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The Huge Reading Festival 2015 Review!

All the highlights straight from the field!

Source: Reading Festival Official Site / Jen O'Neill

Source: Reading Festival Official Site / Jen O’Neill

The mighty Reading Festival took place this bank holiday weekend showcasing a whole host of the worlds hottest acts and HTF got our wellies on to battle the weather and bring you a run-down of all the action.

Check out our mega review below and Reading & Leeds 2016 tickets are available from www.seetickets.com and www.ticketmaster.co.uk. See you next year!


Friday


Panic-At-The-Disco

Source: Graham Berry

Panic! At The Disco – Main Stage – 8/10

When Panic! At The Disco first played Reading they had bottles of piss thrown at them, but fast forward almost a decade and the band return to Reading’s main stage to a crowd full of nostalgic adults who just want to hear the opening beats of ‘I Write Sins Not Tragedies’. Sadly we have to wait until the final track, but the rest of their set makes it more than worth it. From the opening chords of ‘Vegas Lights’ it’s full on Panic mode as Brendon Urie’s personality sparkles as much as his sequin blazer. After almost losing our voices to ‘Time To Dance’ and ‘Nine In The Afternoon’ we’re treated to the most magical moment of the festival so far; a cover. Brendon jokes that the track is one they quickly penned backstage but from the high-pitched “Is this the real life..”, we know what’s coming. The crowd is treated to a full version of Queen’s ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ and it’s a moment we’ll remember for a long time. The band has one track to recover before ‘I Write Sins Not Tragedies’ and it’s the perfect end to our favourite emo bands set. Panic! have still got it, sparkles and all. RW

All-Time-Low

Source: Graham Berry

All Time Low – Main Stage – 8/10

All Time Low far exceed all expectations as they move from the limbo of a generic pop-punk band to superstars. The fact that they’ve played Wembley Arena more than once is testament enough to both their on stage abilities, song writing skills and their fans dedication. On the main stage the band not only draw an incredible crowd reaction – even topping Panic’s closer – they even sound amazing. In a modern world full of pop-punk, All Time Low hold their own. There’s not a single person standing still when the band launch into second track ‘Lost in Stereo’ and older track and closer ‘Dear Maria, Count Me In’ appeals to all magnitude of fans. The band themselves are on top form with Jack continuing to pull his best Tom Delonge impressions and making erection jokes, while Alex is the crowd pleaser pulling people on stage for their finale. All Time Low know how to make people smile and Reading Festival is a better place with them on stage. RW

Bastille

Source: Graham Berry

Bastille – Main Stage – 9/10

With just one studio album behind them it’s surprising how much growth Bastille have shown over the past few years. Opening up with ‘Things We Lost in the Fire’, there is no huge theatrics, pyro or anything out of the ordinary, the four piece group don’t need gimmicks. Their music speaks for them and the bands loyal fan base are ready to sing every lyric back and jump along to every drum beat. With so many bangers from Bad Blood they could have just played the album from start to finish; which they almost do only omitting two tracks. The band play a handful of new tracks showing us what we’re in for with album number two and it’s business as usual with huge chorus’ and meaty instrumental parts. Bastille, we well and truly love you! RW

Mumford & Sons

Source: Official Promo

Mumford & Sons – Main Stage – 6/10

Spirited but without the most substance, this disjointed performance was polished and sleek but was hampered by the jarring differences between their latest material and their trademark folk sounds. Marcus Mumford however had the crowd in the proverbial pocket, taking time to leap into the crowd, tripping over the barrier in the process…well you can’t have it every way boys! MM

Echosmith

Source: Chris Hines

Echosmith – Radio 1 / NME – 8/10

If you ever need a band to bring that summer vibe to the stage, then Echosmith are a good shout. As the band smash through their indie-pop set, their infectious energy and vocalist Sydney Sierota’s breezy vocals and colourful style can’t help but bring a smile to everyone’s face. An incredible acapella performance during ‘Bright’ really showcased this family unit’s skills and as ‘Cool Kids’ finished the set you felt like you had been initiated into their gang. If you saw Echosmith, you are officially now a cool kid! CH

