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Preview: Reading and Leeds 2017

 
By on Thursday, 8th June 2017 at 11:00 am
 

Looking toward the end of summer and the culmination of this year’s festival season which, if you’re a UK citizen, means only one thing. Reading and Leeds Festival, taking place 25-27 August. The mammoth twin fests once again return to the North and South of England, and with a lineup that is going to have you bouncing all the way home on the Monday morning after.

The thing that makes Reading and Leeds so special is the eclectic mix of bands. (Err, bar Glastonbury’s Katy Perry supporting The National: that’s something else entirely.) The stages opt for a core representation, meaning if you head over to the Pit Stage you guaranteed to find a band thrashing the life out of their guitars, as opposed to the BBC Radio 1 Dance Stage where, well, you’re more likely to find some thunderous beats and want to shake a tail feather. The one thing the stages all have in common is you’ll have a bloody good time at whichever you choose.

[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lk5iMgG-WJI[/youtube]

You’re going to need to bear with me on this one because this year, the line-up is so jam-packed with acts that you can’t miss out on, it’s hard to not just pop the poster up and circle the entire thing. Without a shadow of a doubt, the headliners this year are strong, though Muse could have chosen to take a break from the top slot for a while to give some new blood a chance, to be honest. Kasabian will really making the top of the bill theirs, with a formidable arsenal in the form of their back catalogue that will echo for miles around, especially post-show with all the chanting that follows. The one name on the bill that stands out is none other than Slim Shady himself. Eminem is returning to the UK after a prolonged absence. A man who needs no introduction, his set Saturday will be something you won’t forget for a long time.

[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YVkUvmDQ3HY[/youtube]

Now that the headliners are out of the way, we can get into the gubbins of the lineup, the gems and the up ‘n’ comers. While we don’t have the stage splits yet, here’s who you should keep in mind for when that time arrives, based on the Reading location lineup:

Friday

Start your festival off nice and easy with SXSW 2016 alum Barns Courtney on the Festival Republic Stage. He’ll be spilling some blues rock that should soundtrack the (hopefully) sunny mid-morning perfectly. Of course, with it nearing the end of the festival season by the time we get to the end of August, you should make the most of being able to get a bit silly in a field with your friends, so head to the NME Stage where Chicagoans The Orwells will stir up a riot with their snotty punk attack. Stick around after their set to catch Declan McKenna. The fresh-faced singer/songwriter who also impressed at SXSW 2016 is on his way to becoming the soundtrack for a generation, and what better way to experience that than in a field full of kids who have just finished their exams.

[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5FafAfiWtog[/youtube]

The Pit stage has one of the quickest up ‘n’ comers in the UK rock scene, Puppy, at the early end of the list while heading it up will be Billy Talent, who will instigate a surefire sing-a-long fest. The Festival Republic stage also has Toothless, a majorly strong contender for one of the albums of the year. Ex-Bombay Bicycle Club bassist Ed Nash has created a beautifully coherent indie record that is just as well executed live.

[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B8WPIU8XJmY[/youtube]

Saturday

Now that you’ll be all warmed up for the festival, and Kasabian have got you well into the spirit of losing all inhibitions from their show the previous night, take that feeling and get involved in the ruckus that’ll be, once again, on the NME stage with Frank Carter and The Rattlesnakes. After his main stage performance last year – quite literally surveying the crowd with one of the longest mic leads we’ve ever seen – all eyes will be on what madness can ensue this year. The main stage has a double run of blood, as in, you get the one-two punch of Scottish indie duo Honeyblood, then pop-punkers Moose Blood.

[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0P1WIpgKqcA[/youtube]

Also playing the Saturday are Canadians Japandroids who, quite frankly, released one of the records of the year with ‘Near To The Wild Heart…’. They’ll be over on the Festival Republic stage. You can also catch the sweet summery sounds of Glass Animals, Sundara Karma and TGTF favourites Everything Everything all on the NME Stage too. Just prior to seeing Eminem, it’ll be a right throwback to the 90’s and early ’00s with Korn. What a time to be alive, I’m exhausted already.

[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jRGrNDV2mKc[/youtube]

Sunday

Somewhat a more reserved day, which is quite possibly needed after the assault of the previous 2 days. Kick things off with Fickle Friends on the, you guessed it, NME Stage. More summery sounds that will soothe your assumed titanic hangover. But, since this is it, the last day, go have a riot in the Pit stage with Norwegian punks Slotface. Easily the band of the moment, their long-awaited debut should also be out by then! The main stage has some real treats in the form of UK punk spokes-band VANT, who then lead nicely into the current kings of the UK metal scene Architects.

