A week ago I published a post called “Avalanche Party vs. Leeds Festival”. This was in relation to Rage Against The Machine cancelling their European tour including Leeds and Reading Festivals. For me, this left the Friday night lineup a bit weak. In fact, the headliners that were playing in York for Friday (tonight) are far stronger. Avalanche Party at the Crescent, Ginger Wildheart at the Fulford Arms, and even a great Motorhead tribute act, Motorheadache at the York Vaults. I had planned to leave the Leeds Festival early today to go and see Avalanche Party but unfortunately, the band has had to pull out of the gig due to unforeseen circumstances, I hope the AP boys are all ok. So now it is down to the 1975 at Leeds or Ginger Wildheart in York. No contest at all, see you later Ginger!
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Well this is it my first festival in two years is nearly over. I hope that after the last 18 months or so where Covid has done so much damage that events like this are harbingers of good things to come. So loudly after me repeat FUCK COVID! First band of the final day for me was The Hara on Main Stage West. I found them a little punk formulaic at times, however they undeniably put on a good show, including some Les Dawson style gurning from the singer at times. Imagine Royal Blood with the addition of a stand alone vocalist and with the volume cranked up to a little beyond magnificently loud! Next I caught just a brief part of Weybridge rockers You Me At Six’s set on the Main Stage West. I saw storming run through’s of 2011’s “Bite My Tongue” and “What’s It Like” from their seventh album ‘Suckapunch’. Next a short hop to the Pit Stage for Dead Poet Society, who are a very tight band who seemed perfectly rehearsed. They gave us soulful, raw, passionate, grungy, metal rock music. They were one of the minority of non British bands playing at the festival, I think they are from California.
Next it was back to one of my favourite festival places, the BBC Introducing Stage for Police Car Collective. This band, for me, are completely original and trying to find influences was difficult if not impossible. The singer is obscenely talented as a vocalist and is a true crowd pleaser and showman in the Freddie Mercury mould. His guitar solo on the last song was truly epic in a Mick Ronson kind of way. Just after their set I posted the following statement “OK I know it’s a cliché, but I have seen the future of rock ‘n’ roll. It is called Police Car Collective at Leeds Festival earlier today”. On reflection I stand by that! Did you see them? Perhaps the best band name of the weekend was I Don’t Know How But They Found Me, who I saw on the Main Stage West. They play really funky pop rock and use some great voice sound samples throughout their classy tunes. I sense a little Arctic Monkeys and Vampire Weekend influence here. “Nobody Likes The Opening Band” is a great song in my opinion, possibly built for a festival like this too. This is another US band, from Utah. Finally, the drummer is definitely a Martin Freeman lookalike. Another contender for best band name were next, on Main Stage East, Beabadoobe, who were flying the flag for great female fronted bands. Whilst I loved their more upbeat tunes I thought “Coffee” was a beautiful, whimsical chill out moment. I love this band.
Back to Main Stage West for some Becky Hill and she drew a huge crowd. This pop songstress is clearly gifted with a wonderful voice and she works the crowd really well. A very good performance but perhaps a little too pop for me, but to each their own, right? Bob Vylan were next on the Pit Stage and what a staggeringly great set. Probably the most political act of the weekend with statements like “Kill the Queen, well she killed Diana right?” This was an awesome performance from a band that has a tight grip on the beating heart of punk. Slowthai performed on Main Stage West and while I am a fan I thought his set was a little flat, had he perhaps over indulged the previous day? His outfit was a little different thought. Great T Shirt, black shorts, black socks and shiny black shoes. For a moment I thought perhaps his Mum had sent him out to break in some of his new school clothes! My first and only trip to the Alternative Stage this weekend was to see my favourite comedian, Katherine Ryan. As usual she covered some wide ranging and perhaps controversial subjects with superb skill and timing. Misogyny, breast feeding, Matt Hancock, Karens and much more. She cracks me up every time.
