The use of backing tracks has been one of metal‘s hot topics for years, with pre-recorded music during shows dividing fans and musicians into those who think it’s the devil’s work and those who think that it’s the 21st century and this is what bands do.
One metal festival in Germany – where else? – has come decisively down in the former camp. The self-explantory No Playback Festival , featuring 12 bands including ex-Manowar guitarist Ross The Boss, NWOBHM hellions Raven and US speed metal veterans Vicious Rumours, promises that backing tracks are completley and utterly verboten.
A message on the festival’s website (translated by Loudwire) proclaims that the event will be: “The real LIVE experience, international top bands of the rock and metal scene, who still embody the spirit of rock 'n' roll, that's what the No Playback Festival stands for.”
In 2022, Falling In Reverse frontman Ronnie Radke got into a row with US DJ Eddie Trunk and former Skid Row singer Sebastian Bach, ater Radke’s band were forced to pull out of a festival after misplacing laptop containing pre-recorded music for their set. Radke called Trunk a “literal moron” and Bach “rude” for criticising the use of backing tracks, going on to label the pair “fucking dinosaurs”
Kiss and Mötley Crüe have both been criticised for allegedly using pre-recorded music in recent live shows, though the practice has its defenders, not least Fozzy’s Chris Jericho, who told the Talkin’ Rock With Meltdown podcast that “it's just the way of the world right now.”
The No Playback Festival takes place at the Kulturhalle Remchingen in Remchingen, Germany on April 28 and 2, 2023.