With under 12 hours to go until Reading and Leeds festival kicks off I thought I’d go through the line-up and identify my ‘must sees’.
I love festivals; the freedom of being able to do (almost) whatever you want for a weekend (or little under a week depending on how you choose your festival experience) surrounded by people too drunk to care and *still* calling out for “Alan” and/or “Steve”. I’m nowhere near a “festival veteran”- or at least not yet- but Reading holds a special place in my heart. I’ve been to Reading once before and it was my first “proper” festival, if you will. I’ve been to many a concert and the day festival “Slam Dunk” (Slam Dunk is a so called rock festival) but never something like Reading. It’s hard to imagine the impact of such event on a 15 year old (who went with her Dad and wrote about said trip in her English GCSE exam) but, in a mix of excitement, surprise and a slight scarring for life, it left me hooked onto the festival scene.
Since such event, I’ve been to Glastonbury (again, with my Dad- who, I will add, wanted to go to Glastonbury following the glorious sunshine of Reading Festival all weekend) and I plan on going to more (hopefully Isle of Wight, T in the Park, Latitude etc. at some point). I think the best part about these weekends is that you can see whatever you want and you don’t really have to be anywhere as you’re not losing out- unless you don’t go and see Catfish and the Bottlemen (then you’re most definitely missing out)! Also, festivals, as well as support bands at concerts which I believe are brilliant platforms for up and coming bands, are a great place to scout new music. You can find new music on the BBC introducing stage (at somewhere like Reading, Glasto or T) or perhaps playing other stages when you’ve nothing to see- maybe even the main stage. Festivals allow you to “check out” bands without the committal to sitting through an hour’s set and being bored as anything. Nonetheless I’ll stop spewing my thoughts and somewhat biased opinions at you and allow you to revel in the line-up of Reading and Leeds Festival 2015.
The Reading and Leeds line up is always (ALWAYS) a talking point and a clear generator of controversy. This year the announcement of such bands as Mumford and Sons was met by an unwelcome crowd and uproar from those who believe Reading and Leeds has and should always be a “rock” festival. Although this was also met by an almighty eye roll by the many “indie” and “pop “ lovers who saw Metallica steal the coveted Saturday (at Reading) headline spot once again. There’s always something on for everyone at Reading, which is what sets it apart from other festivals I believe. For example, if Metallica isn’t your thing then The Wombats might tickle your fancy- or not.
FRIDAY (Reading, Saturday Leeds)
I recommend you see;
Mumford and Sons (Headlining Main Stage from 21:30-23:30)- I think this will be unmissable in every sense of the word. Their amazing stage craft and presence is a cause for excitement as it will be interesting as to whether or not they are able to deliver old hits, such as “I Will Wait”, “Little Lion Man” and “The Cave”, as well as their new, somewhat more modernised, material from their latest album “Wilder Minds” in pure ambience. I am very excited to see how they captivate an audience worthy of a headline act and I believe they will be accepted with open arms by many new and old fans.
Peace (NME/BBC Radio 1 from 18:55-19:35)- Peace have been playing Reading since 2013. They never fail to disappoint and I don’t doubt that their early evening Reading set will be anything less than insane. The Midlands quartet are entertaining live- to say the least- and will undoubtedly bring their infectious tunes to an excited crowd. I am excited to see songs from their debut album “In Love” intertwined with songs off their new album “Happy People”- one of this year’s most exciting and captivating albums so far, in my opinion. I would definitely recommend seeing Peace and have some fun, for it is one of their favourite festivals to play, and after their Glastonbury triumph this year, I wouldn’t give it a miss!
Sunset Sons (Festival Republic from 14:10-14:40)- I’ve been rooting for the success of Sunset Sons ever since I discovered them, by pure fluke, on the BBC Introducing stage last year. Their upbeat sun kissed, somewhat Californian, style tunes, in the same vein of current Mumford and Sons, scream visions of sun and happiness which are exceptionally easy to listen to. Sunset Sons are supporting Imagine Dragons on their upcoming UK tour and they’re destined for success as a result. It’s definitely time for Sunset Sons to shine and I recommend you see them before they become huge.
Saturday (Sunday at Leeds)
I recommend you see;
Royal Blood (Main Stage from 18:10-19:00)- Royal Blood’s triumphant number one self-titled album, as well as a current state-side tour with the Foo Fighters no less, launched the band into stratospheric stardom last year. If you missed Royal Blood at Reading (or Leeds) in 2014 then you will definitely not want to miss this hit laden set. Royal Blood’s minimalistic set up and powerful rock riffs are destined to win over a crowd of fans. Royal Blood are perhaps future headliners and I’d definitely see them.
