Reading Festival Preview – Saturday and Sunday

Yesterday we looked at some tips for Reading and Leeds Festival, and the Friday programme in Reading (Sunday in Leeds). Today we’ll take a look at the other two days of the Festival.

Saturday (Friday in Leeds)

Metallica headline, as they have done before. Personally, I find them impressive but not emotionally engaging, so I may well be trying to get into the NME tent for Rebel Sound, along with 50,000 kids (who don’t care about Metallica either). Rebel Sound is a supergroup “crew” formed around Chase & Status, MC Rage, the legendary reggae DJ David Rodigan and Shy FX, and this will be a huge party.

Back to rock. The deeply disturbing Babymetal – three cute 16 year old Japanese girls in front of a death metal backing band – open the main stage, then there is the excellent Marmozets, only slightly older Yorkshire kids, with their take on post hardcore metal. It’s an all-round heavy day on the main stage, with the highlight being duo Royal Blood, the biggest new UK band of last year.

The other contenders for that title were Catfish and the Bottlemen, who play the NME stage- which is where we will be for much of the day. Catfish does unfortunately clash with Charli XCX on the Dance Stage – along with Ed Sheeran, the most talented young British songwriter of the last few years perhaps (I Love It, and Boom Clap for instance)? Note to teenage male readers - we predict a high concentration of young woman watching her set!

Also in the big tent are Wolf Alice, featuring their new album, the best debut of the year so far, Circa Waves, with their bouncy indie (perfect if it is a sunny afternoon). Spector and Slaves should be strong, and don’t miss Twin Peaks, a young Chicago band with an infectious raucous punky blues sound.

Moving on to the Festival Republic stage, we featured San Fermin here, the excellent Neon Waltz here, and with Blossoms, Pretty Vicious, Ratboy and Pretty Vicious, there are plenty of interesting acts performing who have real potential. One or two will make it, and you can then say “yes, I spotted their potential when I saw them playing to a few hundred people in the tent at Reading in 2015”! I suspect I will be hurtling between that tent and the NME stage for most of the day.


Sunday (Saturday in Leeds)

The headliners are the Libertines, possibly the most over-rated rock band in the history of the universe. Indeed, it is a disappointing end to the Festival, aside from the legendary Frank Turner leading what will no doubt be a big sing-a-long in the Festival Republic tent. Might be worth checking out Scottish dance / electronic producer Hudson Mohawke in the Dance tent as well; his new single Warriors is getting a lot of airplay and is very good.

Earlier, there is plenty to look forward to. Indeed, apart from the rubbish headliners, it is a good day on the main stage, with the engaging Jamie T, the Maccabees featuring their excellent new album, and barely a weak link all day. Kendrik Lamar is not my thing, but he is one of the most critically acclaimed artists in the world today with his complex blend or rap, R&B, and jazz, so it’s quite a coup for Reading to get him.

The NME stage goes a big dance focused today, but we will be there for Jamie XX (of XX fame) and Glass Animals who bring Alt-J and Wild Beasts to mind. Years and Years will pack the big tent – the demographic is perfect for their unthreatening pop/dance! And AWOLNATION will preside over the biggest mass sing of the entire event... all together now - “blame it on my ADD, baby ... SAIL””

The Festival Republic stage is excellent today, with so many good bands it is hard to pick out highlights. But don’t miss Jack Garratt who is a future star and disgustingly talented (guitar, keyboards, drums, electronic, voice ...) or Sundara Karma, a local Reading band, 19 year olds, with a mature indie-rock sound and big songs that seem destined for bigger stages (think Arcade Fire, Maccabees, even Springsteen).

There is more indie from Gengahr, Spring King and Hippo Campus; and the Queens of the Stone Age bass player with his quirky off-beat Mini Mansions project, who released a critically acclaimed album this year. A brilliant afternoon in store in the small(ish) tent, we hope.

If you are going - have fun!

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First Voice

  1. Alphabet Bands:

    Black Honey on the Festival Republic stage are worth a shout too if you get the chance.
    Agree about Jack Garrett – insanely talented young man.

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