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TODAY'S NEWS
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Jacko merchandising deals on table
Mariah's new album to carry adverts
Robbie managers discuss ending EMI contract
In The Pop Courts
Chris Brown's sentencing delayed
Former GNR man cleared of drugs charges
In The Pop Hospital
Beastie Boy's cancer surgery a success
Awards & Contests
Vote in the DJ poll
In The Studio
Nash begins recording with Butler
Release News
Pelican announce new album
Gigs N Tours News
ZZ Top announce UK shows
A Place To Bury Strangers UK tour
They Came From The Stars, I Saw Them headline Filter show
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Sonisphere invited back to Knebworth
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Festival review: Sonisphere
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My Bloody Valentine partner with earplug firm
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Mama signs Sonic for ad sales
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ITV flog Friends Reunited
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Fastest RAJAR round up ever
E4 to air Bo Selecta Jacko tribute
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THURSDAY 6TH AUGUST


SIAN ALICE GROUP
Formed by Rupert Clervaux, Ben Crook and Sian Ahern in 2006, the Sian Alice Group released their debut album, '59:59' last year. Featuring contributions from members of The Jesus & Mary Chain, Spring Heel Jack and Gang Gang Dance, it received high praise from critics and earned the band support slots with the likes of A Place To Bury Strangers and Deerhunter. This month the band released the follow-up, 'Troubled, Shaken, Etc', which delves further into their eclectic, experimental and utterly beautiful sound. We spoke to Rupert and Ben to find out more.
 
Q1 How did you start out making music?
Rupert Clervaux: I started destroying my Ma's kitchenware as early back as I can recall and since then the desire to make noise has never left me. Looking back, I think one of the most crucial inclinations I had at a young age was to explore the technical side of recording music. This has given me the opportunity to work with, and learn from, some excellent musicians. And self-sufficiency and true independence has become a defining feature of Sian Alice Group. Ben, Sian and I started working together almost by accident. Sometimes you can't see the wood for the trees - we'd all known each other for years before we started the band. I was getting tired of playing in bands that weren't creatively exciting for me. Sian, at the time, was a very shy singer and was making music with Ben from the safety of their home. So the idea was that we would play music to have fun and explore without worrying about whether it was fashionable or fit within the confines of any genre label.

Ben Crook: We got together in 2006 with no designs or plans as such other than to record some ideas we individually had. Rupert and I had written and recorded before for a film soundtrack, and often talked about doing something again. I had met Sian a few years previously, and we'd started playing around at writing some ideas together. And Rupert had just come out of a band, and was looking to record some tracks with a female singer. So it just kind of happened. We went into the studio to record as many ideas as possible, with guidelines of things to avoid rather than definite goals and reference points. It started as a fun studio thing and has evolved since then.

Q2 What inspired your latest album?
Rupert: 'Troubled, Shaken Etc' is really a musical document of our thoughts, ideas and feelings during the time it was made. We always like to let whatever inspiration occurs do so naturally and honestly. That way the moods and themes of the music and the lyrics slowly bubble to the surface while the record is being made. We have the luxury of working in our own studio so we can record music any and all the time without deadlines. It stands to reason that if all the music and words come from the same people that they'll at some point coagulate into something that works as a whole. We like to let it all come out without a pre-meditated 'concept' and then let the puzzle build itself.

Ben: I think it's in the title, the artwork and the lyrics. Our records are like diaries; they are documents of the time between releases. They're also like dreams; they might not necessarily make any sense to us at the time, but afterwards they start to reveal themselves, giving us answers and hopefully raising some questions too. 2008 was strange year for all of us; economically, socially, politically, environmentally. I think the wake-up bomb went off finally; 2008 for me was the fin de sciele the millennium wasn't. Sian Alice Group spent a lot of that year staring out of windows; that gives you time to think. We personally felt a definite sense of displacement and of the transient, all of us being technically homeless at certain points of the year, plus the inevitable feelings of love, separation and loss. But it's also about how the strength and love of others in terrible, ungodly times can inspire. It's not all doom and gloom.

Q3 What process do you go through in creating a track?
Rupert: We stay as open as we can in this regard. Each track makes it's own rules. Some pour out very quickly and remain largely unchanged whilst others require lots of approaches from different angles. In these cases we'll often end up effectively remixing completed tracks in order to get a fresh take on the parts and the instrumentation. In a way our process is more about a few things we avoid doing. Never record all the drums, then all the bass etc, never linger too long on something that's not working, never say a song's finished - it's just ready for mastering!

Ben: We're obsessed by sound and tone, and we like work fast and constantly. The writing and recording process is completely self-sufficient. Songs themselves come from many approaches, but to summarise, I'd say its an even mix of traditional songwriting, improvisation and remixing. We mix as we record and work on a bunch of tracks at the same time. Lyrics and vocals come towards the end. Although nothing is hard and fast!

