Reading Festival Saturday – the mud recedes, Joy Formidable and Tribes star

Saturday at Reading - Joy Formidable open and with their soft/loud, gentle/heavy, slow/fast vibe they seem strangely appropriate to the weather as we have brilliant sunshine, sunshine with rain, rain, hail, then sun within the 40 minutes of their set. Ritzy Bryan shows she has a career as a Blue Peter presenter ahead of her if the music doen't work out - she is so sweet and engaging with the crowd, then plays her guitar like a small, female, blond Hendrix.

Their stage set is a model goat, sheep and a large gong, which Ritzy hits, hard. And we vigorously disapprove of any unreconstructed sexists who might be tempted to say, "she can bang my gong any day".  They played a couple of acoustic numbers later on the Introducing stage which were also excellent.

On the main stage during the day, Madness got a big crowd but most seemed to be chatting rather than focusing, whereas the Pigeon Detectives and Two Door Cinema Club kept huge mobs of teenagers very engaged.

Our brief "headliner" reports come from late-night reporter, Adam, as we left early for various reasons. He tells us that, "Bombay Bicycle Club were the first band to fill the mega-NME tent, and got an amazing reaction - Jack looked on in awe at the response and singing he was getting back from the crowd. Pulp did well although it seemed to be more about the nostalgia than the music for much of the crowd, while the Strokes sensibly kept the rubbish fourth album to a minimum and did the hits - a good performance".

But as usual, we were mainly lurking in the tents, Festival Republic mainly, looking for "the next big thing". And it was a great day for that, with bands like Grouplove - multinational sweet indie pop with a smile and a tune. Cloud Control were highly polished, professional and interesting with their clever pop-rock. They won the Aussie equivalent of the Mercury Music Prize and I see no reason why they can't make it elsewhere - touches of the Go-Betweens as well and I want to see them again.

No. 2 in our series of bad rock photos - Cloud Control

Then we had Tribes - the first band I've ever seen give a shout out to Maidenhead! Four boys with guitars showing us the genre isn't dead - if you're pining for Oasis, the Killers, and a bit of classic rock, this could be the one for you. They played with great joy and energy and for me the highlight of the day - Roxy and her gong notwithstanding.

Not too many disappointments to report. Cults have talent but would be better if their lead singer could hold a tune. Yuck have great songs but the stage presence of four sacks of straw. And speaking of which... thanks to the organisers for putting a lot of straw down in the muddiest bits. How about some tissues in the loos tomorrow guys?

Straw, lovely straw at Reading Festival

However, in places the arena remained "interesting "

Meanwhile, parts of the campsite still resemble the aftermath of a natural disaster - this is not an abstract work shortlisted for the Turner prize, it is the path through the campsite, basically several inches of gloopy mud...

The Path Through the Campsite (it's a metaphor for life...)

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