Anger As Peaceful Glasto Books Acts Who Have Sung About Doing Murders & Stuff

Following Killdren's banishment from Glastonbury, The Quietus exposes the extent of unsavoury #content at this year's festival... and beyond

There was furore at the weekend over the news that a band who advocated the killing of Tory MPs were to play this year’s Glastonbury festival. Killdren eventually had their invitation revoked by the curators of the weekend hippy ketamine and tie dye enclave Shang-Ri-La – but a Quietus investigation has encountered all sorts of other wronguns on this year’s bill, as well as at previous events. A Grammy Award winning singer who has released several songs glamorising the act of murder has been booked to play this year’s Glastonbury Festival. Carrie Underwood, who won American Idol in 2005, has several songs in her repertoire which refer to killing in cold blood without any repercussion. These include ‘Choctaw County Affair’, about a couple who are responsible for a society lady’s "disappearance" and avoid the electric chair because there were no witnesses. There’s also ‘Church Bells’ in which somebody gets away with poisoning her own husband. ‘Two Black Cadillacs’, meanwhile, concerns two women who figure out the same sleazy guy has been two-timing them. "What they do about it, well, they kill him," laughs Underwood in some revealing YouTube footage. The promotional video for the single includes the dramatised scene of a man being crushed against a brick wall with a car.

However, she and the now thankfully removed punk group Killdren are just the tip of the immoral iceberg, as any right-thinking and rational person who places proper manners and good taste above all other values can see if they take even the briefest glance in the direction of the bill. For example, Saturday’s headliners The Killers are called The Killers. The following night will be closed by The Cure whose setlists continue to include their debut single ‘Killing An Arab’ – clearly this is direct incitement to violence.

There are other acts on the line-up who simply can’t be trusted to hold their tongue and sing about wholesome subjects like love and flowers and scented candles and holidays and traditional Christian mating rituals without suddenly blurting out something about the inherent sexiness of homicide. What if, during Kylie’s hits-packed set, Nick Cave turns up for a rendition of their duet about smashing a lover’s skull to smithereens with a big old rock? "All beauty must die," croons Cave in its final sinister verse. Were this to be performed, the many conventionally attractive people in attendance – the head-dressed and hotpanted A-level students, the Caucasian bindi enthusiasts, Rimmel’s Kate Moss – would be made to feel uncomfortable at best and, at worst, spend the entire weekend under threat of the genuine physical harm condoned by Cave and Minogue.

Interpol are billed on the John Peel stage for Friday evening. You might have been led to believe the New Yorkers’ accessible dilution of Joy Division’s post-punk formula is perfectly harmless. You’d be wrong. When Paul Banks baritones the line "Rosemary / Heaven restores you in life" he’s not talking about that herb you roast with your baby carrots. It’s sung from the perspective of Fred West. This sets a dangerous precedent. Next year, an impressionable young performer like Tom Walker might think it’s perfectly acceptable to up the atrocity ante by writing a Radio2-friendly ditty about Nikolai Yezhov. And because they don’t know any better his fans will immediately install a fully functional gulag just to the left of the Greenpeace Stage. In order to top that, in 2021 Lewis Capaldi won’t even play any songs. He’ll just stride onto the stage with guillotine in hand and execute a succession of Mumford fans who looked at him funny as his rabid hoard of followers barge forward in the hope of tasting the blood of the slain landowning farmers.

Seriously though, what’s next? Slowcore legends Low turn up at 6pm on the Saturday evening. They choose to play that tune that goes "You may need a murderer". The entire Glasto audience takes the radical life decision to jack in their stable careers in the banking, sales, and media-influencing sectors in favour of setting themselves up as freelancers in the exhilarating and lucrative field of contract killing. Suddenly the nation will have a few thousand additional hitmen on its hands, running around the isles slaying unfaithful hubbies and dodgy business partners galore with no Lieutenant Columbo to clear up the mess.

Glastonbury used to be an inclusive festival, brimming with love, peace, warmth, happiness, harmony, compassion, people who resembled Jeremy from The Levellers, and people who were Jeremy from The Levellers. Now it’s going to be overridden with frothy-mouthed serial killers like Carrie Underwood who can barely contain their lust for bloodshed and who’ll have your head on the chopping block sooner than you can say "Guys I’m gonna need some juice for my Samsung in case Grimmy updates his list of weatherproof hairspray hacks."

All this violence and murder is nothing like the Glastonbury days of yore when Tom Jones could invite tens of thousands of audience members to sing along to the words "I felt the knife in my hand and she laughed no more" in a blissfully cathartic celebration of stabbing an adulterous lover to death in her porch.

It’s not like when Johnny Cash confessed from the Pyramid stage that he’d once shot a man in Reno just to watch him die.

It’s not like our adopted national treasure Huey Morgan from the Fun Lovin’ Criminals rapping about holding up branches of Midlands PLC while boshed off his noggin on doggy biscuits.

It’s not like when Primal Scream performed their track ‘Kill All Hippies’ to a field populated with real-life hippies who Bobby and Mani then tracked down, cornered, and bludgeoned to a pulp with one of Alan McGee’s massive hats.

It’s not like 1989’s ‘Tramp The Dirt Down’, written by Elvis Costello in the hope that he’d outlive Thatcher so he could chuckle openly on the event of her funeral. The singer, if you remember, revived that deep cut during his 2013 Glastonbury appearance which took place just a couple of months after The Iron Lady’s actual death. Hashtagtoosoon.

It’s not like when Rage Against The Machine said you’re gonna burn burn yes you’re gonna burn with a bullet in your head when we take the power back.

It’s not like Alabama 3 who gloried in Moa Tse-Tung’s paraphrased maxim that "change must come through the barrel of a gun" complete with soundbites from the notorious cult leader Jim Jones.

It’s not like The Manic Street Preachers who will forever harp on about the Spanish Civil War. "The future teaches you to be alone / The present to be afraid and cold / So if I can shoot rabbits then I can throw milkshakes…"

It’s not like when Skunk Anansie headlined in 1999. If memory serves correctly, their performance climaxed with lyrics that unashamedly fantasised about kicking in the head of a brainwashed Nazi child because the loathsome wee brat had been drawing little swastikas all over the place.

It’s not like the good old days.

The Quietus Digest

Sign up for our free Friday email newsletter.

Support The Quietus

Our journalism is funded by our readers. Become a subscriber today to help champion our writing, plus enjoy bonus essays, podcasts, playlists and music downloads.

Support & Subscribe Today