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Festival review: Reading Festival 2015

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Friday

Panic! At The Disco followed by All Time Low took us straight back to 2007 with our multi-coloured fringes and studded belts. If you’ve seen Panic! At The Disco before, you will know that Brendon Urie has an impressive falsetto range, with him often taking verses up the octave, just for the hell of it. You will also know that they bring out a little known Queen song called, ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’, you may have heard of it. Arguably no one can do it better than Mercury himself, but Urie and co. had a bloody good go at it.

The coveted TBA slots are always widely speculated, and usually pretty damn popular! This slot on the BBC Introducing Stage usually hosts an artist or band that once started out there. For example the likes of Bastille and Bombay Bicycle Club have performed there in recent years. This year was no different with indie dreamboats Peace taking to the stage. The band tweeted earlier in the day announcing their set meaning word spread pretty quickly and the stage was jam-packed.

Meeting All Time Low backstage puts their success into perspective. As some of the nicest guys in rock, it’s easy to see why their original fans still adore them, and why they’re still gaining fans along the way.

With the news that they will embark on a UK Arena tour in February they returned to Reading for the fourth time. Some people may have grown out of their childish on-stage toilet humour, however, I find it endearing and pretty entertaining. The highlight of their set, which they’ve done many times before, was to get a group of fans from the crowd up on stage to have their very own ‘dance party’ to ‘Timebomb’. The delight on their faces as they rocked out next to their heroes was something to behold.

Next on the agenda were Bastille. With fans all over the world having the opportunity to see Bastille live over the past couple of years, front-man Dan Smith announced to the crowd that their Reading and Leeds shows will be among the last of this epic global tour for their debut album Bad Blood. With this in mind, their show had that extra bit of oomph, and having never played the Main Stage at Reading before, this was a special one for everyone involved. They showcased some new material including track ‘Hanging’, as well as playing the classics that bought them fame, ‘Pompeii’ and ‘Flaws’. The latter being the highlight as Smith entered the crowd.

Finishing up Friday on the Main Stage were Alt-J ∆ followed by headliners, Mumford and Sons. Both of which performed stunning sets to close an amazing day of music.

Saturday

Now, it’s not easy getting a crowd going before 6pm (hangovers, tiredness, regret, etc.) but as we know from Reading 2012, it can be done!

Those that were lucky enough to see Green Day open the NME/Radio1 Stage three years ago will know that, although it was 11am, Billy Joe and the gang got thousands of people moshing along to their greatest hits.

This year, Foals were the band that accepted this challenge, although, being on at 1:35pm must have made things slightly easier. With new album What Went Down out now the band had a whole host of doting fans waiting to hear them.

Following Foals were Slaves, the band on everyone’s lips at the moment, and their NME/Radio1 Stage set proved that they’re 100% worth the hype. The tent was packed for the two lads from Tunbridge Wells as they played tracks from their debut album Are You Satisfied?

Saturday was well and truly a day for rock as post-hardcore legends, Alexisonfire took to the Main Stage. Surrounded by old school fans, their comeback has been one of the most welcome of recent years. As they played classics like ‘Boiled Frogs’ and ‘This Could Be Anywhere In The World’ it was like they’d never left us.

Their set was a highlight with George Pettit getting so into the moment he ended up ripping his shirt off.

Royal Blood and Bring Me The Horizon also soothed our rock needs. Royal Blood’s set on Saturday showed that they’ll be back to headline pretty soon and BMTH were the perfect warm up act for Main Stage headliners, Metallica.

Elsewhere Charli XCX and Everything Everything played to packed out tents, while Lethal Bizzle had the biggest crowd I’ve ever seen over at the Radio 1xtra stage.

Despite cancelling the second half of her US co-headline tour with Bleachers, Charli XCX wasn’t fazed as she took to the stage in the Dance tent on Saturday. Playing hit after hit, the packed out tent jumped along to the likes of ‘I Love It’ and ‘Famous’. And, so as not to disappoint us, she did bring her giant inflatable guitar with her..

Sunday

The final day of Reading always brings an air of sadness as Monday morning and returning to work gets closer, luckily there was a sterling line-up to keep us going through the day.

The Maccabees’ Main Stage set was a highlight as they showcased new tracks from their fourth studio album Marks To Prove It with tracks ‘Kamakura’ and ‘Something Like Happiness’ making it into the set. Finishing with the classic ‘Precious Time’, it felt like a very special moment for both the band and the crowd.

Following that was Jamie T as he rounded up his Carry On The Grudge touring stint. Playing classics from all three of his records, including ‘Sheila’ and ‘Zombie’, he had the crowd singing along from start to finish. 

Over the years Reading and Leeds have had more hip-hop artists infiltrate into the Main Stage line up, take Eminem’s amazing 2013 headline performance for example. With this in mind, it’s no surprise that Kendrick Lamar got one of the biggest crowds of the weekend. With hits such as ‘Bitch Don’t Kill My Vibe’ and ‘Alright’ under his belt, this was the perfect warm up for Sunday headliners and festival closers, The Libertines.

After a packed summer of reunion shows and with a new album on the way, The Libertines didn’t disappoint as they closed Reading Festival on Sunday. As always their brand of organized chaos took over the Main Stage with hits such as ‘What Katie Did’ and ‘Can’t Stand Me’ providing the expected sing along from the crowd.

Overall 2015’s Reading Festival was a phenomenal weekend of amazing music.




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