Gorillaz to fill U2 slot at Glastonbury

26th May 2010, Comments 0 comments

Damon Albarn's "virtual band" Gorillaz will replace rockers U2 to headline Britain's Glastonbury Festival, after the Irish megaband pulled out, organisers said Wednesday.

The world's largest greenfield music and performing arts festival was thrown into disarray after U2 were forced to pull out after frontman Bono was rushed to hospital.

The Irish group were due to headline on the main Pyramid Stage on June 25, the first of the festival's three main days.

But they had to abandon their slot after singer Bono had emergency back surgery for temporary "paralysis".

Among the other artists reported to have been in contention for the slot were British rapper Dizzee Rascal, who was next on the bill, Coldplay, and even Led Zeppelin.

Festival organiser Michael Eavis said "a crisis" had been averted.

"This is going to be Gorillaz' only UK festival appearance, and it'll be a massive audiovisual spectacle which will really ignite the Pyramid," he said.

"I'm very excited about Gorillaz' show coming here because they're so open to guests and collaborations.

"The alchemy of Friday's show is going to be astonishing: a perfect, contemporary way to kick off the 40th anniversary celebrations."

Albarn's other outfit, the Britpop band Blur, closed last year's festival after reforming.

Gorillaz -- a "virtual band" with four animated members -- is a collaboration between Albarn and cartoonist Jamie Hewlett, with various musicians joining Albarn on stage and on record.

They have recently released "Plastic Beach", their third studio album.

Murdoc Niccals, the animated band's leader, was quoted as saying: "We're like some great big horrible warship pulling in to the Bay of Glastonbury to save the day.

"It was us or The Beatles and they split up years ago. The previous soldiers got pulled from duty last minute so it's up to my 'Plastic Beach' naval cavalry to sail in and sort the battlefield out.

"I can assure you though, I'm bringing extra troops. Loads of them. Glastonbury will be ours -- cutlasses drawn, trumpets ready. We're coming in."

© 2010 AFP

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