Since the death of Lemmy, there has been a big, gaping hole in the Download lineup where Motorhead should be. The iconic man himself said that if anyone wanted to pay tribute to him, they should do so by playing some fuck-off loud music and drinking offensively large amounts of stupid strong alcoholic substances. However, the organisers- and Andy Copping in general- see to have disregarded have instead slapped a massive two hour gap on the mainstage’s running time. Now, I know what you’re thinking- there must be something else to this. Perhaps a secret band or something similar. But it would appear not. Download, quite literally, have decided to pay tribute to the man by devoting two hours of time to an empty stage.
Well, sort of…
Firstly, chief booker Andy Copping- a man with an oversized ego and a strange love for Cowboy hats- has been working hard to try and lower peoples expectations via his Twitter account. The only thing we officially know is that there will be a twenty minute video segment shown in honour of him, although no time is given- I can only assume it will be randomly played at some point in that random gap like an afterthought. As always, there have been those overly hopeful people who have become convinced that Copping is trying to hide some massive announcement, perhaps a band who cannot officially appear on the poster due to playing elsewhere. Some Downloaders seem to think that Saxon, who are playing their own set at the festival, could be reprising their Golden Gods performance where they performed with members of Motorhead in a memorial performance. I think this is wishful thinking, especially as GG listed it as their exclusive- although I concede that it would explain why an announcement can’t be made.
Frankly, I can’t see it being a secret, as Download are notoriously bad at keeping anything quiet. Last year, the Darkness played a secret set that wasn’t secret at all because, just a day before everything got going, Download basically coughed up the goods and admitted everything. Now, they may do that again, but surely by now somebody would have worked something cryptic out. Some people are probably fabricating some sort of secret set because, quite reasonably, they refuse to accept that there could be nothing but a dull video to pay respect to one of rock’s greatest figures.
The truth is, Download never replaced Motorhead, simply filling in lower slots on the Friday instead with lesser bands. They did this as a cost cutting exercise, because with three headliners that could sell out arenas on their own, there were probably a few little strains here and there on the budget. However, to compromise on this, or perhaps just to appease the fans, they declared that less bands meant longer set times. That is a noble thought, and one which actually seems to make sense, if it wasn’t for the fact that Friday’s roster starts later than the other days and that some sets are actually shorter than ones on Saturday. Its dishonest. Frankly, they probably went ahead and did it with no regard for the people who had bought tickets, and are now panicking to try and make some bookings lest they get faced by a crowd of thousands of smelly festival attendees who are well and truly miffed.
I find it an insult, if I’m honest. Throughout his life, Lemmy liked things loud. His music was unrelenting and unapologetic, and his body took a beating both fr excessive touring and excessive substance abuse. He one met a fan who told him that he was his hero, and Lemmy simply responded that he would never be anyone’s hero, just a guy who played rock ‘n’ roll. Not only if a poorly conceived video a poor tribute to the man, but it is completely in contrast to what he was like. Surely he would rather have the field filled with noise than some mournful clip of his life. Other European festivals had the band booked, and they have managed to fill the slot with another booked band- not because they don’t care about his passing, but because they do. After all, Lemmy would’ve felt that the best way to pay your respects to him would be to party like the world was going to end. That’s something a virtually lifeless two hour slot just wouldn’t provide. Considering the biggest stage of the festival is named after the guy, the least they could is deliver a proper send-off for him, rather than a half-assed effort that saves money.
Whatever happens, somebody will be left disappointed. The people who are convinced its a secret band will be disappointed if is isn’t, and the people that think it’ll be a crappy video will be disappointed if its something better- if only because they won’t have anything to bitch about for the weekend. If ir turns out to be a lacklustre tribute, then go and check out the loudest band you can on another stage. I get the feeling that’s what Lemmy would’ve wanted all along. Courtesy of YouTube, here is a little memory of what the music world has lost, and just why Lemmy’s legacy deserves a bit more than a shitty twenty minute clip.