Catfish and the Bottlemen (NME/BBC Radio 1 from 19:55-20:45)- Catfish and the Bottlemen are currently my favourite band. I think Van McCann is one of the most exciting front men in music currently. I believe that Catfish are leading the new wave of up and coming bands and that their music is excitingly refreshing for the indie rock genre. Their style is classic, timeless and simple. It is guitar laced rock and roll and simply there’s just something admirable about it. It proves that a band with ambition, good tunes and exceedingly well mannered and appreciative members can become huge with a loyal fan base. If you’re to see one band this weekend (and remember it) it should be Catfish.
The Wombats (Festival Republic Stage from 22:30-23:30) – The Wombat’s give an extremely credible alternative for watching the Main Stage Headliners, Metallica. The Wombat’s expansive catalogue of angst, teenage hits calls for a fun set featuring songs old and new. Their set on the Festival Republic Stage is deserving of the coveted “headline” title and I am sure their set will be energetic and fun. Their new album, “Glitterbug”, is full of extremely catchy tunes which I am excited to hear in front of a festival audience. I hope that they play “Pink Lemonade” as this always seems to have a great reception when you hear about the album.
Sunday (Friday at Leeds)
The Libertines (Headlining the Main Stage from 21:55-23:30)- The Libertines make a triumphant Reading return as a headliner following a 5 year break since their last Reading slot. The Libertines will not disappoint as their enormous stage presence and drunkenly sung anthems really reflect the angst and spirit of many teenagers today. The set paves the way towards their new album release in September, “Anthems for Doomed Youth”, and will undoubtedly feature an array of new and old material. There’s nothing more thrilling than hearing a whole crowd belt hits such as “Don’t Look Back into the Sun” and “Can’t Stand Me Now” with Doherty and Barat. The London lot will bring Reading Festival to a close in true Reading style and that is what I look forward to the most.
Jamie T (Main Stage from 18:25 – 19:25) – Following his 2014 secret set, Jamie T returns with another album under his belt and yet more powerful anthems. Jamie T’s Glastonbury set dazzled a large crowd and following that at Reading is only natural. Although his music is not for everyone, I think his music showcases a multitude of British talents and I look forward to seeing him at Reading having missed him at Glastonbury this year. If there’s a man who can conquer Reading and Leeds it’s Jamie T.
The Maccabees (Main Stage from 17:10 – 18:00)- The Maccabees recently released their album “Marks to Prove it” which I found interesting and would go as far as saying it was perhaps one of the more prominent albums released this year for many reasons. The Maccabees have a Smiths-esque vibe which makes for easy listening among a wide range of audience. The Maccabees are current and exciting in the music world. Whilst their new music takes the indie loving world by storm their set promises the usual hits such as “Pelican”, although I would still love to hear “Toothpaste Kisses” on the set list!
Years and Years (NME/BBC Radio 1 from 19:25-20:05) – Years and years are currently taking the pop world by storm. They’re almost guaranteed a packed out tent just by their Number 1 album, Communion. They’re the name on everyone’s lips and they’re definitely on their way to major stardom. They’ve played events such as Glastonbury and Latitude this year so far and will embark on their own headline tour in October. This could potentially be an exciting set for the band in terms of their Reading and Leeds history.
Gengahr (Festival Republic from 15:25 to 15:55) – Gengahr are one of my favourite new bands at the moment. Their music is refreshing and definitely worth a listen to. Their debut album has received high praise and they’re set to take the next few years by storm. I wouldn’t underestimate Gengahr as I think they could change the way we see indie music over the next few years. If you like bands like Wolf Alice and Swim Deep then you’d probably enjoy Gengahr.
Sundara Karma (Festival Republic from 13:10-13:40) – Another new and up and coming band. Their indie rock tunes are catchy and songs like “Flame” will linger in your mind throughout the day. They’re heading in a very exciting direction and I anticipate great things from the band. They’re definitely worth a watch as their tunes are refreshing and will set you up nicely for a day of great music. They’re also supporting The Wombats on their October tour.
These are my recommendations. Of course, there are many bands I’ve missed off that I’m eagerly anticipating, for example Swim Deep and Alt-J, that haven’t made it onto this list. I hope to spend Reading 2015 finding new and exciting music as well as listening to some of my current favourites and old favourites.
If you’re going, albeit for the 1st of 21sttime, I hope you enjoy your experience as it’s truly like none other.