Well firstly apologies for the delay in the delivery of this post but it was a long journey home and basically I’m bloody knackered, this old body just can’t take festivals like it used to. I’m sure my fellow ‘old boy’ festival buddy Nick H would concur with that, wouldn’t you Nick?
Anyway on to the final day of the Reading Festival for 2009. Who’s up for 2010? We get there reasonably early on Sunday to make the most of what was supposed to be a sunny day but turned out somewhat grey in the weather stakes, but definitely not grey in the music stakes! First up we saw In Case Of Fire on the NME Radio 1 Stage, these guys all wore the same red shirts, I’m not sure a band uniform works for me (apologies to Devo and Kraftwerk and others). Anyway aside from that these boys certainly knew how to play some excellent punk power pop. Next up it was Noah and the Whale on the Main Stage. I had a few of their songs before but live I felt they were much better. For me they were kind of folky pop with shades of Aztec Camera, perhaps Prefab Sprout and even Lou Reed at times. Their singer even used an electric toothbrush on his guitar at one point, now that is warped. But perhaps slightly more disturbing was that on many occasions the drummer seemed to be miming to a completely different song to the one that the band were playing!
After this we decided to pay another visit to the Festival Republic stage following our success with 65 Days Of Static yesterday. However this was not another one of those finds, we saw the XX and we really weren’t excited by them at all, kind of trippy Indie which seemed incredibly dull, but they seemed to have a lot of fans so to each their own. We saw one song from the Teeth on the BBC Introducing stage. They seemed very good, but we only saw one song, they came across as a geeky, space age version of Sha Na Na. If Sha Na Na were the Flintstones the Teeth would probably be the Jetsons.
Back to the Main Stage now for an appointment with Aussie band the Living End. A bit like Green Day but with a Double Bass. They’re back in the UK for a tour later this year, I reckon they’ll be worth checking out. After this we had perhaps our quirkiest moment of the festival, we tripped across to the Alternative Stage and chanced upon Adam Buxton who in simple terms showed a few film clips and gave out some free snacks. However the quality of the films was truly wonderful, especially the literal video for Aha’s “Take On Me” give it a search on Youtube, I will add it to a post soon as well.
Then it was back to the NME Radio 1 Stage to see the Passion Pit. This is a US band with a sound that could rip a hole in the fabric of space time and a singer who comes across as Leo Sayer begatting Mika whilst on hard drugs. (Ha! I bet you thought begatting only happened in the bible didn’t you?). Next we were back to the Main Stage for the rest of the day. Starting with the brilliant Vampire Weekend, these guys know how to party, the African tinged guitars help I’m sure. I love their first album and this time they even played a few new songs. I also love M79 and whilst I know it’s about a bus in New York, does anyone else think the instrumental hook sounds remotely like “The Wheels On The Bus”? I’d love to know. The Yeah Yeah Yeahs were next and just as I had made up my mind for the best costumes seen at the festival this year along comes Karen O wearing something that must have come together after an explosion at a plastic recycling plant! A great set though, but don’t you think her shouty between song voice grates a little? Incidentally until that point my vote for best costume went to the Where’s Wally team, I think there were six of them dressed as the elusive Wally (to my friends from across the big pond, you’ll know Wally as Waldo). The most disturbing costume that I saw was the guy in the Nuns Habit with a pig mask. scary! If you were one of the Wally’s or the Nun Pig I’d love to hear from you!
Bloc Party were the penultimate act on the Main Stage. I have managed to miss them all the other occasions they have appeared here, but I’m glad that I caught them this time, they played a storming set and their laser show was pretty good too.
But this year I think Reading saved the best until last with probably the best headliner I have ever seen at Reading; the mighty Radiohead (can we call them the ‘Head?). I thought that being Reading they might play “Creep” but to open with it, I don’t think anyone expected that! Their light show was truly amazing and for me they proved once again why they are easily the most influential band of their generation. How will the organisers follow that in 2010? Watch this space to find out and in the meantime let me know who you’d like to see at the event next year. Whether you liked the same acts that I did or you liked the ones that I didn’t I really hope you had a great festival and a safe journey home