Parquet Courts

Source: Official Promo

Parquet Courts – Radio 1/ NME – 6/10

One of those unfortunate scenarios of the right band in the wrong place. An early afternoon slot on the Radio 1 stage is never going to gain the most appreciative crowd for what are quite an outsider and introspective band. Squalls of feedback and stoner drawl soundtracked a musically superior set but just like the legendary Pavement, the Parquet Courts just didn’t connect on a larger scale. MM

Peace

Source: Official Promo

Peace – Radio 1 / NME – 9/10

A packed tent awaited the Reading favourites as they took to the stage and within seconds of the opening chords to ‘I’m A Man’ the crowd had already been whipped into such frenzy that several hundred people were sent flying backwards at once. Pushed by the enthusiastic crowd, Peace played an energetic set with more passion and energy than most of the Main Stage bunch. How many more albums do they need to release before the inevitable headline set seems to be the only question now. MM

Source: Graham Berry

Source: Graham Berry

Run The Jewels – Radio 1/ NME Stage – 8/10

As their crowd funded project Meow The Jewels is sent off to be mastered, the rap duo Run The Jewels arrive to Reading in great spirits. El-P and Killer Mike walk on to the stage with one fist clenched pointing the other hand like a pistol in typical RTJ style while their raw, rapid delivery over the vicious beats of  ‘Sea Legs’ and ‘Lie, Cheat, Steal’ entice the crowd to lose their shit. JP

Limp Bizkit Reading Festival

Source: Graham Berry

Limp Bizkit – Radio 1 / NME – 7/10

It was time for reading to “get the fuck up” as Limp Bizkit hit the stage and showed the NME tent how to start a riot. Opening with their huge hit ‘Rollin’, the crowds energy was there right from the get-go and following up with ‘Hot Dog’, ‘Gold Cobra’ and ‘My Generation’ kept them moving with no signs of slowing down. Although the band themselves seemed not as energetic on stage as usual, luckily their music does all of the talking and throwing in a cover of Rage Against The Machines ‘Killing In The Name’ was always going to go down a treat. Finishing up on the mosh pit anthem ‘Break Stuff’ and ‘Take A Look Around’, Limp Bizkit proved they are still one of nu-metals finest exports. CH

Dillon Francis

Source: Chris Hines

Dillon Francis – Dance Stage – 8/10

Hands down the funniest guy in EDM, Dillon Francis was not going to disappoint. He could probably not play any tracks and just bang on about tomatoes or shout “Darleeeeeen!” and I think everyone would go home satisfied. Hammering out the tunes with a massive smile on his face the crowd were on fire as huge bangers such as ‘I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter’ and DJ Snake collab ‘Get Low’ hit the speakers. This mixtape reading festival set is fire! CH

Source: Official Promo

Simple Plan – The Lockup – 9/10

Three things that symbolise our teenage emo phase were studded belts, black eyeliner and Simple Plan. Being the soundtrack of the years of torment and excitement that bridged our school years, excitement filled most twenty somethings when it was announced that they would headline the Lock Up Stage on the Friday night. Not expecting too much, we were incredibly surprised at actually how great the Canadian band still are; full of energy and all the hits which we grew to love. ‘Jet Lag’, ‘Can’t Keep My Hands Off You’ and ‘Jump’ may be a fantastic opening trio but it’s when Pierre starts singing “Do you ever feel like breaking down?/ Do you ever feel out of place” that we’re instantly transported to being a fifteen year old, sad because our crush didn’t respond to our constant going online/ offline on MSN messenger. From here on, they just move from strength to strength with the crowd screaming back “So shut up/ Shut up/ Shut up/ Don’t wanna hear it” and the girls given a special shout out during ‘I’d Do Anything’. While Simple Plan may have dropped from our memories as we grew up and ditched the skinny jeans and eyeliner (not!) they’re now crawling back into our minds. With a brand new single it’s time for Simple Plan 2.0. RW

Prides

Source: Official Promo

Prides – Festival Republic – 9/10

Having previously seen this band support Blink 182 last year, we couldn’t remember much about their performance – our minds were elsewhere – so Reading seemed the perfect moment to try them again. The band call themselves electro pop which is exactly what we’ve been needing all day. The vocals are slick, the electronics get our bodies moving and the lyrics get us singing along despite not knowing the track. Prides are doing everything they can to ensure that the crowd are having the time of their lives and with the ground shaking underfoot and smiles adhorning the crowd it’s safe to say they’ve done everything they can. The first thing we did when we got back that night was download the album and now we’re steadily learning every single world. RW

