Friday, 20 January 2012

Thinking of Festivals

When a festival I am going to announces bands, I get excited about the upcoming announcement. I always want to know who the latest names to be confirmed are, regardless of who they are. I’ll make my mind up after. The latest announcement is from the Download festival where before this announcement; I was planning to go to the festival for the Saturday only. Now, the booker announced on twitter that 14 bands were due to be announced including all the main stage sub headliners. This was big news for me as it would probably be the deciding factor for me if I was going for the day or going for the whole weekend. Anyway, following the announcement, this is what the line-up looks like.

Now that is certainly interesting. I will talk band by band and then talk about what it means to me in terms of attendance.

Anthrax – Quality band for Download to announce and if memory serves they haven’t played Download for a long time (hey, the internet helped me learn things – it was 2005). For me though, I’m not overly fussed about seeing them for a while as I have seen them at the last two Sonisphere’s (watch them get announced for Wacken now and watch me say how awesome the announcement is!) As it transpires, they are on the Sunday at Download.

August Burns Red – They don’t do a great deal for me but I would probably watch them in absence of anything else on that I wanted to see.

Biffy Clyro – The slap in the face to Sonisphere – having one of their 2011 headliners sub-headline to another one of their 2011 headliners - excellent booking though. Putting them under Metallica makes the most sense considering the headliners I think although I am seeing a lot of people that think it is an odd choice. I think it will work and if nothing else and they don’t draw a big crowd, I’ll be able to get near the front for Metallica – how self serving of me!

Chase and Status – Now this is the booking which has really split the opinions of the Download Festival’s faithful pundits. For me, the band don’t do a whole lot so as a booking, I’m not fussed. However, I cannot deny their size as a band. They played Warriors Dance festival with Prodigy and have played a number of high profile slots at UK festivals. Addressing the two main questions about their booking – are they big enough to sub-headline and are they the right booking for Download? The simple answer to both is yes. I don’t know what size rooms they would sell out on a UK tour, but I’d wager they would sell out decent sized rooms (2k+), possibly bigger. If they can do that, then they are suitable sub-headline material (I base this on The Darkness, who did a big UK tour in 2k+ rooms after sub-headlining Download 2011). I also think they are a suitable band to play Download. If anyone from the “Download is a metal festival” brigade reads this then they will disagree with me but here’s the thing – Download isn’t a metal festival. Furthermore, with Prodigy headlining (again, a good decision by Mr Copping), then they are a perfectly suitable choice to sub-headline. They aren’t for me, but that doesn’t impact my view on the fact this is a good booking for Download.

Devildriver – A strong booking for Download as far as I am concerned. They have played a fair bit (06 twice, 07 and 09 I think). I really like this band and was gutted when they pulled out of Wacken 2011. I remain gutted as they are playing the Sunday at Download and as of this writing, have not been confirmed for Wacken.

Devin Townsend Project – First appearance for Devin at Download since he played in 2006 with Strapping Young Lad and I think this is a quality booking. He is headlining the 3rd stage on the Friday so that’ll be a packed tent without doubt.

Lamb of God
– Amazing announcement. They tend to rotate between UK festivals (09 Soni, 2010 DL recently) so this isn’t a shocking booking as such. Again, like Devildriver they are playing the Sunday and as of this writing are not playing Wacken. If I may say so....humph!

Little Angels - ....who? All I’ve got on that one really.

Machine Head – A cracking booking for Download and if memory serves, this is their first appearance since 2007 (when I saw them completely own the main stage). They are much higher on the bill now as they are 3rd from top on the main stage...on the Friday. I would have thought either putting them with LoG and Devildriver or having them headline 2nd stage on the Friday while Prodigy are on would have made more sense but ah well. A good announcement but one I am not bothered about missing at Download as I will see them perform a longer set at Wacken.

Soundgarden – People have been going ape shit over this announcement. It is the 2nd big reformation happening in the UK at Download (after Black Sabbath). I’m not a fan of them though and am not bothered about seeing them. They bore me truth be told.

Tenacious D – What a booking! They were superb sub-headlining to Metallica at Reading 2008 and I think they will be just as good, if not better at Download 2012.

Trivium – They were one of the best bands I saw at Wacken and indeed over last year’s summer so if they can replicate a set just as good as that Wacken one, then I look forward to seeing them again.

Ugly Kid Joe – I don’t know much by this band but a quick research tells me they are pretty good. I believe they are also a reformed band but I don’t know for sure. They are playing the Sunday so meh!