[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3GCSUSwcDwg[/youtube]

One name that’s being billed as an apparent exclusive, although it’s appeared on the Glasto lineup is none other than Liam Gallagher. Having completed a recent tour of a few small UK venues where he’s sounded back on top form, including one benefit show for his (and my) beloved Manchester, and is performing some classic Oasis tracks, excitement for his appearance is an understatement. Muse should surely bring a good show: spaceships, drones, lasers, you name it, they’ll probably bring it!

[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b4ozdiGys5g[/youtube]

That’s a lot of information to go forth with, but the most important thing to do when experiencing Reading or Leeds Festival is have fun. It’s the blow-out fest, the last of the majors in the UK for the season, and is a beast in its own right.

Tickets are still available for both Reading (here) and Leeds (here).

 

Reading 2016: Sunday Roundup

 
By on Tuesday, 6th September 2016 at 2:00 pm
 

As so we came to the final day of Reading Festival 2016. Where those who couldn’t quite cut it have left, and those that remain are ready to see the festival out as they started; with no inhibitions and a fantastic soundtrack.

Activities on the main stage Saturday gave a preview as to the heavy-fest that Sunday would be. Bar A$AP Rocky and The Vaccines, the lineup for the day could also have been found at the heavier British festival staple that is Download. The weather decided it didn’t feel like baring it’s sunnier disposition and instead graced us with its greyer, cloudier and wetter side. As pointed out yesterday though, this is where the British thrive, and thrive they did.

Albany, New York pop punkers State Champs opened up the main stage, bringing a brief respite from the dismal weather at Reading with their take on summer anthem genre. For a Sunday morning, the crowd were particularly excitable and offered back a sincere response. Following on from this spot of sunshine were The Virginmarys, a definite band to watch in the UK rock scene, with their brutal vocals, hard-hitting guitar lines and a savageness reminiscent of early punk. Though the crowd may have mildly dispersed post-State Champs, this didn’t stop the band from Macclesfield from delivering a completely brutal set worthy of a much higher billing.

Mancunians Spring King who have had quite the quick ascent to fame, which you can read about in our interview with drummer and singer Tarek Musa back here at LeeFest 2016 in late July, gave a performance to a completely packed out tent. Though the sudden downpour may have instigated this mass collective, the band made sure to capitalise upon it. The set brought fun and tunes in equal measure, with both band and fans having a Another band who had to deal with what the weather dealt them were Coheed and Cambria who were faultless, giving a ferocious performance all the while being on the main stage and open to the elements.

As the rain continued to slowly drizzled over the Reading festival site, the crowds gave up hiding from it, revelling in the weather. Back on the Radio 1/NME Stage, Deaf Havana used their set wisely as a promotional opportunity, announcing the name and release date of their upcoming album. Appearing on stage with only a white sheet across the back of the stage, as the set went on the words “All These Countless Nights” were painted in black, followed by “21.1.17”. The set was a special moment, secured it as one for the band’s history.

What was The Pit for the past 2 days had now reverted back to its original name The Lock Up for the final day. Beach Slang, the American punk band who are bringing back the old school ethos to the genre, completely dominated the tent. Their set was summed up well in the immortal words of frontman James Alex: “We are Beach Slang, and we’re here to punch you right in the heart!” The Lock Up stage continued with its earnest punk environment with Modern Baseball. Having released their third album ‘Holy Ghost’ back in May, they’re finally on our UK shores, giving their diehard fanbase a run-through of these new offerings. Even though A$AP Rocky was ruling the main stage and causing a surge in crowd flow, The Lock Up was still over capacity for the American four-piece. The excited audience simply did not stop moving until the final chord finished, and the speed at which crowd surfers ran from the security to pit and back into the throng was astounding. Another standout set from this year’s festival.

The evening was an anticipated delight from co-headliners Fall Out Boy and Biffy Clyro. As eight pm swung around, the skies were still cloudy but the atmosphere was as electric as ever. A sea of Fall Out Boy merchandise seen around the festival over the course of the weekend was a concrete measurement in exactly how big a draw band were, and for good reason. A show that featured non-stop fireworks, pyrotechnics, choreographed fire dancers and visuals, Fall Out Boy knew they had a massive opportunity, and they ran with it. Running through a majority set that consisted of songs from the last two albums plus a few golden treats, especially finale ‘Saturday’ from 2003’s ‘Take This to Your Grave’, Fall Out Boy certainly ensured that the ravenous crowd were delivered the set they yearned for.