Bugzy-Malone

Source: Josh Pratt

Bugzy Malone – 1xtra Stage – 7/10

The grime scene is establishing itself at this year’s Reading Festival and to start the weekend off, newcomer and Manchester champion Bugzy Malone takes to stage. For an artist who’s only recently blown up, Bugzy controls the crowd with confidence and charisma as he builds them up for his massive hit ‘Relegation Riddim’. The hard-hitting lyrics aimed at Chipmunk ignites the crowd and Bugzy conducts them like a grimey orchestra. After a performance like this, Bugzy is surely set to be one of the genre’s future greats. JP

Rae Sremmurd

Source: Josh Pratt

Rae Sremmurd – 1Xtra Stage – 8/10

The ‘No Flex Zone’ and ‘No Type’ duo Rae Sremmurd traveled from Mississippi to the muddy fields of Reading to perform in front of a packed tent. Unfortunately, Slim Jimmy has food poisoning so Swae Lee takes the responsibly of turning everything one the fuck up by himself. The performance may be missing Slim Jimmy, but that’s not to say it’s half as good, in fact Swae Lee looks comfortable as a solo artist and this could easily be the next step in his career. JP

Flatbush-Zombies

Source: Josh Pratt

Flatbush Zombies – 1xtra Stage – 8/10

The rap trio Flatbush Zombies are an uncontrollable force as they run around the 1xtra stage. Their dark lyricism matches the silhouette lighting that gives a creepy and convincing zombie feel – even Rick Grimes would be scared. JP

Asap-Ferg

Source: Josh Pratt

ASAP Ferg – 1xtra Stage – 9/10

The end of day one sees Trap Lord and ASAP Mob member, ASAP Ferg headline the BBC 1Xtra stage. As soon as Ferg hit the stage with Marty Baller the tent instantly has a new Harlem feel with gold teeth, RVRE swag and bottles champagne  being sprayed over the crowd. As Ferg starts to perform the original version of ‘Work’, the crowd soon forces him to stop as they instead scream the lyrics to the ‘Work Remix’. The Trap Lord soon realises and performs the remix instead sending the crowd left to right like a sea of Traplordians. It’s sometimes thought that Ferg is in the shadows of ASAP Rocky, but with a performance of this energy it proves that he can stand alone with or without The Mob. JP


Saturday


Baby Metal

Source: Graham Berry

Babymetal – Main Stage – 8/10

Walking into the main stage vicinity, if you didn’t know who Babymetal were you’d certainly have been in for a shock seeing three young Japanese girls. For midday on Saturday the main stage was packed and according to the mythical fox god on the screens, Babymetal were created “A long time ago in a heavy metal galaxy far away as a new style of heavy metal”. They certainly are a new breed that’s for sure. Despite the high pitched shrills of the teenagers, they’re actually far more metal than most of the festivals bill with the male band shredding heavier riffs than most other counterparts. ‘Gimme Chocolate’ is obviously the high point of the set with the crowd trying to sing along – emphasis on trying. They might be a bit of a gimmick and a marketing miracle but they’re a gimmick that are going to stand the test of time. RW

Marmozets

Source: Graham Berry

Marmozets – Main Stage – 8/10

Watching Marmozets bound and scream around on the main stage is like being a proud parent to an overactive child. Despite their set only being announced a few months in advance it feels well overdue. Main stage can be a daunting prospect for some bands and despite the nervousness the two sets of siblings show, they quickly settle in with the monstrous opener of ‘Move, Shake, Hide’ – great choice! Having seen the band on some of the smallest stages at festivals and in intimate venues, it’s surprising how well they work on the main stage, even though we shouldn’t be surprised. As Becca goes into ‘Captivate You’, the emotion is running high but instead of it tugging on your heart it squeezes it tight and blurts it back out. Closing the set with ‘Why Do You Hate Me’ sees the band abandon the stage and get physical with the crowd. Marmozets have earnt their spot in main stage history. RW