Q4 Which artists influence your work?
Rupert: This week's heavily edited list: Jon Cale's solo records, Rockwell Kent's writings from Greenland, Henrik Håkansson's artwork...

Ben: I think we take a little from everywhere. My general rule is 1% of everything is good. This time we were listening to a lot of John Cale, John Lennon, Exuma, a lot of Detroit techno, plus the usual broad spectrum of influences.

Q5 What would you say to someone experiencing your music for the first time?
Rupert: I hope you like repetition!

Ben: Listen to the record in its entirety. Then listen to it again. We consider every second of what we do; there is something in there for you if you're not frightened to look for it.

Q6 What are your ambitions for your latest album, and for the future?
Rupert: My ambition is simply to continue with the same momentum, always keep moving, always keep writing, never stop learning new things. We really like being on the move and we've been really lucky to tour with some great bands - A Place To Bury Strangers, Deerhunter, Vetiver to name a few - who are all good friends. We're all relishing the prospect of the next spate of touring and tackling this new material live. I hope the new record can help us see and meet more of the world and put us in more musically challenging situations.

Ben: We want this record to be heard and we want to play as much as possible. Last year's debut was a bit of an enigma. It was either warmly received or unheard of! Which is fine with us; we'd rather get to where we want to go on our own merits and by hard work. The benefit of being on a small true independent label is that you can remain truly focused; we're not afraid of getting up and getting stuck in. We love what we do and we're truly thankful to be doing it. This time around we have UK licensing and press so hopefully that will help get us in front of people. And really that's all we want, to keep doing what we love.

MORE>> www.sianalicegroup.com and www.myspace.com/sianalicegroup




 

 

ROUGH TRADE RECORDS SEEKS A PRODUCT MANAGER
A rare and exciting opportunity has arisen within the Rough Trade label for an experienced, creative & hardworking individual.

Working closely with managers and artists, you'll be responsible for devising and implementing release plans for the Rough Trade roster.

You'll be highly organised, motivated and capable of effectively marketing and promoting our artist's visions and output.

CVs + covering letters should be sent to jobs@roughtraderecords.com. Please note this position is based in our London, UK office and the deadline for submissions is 12 Aug 2009.

 

JACKO MERCHANDISING DEALS ON TABLE
Following his dominance of the music charts since his early departure in June, Michael Jackson could be dominating the merchandise markets in the coming year too. The administrators managing Jacko's affairs have reportedly taken a number of potential merchandising and brand partnership contracts to the judge overseeing the late singer's estate with a view to getting approval for those deals to happen.

Possibly realising that the dodgy t-shirt makers of the world are already cashing in with Jacko tribute garments, or aware that a long list of creditors is about to arrive at the door, administrators John Branca and John McClain seem keen to do some deals sooner rather than later.

According to Billboard, t-shirts, calendars, lighters, stuffed animals (that play Jacko songs) and video games are all being considered. Deals on the table are with AEG Live, the promoters of the canned Jacko This Is It residency of course, and also with Universal Music's merchandising business Bravado. Presumably Sony Music would have to be on board for any products involving Jackson's more famous music - though Universal's Motown own the early stuff.

XBox is thought to be the console of choice for any new Jacko video game - not sure on the format of the game, maybe you have to pump your virtual character with enough propofol to get up on stage and dance, but not too much otherwise it's cardiac arrest, game over.

Despite his freakish private life hampering mainstream merchandising to an extent in the latter part of his career, some reckon post-death the Jackson legacy could be worth more in merchandising terms than the $55 million a year Presley tat machine.

In related news, Billboard reports that the estate are now also in talks with Sony's Columbia Pictures re the documentary the film company plan to make with the aforementioned AEG Live, utilising footage recorded during This Is It rehearsals.

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MARIAH'S NEW ALBUM TO CARRY ADVERTS
The artwork for Mariah Carey's new album, 'Memoirs Of An Imperfect Angel', will carry adverts, it has been announced. Due for release on 15 Sep via Island Def Jam, the first million copies of the album in the US and first 500,000 in Europe will come with a specially created miniature Mariah-centric edition of Elle magazine as the CD booklet, containing adverts for Elizabeth Arden, Angel Champagne, Carmen Steffens, Le Métier de Beauté and the Bahamas Board of Tourism, as well short articles on the singer, lyrics and the usual credits and suchlike.

A condensed version of the mini-magazine, minus the CD-specific elements, will be inserted into 500,000 subscription copies of the October issue of Elle (published shortly after the album's release) and in the US the CD will be sold alongside Carey's new perfume, cunningly called Fragrance, at its manufacturer Elizabeth Arden's counters in WalMart stores.

