With Just A Hint Of Mayhem

Music trivia, useless info, extra added random stuff and the odd rant from me

Leeds Festival 2018 – Saturday 25th August 2018 August 29, 2018


Day 2 kicked off on the BBC Radio 1 Stage with Blackpool lass Rae Morris. Does she make pop music for dance people or dance music for pop people? Frankly who cares, she has some sublime tunes, she is a wonderfully absorbing performer whose energy and happiness on stage infects the whole crowd with a positive high on happy vibe. I wandered across to the Lock Up Stage after that for the wonderfully named Thunderpussy. These four wild women play their rock as hard and harmonious as it is possible to get. Some of their tunes are simply off the scale excellent. They also have a stunning array of costumes, some of which might have outdone Nona Hendryx and Patti Labelle in there 70s Labelle prime. This was a really gutsy performance. I was beginning to think that female bands were once again thin on the ground at this festival, and they almost certainly still are. But Thunderpussy have the ability and the power chords to make some of their male counterparts spontaneously combust. There were even a couple of Bowie Ronson moments between singer Molly Sides and guitarist Whitney Petty which woked staggeringly well.

Rae Morris

I was disappointed, actually totally gutted, to have missed Frank Carter’s secret set here on Friday. However I was over the moon to be in the audience for the much rumoured and loudly fanfared not so secret set from Bring Me The Horizon on the BBC Radio 1 Stage. They tore the roof off the tent and sent it into orbit around the sun. “Throne”, “Antivist” and “Drown” shone brightest for me in a powerful set that was over way too soon. I hope Bring Me The Horizon headline the Main Stage in 2019. In my opinion they are far better headline contenders than either the Kings Of Leon or Fall Out Boy this year. The Xcerts were on great form on the Lock Up Stage. Spectacular songs, immaculate playing and a in Murray MacLeod a vocalist who knows exactly how to put immense emotion into a song.

Thunderpussy

My first visit to the Main Stage on Saturday was for Post Malone. I had always felt that Post Malone was ok but somewhat over hyped. But now having seen this Texan in all his performing glory it is clear that he is way, way above average. But it still feels like there is a tad too much on the hype front. But whatever I think the crowd went ape-shit crazy for him. San Francisco’s I The Mighty hit the Lock Up Stage like a Panzer division laying waste to Europe. There is a little of everything here; prog rock, US pop punk and maybe a smattering of emo. I recognise that on paper that sounds like a mess, but it works almost effortlessly. Ms Banks proved that she is a woman totally in control with her edgy and insightful set on the BBC Radio 1 Extra Stage. This 22-year-old south Londoner really gets life and totally loves and understands her audience. Her put down of security when they wouldn’t let her bring a few fans on to the stage to dance was done very firmly, tastefully and even moderately politely. I definitely want more Ms Banks in my life.

Beach Riot

Over on the Festival Republic Stage it was time for Dream Wife. This is punk with a social conscience, but not in a po-faced kind of way. This band makes you feel that having a conscience is not only right but that it can be fun too. If Madonna had fronted Bowie’s Tin Machine back in 1989 it might have sounded like this. There was a disappointingly small crowd for Beach Riot on the BBC Introducing Stage. I suspect because people were at the Main Stage while the Wombats were on and maybe they stayed for the Kooks, well they missed out! What the crowd lacked in size they more than made up for with enthusiasm. I saw Nirvana at Reading in 1991/ 92 and I have also seen Blur at their punked up best. Beach Riot from Brighton reminded me of both. I stayed at the BBC Introducing Stage for the mighty Fizzy Blood from Leeds. This band is possibly the loudest and probably the maddest band to grace this stage in 2018. This is some of the most entertaining, guitar shredding rock that you will ever hear.

