21 Aug 2014

READING FESTIVAL PREVIEW

With only days to go before the gates open and tens of thousands of drunk and disordly teenagers descend onto the historic site of Richfield Avenue, (myself included) I thought I would take a look at who is going to follow in the footsteps of the greats, and who's sets will fall in the mud. This will be my very first year attending Reading, and I can't put into words how excited I am. With acts to cater to nearly any music taste, it promises to be a legendary year. 




Headline Slots:

This year is a first for Reading Festival, because they officially have four headliners. On the Friday, Paramore and Queens Of The Stone Age will join forces for a joint headline slot. Although they are not actually playing together, they have both been called headliners. Why? I don't really know, but I know that I won't be attending either for reasons I will explain later. Taking to the main stage on Saturday is the ever-so-changeable, Arctic Monkeys. The monkeys have been gradually working some older tracks like A View From The Afternoon and My Propeller back into their setlists, rather than playing the entire of AM about four times, so I am holding out hope for them. Claiming that their R&L sets are going to be 'epic,' they have a lot to live up to. If it's the same setlist they've been playing for nearly a year now then I will be highly disappointed. No matter how good they are live. Sunday night plays host to American pop-punk legends, Blink 182. The group that have never really grown up take to the stage to close the festival, and I am more than excited. Although three grown men singing about making out after school and the likes of that, (I shall avoid some of the more explicit lyrics) will probably be a bit creepy, they promise to be a perfect festival closer. After playing two shows at Brixton Academy and the reviews being mostly positive, Blink are up there with the acts I am most excited to see. 




The Main Stage:

Friday main stage is a fairly weak one, so I am very glad for the other stages. Opening the stage in the afternoon is Hacktivist, and then it continues to house acts such as Blood Red Shoes, Jimmy Eat World & Enter Shikari, before the pop-rock band with a killer twitter account take to the stage. Vampire Weekend are on my list to see, but not as a priority. Once again, I think they clash with someone better, but having seen this band live before a few times, I know they will play a fantastic set. VW have no problem fitting into a festival setting with their summery classics like Oxford Comma and Diana Young and of course, the anthem that is A-Punk. Fairly disappointed to be missing them, but I have no doubt they will do the honours of being a main-stage act justice. 

Saturday main stage is what I am most looking forward to. Gnarwolves kick off the party before Pulled Apart By Horses and Dry The River take to the stage. Peace play next, and they are one of the bands I am most excited to see. I saw them last year, before the release of their new album tracks, so seeing Money, World Pleasure and brand new single Lost On Me live should be a treat. Their set at present lacks my favourite song, a cover of Binary Finary's, 1998, but I hold out hope that maybe, just maybe, they'll play it live again. Foster The People are another band I may have to miss due to a horrendous clash with my loves, Wolf Alice, but I hope to catch some of their set. Their new album is a personal favourite of mine, so there's a tough decision to be made there. Upon returning to the main stage after Wolf Alice, Imagine Dragons will be taking to the stage and after suffering through their set (i'm joking, I don't think they're that bad) finally, Jake Bugg will be on. First time seeing the grumpy git, I've got high expectations. Both his albums are very strong, with fantastic singles like Slumville Sunrise and Two Fingers emerging from them, so I do hope he lives up to the hype. 


Sunday main stage is 100% the weakest day. I don't plan to get their until before Blink 182 are about to come on, because there's no acts I am bothered about seeing. Maybe You Me at Six? Mayble guilty pleasure Macklemore? To be honest, the other stages are showcasing some of my favourite smaller bands on Sunday so I plan to be around there all day. 









NME Stage:

The first day opens with emo overlord Gerard Way who I am considering seeing incase he plays any MCR stuff, but honestly I'm not that bothered. The first band I really care about seeing are rock two-piece, Drenge. Amazing band, amazing sound, and equally amazing live. No way am I missing these, even if they do clash tragically with Darlia. It's a battle of the rockers, and although Darlia are great, Drenge win everytime. Classics like Bloodsports, Nothing and Face Like A Skull simply cannot be beaten. Temples and Warpaint are also possible acts to see for the Friday, but neither really blow me away. There's better elsewhere. Headlining the Friday is Courteeners, and although I would like to see them, nothing comes between me and Palma Violets' headline slot.

