BBC Radio 1’s Big Weekend Hull 2017 (Review)

This year’s BBC Radio One’s Big Weekend was held in Hull, at Hull’s Burton Constable Hall, on the 27th and 28th May 2017. The free music festival was jam packed with the biggest and hottest names in the music industry and was a huge success.  Katy Perry and Kings of Leon headlined the two day bank holiday weekend event, with acts like Two Door Cinema Club, Bastille and The Amazons playing across the weekend. It’s always one of the most fascinating and exciting music festivals of the summer, for where else can you watch Kings of Leon, Little Mix and Twin Atlantic all within a matter of hours?

I was lucky enough to attend the festival on the Sunday this year and the day was full of glorious pop music and all things Radio 1. Bands and artists played short hit fuelled sets (exactly the sort of thing you’d hear on the radio) with the station’s DJs playing in-between sets.

Here are my highlights (a very small selection of them)-

Little Mix opened the main stage on the Sunday. The X-Factor winning girl group played a phenomenal confetti filled set, full of all the hits (that you’d know even if you don’t- or rather won’t admit to- like), dancing timed to the second and huge, captivating graphics. It was totally feel good and empowering and distinctly awe-inspiring for the many families in the crowd. Little Mix are very clearly the biggest girl group in the music industry currently and what they’re doing for music is very significant, even if you don’t like it personally. The set felt special and unifying (especially considering the huge amounts of families, mainly children, in the crowd) after the tragic events in Manchester, which happened a matter of days before.

Bastille brought their worldwide tour (in support of their latest album, Wild World) to a sunny Hull and played an energetic afternoon set. The band played sing-a-long hits from their first album, Bad Blood, including ‘Flaws’ and the iconic ‘Pompeii’, as well as a whole host of songs from their UK number 1 2016 second album, Wild World. The highlights of the set was definitely when the single ‘Good Grief’ was played to a backdrop of post-modern, satirical, futuristic collage graphics.

Pop sensation Shawn Mendes brought illuminations to Hull with his Sunday set. Mendes brought all the hits to Burton Constable Hall in what transpired to be a huge sing-a-long spanning all ages. He played a selection of songs from his new album Illuminate, including the singles ‘There’s Nothin’ Holding Me Back’, ‘Mercy’ and ‘Stitches’. It was the Radio sensation’s first ever festival performance and he performed it with ease.

Brighton’s brilliant rock duo Royal Blood played a huge set headlining the Where It Begins stage at Radio 1’s Big Weekend. The band played what could’ve been an arena show to a packed out tent, just before the release of their second album How Did it Get so Dark? (June 16th 2017). The band played a blend of stunning instrumental and memorable hit, including ‘Two Tonne Skeleton’, ‘Little Monster’ and ‘Figure it Out’ (from their 2014 debut album Royal Blood). The band also played new single ‘Lights Out’, which was met by applause from the eager crowd.

Scotland’s finest Twin Atlantic played the Where it Begins tent on Sunday afternoon to a captivated audience. The band played a riff filled set featuring songs from all four of their albums, including the latest album GLA (which was released last year). Frontman Sam McTrusty was full of energy as he leapt into the crowd and crowd surfed at the end of the set. Twin Atlantic are one of my personal favourite live bands ever because the energy their shows give off is just electric. You just have to experience it.

Alternative icons Circa Waves brought sun-kissed tunes and an overdue dance session to the sunny Hull festival. The band, who are consistently brilliant live, played a short set filled with songs from their 2015 debut album, Young Chasers, including ‘Fossils’, ‘Stuck in my Teeth’ and the fan favourite ‘T-Shirt Weather’, as well as a handful of tracks from their latest 2017 album, Different Creatures, including the mosh-pit inducing ‘Fire That Burn’s, ‘Goodbye’ and the single ‘Wake Up Call’. It was definitely one of the highlights for me.

Stockport’s finest Blossoms brought their huge debut album tour to Hull, one year on from their return to the festival as special guests on the BBC Introducing Stage in Exeter. Blossoms played a set filled with crowd pleasing hits, including ‘Blow’, ‘Blown Rose’ and ‘At Most a Kiss’. Like at ever Blossoms show, the band dedicated acoustic hit ‘My Favourite Room’ to a member of the crowd who had “recently been dumped”, an appreciated gesture. Lead singer Tom Ogden effortlessly merged the ending of the song into an impromptu mash-up of Babybird’s ‘You’re Gorgeous’ and Oasis’s ‘Half The World Away’, which the crowd loved. The band played latest single ‘This Moment’ (featuring Chase and Status) at the end of the set, before ending with the indie anthem ‘Charlemagne’, which never fails to excite a crowd.

The day was headlined by American rockers Kings of Leon, but their set was slightly lack lustre, bar the handful of iconic anthems the band have, which the audience and atmosphere made entirely. The band, whilst still sounding brilliant in instrument, played a 50 minute long set, which saw the audience consistently disintegrate throughout the set. The band’s iconic status made their headline set fitting, but their lack of connection to the mainly young, radio listening crowd seemed uncomfortable and awkward in part. It seemed as though the set was a year too late, as the hype for their latest album, Walls, had somewhat fizzled out. The band are set to headline British Summer Time in July though.

Overall the weekend was brilliant with plenty of huge sets. I’d like to mention how brilliant the tail end of Anne Marie’s set was (with the singer performing hits such as Christmas number one single, ‘Rockabye’, which was originally sung with Clean Bandit and latest single ‘Ciao Adios’), how fascinating Christine and the Queen’s captivating dancing was and the star filled Clean Bandit set, which was perfect for a Sunday afternoon dance.

BBC Radio 1’s Big Weekend Hull 2017 (Review)

Reading Festival 2016 Review

Reading festival 2016 took place from the 26th-29th August 2016. If you’ve not been to Reading before, Reading festival is a festival twinned with Leeds Festival  (in… well… Leeds) and they share the same star-studded line up. Reading and Leeds festival are festivals commonly associated young people, many of whom will have picked up their GCSE results the day before the music kicked off. This being said, there are still many people of all ages there (and I’m still not convinced people don’t bring their kids just to pick up used cups for a bit of cash), especially on the days where they pull in big classic headliners, this year’s being Red Hot Chilli Peppers and 2015’s being Metallica. This was my third Reading festival, but my first time camping and with my friends.

Whilst this year’s line up may have been sightly lack lustre and some of it seemed a bit odd to me, the weekend didn’t fail to impress, as always. The festival was headlined, or rather co-headlined, by Disclosure and Foals (Friday), Red Hot Chilli Peppers (Saturday) and Fall Out Boy and Biffy Clyro (Sunday). Other artists across the weekend included The 1975, Imagine Dragons, Jack Garratt and Blossoms.

Friday 26th August

The Wholls played their debut Reading Festival set on the BBC Introducing Stage early on Friday afternoon. The Bedford band “rolled out”, if you pardon the pun, to a large, inquisitive crowd, all eager and hungry for new music, under the beaming sun. The band played a short set, but attracted a large crowd. They played many a guitar laced rock song, including “Angry Faces” and the huge “X21”. I’ve been following the band for a while now and can’t believe they’re not bigger! With a true rockstar finish, a guitar was handed out into the crowd along with a few t-shirts. Keep tabs on The Wholls; they’ve not even started yet, but they’re about to grab your attention.

Manchester’s latest rising stars The Sherlocks once again dazzled a large Festival Republic Stage crowd. Following the success of last year and promising what was going to be a “special” show for the band, The Sherlocks played an energetic, optimistic set which proved their exciting future. The band played songs such as “Escapade” and “Live For The Moment” whilst fans sang, bounced and danced along. This set was special, as with their 2015 set, and will go on to define and shape their bright futures. The Sherlocks are a band not to be missed- and they’re currently on their UK tour, too.