Fizzy Blood

It was three in a row at the BBC Introducing Stage for me because there was absolutely no way that I was going to miss Doncaster’s the Blinders. They are a politically charged force with front man, guitarist and full on perpetual psychedelic motion machine Tom leading the charge. He has the same level of starey  menace conjured up by Jordan of Avalanche Party. Bass player Charlie looks a little like Nick Cave and moves like Bruce Foxton in the early days of the Jam. Meanwhile Matty on the drums is a monumentally punktastic human metronome. If the Blinders do not become massive then there is something wrong with the world. Anything I saw next was probably not going to match the Blinders, but the day wasn’t over so I headed over to a totally rammed Pit/ Lock Up Stage for Utah’s the Used still going very strong fifteen years since their first album, they are now on their seventh, ‘The Canyon’. This was an emotional, gut wrenching journey through some timeless songs and included a great cover of Nirvana’s “Smells Like Teen Spirit”. That is a cover that only a few acts can pull off and the Used did Cobain proud.

Blinders

Bad Sounds were next on the Festival Republic Stage and obviously the name is amusingly ironic because every noise they make is great. Like a laboratory created hybrid of punk and hip hop with a side order of the Flaming Lips there are not many bands like this out there right now. The nucleus of Bad Sounds are brothers Ewan and Callum Merrett. Their songs are spectacularly hook laden and their core fans knew every word. “Zacharia” had the energy of a gallon of Red Bull. Death From Above (when did they drop the 1979?) have been around since 2001 although they broke up in 2006 before reforming in 2011. They aired six songs from their current album “Outrage! Is Now” and the set showcased their pile driving punk, electronica and modern metal credentials with a nod to Muse and Biffy Clyro. “Nomad” has the power cranked up to 11 and is designed to tear down walls. I am so glad that these Canadians are not only still with us but that they are still producing classy music. I was never a big fan of the Horrors but they have become something quite different over the years, their most recent album ‘V’ is a staggeringly good collection of songs, many of which were aired in their set which closed proceedings on the Festival Republic Stage. However while it was a good performance it didn’t rise to greatness for me. This was my last day at the Leeds Festival for 2018, I must apologise for this, but having seen the amount of rain forecast for the Sunday I decided to quite while I was still quite dry! But I will be back next year!

Public Service announcement: apart from the branded festival poster pics all the pictures were taken by me on my cheap Chinese phone. The videos are all sourced from YouTube. If the video is yours and you would like me to credit you or take it down please get in touch.

 

Leeds Festival 2018 – Friday 24th August 2018


Having been a Reading stalwart and purist for so many years 2018 marks my third visit in a row to Leeds since I swapped my venue allegiance. I still love it, although like many people I found the first line up announcement a little disappointing and underwhelming. However that is just a first reaction opinion and while I do believe that the headline slots for the Main Stage are the weakest for a while, the smaller stages have a wealth of great singers and bands on offer. So for this weekend I planned to spend most of my time away from the Main Stage and that is what I did. I should add that after being in the gilded palace that is the press tent last year I was slumming it this year as a proper paying punter. So after what seemed like a hundred mile trek from the car park, through the campsites (I was so glad I didn’t choose to camp) I made it to wristband exchange and security. Well now the security are armed with sniffer drugs to find illicit narcotics on festival goers. One of those dogs became very interested in me, but I had no drugs stash on me at all. But I did have a pocket full of dog treats from walking my dog Ziggy earlier in the morning before I set out. So it all worked out fine and at least it wasn’t the full body search with lubed-up latex gloves!

Saltwater Sun

Fittingly the first band that I saw on day one of Leeds 2018 was from this fine northern city that names this festival. The band is the magnificent Marsicans on the BBC Radio 1 Stage. They are in possession of some top tunes which they deliver with driving rhythm and soaring harmony laden vocals. My first visit to the BBC Introducing Stage was for a fast rocking honest rock band Saltwater Sun from Reading. They have been around since 2015 when they released their first single “Habit On My Mind”. Jennifer Stearnes has a great voice and it was clear that the band were having great fun and that definitely infected the crowd too.

