Bunch Of Fives: Matt Hoss | NARC. | Reliably Informed | Music and Creative Arts News for Newcastle and the North East

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Comedian Matt Hoss launches Castival, a brand new podcast (released weekly on a Friday), which asks those invited onto the show to pitch their dream music festival. Expect great music chat and funny anecdotes about past festival experiences from a spectacular array of special guests. In their inaugural episode, Matt talks to the star of Live at the Apollo, Mock The Week and Radio 4, Nathan Caton. 

In keeping with themes of the podcast, Matt tells us about the best music festivals he has been to…

Hello, I’m Matt Hoss and I’m a comedian and podcaster. My new podcast is called Castival, which I interview amazing comedians and musicians about what their dream music line-up is. 

I love music, gigs and hearing about what people are passionate about. I’ve been to so many wonderful festivals for both work and pleasure. But since I’m the host of Castival it means I don’t get to talk about my favourite bands as much as I’d like to. So I wanted to share with you my top Five festival line-ups that I experienced. 

Small disclaimer: Most of these I visited when I was teenager, and I was really into heavy rock and metal. Get prepared for a lot of rock festivals. My music has grown significantly (obviously), so just get ready for a lot of repeating rock bands. 

Sonisphere Festival (UK) 2011
You may not remember this festival as it has been slightly forgotten in time and obscurity, sadly. But in the few years which it was running, it was excellent. This festival was so good that in 2011, I  travelled down on a coach from the North East down to Knebworth, by myself as a teenagerm to camp solo for three days. Just out of pure love for music. If you don’t know me, that sums me up as a person.

Line-up wise, honestly, I think that Saturday and Sunday are fine. They are pretty good, but not legendary (with exceptions, like for Motorhead and Bill Bailey). Headliners for Saturday and Sunday were Slipknot and Biffy Clyro. 

But the reason I was keen to go was that the festival on the Friday night had the Big Four doing their first ever performance simultaneously in the UK. That’s Anthrax, Megadeth, Slayer and Metallica on the same bill, including Diamond Head, which influenced all the bands massively. This is a big thing, because there was a famous beef between Metallica and Megadeth and they buried the hatchet to play together. During Metallica’s encore, all five bands came onstage and played “Am I Evil” by Diamond Head together at the same time. It was a spectacle and it was so awesome. It felt like a historical music moment for me. The rest of the weekend was good, but you couldn’t beat that Friday night. (P.S. Slayer’s mosh pits were one of the most terrifying things I’ve seen at a gig).

Glastonbury Festival 2014
Honestly this isn’t the best Glastonbury ever,  but it’s the only one I’ve been to. That being said, it’s pretty excellent for me. Metallica* did their Glasto debut (another historical moment too) , Arcade Fire (and Kasabian too, unfortunately. They are lucky that they have a career). On top of that, there was Dolly Parton, Robert Plant, Ed Sheeran, Lily Allen, Black Keys, Pixies. It was the summer where Royal Blood just got massive; That tent was rammed and it was great. Glastonbury is more than just the music festival though, as it is full of so much art constantly. It was truly a lifetime in one weekend. It was magical and weird.

*Metallica (they are 100% going to be a recurring band btw) headlined much to the disgruntlement of many Glastonbury fanboys. Metallica  played it off so beautifully because they put out a special T-shirt called “Metallica: Peace & Love” and on the back they had all the quotes of every famous musician who slagged them off. It was great. They also filmed a very special introduction video for Glastonbury which was only used at this gig.  Very cool!

Download Festival 2010
Now this was a special year. This was the first festival which I attended which I fell head over heels with. I had been to Leeds fest & Download the year prior, but this one really enraptured my heart.  Headliners were AC/DC (AC/DC had built their own stage and drove a train through it), Rage Against The Machine and Aerosmith. This line-up was just mind-blowing for me. It was a massive education for music and it made me really fall in love with live performances. I remember rocking so hard and freaking out when Aerosmith played Train Kept a Rollin’ that an older man put a hand on my shoulder and said “Dude, calm down”. It is a source of embarrassment to this day.

Over the weekend, I remember staying at the front from 11am in the morning until about 6pm in the evening, until my dehydrated body, (with a full bladder) couldn’t take it any longer. On the Saturday  I stayed from Taking Dawn until Megadeth. Five Finger Death Punch was particularly brutal as there were so many crowd-surfers they had to cut their set short. Being at the front I had to duck regularly under the sea of thrashing bodies. I got kicked in the head so many times by unwashed people. Perfect day. 

It was also the only time I got to see Stone Temple Pilots before Scott Weiland’s Untimely passing. I’m grateful for having gone to these festivals to see bands that I didn’t know I was going to see again (similarly to Linkin Park in 2011 and Soundgarden in 2012, tragically). 

Leeds Festival 2008
Okay so this one is a cheat. I apologise, but it’s too good to ignore. I wanted to go to the festival when I was 15, but I was just  too young. I wish I went now, because Holy moly, what a line-up. IN all fairness, I fastidiously watched  all the Reading highlights and got hourly updates from my brother who was attending the festival. This was the festival which inspired my love for festivals. 

The line-up is insane. Metallica, Rage Against The Machine and The Killers. Holy shit. What more could you want? Tenacious D, Slipknot, Avenged sevenfold, Bloc Party, Queens Of The Stone Age, Fratellis and more. It’s a perfect mix of different themes. You have lots of Indie, plenty of pop-rock and more than average  heavy metal (and some bands which would turn out to be massive). If this was a festival I could go to now, I would cry with happiness every hour. Seriously. Look at the line-up. Even the fourth stage down is excellent. Like, this line-up has aged incredibly well, (unlike some of the festival line-ups; maybe check Sunday Headliner of Download of the same year!)

I would argue this is the last truly legendary Leeds/Reading line-up. After this, in my opinion, is a noticeable steady decline into utter blandness (With a noticeable exception to 2010 in all fairness). 2008 may have been the best Leeds/Reading in existence (yes even better than the Nirvana year). 

Download Festival 2012
The Prodigy, Metallica (yup, again) and Black Sabbath. With good mentions of Slash, Machine head, Megadeth, Soundgarden, Steel panther, Anthrax Lamb of god, Trivium. There was also Biffy Clyro too, which acts as a reminder that you can’t always get what you want. 

The best thing about this festival was getting to see Tenacious D and Metallica on the same day, which was something I had waited for since Leeds 2008. It was very much worth it. Metallica were great and Tenacious D used a fake sperm canon to cover the crowd with ejaculate Confetti. This is a great festival. The lower stages aren’t as legendary as you would hope, but I was thoroughly wowed throughout the festival. 

What was more legendary, was that I actually went to this festival during the last week of my A-level exams. Like literally, I was revising over the weekend and my exams were  happening about 11 hours after the festival finished. It wasn’t just one, it was like all the important ones. My mum was highly anxious (and rightly so), but I was determined to go. It turned out that’s the best exam result I got. Turns out that  I wish I went to a lot more festivals before my other exams….

Also during Black Sabbath’s set, My brother and I WERE at the front, but we moved back to get a fast exit to try and get home before my 9am exam (as my mum was waiting on a main road to swiftly drive me home). We moved back where it was more chilled. There was a drunken bully who kept on pushing some people around, trying to create a mosh pit with lots of people who evidently weren’t keen and  this person was generally being aggressive. One of the most coolest and confrontational things I’ve ever done is: during Paranoid, is when he was moshing around I just pushed him over. I remember people giving me applause, but my brother doesn’t remember that. It may have been for the music.

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