Download Festival announced their third headliner of 2012 to be The Prodigy this week, and lo and behold the entire fucking internet went into meltdown.
The problem that a lot of people say they have with The Prodigy is that they aren’t “metal” enough for Download. There seem to be two kinds of people who share this opinion – people who were too old to get into The Prodigy the first time round who clung onto their W.A.S.P. records as if it were a life vest in that ocean of no metal in the early 90s; and people who are too young or mentally undeveloped to believe that music without shredding guitar solos or any kind of “kvlt” following has any merit whatsoever.
Denim and leather brought us together, but now the No Fun Club seems adamant that flimsy glowsticks will tear us apart.
Imagine if you will, that you have a seafood allergy. Now imagine that you went to a Chinese buffet and were appalled by the fact that the restaurant had the temerity to even serve prawn dishes. Then, instead of avoiding that which makes you violently ill, you stuff your anaemic, mardy face with prawns until you throw up all over Andy Copping and the internet, err… I mean the restaurant manager and the restaurant’s nice carpet.
Nobody forced you to eat those prawns. You could have had beef chow mein, a classic that you know and have loved for decades, had you just walked a little bit further around the buffet.
The purpose of this analogy, if it’s not patronizingly clear enough, is that festivals offer you choice. If you don’t like The Prodigy, that doesn’t mean that they’re the wrong choice for a festival. Anybody who has seen The Prodigy at Download in previous years will tell you that. Maybe Saxon headlining the second stage at the same time The Prodigy play will suit you better. Stop being angry because something you don’t understand is bringing other people pleasure.
The yin to this ever so narrow-minded yang (who I insist are in the minority, but are simply louder than the rest of us) is those of us who like to enjoy ourselves at gigs.
Last year, Feemo from Hospital of Death and I went to see doom supergroup Shrinebuilder in Manchester. We realised rather quickly that our messing around was drawing some rather negative attention and scornful looks from the members of the No Fun Club who seemed more intent on stroking their beards than actually having fun at the gig. Despite paying £18 for a ticket, Feemo and I left the gig and relocated to the pub. That last bit is important. Nobody was forcing us to eat prawns, so we fucked off.
A couple of weeks ago, Dan made a dubstep remix of one of our own songs. Though it split opinion, I’m eternally grateful that our own fans have the wits to be able to listen to it, decide it’s not for them, and move on. Compare that to one particular diehard Evile fan who, on hearing this remix, launched a diatribe about how electronic music takes no time or talent to produce. The next step for us was quite obvious…
A drum ‘n’ bass remix of one of Evile’s most popular songs. Enter the Rave!
For as long as there are people who take heavy metal too seriously, there should be people who deliberately take the piss and undermine them. A few weeks ago, Feemo and I were at an Evile gig in the very same room we saw Shrinebuilder. This time we were bouncing 15 year old boys to the ground as we did the robot through the pit all night. And wouldn’t you know, that drum ‘n’ bass remix proved to be incredibly popular with Evile themselves as well as with their fans.
People who like metal were more often than not the weirdos in school who stuck together because the only thing they had in common was that they lacked social skills, and liked heavy metal. What are my memories of my days in school before I was a rockstar God up to my neck in pussy? Acceptance. No matter how weird or rich or poor or lacking in friends or social skills somebody was, they would always be welcomed into our group of friends. Why do these same people now feel the need to ostracize others, whether they’re metal fans or bands, simply because they like something a bit different to what they themselves are used to? I still talk to my friends despite the fact that they listen to Static-X non-ironically.
Heavy metal is stupid. It’s ridiculous. It’s over the top. That’s the point. It’s not meant to be taken seriously. There’s something weird about festivals that turns the idiots who do take it seriously – shrinking violet metal heads who never leave their bedrooms – into dominant, obnoxious, kilt-clad, corpse-paint smearing morons insistent on drinking their botulism-ridden home brew from a foot-and-mouth infected goat’s horn, all whilst wearing a Jagermeister bandana as if it were symbolic of anything besides mental retardation or social inadequacy. There’s room for this kind of thing, but the people currently doing this do it seriously. They’re the ones upset by The Prodigy headlining Download. The perversity of the entire situation is that these idiots need to stop taking it all so seriously in order for metal to be taken seriously in general.
Until the question “How do you get 1,000 virgins into a room?” isn’t answered by saying “Book Manowar to play”, heavy metal needs to pull its socks up.
Excuse the seriousness of this column. Normal service will resume soon, the next Groanings On will talk about boobs, DOOM, reefers and double denim. I promise. Until then, rave on, pretty doomlings.