October Drift

My first visit to the Main Stage this weekend was for Billy Talent. My son used to refer to them as Billy No Talent, well he was, and still is, wrong. These experienced Canadians whose first album came out as far back as 2003, give us North American pop punk at its best. Not only that but their showmanship and tenacity saw them play on through some incredibly diverse weather with what seemed like up to ten seasons in fifteen minutes! If you like scuzzy, noisy garage punk then you would have loved October Drift’s set on the BBC Introducing Stage. The Taunton quartet prove that rock can still be edgy and anti mainstream. I love October Drift! I returned to the BBC Radio 1 Stage for NF a Michigan rapper who began to get noticed three years ago to the point where now his current album ‘Perception’ is an unstoppable force. As a white rapper he may well be fed up with comparisons to Mr Mathers, however he is just as talented with rhymes, cyphers and delivery. The staging was clever, especially the full-sized prison cell. Set opener “Outcast” is one of the best rap cuts of the last few years and “Let You Down” brought the house down effortlessly. A future headliner? That is definitely possible.

NF

My first trip to the Festival Republic Stage was for the rather strangely named Welshly Arms all the way from Cleveland. Ohio. Their first full length album ‘No Place Is Home’ is out now. What are they like? Well if you had DNA from the Detroit Cobras and Reef and then added a spoonful of a Stax Records 60s Soul review with a pinch of Led Zeppelin then you might get close to what this band are. They seem to be an incredibly passionate live act with a penchant for classy gospel and blues driven rock ‘n’ roll. “Sanctuary” is an anthemic festival classic in the making. Bedford boys the Scruff on the BBC Introducing Stage are like a wild hybrid of Madness, the Libertines, Blur and Ian Dury. They also have a wealth of emotion which was showcased beautifully in the sublime “Her” a song about mothers and the loss of a mother. My heart was wrenched and this song brought a tear to my eye. The Scruff are without doubt one of the best bands that I have seen gracing the BBC Introducing Stage.

The Scruff

Next it was the Pit Stage for Exeter trio Black Foxxes. What can I say about them? Some Jeff Buckley, some Jonathan Richman, a bit of Emo and so much more.Bloody hell these dudes play their rock extra damned hard even to the point of including a hard rocking trumpet on their final song. The Vaccines were on the Main Stage next. I believe that the Vaccines were invented for festivals like Reading/ Leeds. They keep their core fans more than satisfied and always seem to win over legions more at each festival appearance. Their set was full of Vaccines classics and every tune is a sing along for this crowd. “Wreckin’ Bar (Ra Ra Ra)”, “Teenage Icon” and “Post Break-Up Sex” were highlights in what was an outstanding set. Let us play the ‘what if’ game now. What if Bobby Gillespie had fronted Free and not Paul Rodgers? Yes you will need to ignore the usual time and space rules to imagine this. Well if you can imagine that then you might have moved some way towards what the Glorious Sons from Kingston, Ontario are like. They smashed it on the Festival Republic Stage. These guys are definitely glorious and I suspect that they are all sons too. But above all that the Glorious Sons know how to party like it’s 2099.

The Vaccines

I stayed in the Festival Republic tent for Lewis Capaldi the Scottish blue-eyed soul sensation who crashed into the music scene big time with “Bruises” last year. He has the voice of a much more wizened personality, yet he is only 20 years old. As well as being a staggeringly good singer and performer his sense of self-deprecation is perfect. His comment to the audience early in the set; “if you don’t like short chubby guys singing sad songs then you’re gonna hate this” only seemed to draw more people toward him. Mr Capaldi is one of those rare raw talents and I look forward to hearing much more from him. The last act for me on day 1 of Leeds 2018 was Slaves on the BBC Radio 1 Stage. They make a righteous noise as Isaac and Laurie continue to challenge the ills of society and the apathy that exists in their generation. “Cheer Up London”, “The Lives They Wish They Had” and “Feed The Mantaray” were stand outs for me and I should also give special mention to their towering cover of Skepta’s “Shutdown”. Overall a great day, which only included two visits to the Main Stage. Bring on day 2.

Public Service announcement: apart from the branded festival poster pics all the pictures were taken by me on my cheap Chinese phone. The videos are all sourced from YouTube. If the video is yours and you would like me to credit you or take it down please get in touch.

