The Saturday of Reading was the most chilled out day I got to spend there. My main priority was to see the absolutely incredible, Wolf Alice. Alongside the greatest band ever, (Wolf Alice) the headliners were Arctic Monkeys with Jake Bugg on beforehand, so the day was fairly promising.
The first band I saw was the always growing, Royal Blood. With a brand new debut album released only days ago, and a mightly successful year under their belt, it was no surprise that they packed out the Radio 1/NME tent. They played a long-enough-to-stay-relevant set, and as I had seen them before a couple times, I wasn't too bothered. However, the noise that this two piece create is unfathomable. Using just a bass guitar and drums to smash out some skull crashing rock songs requires massive amounts of skill, and let me tell you, Ben Thatcher and Mike Kerr have got it. Seeing them live again was pretty similar to the previous times (in fact I think they played the same setlist all three times) but alas, they were still great. Hopefully the release of their debut album will spice up their live shows a bit more, or they could risk getting very boring, very quickly.
Following leaving Royal Blood's set early, it was a quick run to the main stage to catch the indie band to end all other indie bands, Peace's main stage debut set. The speculations surrounding their set came few and far between; What will Harrisson wear? Will they reveal any new tracks? Are they able to command a mainstage crowd? WILL THEY PLAY 1998? Unfortunately they no longer play 1998 due to their new release World Pleasure being the only 5 minute+ track they play. However, the rest of the set was truly brilliant and the B-town boys played amazingly. Drawing an impressive sized crowd, highlights definitely included opening song Lovesick, beautiful ballad California Daze and final song Bloodshake. As not-quite-a-fan of their new stuff, I was slightly adamant about how good they would be, but I was disproved. Peace were outstanding.
THE TIME HAD FINALLY COME TO SEE WOLF ALICE AND I WAS FAR TOO EXCITED FOR SOMEONE WHO HAS SEEN THEM SEVEN TIMES BEFORE.As one of my favourite bands around today, seeing Wolf Alice was no question. No matter who they clashed with, I didn't care. Seeing this band for the eighth time was a risk, what if the day comes when I get bored of them? Well that day was certainly not the Saturday. They killed it. I have had the privilege of seeing this band 'grow up' as sorts, as if we think back to early 2013 when I saw them live for the first time, about 50 people showed up in a tiny local venue with about 10% knowing a few words to debut single, Fluffy. Their set at Reading was jaw-droppingly good, and to see how far they have come and how much they have improved and come together as a band is heart warming. This band deserve every bit of success they receive, and I for one cannot wait for their debut album. Highlight of the weekend alongside Palma Violets.
The final two acts of Saturday night were Jake Bugg and Arctic Monkeys. A promising combination I hoped, and both delivered. Neither near the level of my 20/20 acts, but nevertheless, very very good.
Jake Bugg was someone who I was excited to see as a major fan of his second album and although not my favourite, his debut album contains some of my favourite Bugg tracks, and it was impressive for a debut. He played the main stage which has become second nature after his Glasto mini-set and headline slot, and you could tell he is much more comfortable with the exceptionally large crowd he drew. The setlist contained enough tracks from both albums to show off his range of talents, as well as all the fan-favourites like Slumville Sunrise, Two Fingers and Lightening Bolt. I was truly impressed, and have a new found respect for Bugg after he showed emotion during a particularly touching rendition of one of his earlier songs, Broken. The sun came out at the most perfect time and it was truly stunning. You could hear a pin-drop in the crowd when they were not bellowing along with the lyrics.
Well here we go. You all know I have a lot to say about Arctic Monkeys so do prepare yourselves. I'm joking, I'm joking. I was actually pleasantly surprised with their set. I was expecting the same setlist they have been playing for nearly a year now, but instead I got one full of the classics. My Propeller, Teddy Picker, Old Yellow Bricks and When The Sun Goes Down all made appearances of which I was incandescently happy about, but the only fault was the second to last song. I thought, 'yes, we've made it through an entire AM-era setlist without the painfully bad bollocks that is Snap Out Of It. Tragically, it showed up when I least expected it, but hey, if it got the crowd dancing then who am I to say not to play it. No matter how bad it is. (it's bad) But enough about the negativity. Arctics put on a wild show, and I for one am glad I stuck it out and stayed. If however, the pits had been monitored by security enough then I perhaps may have enjoyed it even more. For the duration of about three songs, myself and the people around me had to form a place where people could escape the seemingly violent mosh. There were points when people were coming up to us crying and physically bleeding and begging to be pulled out of the crowd because the security 'couldn't get to them' or 'they needed to get themselves out' which was a huge mistake. Although I am a firm believer in people who can't handle mosh pits or mosh cirlces etc not going anywhere near them, it should never have been able to get that bad. BUT I DIGRESS. Back to Arctics. They played as well as they always do, and besides being piss drunk, (Alex, I am looking at you) proceeded to put on a killer live show. Definitely not my favourite band of the weekend, not even my favourite headliners, but still tremendous. I think what they need now is a break before touring or releasing anything new to work on their sound, and hopefully get away from that awful awful American sound they have acquired. Overall, not a bad set, but nowhere near the best I have seen them.
