting. After a quick blast through the intro to Raining Blood, they left the stage triumphantly. It really was an outstanding set from Volbeat

1.             Black Sabbath – Download 2012

I believe the only words I could say during the set were “wow” and “...Black Sabbath!” It was outstanding. Ozzy’s voice sounded better than it was at Wacken, which impressed me as I thought it was good there. The band was just in superb form. There was something so special about seeing Ozzy, Tony and Geezer playing these iconic songs. It could be that I never thought I would see them performed live by Black Sabbath (I’m sure someone will read this and say “Bill Ward wasn’t there!” which is true, he wasn’t. However, he wasn’t missed. At least not by me). When Ozzy first introduced Tony Iommi, the ovation he got was deafening. Throughout the show the band all seem genuinely moved by the reaction they were receiving which is understandable as the crowd from front to back were just on. I am just throwing superlatives and praise at this set but that is what it deserves – it was a superb closing to the festival and I walked away so happy that I had seen them. Their set and the festival concluded with a pretty awesome fireworks display.

2012 has been a fantastic year for me in terms of live music. I got to see my all time favouyrite band another two times, I got to tick another band off the bucket list in Green Day, and saw a band I never thought I would see live in Black Sabbath. Will 2013 be as good? I don't think it will, but we shall see. It is impossible to know at this stage what is going to happen, and I quite like that

Tuesday, 18 December 2012

Knock Knock...

Who’s there?
The FA....

Once again, the FA is the punch line of the joke. The FA has managed to cover themselves in glory this week with their ruling about Marouane Fellaini. To quickly recap for those who didn’t see the incident, or even know about it, in the game between Everton and Stoke, on top of other incidents, Fellaini head butted Ryan Shawcross. The head butt was not seen by the officials and Fellaini did not receive punishment during the game for this. Following the match, David Moyes did the absolute right thing and said that there was no excuse that kind of action on the pitch and that Fellaini deserved to be banned. To be fair, if anyone came to Fellaini’s defence after seeing this, they would seriously need their head examined (and no, not with a head butt!)

Violent conduct on the pitch, depending on the nature of the conduct, carries a wide variety of punishments. Now, I figured Fellaini would be hit with a huge fine and a lengthy ban for this head butt. In my mind, that’s the very least he deserved. What actually happened though is he accepted the charge and received a 3 game suspension. Yeah, that is pathetic. A 3 game suspension for attacking Shawcross in a way that could have left him seriously injured or dead is just ridiculous. What a terrible message to send to football supporters. The reason given for why he received a 3 game ban is that had the officials seen the attack, he would have been red carded. The other alleged offences (I say alleged because I haven’t seen them) were not deemed worthy of punishment and therefore ignored.

It is instances like this which turn me off from the sport of football, a sport I once adored. I struggle to put up with this sort of rubbish. Personally, I would have gone above the referee’s head and looked at the other instances. After all, the officials had already said they didn’t see the main issue in this disciplinary – what’s to say they clearly saw the others? I would have then given him an indefinite ban and passed the case over to the Crown Prosecution Service and suggested they start criminal proceedings. Look, why should Fellaini not face prosecution for that sort of behaviour when if a person on a busy street did that, they would. I also would have given him a large fine. Fining a footballer £25-50k is utterly pointless when most Premier League footballers earn that in a week. I’d guess Fellaini is on a similar amount, if not more. Fine him about £500k. That would show him that sort of behaviour is unacceptable and it might cause him to think twice before he “loses his head” again.