 

 

Leeds Festival 2016 Day 1 – Friday 26th August August 29, 2016


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Well here we go, after many years of attending the Reading Festival (my first was in 1975) I have finally taken the plunge and opted for Leeds. The plunge is an apt phrase given the amount of rain that fell on the Bramham Park site in the preceding days. I went along with my mate John Hayhurst, a.k.a. Rock Photographer extraordinaire. But I was also pleased to see that my fellow long-standing Zimmer Twin and great mate Nick Horslen also made it to Reading on a day ticket. First impressions for me the Leeds site is that it is more compact, but there is no real noise bleed from other stages wherever you are. Also it has some natural slopes, so getting a great view of the main stage is easy even for a short-arse like me. The only downer so far has to be the volume of mud, but I’m commuting rather than camping so it’s not all bad!

My first visit of the day was to the Lock Up Stage for Fighting Caravans. This is a Leeds band who I saw on local news programme Look North the night before. So armed with that plus the fact that I love their name I really had to see them. They rock like an Indie Led Zep as if Alan Vega off of Suicide was in the band. They have amazing energy, especially the singer who dances like a Cheetah on Speed. A truly bloody brilliant band.

fighting caravans

I chose Night Owls on the BBC Introducing Stage next, another Leeds band. They are a powerful two piece guitar and drums combo. They have similar genealogy to And The Hangnails, Slaves and Royal Blood. However comparisons with the White Stripes are worthless as the Night Owls drummer is far, far superior to Meg White. This is a damned good band and their song “Why Me?” has the makings of a classic.

night owls

The view of the Main Stage from a distance is superb, however for the Virginmarys I was quite close. This band are purveyors of fine punked up, high-powered, mightily potent saws with a large helping of raw soul. A Main Stage appearance for them was clearly a big deal for them and they certainly made the most of it. A fantastic band, I’m amazed that I haven’t picked up on them before now, but I’m glad that I finally did!

virginmarys

My muddy boot, but is that the shadow of a naked man?

My muddy boot, but is that the shadow of a naked man?

All the way from New York the next act on the Main Stage were Coheed and Cambria. Do you like metal? Prog? Punk? Pop? Great riffs? Great hooks? Great hair? Concept albums? You do? Well in that case you will love Coheed and Cambria as many folk already do. I certainly need to listen to more of their stuff.

coheed

I sadly only caught the last song from Spring King on the NME/ Radio 1 Stage. But wow what an absolute belter of a full on psychedelic wig out! Definitely worth checking out. I had wandered across to this stage to catch Deaf Havana. Having seen them twice before at Reading I had to give them a shot didn’t I? Are they still a good band? Well yes they are and a late afternoon Main Stage slot for them next time would be fabulous. Will they make you deaf? Only if you stand to close to the speakers. Will they take you to Havana? I doubt it, but if you ask them nicely you never know.

shadowplay

Now it was time to grace the Festival Republic tent with my presence for Brighton’s Magic Gang. I caught them late last year in a support slot for Swim Deep in Liverpool. They had a lot of potential then and they proved it today with a stunning set. Their Bluresque (that is not a misspelling of burlesque, I mean a little like Blur) feel had the audience leaping, dancing, singing and truly enjoying a great band. The big question though is, are this gang really magic? Well the audience were spellbound so I guess that means that they are, right?

magic gang

I stayed at the Festival Republic Stage for Ezra Furman. I don’t really have the words but I will try. He is like Jonathan Richman in a skirt backed by what could be a fledgling E Street Band who are also able to throw in a few Zappaesque moments. This is a proper ballsy and very intelligent rock band fronted by a supremely talented individual. Gotta love the Ezra! When can we all move to planet Ezra?

ezra furman

Wonderful proper boss scousers Clean Cut Kid stepped onto the Festival Republic Stage next. Clean Cut Kid are a fabulously exciting young band who once again left me with a feel good smile on my face. Just as they did at the Latitude Festival last month. This is excellent perky pop with feeling. I’ll say it again, this band are proper boss. I also suffer from beard envy of the singers magnificent face fungus, mine is pathetic in comparison.