With ad revenues funding 100% of the booklet's printing costs, Island Def Jam are hoping that if this experiment goes well, they will be able to sell off the artwork of albums by Kanye West, Rihanna and Bon Jovi in a similar fashion.

The label's chairman, Antonio 'LA' Reid told Brand Week: "The idea was really simple thinking: 'We sell millions of records, so you should advertise with us'. My artists have substantial circulation - when you sell two million, five million, eight million, that's a lot of eyeballs. Most magazines aren't as successful as those records".

He added that Carey had been "very open" to the idea when he had shown her the original mock up of the booklet, adding: "I wouldn't want to do Mariah Carey and Comet abrasive cleaner. I wanted things that really reflected her taste".

He admitted that partnerships like this would become increasingly important as revenue from record sales continues to decrease. He continued: "We don't have music retailers any more, so a smart consumer products company that understands the value in distributing music is going to restore the vitality of our business. If we distribute music properly and if it's done tastefully, it could be a huge profit centre for all of us. That is the missing link - we need partnerships".

Ah yes, partnerships. That old thing. While it's true that CD sales still make up three quarters of revenues for record labels, sales do, of course, continue to slip. Then again, magazines, particularly fashion titles, aren't doing so well either so I'm not sure how long this specific kind of partnership will work. I wonder how long it will be before ads creep onto the CDs (or downloads) themselves, Sigue Sigue Sputnik style. Hmm, now there's an idea. Though if you work in marketing or advertising, forget I said that last bit.

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ROBBIE MANAGERS DISCUSS ENDING EMI CONTRACT
Robbie Williams' new album, 'Reality Killed The Video Star', will not only be his 'comeback' album (I'm pretty sure every solo album he's ever released has been a comeback album, though), it will also be the last he owes EMI.

When he signed his deal with the major in 2002 for £80 million, he famously said that it had made him "rich beyond my wildest dreams". However, in 2008 it was reported (only half accurately) that the singer was "on strike" because he and his managers were unhappy with Terra Firma's takeover of the major label.

Although he has now come back to work, his managers say that he will not be signing a new contract after this album's release. The singer's co-manager David Enthoven told the BBC: "The elephant needs to leave the room, the elephant being the record company".

While his managing partner Tim Clark added: "The old-fashioned record company deal is not something Robbie Williams would consider. It makes no sense for him to do that. He would expect us, with his full input, to construct something that is right for him".

Of course if the new long player mirrors 'Rudebox' - which while a big seller by normal standards was Williams' least successful long player to date - then a traditional record deal definitely isn't the logical thing to do. Robbie is one of those artists who's definitely more valuable in the live domain - at the same time 'Rudebox' wasn't doing so well in 2006 he sold 1.6 million concert tickets in one day and played to a total of 3.7 million people. A big live deal - with a promoter and/or sponsor - is presumably high up the agenda.

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CHRIS BROWN'S SENTENCING DELAYED
Chris Brown was due to be sentenced yesterday, after pleading guilty last month to assaulting his former girlfriend Rihanna back in February. He will now receive his sentence on 27 Aug, as the judge in the case wants to give him a harder sentence that the one originally agreed in a plea deal.

As previously reported, as part of a plea deal in exchange for saying he was guilty, Brown was offered a sentence of five years probation, 180 days of community service, 52 weeks of domestic violence counselling and a fine. However, Judge Patricia Snegg thinks that is too light, and wants to increase the community service to 1400 hours. She has delayed the sentencing while she awaits specific documents from the State of Virginia explaining exactly what and how much work Brown will be doing.

Rihanna and her legal team, meanwhile, are backing a relaxation of the court order banning Chris Brown from coming within 50 yards of her, something which will also be decided on when Brown is sentenced.

Brown is currently under orders not to communicate with Rihanna or come within 50 yards of her, unless they are at the same event, in which case he can get within ten yards. However, Rihanna's lawyer Donald Etra told People: "If asked, we will tell the court that all that's necessary is a level-one order: that Brown not annoy, molest or harass her. No stay-away order was ever requested by Rihanna, nor did she ever believe it was necessary".

At an earlier hearing, Judge Schnegg said she would consider a less restrictive order, which would allow the pair to come into contact with each other. This has, of course, lead to rumours that the former couple are back together again, or are planning to be. Although asked by People if this was the case, Etra refused to make any comment.

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FORMER GNR MAN CLEARED OF DRUGS CHARGES
Former Guns N Roses drummer Steven Adler has had drugs charges dropped by a court in LA after completing a drug programme.