Chvrches returned to Reading and Leeds following a triumphant set on the NME/BBC Radio 1 Stage in 2014, but this time they played on the main stage. Any band who dedicates a song to Harambe (“RIP Harambe”, Martin Doherty announced before playing “Under The Tide”) deserves a mention if I’m honest. The band played a significant set, which could see them progress to headliner status in no time. The band played a crowd pleasing selection of songs, new and old, from their two albums (2015’s “Every Open Eye” and 2013’s “The Bones of What You Believe”). The distinct lack of collaborator Hayley Williams on “Bury It” was not to be looked down on as the band managed to pull of an ambitious set in front and seemed the perfect transition into co-headliner Disclosure’s set.

I used to have a love/hate relationship with Twenty One Pilots, but after their Reading Festival set they have well and truly won me over. Throughout the day everyone (and I mean EVERYONE) had been gushing over how brilliant Twenty One Pilots are and how good they’d be later on in the day (many people came solely to see them). I must admit, I was originally skeptical. The tent was overflowing with fans who couldn’t squeeze themselves in and I ended up watching most of it from the screen outside of the NME/BBC Radio 1 tent as there was no way I could fit inside. The set was nothing but captivating. For starters, I’ve never seen a man with a drum kit crowd surfing, nor have I ever seen someone finish a show (albeit abruptly… there’s a lot of conspiracy about what happened when Josh (drummer) crowd surfed during the show) on top of a huge pole thing and I’ve only once before (A Day To Remember 2014, incidentally at Reading Festival too) seen someone sing whilst “zorbing”, too… It was genuinely fascinating to watch and they had a non-pretentious showmanship about them. The band played a hit filled set, which was filled from songs from their two albums (2015’s “Blurry Face” and 2013’s “Vessel”). They played songs, such as “Heathens”, “Car Radio” and “Stressed Out” (although many did leave after they played Stressed Out).  Given a few years and seeing their popularity rocket, I wouldn’t be surprised if Twenty One Pilots were headlining in the future, but for now you can catch them play two huge shows at London’s Alexandra Palace later on in the year.

The main stage was closed by Oxford math rockers Foals. The band played a huge headline set which proved the band’s headliner status. Foals are a band who deserve all the success they get; they put on good, entertaining shows, play catchy up beat songs and are so easy to listen to that anyone could listen and enjoy. The band played many songs from their vast back catalogue, but, again, the highlight of their set was “My Number”. The set was not without its long deep-cut songs, such as “Knife in the Ocean”, and it’s old classic. The band reminisced with “Cassius” from their first album, “Antidotes”, which they haven’t played for a number of years, during the encore. The encore was short and consisted of recent hit “What Went Down”, “Cassius” and, as always, “Two Steps, Twice”, where the band were joined by co-headliner Disclosure. It was a pretty special set. I’ve been so excited to see Foals conquer the main stage at Reading as it’s time we found the next generation of headliners.

Saturday 27th August

Reading’s own Sundara Karma opened up the Reading Festival main stage on Saturday morning, a huge leap from their Sunday morning Festival Republic Stage set last year. Sundara Karma are a band full of huge potential and a band I’ve loved for a good year now, so I’d been very excited about seeing the band play again. Prior to the show temporary Sundara Karma logo tattoos were handed out to fans at the front and many were seen dotted about across the day. The crowd were enthusiastic, despite the rain and early morning start, and many mosh pits were formed throughout (whether or not you can mosh to Sundara Karma is debatable, but everyone was enjoying themselves so). The band played a selection of new songs from their upcoming debut album, including new single “She Said”, as well as previously released hits, such as “Flame”, “Loveblood” and “Indigo Puff”. The band are due to release their debut album, “Youth is Only Fun in Retrospect”, in January.

Rag ‘N’ Bone Man is another of the George Ezra kind- what you hear and what you see is not what you first imagined, but it’s better than you could ever have guessed. My mum called me down to ask me who sang a theme tune song off of a programme not so long ago and it happened to be Rag ‘N’ Bone Man, so I felt I had to go and give him a watch. His voice is powerful and booming. It’s distinctive and unique, in a good way. I love the way he sings and how success close he is to success. The highlight of the set for me, though, was “Humans”, a song you should definitely have a listen to, if you haven’t done already.  “Hell yeah!” he managed to get the crowd to yell and “hell yeah” the set was good.

Ahhhh Blossoms, what would a 2016 festival be without them? It was a big weekend for Blossoms. The band played a brilliant little set on the BBC Introducing stage on Friday afternoon and I met them on the Saturday morning in the BBC Radio 1 signing tent and they managed to pull of a faultless Saturday afternoon set on the large NME/BBC Radio 1 Stage, a huge step up from the BBC Introducing stage they played last year. The band played a set full of songs off of their UK Number 1 debut album, “Blossoms”, including “Honey Sweet”, “Blow” and “Blown Rose”. Tom Ogden (lead singer) played a solo acoustic version of the stripped back “My Favourite Room” and dedicated it to a dumped fan and her ex-boyfriend in the crowd. He was engaging, sweet and comical. The band dedicated their, arguably largest, hit “Charlemagne” to their close friends and tour mates Viola Beach and their manager Craig Tarry, who were tragically killed in a car accident earlier this year. The band managed to get everyone to sit down before Charlemagne and jump up after the tune kicked in. Blossoms are on their way to something big, like a huge main stage performance, so keep a look out for the Stockport lads- they’re everywhere.

The Courteeners played a hit filled set under a  sea of colourful smoke flare mist on Saturday afternoon, on the main stage. The band sang songs off of their upcoming album, “Mapping The Rendezvous”, including the first released song from the album, “The 17th”. The set was energetic and engaged with the eager fans, many of whom had been anticipating their performance (judging by the many, many fans with Fallowfield Hillbilly shirts about- “Can you play guitar, my boy? Can you fuck?”). The band played songs from their large four album back catalogue (excluding the latest, unreleased album), including the incredible “Not Nineteen Forever”, which was easily the highlight of my weekend. It’s a song which I love so much, and so did most of the crowd, and the song that got me in to the Courteeners and so it was a pleasure to have caught it! The band are playing on a UK tour in November, in support of “Mapping The Rendezvous”, which is out on October 21st.

I saw Vegas rockers Imagine Dragons at Reading Festival in 2014 and swore down it was one of the most fascinating and captivating performances I’ve ever seen in my life. They had drums, beaming sun and an adored selection of songs from their debut album, “Night Visions”. The same, err, couldn’t be said for their performance at the O2 in November last year, which was easily the most dire thing I’d ever seen (and not because of the band, who were still brilliant). I don’t know why, but Imagine Dragons are a band who just work on festival stages, with the outdoor setting only complementing them. They thrive on the energy and enthusiasm of youth and manage to pull off incredible, fascinating performances consistently. The band played for the festival in the UK as a one off, in support of last year’s album, “Smoke and Mirrors”. The band managed to intertwine hits off of both albums to create a set to please fans both new and old. With a cover of Blur’s “Song 2”, Dan Reynolds (lead singer) singing from within the crowd and a lengthy guitar solo from lead guitarist Wayne Sermon (whose real name is Daniel… The third Daniel in the band), the band ended with a stunning performance of, arguably their biggest hit, “Radioactive”. The song was laced with booming drums and a chorus of people singing along to a song that many love a lot.  Whilst it didn’t top their 2014 performance for me, they sure played a memorable set which was loved and enjoyed by all in attendance.

