Previewing Metallica at Glastonbury

Well hello everybody. It’s not often that I get on my soap box and have a little rant, but today I will.

I do so, because today I have been wearing my Metallica T-shirt in support of every Glastonbury fan in the land. Yes, that’s right. All of you lot that have been moaning about Metallica playing Glastonbury this year. They don’t fit in. It’s just noise. They’re really old.

Man….I really feel for you. After years of buying tickets to a music festival before you know which musicians are playing, you’ve finally been let down. It’s terrible. This year, you can’t look through the set list list and say “they’ll be okay I guess” to every single band. You can’t be certain that you won’t dislike a band because they’re all safe, middle of the road boring choices.  You won’t look at every band on the list and think, “if Bruce Forsythe was performing at the same time that would be awesome.”

And that’s because, love them or hate them,  for the first time in many years Glastonbury actually have an interesting act playing.

Yeah, I know, many of you will get annoyed by that statement, but you’re only annoyed because you know it’s true. Even if you don’t know them you want to see if they are as noisy as people say they are. Thrash metal! They’ll probably eat bats or sacrifice a chicken or something. They won’t, Metallica don’t need gimmicks like that. They’ll play hard, fast and loud. There will be pace and energy and fire. They’ll put on a proper festival show, like they always do. It’s nothing new for us metal fans, we know how good they are, but its scary for all the fake hippies out there. You can feel slightly at ease by the bog standard “safe but dull” choices like Kasabian, Arcade Fire, Manics who seem to play every year (I guess if no-one is buying tickets because of the quality of the bands then a few you’ve heard of will pacify the masses though) but people will watch them, knowing that Metallica will actually liven things up a bit. Glastonbury have pulled off a real coup here. They even stand half a chance of veering away from the watered down, middle of the road, suitable for “The One Show” shadow of a music festival that Glastonbury inevitably fades into every year.

It’s the first time since 2004 (Oasis) that Glastonbury have featured a band in the top part of the bill that I would actually pay to go and see. That’s pretty poor for a music festival.

OK – so lets have a look at some of the arguments people have been saying about Metallica.

Metallica are too heavy / too controversial / not in the spirit of Glastonbury.

Rubbish! If you look back at the beginning, Michael Eavis allegedly started Glastonbury after seeing Led Zeppelin perform. Early headliners were David Bowie, T-Rex, Hawkwind. Pink Floyd cancelled. Ok – not a heavy line-up, but still kind of out there, interesting artists. Anyway, I thought all you hippies were chilled out and open to anything? Oh that’s right, you’re only going to Glastonbury because it’s cool and its been on your bucket list for a while. And you’re sleeping in a wooden tee-pee so that you don’t get wet? Bless… you can pretend you’re enjoying it but maybe you should be at home watching it on the telly so you can put Eastenders on whenever someone more lively than Coldplay appear (that’s everyone btw).

Metallica are too old! They’re irrelevant nowadays!

Excellent point, if you don’t know what you’re talking about. Yes – they have slowed down since their early years of course, but Metallica are still releasing new albums and touring. I was wondering, where was the petition against U2, the Rolling Stones and Stevie Wonder the last few years? Clearly far more “current” than Metallica…

It’s true that Metallica have only had two albums in ten years (new one coming soon though) but they sold 10 million copies of Death Magnetic (2008) and 7 million of St Anger (2003), winning Grammies and Kerrang awards for their efforts. Hardly irrelevant, and I don’t doubt that the new one will do just as well. I won’t dig out the numbers for their “more relevant” co-headliners, it’s not fair.

And last but not least, the “but Metallica have been sh*t since the mid-90s” argument

Ok – I’ll admit that I’m one of many who vastly prefers their early stuff to their new stuff. However, Metallica are now older, and have changed like most bands do. That’s natural. But what they have done is changed their sound a little, and have continued to make albums which are acclaimed highly by critics and fans. If their more recent stuff was by a new band people would be raving over it, but because it’s Metallica and it’s different then people have a moan. The sales figures don’t lie though, they’re still good. In my opinion, they’re not so thrashy any more. They’re a more rounded band.

ROCK! Grupo 13/LatinContent/Getty Images

ROCK! Grupo 13/LatinContent/Getty Images

So, that’s my defence of Metallica playing Glastonbury. They’re a monster band, and there is no reason at all why they should not be on the bill. I hope they steal the show.

I’m coming to the end, so I just have one final thing to say. I’ve never been to Glastonbury because I never like any of the bands that are playing, and you have to buy a ticket before you know who is playing anyway (why would you buy a ticket for a music festival before any music is announced?). My mates go a lot, and there’s a staple answer to me not wanting to go. It doesn’t matter if you don’t like the music, there’s loads of other stuff to do. What? So this entire conversation and petition against Metallica was a waste of time, because the music at Glastonbury is not important? Well shut your moaning anti-metal mouths then, and go and watch the clowns or wrestle a smurf in the mud or something.

Anyway, I do hope everybody enjoys Glastonbury and I am 100% sure that Metallica will make a load of new fans. I  do hope though that none of them come to Sonisphere next week, when Metallica will be headlining an actual music festival where people are excited to listen to interesting and groundbreaking artists.