The Wombats took to the Main Stage West next. To be honest I had never taken much notice of the Wombats, but this was a really good set. They have a great canon of songs. “Pink Lemonade” and “Let’s Dance To Joy Division” were highlights for me. But neither as wonderful as “Lemon To A Knife Fight” for which ardent fans brought their own lemons! I love it! Back to the BBC Introducing Stage for one of York’s finest bands who I have watched grow from small beginnings to signing to EMI and releasing their first album, ‘Discover Effortless Living’ earlier this year. They showcased that record well in this beautiful, but all too brief set. The whole band were on top form, the playing was immaculate and the ethereal and heavenly Byrdsian harmonies were simply gorgeous. Calva Louise have developed into a really ace band and their songs are powered by huge riffs and a rhythm that might have formed in the foothills of Mordor. A real show from a great band who were joined on stage by Blakeeleven for “Ephemeral”. The final band of the day and the weekend for me was Waterparks on the Pit Stage. They hail from Houston in Texas and released their fourth studio album earlier this year. They definitely come across as a band who enjoy themselves on stage. There is a pop punk element to their songs but also a wider ranging rock sound. I was bouncing throughout their whole set, despite have been here three days and my advanced years. As well as some great tunes they have some great song titles too. Notably “You’d Be Paranoid Too (If Everyone Was Out To Get You)” and “I Miss Having Sex But at Least I Don’t Wanna Die Anymore”. Check them out, I think you’ll love them. So after the mess that Covid made of the world we are finally crawling back to some kind of normal at last. It was great to be back at a festival and to close I would like to say a big thank you to all the unsung heroes of festivals; road crew, sound and light folks, security, marshals, first aiders, food and drink vendors, cleaners and anyone else I missed. THANK YOU!
All the pictures were taken using my cheap Chinese phone camera. The videos were found on YouTube. If it is yours and you would like me to take it down or give you a credit please let me know. Yes I do know the clip is from Reading, but there is not much film footage of Leeds online 🙂
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I had looked forward to another Northern Radar gig for some time. Simon Pattinson has never let me down with his gigs or recommendations and I have known him a few years now. But rather than keep you in suspense let me just say that once again Simon came up trumps. He has a great knack for finding and promoting great bands. When he makes it big, just remember where you read it first!
So first up tonight were the fabulously named Eugene Gorgeous. This is the first opportunity that I have had to see this spectacular band. Imagine, if you will, the Velvet Underground meeting the Jesus and Mary Chain at a dive bar in Twin Peaks. Well if you can picture that in your mind that is Eugene Gorgeous. Whilst the singer appeared to be fuelled by milk. The guitarist was something special too with and incredible talent for feedback and sustain he can make that guitar squeal!
Are you looking for a Nirvana for the 21st Century? Yes? How about a band with some dub licks straight out of the Clash and a pinch of the Strokes? Is that your bag baby? Well in that case Mice On Mars are right up your street. On top of all their other talents they have a drummer that plays like a reincarnated Keith Moon.
Next up were Maven Fiction, a band that I have seen in many guises before. If you like any of the following genres then you really ought to love this band; pop, funk, electronica and punk. If you also like great songs and great melodies then you really need to check them out. In my opinion it is an absolute tragedy that Maven Fiction are not bigger than the likes of Coldplay. Can we at least get them on the Apollo Festival stage next year in York Stuart Kelly?
Finally it was the turn of the magnificent Mallrats who were headlining a gig to promote their rather excellent new EP. You can’t really ignore a band whose sixth and seventh gigs (I’m reliably informed) were at the Reading and Leeds Festivals? Frankly you can’t can you? This is a phenomenally talented young band who I hope will achieve great success. This is the third time that I have seen them and they have got better every time. I also had the opportunity to meet the drummers Dad and what a thoroughly nice bloke he is! This was another great gig from Northern Radar and it was, as usual 100% perfect. Apart from the ringing in my ears. But actually that is my fault as I stood far to close to the speaker stack for Maven Fiction’s set!