clean cut kid

I returned to the BBC Introducing Stage next for Lawrence Taylor. Lawrence’s band is very talented. He is a gifted singer songwriter with an amazing blue-eyed soul voice. That voice could certainly give Robert Palmer, Daryl Hall and Paul Carrack a run for their money. Mr Taylor is also an exquisitely skilled guitarist.

lawrence taylor

A wee trudge back to the Main Stage next for one of America’s finest; Fall Out Boy. Oh my how this band has grown and developed since I first saw them more than ten years ago. If you are appearing just before Biffy Clyro on the bill (and sorry I don’t buy all that co-headlining shite) then you’d better roll out something special and oh boy did Fall Out Boy do that!Amazing video backdrops and to cap it all flame juggling, Mad Max style dominatrix acrobats. To be fair the band were playing to a partisan crowd but they did have the punters eating out of their hands very quickly.

FOB 1

It was now time for todays main event (well in my opinion anyway) Biffy Clyro on the Main Stage. The one thing that has always been so obviously different between Reading and Leeds for me is that the closing day line up at Reading is always the opening day at Leeds. This was really clear with a monumental set from arguably one of the best bands on the planet right now. Biffy proved that their last headline slot in 2013 was no fluke. This is their tenth appearance at Leeds/ Reading, they really have earned top billing. Their set was incredible; a set of massive square frames that grew smaller the further they were from the front of the stage. A bit like a 21st Century recreation of sixties classic TV series ‘The Time Tunnel‘ (if you’re too young to remember that then I suggest you ask your grand parents). The energy of the band is incredible and while their recorded output is largely stunning, hearing those songs live only enhances them. Not only did Biffy crank the volume up to 11, they did the same with the bombast. The particular high lights for me were “Captain”, “Many Of Horror” and “Black Chandelier“. I’m already looking forward to seeing this band own the stage once again, perhaps in 2019? ‘Mon the Biff!

biffy

 

 

Hello Operator, Avalanche Party, Broken Skulls, Wildlife – Fibbers, York – Saturday 23rd May 2015 May 24, 2015


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I am back at Fibbers again just a few days after Julian couldn’t Cope. But there are no diva shenanigans tonight, Mike and Simon have created an excellent line up for what will sadly be Mike J’s final promotion. Kicking events off were the York and Leeds based Wildlife. I believe that this band would have easily fitted into New York’s late 70s post punk scene alongside a fledgling Talking Heads. But they are not revivalists of that era they are very 21st century too. They have great songs, great stage presence and a good rapport with the audience. They handled a little power outage problem with aplomb. Apparently all the songs are about the singers cock, well apart from “Like A Racehorse” anyway! Whether you like songs about cocks or not you should check them out.

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The second band to tread the boards tonight were the two piece Broken Skulls. Imagine if the Strokes had more power, more balls and only two members. Can you do that? If you can then you would probably be imagining Broken Skulls. I would imagine that the two piece format leads many to compare them with the excellent Royal Blood. However they are more than a facsimile of another band. They are incredibly powerful performers, gifted instrumentalists and they write some terrific songs. They dedicated an old song to Mike this evening which was also the name of a former band of theirs; “Toy Radar”. I would definitely go and see these boys again and so should you if you haven’t already.

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Second on the bill this evening is a band that hardly need any introduction to regular readers of this blog, the magnificent Avalanche Party. Up to now they have had excellent reviews from me. Is that about to change? Fuck no! These lads rocked their socks off on Saturday. They played a barnstorming set and the audience would have eaten out of the bands hands had they been asked. Well the majority would have at least. New song “Money” was stunning live and Joe and Jordan’s crowd invasions, or should that be incursions, raised the excitement levels for the punters. I would like to thank Jordan for dedicating the mountainous (sorry for the cliché) “Mountains” to me. ‘This one is for Big Billy at the front’; I love it! The band will be launching their new EP in their home town, Middlesbrough soon. Sadly I can’t make it, so please put a copy aside for me chaps! But if you can make it then you bloody well should. This band mean big and should be big. They get better every time I see them.

