Friday, 30 September 2011

Seen It>>Reading Festival - Sunday 28.8.2011

12.45-13.25//Fucked Up//The Canadian art-punk band brought their anthems to the NME stage for an early afternoon slot. Frontman Pink Eyes even managed to break his microphone in amidst the circle pits and the moshing crowd.

14.05-14.20//Frank Turner//The singer-songwriter has built up a cult audience at Reading following his 5-year consecutive span at the festival. The former Million Dead frontman had been upgraded to Main Stage this year and his legion of fans joined him by singing along to his plethora of tunes, such as "I am Disappeared" and set-closer "Photosynthesis."

14.35-15.20//Cage the Elephant//The Kentucky quintet were up for causing hell on the NME stage, bringing their alt-grunge tunes back to Reading, including "In One Ear", "Back Against the Wall", "Ain't No Rest fr the Wicked" and "Shake Me Down." Matt Schultz, vocalist of the band, went into the crowd and disappeared for ages, before returning and then being knocked out by a crowd-surfer and resurfacing again at the end. Bonkers, but brilliant.

16.45-17.30//Warpaint//The Los Angeles all-girl four-piece played a lazy Sunday afternoon set on the NME stage. The drug-fueled anthems such as "Elephants", "Warpaint" and "Undertow" had the crowd in raptures, whilst it was hard not to space out during the set thanks to some odd smells.

17.50-18.20//Hot Water Music//Chuck Ragan and co returned to the Lock Up stage, after a long hiatus. Launching into "Remedy" had the mosh pits already forming, whilst the band later covered The Bouncing Souls' "True Believers."

18.35-19.30//Interpol//The New York-based band returned to Reading after an absence of four years, but this time returned without mesmeric bassist Carlos D. However, even without him, Paul Banks and co gave another solid performance to the crowd, including songs such as "Evil", "Slow Hands, "C'Mere" and "Obstacle 1." The only downside being fashion-conscious Banks' odd choice of Adidas jacket, black trousers and sunglasses.

19.00-19.45//Death From Above 1979//The re-formed duo from Toronto were back on the Line Up for the first time in six years. A nasty clash with Interpol, unfortunately meant a loss of some of their set. However the crowd were rowdy for the duo's electro-punk anthems, including "Blood On Our Hands" and "Romantic Rights."

20.00-20.50//Frank Tuner (Special Guests)//The biggest kept 'secret' at Reading 2011, was in fact the special guest on the Lock Up stage, was another set by Frank Turner. His army of fanaticals were treated to his back catalogue alongside a cover of Queen's "Somebody to Love" which was the festivals biggest singalong of the weekend.

21.10-22.00//Flogging Molly//The Celtic-Punk band were the penultimate band of the weekend on the Lock Up and they sure as hell made it so the party continued. "Seven Deadly Sins", "Drunker Lullabies" and "Float", drew the usual casual and drunken attempts at Irish jigging, inside a packed crowd.

22.30-23.30//Descendents//The Californian pop-punk legends closed the festival on Sunday and were the Lock Up stage's headliners. A somewhat small crowd, competing against Muse's 'Origin of Symmetry' set, were delighted and bellowing out every word of the band's set, including "I'm the One", "Everything Sux" and "I'm Not A Loser." A giddy Milo even fell off the stage a couple of times, but was quick back to his feet.

Thursday, 29 September 2011

Seen It>>Reading Festival - Saturday 27.8.11

12.00-12.40//The Joy Formidable//The Welsh alternative rockers opened the Main Stage on a rainy Saturday afternoon. The trio launched into many tracks from their debut, "The Big Roar", including 'Austere' and 'Whirring.'

12.45-13.15//Title Fight//Pop punk from Kingston, Pennsylvania, the quartet were lively and had the mosh pits forming on the Lock Up stage.

13.50-14.35//Seasick Steve//The 70-year-old bluesman brought along his homemade guitars and instruments. Oakland, California's finest was joined on stage by Led Zeppelin legend John Paul Jones, joined by a backup drummer, and the trio created old-fashioned and enjoyable blues on a sunny Main Stage. Props go to the drummer and his broom.

14.55-15.35//OFWGKTA//The hip-hop collective from California, were greeted by a large and insane NME crowd, playing all sorts of hits from Tyler the Creator's 'Yonkers' to Earl Sweatshirt's 'Earl'. Sadly, an over-the-top bass interrupted the sound, and unless you were right at the front, it was hard to hear much.

15.45-16.20//Mariachi El Bronx//The band's usual hardcore five-piece were in action on the Lock Up, which meant a welcome return for the Mariachi side-project. They previewed songs from new album, self-titled "Mariachi El Bronx" (much like the first), alongside old favourites such as 'Cell Mates' and 'Slave Labor.'

17.25-18.15//Jimmy Eat World//The quartet from Arizona returned to Reading and the Main Stage, for the first time since 2007. The unleashed new tracks such as 'Coffee & Cigarettes', whilst launching old favourites including 'Bleed American', 'The Middle' and 'Sweetness', which drew one of the loudest singalongs of the festival.