Usually you get three review posts from me for each day of the festival. But this year I am taking the lazy route. I will just be doing a single review of the whole shebang. Also it will be somewhat different from usual, this is born out of necessity as I just immersed myself in the music and the vibe and didn’t really bother to take notes. What follows is a departure from the norm for me and a bit of fun too. There is a list of the acts I saw and next to each there will be marks out of ten and one word to reflect my memory of that set. Some of these words may be obvious and others will be cryptic, if you want to know more about them please feel free to ask in the comments.
Day 1 – Friday 22nd August Crossfaith 7/10 pretty Red Fang 7/10 dervish
Rufus 8/10 nuts
Shambles In A Husk 6/10 shouty Phil Nichol (comedian) 9/10 Eskimo
Deaf Havana 6/10 hair
Fat White Family 7/10 hype Jimmy Eat World 8/10 veterans Enter Shikari 9/10 banging
Vampire Weekend 9/10 headliners?
Jamie T 9/10 surprise
Bipolar Sunshine 7/10 happy
Metronomy 9/10 synchronised Queens Of The Stone Age 9/10 party
To sign off I have a message for the festival organisers. It’s great that you switched the screens on the Main Stage to portrait view from their original landscape setting. However you need to fix the tech so that we can actually see interesting stuff on them. There were far too many shots of a singers ear, a guitarists arse or just a drum kit with no drummer in the picture. Also please move the fun fair back out of the main arena, it really doesn’t need to be there. All that aside this was one of the most enjoyable Reading Festivals that myself and my good friend Nick Horslen have been to. We have been attending them together for around 13 years and I went to my first in 1975. I’d love to hear what you folks thought of Reading and Leeds this year. Who do you think will headline next year? How about Iron Maiden or AC/ DC? I reckon Muse will headline. I’d like to see PIL on the bill too.
Here we are again, time for my annual pilgrimage to the Reading Festival with my good friend Nick Horslen. Collectively we are the Zimmer Twins a.k.a Bald Guy and Silver Dude. So what is on the agenda for us this year? well there are plenty of bands that we have seen many times before, particularly on the Main Stage. Friday on that stage looks very appealing, particularly Deaf Havana, Jimmy Eat World, Enter Shikari and Vampire Weekend all of whom we have seen before but entertaining none the less. There is a joint headline thing going on that day with Paramore and Queens Of The Stone Age. I’m not too sure about the joint headline thing but both are very good bands who I have seen quite a few times. Friday on the NME/ Radio 1 Stage has a couple of acts that I’d like to see. Notably Warpaint, Metronomy and Gerard Way.I really don’t want to miss Aluna George on the Radio 1 Dance Stage either. I can see some big clashes cropping up for us that afternoon! As for the Lock Up Stage I really want to see Brody Dalle. I am never going to be able to see everyone I want to on that day. Some tough choices need to be faced clearly. I haven’t even considered any of the other stages yet either! As usual I would appreciate any recommendations from you folks reading this, especially if it makes our hard choices a bit easier.
Saturday’s Main Stage line up also looks good and once again it features many acts that I have seen before; including Pulled Apart By Horses, The Hives, Foster The People, Imagine Dragons, Jake Bugg and the Arctic Monkeys. But I have to see DZ Deathrays on the Radio 1 Stage first thing on Saturday. I saw them at the Woolpack in York a couple of weeks back and they were awesome. Also on that stage on my to see list are Royal Blood, Cage The Elephant, Die Antwoord, Chvrches and Bombay Bicycle Club. Then maybe Architects on the Pit stage. Band Of Skulls and We Are Scientists on the Festival Republic Stage. I also want to pay a visit to the Alternative Stage for some comedy. Does anyone have the ability to clone me so that I can attend every stage? Please send me the details, what do you need? A DNA sample, blood, sweat, tears, a stool sample? just let me know because as you are all well aware; you’re never alone with a clone!
