Tuesday, February 07, 2012

Metallica to host two-day 'Orion' Festival

So the big news today that has the internet and metalheads everywhere all atwitter, is Metallica's announcement of a two-day 'Orion' festival in Antlantic City. The festival will feature Metallica headlining each evening as well as a performance of The Black Album in its entirety on one of the nights, and Ride The Lightning on the other. Another surprise is a collection of 22 of the most random-ass bands they've ever played with, handpicked by Metallica.

When I first looked at the lineup I thought it was a bad joke. I don't know what the fuck they were thinking here; you've got indie bands playing along side some of the weakest metal bands out there, a couple hardcore bands, some assorted rock and a black metal band.
Just when I truly believed James Hetfield was sober...

If I were to put my convictions aside, I would admit that there really aren't too many bad bands on the bill, short of Cage the Elephant (whose last album 'Thank You, Happy Birthday' sounded like an epileptic noise rock band recording through tin-can phones while staring directly into the constant flashing of a strobe light) and Avenged Sevenfold (let's be honest, when were they ever good?) but what the Hell are they doing here together? Seems like a big mash-up of lighter, popular bands to appease Metallica's ageing audience, and maybe draw in some audience members that wouldn't typically drop a hundred or so dollars to see a geriatric thrash band.
In their press release the band explains that the various acts that will be taking to the multiple stages at 'Orion' reflect the musical tastes of the members of the band themselves. I'm not sure which is worse, the fact that Cage The Elephant is playing with Metallica or that someone in Metallica actually likes them. Major credibility damage.

Regardless of the genre-mashing nature of this festival, it does seem to be a sort of once-in-a-lifetime event.

Here's a big chunk of the initial press release from Metallica:

"We've had the idea of doing our own lifestyle festival with lots of diverse music and fun and games for years," said METALLICA drummer Lars Ulrich. "Finally this year all the practical ducks lined up in a row, and we are beyond psyched to bring Orion to our fans, friends and the curious. After the most incredible of weeks ever in December 2011 celebrating our 30th anniversary at the Fillmore in San Francisco, California, bringing the spirit of that week, the looseness of that week, the possibilities of that week, the fan interactive elements of that week, and the (fill in your own blank here) of that week to a festival setting is so exciting we can hardly contain ourselves."

Orion Music + More will feature multiple live music stages plus a lifestyle element that reflects each of METALLICA's band members many personal interests. METALLICA will headline both nights of Orion Music + More and play "The Black Album" in its entirety one night "Ride The Lightning" in its entirety the other. This will be the only time the band will perform these albums in North America in 2012. The lineup for Orion Music + More will span multiple musical genres. From punk to country, over 20 bands will perform.

Regarding how the bands were selected to perform at Orion Music + More, Ulrich said, "Music, to us, is really diverse; it covers all grounds. If you took the four of ours;' iPods and scanned through those, you would find the biggest variety and diversity of music, so we're trying to bring that spirit to this festival."
He added, "A lot of the European festivals, and certainly also Lollapalooza and Bonnaroo and so on, in outside lands in America, these festivals are really about diversity and about different experiences. You go there, you go check out bands you don't know a lot about, you go check out bands where it will be the first time you'll experience them. So there's a whole big pile of stuff — from punk to thrash to country to, sort, of alternative, straight-ahead rock, blues. But it's really about diversity."

The METALLICA Met Club fan club presale starts tomorrow, February 8 at 10 a.m. (Eastern) and runs through Friday, February 10 at 10 p.m. (Eastern). Met Club members get first dibs on buying festival tickets and with a couple of options to choose from.

The Orion Festival will be held on June 24, and 25. Two day passes begin at a fairly hefty 125 bucks, $150 for the 'early bird' orders, and $175 for advance tickets, which considering the scope of the festival and the sheer number of bands attending this festival, is a pretty fuckin' decent price. 'Met Club Ultra' VIP packages are also available for $225.

Below is a video of a livecast with Metallica in which they discuss the festival. Dig it.

- Dan "The Grinder" Hurtubise

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