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I didn’t envy the brilliant Hello Operator having to follow such a great set from one of my favourite bands of the moment, but they did follow and they followed bloody well. Hello Operator are a different kind of band to Avalanche Party but they are equally as powerful. They appear schooled in a different vein of classic rock and they know how to win over and captivate an audience. I saw them earlier this year at the smaller City Screen venue and they metaphorically blew the roof off. Frankly they did the same at Fibbers. They are and incredibly tight, talented and well rehearsed band. The guitarist has the flourish of Bernard Butler at his peak and as far as vocals go they have a singer who has one of the finest rock voices around. If you have never seen them then get off your arse and do so!

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I would like to thank Mike and Simon for a great night and also Joe Bell off of Avalanche Party for the vino. This was a truly superb night for everyone who came along. Four great bands in one night it can’t get better than that can it?

The public service announcement for today is that all the pictures were taken with my Nokia and the videos are courtesy of YouTube

 

BBC Music Awards 2014 – December 11th 2014 December 11, 2014


Awards-Logo640December 11th 2014 saw the first ever BBC Music Awards. The show was broadcast live from Earls Court in London. Whilst there were only four awards there were plenty of live acts including; Coldplay (Stunning), Labrinth with Ella Henderson (Class), Clean Bandit (is there anyone that doesn’t love them?), Gregory Porter (why does he wear that balaclava?), George Ezra (a proper Buddha Pest), Wand Erection (whisper this, but I thought that they were alright!), Ed Sheeran (how can one man with a guitar be that bloody good?), Calvin Harris (super Scot) with John Newman (voice of the year and pearly king) and Ellie Goulding (sublime disco), Catfish and the Bottlemen (best newcomers and 70s fashion aficionados), Paloma Faith (quirky and wonderful), Take That (now known as Taxdodge That), Will.i.am (a bit Bollywood Disco, not a bad song, still.a.twat) with Cody Wise (better.than.will.i.am)

bbc musicThe first award was for Best International Artist. Chris Evans who co-hosted the show with Fearne Cotton picked a young Welsh lass from the audience to announce the winner, which was Pharrell Williams. He was presented with his award live in LA by Gwen Stefani.

pharrell-williams-grammy-hat-has-a-hip-hop-historyIdris Elba presented the award for Song Of The Year and guess what? There was another trip to LA for Gwen Stefani to present yet another award to Pharrell Williams. This time for the stupendous “Happy”.

CF1-e1386329747254The BBC Introducing Award for Best Newcomer went to Catfish And The Bottlemen. A good choice methinks. I am really keen to see them play live now. The award was presented by Fearne Cotton after they played live.

Ed SheeranFuck me, Bowie was nominated for Best British artist but sadly he didn’t win it. Tom Jones presented the award to Ed Sheeran. I was surprised that Pharrell hadn’t been quickly given British citizenship. But then Sheeran’s “Sing” was a collaboration with Pharrell though.

Was this a better show than the Brits? Probably, but they need more awards. Also I thought Paloma Faith and Tom Jones finale had so much promise until they strangled “God Only Knows”. Was that as bad a cover of the song as David Bowie’s version in the 80s? Probably!

 

Reading Festival 2012 – Day 3 – Sunday 26th August August 27, 2012


So how did the last day of the festival arrive so quickly? Perhaps because two old rockers (that’s me and Mr Horslen) have had a fantastic jolly boys outing! Day 3 kicked off with the highly recommended (by Simon Pattinson) Deap Vally. They were fucking good; like an all girl White Stripes but with a much better drummer! We caught some of the Band Of Skulls set and they served up some pretty good blues rock. The Eagles Of Death Metal who on the previous occasions I had seen them were a superb party band. They were good this time but not as good as usual. I wonder whether the fact that the audience is now a bit further from the stage given the new safety barrier arrangement.