The FA will never get properly tough with footballers though, and that is why I’m falling out of love with football. But this whole post isn’t about a negative outlook on sport. This weekend, BBC Sports Personality of the Year (SPOTY) was crowned. I blogged about it before and guessed the 10 people who would make the shortlist. Then the BBC announced that the shortlist would contain 12 names. Those 12 were:

·         Nicola Adams
·         Ben Ainslie
·         Jessica Ennis
·         Mo Farah
·         Katherine Grainger
·         Sir Chris Hoy
·         Rory McIllroy
·         Andy Murray
·         Ellie Simmonds
·         Sarah Storey
·         David Weir
·         Bradley Wiggins

That is quite a short list. I said in my blog I thought Andy Murray might win, and I voted for him on the night (more than once). He in fact finished third with 14.17% of the vote. Jessica Ennis finished 2nd with 22.92% of the vote but in first place with nearly a third of all votes cast (30.25%) was Bradley Wiggins.  Wiggins is a very deserving SPOTY who according to reports out today, will be knighted in the New Year. Again, he is completely deserving of this honour. One thing that BBC SPOTY reminded us all is that 2012 has been such a superb year of sport. 2013 won’t be as good for the simple fact there is no Olympics or Rugby World Cup, but still, it can still be good!

Sunday, 18 November 2012

Download 2013: Further Bands

It was about this time last year that Download had released all 3 of their headliners for the 2012 festival and I was frothing at the mouth. Ok, I didn’t actually froth but I was very happy with the announcement of Prodigy, Metallica and Black Sabbath. Roll on a year later and Download has not only announced their 3 headliners for the 2013 installment but has also announced a further batch of bands. For me the announcement was quite mixed in terms of personal enjoyment. Following the initial announcement, another band has been added (although I think that was due to a self confirmation). This is the announcement for Download 2013, plus my thoughts on the whole thing.

30 Seconds To Mars – I caught the second half of their set at Reading 2011 after watching Noah and the Whale. I did not like what I saw. I thought it was really quite boring. I just listened back now to studio recordings of them, I find them dull. I appreciate why they have been booked for Download and cannot argue with their stage positioning (although I’d have been much happier with them being 2nd stage headliners) but I’m not a fan. 30 Seconds To Mars being on before Rammstein puts me in a tough spot as I’d like a decent spot for Rammstein but I really could do without seeing them again.

A Day To Remember – I had never listened to this band before they were announced for Download despite them being recommended to me. I have listened to some of their material now and I like what I hear. It almost appears to be a blend of a variety of genres which works quite well. Again, me seeing them depends on a clash but as I’ve not seen them before, and I like what I hear, it could well happen.

Alice In Chains – Saw them unknowingly at Download 2006. Walked round from Devildriver and saw the last song or two of Arch Enemy (I think) and they were on before Stone Sour. On reflection, I wish I’d stayed at the second stage after Devildriver as according to the poster, Henry Rollins was up next (although I have a vague recollection Wicked Wisdom did another set – maybe seeing AiC was better for all involved). Anyway, I found AiC to be a little boring. Some stuff I enjoyed, but the set felt like it dragged. I could have seen them at Sonisphere 2010 and 2011 but opted not to. I will give them another chance this time around if they are not clashing with anyone.

HIM – I used to detest this band. Then again I used to detest a lot of bands that I now like. However, HIM is not a band I like. They are ok. I could go on about them but I really don’t need to. They are headlining the 3rd stage on the Friday, which means they clash with Slipknot. Sorry HIM, you lose.

Motorhead – A safe, predictable announcement but one that I am fine with. Saw them on the 2012 installment of the inevitable November tour and they were really good. They are better indoors than at festivals, but it is always good to hear the big songs like Overkill and Ace of Spades live. Not sure if they’ll have a new album out then, but if not, a 40 minute set packed with classics works well with me.  

Queens of the Stone Age – I think I saw maybe 3 or 4 songs of QOTSA when I saw them at Rock AM Ring. I can’t remember if it was because they were on late (as in late in the day) or they were the last band of a very tiring weekend (really long walks every day to the festival site, which in itself was not small). Anyway, they were good live from what I remember and I look forward to seeing them again. As I understand it (from Andy Copping’s Twitter), the top 4 on the Saturday are Iron Maiden, QOTSA, Motorhead and AiC. With that in mind, I will hopefully grab a good spot for all the bands and stick with main stage. Short of announcing Kiss (a rumour, not just a random band), to headline second stage prior to Iron Maiden starting, I can’t see me missing QOTSA.

