The surliest of all Thrash Hits’ surly bastards, Hugh Platt, mulls over the latest line-up announcements from both Sonisphere and Download Festival. Hmmmm…
By now you’ve probably heard the news – last night, Download Festival confirmed that Linkin Park, the biggest-selling rock band of the last decade, are the second headline act for at next year’s festival, as well as confirming that Rob Zombie actually would be joining the bill as well, despite an earlier statement by festival bigwig, Andy Copping, that he wouldn’t. Hmmmm.
Sonisphere Festival, after much trump and fanfare in the previous few days, also had an announcement last night: Scottish arena rockers, Biffy Clyro, would be the second of their headliners for 2011. Oh. Hmmmm.
Now I didn’t report this last night as I was off having my face melted/tits blown off/skull crushed by Neurosis’ jaw-droppingly heavy show in London. Linkin Park for Download? Not too surprising – they were always going to play at least one UK festival in 2011, what with A Thousand Suns coming out this year. Out of Download and Sonisphere, it’s Download that is the obvious choice for them – not only has it been longer since the Californians played at Donington than at Knebworth, for Sonisphere to book them in 2011 would mean that Kilimanjaro would be recycling Knebworth headliners in only their third year of existence. There’s only one band on Earth that I think they could get away with doing that with (and I’ll get to them later…)
Look – it’s Linkin Park playing something off their new album live:
Rob Zombie’s confirmation, on the other hand, does present us with a rather more interesting conundrum – why did Andy Copping state a week ago that Rob Zombie was not on the bill, only to confirm yesterday evening that “Rob Zombie was on, then he was off & now he is most definitely ON!” If it was still an open possibility, then why bother to refute it? Is it a case of Andy Copping talking too much when really he just ought to have kept schtum till the legalities were sorted out? Or is it another instance of Copping talking out of his arse? I say again: HMMMM.
The biggest brouhaha though (at least as far as the Internet shit-talkers go) is the booking of Biffy Clyro as the Saturday night headliners at Sonisphere 2011. It raises a couple of rather interesting questions:
1) Are Biffy Clyro “big” enough to headline Sonisphere? (Answer: Yes, they’ve headlined Wembley Arena).
2) Are Biffy Clyro the “right fit” for Sonisphere? (Answer: It remains to be seen)
I’m going to put my neck out – I don’t think Sonisphere’s announcement yesterday was originally intended to be just Biffy Clyro. I think there were supposed to be more bands included in their announcement, but for various contractual reasons, Kilimanjaro had to pull the plug at the last minute. Heck, Andy Copping’s on-again-off-again-on-again situation with Rob Zombie is a perfect example of the way that festival bill confirmations can flip overnight – and I’d bet a pretty penny that’s what happened to Sonisphere yesterday.
Let’s get down to the “real” issue – Biffy Clyro:
And just why do I think that? The guys over at Sonisphere had been doing some serious talking-up as far as yesterday’s announcement went – they were promising that “Something wonderful is about to happen…” over on the festival’s Facebook page. Confession time: I know people that work at both Sonisphere and Download Festival, and contrary to what some of the more vocal internet shit-spouters might have you believe, they all genuinely want to put on the best festivals they can. They’re not in the habit of bigging up line-up announcements when they know they might come across as a disappointment to some of the people waiting to hear the next slew of bands. Rightly or wrongly, the announcement of Biffy Clyro all on their lonesome was seen as a disappointment by a lot of people. I think there was a plan afoot to announce something genuinely spectacular, but some outside force got in the way at the last moment.
Fuck it, let’s really go out on a limb here – last year Sonisphere Festival was almost a full 3-day festival, with an evening-only Friday before the two full-days of bands that were playing over the weekend. Let’s just suppose – on a purely hypothetical level, you understand – that they do something similar this year. If I’m honest, it’d be hugely surprising if they didn’t, given how successful it turned out this year. If you’re going to put on an evening-only half-day, you need to really push the boat out, and get something truly special to make it appeal to your ticket holders and inspire them to make the effort to get down to Knebworth nice and early. You’ve also got to deal with a much more limited timeframe – if the bands start at 6pm, then you’ve only really got room for around, oh, I dunno, FOUR bands to play decent length sets. Even then, they’d still have to be a pretty BIG FOUR bands in order to make it work – don’t you think?