Tag Archives: Reading and Leeds

The Drums – Down By The Water

1 Sep

Stylish new video from the band

Plus check out their performance at Reading and Leeds where they played a blinding set

Download announcment and other festival rumours

17 Feb

The Download lineup continues to get better every year, but this time the organizers have really outdone themselves. AC/DC, Aerosmith and Rage Against The Machine will all be playing the event this June and it doesn’t get much better than that. Also playing will be Motorhead, Them Crooked Vultures, Deftones, Megadeath, Wolfmother and a fair load of tosh just to even things out. Download has upped it’s game and now the other festivals need to follow suit.

Glastonbury has also pulled out the big guns by announcing none other than Stevie Wonder, U2 and Muse for the event’s big anniversary year.

Reading and Leeds have not announced a thing yet although Blink 182 are all but confirmed (Woop!) and eveyone from Greenday to R.E.M, My Chemical Romance to Guns N Roses have also been rumoured. At V Kasabian and Kings of Leon are probably playing and Isle of White has got The Strokes, Blondie and Jay Z.

Watch this space…

Meanwhile tickets for Rage against the Machine’s victory concert went on sale this morning. The 40,000 tickets sold out instantly, the concert will go ahead in June before the band play Dublin, Rock Am Ring and of course Download.

Reading and Leeds 2009!

6 Sep

Reading and Lees festival took place over the Bank Holiday Weekend and I was lucky enough to attend the Northern Leg. 2008’s festival was the best yet and I had doubts that 09 could ever beat it but if anything it was even better.
Over the weekend I saw a good mix of new and more established bands, kicking of the weekend on the Thursday with some new music from Wild Beasts, Bear Hands and Holy State. Wild Beats put on a great show on the back of their recently released (and hugely acclaimed) album, ‘Two Dancers’ whilst New York City’s Bear Hands were even better, showing why their debut album is so highly anticipated.

Other new bands to impress over the weekend included The XX, who put on a great show despite being all but drowned out by Leathle Bizzle on the NME stage. It was impossible to escape The XX’s simple but effective T Shirts that seemed to be everywhere (including on Vampire Weekend’s singer!). Their sound was lo-fi and emotional, just as it is on their album and I think they left everyone impressed. Hockey were also hugely impressive with thier blend of funk, pop and indie over on the FR stage. Their debut album is out next month and judging by this performance it is going to be massive (or deserves to be!). The Virgins put on a simple but high energy performance on the Sunday, bringing a fairly large crowd with them despite declining weather conditions. They performed most of their recently released album although many of the songs were disappointingly chopped or changed, and despite rudimentary playing and off key vocals it was an entertaining show. They were followed by Little Boots who brought some pop sparkle to the festival and The Horrors who may well have stolen the day with their already classic songs from their albums ‘Strange House’ and ‘Primary Colours’. They have improved a lot since the last time I saw them, 3 years ago, although they may have lost some of the raw punk energy that made their original show so great. Nonetheless this was one of highlights of the weekend, in particular their frantic version of ‘Count in Fives’ and the more laid back charms of ‘Who can Say’. I skipped Jack Penate and Jamie T after two disappointing sets last time I saw them, whilst the hottest new band in the world, The Soft Pack, unfortunately had to pull out leaving a space for fellow cool young things Amazing Baby, who alas could never compete. I also had to sacrifice The Golden Silvers due to bad weather; disappointing but hardly the end of the world.

Over on the mainstage Noah and The Whale took a more relaxed approach which was a nice change pace. Their new album is brilliant and they played some of its best tracks, such as ‘Blue Skies’. However I was pretty stumped as to why they didn’t play ‘5 years Time’, a summer anthem that would have set the Saturday off in style. Of the harder acts Fightstar impressed with their blend of melodic / screamo rock, knocking the crowd back with songs such as ‘The English Way’.  Enter Shikari were the weekend’s biggest disappointment, appearing unfortunately muted and worn throughout their short set, although it may have been me who was worn out by then!  The Prodigy warmed up the stage for Arctic Monkeys in truly electric style blasting through their hits in high octane warfare approach. ‘Firestarter’ and ‘Breathe’ were particularly mad, and newer material stood up very well alongside it. However Things got to much during ‘Voodoo People’ leading to mass crushes and people climbing ice cream vans to escape the masses!

