My Chemical Romance’s announcement for Reading and Leeds Festivals conjured up a horrible image of the demographic MCR were going to bring into the festivals in people’s mind. Something which the masses loyal to the festivals would probably have been more tolerant of if they felt the band were worthy of the spot. Even during the release of The Black Parade album when the band were at its peak they probably weren’t big enough and they certainly aren’t now after the follow up album completely bombed.
It smacks of lazy booking, which Festival Republic are becoming known for. Maybe they were aiming to bring in a certain demographic to the festival by booking My Chemical Romance. People may disagree with me on this but I think the modern day Green day would attract a similar fan base. One example of this is the bands having toured together in 2005. As well as potentially attracting a lot of old school Punk fans if they promised to throw in a few old tracks.
Over the years the band have built up a huge cult following. The release of Dookie in 1994 was their first real commercial success and saw the band perform at Lollapalooza and Woodstock festivals that same year, with the album winning a Grammy Award the following year. They continued to gain nominations and win awards in the years to follow.
Their sound slowly broke away from that old school punk style, the complete transition was marked by the 2004 release of American Idiot. Many, myself included, would say they’d completely sold out by this point but there’s no doubt that this commercial radio friendly sound introduced them to massive new audience. They performed almost 150 dates across the world in promotion of this album and majorly capitalised on this new success taking them to arguably the peak of their popularity. In June of 2005 they managed to sell out two nights at the 65000 capacity National Bowl in Milton Keynes.
The release of 21st Century Breakdown in 2009 led to California shows in May and April which were the bands first live shows in around 3 years. They toured the album throughout the world from July 2009 into early 2010 and achieved the bands best chart performance to date. Selling out The Milton Keynes shows back in 2005 doesn’t of course mean that they could headline shows of the same size today but a Summer stadium tour in 2010 included Green day playing to massive audiences in Paris, Manchester and at London’s Wembley Stadium.
Green Day wouldn’t necessarily be my first pick as a headliner, and I’m inclined to turn my nose up at the newer stuff, but they would be much more suitable headliner than My Chemical Romance. Green day last performed at Reading and Leeds festivals was back in 2004 and the clamour to have them back has built up over a number of years and looking at the way in which the two festivals have lined up this year surely 2011 was the perfect time to welcom them back?
The 2004 headline slot did them no harm and proved that Green Day deserved to be back at the next given opportunity. Another reason this seems like a huge missed opportunity to me is the fact that The Offspring are playing on the same day, two bands whose styles have developed in a similar fashion over the years and two bands who share a lot of the same fans. 2011 was the perfect opportunity to have one band leading into the other, especially with New Found Glory playing earlier in the day just to add to the Pop/Punk vibe.
They may not have a studio album release to coincide with the festival but the live CD/DVD Awesome As Fuck was released on March 22nd 2011 and Bassist Mike Dirnt also announced they have 30 tracks written for the 9th album so the band would have had plenty of new material to try out. Some people may argue that
Green day aren’t relevant anymore and are just slowly fading away so don’t deserve to headline a major festival, but April 20th 2010 saw the Broadway opening of American Idiot the Musical and June 8th 2010 saw the release of the video game Green Day: Rock Band proving that there is a market and strong demand for Green Day in modern mainstream society.
If Blink 182 could headline in 2010 I see no reason why a Green Day headline slot would have been anything other than a big success in 2011. They are a band whose earlier tracks would appeal to a lot of old school punk fans and some of the older attendees, as well as appealing to a lot of younger festival goers who would have come across the band in the last 4 or 5 years while they’ve enjoy a commercial renaissance.