You Me At Six – Their biggest festival spot ever as they are headlining the second stage while Metallica play. So it goes without saying I won’t be seeing them.

So that is the Download announcement in a nutshell (the size of a house). All in all it is a very mixed bag for me in terms of bands playing and taking up major spots. What the announcement did confirm for me is that I will not be getting a weekend ticket. A festival needs more than 3 good headliners (unless one of them is NIN – take note Sonisphere). The sub-headliners need to be of good calibre as well and for my tastes, Download doesn’t have 3 good sub-headliners this year, and they have 1. I am going to go on the Saturday, where based on information from the booker, Andy Copping’s twitter account, it appears we have this confirmed for main stage – Metallica, Biffy Clyro, Tenacious D, Trivium. What a day that’ll be. Well played Download for a cracking Saturday.

I just said about NIN for Sonisphere. It is usually Sonisphere who lead the way in terms of announcements for their festival. However in an odd move this year, they are yet to announce anyone. I am writing this part of the blog on Friday 20th January and I have seen that there is due to be an announcement of sorts before Wednesday as Kerrang are due to talk about it in their new magazine. This blog will be posted before that announcement but expect another post shortly to discuss what has been announced and whether or not I will be going to my 4th Sonisphere, in some form or another.

One festival though which has made a great deal of announcements is Wacken. They announced acts almost every day in December and have announced a handful since. As we’re talking about it, let’s have a look what has been confirmed for the 23rd instalment of the festival yes?

Amaranthe – Female fronted gothic/power metal band by the sounds of things. Well, I am in favour of this! Definitely want to watch them.

Broilers – German punk band who seem quite good. There is very little material on the Spotify, and it’s not the best quality anyway. Could be worth a watch

Chthonic – Announced today for Wacken. They are one of those bands I’ve wanted to see for a little while but never actively tried. They played Download when I went last year and I went and watched something else. They also supported Turisas when their latest UK tour came nearby and I didn’t go. They sound pretty good though and baring a major clash, I will be watching them.

Circle II Circle – You know, I was convinced I wrote about these but can’t find it so oh well. Anyway, they seem like a decent band although they are covering an album released by the lead singer’s old band, Savatage. I don’t fully understand why but it will be worth seeing.

Crimes of Passion – I’ve got nothing, sorry.

D.A.D – They seem like a lot of fun from what I’ve heard and actually quite decent. All I have read is people being negative about it though. I will watch and make my mind up for myself.

Darkest Hour – They seem quite similar in some respects to Heaven Shall Burn which is by no means a bad thing. Quite like what I’ve heard of them so as far as I am concerned – good booking.

Dead By April – They are fairly similar to BFMV in some respects which is by no means a bad thing. If there is no clash then I shall definitely have to try and check these guys out.

Decapitated – These guys where the main reason why I wanted to go to Damnation festival in 2011. I didn’t go and just a few days before they pulled out. I will watch these I think.

Delain – Caught some of their set at Sonisphere 2010 (and just noticed actually on my blog, the photo of Delain is the thumbnail for my Soni 2010 review) and really liked it. I will see all their set this time and I imagine I will love it.

Dirty Rotten Imbeciles – They are a punk band with very short songs. Those short songs aren’t doing a lot for me so I don’t imagine I’ll go out of my way to see them.

Dodheimsgard – They only had one song on Spotify when I first listened to them and I liked it. They now have their 2011 album in full on there and my word, it is really good. They may have to be watched. Black Metal meets Industrial/Dance music – a mix which shouldn’t work but does.

Electric Wizard – I’m told they are Britain’s finest sludge/stoner rock band. I personally don’t like them, so won’t be watching them.

Eisenherz – They are a German hard rock band who have some industrial elements from what I’ve heard but not a great deal (I’m not going to say they are a Rammstein rip off cause that would be a lie). I like them though.

Eschenbach – I’ve got nothing on these.

Gehenna – Ah, back to the standard when it comes to black metal. I must admit some of their stuff is ok so I might be tempted to see them if there isn’t a clash

Ghost Brigade – They are very similar to Paradise Lost and Opeth as far as I am concerned. Taking this into account, I will be watching them I imagine.

– IT has to be said, I am stumped. I see music on Spotify on albums which are not attributed to the Graveyard that are playing Wacken. With that in mind, I have nothing, I think.