18.45-19.45//The National//The Brooklyn-based five piece have slowly but deservedly worked their place into mainstream recognition, following a strewth of critically acclaimed albums, the last of which being 2010's "High Violet." Third from top on the Main Stage and a setting sun in the background, gave the perfect backdrop to the band's tales of loneliness, isolation and love. A fantastic performance saw tracks such as 'Abel', 'Fake Empire', 'Bloodbuzz Ohio' and 'Terrible Love' given the applause they so richly deserved. The only down point was the rather small crowd that gathered to watch them in action.

20.00-20.50//The Bronx//Without the Mariachi suits this time, the Los Angeles quintet were a totally different experience this time around. Launching into straight-out hardcore punk on the prepared Lock Up crowd. Frontman Matt Caughthran disappeared into the crowd and the ensuing mosh pits, whilst screaming out the words to 'Knifeman', 'False Alarm' and 'The Kill Us All (Without Mercy).'

22.30-23.30//The Mighty Mighty Bosstones//Following Jane's Addiction cancelled headline performance on the NME, it was going to be hard to be cheered up. However, the ska punk legends and Lock Up headliners were a great alternative. The Boston based 8 piece had the crowd skanking along to old favourites such as 'Where'd You Go?', 'The Rascal King' and 'The Impression That I Get.' A great way to end the penultimate night, with many crowd members leaving the gig with large grins etched across their faces.

Thursday, 8 September 2011

Seen It>> Reading Festival - Friday 26.8.2011

12.00-12.35//Pulled Apart By Horses//Opening proceedings on the new NME tent, were Leeds alternative rock quartet PABH. The boys played host to several tracks from their debut self-titled album, as well as launching new songs such as "Wolf Hand" and "Shake Off the Curse."

12.55-13.40//The Blackout//The Welsh post-hardcore rockers returned to the Berkshire festival, with a new album, "Hope", in tow. It was earlier tracks such as "Children of the Night" and "ShutTheFuck Uppercut" that had the teenage audience starting the circle pits. Vocalist Sean Smith also directed the crowd to throw mud at each other, which they did.

14.30-15.15//Mona//The Nashville, Tennessee based indie band made their Reading and Leeds debut in the NME tent. Their debut self-titled album borrows heavily from U2 and fellow Nashville band, Kings of Leon, but that didn't stop the crowd from singing along to tracks such as "Teenager" and "Listen to your Love."

15.45-16.20//Cerebral Ballzy//The New York punk band brought along bundles of attitude and spiky tunes from across the pond. The Brooklyn quintet were intent on tearing up the Festival Republic stage, which perhaps they could have done, had their songs been longer than 2 mins or so.

16.10-16.55//Rise Against/The Chicago punk band's set was beset by sound problems, cutting out the vocals of Tim McIlrath. However, their energetic Main Stage set included "Help is On the Way", "Prayer of the Refugee" and a Clash cover of "White Riot", inspired by the recent England riots.

17.20-18.15//Deftones//The Californian quartet returned to the festival, with another blinding set on the Main Stage. The mosh pits opened for "Back to School (Mini Maggit)", while frontman Chino Moreno entered the crowd and almost lost his shirt in the process. Moreno also dedicated "Minerva" to bassist Chi Cheng, who has been in a coma since a car accident in November 2008.

18.35-19.35//The Offspring//The Californian punks were back at Reading, for the first time since 2004. One of the best bookings on an overall weak line up, it's fair to say the majority of the crowd weren't too up for their set. However, a large mosh pit opened for "Come Out and Play (Keep 'em Separated)" and stayed open, until "Self Esteem" at the end. Unsurprisingly though, the somewhat subdued crowd truly awoken for party anthem "Pretty Fly (For a White Guy)".

20.10-21.10//30 Seconds To Mars//Whether Jared Leto thought he was filming a movie or not is another thing, but the theatrical set from the LA trio was strange and an unwelcome sight to say the least. From Leto entering the stage from the floor, to singing their biggest hit (The Kill) all by himself acoustically, the set was always going to be dominated by Leto's ego, as opposed to watching the band perform. A complete waste of a sub-headline spot.

22.00-23.30//My Chemical Romance//The emo-rockers have much to prove for their headline appearance, given how criticised their booking had been. Playing a host of classic tracks that had the crowd singing along, "I'm Not Okay (I Promise)", "Helena", "Teenagers" and "Welcome to the Black Parade", whilst a few bland songs from new album "Danger Days: The True Lives of the Fabulous Killjoys" also made the cut. While the set was OK at best, and not the mediocre performance many were predicting/hoping for, it's fair to say, the majority of the crowd cheered once Brian May was announced on stage for the encore. A cover of "We Will Rock You" and the aforementioned, "Welcome to the Black Parade", rounded off the set and first day.