To the festival season,

Matty

Blogging for Music, AC/DC – The Razors Edge

Aussie band AC/DC are one of those bands that I just can’t imagine how people could not like.

Everyone knows their biggest hits, and they have so many great songs that it is difficult to pick favourites, and every AC/DC fan has a completely different and justifiable one. Personally, my favourite AC/DC album is the one that got me into them – The Razors Edge.

razors edge

The Razors Edge was released in 1990, around fifteen years after AC/DC began and it launched them back into the limelight with some chart success. I discovered it about 4 years later as a young teenager just getting into rock music. At that age, what can be better than a good bit of dirty rock and roll, chunky riffs, cheeky lyrics and songs all about girls and booze.

I loved the infectious tunes and catchy riffs without doubt, but one of the things that I’ve always liked about AC/DC is the sense of humour that you always find in their music. The Razors Edge was no different, and as a teenager the cheeky “Mistress for Christmas” and “Got you by the Balls” were two of my favourites. The most distinctive song on the album is also one of their most famous. Almost any rock fan knows “Thunderstruck” within about three seconds of the first riff, and the way the song builds throughout the intro before launching into the chorus makes this a pretty special track. My personal favourite however, is the spooky title track “The Razors Edge”, the opening riff of which always makes your hairs stand on end. These two tracks, really stand The Razors Edge apart from any other AC/DC album for me, they offer something different and give the album a slightly different vibe to their others. Of course, the catchy choruses, delightful bluesy hard rocking riffs, ear-splittingly powerful vocals and fast, showy guitar solos are throughout this album in spades like any other AC/DC album (“Rock Your Heart Out” and “Moneytalks” are two prime examples of typical catchy AC/DC tracks), and these I love – but I always get something a little bit extra  from The Razors Edge.

My three recommendations:

The Razors Edge

Mistress For Christmas

Thunderstruck

Blogging for Music! Nirvana – In Utero

Hello, and a Happy New Year to you all! I hope everyone had a great celebration and isn’t feeling the after-effects too much!

In case you hadn’t noticed, I’ve not been very good with my blogging recently. In 2014 I am going to change that, and I have come up with a plan.

I’m a big lover of music, something that I’ve barely touched on in my blog yet. So this year I have decided to work my way through my music collection and write short reviews of them all. Hopefully this will get me blogging regularly again, and someone will find this interesting (including me, cos if I don’t it’s gonna be an awful experience!!)

I’ll start with the album that changed my tastes in music, and showed me that music did exist outside of the realms of Michael Jackson. Nirvana – In Utero.

in utero

Nirvana – In Utero

In Utero is the third and final studio album of the three piece grunge band, Nirvana, and on getting a copy of this on tape from my friend at junior school it changed my musical horizons forever. Gone from my mind was the spangly pop catchiness of Michael Jackson, and into my life came a never-ending trail of guitar bands and angst.

I will admit here, that like many others who were teenagers in the 90’s, that Nirvana were my favourite band for years. Unfortunately, being only 12 when he died and far too young to be allowed to go to a concert, I never had the pleasure of seeing them live.

To me, In Utero seems almost like a compromise between Nirvana’s other two albums. It contains much of the polish and pop styling evident in the breakthrough album “Nevermind” which can be seen in the ever catchy “All Apologies” and “Heart Shaped Box” which were both successful singles. Kurt Cobain’s anguished vocals and the all out guitar aggression in “Rape Me” and  “Milk It” are more reminiscent of their raw, punky debut album “Bleach.” It’s as if Nirvana had found the balance that really worked for them, and clearly for the millions of people that bought this album. From start to finish, In Utero is awash with whiny but tuneful guitars, driven and powerful drum beats and spades of emotional and catchy lyrics.

A feature of all Nirvana albums for me are the powerful lyrics. Kurt Cobain had a way with words that few others do, and lyrics like “I wish I could eat your cancer when you turn black” from the love song “Heart Shaped Box” are lyrics you will always remember. The line “I tried hard to have a father, but instead I had a dad” from “Serve the Servants” gives you an insight into where much of the angst and emotion that you find in a Nirvana record comes from. My personal favourite however, is from “Pennyroyal Tea.” I don’t really know why, but for years afterwards I was incapable of calling anyone a liar, they were always “a liar and a thief.”

Anyway, if you’re a fan of angst-driven, raw, melodic guitar noise, you won’t go far wrong by listening to “In Utero.” This album is likely to stay one of my favourites for all of time, partly in thanks for giving me a gentle nudge towards the world of heavy metal which makes up a large portion of my music collection.

My Highlight: Nirvana – Rape Me

Track List:

  1. Serve the Servants
  2. Scentless Apprentice
  3. Heart-Shaped Box
  4. Rape Me
  5. Frances Farmer Will Have Her Revenge on Seattle
  6. Dumb
  7. Very Ape
  8. Milk It
  9. Pennyroyal Tea
  10. Radio Friendly Unit Shifter
  11. tourette’s
  12. All Apologies
  13. Gallons of Rubbing Alcohol Flow Through The Strip