Adler was arrested in January for failing to complete a community service sentence for an earlier drugs charge, being under the influence and for an outstanding warrant dating back to 2005. He pleaded no contest to drugs charges and was ordered to attend rehab. On Monday the drummer appeared at the LA Superior Court again and had all charges dismissed, after Commissioner Donald Kennedy praised him for his commitment to kicking his drug habit.

Speaking to reporters outside the court, Adler's lawyer Barry Gerald Sands said that the result was "about the best you can get".

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BEASTIE BOY'S CANCER SURGERY A SUCCESS
Beastie Boys' Adam 'MCA' Yauch has undergone surgery to remove a tumour from the salivary gland in his throat.

As previously reported, Yauch revealed that he had cancer to fans in a video statement released via the band's official website last month. As a result, Beastie Boys cancelled their upcoming tour dates and pushed back the release of their new album, 'Hot Sauce Committee Part 1'.

The surgery was reportedly successful, but Yauch will still have to receive radiation treatment, which is due to begin soon.

In an email to fans, the rapper said: "I'm pretty well detoxed from the anaesthesia that they pumped me up with to keep me under for all that time. That took several days to get out of my system. My neck and jaw are still pretty stiff from the surgery, but it gets better everyday. Things are moving along. The next line of treatment will be radiation. That involves blasting you with some kind of beam for a few minutes a day, five days a week, for about seven weeks".

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VOTE IN THE DJ POLL
By the way, been meaning to tell you all week, you can now vote in the DJ Mag DJ Poll for 2009 - you know, the big global vote on who is the best deejay on the planet. After Jimmy Saville, obviously. Voting is live and will run until 23 Sep. Go to this here link to cast your votes: www.djmag.com/top100djs

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NASH BEGINS RECORDING WITH BUTLER
Kate Nash has begun work on her second album at RAK Studios with producer and former Suede guitarist Bernard Butler. Nash told The Fly that of 15 demos she had recorded before going into the studio, she and Butler had begun work on eight of the songs. She also revealed that she had met the producer through her boyfriend, Ryan Jarman of The Cribs.

Explaining the direction the new songs were taking, she said: "There's lots of nice guitars, and a really nice grand piano". So, possibly not the punk album we were promised then.

Some of the songs apparently vying for a place on the album, which is expected to be released next year, include: 'Pick Pocket', 'I Hate Seagulls', 'You Were So Far Away', 'Doo Wah Do' and 'Don't You Want To Share The Guilt'.

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PELICAN ANNOUNCE NEW ALBUM
Pelican have announced details of their fourth album. Details which make it sound awesome. Entitled 'What We All Come To Need', the album will feature guest appearances from Sunn O)))'s Greg Anderson, Isis' Aaron Turner, Ben Verellen from Harkonen and Helms Alee, and Allen Epley from The Life And Times and Shiner.

The band's guitarist Laurent Lebec said of the album: "['What We All Come To Need' is] the most perfect synthesis of everything we've done to date, sonically. [It's] a giant step forward within the complex, intricate, beautiful and crushing sound Pelican is famous for. There is a current of inspiration that feels particular to each album's music and titles. Though we lack a singer, the song names are often conceptual. This new album speaks to a rapidly decaying world, the fulfilment we find in each other, as well as the resolve to move beyond disillusionment".

Here's the tracklist.

Glimmer
The Creeper
Ephemeral
Specks Of Light
Strung Up From The Sky
An Inch Above Sand
What We All Come To Need
Final Breath

A release date for the album has not yet been announced but it will come out via Southern Lord at some point.

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ZZ TOP ANNOUNCE UK SHOWS
ZZ Top have announced that they will return to the UK for two shows in October, with support from everyone's favourite glam metal band at the moment, Steel Panther. Awesome. ZZ Top have been together for 40 years and have never had any line-up changes. Not entirely relevant, but I thought it was interesting.

Here are the dates:

27 Oct: Wolverhampton, Civic Hall
28 Oct: London, Wembley Arena

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A PLACE TO BURY STRANGERS UK TOUR
Noisy pop noise-pop noisters A Place To Bury Strangers have announced UK tour dates to coincide with the release of their new album, 'Exploding Head', which is due to hit stores via Mute Records on 5 Oct. The band will release the first single from the album, 'In Your Heart', on 21 Sep.

Of the single, frontman Oliver Ackermann says: "'In Your Heart' was written on our last North American tour. During a break in Canada, we went to record in a barn with our friend Graham [Walsh] from Holy Fuck. We started playing this song out of the blue and I thought it was just too damn good to not lay down on tape that day. Of course, that just turned out to be the demo, but this is that song, written in one day. I feel like it is a great midpoint between the more melodic and rocking sides of this band".