The Gaslight Anthem – Gaslight are another band that I never listened to before their announcement. I frequent the Download Festival Forums where there is a lot of love for Gaslight. I can’t claim to share the love for them, but I do like what I’ve heard. I originally thought they were a tad dull but I am enjoying them with more and more listens. Definition of a grower right there! Anyway, I am looking forward to seeing them. I suspect they would win a clash with another band I want to see (subject to it not being an absolute favourite band, and I can’t see that happening). According to Andy Copping on Twitter, the top 3 for Sunday is Rammstein, 30STM and Gaslight.

Volbeat – I am so very happy with this announcement. They only did one European date in 2012 and that was Wacken (which I was at, and it was awesome). They are superb live and have fast become one of my favourite bands. I am still hoping for a full UK tour (with a Portsmouth date, seeing as the last one got cancelled!) but a Download appearance is something I am very happy with. I suspect they’ll have a new album out by then (they played a new song at Wacken which sounded good). They are on the second stage on Friday, which means the other bands that clash with them lose. Simple as that really!

So that is the announcement for Download 2013 and we now know a little more about how the festival is shaping up. Is it as good as last years? At the moment I would say no, but it is still early days and there will be more announcements to help make that decision. They are some great bands lined up for next year, along with some bands I will probably watch. And also 30 Seconds To Mars, which goes to show you can’t win them all. 

What do I want to see added for Download 2013 now? Well, I seem to recall some discussion with Ginger saying if The Wildhearts were offered the 2nd stage headline slot at Download, they would reform. I’d love to see that (against Slipknot would be my preference). I’d quite like to see Henry Rollins added for another spoken word set. He is always fun live. Looking at other festivals around the same time, I am expecting to see the following bands get announced:

Airbourne, Amon Amarth, Bad Religion, Bring Me The Horizon, Coal Chamber, Five Finger Death Punch, Korn, Simple Plan, Stone Sour, Within Temptation. I am also wondering if there is any truth to this rumour about Kiss headlining the second stage. They’re in Europe that weekend after all.... 

Sunday, 7 October 2012

Talking Points #01

This is a new style of blog for me. Normally, or at least for the last year or so, I’ve found a topic and wrote a blog about this. This blog and future ones like it will be various talking points that have emerged. The thing to note at this point is I’ll be talking about things I either have some knowledge about, or I have an opinion on. There might just be one or two topics some times, and sometimes there maybe be five or six – it really depends what is going on. With that in mind, this is the first one, and there are five topics. I will sometimes include an odd story at the end although I don’t suppose I’ll have much of an opinion on that.

The first topic is one that is really very sad and that is the disappearance of April Jones from the small town of Machynlleth in Wales. There is not a massive amount I can say about this one other than passing on my best wishes to the family and hoping that April will be found alive and well. However it has to be said as each day passes; I am losing faith in that outcome. A man, Mark Bridger, has now been charged with her murder which indicates that the police don’t expect to find her alive. He has also been charged with perverting the courts of justice and child abduction – so if April is found alive, Bridger could still be punished if it is proven he is responsible for this evil crime. I just can’t imagine what goes through someone’s head just before they snatch, or try to snatch a child. This must be such a horrible time for April’s family and close family friends, but I can’t imagine the pain they must be suffering, knowing the only person arrested and charged was friends with April’s father. I said it earlier, but my thoughts are with her family and I really hope that she is found alive and well.  

Since last weekend (I think) and throughout this week, there has been a lot of talk regarding Jimmy Saville and the allegations that during his time at the BBC, he sexually assaulted teenage girls. Truth be told, I never really knew a great deal about Jimmy Saville before he died. I had heard about his charity works and that he was a little strange (keeping his deceased mother’s room [The Duchess’s Room] perfectly intact for example). I learned more about the man watching the Louis Theroux meets special about him. When the news first came out, I was surprised about it but the more I thought about it, and the more I thought about the information in the Louis Theroux show, it then occurred to me that perhaps this wasn’t so surprising. He discussed never having a girlfriend in the show. I remember not thinking much about it at the time but thinking back on it now, maybe the real reason for this was because he just wasn’t interested in being with a woman who was of age enough for her to be his girlfriend. I’m merely speculating here and I don’t know anything for sure. Other people have been implicated in this story now. Names such as Gary Glitter, Jonathan King and Freddie Starr have been dragged into this story. Are all these allegations true? It is hard to say.