Two Door Cinema Club are back. The band are due to release a new album, “Gameshow”, in October and played Reading and Leeds in anticipation of its release. The set follows a summer of festivals, including Glastonbury earlier in the year. The set was built around the band’s popular back catalogue, with huge hits, like “Something Good Can Work” (a song which holds many memories for me of being about 12 and shopping in Hollister), “Sun”, “We Can Talk” and “Undercover Martyn”, being played. The set was impressive and had interesting visuals on screens behind the band. It was amazing hearing some of their big songs played, but it was also good to hear songs off of their new album, including the brilliant “Bad Decisions” and latest single “Are We Ready? (Wreck)”. Their NME/BBC Radio 1 Stage headline set proved the bands popularity and potential and I’m sure they’ll be back to play the main stage once again soon.

Sunday 28th August

Spring king played a raucous set on the NME/BBC Radio 1 Stage on the Sunday afternoon. The band played songs from their debut album, “Tell Me If You Like To”. I love their live set up. For a starter, the lead singer, Tarek Musa, is also the drummer, which I find fascinating. The set was energetic and wild and the tent was packed out (and not because it was raining outside). The Manchester lads played songs such as “The Summer” and “Detroit”. They managed to get the crowd to sing “who are you?” along to the song of the same name and then ended the set with the popular “Rectifier”, which was met with applause. The band’s set cemented their place at the festival and welcomed them onto the larger stage, having played the Festival Republic stage last year.

Again, what would a festival be without Rat Boy? Jordan Cardy and his band mates pop up everywhere! The band played many a song off of multiple mix tapes and in the light of their future debut album, “Scum”, which is, hopefully, to be released early next year. The set was wild, hot and sweaty. The band, all bar Cardy himself, came on in masks of themselves, as seen on their Spring/Summer 2016 tour, along with a person dressed in a red boiler suit and a Rat Boy logo (I suppose)/Cardy creation yellow mask, who ran up and down the front of the stage and into the crowd multiple times in the set, like their own personal hype man. The set was full of crowd surfing, mosh pits, set climbing (and subsequent hand cutting) and jumping. The band played songs such as “Left 4 Dead”, “Fake ID” and “Sign On”, as well as their latest, recently released single, “Get Over It”. Rat Boy never fails to impress crowds with his antics- he even got the crowd to sit down (which they “did at Boardmasters”) and jump up at one point. I think they’ll keep going and going and I anticipate seeing them slay the 2017 festival scene once again.

Everyone loves The Vaccines, or so it seems every time I see them play live. Everyone knows The Vaccines; they’re pioneers of songs you know but can’t place just how and have been around for what feels like forever, or at least that’s what they mean for me. Their Main Stage set was busy, full of sing-a-long classics and thrilling from start to finish (although you wouldn’t have thought Justin Young (lead singer) thought so). They’re a band who can put together killer set lists and please fans of all ages. The band played songs from each of their three albums, including “Post Break-Up Sex”, “Teenage Icon” and “Melody Calling”. The highlight of the set was seeing so many people, old and young, dancing to “If You Wanna” at the end of the set, along with “Norgaard”. Easily one of the best acts of the weekend.

The Wombats are another band that you probably just know and don’t know how. They constantly create relatable songs filled with teenage heart ache, jaded youth and clumsy tales.  They’re, again, a band who hold a special place in my heart as they were one of the first “indie” bands I really got in to. In a weird turn of events, I managed to watch the set by myself and I can’t stress how amazing the experience was (watching one of your favourite bands by yourself and singing and dancing as recklessly as imaginable with no fear of real judgement is incredible). The band played songs from each of their three albums and played to a packed tent- a step up from last years very sweaty Festival Republic Stage headline set. The band played songs such as “Give Me A Try”, “Moving To New York” and “Tokyo (Vampires and Wolves)”. “Jesus… and the Mary Chain” muttered the band as they realised the scale of which they were playing and how “insane” it was. The band closed with “Let’s Dance To Joy Division”, a song which holds many memories to many people. I can’t wait for The Wombats to be back properly again. I miss The Wombats.

The 1975 have been building up to their Reading and Leeds sets for a good while now. The band have played many festivals this summer and promised their Reading and Leeds sets would be something special, and they were. Matty Healy (lead singer) was sounding the best I had seen for a while and sang often with cigarette in hand, obviously. I can’t help but love and be fascinated by Healy every time I see him.  The first time I saw The 1975 play was at Reading Festival in 2014, where I was converted to being a fan of the band. The set was boozy, but something else. It was the last thing I properly saw at Reading Festival in 2014 and, incidentally, the last thing I saw at Reading Festival in 2016… Headlining the festival in 2018? It wouldn’t surprise me. The band played in front of their stunning visuals, which they’ve toured with for nearly a year, and back with their drummer, George Daniel, again. They played songs from their debut album, “The 1975”, and their latest album, “I Like It When You Sleep, For You Are So Beautiful Yet So Unaware Of It”. The band played songs such as “Loving Someone”, where Healy even spoke the spoken word part in the middle, “Sex” and “The Sound”, where everyone had to jump on the count of four. “We’re going to go away and make another record and then come back and headline this whole thing” Healy promised fans, whether or not they will only time will tell, but for now their stunning NME/BBC Radio 1 set was enough to keep them remembered and treasured by fans. I look forward to seeing them play a sold out show at London’s O2 Arena in December.

Overall, Reading Festival 2016 was, once again, a huge success. With secret sets from You Me At Six, incredible performances on the BBC Introducing Stage and huge headline sets across all stages, I look forward to what Reading 2017 might entail. I can’t wait! I might, in the future, make a blog post about what I think festival season 2017 might look like.

 

 

 

Reading Festival 2016 Review

Glastonbury Festival 2016- Sunday 26th June 2016

This is the fourth and final Glastonbury Festival 2016 blog post! You can find the introduction here, Friday’s post here and Saturday’s highlights here. All of the sets mentioned across the blog posts are still available to (re)live on the BBC iPlayer for the next few weeks too.

The Sunday of this year’s Glastonbury Festival was headlined by firm favourites Coldplay, their fourth headline set at Worthy Farm. The legends slot went to none other than Jeff Lynne’s ELO and other notable acts across the day included Bear’s Den, Years & Years, Catfish and the Bottlemen and Beck.

Mystery Jets have been around years, so it’s unsurprising that they walked out on stage to an overflowing tent full of fans of all ages. They stated that one of the best shows they’ve ever played happened at Glastonbury festival and this came close to beating it. This show was in support of their latest album “Curve Of The Earth”, released this year. They played songs such as “Bombay Blue” and “Telomere” from it, but the firm fan favourites still remain as “Two Doors Down” and “Young Love”, both of which are from 2008’s “Twenty One”. Their set was brilliant and the band seemed to have just as much fun as the fans did!

This year’s Sunday tea time legends slot was filled by Jeff Lynne’s ELO. They’ve just done a UK arena tour and have recently announced, off of the back of Glastonbury, a huge one off show at London’s prestigious Wembley Stadium. The band played songs from their impressive back catalogue which spans over 40 years. The band played songs such as “Evil Woman”, “Don’t Bring Me Down” and “Livin’ Thing”, which the audience enjoyed. They played with an operatic back up singer, who sang at various points of the set. The highlight of the set, obviously, was the hugely popular and influential “Mr Blue Sky”. Whilst the set was mostly lost on me, just hearing ELO play “Mr Blue Sky” made my weekend. The song is one which was played frequently throughout my childhood and it’s a song I love so much. The sky, however, was far from blue as it drizzled throughout the set, but our rain ponchos were (which sort of made up for it, I suppose).

