Australia’s Big Day Out 2014 Festival Draws Pearl Jam, Arcade Fire, Blur

Australia’s Big Day Out 2014 Festival Draws Pearl Jam, Arcade Fire, Blur

With the announcement of next year’s Big Day Out lineup, we finally have the first word that Arcade Fire will be hitting the road again following the announcement of an upcoming new album. The group will be playing the Australian traveling festival along with Pearl Jam, Blur, the Lumineers and many, many more.

Big Day Out 2014 will take place between January 19, 2014 and February 2, 2014, starting in Gold Coast, Australia. The festival will then travel to Melbourne, Sydney and Adelaide before finishing out the final date in Perth. Though more performers will be announced before the festival, other artists that will be on the tour include Steve Angello, GroupLove, Mac Miller, Tame Impala, Flume, Major Lazer, Portugal. The Man and “Snoop Dogg aka Snoop Lion.” I put the last listing in quotes because that’s how it appears on the poster, not me making fun of Snoop for changing his name even though no one knows who he is without putting Snoop Dogg in there somewhere.

Arcade Fire announced recently that it will release a fourth studio album on October 29. Details have been sketchy so far, but we do know that the record is produced by James Murphy, formerly the man behind LCD Soundsystem. The group has not announced if more tour dates will be revealed in the future, but I think it’d be a safe bet to say they will.

Blur is returning to playing festivals in Australia for the first time since 1997, and bassist Alex James told Fairfax Media he’s ready to play to, essentially, a completely new audience.

“It’s really wonderful the shows we’ve been doing, it’s a new audience and a lot of them can’t have been born when Blur first started … splitting up was the best thing we ever did, probably,” he said.

Damon Albarn Planning Solo Album, Concert Tour

Blur’s Damon Albarn has finished up his first solo album, and plans to tour after its release.

The news comes from a Rolling Stone interview with Albarn, who reveals he worked on the record with XL Records head Richard Russell.

“Making a solo record can be such a disaster, so I thought if we’re going to make a record with my name on it, I should get someone to really produce it – take that responsibility away from myself,” Albarn said in the interview. “Richard does the kind of rhythmic side of it and I do everything else.”

Albarn and Russell worked together to make a record with soul legend Bobby Womack last year, and apparently Russell wants to focus more on record production than record selling.

“We worked together on the Bobby Womack record, and really enjoy working together,” Albarn said. “He’s done spectacularly well as a music mogul, but I think he wants to focus his energy on producing records.”

Albarn didn’t say when the record will be released, or when he plans on touring behind it, though he did say that when he does, he’ll be playing songs from all points of his career, which includes Blur, Gorillaz and the Good, the Bad and the Queen. He says that this decade is his time to work on whatever projects he’s interested in at the time.

“I get bored extremely easily. Blur was definitely my Nineties, Gorillaz was my 2000s, and then I’ve done a lot of different stuff this decade,” he said.

Blur played at this year’s Coachella fest, and will appear at a few European festivals this summer. While Albarn didn’t go so far as to ensure the future of the band, he did say there is a possibility the group will record a new album, possibly this summer.

“We’ve got a couple of occasions when we’re stuck in the middle of nowhere,” he said, referring to the summer festivals. “So we might make the record in a week. If we can, it would be nice.”


Stone Roses, Blur, Phoenix, Red Hot Chili Peppers Headline Coachella 2013

Stone Roses, Blur, Phoenix, Red Hot Chili Peppers Headline Coachella 2013

We’ve heard the rumors for months, and now at long last we finally have the Coachella 2013 lineup, and Stone Roses, Blur, Phoenix and Red Hot Chili Peppers are the headliners.

Of course, that’s just the tip of the iceberg for the lineup of the Indio festival that will be held April 12-14 and April 19-21. Like last year, both weekends will have identical lineups.

