In the least surprising dull news since Manchester United drew 0-0 again, Red Hot Chili Peppers have been named Reading And Leeds Festival headliners for the 348th time.
Having last been relevant at some point around the cretaceous period, festival bosses weirdly seem convinced that seeing Flea play the Seinfeld theme on slap bass for three hours is what the kids of 2015 want.
Much the same applies over at Isle Of Wight, where bosses have gone for the bleeding-edge unpredictability of Queen & Adam Lambert, Stereophonics and Faithless for their headliners. That’s half of Queen, don’t forget. It’s like having Ronnie Wood and Bill Wyman headline under the name The Rolling Stones.
How have festivals been allowed to get into this mess? Foals singer Yannis Philippakis blames old bands like The Stone Roses, Blur and Fleetwood Mac for constantly reforming. He told me: “It’s impossible for newer bands to be given the chance to step up, because there are only a certain number of slots available, and the old bands reforming for the cash keep getting them.”
Part of the problem is also the age of beige non-stars like Sam Smith, Emeli Sande and Ellie Goulding means the type of artists who now become successful simply don’t make for a great end to a festival. Who in their right mind would want to hear Sam Smith sounding like a weepy blancmange as the climax to their weekend of hedonistic abandon?
But that doesn’t mean there aren’t explosive, fresher talents waiting to finally shake up the festival bills. Relax, everyone: soon you won’t have to see Kings Of Leon do Sex On Fire again.
Catfish And The Bottlemen
Long hailed as the new Kasabian, if their second album does half as much as business as their debut The Balcony then The People’s Band ™ will be all over every main stage from now until singer Van McCann is drawing his pension. Enthusiasm, big tunes and quality mucking about: sometimes it’s the simple things that work.
Kanye and Jay-Z are just starting to show their age, and they take forever between albums anyway. The most authoritative voice of hip hop there is, he just needs one more album and one big crossover tune to reach mainstream critical mass. Supporting Florence And The Machine at Hyde Park could be Kenny’s big British live moment. See also Future and Schoolboy Q by 2017, following big albums next year.
Bring Me The Horizon
Infinitely more worthy of headlining Reading And Leeds Festival than RHCP, the similarly wordily-named metallers are the biggest hard rock crossover since My Chemical Romance. Rumour has it, they’re the Other Stage headliners up against Coldplay at next year’s Glastonbury. And if that doesn’t get the squares into Oli Sykes’ mob, nothing will.
Actually, Jamie xx finally doing a proper live show for his In Colour album would be a good bet. Album three should give his dayjob band enough big tunes to overcome the fact that, unfortunately, Romy Madley-Croft still doesn’t quite convince as a magnetic frontwoman.
We’d be willing to bet as much as 50p that the barefoot Aussie wonders will at least step up to headlining Latitude before next summer is through. Those put off by their hippy demeanour and general waft of patchouli oil are invariably convinced once the communal warmth from Kevin Parker’s irrepressibly smiley band spreads across the fields.
Like The xx, The Maccabees haven’t fared as well as their tunes deserve because their singer isn’t exactly dynamic. Leaving aside Orlando Weeks’ inbuilt reticence, the power of Marks To Prove It, Pelican and co has steadily bulldozed crowds for too long to be ignored now.
They’ve plenty of detractors, but the duo are in the lineage of The Prodigy and The Streets for route one cartoon menace. There’s enough knowing wit and cunningly infectious tunes on their Are You Satisfied? album to imply that closing the main stage at Reading And Leeds (maybe Download too) isn’t too far-fetched a notion. Equally, they may prove one-album-wonders after all.
Possibly guilty for having released the same album two or three times in a row now, if The National can find more hard-edged tunes like their early fizzer Mr November, they can surely regain the momentum that made them everyone’s name to drop around 2012. Studio stasis apart, live Matt Berninger is a whirlwind of wonder.
Loaded’s deputy editor John Earls has covered entertainment and sport across a range of national newspapers, plus several football and music magazines, since 1990. Follow him on Twitter at @EarlsJohn