Years & Years are one of the most current and progressive bands on the scene. Their music, dance infused, was perfect for the for a dull and drizzly afternoon, which was brightened by Olly Alexander’s (lead singer) unapologetically bright rainbow coloured outfit and tassley jacket. They played songs from their brilliant first album “Communion”, which was released last year, including “Take Shelter”, “Eyes Wide Shut”, “King” and “Desire”. There was also a cover or ‘mash-up’ of Katy Perry’s “Dark Horse” and Drake’s “Hotline Bling”. This set comes almost exactly a year after the first time they played Glastonbury, on the John Peel Stage. They’re gradually working their way up the festival line up. The band performed on the weekend of gay pride. Olly Alexander did an inspirational and clearly emotional speech about his sexuality and the problems and fears he faces with it. He opened with “I am gay, very gay” and suggested we all “shove a rainbow in fear’s face”.  The band walked off stage to rainbow confetti, having been joined by dancers for the final two songs.

The best time I’ve ever seen Catfish and the Bottlemen was at Glastonbury last year. I’ve seen them a few times since and never have they lived up to the time they played Glastonbury. This year they returned to Worthy Farm with a Brit Award (for Best British Breakthrough Artist) and a new UK number one album, for “The Ride”, which was released in May. The band seem to step up a notch when they play Glastonbury, as though they’re out to win fans (and their set did just that). The band cleverly curated the perfect setlist by infusing songs off of their stunning debut album, “The Balcony”, with songs from their latest album, “The Ride”.  They played songs, such as “Kathleen”, “Pacifier” and “Cocoon”, from their debut album and seamlessly intertwined them with songs like “Soundcheck”, “Anything” and, latest single, “7”. Like usual, they opened the set with “Homesick”, the first song off of “The Balcony”, and closed with “Tyrants”, the closing song from “The Balcony”.Van McCann (lead singer) is an incredible front man and expresses the true gratitude the band have for being able to play festivals like these. Catfish know how to effortlessly pull of a huge set like this and cement their right to play at the festival. I wouldn’t be surprised, given a few more years and albums, if they were soon able to headline festivals like this.

American singer-songwriter Beck played the tricky slot before Coldplay on the Pyramid Stage. Throughout the weekend we had questioned who he was and how capable he was of filling such a huge slot when none of us could name anything he’d done, but Beck is one of those artists who, when they begin to play, you seem to know every single song of. The set was mad, energetic and full of surprises. He played songs such as “Loser” (which, shamefully, I knew from Glee), “Sexx Laws” and “Dreams”. He even managed an encore of “Where It’s At/ One Foot In The Grave”. The set was something you had to see to believe. It was odd, but brilliant.

Coldplay headlined Glastonbury for the forth time this year. They play off the back of the release of their latest album, “A Head Full of Dreams”, and a sold out stadium tour, which featured four sold out shows at Wembley Stadium. The band brought their huge production to Worthy Farm, with over 100,000 ‘xylobands’ distributed throughout the day for the crowd. Despite the huge number of bands given out, I never managed to find one (which I’m still gutted about and, yes, it did dampen the set for me, as I didn’t feel as involved from a purely aesthetic view). The band played songs spanning their impressive seven album collection. It was a nostalgic set, especially as they played songs such as “Fix You”, “Yellow” and “A Sky Full Of Stars”, all of which were incredibly emotional. The band played many songs from “A Head Full Of Dreams”, too, including the title track to open (following a controversial Charlie Chaplin speech), “Hymn For The Weekend” and “Adventure Of A Lifetime”, where Chris Martin (lead singer) encouraged everyone to “get down” despite the mud and jump up together on the count of three. The band played “Everglow”, but had to restart as Martin’s piano was out of tune. They ended the song by playing a clip of Muhammad Ali, another highly emotional tribute.

At this point, I’d like to talk about something beyond incredible that Coldplay did. I had heard speculation of a Viola Beach tribute taking place during the set prior to the festival. I was unsure about this at first, thinking they were just “jumping on the band wagon” to look respectable. I was not, however, expecting them to do what they did. The band began talking about when they first played the festival on what is now know as the John Peel Stage and how they were thankful for the incredible new music which passes through the festival and that year every year. They went on to tell of how sad they were of hearing the deaths of the formidable up and coming band Viola Beach and how they were sad that they were never given the chance to do something like headline the Pyramid Stage at Glastonbury. The band then said they would like to let Viola Beach have the opportunity to headline Glastonbury and let a recording of their song “Boys That Sing” play on a huge LED screen at the centre of the stage. The band joined in to finish the song at the end. It was extremely moving and I did, admittedly, cry throughout. Viola Beach were an incredible talented band, who, no doubt, would’ve gone on to play at the festival countless times. What Coldplay did was incredibly special (they said they would usually have done a Bowie tribute at this point) and exemplified the type of attitude we need towards new music. I was amazed and moved by this.

The set was jam packed full of amazing surprises. The band played an extended five song encore. They usually take a request from those in the audience and this time was no different, however they took a request from Mr Glastonbury, Michael Eavis, himself. They asked him which band he would like to headline and he said “The Bee Gees”. Barry Gibb joined Coldplay on stage to play two songs, “To Love Somebody” and “Stayin’ Alive”. The whole crowd sing along to “Stayin’ Alive” was quite something and the atmosphere was second to none, which doesn’t necessarily come across through the recordings. They then played “A Sky Full Of Stars” to falling star confetti and, finally, “Up & Up”, with Martin’s children Apple and Moses singing backing vocals. Martin stopped just before the end and said he wanted to continue playing. Eavis joined him on stage to sing a wonderful cover of “My Way”. This was, again, quite emotional and fun. It was brilliant and embodied the family spirit of Glastonbury. I’m sure it would have been lost on many of those watching at home, but Michael Eavis is a key and foundational part of the festival, obviously, and this was nothing but special to see. His performance was slightly better than the time he sang “Happy Birthday” with Stevie Wonder. “Up&Up” was reprised before the end and that concluded a stunning set and overwhelmingly brilliant weekend.

Coldplay are a band who know how to play festival and big venues. I hope this is the fourth of many more Glastonbury headline sets as their production and songs are a firm favourite on the farm with the Eavis’ and audience alike. They had to battle with the brilliant Jake Bugg and Grimes on the other stages.

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Glastonbury Festival 2016- Sunday 26th June 2016

Glastonbury Festival 2016- Saturday 25th June 2016

This is the third of four blog posts about Glastonbury 2016. You can find the introduction here and the Friday post here.

The Saturday of this year’s festival saw yet another risky headliner. Last year we had Kanye West and this year we had, arguably the most significant and/or popular female solo artist of the last year, Adele. Adele is an artist who is globally appealing. Her songs touch a wide range of people across all age groups and she can even play into the hearts of those who maybe aren’t fans with her irresistibly entertaining and hilarious live act. Many still labelled her boring and depressing though. Other acts across the day included Wolf Alice, Madness, The 1975 and Tame Impala.

At 11:50 in the morning, on the John Peel Stage, Nothing But Thieves played to a packed out tent. The set comes off the back of their recent supporting slot to the Friday night headliner, Muse, and the release of their debut album, “Nothing But Thieves”, last year. It’s the first time they have played the festival so it was unsurprising that they wanted to win new fans over with an impeccable set. Conor Mason (lead singer) showed off his incredible vocal range with breathtaking vocals echoing those similar of artists like Muse, further proving they’re on a steady path to success. They played hits like “Itch”, “Trip Switch” and “Wake Up Call”. These songs proved particularly successful with the Worthy Farm crowd early, in festival terms, on Saturday.

