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Reading 2016: Saturday Roundup

 
By on Wednesday, 31st August 2016 at 2:00 pm
 

Following on from the complete success that was Friday at Reading 2016 – and with Foals‘ pinnacle career moment headlining the main stage – Saturday had a lot to live up to. Headlining solo today were the funk giants and great dividers of opinion, Red Hot Chili Peppers, but first we had a whole day to experience.

The weather had a go at trying to dampen the spirits by giving a mid-morning downpour, but as with all UK festivals, this only fuelled the festival-going crowd’s insatiable lust for a good time. First up were Scottish three-piece Fatherson. Clearly a milestone for the band, they delivered their emotive and euphoric set with complete expert execution. It shouldn’t be too long before they climb their way through the stages and find themselves front and centre.

The Beach, a London-based singer/songwriter recently on tour with Tom Odell, brought his band for a full ensemble run through of his thoughtful and encompassing tunes. This was an easy watch that the calm crowd relished in. Over on the main stage, American hard rockers Clutch may not have had the largest crowd for the location, but they certainly didn’t let this stop them from giving a set that was filled with solos, riffs and just about every other rock staple you need. Shout out to drummer Jean-Paul Gaster for his 9:30 Club t-shirt (Washington represent!)

Continuing the heavy streak on the main stage, Skindred gave a thoroughly vicious performance with their blend of rock, reggae and metal. The crowd, after witnessing Clutch, were more than up for a good time with heavier influences. Which was good considering what was to come across the field.

The Pit was the place to be for most of the afternoon. Like most festivals, secret sets are always a guarantee, and Reading was no different. With a gap on the stage at 4 PM labelled as ‘TBC’, a spraypainted You Me At Six poster and a band photo backstage, the most subtle of secrets was suddenly revealed. But this was not before what could probably have been one of the best sets of the festival by Heck, a musical marvel who completely dominated the stage, the crowd and everything in between. Spending the majority of the set in various states in and on the crowd, including guitarist and singer Jonny Hall sat atop a flight case while playing guitar, it was an absolutely animalistic and wild sight to behold, Heck should not skip anyone’s radar, not they’d let that happen in any case. Back to the You Me At Six secret set, the closer the time came to 4 PM, the further the tent filled out. By the time the band took to the stage through a curtain of fog, the tent was a gravitational centre. With the band having just announced a large tour of the UK, it was a close and exciting glimpse into what was to hit our cities early next year.

On the main stage, Kent breakthrough punk duo Slaves, proved that they’d earned their way on to central billing by ferociously powering through their socially relevant songs. Another historic moment for a British band at a staple festival.

Back at The Pit and following on from Reading 2016’s worst kept secret came Milk Teeth. The Gloucestershire-based band showed exactly why they’re one of the UK’s brightest up-and-comers. With songs filled with personality and a ’90s rock feel, the crowd were as immersed in the music as the band playing them. It’s sets such as theirs that give Reading its best draw and atmosphere: small bands finding their audience, laying the groundwork for a return in the future to ever larger crowds.

One of the UK festival exclusives this year, Eagles of Death Metal have been present in the public eye for many reasons over the last year, both positive and negative. All of that didn’t matter today though as they joked, sang, laughed and rocked through a main stage set that will surely eclipse what has gone before. Leading man Jesse Hughes knows exactly how to engage and entertain his audience, be it dedicating ‘Zipper Down’ cut ‘Silverlake’ to a fan-made golden cape that he wore atop a Red Hot Chili Peppers shirt, or introducing us all to his father who was side of stage and beginning a chant of “dad! dad! dad!”, he’s an expert at his craft. Ending with ‘Save a Prayer’ who he dedicated to England because “when we needed you, you did not let us down”, likely a reference to the Bataclan terror attack in Paris last November.

While this riotous party was going down, newcomers VANT had the Festival Republic tent filled with young minds that they’re hoping to reach with their politically charged songs. Judging by the reception they were given during single ‘The Answer’ that references Afghanistan and UK/U.S. relations, their plan is working.

Mancunians The Courteeners burst onto the main stage taking over from where Eagles of Death Metal left off. Theirs was a rousing, anthemic set, perfect to carry the afternoon through to ready for the evening’s festivities. Imagine Dragons were the warm-up for Red Hot Chili Peppers, and by the term warm up, they certainly did. With crowd pleasers such as ‘Radioactive’ and ‘Demons’ and their larger than life sound, there was no way they could fail.