Finally, it was time for the final headliners of the entire weekend at Richfield Avenue. Biffy Clyro were given the honour and duty of closing out this year’s edition, giving everything they had and fully delivering. With a stage show that reflected the precision and grandeur we’ve come to expect from the Scottish trio, it was a set that will surely be remembered in the festival’s history. From opener ‘Wolves of Winter’ to closer ‘Stinging Bell’ that featured a fireworks display, they somehow managed to dwarf the explosive affair that Fall Out Boy had previously.

Using a popular Scottish battle cry, halfway through the set singer Simon Neil roared out, “Mon The Reading!”, whipping the crowd into a frenzy. Biffy Clyro’s ascension through the ranks of musicdom has been made by leaps and strides, and this was the largest of them yet. A perfectly executed set that ran through a majority of newer material – plus the appearance of ’57’, a cut from 2002’s ‘Blackened Sky’ as a pleasant treat – the trio seized the moment and are now reaping the rewards. As the Reading crowd finally dispersed ar the end the festival for another year, the only question on everyone’s mind was, “how are they going to top this next year?” We’ll find out in 2017.

 

Reading 2016: Saturday Roundup

 
By on Wednesday, 31st August 2016 at 2:00 pm
 

Following on from the complete success that was Friday at Reading 2016 – and with Foals‘ pinnacle career moment headlining the main stage – Saturday had a lot to live up to. Headlining solo today were the funk giants and great dividers of opinion, Red Hot Chili Peppers, but first we had a whole day to experience.

The weather had a go at trying to dampen the spirits by giving a mid-morning downpour, but as with all UK festivals, this only fuelled the festival-going crowd’s insatiable lust for a good time. First up were Scottish three-piece Fatherson. Clearly a milestone for the band, they delivered their emotive and euphoric set with complete expert execution. It shouldn’t be too long before they climb their way through the stages and find themselves front and centre.

The Beach, a London-based singer/songwriter recently on tour with Tom Odell, brought his band for a full ensemble run through of his thoughtful and encompassing tunes. This was an easy watch that the calm crowd relished in. Over on the main stage, American hard rockers Clutch may not have had the largest crowd for the location, but they certainly didn’t let this stop them from giving a set that was filled with solos, riffs and just about every other rock staple you need. Shout out to drummer Jean-Paul Gaster for his 9:30 Club t-shirt (Washington represent!)

Continuing the heavy streak on the main stage, Skindred gave a thoroughly vicious performance with their blend of rock, reggae and metal. The crowd, after witnessing Clutch, were more than up for a good time with heavier influences. Which was good considering what was to come across the field.

The Pit was the place to be for most of the afternoon. Like most festivals, secret sets are always a guarantee, and Reading was no different. With a gap on the stage at 4 PM labelled as ‘TBC’, a spraypainted You Me At Six poster and a band photo backstage, the most subtle of secrets was suddenly revealed. But this was not before what could probably have been one of the best sets of the festival by Heck, a musical marvel who completely dominated the stage, the crowd and everything in between. Spending the majority of the set in various states in and on the crowd, including guitarist and singer Jonny Hall sat atop a flight case while playing guitar, it was an absolutely animalistic and wild sight to behold, Heck should not skip anyone’s radar, not they’d let that happen in any case. Back to the You Me At Six secret set, the closer the time came to 4 PM, the further the tent filled out. By the time the band took to the stage through a curtain of fog, the tent was a gravitational centre. With the band having just announced a large tour of the UK, it was a close and exciting glimpse into what was to hit our cities early next year.

On the main stage, Kent breakthrough punk duo Slaves, proved that they’d earned their way on to central billing by ferociously powering through their socially relevant songs. Another historic moment for a British band at a staple festival.

Back at The Pit and following on from Reading 2016’s worst kept secret came Milk Teeth. The Gloucestershire-based band showed exactly why they’re one of the UK’s brightest up-and-comers. With songs filled with personality and a ’90s rock feel, the crowd were as immersed in the music as the band playing them. It’s sets such as theirs that give Reading its best draw and atmosphere: small bands finding their audience, laying the groundwork for a return in the future to ever larger crowds.

