Reading Festival Saturday – Festival Republic Tent the place to be

Second day at Reading – and a day for young(ish) UK bands to show their mettle, which most did very successfully.

In the huge NME tent, both Twin Atlantic and Dry the River stepped up successfully from their previous Festival Republic performances. Twin Atlantic drew a huge crowd, and they are moving out of Biffy Clyro’s shadow with their hard but intelligent Scottish rock. Dry the River give the impression that they’re more comfortable perhaps with the crazy, loud guitar noise climaxes to many of their songs rather than the delicate Fleet Foxes folky type way they start, but it makes for an interesting combination that went down very well.

Meanwhile, the smaller Festival Republic tent had a brilliant day. I hadn’t heard Theme Park before but their very enjoyable, somewhat poppier take on Klaxons / Friendly Fires indie dance could well get them places very quickly.

Citizens! showed they can live up to their very strong first album live – in fact, with a charismatic, high cheekbone and confident frontman, I can see them playing the big stages soon as well. And perhaps my highlight of the day was Dog is Dead – great harmonies, clever indie-pop songs, and on a day when the Mystery Jets were a little disappointing, Dog is Dead look set to move into that quirky, clever indie-pop slot with ease.

And Jake Bugg also packed the tent, proving what a broad musical church Reading is! A 19 year old singer songwriter from Nottingham whose influences would appear to include Dylan, a touch of Lonnie Donegan skiffle, Hank Williams and Oasis. Yet he has a cool indie-vibe that obviously is grabbing the kids attention. (I like him too although I’m surprised he’s doing quite so well – a bit like Ed Sheeran, I enjoy it, but can’t quite understand the level of success).

Later on, Lower than Atlantis, Young Guns and The In Crowd provided several shades of punk / rock (The In Crowd resemble Paramore; the other two somewhat punkier) and all got the tent jumping and singing along.

I worried about how Los Campesinos – a band I’ve loved from their beginnings – would cope opening the main stage. I needn’t have worried. “We’re delighted Green Day opened for us” quipped Garth David, and their full sound and energy actually really suited the big stage. The Shins did well in front of a thin later afternoon crowd, but the Vaccines I thought sounded a little two dimensional and were much better last year in the tent – that environment just suits some bands better.

Florence and the Machine started off well, (and she is perhaps my favourite musician of the last five years). But she got a little self indulgent and lost the pace in mid-set. Then the heavens opened and I’m afraid, with no regard to my journalistic duties, we went home.

Off now to see the wonderful Of Monsters and Men, Django Django, Band of Skulls. Horrors and many more...

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