We stumbled upon a nervous Izzy Bizu playing The Park Stage. She played a short set, but it was enjoyed by a large crowd. Bizu is effortlessly, and enviably so, cool. Her songs are laid back, chilled out and extremely easy to listen to. It wasn’t a fussy and over the top set. It was just her, her band and the boiling heat (scarcely seen over the weekend). She was joined by her friend and writing partner, HONNE, at one stage for a song, “Someone that loves you”, and told many little anecdotes throughout the set- she even let us know that she’d scattered various polaroids across the site, with prizes on, for us to find. Keep an eye out for Izzy Bizu and check out “White Tiger”.

Wolf Alice played another stunning set at Glastonbury Festival, following last year’s highly talked about set on The Park Stage, and this year they played on the prestigious Pyramid Stage. In a weird way the fact that they were playing on a stage as big as that of The Pyramid Stage filled me with an odd sense of pride and satisfaction. Wolf Alice are genuinely one of the greatest live acts I’ve ever seen (and I say this over and over) and aren’t to be missed. This set, however, was different to the many times I’ve seen them before. If you ask me, I’ll tell you their set at The Brighton Dome is one of the greatest things I’ve ever seen before (and, to this day, one of, if not, the best concert I’ve ever been to), but this was incredible again. It seemed like a weird cyclical thing. Last year, just after the release of their debut album, “My Love Is Cool”, they played Glastonbury Festival and then this year, after a whirlwind year of constant touring, almost exactly a year on from the original Glastonbury performance that sparked it all, they played the same festival on a much larger stage, with many more fans. It seems like the end of an era. Ellie (Rowsell, lead singer) was even wearing a gold dress, perhaps to symbolise the album artwork, and it felt as though they were perhaps winding down and preparing for another album- or so we can hope! The set saw guitarist Joff Oddie’s poor hand covered in blood by the end and Ellie jumped down into the crowd at the end to high five fans (and she even hugged a young fan). Their gratitude radiated through the faultless set. Ellie even stated that her and Joff had entered the annual “Emerging Talent Competition” a few years back (this “made up for it” apparently) but hadn’t been selected- look at them now! It’s incredible to think how big things have gotten for Wolf Alice. They played songs such as “You’re a Germ”, “Bros” and, latest single, “Lisbon”, as well as a few b-sides and EP tracks, such as “Blush” and (Grammy nominated) “Moaning Lisa Smile”. They’re a firm favourite at Worthy Farm and I’m sure this performance is only the start of a long stint of successful Glasto sets.

Madness managed to pull in one of the largest crowds of the weekend. It was an audience composed of all ages and provided great family entertainment- Suggs was particularly excited to see the staggered ages. It was a hit fuelled set and managed to put a smile on everyone’s faces. The band genuinely looked like they were having the time of their lives and were joined by their families on stage at the end. Madness played an array of their most popular songs, from “Baggy Trousers” and “Wings of a Dove” to “House of Fun” and “Our House”. They took a short ‘encore’, by turning round and waiting for people to clap and scream enough to warrant more songs, for they didn’t have time to go off stage, before they closed with a whole crowd sing along to “It Must Be Love”.  There was also a very odd cover of AC/DC’s “Highway to Hell” and an emotional Bowie tribute with a cover of “Kooks”. The set was hilarious, fun and family friendly.

Shortly after Madness dazzled a huge crowd on the Pyramid Stage, Tom Odell took to the stage on the Other Stage. Tom Odell is a hugely talented singer-songwriter, who is perhaps best known for “that song in the John Lewis Christmas advert” (“Real Love”, John Lennon cover), who has recently released his brilliant second album, “Wrong Crowd”, after 3 years. Tom Odell sat at his piano and played throughout the set, but ventured away from the piano at points in order to sing and interact with the crowd. His sets feel intimate and personal, as well as highly emotional. Odell has an incredibly special voice, complimented by his “Wrong Crowd” band, which works well and thrives in a setting like this. His songs are appealing to all and his wonderful showmanship, despite being behind the piano most of the time, is second to none. He played all the big songs from the first album, “Long Way Down”, including “Another Love”, “Can’t Pretend” and “Grow Old With Me”. He also played songs from his latest album including “Concrete”, “Wrong Crowd” and “Magnetised”, which was the latest single. He ended up stood on top of the piano at the end of his set, which was quite impressive, too.  His set was “exquisite”, to quote my dad, and he’s bound to gain popularity whilst touring with the latest album. Tom Odell appeals to everyone, so I’d strongly urge you to have a listen!

The 1975 played an incredible set on Saturday afternoon on The Other Stage. I must admit, I wasn’t expecting anything much from the set prior to seeing it as I’d last seen The 1975 at Radio One’s Big Weekend, when they didn’t seem to want to be there and it was all a bit embarrassing. This, on the other hand, was something else. The 1975 are finally back and Matty Healy (lead singer) is back on top form. The set was brilliant and captivating with a similar live set up to how they’ve been touring for nearly the last year (with the light blocks). Their production is always impressive and works particularly well at festivals like this, as it’s as much about the art as it is about the music. I particularly loved Matty Healy’s speech about the EU before “Loving Someone” (Ellie Goulding was even spotted showing her support for the band and their speech from the front of the stage). The set proved the band’s capabilities and suggested they could go on to play higher up on the festival line-up (“see you in a few years” Healy said whilst leaving). George Daniel (drummer), whilst still not drumming, managed to pass Healy his guitar during the set too, which achieved a huge round of applause from the crowd. Healy had the odd cigarette between songs and danced throughout in his wonderful white suit and with his brilliant new haircut (a fringe- the highlight of my weekend). He made the crowd jump during “The Sound”, from their latest album, ‘I Like It When You Sleep, For You Are So Beautiful Yet So Unaware Of It’. The also played other songs from iliwysfyasbysuoi (oh my), such as “Love Me” and “A Change of Heart”, as well as many songs from their debut album, “The 1975”, including “Chocolate”, “Girls” and “Sex”. They even managed to squeeze “You” in from their pre debut album EP, “Sex”. It was a move appreciated by many big fans and enjoyed by those who didn’t know it as much too. Overall it was a triumphant set thoroughly enjoyed by many.

If you don’t know Tame Impala you’re missing out. Tame Impala are an Australian psychedelic rock band who won the “Best International Group” award at the Brit awards 2016. The band’s music is infused with psychedelic twists, which prove popular with a live audience. The set up is interesting and was complimented by a large LED screen at the back of the stage featuring many moving graphics. They played songs such as “Let It Happen” and “The Less I Know The Better”, both of which are from 2015’s “Currents”, as well as many songs from previous albums and a Mark Ronson cover of “Daffodils” (Kevin Parker, lead singer, played a DJ set with Ronson that weekend too). The set was the perfect warm up for headliner Adele.

Adele headlined the Saturday of the festival. It was the second time she’s played the festival- the first time she played she played the Guardian tea tent years ago just before Florence and the Machine. Adele is a globally recognised and loved artist, which made this so special. The set was the talk of the weekend as many were eager to see Adele and her potty mouth headline a festival like Glastonbury for, really, the first time. Adele opened with comeback single “Hello” (to a backdrop of her blinking eyes). It was an incredibly strong opening to the set, as the whole crowd sang along with her. “Fucking hell” were the first words she muttered as she began performing. I love how her singing voice and speaking voice and mannerisms totally juxtapose one another. She goes from singing in an angelic voice to cursing the next minute in a thick cockney accent in a hilariously comedic way and it all seems totally natural.

