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Reading 2012: Day 2 Roundup

 
By on Friday, 31st August 2012 at 2:00 pm
 

What rhymes with ‘shredding’?

Not Leeds, Glastonbury, Creamfields or Latitude, that’s for sure.

The rumours were traversing the Twitter/blogosphere all week preceding Reading Festival and at 11 in the morning, it turned from rumour into fact. Green Day (pictured above) arrived on the NME and Radio 1 Stage and from that moment, no matter what happened in the next 24 hours, the day was theirs.

The three American boys, led by the imperious Billie Joe Armstrong, burst on stage, the crowd arrayed before them erupted. Grown men cried, teenage girls swooned and ‘Welcome to Paradise’ rang out across the sprawling mass of bodies in front of the punk superstars. With a back catalogue as enormous as theirs, it was no surprise that their set was a long one, with over 20 songs from their entire 2 and a half decade long career played.

Frontman Billie Joe commanded the troops like a first class general, leading the crowd in a number of “whoops” and “hey ohs!”, which intertwined with the collection of hit after hit that Green Day played. New track ‘Oh Love’ was met with the same adoration as stalwarts like ‘St. Jimmy’ (which was played at a speed of the likes that would not be seen at the festival all weekend).

While the set did seem constrained by time, as ‘Boulevard of Broken Dreams’ was interrupted midway through the intro, the band did still manage a set to go down as one of the Reading Festival’s classics. ‘American Idiot’ was screamed back at the band by every single member of the crowd; such is the admiration for the band. A classic set in all ways. (10/10)

The unenviable task of following up Green Day fell to Post War Glamour Girls and in the impossible task, the Leeds-based rockers sadly didn’t provide much excitement. But in all fairness, they were following up Green Day, and it was barely even lunchtime. Credit to the band, they came on and they gave it their all. (5/10)

A trip to the Main Stage was in order next, to see Brighton-based duo Blood Red Shoes, performing for the first time on Reading’s Main Stage. The band were anything but overwhelmed by the situation, though Steven Ansell powered away on drums while Laura Mary-Carter proved an outstanding talent with her soaring vocals, which intertwined with ‘Ansell’s.’

The highlight of the set was near their set’s close as the band played ‘I Wish I Was Someone Better’. However, it should be noted that opener ‘It’s Getting Boring By The Sea’ which appears on the Scott Pilgrim vs. The World soundtrack was definitely an impressive performance. The two members of the band may have looked small in their expansive surroundings, but they made the stage their own with their mix of garage-y, bluesy indie rock and roll. I can only see them playing higher up the bill next time around. (7/10)

Back to the NME Stage I went to see Scottish heroes Twin Atlantic, in a set which was likely to be described as a bit like Biffy Clyro. What a lazy comparison. Yes, they are Scottish, whoop dee dee, so are Frightened Rabbit, but they don’t get followed by comparisons to Simon Neil’s band of rock titans, do they?

Twin Atlantic deserve plaudits of their own and on the strength of the set they played; I won’t be the only person giving them. As their brand of radio-friendly, visceral guitar music is exactly what any festival needs to pour some life into it. ‘Free’ was roared to the heady heights of the NME/Radio 1 Stage, while ‘Make a Beast of Myself’ brought on the same kind of sing-along that Green Day provoked earlier that morning. (8/10)

Staying on the NME/Radio 1 Stage, next up were one of the breakthrough acts of the past 12 months, Dry the River, who brought their hauntingly poignant brand of indie-folk mash-up to Reading.

For a band that sounds so outstanding on record it’s safe to say, hearing them live was rather disappointing. The performance seemed labored, as if every track was as difficult for frontman Peter Liddle as passing a kidney stone. ‘No Rest’ offered a glimpse of the kind of quality that this band can produce, sounding like a less energetic, but more honest Mumford and Sons. But overall, this festival may be one to forget and move on from, as this band can and will be so much better then they were on Saturday. (5/10)

From a somber set in the tent, to a riotous screaming collision of genres on the Main Stage I moved to see Enter Shikari, a band who are so eponymous with Reading Festival, I’m surprised they haven’t been booked as the house band yet. Their new album delves even more into the politically charged work they have been creating of late. So ‘IMPORTANT’ political nonsense aside, they provide entertainment in its droves.