Finally, it was the turn of the big guns, Red Hot Chili Peppers. A band who simply need no introduction, over 3 decades of funk and rock, they proved at Reading they’re here to keep the reigning crown. Taking to the stage at 9:30, the incomparable Red Hot Chili Peppers were as welcomed as they would’ve been at any point in their career, with a hungry crowd and rapturous applause. Kicking straight in with ‘Can’t Stop’, it was clear they were here to only prove this point. Though the set could have felt a touch more exciting, it was a solid performance that certainly cemented Kiedis and co.’s place at top billing. Hits aplenty, from a full crowd sing along to ‘Under the Bridge’ to an encore ending with ‘Give It Away’. Saturday night closed out with the feeling of an impenetrable force proved by the enthusiastic crowd, who had grown to almost the entire festival capacity and sought any means possible to get a view. If Saturday was anything to go by, it proved Reading and Leeds is a festival that not only secures the legends but can also breed them.

 

Takedown Festival 2012 Roundup

 
By on Thursday, 22nd March 2012 at 2:00 pm
 

As the spring sunshine battles with the traditional drizzle in the early afternoon, Southampton University is awash with music fans young and old for the all-day party that is Takedown. With an obvious leaning toward the heavier end of the spectrum, 30 bands from across the UK take over four stages set up between two of the university buildings, both of which come equipped with a bar that never empties throughout the next 10 hours.

Opening the Big Deal stage are local pop-punkers Forever Can Wait. Fronted by the delightful Tash Crump, the band’s infectious set of upbeat party poppers are kept aloft by Crump’s energetic stage antics. Tracks ‘Walking on Wasted Time’ and ‘Rest’ get the modest crowd bobbing slightly, but as it’s still an early start for a Sunday, Forever Can Wait couldn’t have asked for more.

Over the on Monster stage are today’s best kept secret – Mallory Knox. This is their first-ever festival performance, which for such a young band isn’t surprising, but managing to half-fill the main stage at 3 PM is no mean feat. The Cambridge boys storm the stage and give it their all with the front few rows singing along to every word. Their EP ‘Pilot’ is seems to have been downloaded by half the people here and the upcoming release of their debut won’t go unnoticed. The big sounding drums and punktastic guitars whip up a frenzy whilst lead vocalist Mikey Chapman dives head first into powerful ‘Resuscitate’ before closing on the hook-laden ‘Oceans’. For a band who have never played a show of this scale before, they seem all too comfortable at the task and are destined to do it again and again.

A short trip outside and into the other building sees Polar. destroy the Guitar Central stage with their stripped down, ball-busting hardcore punk. The crowd are going ballistic as the pit swells and stretches the length of the room, full of headbanging, throwdowns and good ol’ moshing. The only word to describe the atmosphere is carnage, and that’s exactly what Polar. want. Rushing their way through ‘Armed to the Teeth’ and ‘Smile You Son of a Bitch!’, the whirlwind left behind will be ringing in Southampton’s ears for days to come.

(Feed The Rhino were next on stage but they were so bloody good they’re my ‘F’ letter in the Alphabet Tour. Keep your eyes peeled for the full review.)

Unfortunately the crowd for Aliases doesn’t match up to the previous two bands. The room that was previously full of sweaty bodies has decided to take a breather for this one, which hinders the performance slightly. The technicalities of the Mancunian quintet are showcased fantastically, but despite their best efforts the crowd just isn’t as intense as previously: possibly too high up the bill?

Over on the Southampton Music stage Max Raptor are giving it their all to the 100-or-so people in attendance who haven’t popped in for a pint and a sit down, and their final track ‘The King is Dead’ riles up the crowd perfectly for the final stretch of the day.

Back at the heavier Guitar Central stage, the Hertfordshire hardcore mob Heights have brought the entire throwdown contingent to party with them. Making a blistering racket that at times make the security look physically in pain, Heights give Takedown all they can muster. Covered in sweat and spit, the five noiseniks scream their lungs to dust whilst trying their hardest to get into the crowd (something the security are only too keen to stop from happening). Battling their way through fan favourites ‘Forget’ and ‘Oceans’ as well as the anthemic ‘The Lost and Alone’, Takedown are left numb, shaken and ecstatic.

But who could round off such an amazing day of partying? The ultimate festival band – Skindred, pictured at top. (Not sure logistically how they managed this appearance, as I saw them listed on the SXSW schedule at a Welsh music showcase last week – Ed.) Named as Britain’s best live band repeatedly by some of the UK’s biggest rock music mags (and nominated for Best Live Band at this year’s Golden Gods), the pioneers of ragga-metal bring the noise and the hits. Walking on stage to a remix of the ‘Star Wars Imperial March’, Benji Webbe instantly owns the room. Standing in front of his cohorts in a white suit complete with union flag accessories, Skindred launch into a raucous rendition of ‘Ratrace’ that gets the jam-packed room bouncing to the rafters. It’s nothing but a greatest hits set from the Welsh wailers complete with various sound clips and mashups, merging Metallica‘s ‘Sad but True’ with their own ‘Trouble’ gives the metalheads the kickstart they need to get the pit moving. But nothing compares to the smash hit ‘Nobody’ that forces the entirety of Takedown onto their feet and screaming the lyrics until their throats bleed.

