Note: As only two members of the site were able to review the festival weekend, we were sadly unable to cover every band performing throughout the festival.
One of the longest running popular music festivals in the UK, the Reading/Leeds Festival weekend is well reknowned and has been hugely popular since its inception. This year, we made an appearance at the Leeds site of the event, and what a (muddy) weekend it was. Friday brought us such delights as the live favourite to many Muse along with many other fantastic acts to kickstart proceedings in style.
WE ARE THE OCEAN – 6/10
It’s crazy to think that We Are The Ocean have become main stage material in such a short space of time, even if they are only the stage’s opening act. It seems that they can’t really believe it either, as sadly the post-hardcore outfit appear a little uncomfortable with such a huge feat. This isn’t to say their performance was unsatisfying, as ‘Confessions’ displays the band in a strong position, though it seems that WATO simply aren’t quite ready for such a huge stage.
TAKING BACK SUNDAY – 7/10
One of the staple bands when you come to think of the “emo” scene, Taking Back Sunday are definitely a band more suited towards the late teen and early 20 year olds within the crowd. Though their latest material such as ‘El Paso’ and ‘You Got Me’ back the fact the band still have life within them, it’s the remembered and adored classics like Cute Without The E (Cut From The Team)’ and closers ‘A Decade Under The Influence’ and ‘MakeDamnSure’ that everyone wants to hear, so it’s a good thing these hits didn’t fall flat.
ENTER SHIKARI – 8/10
Electro infused post-hardcore lads Enter Shikari‘s political messages and hard hitting yet at times infectiously dance-y tunes are the perfect remedy for what was a particularly wet and muddy afternoon. The synth intro of ‘Mothership’ leads into huge wobbles and bass overload with their recent twist on the track, aptly titled ‘Motherstep’, and current newbie ‘Quelle Surprise’ gets plenty of umph into the atmosphere. All the stops are pulled out with set closer ‘Sorry, You’re Not A Winner’, which much like ‘Mothership’ has been given a dubstep makeover, resulting in a rather dirty sounding end to an awesome set.
MUSE – 9/10
Muse were never going to fail here. Even though some of the crowd may not have heard it in its entirety, the biggest band in Britain played ‘Origin Of Symmetry’ front to back and it went down amazingly well. ‘Plug In Baby’ and ‘Feeling Good’ were the obvious huge anthems, but the whole thing sounded and looked amazing as the huge pylons from the album’s front cover loomed over the stage. Once this is done with, the crowd are treated to a greatest hits set which flaws everybody, finishing with the epic ‘Knights Of Cydonia’ accompanied by a dazzling firework display at the end to round things off and set the bar high for the weekenders remaining main stage headliners. Another milestone moment for the band. All this said, I’m still adamant that it’s Muse‘s fault alone that it rained. Remember 2006?
DANANANANAYKROYD – 6/10
The duo vocal force of ridiculously named Dananananaykroyd (remember, 5 a’s and 4 n’s) is a rather volatile and fun state of affairs to watch live, but sadly there just doesn’t seem to be anything more captivating beyond this. Still, there are much worse acts in higher places on the bill this weekend, and if fun and energy is what you’re after then Dananananaykroyd certainley deliver.
FUCKED UP – 7/10
Canadian punk act Fucked Up are another band with another far from the norm name, and their live show accompanies that same ideal too. Damian Abraham strolls across the front of the barrier throughout the majority of the set like an over friendly local, posing for pictures with the band’s front row fans and diving in to the masses with his microphone, resulting is a fun and care-free half an hour.
WARPAINT – 7/10
The far more serious psychedlic/indie rock is taken on board with Warpaint, offering a bit more of a thought provoking direction than a lot of the stage’s previous occupants. Though they’re surely not the most lively and exciting performers in the world, their set is as tight as a gnat’s arse and has clearly been thought over with a fine toothed comb, presenting little to no flaws with their sound or execution of tracks like ‘Composure’ and ‘Beetles’.
PANIC! AT THE DISCO – 7/10
Plenty of dancing and singing and no sign of panic now within the NME/Radio 1 tent, Panic! At The Disco may have been bottled off at this festival before, but this year there’s a lot more fire in their set and appreciation from the crowd. ‘The Ballad Of Mona Lisa’ gets the crowd all riled up and bouncing along to the band’s care-free pop, but it’s old favourites like ‘The Only Difference Between Suicide And Martyrdom Is Press Coverage’ and ‘I Write Sins Not Tragedies’ that get the biggest reactions.
DEATH FROM ABOVE 1979 – 9/10
Following their disbanding back in 2006, it goes without saying that rock duo Death From Above 1979‘s return onto the scene was longly awaited and their set at Leeds was welcomed with arms open wide. From the first note, DFA1979 delivered a set that was menacing, gritty and shown that the forceful partnership of Sebastien Grainger and Jesse Keeler, wearing all white and all black respectively. Their most popular hits ‘Blood On Our Hands’ and ‘Romantic Rights’ of course bring the most chaos onto the audience, but it’s these combined with the likes of ‘Turn It Out’ and ‘Little Girl’ which proves that this awesome twosome are far from dead.
THE STREETS – 5/10
Announcing before the festival that these shows would be some of his last as The Streets, Mike Skinner and his accompanying live band have a lot to prove to their fans present at this show if they want to go out with their dignity and reputation in tact. Though Mike is more than experienced in keeping the crowd on their toes and working them up into the show, his constant banter and efforts to work the people up throughout songs becomes increasingly irritating, and you’d just wish he’d go through at least one song properly the whole way through, especially with ‘Blinded By The Lights’. It’s easy to see what Mike is trying to do in making his festival departure go out with a bang, but it’s coming across as trying a little too hard.
FRANK TURNER – 9/10
Every year, one Main Stage artist that plays a secret set in the Lock Up tent, and this year it was the turn of English boy done good, Frank Turner. Announcing himself as ‘Special Guests’, Frank and his band The Sleeping Souls play through a whole load of fan favourites that he didn’t play during his earlier his Main Stage set. A surprise visit from Chuck Ragan gives us a warmly welcomed rendition of ‘The Boat’ and the gospel stylings of ‘Glory Hallelujah’ have the whole crowd singing along. Frank has developed from a fledgling singer songwriter into one of the country’s greats in recent years and a full band version of ‘Long Live The Queen’, a cover of Queen‘s ‘Somebody To Love’ and a finale of ‘The Ballad Of Me And My Friends’ proves that although not everyone can be Freddie Mercury, they can raise a glass and sing, and put on a great show time and time again.
DESCENDENTS – 7/10
Many may have been dubious of Descendents‘ performance here today after Milo‘s voice blowing out earlier in the year at Shepard’s Bush Empire, but the band more than make up for it with a set full of influential songs that probably encouraged many of the bands playing the Lock Up this weekend. Milo‘s voice is back, and songs like ‘Myage’ and ‘Everything Sucks’ sound great. It’s a shame that the tent is so empty (could partially be down to Muse playing on the Main Stage), but seeing how many people are at the side of the stage singing every word shows just how important Descendents have been to the new generations of bands adorning the stage this weekend.
TOM WRIGGLESWORTH – 6/10
A bit of comedy here and there offers a nice change from the music related goings on around the site, but Yorkshire-grown local Tom Wrigglesworth is a little bit of a hit-or-miss. Though his jokes about the royal wedding may bring about a little chuckle here and there, his crowning moments come from his quips to shouts of abuse from the crowd, which throughout he refers to and mocks under the name John. Though witty and comedic in value, it’s a shame that his best material is in his attempts at retalitation.
Written by Zach Redrup and Callum Galbraith
Photos taken by Jon Andrews