Classic ‘Sorry You’re Not a Winner’ is roared from the stage by Rou Reynolds, while new track ‘Arguing with Thermometers’ is greeted with a singalong of huge proportions. They may not have matched the sheer mentallness of 2 years ago, but their set went down well. (7/10)

I moved from British DIY stars, to Canadian punk troubadours next, in the form of Billy Talent. A band that certainly brought the tunes, but sadly the performance did nothing to match them. Often all you could hear was frontman Benjamin Kowalewicz wailing down the microphone incomprehensively. Set closer ‘Red Flag’ brought a riotous reaction, but in a formulaic set with very little merit to it, it all felt just a little bit contrived. Come up with something new, Billy. Then we’ll talk. (4/10)

To close the day there was another choice to be made. At the Drive In or Kasabian. A choice which I now regret, not for musical reasons, but for the fact that the former of the two has announced that their gig on Tuesday 28th August will be there last as a band.

As you can tell then, I saw Kasabian. Hardcore legends aside (At the Drive In) the Leicestershire based lad-rockers served up a set of unashamed arrogance and brilliance.

Tom Meighan swaggered around the stage like he owned it and for those two hours he absolutely did. The hits were reeled out at breakneck pace and each one was greeted with the adulation such a spectacular performance deserved. The band was fantastic, from start to finish with set closer ‘Fire’ bringing an end to a set which should quite rightly go down as one of the band and even Reading Festival’s best. (10/10)

 

Enter Shikari / December 2012 UK Tour

 
By on Tuesday, 28th August 2012 at 8:30 am
 

Enter Shikari have announced their ‘A Flash of Flood of Christmas’ tour for December. Tickets go on sale Friday (31 August) at 9 AM. Support will come from Toronto, Canada’s Cancer Bats and Brighton’s Engine-Earz Experiment.

Thursday 6th December 2012 – Manchester Ritz
Friday 7th December 2012 – Manchester Ritz
Sunday 9th December 2012 – Newcastle Academy
Monday 10th December 2012 – Glasgow Barrowlands
Tuesday 11th December 2012 – Glasgow Barrowlands
Friday 14th December 2012 – Birmingham HMV Institute
Saturday 15th December 2012 – Birmingham HMV Institute
Sunday 16th December 2012 – London Roundhouse
Monday 17th December 2012 – London Roundhouse
Wednesday 19th December 2012 – Norwich UEA
Thursday 20th December 2012 – Norwich UEA

 

Video of the Moment #874: Enter Shikari

 
By on Saturday, 7th July 2012 at 10:00 am
 

Here is the high octane video for Enter Shikari‘s ‘Warm Smiles Do Not Make You Welcome Here’. Some folks are saying the video is about the destruction of the music business by manufacturing the same kind of music again and again, but even if you’re not looking for a subtext, I think it’s a pretty good song. (Yes. I can see through the screen you are surprised. I do like a bit of hard rock every now and then!)

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z8fq_1S0EsE[/youtube]

 

“You bought what?!” – Weird Band Merchandise for Sale

 
By on Friday, 20th April 2012 at 11:00 am
 

Last week the titans of thrash, Slayer, announced they are going to release a deathly delight for their legions of fans – wine. Dubbed ‘Reign in Blood’ after their brutalising 1986 album, the Cabernet Sauvignon is the ideal accompaniment for any true metaller’s raw steak with extra blood. And what is more metal than blood-coloured alcohol? Maybe Lemmy‘s whiskey collection, but that’s about it.

Some bands, though, appear to just love putting their name to anything. Instead of forcing fans to take out a mortgage for the chance to see their favourite band at a soulless enormodome, there’s a wealth of branded toys, trinkets and treats for fans everywhere with too much money.

To tie-in with their ‘build a rocket boys!’ album, Elbow teamed up with local Stockport Robinsons Brewery to create their very own beer. Described as a “golden ale with a rich balanced body, smooth bitterness, subtle tang of malt and fruity aroma”, this premium nectar sounds like a delicious addition to any beer aficionado’s collection but don’t listen to Elbow whilst drinking or you might never stop. They’re that bland.

Speaking of bland, one of the most shameful pieces of merch comes from one of the worst bands of all time (personal opinion). Not only do the Killers contribute nothing to modern music at all – other than a rotating festival headliner – they cash in on the gullibility of idiots by selling ‘Smile Like You Mean It’ toothbrushes. Yes, you read that correctly. You can now be reminded of that god-awful song whilst you partake in oral hygiene. Rock on, guys.

But what about when you can’t rock any more? Don’t worry there’s something for you too, it’s a coffin! Actually named the Kiss Kasket, Gene Simmons and co. licensed the sale of a final resting place covered in Kiss logos and pictures of the face-painted funsters. Pantera‘s Dimebag Darrell was actually buried in a Kiss Kasket at his own request. It’s also said to double up as a giant beer cooler for parties: just make sure you know which event you’re attending.

