Metal Hammer (UK)
METALLICA PLAY GLASTONBURY (June 2014)
Metal’s biggest band headlined the Pyramid Stage and signalled a sea-change in heavy music’s presence at the UK mega-fest
Even with their name on the official line-up poster, it was still hard to believe: Metallica were headlining Glastonbury. The world’s biggest festival had rarely embraced metal over its four-decade history, so the news that our biggest band would be playing the coveted Pyramid Stage was a huge surprise. BBC presenter Lauren Laverne, currently presenting the weekday Breakfast Show on BBC Radio 6 Music, says that despite the media hoo-ha, Metallica at Glasto always made perfect sense.
What was the reaction like around the media when you heard Metallica were playing Glastonbury?
Lauren: “Metal OGS coming to the mother of all festivals seemed like the perfect fit to everyone I knew. Anyone who knows their music understood what a long-held ambition this was for the band as they are so into British music. You knew they were going to give it their all. I interviewed Lars onsite and talked about that with him; appropriately enough they’d arrived to a clap of thunder – pretty metal already! He said that after playing a gig in Antarctica (the only continent they hadn’t played up to that point), Glastonbury was the next major ambition for them.”
Why do you think it caused such a news story?
“For some of the older school it might’ve been controversial, but anyone who actually goes knows that Glastonbury is the broadest possible musical church and there is room for every genre. But I think certain sections of the media had a take on it as this clash of the stereotypes between ‘metal’ and ‘hippies’. Presumably they’ve never heard of Hawkwind…”
Did you get to watch the set?
“Yeah, all of it. They nailed it. I thought it was really powerful to bring the crowd onto the stage with them and it looked like they were having a blast. Obviously the sound was ferocious and as for Whiskey In The Jar… who doesn’t love a cover?”
How do you think they were ultimately received?
“From where I was standing it was really positive. Heavy metal is a global genre and culture with roots that began in Britain at the same time as Glastonbury, featuring plenty of the same people. They’re part of the same family tree. I think most people felt it was the right thing for them to headline and seeing that they cared about it was affecting.”
Do you think it helped open the gates for other metal bands to play Glastonbury?
“I hope so. It’s a pop festival, so every kind of popular music should be able to have its place there. Spurious genre divisions are useful when you’re organising your record collection but none of the musicians or music fans I know care too much about that when it comes to seeing artists play. They just want to watch something fantastic.”
“METAL AND GLASTONBURY ARE PART OF THE SAME FAMILY TREE”
LAUREN LAVERNE, BBC RADIO