Pierce The Veil

Source: Graham Berry

Pierce The Veil- Saturday Main Stage – 8/10

Looking back on the San Diego four pieces history, it’s surprising it’s taken them so long to hit the main stage at Reading festival. Emotions are running high, not only because it’s a high accolade to be on the main stage, but because guitarist Tony Perry is also back with the band after a bike crash and absence from the band over the summer. The lads proceed to play a high-octane, eight track long set while the mainly teenage crowd sing along in harmony. From the sunny stateside of Warped Tour to the patchy traditional British weather, Pierce The Veil bring a storm with the heavy hooks of ‘Bulls in the Bronx’ to the high pitched intro of closing track ‘King For A Day’ which also see’s Vic Fuentes embrace his inner rock star by smashing up his guitar. Reading festival shows Pierce The Veil at their best. RW

Alexisonfire

Source: Graham Berry

Alexisonfire – Saturday Main Stage – 9/10

The broken hearts of thousands of twenty somethings was slowly mended when Alexisonfire announced a handful of choice shows earlier this year. With Reading and Leeds closing this batch of their musical careers it’s hard to wonder what it all means. Frontman George shouts out that he would tell the eager crowd but then chose to play songs instead, something we can just about forgive him for. Expectations are running high and emotions are all over the place as the five piece step onto the stage. There’s no denying this isn’t the best set we’ve ever seen but, it’s still Alexisonfire so it’s miles better than most other things. With Dallas now City and Colour, and Wade now in Gallows the band almost seem to have three front men and the strength of their combined vocals is a force to be reckoned with. In all honesty Alexisonfire could have come out, played one song, gone off stage and the crowd would still have cheered as if it was the best thing they’d ever seen, they’re that type of band. Opener ‘Accidents’ propels us back to 2004 as their entire set is full of nostalgia including the explosive ‘.44 Caliber Love Letter’. The set was everything our hearts and minds had ever hoped for but please don’t leave us grieving again Alexis, just come back! RW

Royal Blood

Source: Promo

Royal Blood – Main Stage – 8/10

If this is the headliner audition, it’s pretty safe to say they smashed it out of the park. One bass guitar and a drum kit produced the same power and energy that 95% of the acts on the entire bill managed. Once you’ve won over the likes of Arctic Monkeys and Jimmy Page, it’s probably pretty easy to play to a Reading crowd and, while being visually moved by the surging crowd for such an early slot, what was most impressive was the surging confidence powering their insane musicality. Are they ready to headline any time soon? Performance wise, easily. But it’s apparent that they need at least 2/3 more albums. With new song ‘Hook Line And Sinker’ showing the band won’t rest on their laurels any time soon, that shouldn’t be too crazy a wait. Let’s just hope the hype keeps growing in the meantime! MM

Bring Me The Horizon

Source: Graham Berry

Bring Me The Horizon – Saturday Main Stage – 10/10

Now where do we even begin? Let’s go back about seven years to the release of their first good album Suicide Season; because of course no one really truly loved Count Your Blessings, come on! Back then, if you revealed yourself as a Bring Me fan you’d be met with confused glances and questioning why’s being such a niche band. Fast forward to 2015 and they’re undoubtedly one of the biggest UK rock bands out there, past or present. Having seen the same set a few days prior in Oxford we were prepared for the set list – which was impeccable – but we certainly weren’t prepared for the crowd (which was humongous) or for the atmosphere. “S.P.I.R.I.T. Spirit, let’s hear it” cries out over the speakers for opening track ‘Happy Song’ and anyone who ever doubted the band is doubling over and eating their words. The crowd engulfing the main stage know every word to every single track new or old as the band smash through mainly tracks from 2013’s Sempiternal including ‘Shadow Moses’, ‘House of Wolves’ and ‘Go To Hell, For Heaven’s Sake’. Oli does not rest for a single second as he channels every ounce of adrenaline to play the show of their careers, running across the stage, falling to the ground and initiating what was the most amount of circle pits probably all weekend. Setting the tone for things to come, the band end with a track from their impending fifth album and ‘Drown’ is one hell of a way to end. Bring Me The Horizon are close to perfection and work like a well oiled machine, and we aren’t even saying that as a lifelong fans, this was the consensus of everyone we spoke to. If Bring Me aren’t headlining festivals main stages within the next two years then someone needs to lose their job. RW