Tour dates:

28 Aug: Reading Festival
20 Aug: Leeds Festival
6 Nov: Nottingham, The Social
7 Nov: Birmingham, Flapper
8 Nov: Cardiff, Barfly
9 Nov: Dublin, Whelan's
11 Nov: Belfast, Auntie's Annies
12 Nov: Glasgow, Captain's Rest
13 Nov: Newcastle, Digital
14 Nov: Manchester, Moho Love
15 Nov: Leeds, Cockpit
17 Nov: Cambridge, Portland Arms
18 Nov: London, Garage
6 Dec: ATP Nightmare Before Christmas

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THEY CAME FROM THE STARS, I SAW THEM HEADLINE FILTER SHOW
Indie pop types They Came From The Stars, I Saw Them will headline Filter Magazine's Last Chance To Dance night at 93 Feet East in east London on Saturday night.

Also on the bill are Black Cherry, Halagoogoo, and Black Market Empire, with DJ sets from the likes of Joe Lean & The Jing Jang Jong, Blonde Ambition, Nikolas Essle and more. All of which will keep you dancing from 7.30pm to 1am, at a price of just £7.

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SONISPHERE INVITED BACK TO KNEBWORTH
It seems that the first Sonisphere festival went very well. Apart from the fact that various people have told me so, we have a glowing review below. Also, festival director Stuart Galbraith said it had "the best atmosphere I've experienced in 25 years of putting on festivals". But he would say that.

However, one person who was particularly impressed was the owner of Knebworth House, the festival's venue, Lord Henry Lytton Cobbold, who was especially pleased with how it all went, including the traffic management, which has always been notoriously bad at Knebworth events and has in the past caused people to miss entire shows.

Cobbold told CMU that the festival was more than welcome back again next year, saying: "Sonisphere has been a fantastic success and really put Knebworth House back on the map as a musical venue. The problems that we have experienced in the past such as traffic, have been addressed by the festival organisers, and as a result give me great confidence to re-establish Knebworth House as the ultimate venue for artist to play in their career".

Taking him up on the offer, the festival's organisers have confirmed that Sonisphere will be back at Knebworth again next year.

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FESTIVAL REVIEW: Sonisphere
Considering this was the first ever instalment of the Sonisphere festival in the UK, the weekend went swimmingly. With such crowd-drawing acts as Metallica, Linkin Park and Nine Inch Nails, the stage was set for what would be an epic weekend of live, heavy music. The organisers arranged the line-up so that no band on either of the two main stages clashed with another, meaning the truly dedicated were able to watch every single act.

For those who wanted a break from all the metal, the arena was also chock full of activities for all ages, including a small funfair, a cinema showing classic rock-inspired movies such as 'Wayne's World', and a plethora of shopping stalls and fast food trucks.

The music kicked off on Saturday morning with Californian nu-metallers Alien Ant Farm, who did not disappoint, playing their biggest hit' 'Movies', as well as their cover of the late Michael Jackson's 'Smooth Criminal', which was understandably poignant. Sets followed from post-hardcore favourites Taking Back Sunday, Welsh ragga-metallers Skindred and the Abba covers band Bjorn Again before legendary 80s New York thrash titans Anthrax took to the main stage. Their five song set was powerful and energetic, though fans were slightly saddened not to hear the song 'Madhouse.'

After a crowd-pleasing set from The Used, the largest surprise of the afternoon saw the relatively small Japanese band Fact boosted from the Bohemia stage to the main stage to replace Coheed & Cambria. Next came Australian youngsters Airbourne who came out swinging with their strain of classic AC/DC-esque rock n roll. As the rain began to fall, frontman Joel scaled the speaker rig with his guitar on his back to play a solo, both shocking and awing the attentive crowd.

Following a heavy show from Heaven & Hell on the main stage, Welsh shredders Bullet For My Valentine assumed their position on the second stage, whipping up a blistering set of both old and new songs incorporating pristine solos and an excellent range of vocals.

Headliners Linkin Park played a set that was full of tunes like 'In the End', 'Numb' and 'What I've Done', to which the crowd were able to sing along. Halfway through the set, frontman Chester Bennington brought out his new side-project Dead By Sunrise who were a massive disappointment and lost a lot of the audience. However, they did claw many back with closing song 'One Step Closer', which was truly epic.

Sunday's phenomenal line-up was kick-started by filthy LA hard-rockers Buckcherry, fronted by tattooed playboy Josh Todd. Their most popular track 'Crazy Bitch' went down very well, even though the early-morning crowd was not as large as they might have liked. Paradise Lost, Killing Joke and Saxon filled the time between Buckcherry and Virginian metal powerhouses Lamb Of God who played a relentless set of savage riffs, guttural screams and extremely technical drumming. LOG was followed by the progressive wizardry of Mastodon, whose songs featured three-part vocal harmonies, speedy guitar solos and monstrous drum fills.