Sunday’s closing night on the Main stage is good, but at the moment I prefer the other days. Although missing Macklemore & Ryan Lewis and Blink 182 would be disappointing. However Disclosure headline the NME/ Radio 1 Stage that night and I don’t want to miss them either. On that same stage on Sunday I also fancy Clean Bandit, the Horrors and the 1975. Blimey this doesn’t get any easier does it? Then of course there is the Klaxons on the Radio 1 Dance Stage. The Lock Up stage is headlined by the magnificent Gogol Bordello with support from the Frankly (Turner) un-missable Mongol Horde.
OK clearly I will enjoy loads of acts but I will also be disappointed at having to miss so many. I await your recommendations dear reader, along with your plans for cloning me. The Zimmer Twins will see you there!
If you squint you can just about spot the Zimmer Twins in that crowd!
We are now just over two weeks away from the start of the 2012 Reading Festival. Since I moved north to York in 2007 this has become my annual pilgrimage back south where I meet up with my good friend and festival buddy extraordinaire Mr nick Horslen. Undoubtedly soon to qualify as the oldest rockers in a field in Reading (our combined age is definitely over one hundred!) we have attended the world’s number one rock festival for many years. Although I live nearer to the Leeds end of it I won’t be going there until I can only move by Zimmer frame as I have always seen Leeds as the snotty young brother of Reading.
I have mixed feelings about some of the headliners this year. The Foo Fighters are always awesome an I doubt that will change this year. The Cure, who headline the main stage on the Friday night haven’t played the Reading Festival since 1979 so I’d like to think they’ll have something special up their sleeves for this year. It’s Kasabian that really concern me, I find them a little predictable and almost Spinal Tapesque, like someone said today I’m going to invent a rock band. I may be convinced otherwise but for me they come across as Leaden Zeppelin, Slightly Dark Sabbath or Shallow Purple. I am sure that there are plenty of you out there that disagree with that opinion, so feel free to comment.
There are some great acts lower down the bill on the Main Stage that for me are ‘must see’ performers. Those are; Florence and the Machine, Paramore, Eagles Of Death Metal, Cancer Bats and the truly stupendous Enter Shikari. The Kaiser Chiefs are third on the Main Stage bill on the Sunday, which I find a bit surprising. They have been lacklustre at best lately in my opinion, what do you think?
I am disappointed that I will probably miss Justice in the NME/ Radio tent as they are on the same time as the Foo Fighters. But there are a number of other bands and artists that I want to see on the NME/ Radio 1 stage; notably the Horrors, the Joy Formidable, Hadouken, the Hives, At The Drive In (who are on at the same time as Kasabian) and most of all Graham Coxon.
On the other stages I will do my best to watch Less Than Jake, Me First and the Gimme Gimmes, Azealia Banks and Grimes. But of course I can’t ignore the often excellent BBC Introducing stage where Nick and I often pick a band with the wackiest name to see, but we are also open to recommendations too! So I’m currently considering Wet Nuns, Fish Tank, Dingus Khan and Attention Thieves.
Nick and I often meet some really interesting people at the festival and last year was no exception. In fact last year we met a great bunch of people, mostly South African, but with a smattering of Brits. One of the South Africans was a hilarious bloke called Jason Steyn. (Jason if you’re reading this let me know if you’ll be there this year). They shared their booze, we shared our food and supplied me with a Prince Charles mask! if those guys are back again this year and indeed if you want to meet me and Nick we will be just to the left of the front of the lighting/ mixing tower as you face the main stage, although obviously not if we’re at one of the other stages. You can’t miss us, Nick is very tll and grey haired and his festival nickname is Silver Dude. I am somewhat shorter, slightly older and have hardly any hair, my festival nickname is Billy Baldust. (Actually I just made that one up, but there will be a prize for anyone who comes up with a better one!
Anyway that’s enough wittering on from me. I would love to hear your comments on this post or indeed on any of my posts. I would also love to meet you at Reading and would be more than happy to give you a name check on my posts from the festival! Whetehr I see you or not I hope you enjoy yourself!