Source: Promo

Source: Promo

Twin Atlantic- Saturday NME Stage – 9/10

Being the fifth year that Twin Atlantic have played Reading festival we thought we’d seen it all but mere seconds into their set they show everyone around that they still have a lot more to give. Having been on a high from Bring Me The Horizon’s set, most other things would probably have paled in comparison but, Twin give us one of our best festival memories which could see them headlining themselves in the future. Despite the size of the stage the set is played only by the four guys, no touring guitarists or extra help and it’s rock in it’s purest form. Not only do we get amazing music there’s also an atmosphere like no other; Twin fans are hardcore and loyal. We get confetti (in the shape of butterflies none the less), streamers and anything else that can be thrown onto the crowd. There’s a semi acoustic, heart filled version of ‘Crash Land’, an incredibly loud ‘I Am An Animal’ and the strongest rendition of ‘Heart and Soul’ we’ve heard. It is hard to not scream “I flick the switch on my generator/ So I can turn you on” when it comes blasting at you from all directions. Twin Atlantic might be taking some time out to write and record new music which means next festival season there will be a Twin sized hole in our schedules, but the thought that they’ll be back is enough to keep us going. Thanks Twin for ending our Saturday night in style while that other band were on main stage…. who were they again?! RW

The Mini Band

Source: Graham Berry

The Mini Band – The Pit – 9/10

Newbury 5 piece, The Mini Band, were a last-minute addition to the festival line-up and one that had much anticipation; mainly down to the fact that the entire band are aged between 12 and 14 years old! Already having Metallica’s seal of approval after a video of the band was sent to the metal giants, it was now time to gain the approval of the Saturday morning crowd at The Pit, and boy did they nail it. Coming out hard from the get go, the band shredded through their tracks full of dual guitar solo’s, fist pumping and generally showed that they could kick more ass then most bands twice their age. Ending on Metallica’s ‘Enter Sandman’ the mosh pits were in full force and The Mini Band had gained a whole new legion of fans. One of the highlights of the weekend! CH

Darlia

Source: Official Facebook / Steve Gullick

Darlia – Festival Republic – 7/10

A tidy slab of literal Blackpool rock from the much hyped Darlia. The trio brought their glamed grunge vibes to a packed festival republic stage for a set full of passion, energy and melodic swagger. Such passion in fact that they ran over by a fair amount, leaving little time for Ash to set up. MM

Ash

Source: Official Facebook

Ash – Festival Republic – 8/10

With a shaky start, resulting from Darlia’s overun, with sound issues plaguing the first few tracks, it seemed not to hamper the dependable trio, now on their 9th Reading appearance. Opening with ‘A Life Less Ordinary’ and keeping the hits rolling from there, they hit the ground running quickly and once the aforementioned sound problems were fixed managed to conjure up an admirable and enjoyable set, if nothing spectacular. But let’s face it. Any person with half a brain is going to enjoy hearing energetic versions of ‘Kung Fu’ and ‘Girl From Mars’, whatever the sound is like! MM

Tempa T

Source: Chris Hines

Tempa T – 1xtra Stage – 7/10

One of UK grime’s finest, Tempa T, takes to a packed out tent with DJ Cameo. It’s been argued that Tempa T is the hypest person to have ever existed and with this performance it’s easy to see why. From jump kicks to his traditional skank, it’s like Tempz is a DVD workout instructor. The fans are trying to keep up in the form of mosh pits but no one in the tent has the energy like Tempz. The only thing he lacks is the collection of hits but, with the ones he has, he puts his full effort into every verse and bar. JP

Lethal-Bizzle

Source: Josh Prat

Lethal Bizzle – 1 Xtra Stage – 7/10

In typical Dench gang style, Lethal Bizzle rolls onto the stage with his Swegboard to perform his first track ‘Rari Workout’. It’s easy to forget Bizzle’s vast collection of music that stretches over multiple genres, but his grime material, such as the classic ‘Pow’, sees the crowd at their most wild. Bizzle has built a lot of his recent success on his social media which has made him a cult figure to a lot of people and it’s clear that the references to the online banter, plus his almost viral hits, are being fully appreciated by all the fans here tonight.  JP.