Adele let us into many personal anecdotes throughout the set. She told “us”, as though we were her best mates gathered in her living room having a cup of tea with her, about the absence of a “Skyfall” video and the fact she’d been watching Muse from her house the night before and joked that she almost didn’t come. She made remarks about the mud and toilet situation throughout (as though she was ‘one of us’), stating that she had been coming to the festival for years. At this point she pulled a young girl out of the crowd for a selfie and a chat, it was incredibly special to watch.

Nestled between songs, spanning across all three of her albums, such as “Water Under The Bridge” (one of her only “not depressing” songs, apparently, as she dismissed the critics for branding her songs too “depressing”, although we can all be “depressed together”, and suggested they “wouldn’t be watching” anyway), “Send My Love (to Your New Lover)” and “Rolling in the Deep”, there was a medical emergency (which she spoke through, telling stories of grannies and drunk middle aged women and watched as help was gotten), foreign fans up on stage and booing of hometowns (“there will be no booing at one of my concerts; we’re all one big happy family”). She played a Bob Dylan cover of “Make You Feel My Love”, which “broke and fixed her heart” when she first heard it. At points the audience were encouraged to use the torches on their phone to create a sea of lights, at other points there was confetti and at other points Adele was in the heart of the crowd (wearing a fez). Adele played “River Lea” for the first time, although she had to restart during the first verse to make sure it was perfect as she was out of breath from dancing.

She played a two song encore. Before coming on to play “When We Were Young” a video played of her first Glastonbury performance. Adele suggested that she agreed to do the festival whilst watching Kanye West headline last year with organiser Emily Eavis. “When We Were Young” was highly emotional and definitely a highlight of the set for me. Behind her were various clips and photos of her as a child and it made the it more special and personal. With her face plastered through a projection onto the side of the Pyramid Stage, Adele closed with “Someone Like You”, the song which got her the ‘big break’. This was incredible and the atmosphere was buzzing.

Adele is an artist who you almost didn’t want to sing. I could literally have listened to her talk for an hour and a half and still have had a brilliant time. She’s effortlessly funny and full of incredible stories. It felt unimaginably intimate and special, as though she was talking to the audience personally despite it being broadcast all over the world live. Yes, she curses and makes hilariously savage remarks (“you still live with your mother”), but she’s undeniably talented and brilliant. Her set was definitely one of my highlights of the weekend and I’d love to be able to see her again. It lived up to all my expectations.

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Glastonbury Festival 2016- Saturday 25th June 2016

BBC Radio One’s Big Weekend Exeter 2016- 29/05/2016

This year’s BBC Radio One’s Big Weekend was held in the scenic grounds of Exeter’s stunning Powderham Castle on the 28th and 29th of May 2016. It was headlined by Mumford and Sons and Coldplay, with other huge acts (such as Ellie Goulding, The 1975, Wolf Alice and Skepta) all playing over the weekend in the glorious sunshine across three main stages (the Main Stage, the In New Music We Trust Stage and, of course, the BBC Introducing Stage). I was lucky enough to have attended on the Sunday (and created a blog post about what I recommended you see across the weekend, which you can see here) and it was simply incredible. Bands and artists get roughly around 30 minutes each (which is PERFECT as they mostly play all their hits, which goes with the whole “radio appeal” theme), so you’re not left wondering when it’ll end as they’re playing tonnes of artsy album tracks and obscure b-sides, and headliners get about 50 minutes (although I’m sure Chris Martin could and would have gone on for a lot longer if allowed). DJs from the station, such as Greg James, Annie Mac, and Huw Stephens play short DJ sets in between sets which makes the waiting a bit more bearable.

Opening the festival on the Sunday were One Republic. Prior to the event I didn’t really know how much I knew of their material or how good they’d actually be. Not only is Ryan Tedder (lead singer) an extremely successful and incredibly talented song writer, he’s also an effortlessly brilliant front man with the most incredible live voice and captivating stage presence. They played songs such as “Counting Stars” and “Wherever I go” and also played huge hits such as “Apologise”, accompanied by Tedder on the piano. They’re back shortly and are touring the UK in 2017 (I believe) and I think it’ll be unmissable.

Panic! at the Disco opened the In New Music We Trust Stage. Panic! at the Disco played a nostalgic hit filled set and played classics like “The Ballad of Mona Lisa”, “Nine in the Afternoon” and “I Write Sins Not Tragedies”. They also did a breathtaking cover of Queen’s “Bohemian Rhapsody”, which the crowd loudly (and proudly) sang along with. Oh, and Brendan Urie (lead singer) did a back flip off the drum platform, of course. Every time I see Panic! I’m hit with an overwhelming desire to listen to all my old “pop-punk” records and relive my Panic! days. Again, Urie’s voice is simply stunning live and he’s charismatic and hilarious too!

Catfish and the Bottlemen conquered the Main Stage for the second year running (having filled in last minute for Sam Smith who was on voice rest after becoming ill and having surgery) and this year it was in their own right. I thought they were a band capable of playing higher up on the list and later in the day, but their early afternoon set proved popular among eager punters. They played songs from their recently released second album, “The Ride”, and their incredible first album, 2014’s “the Balcony”.  Van McCann further proved his effortless capabilities of fronting the band and remained grateful for the experience. The crowd loved it from start to finish with many singing and the odd person standing on shoulders. Catfish know how to get a crowd excited and they’re constantly playing second-to-none sets.

Years & Years are a band who don’t get boring. Olly Alexander (lead singer) is an energetic, bubbly and enthusiastic front man who knows how to get the crowd excited. It was a pure visual feast with the bands logo changing colour in the background throughout on a large LED screen and dancers- one of which was Olly himself! The band played songs off of their debut album “Communion” , such as “King”, “Shelter” and, with Olly on the keyboard, “Eyes Wide Shut”. There was also confetti and nothing gets a crowd going quite like confetti (which Olly noted himself).

The In New Music We Trust Stage saw Wolf Alice triumphantly play before Sketpa. Wolf Alice are everything you could want in a band. They’re one of my personal favourite live bands with their impeccable singing, no-fuss approach and captivating instrument playing. They played many tracks from their Mercury Prize nominated debut album, “My Love is Cool”, such as “Bros”, “You’re a Germ” and latest single “Lisbon”, as well as Grammy Nominated “Moaning Lisa Smile”. They’re fascinating to watch live, especially when they’re furiously jamming on their instruments, but they’re simply incredible.

Matty Healy (lead singer of The 1975) turned up to Radio One’s Big Weekend with dog Allen, who proved popular among the backstage crowd… It only got weirder from there! The 1975 played on the Main Stage, with a very drunk Matty Healy. They brought their incredible stage set up to Powederham Castle, as well as a stand in drummer (as George Daniel (drummer) is recovering from a broken shoulder). They played songs off their latest album, “I Like It When You Sleep For You Are So Beautiful Yet So Unaware Of It” (February 2016), such as “Somebody Else” and “A Change of Heart”, and their debut album “The 1975”, such as “Girls” and “Chocolate”. Matty was feeling particularly talkative throughout the set and spoke his mind on the BBC’s no drinking/swearing/smoking policy on stage (they run a “tight ship” at the BBC, apparently). He was especially sad about the swearing aspect. His vocals are starting to lose the shine they had at the start of the year, but with huge shows at Glastonbury Festival, Reading and Leeds and, of course, their headline show at the O2 Arena in December, I’m sure they’ll be able to get back to their best after some rest.