One of the UK festival exclusives this year, Eagles of Death Metal have been present in the public eye for many reasons over the last year, both positive and negative. All of that didn’t matter today though as they joked, sang, laughed and rocked through a main stage set that will surely eclipse what has gone before. Leading man Jesse Hughes knows exactly how to engage and entertain his audience, be it dedicating ‘Zipper Down’ cut ‘Silverlake’ to a fan-made golden cape that he wore atop a Red Hot Chili Peppers shirt, or introducing us all to his father who was side of stage and beginning a chant of “dad! dad! dad!”, he’s an expert at his craft. Ending with ‘Save a Prayer’ who he dedicated to England because “when we needed you, you did not let us down”, likely a reference to the Bataclan terror attack in Paris last November.

While this riotous party was going down, newcomers VANT had the Festival Republic tent filled with young minds that they’re hoping to reach with their politically charged songs. Judging by the reception they were given during single ‘The Answer’ that references Afghanistan and UK/U.S. relations, their plan is working.

Mancunians The Courteeners burst onto the main stage taking over from where Eagles of Death Metal left off. Theirs was a rousing, anthemic set, perfect to carry the afternoon through to ready for the evening’s festivities. Imagine Dragons were the warm-up for Red Hot Chili Peppers, and by the term warm up, they certainly did. With crowd pleasers such as ‘Radioactive’ and ‘Demons’ and their larger than life sound, there was no way they could fail.

Finally, it was the turn of the big guns, Red Hot Chili Peppers. A band who simply need no introduction, over 3 decades of funk and rock, they proved at Reading they’re here to keep the reigning crown. Taking to the stage at 9:30, the incomparable Red Hot Chili Peppers were as welcomed as they would’ve been at any point in their career, with a hungry crowd and rapturous applause. Kicking straight in with ‘Can’t Stop’, it was clear they were here to only prove this point. Though the set could have felt a touch more exciting, it was a solid performance that certainly cemented Kiedis and co.’s place at top billing. Hits aplenty, from a full crowd sing along to ‘Under the Bridge’ to an encore ending with ‘Give It Away’. Saturday night closed out with the feeling of an impenetrable force proved by the enthusiastic crowd, who had grown to almost the entire festival capacity and sought any means possible to get a view. If Saturday was anything to go by, it proved Reading and Leeds is a festival that not only secures the legends but can also breed them.

 

Reading 2016: Friday Roundup

 
By on Tuesday, 30th August 2016 at 2:00 pm
 

It’s that time of year again, when British youths have their GCSE results and they all descend upon either the city of Reading, or its Northern counterpart for this weekend, Leeds. Reading and Leeds festivals are a coming of age experience for the UK’s youth, and they use this opportunity to let go. Luckily for them, Reading and Leeds always have a lineup that fits this criteria, and this year is no different.

The Friday at Reading was opened by Frank Turner & The Sleeping Souls on the main stage, which is the perfect way to kick off any festival. No-one encapsulates what a festival atmosphere should sound like more so than Turner, with his acoustic blend of heartfelt tales and punk rock ethos. The shining sun only cemented this feeling and for the rest of the day.

Frank Carter & The Rattlesnakes once again proved that festivals really are their thing. Being the first time he’d come to play the main stage at Reading, Carter made sure to make the most of this opportunity by making his way into the crowd, then leading around over 100 members of the audience on a chase around the sound desk and back again. Carter is never one to disappoint, and he did more than deliver this time.

Over on the Festival Republic stage, The Sherlocks and their soon-to-be tour mates Blaenavon both delivered fantastic sets that were met with great reception by the packed out tent, both revelling in the afternoon crowds’ welcome. At the same time, grime supergroup Boy Better Know were on the main stage proving why grime is currently one of the UK’s most promising and domineering genres. Flames included.

CHVRCHES took to the main stage as the sun began to set, and their performance could not have gone on at a more apt moment. Being the third time the band had played the festival, yet the first time on the “big boy/girl stage” as singer Lauren Mayberry put it, it was a moment that was enjoyed and surely to be remembered by both fans and band. The crowd by this point were fully into their weekend fun, so the reception CHVRCHES got was joyous and enthralled. Their early single ‘The Mother We Share’ ended the set on a particularly highest of highs.

Continuing the main stage festivities, Disclosure absolutely dominated the capacity crowd, drawing the largest crowd of the day so far. With a set filled with floor fillers and anthems, they were the perfect warm-up for what was to come from co-headliners Foals. At the same time, at The Pit tent, American rockers Thrice gave a performance that was heartfelt and connected with the modest audience like no other did during all Friday.