Sunday


Source: Official Promo

Source: Official Promo

Lonely The Brave- Sunday Main Stage – 5/10

Lonely the Brave are a band we still can’t pin point. Standing close to the main stage, if you closed your eyes you are transported into a set of softer ballads, mesmerising vocals and intense songs. But on opening your eyes and seeing the stage we’re left a little disappointed. The band as such don’t have a frontman. Vocalist David Jake’s presence on the stage is an odd one. Previously he took up residence on the far side of the stage, taking a backseat from everything which makes a frontman, and while he has moved a little closer to that middle spot there’s still no focal point. Rock music need rock stars and while they don’t all have to be the screaming, venom spitting type, Jake never seems comfortable in his position. Just like most of their sets, musically there’s little you can fault the band on as they work through their eight track set, but you might as well just hit play on the album and enjoy the set from the comfort of your sofa rather than a field. RW

Against-Me

Source: Graham Berry

Against Me – Sunday Main Stage – 8/10

Against Me stand for something more than just great punk rock they “stand against all the things that punk rock should stand against” as front-woman Laura Jane Grace shouts to the receptive main stage crowd. After eighteen years of being in a band, the tracks from their back catalogue transcend a huge part of the members lives and pieced together they tell a story which bypasses the author to the thousands of people in the field. Apart from a few choice words, the band just move from track to track and blast through fourteen tracks spanning their career. Opener ‘True Trans Soul Rebel’ highlights some of Laura’s personal feelings while ‘FuckMyLife666’ is designed as a love ballad. It’s clear from todays set why Against Me are still together and going strong and there’s no reason why they won’t still be together in another eighteen years. RW

Gaslight Anthem

Source: Official Promo / Drew Gurian

The Gaslight Anthem – Main Stage – 7/10

Having announced their impending hiatus, there’s no surprise that The Gaslight Anthem’s performance is full to bursting with veteran fans and Gaslight virgins. They’re one of the biggest cult bands in the world and seeing them in a live situation is like nothing you’ve seen before. There’s no secret to the bands success it’s just pure hard work. Rattling through fourteen tracks ranging from 2007 debut Sink or Swim, through to last years Get Hurt, Gaslight put aside the chatter and just run through track after track to give fans their final piece of closure before the curtain is drawn. Frontman Brian Fallon’s vocals melt into your ears and really show how gifted he is as a musician. While the band don’t directly address the fact that they’re taking some time out with no definite plans to come back together and there is no tearful farewell from the band, they give fans something they’ll remember for years. RW

The-Cribs

Source: Graham Berry

The Cribs – Main Stage – 8/10

The loveable Wakefield bunch might as well be a permanent art installation at Reading and Leeds and their love for the festival was certainly apparent. Playing an unexpectedly early career centered set, the band met an enthusiastic, if slightly physical stilted response from the fans up the front… well at least until everyone’s favourite loveable rent-a-gob Ryan Jarman urged the crowd into a frenzy towards the end. MM

the-maccabees

Source: Official Promo

The Maccabees – Main Stage – 7/10

An enjoyable set if nothing else. The band mainly focused on new album Marks To Prove It, which is perhaps a bit more down the middle and expansive in terms of sound. So perhaps it was no surprise that it was the older material like ‘Pelican’ and ‘Love You Better’ that really got the gaggle at the front. MM

Jamie T

Source: Graham Berry

Jamie T – Main Stage – 9/10

Everyone’s favourite Indie wordsmith kept his growing live reputation intact with an energetic and spirited set that put a little more life into a crowd that were in likelihood feeling the effects of the last two or so days. While naturally it was the Kings & Queens material that whipped the crowd up most, the biggest crowd response of the day so far came from comeback track ‘Zombie’ which swept away the Sunday cobwebs with glorious aplomb. MM