The confusion surrounding the question of who the 'special guests' would be was dispelled the instant the gigantic banner was raised. San Francisco legends Machine Head had originally been drafted onto the Sonisphere bill, but pulled out because late booking Limp Bizkit were placed higher than them. They returned, however, because they felt that they could not let down the fans, and this devotion seriously came through in their performance. Robb Flynn came close to tears when addressing the crowd, before launching into the anthemic 'Halo' and finishing with the timeless beast of a song, 'Davidian'.

Limp Bizkit came to the main stage (after a great Feeder set on the second stage) and played well, despite not being taken seriously by the more dedicated metallers in the crowd. They played the majority of their most popular album 'Chocolate Starfish And The Hotdog Flavoured Water'. Most of the crowd were seen to be singing along, although I suspect many of them would not admit to have enjoyed the nu-metal set after the event.

On the Bohemia stage straight after them were Canadians Cancer Bats, who pummelled the relatively small audience with their hardcore punk/metal hybrid. Alice in Chains were on top form with their new singer William Duvall who was extremely energetic and seemed to gel perfectly with the rest of the band. Their performances of 'A Looking In View' and 'Them Bones' were definite highlights of the weekend.

The penultimate act on the main stage was the much-anticipated Nine Inch Nails. Their set, however, was less than expected for hardcore fans, and never truly got going. Fan-favourites like 'The Downward Spiral' and 'Hurt' were very well received at the end of the set, though. The second stage headliners were Californian quintet Avenged Sevenfold who churned out an awesome set spanning both old and new material. The singer's vocals were spot-on, and each song was true to the original recording - very impressive considering some of the guitar solos and drum parts. 'Scream' trundled along like a heavy metal steamroller whilst 'Unholy Confessions' and 'Almost Easy' demonstrated the band's aptitude at playing fast. Having toured with the headliners recently, A7X seemed to be the perfect band to precede Metallica.

Nearing thirty years of live performances, one would expect no less from the band that popularised thrash-metal in the 80s. Metallica opened their set with the astounding 'Blackened' sounding as tight and experienced as usual. Wildcard song 'Dyer's Eve' was phenomenally received as the crowd was not expecting to hear it, and old favourites like 'Enter Sandman', 'One' and 'Master Of Puppets' were performed impeccably, along with an uninhibited use of pyrotechnics and fireworks. At the end of the set it was revealed that it was James Hetfield's 45th birthday, leading to a crowd recital of 'happy birthday' that brought tears to the eyes of a metal frontman for the second time that day. On hand were family, friends and crew-members to shower him with cream-pies and silly-string - a touching end to an iconic performance from a band that has enjoyed such a long period of success. TC

FIVE WE RATED:

Airbourne
Hailing from Australia, Airbourne are a young band whose stripped-down, basic rock and roll has exploded onto the heavy music scene. Their set at Sonisphere included such songs as 'Cheap Wine and Cheaper Women' and 'Too Much, Too Young, Too Fast', which were both passionately well-performed. The highlight of the set was when the frontman Joel O'Keeffe climbed the speaker rig at the side of the stage without any form of safety apparatus, in the pouring rain, to play a guitar solo about 20 metres from the ground. When he returned to the stage, he cracked open another beer, poured it over his head and continued to play. They demonstrated the energy of youth that comes through having fun and doing what they love.

Lamb Of God
American heavy metallers Lamb of God were a man short for their performance at Sonisphere - lead guitarist Mark Morton was at home in Virginia to be with his wife for the birth of their child. His replacement for this set was the Unearth guitarist Buz McGrath who is no stranger to technical, savage guitar-playing. Their nine-song slot featured four tracks from their new album 'Wrath', which did not disappoint, showcasing the awesome drumming skills of veteran Chris Adler, as well as the demonic vocals of Randy Blythe. The call for circle-pits was well answered during 'Now You've Got Something To Die For' - the entire crowd was moving to the fast, brutal riffs.

Machine Head
Having pulled out of the line-up and then returned for the main stage slot just below Limp Bizkit, San Francisco metal icons Machine Head came out seemingly unaffected by their demotion. Opening the set with 'Imperium' and finishing with 'Davidian' - both fantastic songs that are only enhanced when played live with the precision that Machine Head are able to harness. Epic sing-along tracks such as 'Halo' were great in terms of crowd-participation, bringing looks of astonishment to frontman Robb Flynn's face upon hearing the multitude of voices chanting his lyrics. They proved that when it comes to hard metal, Machine Head are here to slay, and here to stay.

