The recent Big Four shows featuring thrash-metal kings Metallica, Megadeath, Slayer and Anthrax were massive, epic spectacles that were barely contained by the huge venues they were performed in -- legendary spots such as the Coachella-approved Empire Polo Club and Yankee Stadium, and some European locales as well.
The genius of the tour wasn't in the power of the musical collection, but in its sheer simplicity. Many -- including prominent members of these bands -- had long openly wondered why this type of tour hadn't happened before.
With Big Four veterans Anthrax coming to Dallas and hitting the stage of the South Side Music Hall on Friday, we thought we would jump on that simple booking strategy's bandwagon and make a few suggestions for some other "Big Four" shows that we wouldn't mind some opportunistic festival organizers stealing in the near future.
Oh, and, since these are extremely serious recommendations, we're only working with bands that are somewhat active and, y'know, still alive.
Big Four Male/Female Duos
Who: The Ting Tings, Matt & Kim, Sleigh Bells, Crystal Castles
Suggested Location: Allen, Texas' $60 million high school football stadium.
While this one is certainly in danger of being the most annoying of all of the Big Four concerts, it's also certain to be among the most high-energy ones, too. Yes, this party will certainly be bumping, thanks to the cheerleader-y, "Hollaback Girl"-style romping of The Ting Tings and the Ritalin-requiring manner in which Matt & Kim's Matt Johnson jumps up and down on his keyboard as he loudly spouts oddly placed profanities. This is a good thing, though; the all-smiles good-times will certainly end when Crystal Castles likely cancels at the last minute, citing issues with the venue and a mysteriously missing button from the laptop keyboard they use for a crap-ton of their music. Also likely: Rumors that Alan Palomo was spotted near the stadium that night, shortly before Crystal Castles' canceled closing set.
Big Four Canadian Orchestral Rock Groups
Who: Arcade Fire, Broken Social Scene, Owen Pallet, Plants & Animals
Suggested Location: Olympic Stadium, Montreal
Band camp rejects of the world: Unite! This venture into the chilly terrain of the north will surely quench that longing for sensitively bombastic rock that smoothly rolls from one band member to another... and then to another, and then to another, and then to another. While school-age children will forever ask "Why do we need math when we're adults?" only to never get a real answer, the answer to "Why do we need to learn how to play the theremin?" is more than provided at this epic festival. The only hitch in the evening could be near the show's end, however. At the end of the night, members from all four bands will try to gather on the stage, with their complete armory of instruments being employed for a rendition of the Canadian classic, Neil Young's "Helpless." Only a third of the performers will actually fit onto the stage, though, leaving the finale in a less-than-rousing state. Ticket-holders beware: This show will also be under constant cancellation-watch as members from each band often jump from project to project and may not be available to perform on the night of the show.
Big Four Shoegaze Bands
Who: My Bloody Valentine, A Place to Bury Strangers, Besnard Lakes, Blonde Redhead
Suggested Location: An Unmarked, Windowless Pub in Western Europe
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[A cell phone vibrates from the pocket of a show attendee. The attendee grabs it, pulls it to his ear and attempts to converse with his friend on the other line.] "What? Huh? I can't hear you. Yeah, I'm at the Shoegaze Big Four Show. No, I can't tell you what club I'm at -- the sign on the front was shaken from the wall. Huh? Come again? Yeah, just look for the place that has only hollow squares where glass windows used to be. Oh, wait! Bring some earplugs! What? Yeah, I'm out. I needed both pairs that I brought. Yeah, my cochlea bleeding has started to subside. OK, cool! Catch you soon!"
Big Four Ryan Adams Personas
Who: Alt-Country Savior/King, Reckless and Indignant Addict, Overly-Prolific Wonder, Sensitive and Sober Songwriter
Suggested Location: A Sunset Strip bar. Or a loft apartment in SoHo. Or a completely random place that won't be divulged until Adams decides to divulge it.
In what is easily the oddest of any of the planned Big Four festivals, Ryan Adams confounds and wows all attendees with his mix of Whiskeytown classics and early solo-work at the start of the festival. Things soon take a turn for the worse, though, as the Reckless and Indignant Addict then skips out on the entire second set because someone shouted a request for the Bryan Adams Robin Hood song just as he was taking the stage with his (possibly ironic) mussed up hair and (certainly ironic) Harry Potter glasses. When the Overly-Prolific version of Adams begins the third set, he blends songs from his albums from 2004 to 2009 into one, long song that renders each tune indistinguishable from one another -- except for the occasional Grateful Dead-style snippet. Triumph for the patient and adoring crowd is indeed attained when, for the final set, Sensitive Sober Adams brings out wife Mandy Moore to sit on his lap as he pensively strums tunes from his recent (and quite good) record, Ashes and Fire. The crowd is left wondering if he had this in him all along or if this simply proves that he only needed a bit of Moore's "Candy" to get him back where hipsters and musical elitists seem to want him.