Kendrick Lamar - Wireless Festival

Source: Chris Hines – Wireless Festival

Kendrick Lamar – Main Stage- 9/10

It shows the heights of Kendrick Lamar’s career that we see him perform on the Main Stage at Reading Festival, but after his two recent outstanding albums, good kid m.A.A.d city and To Pimp A Butterfly, it’s clear why. The Compton native brings his culture to the muddy fields of Reading with a full band to give that true live music feel. Kendrick conducts the crowd and controls their mood by dipping in and out of his forever growing catalogue of songs. He warms up the crowd with his massive hit ‘Money Trees’ before performing his radio friendly tracks ‘Swimming Pools’ and ‘Fuckin Problems’. He then slows down the show with ‘Bitch, Don’t Kill My Vibe’ to bring the energy back up for ‘i’. Returning for an encore to perform his Section 8.0 hit ‘ADHD’ before saying his final farewell, it’s a great performance from King Kendrick. JP

Libertines

Source: Maryam Hassan

The Libertines – Main Stage – 9/10

Bedraggled and messy at times while polished and consise at others, it encapsulated all that’s great about The Libertines of both new and current. The old songs are so vital to the indie diehards that Carl and Pete could probably fart into the mic and garner applause. Their playing may have been tighter than 2010 and the group may have tamed a little with age but sonically it was much more pleasing. The energy and chaos still reared its head at moments with sloppy endings to tracks like ‘The Delaney’ and ‘Campaign Of Hate’ but nothing beats the poeticism and passion of last decade’s most influential gang. The hype around their reunion may have wayned a little across the casuals, but new tracks ‘Barbarians’, ‘You’re My Waterloo’ and ‘Anthem For Doomed Youth’, alongside the now familiar ‘Gunga Din’, were greeted by perhaps more enthusiasm than even the older classics. Put down those banjos Mumford boys, this is real indie! MM

Years and Years

Source: Official Facebook Page

Years & Years – Sunday NME Stage – 10/10

After reading tweets from disgruntled Years & Years fans about the stampede of people who could not get into the tent to see the band, we ensured we headed off quickly. Electro soul-trio Years & Years have exploded seemingly out of nowhere since their debut album release earlier this year. The London-based trio are illuminated on stage by neon lights and the huge NME stage is a far cry from the smaller venues the band were playing just a few months ago. The opening notes of ‘Foundations’ is full of body with frontman Olly Alexander bounding around the stage like a child in a candy shop, all wide-eyed and full of ambition. With a falsetto that other stars would die for, and enough smooth soul-soaked slicks that Justin Timberlake would be jealous of, the band are flawless in every way. Even without knowing the words to all of the tracks you’re drawn in and an overwhelming urge to dance takes over your body. While the entire set is full of energy and passion it is closing track ‘King’ which really has the crowd going crazy. For a lot of us it might be the only track we know so we make up for it by singing louder than ever before. With their upcoming tour selling out more dates than you’d expect, we wouldn’t be surprised if by album number two Years & Years are selling out arenas and headlining festivals of their own. RW

Black Foxxes

Source: Graham Berry

Black Foxxes – The Pit – 8/10

Since releasing their debut E.P ‘Pines’ at the end of last year, the hype about Black Foxxes has been growing at a dramatic rate. Now signed up with Search & Destroy/Spinefarm Records, the band get their first real taste of what’s to come as they make their debut appearance at the legendary festival (Well, that’s if we don’t include Leeds the day before!). Moments of honest vulnerability juxtaposed with fiery passion grab this early morning audience and don’t let go as they put every once of energy they have into their performance. As the crowd fall silent during the intimacy of ‘Pines’ it’s clear to see we are witnessing something special and we can’t wait to see where this will take them next. CH

Frank-Carter

Source: Graham Berry

Frank Carter & The Rattlesnakes- The Pit – 9/10

Frank Carter is starting to become a little bit like the furniture at Reading Festival having played countless times across three different musical entities. But it’s latest creation Frank Carter & The Rattlesnakes where he seems most at home both on stage and in his own mind. Putting aside the hatred which flows from his mouth, Frank shows how much of a softie he is as he cradles his 9 month old daughter on stage as she watches her dad play live for the first time. Despite his potty mouth and harsh words, he is trying to be responsible as he screams to the crowd that they better not drop him when he crowd surfs the entire width of The Pit crowd. Blossom, the bands debut album, may have only been out for a week or two but the fact that it entered the charts shows how many fans know and love the album already as each track is shouted back with the same contempt as Frank shows himself. RW

Beartooth

Source: Official Promo

Beartooth – The Pit – 8/10

The first time a band play Reading is always a special one and for Beartooth Sunday August 30th was the day. As the five piece rip onto the stage, it’s clear to see that they are by no means short of UK enthusiasts ready to scream, jump and create mayhem for the next half an hour. With just one album between them – but what an album it is – there are no major musical surprises and with this the crowd scream back note for note each and every track. As people clamber to the front through inspiring pits of chaos it’s closing track ‘Body Bag’ which really unites the crowd as the screams of “One Life, One Decision” resonate through the airspace. If the band don’t appear again in 2016 higher up the bill we will be surprised, a fantastic achievement for a band who deserve every second of their success. RW

Bury Tomorrow

Source: PR

Bury Tomorrow – The Pit – 9/10

Bury Tomorrow have been relentlessly touring not just for their latest album cycle but for their entire careers, and Reading see’s them draw a close to the end of the Runes cycle. ‘Man on Fire’ opens the set as a circle pit engulfs part of the crowd and it isn’t long before frontman Daniel Winter Bates is jumping around within reach of the fans. Today’s crowd experience five tracks of classic Bury Tomorrow greatness with one brand new track, ‘Earth Bound’, which is proof enough that the next album is going to be a monster. Much like any other set from the Southampton five piece, the band demand crowd surfers during closer ‘Lion Heart’, a staple part of the bands set since Union of Crowns release back in 2012. As more and more of the crowd tumble over each others heads it’s clear how much the fans mean to the band. RW

The Last Internationale

Source: Official Promo

The Last Internationale – Festival Republic Stage – 7/10

Politicized but perhaps compromised from the Tom Morello favourites. On early in the day, their bluesy rock took a long time to get the crowd going with guitarist Edgey Pires’ impassioned rant about injustice and selling out getting a better response than the band’s actual set. Which isn’t to say that they were poor. Singer Delila Paz was in fine vocal form, if not at her usual standard of rocking stage presence while Pires swaggered around the stage playing tidy solos and crashing riffs with admirable steely composure. Ones to keep an eye on with fair promise, if not the fanbase present for UK lift off. MM

Lady-Leshurr

Source: Josh Pratt

Lady Leshurr – 1Xtra Stage – 7/10

It’s surprising to see Lady Leshurr as the 1Xtra stage opener considering she’s by far the UK’s best female emcee and probably one of the hottest artists in the Grime scene right now; her recent Queen’s Speech EP has racked up millions of views over her social media. Known for being witty, Leshurr hands out packets of Colgate toothbrushes to the crowd as they cheer ready for her latest track ‘Brush Your Teeth’. Queen Lesh has the crowd in the palm of her hand throughout, ruling over them while they praise her every move. Just like one of the famous monarch’s of history, Queen Lesh looks like she’s going to try to conquer the world. JP

Young Thug

Source: Josh Pratt

Young Thug – 1Xtra Stage – 8/10

Hip-hop’s most controversial artist, Young Thug, hasn’t been in the rap spotlight for long, but he’s managed to destroy the career of Lil Wayne, make the world question his sexuality and dominate the clubs for the past year. Seeing his name on the Reading line-up had everyone scratching their heads and wondering how this even happened. Many people even questioned if he would show up? Thankfully Thugger turns up – literally. The surprise of thousands of people at a UK festival knowing all of the words to all of his songs is all over his normally unreadable face. To think these dedicated fans have only been following him for a couple of years, who knows how far Thug could go! JP

Stormzy

Source: Josh Pratt

Stormzy – 1Xtra Stage – 9/10

With the year Stormzy is having, Reading could have quite easily made him the stage headliner. The wicked skengman has arguably the stage’s largest crowd of the weekend. You can’t take Stormzy too seriously and he knows this as he struggles to contain his joy under his hard-man imagine. Despite his short career, Big Mike has an ever growing collection of music and freestyle which his fans clearly adore. From the his ‘Shut Up’ freestyle to the finale song ‘Know Me From’ every fan in this hectic tent knows every word. It’s a real honor to see the Wicked Skengman in the flesh.  JP

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