Before death, though, comes life! And we all know how we get life, right kids? But if you plan to practice making babies first, don’t forget to rubber up with your favourite band’s own brand of condom. What could make that moment between you and a loved one more special than by donning Manowar‘s Warrior’s Shield sheath to your, ahem, warrior. [Thanks to Graham Norton, my eyes have been offended by the JLS line of condoms as well. Norton confirms the Aston Merrygold line sells best. – Ed.] But if you’re not into the fantasy power metallers in the bedroom, how about Enter Shikari‘s No Sleep Tonight member jackets? Named after a song that also features the lyric “we can’t quite stomach this”, make of that what you will.

No-one does dirty sexy like the Germans, though. So leave it to industrial enthusiasts Rammstein to create their very own sex toy set. To celebrate the release of their 2009 album ‘Liebe Ist Fur Alle Da’, the Berlin bruisers released a special edition box set that included six dildos, a pair of handcuffs and some lube. Not amusing little dildos you can use as a key ring, we’re talking the real deal. If one of your family members is a Rammstein fan and you think you’ve found the perfect gift for them on eBay, give the description a thorough read before bidding.

 

Video of the Moment #684: Enter Shikari

 
By on Wednesday, 18th January 2012 at 6:00 pm
 

‘Arguing With Thermometers’ is the new video from Enter Shikari, who’ve just released a new album ‘A Flash Flood of Colour’ on Monday. (Luke’s review of the LP is here.) This ain’t no Ron Burgundy, I can assure you.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DUnNW-nbots[/youtube]

 

Album Review: Enter Shikari – A Flash Flood of Colour

 
By on Monday, 16th January 2012 at 12:00 pm
 

Since finding fame on MySpace (remember that thing?) back in 2006, St. Albans post-hardcore gang Enter Shikari have shot to almost-mainstream fame. Their debut album ‘Take to the Skies’ reached number four and their previous album ‘Common Dreads’ received critical acclaim across the music press. It’s now almost three years later and the genre-bending mob are back with the supreme ‘A Flash Flood of Colour’.

Obviously influenced by the current political and economic climate, the LP is as much as a call to arms as it is a music piece. Fading in from the previous album with ‘System…’, you’re greeted by frontman Rou Reynolds’ spoken word thoughts about the downfall of society. This fades into the fantastically angsty and furious ‘…Meltdown’. An abundance of blips and blops fuse with the dubstep/metal combo to create an infectious party anthem that’s as drum & bass as it is hardcore, and lyrically poignant: “Countries are just lines drawn in the sand with a stick”.

The lyrics are what makes ‘A Flash Flood of Colour’ stand out compared to the previous two Enter Shikari albums. The words aren’t just nonsensical anti-capitalist ramblings, Rou puts forward many ideas to incite change and action from Enter Shikari’s fans (AKA Lions). Each song has a line that stands out, whether it’s the justifiably vulgar “We’re sick of this shit!” or “Empires always fall” – sound bites that are destined to be screamed from venues across the world.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=znQii6mB8Hw&ob[/youtube]

What has made Enter Shikari stand out over the years is their fusion with electronic music. The band dabbled in dubstep for ‘Common Dreads’ but this time it’s a much stronger influence on the music. The Rusko-esque bouncy beats during ‘Gandhi Mate, Gandhi’ and the huge bass-y drop in ‘Pack of Thieves’ is deliciously dirty. At times the band throw in elements of jungle, drum ‘n’ bass and trance to keep the music alive and your heart pumping.

It’s not all fast-paced carnage, though. As with the last two LPs, Enter Shikari mix up the post-hardcore with slower, softer sounds. Interspersed in the frantic rage, are a couple of emotive numbers in same vein as ‘Today Won’t Go Down in History’ from ‘Take to the Skies’. Album closer ‘Constellations’ is possibly the best ‘slower’ song the synth-smashing quartet have produced. What starts as spoken word from Rou comparing the state of the economy to a train station, leads to a realisation that it’s up to us as people to sort the country out. It culminates in a statement that echoes the end of Bill Hicks’ infamous ‘Revelations’ show – “Imagine no restrictions but the climate and weather, so we could explore space together forever”.

Enter Shikari have created an album that is not only going to please their fans, but no doubt attract more with their political ideals and impressive musical ability. You can listen to it on repeat for hours at a time, connecting with every nuance and word because the lyrics are based around subjects that affect everyone. Whereas their peers might sing about losing a girl and how awful that was, these motivated lads have unleashed their frustrations toward the government and society for everyone to see and hear. The Lions will roar.

9/10

‘A Flash Flood of Colour’, Enter Shikari’s third album, is out today (16 January) on Ambush Reality.

 
 
 

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