Who should replace Blur at the Big Day Out?
So Damon Albarn and his Britpoppers are gone in a Blur... what now? Speculation is mounting about who their promised replacements will be on the Big Day Out tour in January and early February.
Rather than wildly throwing up a wish-list of names, fans and Australia's music press are methodically working out who will and who won't be available by looking at existing tours and who among them has a history with the Big Day Out organisers and the Lollapalooza bosses, C3, which own 51 per cent of the BDO.
There has also been much imaginative speculation, with Australian music website Music Feeds (tongue firmly in cheek) suggesting a reformed Abba and even the famous hologram of iconic murdered US rapper Tupac Shakur.
On to the serious options.
For a start you can rule out Arctic Monkeys, which on Thursday confirmed a headline tour of Australia in May next year. Ditto Nine Inch Nails, whose frontman had a high profile spat with Soundwave/BDO promoter AJ Maddah recently.
It's also not going to be Bruce Springsteen, Eminem, Queens of The Stone Age, The National, Phoenix or Vampire Weekend, all of whom have announced their own Australian tours.
The timing of the Grammy Awards (January 26) makes it tough for BDO organisers too, as nominated acts tend to prefer that global TV platform over a single festival. The Grammy nominations are not announced until December 6.
We do know this week that on-again off-again Australian rock band Wolfmother were quick to offer their services - and they have had respectable spots on BDO bills in 2006 and 2011, although they are not going to prevent an army of fans asking for refunds. So far BDO organisers claim only 87 people have asked for their money back, which suggests fans are waiting for the final line-up to see if they will stick with the festival.
Surely the only Australian acts with the pulling power to command a headline spot with a straight face would be Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds (which hasn't played the BDO since 1996) and a reformed Silverchair or Powderfinger. A well-known betting agency is taking punts on both bands getting back to together, but the chances of Daniel Johns and Bernard Fanning doing that to rescue the BDO seems a very long shot indeed.
Californian pop punk band Wavves also made an offer, as did local act Delta Riggs - and while they'd both get the fans jumping, they are a long, long way from being considered headliners.
Which big acts, with a history of headlining, might be in consideration?
BDO CEO Adam Zammit has ruled out Daft Punk but not Massive Attack, which was to headline Maddah's now-defunct Harvest festival.
Soundgarden are seen as a logical possibility, especially with fellow grunge-era acts Pearl Jam and Mudhoney already on the bill. Soundgarden have played the Big Day Out several times - 1994, 1997 and 2012. Music website Faster Louder point out Soundgarden have not yet toured their comeback album, King Animal, in Australia.
The website threw up Foo Fighters as another possibility, partly for frontman Dave Grohl's history with Pearl Jam. While it might be wishful thinking (as Foo Fighters would carry a prohibitive pricetag as one of the few acts capable of a stadium tour), Grohl's band joining the bill would vaporise disappointment over Blur.
Jane's Addiction is another name being discussed. The band would continue the retro feel at the top of the bill, and it has played Lollapalooza recently and led the Big Day Out in 2003, while frontman Perry Farrell also played the festival in 1996 under his Porno for Pyros moniker.
Rock duo The Black Keys have been mentioned too - they are popular in Australia, have a history with Lollapalooza and, as Faster Louder points out, they "owe" BDO organisers after cancelling their scheduled 2011 BDO show.
A slightly lower profile but still very suitable replacement would be Liam Gallagher's band Beady Eye, which is mostly made up of members of Blur's Britpop nemesis band Oasis, minus Noel Gallagher. Liam Gallagher would surely relish boasting he would succeed where Damon Albarn had failed. Beady Eye, which have earned praise for their live shows in the UK, have yet to tour Australia.
Southern US rock band Kings of Leon are a chance too, having given "rock solid" confirmation (exclusively to Fairfax Australia this month) that they will tour Australia in 2014.
Other names thrown up by Faster Louder include The Cure and Thom Yorke's Atoms for Peace, while Music Feeds has also put forward Bjork and Pulp. The aforementioned betting agency shied away from the Tupac hologram option, but is taking bets on most of the above names, as well as David Bowie, Outkast, Slayer, Beck and The Strokes.
Its shortest odds were on Foo Fighters and its shock outside bet is for a reformed Abba, which looks set to play together again after Agnetha said she would be open to the idea.
- FFX Aus