In Flames – I missed them at Sonisphere 2011 in favour of some comedy I believe. Because of that, I will likely check them out although I find it so hard to get into their stuff. Ach

Insomnium – See Ghost Brigade – very similar.

Kamelot – Without doubt, one of the better bands from Wacken 2008 so their announcement was met with joy. I have since learned that the vocalist had to retire for health reasons. I hope they hire someone just as good for the job.

Kylesa – They seem reasonable. A band who fall definitely into the category of “if there is no clash, then why not” I feel.

Leningrad Cowboys – They seem alright. They appear to be a joke band that took on a life of their own. Their cover of My Sharona is acceptable.

Manticora – A little bit of thrash and a lot of power metal equals a good band. They will probably be on a little stage somewhere but they are definitely worth watching I think.

Nasum – Nothing wrong with a little bit of grindcore!

Oomph! – Oh man! The band I discovered by accident at Rock Am Ring 08 are finally playing where I can see them again. They were great at RaR and I fully intend to watch again!

Overkill – The final band to be announced today that I have to talk about and what a band they are. Saw most of their set in London (I want to say it was at a Hellfire Festival) and they were quite good. I reckon seeing them at Wacken will top that gig as they have a new album out since then. They are a very good thrash band with some slight Maiden-esque moments.

Red Fang – Now this is stoner rock that I can get behind. I quite like this band.

Riotgod – They are a very catchy band who I hope to be able to watch while there.

Sacred Reich – I almost jumped around with joy when these got announced. I first considered going to Graspop in 2008 and Sacred Reich were there (I think it was 08) and I remember looking them up and loving them. I’ve wanted to see them ever since and finally the chance is here.

Sanctuary – A bit of thrash and a lot of power metal again. The vocalist gets slightly annoying on record at times but that aside they are good band and again, they are one I will try to see.

Saor Patrol – A rock band that utilises the bagpipes – as a Scot, I am completely in favour of this.

Saxon – If you’ve been to quite a lot of Wacken festivals, I could see why you might be annoyed with this booking. I however have only been to two previously and Saxon have been at neither so I think this is a superb announcement. I haven’t seen them since Sonisphere in 2009 (I think) so I am really pleased to get to see them again. They are also supporting Judas Priest in London which is very good news.

Schandmaul – Very similar in style to Subway To Sally which is by no means a bad thing. Might catch them if there is no clash.

Suicide Silence – I can’t claim to be much of a fan of these. They give me serious Job For A Cowboy vibes.

Sylosis – Another band who I’ve been meaning to see live and yet somehow have always managed to miss. Hopefully this time around I will see them!

Testament – Superb announcement. I will definitely be seeing these; they are a great live band.

The Black Dahlia Murder – I do not like this band. Let’s move on.

The BossHoss – A country and western covers band? Oh why not this’ll be a big ole stack of fun!

Unearth – Sat outside the tent for them at Download 2007 and only caught the end of their set at Wacken 08 so I will endeavour to see them this time around.

Vogelfrey – They have some awesome riffs. I really like what I hear with them. They for sure fall into the “if there’s not a clash” list but they are good.

Volbeat – Oh wait I already talked about Volbeat. Ah fuck it; I am still so happy they are playing!

Warbringer – Another great announcement. They have supported Evile a couple of times and I have always missed the tours which they supported on. I really like what I’ve heard from them and hope to catch them.

Warrior Soul – Another very good band. I really like what I’ve heard of theirs on Spotify and will do all I can to see them.

Wolli & Die Band Des Jahres – I got nothing on these.

So all in all, 2012 is another great line-up from Wacken, which isn’t even complete yet. I am hoping for Devildriver and Exodus as they were scheduled for last year’s festival but pulled out. I am also hoping for some Lamb of God and Korpiklaani. The line-up already has some fantastic acts though and choosing between some of them is going to be a tough call. I think what is actually quite helpful about this line-up is there are very few massive hitters in it that will be seen regardless. I would say at the moment the bands that definitely won’t be missed are Amon Amarth, Delain, Dimmu Borgir, Kamelot, Machine Head, Ministry, Oomph!, Sacred Reich, Saxon, Scorpions, Sick Of It All, Testament and Volbeat are the ones I definitely don’t want to miss (if any of those clash with each other, I’ll be a very sad boy). But as long as that lot don’t clash with each other, and the gaps can all be filled with some great music, Wacken 2012 is shaping up to be another excellent jaunt to Germany. Roll on August!

No comments: