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Live Review: Reading & Leeds Festival 2013

Get our rundown of all the highlights from this years Reading & Leeds Festival!

reading-and-leeds-2013

Another Reading & Leeds Festival has come and gone and boy was this one an absolute banger! With the addition of extra stages this year and a whole dose of new genres to sink your teeth into Reading & Leeds proved why it is, without doubt, one of the the UK’s greatest festivals. Here is a run down of some of the highlights from across the weekend

Friday


While She Sleeps – Main Stage – Reading –  9/10

Reviewer: Robbie Doran

Making their Reading Festival debut on the main stage, While She Sleeps kicked everyone’s asses into gear, not giving anyone the chance to ease themselves into proceedings. They blitzed their way through 7 of their best, from both ‘The North Stands For Nothing’ EP and debut album ‘This Is The Six’; opening with latest single ‘Death Toll’. Despite their incredibly early start time, the Sheffield lads showed no signs of fatigue, with vocalist Lawrence Taylor throwing himself across the whole stage, and into the crowd for the final song. He actually got intimate enough with the audience during that song that a crowd members watch got stuck in his hair!

As the opening band, not only for that day but for festival on a whole, nerves must have been high for the band, however you would never have known. They played an amazingly well-oiled set, setting the bar sky-high for all other bands following. My personal highlight was the crowd participation during Crows, hundreds of people screaming “give me your hand” to a song that was recorded in a garage studio was a truly beautiful sight! I hope they’re back next year, further up the bill, or even headlining the rock tent.

Bury Tomorrow- Main Stage – Leeds – 8/10

Reviewer: Rhian Westbury

Now as you may be aware, we at HTF love Bury Tomorrow more than words can express, but when we heard the start of the bands set as they opened the main stage we were a bit worried. The drums were too loud and overpowering and the guitars and vocals sounded chaotic; and not in a good sense. Fortunately, as the first song came to a close, the sound man finally woke up and after that it was 20 minutes of pure carnage from dusty dirty pits in the crowd to everything we love about a Bury Tomorrow set.

It was always going to be hard for a band as heavy as Bury Tomorrow to play on mainstage but they worked the crowd and blasted away the midday hangovers. From the opening beats of ‘An Honourable Reign’ right through to closer ‘Royal Blood’, Bury Tomorrow have only gone and smashed their main stage performance.

Skindred – Main Stage – Reading – 10/10

Reviewer: Smiley Dave

Skindred debut on the main stage at Reading festival to a huge reaction from an amazing turnout. In a perfect world, if you were to look up ‘Front man’ in the dictionary you would see lead singer Benji Webbe, his between song banter, crowd interaction and the bands music style make them peerless. Having their new album name ‘Kill The Power’ next to a picture of Del Boy on your drum skin also does well to set the scene

An interesting change to Skindred’s live show was that they retired the remix they used to perform with the music of Soulja Boy’s ‘Crank That’ and replaced it with a remix of Macklemore’s ‘Thrift shop’. A welcome change and one that truly paid off along with their iconic move the ‘Newport Helicopter’ where thousands of people take off their sweaty tops, twirl them round their heads and inadvertently happy slap their surrounding neighbours… what a sight!

New Album ‘Kill The Power’ comes out January 27th 2014 and the new tour starts on the 22 Jan 2014 with support from Soil and Viza


Feed The Rhino – Lock Up Stage – Reading –  7/10

Reviewer: Robbie Doran

Rising stars Feed The Rhino played a storming set later on the Friday afternoon. Having bounced off every possible object in the first few songs, frontman Lee Tobin announced ‘you may already know I’m a party boy’, to which no one seemed surprised! He then asked that, for an early birthday present, the crowd went wild…and they sure did. The rest of the band, despite being still for less than seconds at a time, was incredibly well practiced and tight, with a huge wall of fine-tuned guitar and bass tones.

Unfortunately though, I believe there can be too much of a good thing and at points Feed The Rhino’s songs merge into one chaotic sound. Some hook-lines take precedence here and there, and thankfully they have kept belter-ballad ‘Tides’ in their set to break things up. A fantastic set nonetheless, the crowd loved it, however on a smaller bill it would have stood out even more.


Bring Me The Horizon – Main Stage – Reading – 8.5/10

Reviewer: Sophie Eggleton

We would have forgiven the boys for being a little stage weary, having spent the summer performing at the notoriously draining and relentless Warped tour, but they appeared to have saved an ample amount of juice for the Reading crowd. Opening with new classic Shadow Moses, it was clear they weren’t going to be about just going through the motions. In keeping with their Reading heritage, Oli ensured the crowd were given plenty of opportunities to play a hefty part in proceedings, encouraging circle pits, wall of deaths and various other memorable/dangerous moments. The set list was a pleasing one, including classics ‘Chelsea Smile’ and ‘Blessed with a Curse’, with ‘Can you Feel My Heart’ and ‘Activist’ reminding of the different but equally winning levels of Sempiternal.

At times vocalist Sykes would drop to his knees, but not in defeat, only in a way that could connote triumph, at his position, and in awe of the sight in front of him. The exchanges of glances amongst the band members and the gleeful smile on drummer Matt’s face backed up their apparent joy of being back in the UK.

Okay so the vocals/music weren’t always a hundred percent perfect, but that isn’t what we seek from Britain’s No 1 metal act, it’s passion, and they had that in spades. The only disappointment is that Reading wasn’t treated to the face art that was displayed at Leeds….but I guess it was almost a hometown show, so we will have to allow it.

 

A$AP Rocky – NME/Radio 1 Stage – Reading – 8.5/10

Reviewer: James Matthews

For myself this was easily the set of the weekend. The NME tent was absolutely heaving with the knowledge of A$AP Rocky gracing the stage with his unique blend of Southern flavoured NY hip-hop. Whilst the whole A$AP Crew were not there to make this a ridiculously out of control affair, this did not scupper Rocky by any means. Him and hype man A$AP Ferg were in and out of the crowd, getting down and wild with those down the front. And, during such songs as ‘Peso’, and ‘Fucking Problems’, they literally got that tent bouncing more so than any other artist that weekend.

This is living proof that hip-hop does have a crossover appeal and has been more than accepted in to the alternative community. A great performance.


Deftones – Main Stage – Reading – 9/10

Reviewer: Sophie Eggleton

They first played the main stage back in 1998 and they have performed 4 times since. You’ll be hard pushed to find another consistently good band, and even in the midst of a difficult and emotional time for the Californians they manage to deliver. They launched their 2013 display with Diamond Eyes which lead into a set list which covered the various moods and eras of Deftones. A slightly sombre but beautiful moment came during ‘Change’ which was aptly dedicated to the late Chi. Despite the show reminding us of the sad loss, there was not a melancholic vibe – the show reminded us how much more they have to give and how lucky we are that they still make such amazing rock music. Humour came in the form of Chino’s attempts at the British accent and proof of stage vigour was in the form of rips in his trademark checked shirt. ‘7 Words’ was crowd moving way to bring the show to a climax, and left everyone with an appropriate sheen of facial sweat. Can’t wait till the next Deftones Main Stage performance.

 

Skrillex- NME/Radio 1 Stage – Reading – 8/10

Reviewer: James Matthews

It is safe to say that Skrillex was definitely one of the more polarising choices of headliners to grace Reading Festival this year. But, judging by the size of the crowd that turned up (the NME tent is full to the brim, and then there is a crowd outside of the tent going at least 40/50 people deep), it is safe to say that there is a dedicated hardcore majority of people that truly do appreciate Skrillex regardless of him performing at the same time as Green Day.

The stage show is highly impressive to say the least! It kind of looks like something stolen from the set of one of the Transformers movies, which just got a makeover from one of The Mad Capsule Markets art designers; it adds for some striking visuals complete with video imagery, lasers, and some bitching light shows. The music of course is what everyone here is dying to get their groove on to, and for that hour and a half… people just lost themselves in the music. An impressive end to the Friday night from the most loved/hated DJ on the planet right now.

Saturday

Sonic Boom Six – Lock-Up Stage – Reading – 9/10

Reviewer: Chris Hines

Sonic Boom Six are one of the UK’s hardest working bands and their performance today on the Lock Up stage shows why, despite not yet grasping that major deal, they are one of Britain’s finest underdogs. It’s clear to see looking at today’s crowd that their fan base is present in their hoards and ready to obey every command of Barney and Laila’s twin vocal attack. Bashing through their discography the fans lap it up as they scream along to every word and old favourites such as ‘Piggy In The Middle’ send them into a frenzy of circle pits and chaos. Why Sonic Boom Six have yet to get that big break we don’t know. What we do know is, no matter what SB6 will always be there to pump put the tunes and kick some ass. SB6 we love you!

I Divide – BBC Introducing – Reading – 9/10

Reviewer: Chris Hines

With arguably the biggest crowd the BBC Introducing stage saw all weekend, todays crowd was a testament to how far this band has come within the last 18 months. From winning the Redbull Bedroom Jam, to opening Download Festival’s second stage, being signed to Destroy Everything Records and with their music videos now on regular rotation on Kerrang! and Scuzz it was of no surprise to see the boys billed one from the headliner slot on today’s stage. Playing like their lives depended on it, I Divide showed Reading why they deserved their place and with any luck the boys could easily follow in the footsteps of Don Broco & Mallory Knox, who have also graced this stage in the past, and end up Main Stage a few years down the line. Prepare for the next big thing.

Eminem

Eminem – Main Stage – Reading – 6/10

Reviewer: James Matthews

Quite clearly gathering what is to be one of the biggest crowds of the weekend, Eminem headlines the Saturday of Reading Festival with the crowd in a near fever pitch. With his whole set crammed to the rafters with hits and material spanning his discography, it was always going to be a hard choice picking a setlist. Whilst leaning more heavily towards material from ‘The Eminem Show’ onwards, old favourites such as ‘Just Don’t Give A Fuck’, ‘Kill You’, ‘The Way I Am’, ‘My Name Is’, and ‘The Real Slim Shady’ are received with rapturous response. Although the real show stealer was when the magnificent Dido came on to do a duet with Em during ‘Stan’.

Unfortunately, there seems to be an underwhelming atmosphere on stage, and this could be partly to do with the weakness behind Eminem’s voice. To clarify, no he was not miming. He was rapping over a vocal backing track (which is common practice with some hip-hop artists), but when you could tell his voice was evidently raspy, it was very noticeable. Additionally, the stage presence was quite lacklustre, which the hype man did a good job of keeping up the pace more so than Eminem.

Whilst it is great to see Eminem finally headlining and come roaring back with a vengeance, it was more a comeback speeding in 4th gear rather than a barrier breaking 6th gear. Which is a shame, because had there been some improvement in some places, this could have been performance of the weekend.

Sunday


The Blackout- Main Stage – Leeds – 7/10

Reviewer: Rhian Westbury

Sean Smith is usually the cause of most of the chaos during a Blackout set but today it seems Gavin Butler wants in on the action as he runs into the crowd, jumps onto the table holding all the water and generally causes the security to up their game and actually do their job.

As the pair run frantically across the stage to tracks from ‘Shutthefuckuppercut’ through to ‘Ambition Is Critical’ it’s then the band blast through three cover tracks to lighten the mood and become more “urban” (Sean’s words) playing ‘Ni**as In Paris’, ‘Jump Around’ and ‘Fight For Your Right To Party’. Everything The Blackout do is one full on party but closer ‘I’m A Riot? You’re A Fucking Riot’ certainly pushes the crowd to their absolute limit.


Crossfaith – Lock Up – Reading – 10/10

Reviewer: Smiley Dave

Cross Faith come out to a packed tent, even to a point of over spill. As the boys came on stage to their entrance music, things got crazy quick. Busting out their most successful track to date ‘Monolith’ which, at the time of writing this, is just shy of a million views, the fans and the curious festival goers lose it. The stage presence is astounding from every member of the band and the crowd are hanging on to singer Ken’s every word; after telling people to crowd surf there were very few left on the ground.

Their live show was definitely cranked up to eleven with the help of a big light rig making for an awesome visual experience. They finished off with their own take on Prodigy’s ‘Omen’ and by this time the crowd were ready to explode, which came across as they sang-a-long, making it tricky to hear Ken! This band were definitely one of the highlights from Reading 2013.

Cross Faith will be main support to Limp Bizkit on the Kerrang Tour in February 2014

Big Wave – BBC Introducing – Reading – 8/10

Reviewer: Chris Hines

Torquay’s Big Wave bought back the sunshine to the BBC Introducing Stage with their summery Indie/Pop goodness. Having been hand picked by the BBC Devon team to play, the band really showed why they were worthy of todays slot. With their jangling guitars and seaside synth you could almost image yourself back on the beach, playing in the sand and eating ice cream from the pier. Guaranteed to bring a smile to your face I think we will be hearing a lot more from Big Wave in the near future!


Twin Atlantic- Main Stage – Leeds – 8/10

Reviewer: Rhian Westbury

It seems like forever since we heard from Twin Atlantic but they’re back. Their brand new album isn’t out until the new year but after a set filled with plenty of new offerings we are more than a little excited for this offering. There is a lot of Scottish pride around the festival with much of the crowd waving flags and that’s part of their appeal. With every word Sam sings the strong Scottish accents push through and regardless of where you’re from it’s impossible not to get swept up in it.

The thousands strong crowd push their lungs to the limit to sing a long to tracks such as ‘What Is Light? Where Is Laughter?’ and highlight ‘Free’. Having already played arenas and stadiums across both sides of the pond this set suggests that Twin Atlantic may have what it takes to go all the way.


Gallows – Rock Stage – Reading –  10/10

Reviewer: Robbie Doran

With the weekend coming to close, the perfect band to keep things alive was Gallows. I had been very sceptical to see the band in the past two years, having been a true Frank Carter circa-Gallows fan, and this was the first time seeing them since Wade joined. I was also dubious as to how the sound quality would differ with the departure of Steph Carter and persevering as a four piece. I left all inhibitions about current Gallows far behind, as soon as they kicked their set off with the classic ‘Abandon Ship’. It was very different, but in a good way. With no Steph, Lags’ performance was slightly more toned down than the previous 3 times I’ve seen the band, but with more attention on him he really came out of his shell.

Wade was brilliant. Despite being twice the size of Frank, he had just as much energy, giving it his all throughout the set. He completely nailed the older material from ‘Orchestra of Wolves’ and ‘Grey Britain’, and when he brought a guitar out and they played as a more classically styled punk it was a nice surprise. If that is the direction they follow later on down the line, I sure won’t be complaining. Highlight of the set for everyone that has followed Gallows for more than a few years was Frank joining them onstage for set closer ‘Orchestra of Wolves’, despite the fact he now looks like Gimli from Lord Of The Rings. Gallows were possibly my favourite band of the weekend; I’m now going to go give the Wade-era material the attention I had previously denied it. Until next year Reading!

 

Nine Inch Nails – Main Stage – Reading – 8/10

Reviewer: James Matthews

In my eyes, NIN can do no wrong. After hearing and reading on Twitter about the stories that NIN had their set cut short due to problems involving Biffy Clyro’s management, there was a sense of tension on the Main Stage to say the least.

An impressive stage show with a foreboding and moody atmosphere was highly complimentary of the new material that was being played over this set. Musically…. outstanding. they can do no wrong. Visually, exactly the same.

But the lack of four/five songs at the end of their set, is almost like a harsh comedown. Judging from the setlists elsewhere, they did not play ‘Dead Souls’, ‘Head Like A Hole’, or ‘Hurt’, which left a lot of people extremely disappointed. This set could have been the talking point of the weekend, but due to a number of reasons, this was prevented.

Don’t let this scupper your opinion on them by any means. Wait until they come back next year, and you will get exactly the full NIN treatment you so deserve!

 

Biffy Clyro – Main Stage – Reading – 9/10

Reviewer: James Matthews

I haven’t really liked the past two Biffy Clyro albums. To me, they are mediocre at best so it is safe to say that I had lost some faith in them, especially as the last time I saw them was on the Kerrang tour with The Bronx. That being said, I thought I would just end the Sunday with a sense of hope and witness Biffy’s set.

What was evident is that Biffy Clyro, after all these years, have proved themselves to be the cream of British rock music and are more than capable of being worthy headliners. Playing a career spanning set (but more heavily leaning towards the Puzzle-era onwards), it is a treat for fans of all eras. Although ‘Infinity Land’ back to back would be pukka… *hint hint*.

Accompanied by an AMAZING stage show which included fireworks, pyrotechnics, and a whole lot of fun props, made this a 4 -D experience that just blew the mind musically and visually. Congratulations Biffy Clyro, you done it all over. This being your 8th time lucky!

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