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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)

 

Leeds 2011: Day 2 (John’s Roundup)

 
By on Wednesday, 7th September 2011 at 2:00 pm
 

Five minutes of rain was all the heavens had in store for us on Saturday at Leeds. On a day which promised to be the heaviest of the weekend, with acts like Bring Me the Horizon, Rise Against and headliners My Chemical Romance gracing the main stage, the weather held off and it was primarily dry.

To kick off the day of music were the Blackout, who brought by far the Welshest set of the weekend. ‘STFUppercut’ was loud and hit with the ferocity of a festival goer with a full bladder running to the loo. ‘Children of the Night’, which in my humblest of opinions is their most solid track, sounded weak and laboured, no matter how much front men Sean Smith and Gavin Butler bounced about the stage.

New Found Glory were up next and found themselves in a familiar position to last time they played in 2009 where they were 3rd on the main stage once before. They opened with easily their best offering ‘All Downhill From Here’ and well… It really was. Nobody was expecting a set full of hits, because the band doesn’t have any. ‘My Friend’s Over You’ simply sounded like the whines of an unwanted child and the rest of the set just isn’t worth explaining. Poor throughout. As expected.

The failure of the Main Stage bands to whet my appetite led me to fresher pastures. My first port of call was the Festival Republic stage, where acts like Franz Ferdinand have cut their teeth and gone on to headline. A band familiar to TGTF were next up; they played 2nd on the bill on TGTF’s stage at Brighton’s Great Escape this year. Foster the People are currently riding on the crest of a wave with their hit single ‘Pumped Up Kicks’ that has been played to death on Radio 1. This has done them a world of good though, because as with all hotly-tipped acts on the stage the tent was bursting to the brim. For good reason, these boys were fantastic and thoroughly deserve all the plaudits being given to them by the press at the moment. Even with the briskly cold weather Foster the People managed to create a ray of sunshine in the tent.

Back to the Main Stage I ventured then. Up next was punk rockers Rise Against, who immediately came out with a mission, it was going to be mosh pit central and I don’t think we had a choice about it. To go from Foster the People to Rise Against was a bit of a culture shock, but festivals are about diversity in music and I think there can be few similarities seen between these acts. Rise Against’s set was frantic, with guitars roaring above the wind, with ‘Savior’ sounded positively epic in the Main Stage’s surroundings and ‘Prayer Of The Refugee’ had the entire crowd singing along.

Booze by this point was taking its toll on my body and my decision making capabilities, so it was to no surprise that I was convinced by my fellow festivalers that going to the Dance tent for some sweaty raving was a fantastic idea. Nero were playing a DJ set and with hits like ‘Promises’ and ‘Guilt’, they were going down an absolute storm in the confines of what the day before was the Lock Up Stage. It was the set afterwards that really, excuse the cliché, blew the roof off though. ‘Sub-Focus’ took the crowd in the palm of their hand and easily had people skanking to their will. The beats were infectious, dirty and the perfect mix for a bunch of booze infused teenagers with 90% attempting to pull.

With a quick dash/stumble across the site to the NME stage I was able to catch the spectacle that is Noah and the Whale. The nu-folk dealio had been done last year with Mumford and Sons, but while nobody can fully excuse Noah from being mainstream there was by far a more eclectic crowd gathered than for the heaving mob created by Marcus Mumford and co. The tracks from their new record didn’t seem forced upon the crowd: the masses received them with joy and while movement was low, the joy amongst the fans was apparent to all. They are a band on top of their game at the moment, playing beautiful music to fans who adore them.

Up next were gloom rockers White Lies. Opener ‘Farewell to the Fairground’s’ trademark drums got the people in the tent excited, and for good reason, as this was surely to be one of the sets of the festival so far. White Lies didn’t fail to disappoint; Harry McVeigh’s voice resonated among the punters with an eerie gloom, while the bass roared to life in the background. Set closer ‘Bigger Than Us’ for sure has to be nominated for the loudest song of the festival award, as I was surprised the people at Reading couldn’t hear the drum beat blasting along.

Headlining the evening was My Chemical Romance, another band with a troubled Reading and Leeds history. MCR were bottled off during their last visit to the Reading site in 2006 and vowed that they would never return to the festival unless they were headlining. Five years later and the emo pin-up boys had done it. They were headlining the Main Stage and wow, you could tell they loved it.
‘Na Na Na (Na Na Na Na Na Na Na Na Na)’ was greeted to roars from the crowd, as Gerard Way patrolled around the stage akin to a general directing his troops. The energy was frantic during the opener; you could tell the boys on stage were playing like their lives depended on it. It was paying off though; naysayers and MCR skeptics all about the Main Stage crowd surely were having their heads turn by the display of blasé rock ‘n’ roll on show in front of them.

If that wasn’t enough they followed it up with their now classic ‘I’m Not OK (I Promise),’ fists were already pumping all around the crowd, flares being lit left right and centre. The band powered through a set with all the hits and songs from their newest record, with the highlights including the glorious sing-along that is ‘S/C/A/R/E/C/R/O/W’ and a ferocious rendition of ‘Famous Last Words’. To finish the set though there could only be one song. The anthem that saw them loved my millions, yet tarnished by the brand of a suicide cult. ‘Welcome to the Black Parade’ was everything it was meant to be though that night, a triumphant call to arms, awry with guitar solo’s that Queen would be proud off. A successful set then for MCR, one which can leave few doubting that this band deserves to headline bills like this.

 

New Found Glory / August 2009 UK Tour

 
By on Friday, 19th June 2009 at 12:00 pm
 

Florida, USA rockers New Found Glory have announced a string of UK tour dates between playing festivals around the UK and Europe this summer.

Tickets for all these dates are on sale now.

Saturday 22nd August 2009 – London Garage
Sunday 23rd August 2009 – Manchester Club Academy
Monday 24th August 2009 – Newcastle Academy 2
Tuesday 25th August 2009 – Glasgow Garage
Thursday 27th August 2009 – Birmingham Academy 2
Friday 28th August 2009 – Reading Festival
Saturday 29th August 2009 –Nottingham, Rescue Rooms
Sunday 30th August 2009 – Leeds Festival

 
 
 

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There Goes The Fear is where we tell you about the latest music, gigs, and tours we love and think you should too.

We love music that has its heart on its sleeve, tells a story, swims around our head all day or makes us dance like no-one's watching.

TGTF was edited by Mary Chang, based in Washington, DC.

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