What has come out of this story is that people high up in the BBC were more than aware of these allegations and may have had a hand in covering them up (one source even implicates them in adding and abetting them). That to me is shocking if that’s true and the BBC will have a lot of questions to answer. On Thursday’s BBC Question Time, Janet Street-Porter discussed how she knew about the allegations surrounding Jimmy Saville and others. She also discussed how she thought the women affected did not come forward as Jimmy Saville would/could hide behind his charity work and they would end up being thought of as liars. When discussing the BBC, she said that she could have bought the allegations up but the environment was “totally male”. This view of the BBC during this time has been backed up by a former Radio 1 (current 6 Music) presenter Liz Kershaw. Kershaw claimed she was fondled while on air and when she complained, the people she complained to clearly thought she was either lying or exaggerating, and said “don’t you like it? Are you a lesbian?” Obviously, a lot has changed in the BBC (or at least, I assume it has) but this story could be very damaging to the Corporation. If the allegations about Saville are true, then short of his reputation being damaged, not a lot can happen now he has passed away. If the allegations about the other people who are still alive are true, I hope they get prosecuted. If the allegations made against the BBC are true, well I can’t imagine what will happen. Obviously there will need to be prosecutions and a large amount of apologies – but that will be too little, much too late. What this story has proven, if true, is that there are different rules for celebrities than for normal people – and that is quite a sick state of affairs.

Changing the subject completely now, Jeremy Hunt this week has come out and said he would support changing the abortion limit should be reduced from 24 weeks to 12 weeks. He said his view was his own and it had been reached because of evidence, not because of his religious belief. I heard this story and sighed until I saw that it was not a policy being adopted by the coalition government. Thankfully, they are not planning to make the change. I saw a few tweets on the matter which made me smile.

I don’t know what Jeremy Hunt was thinking making this claim. That is a very controversial opinion for the Health Secretary to have. Well, in my opinion it is controversial anyway. I personally am pro-choice when it comes to abortion and I think that it should be entirely the pregnant women’s decision. I heard an argument recently saying a man who does not want the child should also have a say but I’m not entirely sure I agree with that. Here’s the thing – my opinion on this is basically invalid. I’m allowed to have one, but it doesn’t and shouldn’t mean a great deal as it’s not me who will be having the abortion. In the same week, the Women’s minister, Maria Miller, said she should support the limit being reduced from 24 weeks to 20. According to Sky News, 91% of abortions take place before 12 weeks anyway, but I feel that reducing the limit much beyond 24 weeks could be problematic. I think Hunt really should have kept his opinion to himself on this issue and if asked, should have given the politicians answer – I support the government’s position on this policy. Yes, he would have been given stick for giving the politicians answer, but I suspect that would have gone away a lot quicker than the criticism for suggesting quite a controversial policy.

It has been a strange set of affairs that we are unable to deport/extradite people from our country freely, especially when they have been accused of committing a crime or advocating acts of terrorism. I wonder if we are restricted in our freedom to deport/extradite people because we are members of the EU. Based on the fact appeals have gone to the European Court of Human Rights, I would guess that it is. If so, just another reason to consider leaving as far as I am concerned. But I’m not here to be all euro-sceptic right now; I’m here to say that finally, Abu Hamza and others have been extradited to face trial in the USA for crimes dating back to 1999. It really shouldn’t have taken over 10 years to complete this but it doesn’t matter – it is done now. He has been extradited alongside Babar Ahmad, Syed Talha Ahsan, Khaled al Fawwaz and Adel Abdul Bary. Reading the list of charges against each man, I am amazed it has taken so long to extradite them and again stress I am pleased to see them go. I just hope that in future, if we have a person living here who openly wants to commit acts of terrorism on the people here or elsewhere, it won’t take so long for justice to be served.

