In Defence of Andy Copping: Lose the Legacy Acts – We Want New Blood

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Christ, today was a busy one for Andy Copping and the Download Festival crew. Late last night Daniel P Carter of Radio 1’s rock show announced Saturday’s Headliner & main support, Linkin Park and Fall Out Boy respectively.

What a shit storm that caused.

People damn near ripping their DL2013 tattoos off their skin and leading the Download dog to the vet to be put down in disgust.

A little history. Last year was a metal fan’s wet dream. (Ignoring the Prodigy) Metallica & Black Sabbath graced the same stage, not to mention Lamb of God, Trivium and the usual array of mix genre delights you get to see at Download. An impressive bill pulled off by the very man today being called a cunt by the adoring “fans” who last year would have humped his leg dry for a line-up announcement. While it has had heavier leanings Download has always maintained it is a Rock festival not a Metal festival, something a few DL goers seem to have forgotten.

So what is Copping’s crime? Attempting to please the self righteous tossers of the inter webs. A losing battle, if you’ll see for yourself:

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Not going anyway, what’s your problem then?

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“Commercial Rock” – errrr that band is making money from its music!

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#Sadtimes #Somisunderstood

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You can tell they’re funny, just look at his completely original avatar.

Let me remind you dear readers that so far only THREE bands have been announced. Out of over 100 or so? All tossers.

Now of course, these people are fully entitled to their opinion, I fully respect their right to express it. I also respect my right to disregard their opinion, and my right to write an article about them. Yay freedoms.

The point i’m about to make has been made before by more eloquent people than myself. Earlier in the year when Glastonbury announced their Headliners for 2013, there was a similar reaction. When the Eavis’ announced that the Arctic Monkeys and Mumford & Sons would be joining The Rolling Stones to headline the most iconic music festival in the world many a toy was thrown from the pram.

I’m paraphrasing myself here because what I said was in a tweet, but I essentially made the argument that, it was good that Glastonbury were breaking away from a stagnant mould of placing legacy bands in the top slots and that they were in fact giving established, modern bands who had earn that slot a chance to test their metal (or corduroy in Mumford  & Sons case).

I remember thinking before the announcement, “fuck me, after all the media hype this year are we really going to have to sit through The Stone Roses & Fleetwood Mac, half heartedly performing their back catalogue mixed with a few “not-as-good-as-their-old-stuff-anyway” newbies?” – Or can we see some young blood, thrashing their balls and buns off? Bands who have fought their way to the top, in a time where it is tough to keep people’s attention on you and your music for more than one album.

I don’t know if you saw it but both the Arctic Monkeys & Mumford and Sons smashed their slots while in my opinion The Rolling Stones really showed their age & how out of touch they were.

My opinion (as this article is focussed on) is on the new blood. By all means let the legacy bands play, but not headline. That cash cow has been milked dry.

Back to Download – first to Avenged Sevenfold. Not a band I’d have predicted, but fuck that’s a good thing, how boring would it be to sit back and predict the headliners & get them spot on? Where’s the excitement in that? A7X are probably a band sitting in a marmite like state, a huge devoted following brought up since their 1999 formation, then on the flip side a mob of folk who’d rather shove sawdust in their ears – to each their own. But when you look at it A7X are actually about due, this will be their first ever UK headline performance. They’re in that state where a Friday night headline slot is about right; they have the fans, they’re established, they have a string of successes and accolades among their peers including numerous Golden God and Kerrang! Awards – worthy? Yes. Are there other bands as worthy? Of course. But there are only three slots, maybe next year pumpkin.

Fall Out Boy – probably the biggest shit stir. Maybe it’s all that commercial success they managed to achieve, first with Infinity on High (*cough* Folie à Deux) then more recently with Save Rock and Roll, that suddenly makes them unworthy in the eyes of rock purists. They’re a rock band, Download is a rock festival, not a metal festival. Just because a because a rock band has achieved commercial success and been played on daytime Radio 1 doesn’t degrade that. Has their sound changed? Of course, but you’d be bored shitless of they if it hadn’t. Rock music is developing, deal with it.

Grammys, Kerrang! Awards, MTV Awards the list goes on. Fall Out Boy are established over 10 years, with five solid rock albums behind them and people are bitching because they’re “commercial rock” – Commercial rock isn’t a genre. Rock is a genre, commercialisation comes after and it isn’t controlled by the band it is based on success – something ALL bands strive for regardless of their spiel they serve you.

On to Linkin Park – and what should have been a safe bet for Copping & the Download lot. Hybrid Theory in its entirety. I grew up with his album, so I tingle just thinking about it. In Copping’s own words “The biggest rock album of the 2000 – 2010 decade” – nicely put Andy, and spot on. You’d struggle to find a single person alive during that period who doesn’t know of Hybrid Theory, and to have it performed in its entirety is something special and exclusive to Download 2014. I’d buy a ticket just for that. I won’t even go into Linkin Park’s global success because I don’t think they need to be said, they headlined a few years back & are generally Download accepted.

I imagine the people tweeting Copping and causing a fuss are the very people who go to watch bands they don’t like, sometimes missing bands they actually do like, just so they can boo and heckle. People we’ve probably all had to stand by in crowd before. You know the person, probably got their top off holding a stack of Tüborg cups they nicked off some poor bloke have a piss up a fence.

I guess what i’m trying to say, probably very poorly, is that Copping has the right idea. There are plenty of festivals out there keeping the brilliant bands we have circulating our national venues to the lower bills and placing recently-reformed-because-they’re-skint bands and arena residents in the headline slots. It’s a disease we need to get rid of in our festival circuit and I applaud Andy and Download for doing it.

I maintain, taking this “risk” will provide us, the paying festival goer and music lover with a pool of modern headliners, accustomed to that main stage glory, and they’ll be better bands for it – which ultimately makes us happier right? Give them a chance, and they’ll rise to the challenge, I have no doubt about that.

Since writing this, the Sunday night headliner has probably been announced, a part of me wishes it’s band like The Vamps just to continue to piss people off but i’m sure Copping has (had) something else in mind.

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