The Last Shadow Puppets played on the In New Music We Trust Stage. I’m a fan of both Alex Turner and Miles Kane respectively in their own rights, as well as when part of the ‘supergroup’, if you will, The Last Shadow Puppets and thought their last album, “Everything You’ve Come to Expect” was brilliant. I’ve been excited to see the pair play together live for a while now, but nothing (nothing) could prepare me for this. The band played with a stunning accompaniment of violins and other string instruments, which was not only exciting to hear, but lovely to see. Alex Turner, on the other hand, was, well, hilarious. He pranced around the stage, sometimes with a guitar other times not, and, at one point, was lying on the floor with his arms and legs up in the air reassembling what could be described as some sort of bewildered insect placed upside down and still attempting to walk, or something.

Blossoms returned to the BBC Introducing set for a short set (before the brilliant Catholic Action headlined). Blossoms are a hugely refreshing and original up and coming act. They were one of the best acts I saw over the whole day. Their songs are new, current and exciting and they’re championed by Huw Stephens and BBC Introducing. They played songs like “Getaway”, “At Most a Kiss” and “Charlemagne” all with a dreamy indie rock feel. With a perfected indie rock ‘vibe’, think The Kooks, The Courteeners and Catfish and the Bottlemen, and the brilliant gratitude of Van McCann- it’s a perfect combination. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again; they’re about to become huge.

Coldplay headlined the Sunday night of the festival (and it’s not the first time they’ve done it). They pulled out all the stops with huge pyrotechnic displays (confetti, fire and all) and dazzling lights and graphics, along with ALL the hits. Singles, such as “Hymn For The Weekend” and “Adventure of a Lifetime”, from their triumphant latest album, “A Head Full of Dreams” (released November 2015), proved a hit with the Exeter crowd and dazzled young and old alike. The older classics, such as “Fix You” and “Yellow”, provided special moments shared by and across many generations. Their music is timeless and expansive of all age groups. I love how the music brought everyone together and provided a special experience for all. They covered Prince’s “Raspberry Beret”, which Chris Martin dedicated to Prince, and his parents- this was another special moment (one of many throughout the set). Chris Martin was born and raised in Exeter, which made this performance quite something to be a part of. Martin hopped from piano to the ultimate entertaining front man and provided the most spectacular of sets. It’s hard to imagine a better closing to the weekend.

Overall the day was jam packed with a vast variety of music and some the finest acts music has to offer and it was all (yellow..?) free! All of the sets can be found on the BBC iPlayer for a short amount of time. I look forward to seeing wherever it’s held next and I hope I’m lucky enough to bag tickets!

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BBC Radio One’s Big Weekend Exeter 2016- 29/05/2016

Reading 28th August- 30th August 2015

Highlights– Catfish and the Bottlemen, Peace, Everything Everything, Circa Waves, All Time Low, The Wombats, Jamie T, The Maccabees, and The Libertines.

Ones to Watch– Nothing but Thieves, Mini Mansions, The Sherlocks, Sundara Karma, Rat Boy.

Reading 2015 has drawn to a close once again and I’m, again, left with a haunting sense of sadness and an overriding feeling of total fulfilment that this year’s Reading was just as phenomenal as the last. Reading and Leeds 2015 was headlined by Mumford and Sons, Metallica, and The Libertines. Foals did a secret set on the Saturday at Reading on the NME/BBC Radio 1 stage as well.

 There’s something about Reading that makes it so special- I’m not sure what though. Perhaps it’s the lack of “arty-farty” attractions and stalls that makes it desirable and classically simplistic or maybe it’s purely the teen spirit and drunken friendliness that surges throughout the crowds. Or perhaps it’s the Hippy Chippy van (the best festival chips I’ve ever had)?

This year I was able to meet Catfish and the Bottlemen and they were genuinely some of the nicest lads I’ve ever met in the music industry. Van thought we’d met before as he greeted me with a “We’ve met before, right?” (Unfortunately we’d not met before).I feel like their appreciation for their fans radiates warmth which echoes in their music. Fortunately, despite being told off by the security guard, I managed to get a selfie (which would have been nice if the camera wasn’t the wrong way round at the prime photo moment) with Van McCann. They’re some of the loveliest men in the business and this, along with their classic tunes, almost guarantees success for the Llandudno lads.

 

 

Friday (28th August 2015)

Sunset Sons played the Festival Republic stage early Friday afternoon to an almost packed out tent which contrasted to their BBC Introducing set last year. The band played a short set which showcased the bands sun-kissed indie rock material and attracted new and old fans. The band got the crowd going with songs like “She Wants” and even saw people on shoulders and dancing along. Their music is truly current and exciting and has set them up nicely for their November tour supporting Imagine Dragons. Sunset Sons are a band to watch and now is the best time to get into them- before they shoot into stardom.

All Time Low never disappoint and this energetic set saw old and new fans unite in a set that was filled with old and new material, from their new album “future hearts”.  Whilst All Time Low are still using the same penis related jokes (all of which I’ve heard about 7 times now) and getting up to their usual antics they manage to captivate a crowd- they’re never boring, ever. Their set sought the inclusion of the whole audience and required much participation as Gaskarth (lead singer) made the audience regularly sing phrases and mimic his sounds. They band even got a hand-picked, by Alex Gaskarth, selection of fans to sing Time Bomb on stage with them, one of which played Jack Barakat’s (guitarist) guitar with him. It’s amazing to see such excitement at a festival for a band I’m only used to seeing enclosed in venues- apart from at Slam Dunk 2013 (which I didn’t see a lot of because the man in front of me decided to wear a top hat). All Time Low dazzled the main stage and provided a gateway to a full weekend of music. During the set, the band announced that they will come back and do an arena tour next February in the UK which will not to be missed if you’re going on their Reading and Wembley arena performances. I recommend All Time Low to anyone looking for a gateway into “pop-punk” music or even just general “rock” music.

Peace took the NME/BBC Radio 1 stage by storm on Friday afternoon which followed a successful run of Reading and Leeds performances, this being their 3rd. The tent was practically packed out and the crowd danced and sang throughout. Peace played a selection of songs from their debut album (In Love) and from their latest album “Happy People”, as well as opening with part of a song by the Replacements. The audience sang along with Harrison Koisser to well known songs like “Lovesick” and “I’m a girl”. Peace has a loyal fan base which made for an energetic performance full of appreciative fans and gave off a totally different vibe to their Glastonbury performance. Their Reading performance felt as though they’d already won over the fans without even starting to play. Harry Koisser remarked that Reading is his “favourite festival in the world” and that it’s coming to the end of a decade of him attending it which made the audience feel at ease with their performance, as though it genuinely meant a lot for them band to be there. The members are entertaining, Harry Koisser was wearing a coat coated with wet enamel and stated the audience had been watching paint dry: “it’s not that boring is it” Koisser remarked before launching into their final song “World Pleasure”, an 8 minute track. This, being one of their last Summer Festival performances, leads them into their September/October UK tour and I’m very excited about the tour.

Mumford and Sons headlined the Main Stage at Reading Festival on the Friday this year. It’s their first Reading since 2010. They played many well known classics including “the Cave”, “Little Lion Man” and “I will wait” as well as songs from their new album “Wilder Mind”, for example “believe”. It was a visually stimulating set which featured an array of instruments, some of which lesser seen on the Reading and Leeds main stage, which made for an exciting set. The band’s set saw an audience of appreciative fans, however, the reception was mixed, as you could expect from the thought of a band like Mumford and Sons headlining. I felt the performance was exciting and inspiring and capped of the first day of the festival perfectly. The band are no longer all about banjos and acoustic guitars, as this set suggests, as the inclusion of electric, rockier tunes was intertwined with those classics.

