As one of the UK’s biggest festivals, Reading & Leeds are used to putting on a show with big acts come rain or shine (and it's usually rain).
This year the acts were slightly smaller, and the weather significantly better, but it was another characteristically brilliant Bank Holiday weekend.
Kicking off our weekend were alt-rockers Darlia, with a reserved, yet assured performance on the Festival Republic stage. While there are certainly roadblocks to be overcome, the neo-grunge band show glimpses of the hit-makers they could soon become.
Over on the main stage, festival veterans Enter Shikari strolled out to a healthy midday crowd, and delivered a commanding show blending antics with politics, and a set-list filled with festival favourites and old gems alike.
This year’s worst kept secret came courtesy of Jamie T, who’s surprise set quickly became common knowledge to festival goers. If anything, his time away has only served to bolster his popularity, and songs such as ‘Sheila’and ‘Sticks and Stones’ were met with the fervour of a crowd being reminded just what they’ve been missing the past few years.
Crisis? What Crisis? Debut headliners Paramore were faced with a major problem early into their set as the sound cuts out on the main stage. Quick to adapt, the band delivered an accapella rendition of ‘The Only Exception’, turning disaster into a standout piece of festival history.
Queens of The Stone Age walked out to a diminished main stage crowd, with many put off by the heavy rain. Despite the band’s engaging and technical performance they failed to get the reaction they deserved.
Kicking off Saturday were math-rockers Marmozets, with a proficient, yet nervous performance in front of a large early crowd. With the band’s recent and rapid rise to prominence their anxiety is understandable, but the band will quickly have to adapt to bigger stages as their reputation grows.
Over on the main stage, Deaf Havana suffered from a rare off day, with a number of technical issues holding back a professional, yet underwhelming set.
American Authors came out to a packed Festival Republic tent, and delivered a flawless set. Seemingly at ease with the expectation placed upon them, the band’s UK festival debut had the confidence of a band that know there time in the limelight is due.
Of all the British rock bands to appear at Reading Festival, none were as confident as Don Broco. Their slick, boisterous set was well suited to the NME stage, and the band showed a genuine hunger that has been lacking amongst many of their contemporaries.
These days, Arctic Monkeys’ festival set is a finely oiled machine, efficient, effective but lacking in character. The band’s performance justified their billing, but it lacked the charm and idiosyncrasies that made their Glastonbury performance so captivating.
The Story So Far were one of the few bands to be visibly overwhelmed during their set on Reading’s main stage. While crowd interaction was kept to a minimum, the strength of their songs alone injected some energy into the morning crowd.
Clean Bandit however, are a band that thrive in front of large audiences. Their meteoric rise over the last year saw them fill the NME tent completely, a rarity for the midday time slots. Completely unphased, the band showed a genuine enthusiasm in their lively, enticing performance.
A Day To Remember appeared on the main stage in a playful mood, delivering an energetic set filled with antics and anthems alike. Their eclectic mix of pop-punk and metal goes down particularly well, and the band are one of the few acts to relish the challenge of the main stage crowd.
Over on The Pit stage, The Wonder Years’ take on pop-punk attracted a devoted crowd of fans. Truthfully, the band didn’t need a top performance to satisfy the audience, but a show filled with energy and emotion saw the band play one of the festivals finest shows.
Over on the main stage, Macklemore & Ryan Lewis drew the largest crowd of the day. The pair displayed a charm and energy that have the crowd sold throughout. The performance was lively yet personal, adding weight to the argument that hip-hop deserves its place at Reading and Leeds.
In 2014, Blink-182 aren’t the boisterous, youthful band they used to be, but that didn’t stop them delivering a solid set of pop-punk anthems. The toilet humour may feel more forced, and the band certainly rely on the artistry of Travis Barker, but they managed to remind everyone exactly why they influenced a generation of pop punk.