As Takedown is brought to a close and Southampton’s alternative population wander back to various buses and taxis, the scene is one of joy and exhaustion as one of the first festivals of the year comes to a close. An amalgamation of hardcore, punk, metal and rock has brought some of the hottest bands in the UK to one of the most unlikely venues, which will hopefully be back next year bigger and badder than before.

 

Preview: Takedown Festival 2012

 
By on Tuesday, 7th February 2012 at 9:00 am
 

Since taking a hiatus last year, the south of England’s spring-time smashfest is returning with a veritable highlight reel of hardcore. Takedown Festival is back to reclaim Southampton University for the masses of heavy music fans on Sunday 18 March with four stages of nothing but mayhem.

Headlining the day-long extravaganza are the titans of ragga-metal Skindred (pictured above), who won a Metal Hammer Golden God for the Best Live Band last year. Joining the Newport noisemakers are over 30 bands spread across four stages including the angsty Norfolk lads Deaf Havana, the punky part animals Lower Than Atlantis and local boys Bury Tomorrow. The crème of upcoming metal and hardcore also take over the lineup in the guise of Mallory Knox, Feed The Rhino, The James Cleaver Quintet and Heights. TGTF faves Fei Comodo will also be setting the south alight with their post-hardcore antics.

Tickets are priced at £22.50 for the all day festival to those aged 14 years and older. The festival has a limited capacity, so snap up the tickets quick as more fantastic bands are being announced soon! Buy them at Seetickets; to find out more information on Takedown, go here. TGTF hopes to see you in the pit!

 

Bingley Music Live: Day 1 Roundup

 
By on Friday, 30th September 2011 at 1:00 pm
 

Bingley Music Live has been going for a few years now. Up in the heart of West Yorkshire, Myrtle Park, each is a great pilgrimage of music to see a host of acts for what is really a very reasonable price (£35 for the weekend!) and enjoy the fantastic atmosphere for the weekend. This year is no exception, as this year BML has become even bigger. On Friday, the 15,000 strong crowd were treated to a day of free music at one of the most diverse stages music can give.

First up was Alice Gold (read a recent interview with her here). Mixing elements of experimental rock with a punk rock attitude and catchy pop tracks with a genuinely beautiful voice, she further warms up an already quite warm crowd and certainly wins over some new fans, many of which are only here for the last two bands of the day.

Young Guns (pictured right) come on second as the stage already starts to lag behind, for one reason or other. They appear unsettled by the daylight setting they’ve been placed in, and whilst their most dedicated fans don’t seem to care where they are or what time it is, many of the others assembled don’t appear to be sold by Gustav Wood and company’s breed of rock. Their attempts at singalongs only really work with their fans, especially as the lead microphone is playing up. The band sound so much better on record or at their own show that you have to feel like they just got a bit lost on this stage here. That said, the track ‘Crystal Clear’ still sounds huge no matter what.

Their performance, however, is nothing compared to the next band who I kind of wish had gotten lost. Caught somewhere between Balamory and indie-pop, The Go! Team are a hugely enthusiastic group playing a kind of music that I’m not sure is tolerable in a live situation. I’m not sure if it’s the heat or just the naive sense that they’re a fantastic band,  but the Go! Team just don’t cut it in person. The less said the better.

But today is all about the next two bands. Playing a sunset set to a crowd that seems to have appeared out of nowhere and prepared itself completely, Skindred (pictured below) come on stage with the kind of confidence that can only come through years of reinforcement of their brilliance live from their fans. Playing from throughout their entire back catalogue, everyone starts moving as if they haven’t moved all day. ‘Stand for Something’ and ‘Ratrace’ of course bring some of the biggest responses of the nigh,t but they blend in fantastically with new tracks from ‘Union Black’ such as ‘Warning’, and both Skindred and crowd appear to be in unison. Lead singer Benji is a fantastic showman, pulling off the robot (with full participation; it really is a sight to behold) and even joking with the crowd calling them both the worst and best crowds of their tour, just to evoke different responses. Sadly, all of this must come to an end, as tonight’s headliners are still to come.

After using up so much energy in the last hour, the crowd are virtually still panting as Fun Lovin’ Criminals take to the stage. Their breed of cool funk takes a while to get going, but once the crowd has readjusted, especially with such a big changeover in those at the front, it’s a chilled out party all the way. With such a nice atmosphere, it’s easy for Huey Morgan to take charge. Only on a Friday night can the Criminals play ‘Friday Night’ and they do it with the usual flair you would expect. ‘Barry White’, ‘Scooby Snacks’ and ‘Loco’ all feature in a set that you can’t help but enjoy. Before you know it, the night is over and after a brief firework display, everyone goes home happy for the night. Friday was free which made it extra special, but the rest of the weekend has an awful lot of promise.  As it stands, thank god for diversity and Bingley Music Live.

 
 
 

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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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