Glastonbury has always been a festival that has played on its diversity of music. Rock, Dance, Hip Hop, World, Psychedelic, House, Folk, Trance, Country. But, never Heavy Metal. How can a festival that stands for inclusion, openness and goodwill have such blatant disregard to one genre of music? A genre of music that is one of the world’s most loved and best supported.
When sourcing headliners for this year’s event, Michael Eavis seemed to have two in the bag pretty early on. However, the third proved elusive. Was it Prince? Was it Kanye? It was neither. It was Metallica. Whether or not the organisers put all their eggs in one basket on one or two acts in particular is open for debate but Metallica answered the call willingly and with two fingers at the ready for the inevitable music trolls.
So, why will Metallica be great this weekend? Having been a ginormous fan of the Thrash-Metallers for the best part of 13 years I will try to explain this in a nutshell. Live, they are unbeatable. Can you imagine your 50-year-old self kicking the crap out of a double bass drum pedal for the best part of two hours 200 nights a week? Age hasn’t stopped them and they’re as exciting, talented and flawless on the stage as they were during their Master of Puppets days. I can also guarantee Metallica will be one of the loudest acts Glastonbury will play host to this weekend-if not THE loudest. When headlining Reading Festival 08′, Lars Ulrich paid the (hefty) fine for breaking through the decibel limit before a note was even played just so they could be the loudest ones there. I had massive respect to them for that and, as a result, it was one of the greatest live performances I have ever seen. I have seen a few.
Even though I have heaps more of examples of why Metallica will be the greatest thing you lucky Glastonbury-going bastards will get to see this weekend, at the risk of you all switching off (if you haven’t already) I will end on this. Don’t judge Metallica for what you think they stand for. Don’t judge them on their Napstar embarrassment. Don’t judge them on their dodgy Be Here Now-esque period in the 90’s (which I think was actually pretty good). Don’t judge them for that piece of shite they called St Anger. And, try not to judge James Hetfield on his all-round American-ness. Judge them on what you see this weekend, either from in front of the Pyramid Stage or on BBC Three. They are one of the greatest live bands the world has ever seen, emphasis on ‘ARE’. You will leave their set with adrenaline and excitement and without the ability to hear anything for the next two weeks.
And, as Michael Eavis will say was his plan all along, you will leave Glastonbury on Monday having truly sampled the diversity of music, and not just the bland, Radio 1 version of it.