Cancer Bats
The Toronto quartet played their set on the Bohemia stage with bravado, intensity and the raw aggression that is to be expected from a hardcore punk band. The singer Liam Cormier spent the majority of his time balanced precariously atop the front rows of the crowd - not quite crowd-surfing but displaying the crowd interaction that a charismatic frontman should. All of the other members leapt around the stage, apart from the drummer of course, who flailed as much as he could in his own space on the drum-riser. An accomplished, well-rounded set from a band who I hope to see again in the not too distant future.

Avenged Sevenfold
This was my thirteenth time seeing the five-piece metalcore band originating from Huntingdon Beach, California, and they never fail to impress. This performance, however, was one of the best. Each member was on top form - more than making up for last year's Leeds and Reading Festivals, which they pulled out of due to various illnesses. Their set at Sonisphere saw them return with a vengeance, playing a wide selection of songs from their three most successful albums. The drummer, The Rev, was pouring his heart and soul into his part incorporating stick-tricks as well as some incredible fills and a short but very sweet solo. Guitarists Synyster Gates and Zacky Vengeance played many of their harmonies in the classic back-to-back pose that has almost become a trademark of Avenged Sevenfold live acts. They seemed rejuvenated, full of life and, above all, thrilled to be playing to such a large crowd, especially just before Metallica. TC

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MY BLOODY VALENTINE PARTNER WITH EARPLUG FIRM
My Bloody Valentine have teamed up with earplug shop EarplugShop to give away thousands of Moldex Yellow disposable earplugs to fans attending the band's upcoming European shows.

EarplugShop's Shaun Thornburgh said: "I am very pleased to have struck a deal with such an ear-splittingly loud band as My Bloody Valentine, and respect to them for taking ear damage so seriously. By handing out these disposable earplugs at their gigs, the band is highlighting how important it is to protect ears from damage which, once set in, is irreversible".

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MAMA SIGNS SONIC FOR AD SALES
MAMA Group has signed up sales company Sonic to handle ad sales across its network of venues, including the Barfly venues, The Jazz Café and the Hammersmith Apollo, as well it's The Fly website and the 2.3 million emails it sends to sends to music fans each month (not each, that would be annoying). Sonic take over the task from Unanimis.

Digital Development Director at Mama, Lisa Chadwick told New Media Age: "We need to work with a team that understands the music market and the increasingly important role of online within it".

Sonic's director, Lawrence Cooke added: "Working with a 360-degree brand like [MAMA owned] The Fly opens up true cross-platform opportunities such as digital video, print and live events".

In addition to MAMA Group, Sonic already work with a number of music companies, including PopJustice, Rock Sound's website, and various publications produced by sister company Sonic Publishing, including ClickMusic and This Is Fake DIY.

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ITV FLOG FRIENDS REUNITED
ITV has managed to flog its dumbest acquisition ever for £25 million. As much previously reported, a befuddled ITV bought Friends Reunited, the 'big for a week' website, about three years after it had peaked in a "quick, we need a webby soot in our portfolio" move by the increasingly out of their depth old guys who were running the broadcaster at the time.

It's been bought for that rather large sum by Brightsolid Limited, a division of Beano owners DC Thomson. God knows what they're going to do with it. It's quite a good deal for ITV, having sold their primary web asset for just under £25 million more than it's actually worth, though given they paid £120 million for it four years ago I think it's a big "doh" all round really for ITV bosses, not that the current top guard were involved in dumb deal in the first place.

The acquisition was revealed as ITV admitted it had made a pre-tax loss of £105 million in the first half of their year. Ad recession and all that.

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GGF PLANNING TO FLOAT THE PIRATE BAY
Assuming the sale of The Pirate Bay to Global Gaming Factory actually goes through and it isn't sued out of existence in the process, its new owners are hoping to float the rogue BitTorrent tracker on the US stock market, it has been revealed.

Speaking to TorrentFreak, GGF's CEO Hans Pandeya said: "We are looking into the possibility to get the operation listed on the NASDAQ Small Cap Index. The Pirate Bay is a strong brand in the US and most parties who have showed interest in the project are based there".

Pandeya would not give many other details of his company's plans for The Pirate Bay. The planned acquisition date for the site is 27 Aug, and many fear that on that day the site will either close, or have most of its large catalogue of torrents removed to appease content holders. However, Pandeya was adamant that these fears were unfounded. He said: "The majority of the Pirate Bay users wont even notice that anything has changed".

Whether any of that is true remains to be seen. Former Grokster chief Wayne Rosso recently walked away from a position as the new head of The Pirate Bay, saying: "I and my colleagues have very strong doubts that the funding is in place. And there are other issues regarding Mr Pandeya's credibility that trouble us greatly".

