Reading 2012: Day 2 Roundup

By on Friday, 31st August 2012 at 2:00 pm
 

What rhymes with ‘shredding’?

Not Leeds, Glastonbury, Creamfields or Latitude, that’s for sure.

The rumours were traversing the Twitter/blogosphere all week preceding Reading Festival and at 11 in the morning, it turned from rumour into fact. Green Day (pictured above) arrived on the NME and Radio 1 Stage and from that moment, no matter what happened in the next 24 hours, the day was theirs.

The three American boys, led by the imperious Billie Joe Armstrong, burst on stage, the crowd arrayed before them erupted. Grown men cried, teenage girls swooned and ‘Welcome to Paradise’ rang out across the sprawling mass of bodies in front of the punk superstars. With a back catalogue as enormous as theirs, it was no surprise that their set was a long one, with over 20 songs from their entire 2 and a half decade long career played.

Frontman Billie Joe commanded the troops like a first class general, leading the crowd in a number of “whoops” and “hey ohs!”, which intertwined with the collection of hit after hit that Green Day played. New track ‘Oh Love’ was met with the same adoration as stalwarts like ‘St. Jimmy’ (which was played at a speed of the likes that would not be seen at the festival all weekend).

While the set did seem constrained by time, as ‘Boulevard of Broken Dreams’ was interrupted midway through the intro, the band did still manage a set to go down as one of the Reading Festival’s classics. ‘American Idiot’ was screamed back at the band by every single member of the crowd; such is the admiration for the band. A classic set in all ways. (10/10)

The unenviable task of following up Green Day fell to Post War Glamour Girls and in the impossible task, the Leeds-based rockers sadly didn’t provide much excitement. But in all fairness, they were following up Green Day, and it was barely even lunchtime. Credit to the band, they came on and they gave it their all. (5/10)

A trip to the Main Stage was in order next, to see Brighton-based duo Blood Red Shoes, performing for the first time on Reading’s Main Stage. The band were anything but overwhelmed by the situation, though Steven Ansell powered away on drums while Laura Mary-Carter proved an outstanding talent with her soaring vocals, which intertwined with ‘Ansell’s.’

The highlight of the set was near their set’s close as the band played ‘I Wish I Was Someone Better’. However, it should be noted that opener ‘It’s Getting Boring By The Sea’ which appears on the Scott Pilgrim vs. The World soundtrack was definitely an impressive performance. The two members of the band may have looked small in their expansive surroundings, but they made the stage their own with their mix of garage-y, bluesy indie rock and roll. I can only see them playing higher up the bill next time around. (7/10)

Back to the NME Stage I went to see Scottish heroes Twin Atlantic, in a set which was likely to be described as a bit like Biffy Clyro. What a lazy comparison. Yes, they are Scottish, whoop dee dee, so are Frightened Rabbit, but they don’t get followed by comparisons to Simon Neil’s band of rock titans, do they?

Twin Atlantic deserve plaudits of their own and on the strength of the set they played; I won’t be the only person giving them. As their brand of radio-friendly, visceral guitar music is exactly what any festival needs to pour some life into it. ‘Free’ was roared to the heady heights of the NME/Radio 1 Stage, while ‘Make a Beast of Myself’ brought on the same kind of sing-along that Green Day provoked earlier that morning. (8/10)

Staying on the NME/Radio 1 Stage, next up were one of the breakthrough acts of the past 12 months, Dry the River, who brought their hauntingly poignant brand of indie-folk mash-up to Reading.

For a band that sounds so outstanding on record it’s safe to say, hearing them live was rather disappointing. The performance seemed labored, as if every track was as difficult for frontman Peter Liddle as passing a kidney stone. ‘No Rest’ offered a glimpse of the kind of quality that this band can produce, sounding like a less energetic, but more honest Mumford and Sons. But overall, this festival may be one to forget and move on from, as this band can and will be so much better then they were on Saturday. (5/10)

From a somber set in the tent, to a riotous screaming collision of genres on the Main Stage I moved to see Enter Shikari, a band who are so eponymous with Reading Festival, I’m surprised they haven’t been booked as the house band yet. Their new album delves even more into the politically charged work they have been creating of late. So ‘IMPORTANT’ political nonsense aside, they provide entertainment in its droves.

Classic ‘Sorry You’re Not a Winner’ is roared from the stage by Rou Reynolds, while new track ‘Arguing with Thermometers’ is greeted with a singalong of huge proportions. They may not have matched the sheer mentallness of 2 years ago, but their set went down well. (7/10)

I moved from British DIY stars, to Canadian punk troubadours next, in the form of Billy Talent. A band that certainly brought the tunes, but sadly the performance did nothing to match them. Often all you could hear was frontman Benjamin Kowalewicz wailing down the microphone incomprehensively. Set closer ‘Red Flag’ brought a riotous reaction, but in a formulaic set with very little merit to it, it all felt just a little bit contrived. Come up with something new, Billy. Then we’ll talk. (4/10)

To close the day there was another choice to be made. At the Drive In or Kasabian. A choice which I now regret, not for musical reasons, but for the fact that the former of the two has announced that their gig on Tuesday 28th August will be there last as a band.

As you can tell then, I saw Kasabian. Hardcore legends aside (At the Drive In) the Leicestershire based lad-rockers served up a set of unashamed arrogance and brilliance.

Tom Meighan swaggered around the stage like he owned it and for those two hours he absolutely did. The hits were reeled out at breakneck pace and each one was greeted with the adulation such a spectacular performance deserved. The band was fantastic, from start to finish with set closer ‘Fire’ bringing an end to a set which should quite rightly go down as one of the band and even Reading Festival’s best. (10/10)

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