Is anyone at this stage surprised that Ashley Cole isn’t an excellent person? The report relating to John Terry’s FA racism case was released in the week, in which they said that Ashley Cole’s evidence had “evolved”. Ashley Cole, furious at this, tweeted the following:

Which let’s face it, probably wasn’t smart. But then, he isn’t really. Or if he is, he hides it really well. I saw a fantastic comment on the whole situation. “I think people are over-reacting over this whole Ashley Cole situation. I mean, it is not as if he has shot someo....oh”. I have very little else to say on this matter without ripping off the article Henry Winter wrote about John Terry and Ashley Cole. So here it is -


“A graduate has found a job with a difference - working as a human scarecrow.Real-life Worzel Gummidge, 22-year-old Jamie Fox spends his days sitting, reading and strumming his ukulele.But he leaps into action when birds begin to circle, scaring them with his bright orange coat, accordion and cow bell.Mr Fox, who studied music and English at Bangor University, is halfway through a fortnight-long stint scaring partridges from a field of oilseed rape near Aylsham, Norfolk.” (Sky News)

Well, I can’t fault Jamie for wanting to work. It is a bit of a strange job granted, but it’s doing something different and earning money. I have just noticed he almost gets paid as much as me which makes me a little bit sad but no matter. Pretty cool story all around I think.

Saturday, 6 October 2012

Wacken Open Air 2013 - Early Days Preview

Wacken Open Air 2013 is sold out, and I will be in attendance for the 3rd year in a row. Sadly, I will be attending this festival alone, but no matter. They’ve announced a portion of the bands for the 2013 festival already and I will have a look at them now. Some of them were announced at the end of the 2012 festival, and some were announced in the last fortnight (ish). I will look at these in alphabetical order and just give a brief summary of what I think of them, and their announcement for Wacken 2013.

AMORPHIS – Before their announcement, Amorphis is a band I was not too familiar with. Following their announcement, I know a little more of their stuff. I am intrigued about how many different sub-genres of metal they cover (listening to a death metal song right now, but earlier I was listening to one of their more folk-metal songs). I’ve enjoyed what I’ve heard and hope to catch them. As I understand it, they will be doing a full band set and also a special acoustic show. I don’t know if both will be do-able but I certainly hope so.

ANTHRAX – Anthrax are a solid booking for any rock/metal festival. I’ve seen them twice at festivals and really enjoyed them both times. They were booked for Download 2012 and I missed them in favour of Edguy. I suspect that if they clash with someone else I want to see, the end result will likely be the same – however this is because I am seeing Anthrax support Motorhead in November. Still, if there is no clash, I will see them and I will really enjoy it.

ARCH ENEMY – Arch Enemy are another solid booking for Wacken and I am looking forward to seeing them in mainland Europe as opposed to the UK, where they are undoubtedly a bigger band. I really want to see a headline show by this band, but their Wacken set will likely be the longest set I’ll have seen them perform, so that will have to do for now. Also, it makes me happy that Michael Amott is in the country and at the festival. ¼ of Carcass is there – go on Wacken, do the right thing ;)

ASP – I’ve seen ASP be described as “gothic novel metal” and “German gothic rock”. Personally, I think they give off a folk-metal vibe. Whatever genre they fall under, they seem pretty good to me and I am not against their booking for Wacken. I will try to catch them, assuming there is no clash.

BOB WAYNE – I’m not sure how I feel about this booking. I didn’t have a problem with The Boss Hoss playing the 2012 festival (even though due to weather issues, I didn’t end up seeing them). But I think that was because they do covers of famous rock songs (as well as some other stuff). Bob Wayne is a straight up country act from what I can tell, and I’m not sure how much of a place country has at a metal festival. I’m not overly interested in country music (I’ll make the odd exception here and there) so as a result. I don’t think I’ll be seeing Bob Wayne.

CANDLEMASS – I’m not massively into doom metal, but Candlemass interest me to the extent they are one of the early “must see” bands of this announcement. I haven’t heard much by them but what I have heard, I’ve liked. I think this is a solid booking for Wacken and I look forward to seeing them.