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SPOTIFY BRUSH OFF 3 DEAL RUMOURS
Spotify have refused to confirm or deny rumours that they are close to signing a deal with mobile network 3 to distribute its mobile app to the streaming music company's premium subscribers using the network, saying that they are talking to "a range of potential partners".

New Media Age reported yesterday that 3 were hoping to close the deal this month, which would allow them to pre-load the app onto new handsets and make it available to download for the mobile operator's existing subscribers.

A source at 3 told NMA: "Conversations are taking place and we're hopeful. It might be hard for Spotify to find a fit with another operator because of its existing commercial agreements, such as O2 and Apple".

A spokesperson for Spotify told Music Week: "It is true that we're talking to a range of potential partners and we're looking to strike a deal soon. But certainly nothing rubber stamped with any party as yet".

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FASTEST RAJAR ROUND UP EVER
RAJAR figures out in August? Like I have time to be analysing radio listening figures while trying to co-run the biggest review machine at the world's biggest arts festival. Radio 1 is up, Terry Wogan has extended his lead on Chris Moyles, 6 Music and BBC 7 are down (trust my two favourite stations to slide), Global's Capital FM has had one of its best quarters in quite a while and is second biggest in London again, after Bauer's Magic but ahead of now-a-sister-station Heart, Absolute has stemmed decline but is still down year on year, the all new look digital Jazz FM is doing quite well. And that, I reckon, is all you need to now.

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E4 TO AIR BO SELECTA JACKO TRIBUTE
Comedian Leigh Francis has announced that he is bringing back his show 'Bo Selecta' for a one-off Michael Jackson tribute. Entitled 'Bo Selecta Presents: Cha'Mone - A Tribute To Michael Jackson', it will apparently take a "chronological look at Michael Jackson's life", and will feature Francis in various rubber masks as Jackson through the ages, and his friends, including Uri Geller and David Gest.

E4 controller Angela Jain said:"We're thrilled to have Leigh resurrect 'Bo Selecta' for a very special send-off and send-up. This national treasure and icon will be making an affectionate and, no doubt, hilarious tribute".

Francis said of Jackson's death: "[It was] like the death of superman, or the realisation that there was no such thing as Santa Claus".

The show will air on E4 on the autumn.

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SNOOP WANTS TO BE A MILLIONAIRE?
Snoop Dogg will be amongst the guests in a series of special 10th anniversary editions of the US version of 'Who Wants To Be A Millionaire?'.

As well as Snoop, stars booked to appear will include Rev Al Sharpton, Katy Perry, Vanessa Williams and a load of people I've never heard of. Each star will only have to answer one question, which, if they answer correctly, will win them $50,000 to give to charity. Given that the show is an hour long, there must be more to it than that. If you're in America, you can find out when the first one airs on Sunday night on ABC.

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DIZZEE WANTS EASTENDERS ROLE
Dizzee Rascal has said he wants a role in 'Eastenders'. Well, he's said he'd do it if they asked him, it's not like he's demanding it or anything.

He told The Sun: "'Eastenders' means a lot to me, because I'm from the east end. I've thought about acting a couple of times. It is something I want to break into soon. It would be a natural progression. I could see myself on 'Eastenders' one day - they just need to offer me a role and I'm there".

In response to this, a spokesperson said that Dizzee was welcome to pop along any time he's in Walford (which could be considered a snub, seeing as Walford doesn't actually exist). They said: "It's great to hear Dizzee Rascal is such a big 'Eastenders' fan - he's a brilliant performer and a true Eastender so he'd be very welcome to swing by the Queen Vic if he's ever in Walford. It's not out of the question [for him to appear in the show], but we've certainly not got anything sorted with regards to him joining the programme".

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COURTNEY CLEARS THINGS UP
As we have noted a number of times, Courtney Love often accuses people of stealing from her. In a recent diatribe of tweets, Love seemed to be accusing some pop stars of stealing her clothes. It wasn't very clear because typing is not her strong point.

Anyway, in an interview with Idolator this week she cleared it all up. It's The Veronicas who have been wearing her clothes, except they didn't steal them, someone else stole them, The Veronicas just bought them, but now they're wearing them even though Courtney asked them not to and... oh, let's just let her tell you. Courtney said: "There's some sister-pop Perez Hilton-y duo [The Veronicas] and what they did is... I personally Twittered them, about these four dresses from a vendor on Etsy, who had stolen some dresses from me. And I asked them to not physically wear these physical dresses. That's totally different. And they made those private Twits public. And it made the Australian national news, someone told me. I was like, 'What? Over a dress? That's retarded'. Like, if it's a million-dollar dress, like my tampon dress, that's a different story".

See? All cleared up.

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