Second day shows off a beautifully indie lineup with Royal Blood being the first band I care about. Similar to Drenge, this two piece have had quite the year. Seeing them at Finsbury Park in May was eye-opening; I didn't realise that a bass guitar could make that much noise. Ben Thatcher and Mike Kerr and incredibly talented, and I can safely say that this set will be watched by a lot of people, as Royal Blood's following has just grown and grown. Loose Change and Hole were standout tracks back in May, and I hope to see them live again. Sadly, nobody else really has the power to take me away from the main stage, however I would like to see Cage The Elephant, the ever-so-freaky Die Antwoord and Chvrches, but Wolf Alice and Jake Bugg come first. 


The final day is a funny old combination of artists. Kicking it all off are a band I cannot WAIT to see. The Wytches are phenomenal and I would recommend dragging yourself out of your tent, no matter how hungover you are, and witnessing the ear-splitting volumes of this trio. Their debut album is brain crushingly good, and I for one will not let anything get in the way of me missing this set. Other bands on the lineup are The Neighbourhood, (good live but a bit self indulgent) Jungle & The Kooks. Next comes the skinny-legged, messy-haired, dressed-all-in-black indie rock band, The Horrors. Again, definitely not one to miss as they show off their shoegazey, post punk tracks from a selection of five sensational albums. Following The Horrors comes the 1975. This is a tough one, because as a fan of the band, of course I want to see them live, but will the 12 year old fans who continue to scream through the most intimate of songs (such as Is There Somebody Who Can Watch You or Me) make it unbearable? Probably. Might have to give that one a miss. Sorry Matty. 





Festival Republic Stage:

Friday is a truly tremendous day. With a multitude of indie bands like Darlia, Fat White Family, The Orwells, Catfish & The Bottlemen and Childhood all in the same place on the same day, it promises to be a day that shows off the best new bands around and show that there really is hope for music today. Highlights will include The Orwells, Catfish & The Bottlemen and Childhood with the latter two being my favourite bands from Latitude earlier this year, and the Orwells just being incredible. What I am most looking forward to however, is headliners, Palma Violets. Easily the best band I saw live last year, and my favourite gig ever, Palmas promise to be insane. The chemistry between front man Sam and bass player Chilli is a combination like no other, and Chilli in himself usually puts on a wild stage show. When I saw them, there was stage diving, crowd invasions, neck-breaking headbanging and lyrics being screamed louder than the band could play. This is the set I am most excited for out of every single act playing this weekend, and I have absolutely no doubt it will live up to every expectation. 

Saturday doesn't have as many amazing bands as the previous day, but it does have Wolf Alice who we all know are my favourite band. Probably the only band worth leaving the main stage for, it's a huge struggle to decide whether to see them or not. Wolf Alice just keep getting better and better, and if I do get to see them this weekend, then it will mark my eighth time seeing this band live. Too many times to see one band? You might think so, but it's been an incredible experience watching this band grow and get such a following to get to where they are now. Even if I can't make it, I have no doubt they will absolutely pack out the FR Tent and blow everyone's minds in the same way they have done seven times for me. 


The Sunday is not a band day, but not the best day. Baby Strange, Saint Raymond and Drowners are all bands I plan to see but once again, nobody really stands out. American band Drowners will most likely be a highlight, with catchy two minute long pop-songs presented to you by the ever-so-wonderful Matt Hitt, they are a perfect festival band. As long as they don't clash with anyone better, I shall be sure to see them. 




Across the rest of the stages bands like Eagulls, The Skinrs, Neck Deep, Klaxons, Bondax and AlunaGeorge all promise brilliant sets. I'm sure there's a ton of bands I have missed out, but this post contains all the band I would recommend seeing and I plan to see as many as I possibly can. This weekend will be friggin incredible, and I will be sure to write a full review as soon as I return and recover. To anyone not going, there's livestreams of the main acts on BBC3 throughout the whole weekend, but to anyone that is going to either Reading or Leeds; have the most AMAZING time and have a drink (or 10) on me. 


(Written by Poppy Marriott)