The Gaslight Anthem were next on the Main Stage. These guys definitely get better every time I see them, it must be something about the water in New Jersey because there is definitely at least an injection of Springsteen in their songs. Another comedy break came next and Stephen K Amos was bloody hilarious. His handling of hecklers was the best I have seen in a long while. Alberta Cross don’t sound like they’re from Alberta nor do they sound cross. But they do sound good.

The loudest band ever on the BBC Introducing stage has to be Marmozet. Are they Slipknot without the masks? I think I like them. Next it’s the Lock Up stage for Good Riddance, basically a bit derivative of many US punk bands and therefore not particularly original. Was that Johnny Cash playing guitar in the Mark Lanegan Band? Is Mark receiving messages from beyond the grave from Jim Morrison? We need to know! The Kaiser Chiefs were far better than I expected but I doubt that I’ll ever be a big fan of theirs. Every day I love you less and less; indeed. Everything is average nowadays; double indeed! The Black Keys rocked like motherfuckers; ’nuff said!

So just how good was the send off from Reading 2012? It was the Fucking Foo Fighters, that’s how good it was. Undoubtedly one of the best headline sets I have ever seen at Reading and I have been going since the late 70s. Sadly I haven’t been every year in that time, but I have only missed around two of the last twenty and Nick and me have headed to Reading together for around ten years now. The Foos played for two and a half hours and if the field had a roof on they surely would have blown it off. Dave Grohl is a talented genius and a true superstar. None of the rumoured special guest turned up but they weren’t needed. In the few hours before the Foos Nick and I both thought about toning it down or not going as often. But after the Foo Fighters we were completely fired up for Reading 2013. Bring it on!

 

Reading Festival 2012 – Day 1 – Friday 24th August


After what seemed ages the Reading Festival is here again and as usual I made the annual pilgrimage with my good friend Nick Horslen. The first band that we saw on day 1 was the Cancer Bats. I would describe them as hardcore heavy screamers from Canada and they were bloody good too! Dead to Me were on the Lock Up stage and they were rather good and certainly not dead to anyone! I wasn’t sire about the jaunty angled baseball cap though. Coheed & Cambria were on the main stage I found them a bit Biffy Clyro-like but not as good! I suppose you might describe them as 21st century prog rock.

Friends sounded good but sadly we missed most of their set. Spector came next with the first mobot of the day, spookily just after I said to Nick I wonder when we’ll see one from the stage. I like these guys a lot, they have some really anthemic songs especially “Never Fade Away”. Are the Hives the ultimate festival party band? Definitely! They have it all; top hats and tails, attitude, great songs and even a ninja stage crew! We saw the Blackout next, hmmmm seems to be a Shikari influence in there. But I would send the red-haired bloke back to Wales he adds nothing to them in my opinion!

I love Scroobius Pip but I thought that the sound mix for him was terrible. Wow the BBC Introducing stage has a mosh circle and the Attention Thieves worked it well. Very hard and very heavy. Next we were at the NME tent for Passion Pit from Boston. They do what it says on the tin; but with loads more passion than you can fit in a tin and far from the pits! A truly great band. But even after that things went up a notch or two with the great Graham Coxon, what a truly awesome guitarist he is. A little less stage presence than Damon but tons more than Liam Gallagher. A brilliant set and he even has a drummer that looked like a bewigged Mel Smith. We passed by Paramore on the Main stage to see the rather spiffing Bastille who closed with a great 90s dance cover.

The BBC introduced us to the Proxies; I think they’ll be back. The Courteeners were a bit identikit indie pop. I’m sure that if you’re a big fan of them you were in ecstasy watching them. For me they were pretty good but not the most exciting band I have ever seen. Then it was off to the Main Stage to round the day off with Bob Smith’s combo, the Cure. They last appeared at the festival in 1979 and I had never seen them before so the prospects were good. Whilst they are clearly a very tight band, featuring Reeves Gabrels on guitar I think, I don’t think I’d see them again. I am glad I had the opportunity this time though. I felt that the first hour was somewhat soporific but the second part really livened up. So that was the end of the first day and the rain held off too.

 

 
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