Luckily Friday headliners Arctic Monkeys were a lot calmer, and much more sophisticated. They were apearing off the back of their sensational new album ‘Humbug’ so it’s fair to say I was looking forward to them more than any other band. Their set was a lot more ordinary than we have come to expect, in terms of songs. Whilst previously they may have played the odd B Side or in the case of 2006 kicked of with their biggest hit, here they kept things simple by opening with first song on their new album ‘My Proppeler’ before running through a setlist made up of classic oldies and newer album tracks. Even the 7 new songs they played have all been previewed live before so I was a bit annoyed we couldn’t hear ‘Dance Little Liar’ or ‘Jewelers Hands’, nonetheless the ones they did play were excellent. Compared to their highly energetic 2006 set, this headline slot was a lot calmer and composed. They swapped fast tempos for a considered pace and though the results were less exciting, they were equally enjoyable. If only some other people in the crowd could have appreciated their new subtleties. Whilst they danced and screamed to ‘When The Sun Goes Down’ or ‘Still Take You Home’ They yawned and talked though ‘Secret Door’ and even the new version of ‘Fluorescent adolecent’. More fool them because their whole performance was a real delight.

Bloc Party have played for 4 times in 5 years, so excuse me If I wasn’t to excited about seeing them. I was, however, pleasantly surprised as this was by far their best performance yet. Whilst ‘Silent Alarm’ remains their best album by a country mile (and they played considerably less material from this album than in years gone by), the band seemed very much at home playing their more dance influenced newer material. New Single ‘One More Chance’ went down very well and ‘Flux’ was another crowd pleaser. Lets face it though, Bloc Party were a means to an end. Saturday – heck, the whole weekend – was all about Radiohead. They Were every thing they could have been and more, possibly the most sublime live experience on the planet. Their set list was as perfect as I thought possible (until I saw their Reading set) with a fantastic mixture of new songs and classic sing alongs. Their opening couldn’t have been better – 15 Steps, Airbag, There There, Nude and Lucky all coming in the first 25 minutes. They did some great versions of songs from my favourite album of theirs (Kid A) including the highlight ‘National Anthem’. The conclusion was a stunning version of Paranoid Android before the frenzied ‘Just’ and the soothing end of ‘Everything in It’s right Place’. The light show was out of this world, the crowd were brilliant and the sound quality was better than I thought you could get at a music festival. I couldn’t have asked for any more – except maybe creep or fake Plastic Trees…but then again they could have played anything from their huge back Catalogue and I would have been happy. I can’t wait to see them again now.

Kaiser Chiefs on the Sunday were a must see despite the fact I have never been a big fan of theirs. Luckily I know how good they are live and I was not disappointed by their greatest hits set (despite only having three albums). They were up for it and so were the crowd, especially on ‘I predict a Riot’ and ‘Angry Mob’. The choice of who to see headline was not so easy, and it was a decision I fretted over. Kings of Leon or Faith No More? In the end I went for Kings of Leon and I don’t regret it. I have since heard of their bizarre Reading show in which they insulted the poor crowd and threw guitars at security. Well they couldn’t have been more gracious at Leeds, praising and thanking the audience at every turn and playing a much better setlist than they did when they played two years ago. ‘Red Morning Light’ was the highlight but it was the newer songs that most people had come for (something that so clearly grated Caleb at Reading.) Overall it was a very good end to a brilliant weekend. I would have loved to have seen Faith No More, and I only heard good things about thier show, but I am glad I saw KOL’s final performance of 2009.

Of course this festival wasn’t just about the music, and I saw some great comedians, films, shoops, food, and had a lot of fun over the 5 days I was there, but I would be here till christmas if I started on that…Bring on 2010!