DEEP PURPLE – One of the early announcements that almost sold me a ticket there and then. I have liked Deep Purple for quite a while now but never had the chance to see them live. I’ve heard questionable reports about them live but I am still excited to see them, and hear some classic songs which I absolutely love. I suspect they will be in a similar spot to Scorpions from this year – longer set on the final night. Might be wrong, but it seems like a logical spot for them.

DIE KASSIERER – Don’t really know what to make of this band to be honest. They appear to be a comedy band but a lot of it is lost on me as it is in German. I should really learn that language if I’m going to keep going back there for a festival. Anyway...probably won’t watch this band honestly. I expect a Wednesday slot for these (or perhaps one of the first bands on the Thursday, after Skyline).

DORO – This will likely be in the “U.D.O” slot of this year’s festival considering it is also an anniversary show – 30th anniversary to be exact. I am looking forward to this as I haven’t seen Doro (aside from a couple of guest slots with Skyline and U.D.O. I also quite like Doro’s new song, “Raise Your Fist in the Air”, so hopefully there is a new album to come along with the single and it is as strong as the lead single.

ESKIMO CALLBOY – Having listened now twice, I can confidently state that they are not for me. I will be somewhere else when they are on.

HAGGARD – Another band that could be placed in a number of metals sub-genres but I’d best place it in symphonic death metal. I don’t mind what I’ve heard so far and will likely catch them at the festival.

HATE SQUAD – Nothing wrong with a bit of thrash metal here and there. Quite like what I’ve heard from this band. I imagine they will be in the W.E.T tent, which could mean they are missed, but we’ll see. At this stage, it is impossible to know.

IHSAHN – I’m really interested in Ihsahn’s solo material. I didn’t know what to expect when I started listening to it, but I really like everything I’ve heard. It explores more sub-genres of metal than Emperor did (I’m not criticising Emperor) and overall, is really good. Ihsahn in some setlists plays a couple Emperor tracks, giving a nod to his previous band, but the main focus is the solo material, and I am looking forward to seeing him live.

LEPROUS – Haven’t heard a great deal from this progressive metal band but I am certainly interested in the material I have heard. If the chance arises, I might give them a watch. They would likely lose a clash though with someone else (depending who it is obviously!)

LINGUA MORTIS ORCHESTRA FEAT RAGE – I like some of the Rage material that I have heard, but I don’t really know what to expect with this set. Is it going to be a set of Rage songs, or songs by a related orchestra featuring Rage? I really don’t know. Only way to find out is by seeing them I guess!

NIGHTWISH – Nightwish was another one of the initial announcements which almost sold me a ticket right away. I remember being a little disappointed with their set at Brixton at the end of the Dark Passion Play world tour, but their set at Download bought me round that they are a good live band, and I do remember how immense they were at Wacken 2008. There will be one major change at the Wacken 2013 show to any of those shows though (and indeed, any time I’ve seen Nightwish). Annette Olzon has quit the band. It’s not been made public why this has happened, but apparently it was related to Annette missing some shows and Nightwish bringing in replacement singers, rather than cancelling. I don’t know if that is the reason, or even part of the reason – but it doesn’t really matter. What matters is who will be singing by the time next August rolls around. Floor Jansen has replaced Olzon on the current dates, and she might still be singing for Nightwish then – depends on her touring cycle with Revamp I guess. Personally, think Tarja Turunen should do it.....very very unlikely though!

RAMMSTEIN – The band that sold me the ticket. I said that there are 3 things I could think of that would get me back at Wacken next year – Metallica, Iron Maiden or Rammstein. I have seen Rammstein four times now, so they really aren’t a massive draw for a UK festival anymore (don’t get me wrong, I am delighted they are headlining Download). But seeing Rammstein in Germany will be something special I imagine. I am hoping they are still on the Made In Germany tour by then as that setlist was pretty damn good.

SABATON – I don’t know much about Sabaton, other than that they are a Swedish power metal band who sing about war, and that the roar when they got announced at Wacken 2012 for the 2013 festival was deafening. I will definitely see this band as I like what I have heard. 