So here’s a short list of other notable artists appearing this year in addition to the headliners: Lou Reed, the Postal Service, Sigur Ros, New Order, Modest Mouse, Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Jurassic 5, Japandroids, Johnny Marr, Grizzly Bear, Moby, Spiritualized, Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds, Vampire Weekend, Wu-Tang Clan, Gaslight Anthem and Social Distortion.

Tickets go on sale January 29 at 1 p.m. ET/10 a.m. PT – last year’s event sold out in about two hours. Tickets are $349 per person for general admission (to one weekend), and $799 for a VIP package. The latter package allows access to two VIP areas, which include extra restrooms, bars, seating, food vendors and tents. Camping is extra and starts at $85 in addition to the ticket price for the festival.

The Coachella Music and Arts Festival has been held at the Indio Polo Grounds in Indio, California every year since it began in 1999. In addition to the huge names that perform at the show every year, the festival also serves as something of a buzz generator for new artists. Laura Ballance, co-founder of Merge Records, awesomely explained why to the Los Angeles Times.

“They pay you lots of money, and there’s a large captive audience,” she said.

Last year was the first year the festival took on a two-weekend format, and doubled its audience to 650,000 music fans in the transition. The 2012 version of the festival grossed $47 million.

Depeche Mode, Blur, Rammstein Set for Belgium’s Rock Werchter

Depeche Mode, Blur, Rammstein Set for Belgium’s Rock Werchter

Next year’s lineup for Belgium’s Rock Werchter festival will include some heavy hitters including Depeche Mode, Rammstein, Kings of Leon, Green Day, the Editors and Blur.

The festival will be held July 4-7, 2013, and is the largest rock festival in Belgium. The event has a capacity of 140,000 concertgoers.

Kings of Leon are the newest addition to the roster, though it hasn’t been revealed which night of the festival they will play. The band’s bassist, Jared Followill, recently told the NME that the band will be finishing up a new album at the beginning of 2013.

“We are in the writing process right now and it’s coming along pretty quickly,” Followill said. “We’ll definitely get into the studio but we, you know, we have no plans of finishing it this year but definitely early next year, so I think people should expect something from us soon rather than later.”

The announcement of Blur’s headlining spot leads more credibility to the murmurs that the band will tour next year, even though singer Damon Albarn previously said that the band’s gig at the Summer Olympics in London this year might be the group’s final performance together.

“Thank you for waiting,” read a statement on Blur’s Facebook page last month. “Rock Werchter is about to announce that Blur will headline next July. We’re excited… hope to travel in 2013 to play to more of our lovely fans who we haven’t seen for a while. Don’t know where yet, we’ll tell as soon as we do.”

Rock Werchter has been held every year since 1973 and is one of the five biggest rock music festivals in Europe. The event continually draws some of the biggest names in music, and earlier this year was headlined by the Red Hot Chili Peppers, Pearl Jam, The Cure, Garbage and Mumford & Sons.

Blur Lead 2013 Primavera Sound Festival Line-Up

It was only a few months ago that Damon Albarn announced that Blur’s appearance at the London Summer Olympics would likely be the band’s final concert, but the band will indeed play together again at the Primavera Sound Festivals.

The group will headline the twin festivals that will be held over two weekends next year. The first will take place in Barcelona May 24, 2013, and the next will follow on May 31 in Porto, Portugal.  The band will play both dates, and also will play the Rock Werchter festival, held July 4-7 next year in Belgium. In fact, it was announced on Blur’s Facebook page that the band is possibly considering a full-on tour next year.

“Hope to travel in 2013 to play to more of our lovely fans who we haven’t seen for a while,” read the statement on the page. “Don’t know where yet, we’ll tell as soon as we do. Stand by.”

No other bands have yet been announced for the 2013 Primavera Sound Festivals.

Back in April of this year, Albarn said that Blur’s gig in Hyde Park during the closing ceremonies of this year’s Summer Olympics would be the band’s last and he hopes “that’s how we end it.” But bassist Alex James later stepped back from the finality of the statement before the London concert.

