Last night (March 27) the Glastonbury line-up arrived like a digger’s arm unloading – all at the same time, in once big lump, with no warning. Staring at the festival poster, it was hard to take it all in. But certain sections stood out. Foals on the Other Stage. Haim on the Main Stage! And although the rumour had been swirling around longer than that one about Fred Spector and the banana in the Asda car park, The Rolling Stones on the Main Stage.
Although many fans’ hands would have been flung up in delight (then hauled back down when their owners remembered they didn’t get round to getting tickets in time) when people spotted Arctic Monkeys were headlining too, there wasn’t anywhere near the same level of fanfare as there was for the Stones. On many levels this is understandable. It’s historic – Mick’s gang have never played Glasto before. It’s clearly going to be amazing – The O2 shows proved that (or the reports did, I didn’t go, I had rent to pay). But I reckon the Monkeys are going to steal this year’s festival by stealth.
That’s why I’m more excited to see them than anything else on the bill. Or rather I was, until I remembered that I handed my notice in to NME on Monday because I’m moving to Shanghai one month before the festival, so I won’t be there. Bollocks. But before this chilling reality took hold, the four reasons why the Monkeys will rule it ran through my head. These are:
They last headlined Glastonbury in 2007 – two albums into their career. Check the setlist. Not quite the Greatest Hits set yet, although kudos for getting Dizzee up. It was great, but it wasn’t the heart-through-your-rib-cage moment a Glasto headline slot always should be. It can never be for a band after just two albums (even if your second is ‘Favourite Worst Nightmare’ rather than ‘Babel’). They need to come back and nail it.
After the “experimental” ‘Humbug’ album – which wasn’t experimental at all, it just didn’t have any tunes aside from ‘Crying Lightning’ and ‘Cornerstone’ – 2011’s ‘Suck It And See’ album was a flabberghastingly good return to form. Mainly, because they sounded relaxed just rocking out in their new, grown up, nonchalantly genius way. They should still be buzzing from it, and a lack of recent live action will mean that come June they’ll be as hungry as fuck to let rip.
Well, hopefully. Bands are notoriously reluctant to play new material at festival slots should someone, heaven forbid, film it and put it on YouTube before they everyone spend money on an official download. But we know (because Matt Helders told us) that the Monkeys are getting their new album out this year, so the songs are clearly there. See this as a challenge then, chaps. At least three newies in the setlist. We promise to not bring along out cameraphones, unless Helders gets all ‘LA porno video’ on us again.
‘Are U Mine?’, their latest, one-off track, is the best single they’ve released since Alex’s last pimple got washed down his basin plug-hole. They’ve said that they wanted to use it as a springboard into the new album. Imagine 12 of those.
So there we are. I guess I’ll just check YouTube to see how it goes (not the new songs, of course). Ah, I’ve just remembered: YouTube’s banned in China...