SCOTT IAN (Spoken Word) – Anthrax’s Scott Ian making a solo appearance at the festival, this time doing spoken word. I caught some spoken word at Wacken 2012 and really enjoyed it. I will try to do this same with this set. I am hoping, due to 3 events that are happening in London this winter that Chris Jericho is also going to do a spoken word set at Wacken, which also means we get Fozzy. That would be alright with me.

SOILWORK – I am very happy with this announcement. I saw Soilwork at Wacken 2008 and they blew me away. I am hoping for another performance like that.

SONATA ARCTICA – One of the, if not the best bands I saw at Wacken 2008. They were superb then and I am sure they will be superb again. Haven’t really kept up with them since the 2008 set, but I have high hopes they will be immense again.

SUBWAY TO SALLY – Missed them in 2011 (I’m not massively fussed about them, and they played at 2am.  Not a good combination). If they played earlier in the day, I’d probably watch. We’ll see.

So all in all, I would say I am quite positive about the line up as it stands. I am not expecting any more announcements until December when Wacken does the Wacken Xmas Advent Calendar. If there are any more before that, then they would be gratefully welcomed (unless its Corvus Corax, then they can do one!) Anyway – the following is a short list of bands I would like to see get announced to really beef up the Wacken 2013 line up.


I suspect I might be a little bit hopeful with some of those. Still, nothing wrong with creating a wish list! 

Sunday, 30 September 2012

Off We Go - Download Festival

It is the time of year again where the organisers of the Download Festival start ramping up to the next year’s festival. Much like Christmas, the start of the UK festival season seems to start earlier each time around, but it doesn't annoy me that Download has announced their 3 headliners for 2013 (whereas seeing Christmas items in August/September irks me). The festival booker, Andy Copping, addressed the earliness of this announcement saying that “if the headliners are booked, it makes sense to announce them” or something to that effect. I couldn’t agree more.

Download 2012 had a fantastic set of headliners and it seemed almost impossible to me that they would come close to it for the 2013 festival. That would not be a bad thing though, because they set the bar really high with the 2012 headliners (in my opinion). This is entirely my opinion, but if you look at the last 3 years, there were 2 good years and one not so good year in the middle. The headliners were:

2010: AC/DC, RATM, Aerosmith – Three really strong headliners, capable of headlining most/all rock festivals. AC/DC in particular a strong booking as they don’t tend to play festivals anymore. 

2011: Def Leppard, System of a Down, Linkin Park – Bit of a weak set of headliners for me. Def Leppard are a good band and I want to see them live, but they also headlined in 2009, and it was too soon for them to come back. SOAD were immense at Download (went for that day especially to see them). Haven’t really cared for Linkin Park in about 5-6 years. 

2012: The Prodigy, Metallica, Black Sabbath – Three really strong headliners again. The Prodigy are the best and biggest non-rock band to play Download in its history. Metallica playing the Black Album in full was a superb show and the return of Black Sabbath to home soil was something special.

Looking at this, I assumed Download 2013 would not be to my exact tastes and I probably wouldn't end up going. Then in the last two weeks, they have announced the three headliners for the 2013 festival. They are:

Friday - Slipknot
Saturday - Iron Maiden
Sunday - Rammstein

They are a superb set of headliners. Two of them played Sonisphere 2010 and I thought then that Soni 2010 had a great set of headliners. Download 2013, despite having 2 of those bands, looks better. I'll explain why later. For now though, I'm going to look at the bands.

1)    Slipknot

Slipknot was somewhat of an unexpected booking, but I am happy with it. I say unexpected for a couple of reasons. Firstly, I think with rumours and leaks, people (myself included) were expecting Pearl Jam to be announced. I think, being honest, I'd have preferred Pearl Jam - but that is only because I've not seen them live. Back to Slipknot though, it is their first appearance at Donington since they headlined the festival in 2009 and they released a live DVD of that show. I watched it being streamed live and it was really good, so I can only imagine how good it was to be there in person. Another reason why Slipknot was an unexpected booking as they have no new material to promote. They recently released a best of album but nothing new. I hope they will mix up their set a little from their last UK visit (Sonisphere 2011) but even if they don't, it will still be great as they are a superb live band. There is one song I'd like to see live which I've not seen them play live which is My Plague. That song is one of the three that got me into the band (along with Wait and Bleed and Left Behind). Slipknot bring it live and the show that comes with it is always good.