Being the Reading leg of the twin festivals, Foals were the final headliner on the first night. Even before they took to the stage, this was bound to be a momentous occasion for the Oxfordians, surely an act you should simply not miss out on when given the chance. It’s worth noting that Sunday’s co-headliners at Reading were Biffy Clyro, who first made their way to the upper echelons of the lineup back in 2013, proving that it’s not a feat that happens just once. Foals debut Reading headline slot not only delivered, but completely proved they’ve rightly earned their place as top billing at one of the countries most sought after slots.

From their early position as indie newcomers with their debut ‘Antidotes’ back in 2008 to now headlining Reading festival, Foals have been on a continuous meteoric rise. A set that included ‘Cassius’, a rare treat in their UK headline set after being removed from constant rotation back in 2010, along with fan favourites ‘Inhaler’ and ‘What Went Down’, it was a moment in history for the Foals timeline, and they made sure that it was remembered that way. Ending with ‘Two Steps, Twice’, for which co-headliners Disclosure also made an appearance, along with pyrotechnics, crowd surfing and fans’ complete devotion, this was Foals’ moment. They seized it, ran with it, and now the future is theirs. In the now immortalised words of frontman Yannis Phillippakis, it was “pretty fucking magic”.

 

Preview: Reading and Leeds 2011

 
By on Thursday, 24th March 2011 at 11:00 am
 

One of the most highly-anticipated music festivals in the UK is returning to Richfield Avenue and Bramham Park this summer. Yep, it’s Reading and Leeds, held during the August bank holiday weekend.

Apart from the headliners, this year’s line-up looks not too different from the one from last year. The Strokes, who have just released their new album ‘Angles’ (TGTF review here), seem to be one of the biggest names this year. Elbow will be a blast as well as they will no doubt play tracks from ‘build a rocket boys!’ Other headliners include Muse (pictured above), My Chemical Romance, Thirty Seconds to Mars, Pulp and Interpol.

Let’s move on to the NME/ Radio 1 stage, the stage I’m most interested in. Metronomy and Patrick Wolf will definitely be highlights. I personally think that Reading’s second day on the NME stage line up is the best for Ilike all the bands playing; I’m particularly looking forward to Everything Everything’s performance, and Kiwis the Naked and Famous are going to be fun to watch as well. Other great acts include Noah and the Whale, White Lies, Crystal Castles, Bombay Bicycle Club, Warpaint, Chapel Club and Cage the Elephant.

The Festival takes place on the August Bank Holiday weekend – Friday 26th to Sunday 28th August 2011. The tickets are available from SeeTickets (0870 060 3775). As for purchasing in person, tickets are available at the following 3 HMV stores: Reading Oracle, Southampton (weekend tickets only) and Oxford (weekend tickets only). Tickets are £199.50 for the weekend and £89.50 per day.

The line-up as announced so far is after the cut.
Continue reading Preview: Reading and Leeds 2011

 

Preview: Reading and Leeds Festival August 2010

 
By on Monday, 29th March 2010 at 7:15 pm
 

After Glastonbury, Reading and Leeds Festivals are the granddaddy of all music festivals. Some of the best bands, the biggest exclusives and best lineups all come together for three massive days over the August Bank Holiday weekend. Last year they “played it safe” with a lineup of Kings of Leon, Arctic Monkeys and Radiohead, but this year they’ve gone for a bit more interesting selection, returning to their rock roots.

This year, The Libertines are going to be the big news of the festival, with Pete Doherty and Carl Barat putting their differences behind them to play the festival, supporting Reading’s Saturday night’s headliners, Arcade Fire. Meanwhile, Blink 182 and Guns ‘n’ Roses also headline the main stage.

If we were going this year, the NME stage looks pretty good, with LCD Soundsystem, Klaxons and Band of Horses all set to play what is our pick of the stages so far. Kele from Bloc Party is also playing, intriguingly billed already higher than The Drums and he hasn’t even released a track yet.

The Festival takes place on the August Bank Holiday weekend – Friday 27th to Sunday 29th August 2010. Tickets are on sale now at See Tickets. Tickets are £180.00 for the weekend, or £75 per day ticket.

Catch the full lineup (so far) below…

Continue reading Preview: Reading and Leeds Festival August 2010

 
 
 

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