London Docklands Arena

[b]Ash[/b] fill in as headliners as [a]Nine Inch Nails[/a] pull out...

Hyped as the gig to supercede last year's highly successful Big Day Out festival at Milton Keynes which featured Marilyn Manson, Metallica and Queens Of The Stone Age, the Lost Weekend at London's Arena over July 1 and 2 holds huge promise for fans of heavy rock.

For a weekend ticket costing #35, the bill offers 20 bands including Nine Inch Nails, A Perfect Circle, the Rollins Band, Skunk Anansie, Machine Head, One Minute Silence and Ash plus a host of up-and-coming British acts.

But what begins with the best intentions quickly turns into a scene of serious unrest when, on mid-Saturday afternoon, Nine Inch Nails withdraw from the headline slot.

The official reason for the band's impromptu retraction is given as drummer Jerome Dillon being too ill to play. Whilst no-one from the band's record label Interscope is available to elaborate, it is further speculated that the band are not even in the country.

This last-minute announcement sees thousands of punters who had specifically come to see Nine Inch Nails, do swift about-turns without even setting foot in the venue.

Refunds are available provided ticket buyers do not enter the London Arena, but only for the Saturday rather than a ticket purchased for the whole weekend.

In an attempt to make up for Nine Inch Nails absence, all of the bands start later than previously scheduled with Ash stepping into the headline slot.

Whilst the Irish quartet do their best to rouse the crowd with a guitar driven 50-minute set, it's hard to ignore the fact that the venue is less than half- full.

It is definitely a black day for goth n' roll .

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