2) Iron Maiden

Iron Maiden was the first band to be announced for Download 2013 - what a start! Iron Maiden is always a good band to see live so this again is a superb announcement. Iron Maiden at Download 2013 is a better announcement than Iron Maiden for Sonisphere 2010 for one reason - Maiden England. I'll be completely honest - when it comes to Iron Maiden, I prefer pre-1992 Iron Maiden material than the newer material. Don't get me wrong, it is good stuff, but the classic era material is classic for a reason. In my opinion, The Somewhere Back In Time tour was better than the A Matter of Life and Death tour, and the Maiden England tour will be better than The Final Frontier tour. The Maiden England tour focuses on the Seventh Son era of Iron Maiden with some other classic material from around that time thrown in. The setlist of this tour played in the USA is:

1)    Moonchild
2)    Can I Play With Madness?
3)    The Prisoner
4)    2 Minutes To Midnight
5)    Afraid To Shoot Strangers
6)    The Trooper
7)    The Number Of The Beast
8)    Phantom Of The Opera
9)    Run To The Hills
10)  Wasted Years
11)  Seventh Son of a Seventh Son
12)  The Clairvoyant
13)  Fear of the Dark
14)  Iron Maiden
15) Aces High
16) The Evil That Men Do
17) Running Free

That is an excellent classic packed Iron Maiden setlist. I still prefer the Somewhere Back In Time setlist but this set has a number of Maiden songs I have not seen live so I am really happy with it. Iron Maiden is another superb live band and a cracking announcement for Download - their first Donington appearance since 2007.

3) Rammstein

I've heard the words "Rammstein rumoured for Download" since I first went to Download in 2006, and I suspect they were rumoured before then. They had never appeared at a UK festival until the second leg of the European "LIFAD" tour, which appeared at Sonisphere 2010. One thing which people always say about Rammstein is that the live show is amazing. Having seen different versions of it, I can confirm this is true. They are also a great live band. Much like Iron Maiden, the tour which followed the "LIFAD" tour was a best of tour. The setlist was:

1)    Sonne
2)    Wollt Ihr Das Bett in Flammen sehen?
3)    Keine Lust
4)    Sehnsucht
5)    Asche Zu Asche
6)    Feuer Frei!
7)    Mutter
8)    Mein Teil
9)    Du Riechst So Gut
10)  Links 2-3-4
11)  Du Hast
12)  Haifisch
13) Buck Dich
14) Mann Gegen Mann
15) Ohne Dich
16) Mein Herz Brennt
17) Amerika
18) Ich Will
19) Engel
20) Pussy

That to me is almost the perfect Rammstein set list. It needs a little more LIFAD (Waidmanns Heil) and some other material from their back catalogue (Zwitter, Benzin, Rein Raus) but I don't know what I'd cut from the setlist in incorporate these songs. The stage show was utterly mental to go along with that show. I expect the songs that were on the "B Stage" to be cut for their festival setlist - because I don't expect there to be a "B Stage". That would make their set more "festival friendly" in terms of length. I know already that it will be immense and I know that Rammstein finally playing Download is a big deal. I think their quote about playing Download is arguably the best festival related quote ever. Picture the scene, Download 2013 is the 11th Download Festival. I suspect the bookers have tried, or have wanted to book Rammstein for most, if not all of them. So for the 2013 festival, Download has finally booked Rammstein. When asked, Rammstein said the following:

"It's just a festival, not a moon landing".


So the 3 main bands out of another 100+ to be announced have been announced and Download 2013 is looking awesome. I have already booked a hotel (as the camping last year, whoa) and booked a ticket so Download 2013 is on. I am hoping for some great bands in the undercard but I'm already excited for the festival. Well played Download, well played.