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Saturday 29th August 2015

Wolf Alice played the BBC Introducing Stage as a surprise act early afternoon prior to their set on the NME/BBC Radio 1 stage. Their BBC Introducing set was intimate and special. They played all their hits, including “Bros” and made the audience crave their later set. Their later set stage saw Ellie and co conquer the NME/BBC Radio 1. They played songs from their latest album “My Love is Cool” and also songs from their EP “Blush”. Wolf Alice were extremely energetic and used their indie rock laced tunes to excite the eagerly awaiting fans. The band are inspiring and it’s nice to see a female fronted band triumphantly claim sets on larger stages as there was a distinct lack of female fronted bands on the line up. Their music is a huge shift in the way we currently view female in music- especially in this area and genre. Their set cemented huge success for the band and I’m sure they’ll keep coming back.

Circa Waves played the NME/BBC Radio 1 stage on Saturday afternoon to an audience of excited teens and those who were perhaps not fans of the Metallica-esque bands gracing the main stage at the time or those who were not partial to a bit of dance music. Their set was fuelled by songs off their latest album “Young Chasers” which was a triumphant success. The audience sang along to the sun-kissed tunes (despite the changing weather outside) and some even found it heavy enough to mosh, this is disputable though. Kieran Shudall (Lead singer) even attempted to crowd surf during “T-Shirt weather”. The band’s set was one of my weekend highlights as it included fun and easy to listen to songs and oozed youthful hope and promise.

Everything Everything played the NME/BBC Radio 1 stage early Saturday evening and brought their new album “Get to Heaven” to Reading. The band played frantic, varied and perhaps even somewhat “schizophrenic” songs to an audience of fans who knew the album well. Their set was well thought out and exciting. They were able to captivate the audience with their upbeat tunes and excitingly metaphoric melodies. The set undoubtedly gripped fans and convinced fans who were maybe saving spaces for later acts. I think Everything Everything is one to watch as I think they will take their refreshingly interesting songs to the next level. The audience responded well to the set and repaid the band by singing along with the band. This leads them into their Autumn/Winter 2015 tour.

Closing the Festival Republic stage on the Saturday was the Wombats. The Wombats provided the perfect alternative for those perhaps weren’t Metallica fans. The Liverpool lads were a triumphant success and are worthy of playing larger stages at the festival, for example the NME/BBC Radio 1 stage. The band delivered, to a sea of loyal fans, a set filled with songs from each of their three albums. The set was incredibly well received and the song lyrics echoed teen anxiety and were perhaps even relatable for some of the young crowd. It even felt quite nostalgic. The atmosphere was buzzing and the dancing meant it was a particularly hot and sweaty performance. The trio provided an unforgettable performance which was feel-good and fun. The band closed with “Let’s Dance to Joy Division” which saw the whole crowd singing and dancing and many people were on shoulders. The band managed to create a set list which struck pure harmony with the audience as it created a perfect balance between new songs, from their latest album “Glitterbug”, and older hits like “Techno fan” and “Kill the Director”. Their set was incredibly fulfilling and I’d like to see them return very soon. This set launches them into their October UK tour.

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Sunday 30th August 2015

Sundara Karma played the Festival Republic stage on Sunday. This is their second time playing Reading Festival and their set was full of songs off of their recent EPs including “Flame” and “Loveblood”. Their set was well received by the audience with some of the audience even moshing. Their sound is very contemporary and likeable and they present themselves very well in terms of their stage presence. This made for an exciting, albeit short; set which left the audience wanting more. Sundara Karma are supporting The Wombats on their upcoming UK tour which will be a huge platform for the band. I think they’re definitely ones to watch as their catchy hooks and excitingly current lyrics only scream success.

On Sunday afternoon, following the news of their number 1 album the previous Friday, The Maccabees played the Main Stage at Reading. Their set was laced with popular fan favourites, such as “Pelican” and “Latchmere”, and cleverly intertwined with singles (among a few other songs) from their latest album “Marks to Prove It”- in which the title track caused much excitement to a pending sea of excited fans. Their set was anything but boring and they managed to captivate the huge outcome of people. The band have played the festival countless times and it was nice to see them feel at home on the stage. The set felt comforting in a sense that the songs were easy to listen to and the songs were well known.  The Maccabees are touring with their new album, “Marks to Prove It”, around the UK this winter.

Jamie T, a popular spokes person for the teens of today, followed his 2014 surprise set at Reading by returning to reclaim the Main Stage this year with a top 5 new album (Carry on the Grudge) under his belt. The crowd craved Jamie T’s angst, teenage hits and knew all the words to songs like “Sheila”, “Zombie” and “Sticks’n’Stones”. Treays dazzled the crowd with songs from his latest album, like “Don’t You Find”, “Rabbit Hole” and “Peter”, which the crowd knew all the lyrics to and could sing along to. His songs give off a sense of teenage hope and promise with a relatable melancholy that sees the world plainly. His set was refreshing and different to the usual Reading sets. He had a huge crowd which sang along with Treays in a way which only radiated positivity. His set was one of my favourites of the whole weekend. I’d definitely recommend him to anyone as I feel like his music is exciting and speaks for a generation of misguided youth.

Years and Years played on the NME/BBC Radio 1 stage just after Jamie T had finished on the Main Stage. Their set drew in a crowd which packed out the large tent perhaps because it fitted snugly in the gap between Jamie T and Kendrick Lamar on the Main Stage. Their set was full of songs from their recently released album “Communion“. They played, arguably their biggest hit, “Desire” early on in the set and a few people walked out after this. However, this left many loyal fans. The set was energetic and the crowd danced along with lead singer Olly Alexander. It was the perfect way to bring the evening to a close, before Headliners “The Libertines”.

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Reading 28th August- 30th August 2015

Glastonbury Festival Sunday 28th June 2015

Sunday was headlined by The Who. It was a day full of Lionel Richie puns and exciting new acts as well as old loved favourites, like Lionel himself. The highlights included Hozier, Alt-J, Gengahr and, of course, Lionel Richie.

Hozier played the Pyramid stage early afternoon on Sunday. Hozier found fame with “Take Me to Church”, which he closed the set with, but his set saw Hozier cement a positive and hopeful future in terms of the direction he is going in. His set meant that he was able to attract new fans with his calming tones and catchy songs. It was loved by Worthy Farm and very well received by the audience. It proved the complexity of his voice and amazing variation of his songs beyond “that song”. His singing was calming and his voice is powerful. Hozier is one to keep an eye on in the future as his voice is classic and timeless.

Lionel Richie played Worthy Farm for the first time on Sunday 28th June. He played the legends slot. His voice was virtually pitch perfect and his appreciation for his 100,000+ crowd made the set seem somewhat better and extremely natural. He played a selection of songs including the infamous “Hello” (which its lyrics appeared on many flags seen throughout the weekend), “All Night Long” and “Dancing on the Ceiling”. The crowd enjoyed his set as his voice and extensive song collection appealed to the masses- no matter what generation you were from. It was definitely a special moment for Glastonbury and did what the Glastonbury Legends Slot is meant to do. His set delivered well known songs of loved classics and songs you could dance and sing to.

Alt- J graced the Pyramid Stage early evening on Sunday. The band played a selection of hits from both their albums and closed with arguably their most famous song, “Breezeblocks”. Their set included many upbeat songs and made the audience feel as though they were experiencing the music with them through the occasional electronic beats and large variety of songs. It proved their future headliner potential as it gained a large audience in its own right after having to follow Lionel Richie’s 100,000-120,000 person deep crowd and proved that different types of music can be as popular as the generic ‘pop’ music of today. Subsequently, it’s probable that we’ll be seeing a lot more of Alt-J over the next few years as their conquest into stardom is only just getting started.

 

 
Glastonbury Festival Sunday 28th June 2015