“I really don’t know what next, that’s the only honest answer I can give,” James said, according to the NME. “If Hyde Park is s**t, then that’s definitely it.”

Albarn also spoke of the possibility of new Blur recordings earlier this year after the release of the new single, “Under the Westway,” though he didn’t sound very hopeful.

“I don’t really see any more recordings after this,” he said. “So it’s nice to have finally done one song [‘Under the Westway’] where we did it properly.”

Looks like we’ll just have to wait and see what the band is up to next.

Damon Albarn Says Gorillaz, Blur are Done

In an extensive interview with The Guardian, Damon Albarn has confirmed that both Blur and Gorillaz are likely finished. He also spoke about his feud with former Oasis guitarist Noel Gallagher.

Recently it was announced that Blur will be playing a Hyde Park concert to mark the closing of the Olympics, which will be held in London this summer. But Albarn told the British newspaper that this gig may be the last show the band ever plays.

When asked if he had future plans for Blur after that gig, he replied, “No, not really.” He went on to say that “I hope that’s the truth and that’s how we end it.”

He also said that “Under the Westway,” a new single, will probably be the last recording by the band.

“I don’t really see any more recordings after this,” he said. “So it’s nice to have finally done one song where we did it properly.”

He says the reason for the lack of future record is primarily because of the band’s rhythm section.

“I find it very easy to record with [guitarist] Graham [Coxon],” he said. “He’s a daily musician. With the other two, it’s harder for them to reconnect. You know what I mean? It’s fine when we play live – it’s really magical still – but actually recording new stuff, and swapping musical influences, it’s quite difficult.”

He said that the end of Gorillaz is the result of a disagreement with Jamie Hewlett, the artist that collaborates with Albarn on the project.

“Jamie [thinks Gorillaz is finished], which is fair enough. I think we were at cross purposes somewhat on the that last record, which is a shame.” That last record was 2009’s Plastic Beach.

Albarn also said that he had buried the hatchet with formal rival Noel Gallagher after a chance encounter.

“I met him in Mayfair, in a nightclub,” Albarn said. “What normally happened in that situation was, we had a way of looking a certain way and walking past. It was like a code. But we broke the code that night, instantly. We looked at each other and said hello, and it made all the difference. A lovely man.”

Blur to Close London Olympics with New Order, the Specials

Acclaimed Britpop band Blur have been tapped to headline a concert in London’s Hyde Park to mark the closing of the 2012 Olympic Games to be held in the city this summer. Legendary rockers New Order and The Specials also will play at the show, which is being billed as a “Best of British” event.

The event will take place on August 12, and the closing ceremonies will be shown to concertgoers on giant screens at the event.

The announcement is part of an exciting couple of weeks for Blur, who have played only a handful of shows since reuniting in 2009 after going on hiatus in 2003. Earlier this week, band members Damon Albarn and Graham Coxon caused a stir when they performed a new song at a War Child Benefit gig in London, and tonight they are scheduled to appear on the Brit Awards show. In addition to receiving an award for Outstanding Contribution to Music, the band will perform an 11-minute, five song-set.

Frontman Albarn told NME magazine that the Olympic show should be “brilliant.”

“It’ll be a proper party,” he added. “It’s the closing night of the Olympics. Our raison d’etre is to provide another celebration of a fantastic day.”

Bassist Alex James added that the uncertainty of the band’s future makes any Blur gig exciting.

“Pulling the band back together is like reassembling the A-Team for one last job,” he told The Sun newspaper. “There is always a feeling that this may be Blur’s last bow, which I suppose makes it all the more exciting.”

New Order was formed by the surviving members of Joy Division after that band’s lead singer, Ian Curtis, committed suicide in 1980. The band had also been on hiatus, since 2007, but reconvened to play three shows at the end of last year. They currently are preparing for a short tour of Australia and New Zealand.

The Specials are an English ska band that originally formed in 1977.