Reading 2013: Day 1 Roundup

By on Wednesday, 4th September 2013 at 2:00 pm
 

Reading 2009 had me acting at my hedonistic worst, scouting the campsites for (in)eligible girls, sniffing around like some kind of deranged yet voyeuristic puppy on methamphetamines. Humping the legs of any passerby (not literally, but sometimes literally), staying up all night around the campfire making sweet harmonies to Oasis (who I found out had broken up while I was actually singing, post-festival) and getting to the front barriers, only to be disappointed by the diva-esque tantrum-age of Kings of Leon.

In 2013, I found myself holding back bile at the sheer volume of ass hanging from hot pants, avoiding moshpits until my most intoxicated state and all too often feeling like John Murtaugh from the Lethal Weapon films. I was indeed “Too old for this shit” and I’m bloody 21.

Something’s wrong.

Instead of engaging in vapid hedonism then, I ensured that the bands came first and foremost.

Starting Reading 2013 with Dry the River was always going to be relaxing introduction to the vibrancy and colours that Reading Festival had to offer. The problem was that while on record, the music is melodic and toe-tappingly gorgeous, in a live arena Will Harvey’s tones squeaked like rubbing plastic on grilled halloumi cheese. The orchestral backdrop they soar along to sounded out of time, and the performance was left sounding disjointed and a bit ugly. The songs are there and when they get it all pounded down to a tee, then they’ll have a live set capable of moving grown men to tears, as they are definitely capable of the majestic. Just not on Friday… (5/10)

Flame-haired maestros of funkadelia Night Engine took to the NME/BBC Radio 1 Stage after the crowing folkers departed, and while I only caught drips and drabs of their set, they showed enough promise to live up to the NME starlet billing which they have attained with their incredible work ethic. (I also spoke to them later on about pears and other stuff.) (7/10)

Kodaline lived up to the Irish Coldplay billing our editor Mary Chang has labelled them with. I mean, ‘High Hopes’ is quite obviously Coldplay riffage, ripped straight from ‘Fix You’. They’re agreeable, of that there is little doubt and they are going to grow like a caliginous tumour or polyp on your arse. The crowd which swelled, ebbed and flowed out of the expanses of the tent was testament to how big they are going to be and with their puppet-strings tautly around the massive crowd, they manipulated the masses to mimic every word back. (6/10)

After having a screech at Kodaline, the first trek towards the Main Stage was upon my party of misfits. After a brief stop for some questionably foamy Gaymers and unreasonably priced Tuborg, we arrived at nostalgia central, population 15,000 pop-punkers who have in punk Peter Pan style have refused to grow up. New Found Glory took to the stage with an unshockingly shirtless Ian Grushka and whilst they may have a sizable back catalogue to draw from, the audience, bar the veterans of pop-punk, seemed to be largely oblivious to most tracks.

However, when the Reading stalwarts on their eighth pilgrimage to Richfield Avenue dropped the mammoth choral assault of ‘My Friends Over You’, in unison a horde of teens and steadfast fans put their legs together for a pop-punk bop to end them all. (If you don’t want to know what a pop-punk jump is, go here.) (7/10)

Bringing a different kind of movement to the Main Stage were
Bring Me the Horizon, the undisputed best metal band in Britain at the moment, following on from the titanic album ‘Sempiternal’. From the opening intro of ‘Shadow Moses’ (previous In the Post here) it was brutally obvious that Mr. Sykes had in one fell swoop gathered up the entire Reading crowd and placed them gruffly in his hand. ‘Shadow Moses’ was simply spellbinding, and the drop on the song was as ferocious as I’ve seen at Reading in my 5 years I have attended.

Whilst Chelsea Smile proved to be an anthem of epic proportions. Resplendent in the new England shirt, Ollie Sykes was the frontman who everyone at the festival was to beat, as he roared for the Reading crowd to ‘KILL EACHOTHER’. The band were full of energy, and the crowd reciprocated with some of the biggest circle pittage of the weekend. BMTH had set the marker. (9/10)

A marker in theatrical terms was about to be met, with a bit of a throwback to 1992 from Winchester’s finest wordsmith, Frank Turner (pictured at top), formerly of post-hardcore band Million Dead. As he wheeled out onto stage only after recently recovering from severe back trouble, there was a 50/50 mixture of jeers and cheers as Turner’s tribute to Kurt Cobain and their eponymous 1992 set was referenced.

Opening with probably the most fun live song Turner has produced, was the beginner of a barnstorming set that was a cornucopia of singalong-y goodness and while his most recent album ‘Tape Deck Heart’, is easily his deepest cut into Turner’s troubled psyche, every song seems to resonate with a bouncy happiness. The one disappointment of Turner’s near flawless festival set was the inability of the crowd to realise when to leap up on set closer ‘Photosynthesis’. Bar that extraordinary feat of sonic unawareness, Turner cemented himself as a staple of the British festival circuit now set to rise through the ranks, Biffy style. (9/10)

After a quick bevvie break, it was time for some proper nostalgia in the form of
System of a Down. The tunes were all there. Inevitably the band weren’t though. They belted out their propaganda laden tunes one after one in succession, and on stage, guitarist Daron Malakian may as well have just stood there with the vacant expression on his face with a big sign saying ‘cheque please’. To see SOAD in their pomp must have been truly fantastic, but with this lazy reunion, perhaps it’s better that the memories of SOAD remain simply that: memories. (6/10)

Following that were a band who there was no argument that they weren’t interested, came a band who grabbed the entire crowd by the scruff of their necks and shouted a massive “HEEEEEYYYYYOOOOOOO!” We are, of course, speaking of Green Day.

And boy did they say HEEEEEYYYYYOOOOO a lot. Like loads. Starting at just over 4 minutes over the set and continuing throughout the behemoth of a set they played which included a full play-out of their sophomore (what the fuck is a sophomore album) album ‘Dookie’. For a crowd mainly consisting of 16 to 25 year olds, anything from ‘American Idiot’ was greeted with jubilatory cheers, whilst ‘Dookie’ was greeted with a sense of confusion. Barring ‘Basketcase’ of course, this provoked a seething mass of revellers and crowd surfers. Billie Joe Armstrong has this habit of bringing befuddled youths up on stage as well, which whilst providing an unforgettable moment for on youngsters, manages to break up a song and really falls flat when the kid pretty much doesn’t know the words to the song.

Factor into the set a frankly epic rendition of ‘Jesus of Suburbia’ and HEYYYYOOOOOOOs aside, Green Day conquered Reading Festival for the second year running. Congrats boys, now go and write a half decent new record, will you? (8/10)

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3 Responses

2:04 pm
4th September 2013

New post: Reading 2013 @OfficialRandL Day 1 Roundup inc Green Day, Frank Turner, Bring Me the Horizon + Night Engine http://t.co/bTSJgYmSVY

2:16 pm
4th September 2013

Reading 2013 @OfficialRandL Day 1 Roundup inc @GreenDay, @FrankTurner, @bmthofficial, @Kodaline and @Night_Engine http://t.co/bTSJgYmSVY

2:06 pm
5th September 2013

RT @tgtf: Reading 2013 @OfficialRandL Day 1 Roundup inc @GreenDay, @FrankTurner, @bmthofficial, @Kodaline and @Night_Engine http://t.co/bTS…

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