Wednesday, 24 August 2011

Preview>>Reading and Leeds Festivals 2011

This summer's festival season has almost come to an end, meaning that Reading and Leeds is up next. The twin festival will be headlined by My Chemical Romance, The Strokes and Muse. This year's festival has come under criticism with regards to the line up and choice of headliners, with the festival failing to sell out for the first time in many years.

Headliners on the NME/Radio One stages are Liam Gallagher's new band 'Beady Eye', Los Angeles' Alternative legends 'Jane's Addiction' and Belgian electronic duo '2manyDJs', respectively. Britpop legends Pulp will perform under The Strokes at Reading, but will headline Leeds' version.

Also appearing over the three days are Elbow, Thirty Seconds To Mars, The Offspring, Interpol, The National, Madness, The Streets, Friendly Fires, Two Door Cinema Club, Deftones, Crystal Castles, White Lies, Death From Above 1979 and Frank Turner. The dance tent will be headlined by UNKLE Sounds, with ska troupe The Mighty Mighty Bosstones and pop-punk legends Descendents the Lock Up stage's headliners. The Horrors, The Midnight Beast and Peter Doherty will headlined the FR Stage, where new bands and bands with less mainstream appeal play.

The action will be covered by BBC3 and BBC Radio One from Friday at 7.

Tuesday, 23 August 2011

Top 5>>Reading Headliners

There have been many headliners during Reading's chequered 40 year history, with some more memorable than others. Here are the top 5.

5. The White Stripes (2004) Reading Saturday/Leeds Friday
Surely the biggest band (so far) of the 21st Century, the blues rock duo were a massive coup for the festival, given Meg's disapproval of playing festivals. A year on from the release of the defining album "Elephant", which had propelled the duo to headline status, from their 5th from top position they held the two years previous. They treated the crowd to old songs, new songs and covers including, 'Jolene' and the Yeah Yeah Yeahs' 'Maps', showcasing what geniuses they were and truly ahead of their time.

4. Arcade Fire (2010) Reading Saturday/Leeds Friday
One of Reading's more controversial headliners, many had argued that the Montreal octopulet were not big enough to headline the festival, with many questioning who they were. However, they simply blew that notion away, with a stunning performance to clear away the mess that Guns N' Roses (sorry Axl N' Friends) left behind the previous night. Their third critically acclaimed album "The Suburbs" had just been released and Arcade Fire showed once again what a different beasts they are, when it comes to live performances. It turned out to be a truly inspired booking and helped them on their way to becoming the global superstars they now are.

3. Nirvana (1992) Reading Sunday
Probably the headline performance that defined Reading Festival and one of the most talked about in the festivals history. From Kurt Cobain being wheeled on stage by music journalist Everett True in a wheelchair, to the trio launching every hit to a packed crowd, this was a special set. It also happened to be the grunge legends final UK show. Presumably one of those 'I was there' moments.

2. Smashing Pumpkins (1995) Reading Friday
Maybe a shock to see the Pumpkins above Nirvana, but ignoring all the media hype for a second, few could argue otherwise. Playing a couple of months before the release of their classic album, "Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness", the Chicago 90s alternative heroes gave a flawless performance of classic hits from their first three albums. One of only two occasions where the Reading crowd were treated to the original line up (1992 was the other), this was a true representation of what the Smashing Pumpkins (forget 2007 for a second) and the 90s were all about. Who could forget Billy Corgan's haunting rendition of 'Disarm', with just the crowd for company?

1. Pearl Jam (2006) Reading Sunday/Leeds Saturday
Not their fellow grunge band from Seattle Nirvana, but arguably Pearl Jam produced the best headline set in Reading's history. It's of course controversial; mainly as Nirvana's set is generally considered the best, it was good, but it wasn't Pearl Jam in 2006, that's for sure. Their first festival appearance, since the Roskilde disaster in 2000; where several people where crushed to death in the crowd, Eddie Vedder and co had decided against playing festivals again, but thankfully they came around. The emotion was still there on Eddie's face throughout, thanking the crowd for "being safe" and having double barriers up to prevent crushing. However unlike 2000, the music did the talking for Pearl Jam that night, especially Mike McCready's soaring guitar solos, the highlight of which being "Alive" during the encore. The packed out crowd, full of euphoria and emotion, were roaring their throats dry all night, culminating in a truly stunning end to the festival.