ONTO THE FINAL DAY!
First band I saw Sunday is a rock trio who to say I am currently obsessed with would be an understatement. Brighton band, The Wytches. With a killer debut album just released, this three piece opened the Radio 1/NME stage for the final time on Sunday morning. Drawing a decent sized crowd for the final morning, nobody with a hangover came near that tent because the filthy riffs and thrashing rhythms caused chaos. Mosh circles opened up to mark the start of the opening track, and the frenzy began. The setlist contained all the best songs, and for what it was, the band played amazingly. Cannot wait to see these boys again in October, and I urge anyone and everyone to do the same. Magnificent talent from such a young trio. Still in shock with how good they really were, The Wytches are up there with my top acts of the weekend.
The next (important) act I saw was Drowners. "Hi we're Drowners from New York" kicked off the high energy indie-pop set made up of four leather clad skinny men in black jeans thrashing away at their instruments. Although it took seeing them live to realise that all their songs sound pretty similar, it was still an ace set. I really enjoyed the masses of energy that the band and crowd generated because it gave such a feel good mood to the whole set, especially during highlights; Unzip Your Harrington, Long Hair and A Shell Across Your Tongue. A perfect Sunday afternoon set full of great catchy songs. I was lucky enough to get to chat to frontman Matt Hitt afterwards and he was so lovely, and thanked myself and everyone else who came to meet him for coming to the set, and you could just tell they really appreciated it.
I caught the end of 2007 legends 'The Kooks' set and judging by the mass singalong and insanely packed out tent, they were definitely one of the most popular acts from the whole weekend. Classics were being played left right and centre, with Naive, Junk Of The Heart (Happy) and She Moves In Her Own Way being the most known. I wish I could write more but I literally caught 10 minutes of the set. Sounded amazing though.
Following the Kooks came a short break in which we decided to maybe or maybe not go and see Macklemore.. (We did) He was great, and before leaving to go see the Horrors, I managed to catch the whole of Thrift Shop and let me tell you now, god DAMN that is a funky bloody song. Dance inducing, it was really great to see before running off to see the Horrors .. who I actually missed .. for Macklemore ..
Sidenote: I got the times wrong meaning that we went and saw Macklemore thinking that we would have enough time to see both and I didn't. Sorry Faris, I truly am. I'll repay you by coming to your gig in September, I PROMISE.
The penultimate act of my Reading Festival was The 1975. Now I know a lot of people don't like the 1975 and I honestly do understand why, but this band mean a whole lot to me so seeing them live again, in this size venue was an incredibly moving experience. To see how far they have come even since February when I saw them was amazing, and I am incredibly proud, and I don't care how sad that sounds. They played an astounding set full of album tracks with a few of their old stuff from the first EP's which was a pleasant surprise. I adored this set and it was up there with, not the best, but my favourites. Matty Healy and the boys have come so far, and despite the 12 year old girl fanbase, they are still one of my favourite bands. A great show, and set me up perfectly to totally lose my shit to the final headliner.
The final headliner. Blink 182. BLINK ONE EIGHT TWO. The living legends themselves. Pretty much the act that sold Reading to me all the way back when they were announced at the start of this year. I was expecting a whole lot, and I was not disappointed in the slightest. Kicking the whole set off with Feeling This before launching into my favourite Blink song, What's My Age Again? and THEN into Rock Show was the best opening trio of songs I have ever heard. The audience which was probably the biggest crowd I have ever been was full of people of all ages, backgrounds, music tastes and genders. Everyone just wanted to party the last night away, and it couldn't have been soundtracked by a better band. The absolute highlights were a wonderful rendition of I Miss You to which the whole crowd sang along at ear splitting volumes, and of course, the classic, All The Small Things. Never have I seen so many people in one place go absolutely mental. Such an experience. Overall, I could go on and on about how great Blink were, but it was just perfect. They sounded amazing, looked amazing and the energy was unmatchable. The greatest end imaginable.
Overall, Reading Festival was one of the greatest weekends of my entire life, and I couldn't be more grateful to all the bands I saw, the people I went with, the amazing people I met there and just everyone involved in the whole weekend. 100% hoping to return next year. THANKS READING, YOU RULE.
(WRITTEN BY POPPY MARRIOTT)