Thursday, 18 August 2011

Top 5>>Reading Line Ups

With 2011's Reading and Leeds festival all but a week away, and ticket sales rendering this year's to be a flop, it's time to take a look at the best line ups in the festival's 40 year history.

5. Reading 2002
What happens if you take 2011's line up and add some quality bands and headliners to it? Well you get 2002's line up of course!
Headliners: The Strokes//Foo Fighters//The Prodigy (Guns N' Roses played Leeds only)
Subs: Pulp//Muse//The Offspring
Elsewhere: Weezer//The White Stripes//The Hives//Andrew WK//Incubus//Slipknot//Spiritualized//Black Rebel Motorcycle Club//Feeder//Aphex Twin
Future stars lower down: The Libertines//Death Cab for Cutie//Yeah Yeah Yeahs//The Vines//Interpol//The Streets//UNKLE

Weekend ticket: £90 Day ticket: £39

4. Reading 2005
One of Reading's strongest line ups in recent years, saw legendary indie band Pixies headlining during their first reunion tour since their split. Foo Fighters were back and Metal fans got Iron Maiden closing the festival on Sunday night. Kings of Leon treated fans to one of their best set lists on their R+L debut, a host of classics from Youth & Young Manhood and Aha Shake Heartbreak. Those were the days.
Headliners: Pixies//Foo Fighters//Iron Maiden
Subs: The Killers//Kings of Leon//Marilyn Manson
Elsewhere: Queens of the Stone Age//Razorlight//Iggy & the Stooges//The Coral//Kasabian//Bloc Party//The Tears//My Chemical Romance//Echo & the Bunnymen
Future stars lower down: Arctic Monkeys//Arcade Fire//Mystery Jets//We Are Scientists//Bullet For My Valentine//The National

Weekend ticket: £125 Day ticket: £60

3. Reading 2007
OK, so the headliners weren't too memorable; Razorlight?, RHCP giving their worst performance ever and the return of the Smashing Pumpkins not being as exciting as it should have been. However the line up just draws you in and who could forget memorable sub performances from Kings of Leon, Arcade Fire and Nine Inch Nails? Perhaps the first time in Reading's history where the subs have overshadowed the headliners?
Headliners: Razorlight//Red Hot Chili Peppers//The Smashing Pumpkins
Subs: Kings of Leon//Arcade Fire//Nine Inch Nails
Elsewhere: Interpol//Gossip//Bloc Party//Maximo Park//Lostprophets//Fall Out Boy//Klaxons//Ash//Jimmy Eat World//The Shins//Enter Shikari//Dinosaur Jr.
Future Stars lower down: Paramore//The King Blues//The Horrors//Crystal Castles//Bombay Bicycle Club//Foals

Weekend ticket: £145 Day ticket: £62.50

2. Reading 1992
Probably Reading's most memorable line up and headliner, Nirvana. However, the rest of the line up is fantastic and shows a great array of talent and originality from the era.
Headliners: The Wonder Stuff//Public Enemy//Nirvana
Subs: The Charlatans//Ride//Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds
Elsewhere: Public Image Ltd.//PJ Harvey//Manic Street Preachers//Mudhoney//Teenage Fanclub
Future stars lower down: Pavement//Suede//Melvins//Beastie Boys//The Smashing Pumpkins

Weekend ticket: £49

1. Reading 1995
While it might not be the most recognizable line up in Reading's history, it is arguably it's strongest ever line up. A host of superstars from the 90s filled the stage, alongside the "legend" headliner, Neil Young, that is so sparse to find at the Berkshire festival these days. A true representation of what Reading should be about.
Headliners: The Smashing Pumpkins//Björk//Neil Young
Subs: Green Day//Paul Weller//Soundgarden
Elsewhere: Hole//Pavement//The Boo Radleys//Foo Fighters//Carter the Unstoppable Sex Machine//Teenage Fanclub
Future Stars lower down: Beck//Ash//Cast//Pennywise//The Cardigans//Super Furry Animals

Weekend ticket: £60