I set off with my unrealistic list of stage times and 19 bands but due to constraints of food and water (i don’t know how you barrier kids do it) a few were gradually knocked off – 15 isn’t too shabby though is it?
Funeral Suits, Marsicans*, Palma Violets, Hadouken!*, Coheed & Cambria*(accidental i swear), Spector*, Ceremony*, The Hives*, Savages*, Crystal Castles, The Blackout, Passion Pit, Graham Coxon, The Courteeners*, Bastille*, THE CURE.
The *s are ones i didnt see all of but saw enough to get a decent judgement of that i class as “seeing”
Funeral Suits were the best start to a weekend ever. They’re just ace. I dont think i’ve ever posted about them on here before which is bad but they just create generally very good indie synth-y irish brilliance that is very chilled and great. They are also seemingly great live too, the tent was packed at 11am on a friday morning which was success in itself. They have an album that has been out awhile now, its very very good, go buy it.
Marsicans are top. Tipped to my attention by little comets, they didn’t fail to disappoint. They drew in a massive crowd for the first act on the BBC Introducing stage and were quite clearly taken aback by it all, even if they greatly deserved it.
They’re from Leeds and write incredibly catchy indie tracks that could easily be mistaken for Arctic Monkeys, lyrically, vocally & musically, that and if you listened to the frontman talking with your eyes shut, you wouldn’t know the difference. They are absolutely brilliant (proof by the track above that they wrote a mere two days before) and deserve to be absolutely massive. Long Live Marsicans.
Palma Violets, this lot are just awesome. I say that in every sense of the word. They drew in a massive crowd with their garagey rocky generally hard to classify other than completely brilliant tunes & immense energy and the set was one of the best things i’ve ever seen live. The highlight being the synth dramatically falling off a mishmashed table piano affair “we’re too poor to afford a real stand” and equally the look on their faces.
They ended it with a “what can we do in 2 minutes? a new song!” type which i and i imagine the rest of the audience still have no idea whether he was making it up on the spot or not – either way it involved more brilliance and stagedives and if it was for real i have no problems because any band that can pull of the lyric “i’ve got a brand new song and i’d like to play it to you” are worth their weight in gold.
I have one word for you all about Savages, DREADFUL.
From the moment they graced the stage it made me wince, it was one of those kind of all female “we’re so original being moody lady punks aren’t we no one has ever done that before” bands. Then the music started, okay the sound was there i’ll give them that. No original sound but it gave the moody vibes they promised, however the vocals were dire. And then the dancing began, this woman was trying to be subtle when trying to impersonate Ian Curtis, right down to his dance moves and it wasn’t working, therefore this desperate impersonation became oh so obvious…. and obviously, her dancing was shit compared to him. The robotic hair flicks don’t work, love, give it up. Don’t believe the hype.
Crystal Castles soon made it all better with a ‘crackin’ set, apparently they played a new tune but you wouldn’t’ve known anyhow due to Alice being her standard off her face falling off the stage self (that is by no means a bad thing – i love her) but it they sounded awesome. My only complaint was that Robert did not make that elusive appearance for Not In Love :c
It was the third time I’d seen The Blackout and i’m not sure what it is, but they’ve still got it. From the class welsh banter to the ability to snap their fingers & transform the crowd into one huge mosh, they just oooze awesome every single time.
What came of Passion Pit was unexpected. By this point my YOLO mentality kicked it and i dragged my father to the fifth row back thinking “hey this lot were ignored when i saw them (back in 09, oops) it’ll be tame”. I couldn’t’ve been more wrong, they paraded onstage and the crowd just appeared from every angle, Take A Walk began & the crowd went insane. I was crushed half to death and pulled back (unfortunately) by my (paranoid as feck) dad before the first song was even halfway done and the set that followed was the same. Absolutely ace. They have become one of my new favourite bands on that performance alone.
Graham Coxon was too unexpected, this time for opposite reasons. I reclaimed my spot 4 rows back knowing it would be much calmer than what i’d just witnessed due to his music being fucking first class but painfully underappreciated by most, but i did think the crowd would’ve actually moved at some point, apparently not. Graham himself was on top form, played an A+E heavy and very intense set that was just wicked live, even featuring Bottom Bunk which is one of my faves, however the exasperated smiles exchanged throughout himself & the band & the shouts of “where are you? you’re miles away reading” made it clear i wasn’t the only one feeling the vibe kill. It isn’t til you get close to the barrier that you realise it is actually miles away from the stage and when the first 4 rows are only the ones really going for it, even if only about 10 of them know the words, it gives the impression that the entire gig sucks (it really didn’t).
If you’re going to see a band at a festival, don’t just stand there people, you may aswell enjoy it. Nothing pains me more when artists play a blinder and the audience don’t appreciate it therefore ruining the gig for everyone that does. and that wasn’t the end of this nonsense for the day either….
The Cure. Put it this way, it’s thursday night and almost been a week since their set and i haven’t got a clue where to start. Just nowhere. I’ll try again tomorrow. (It’s sunday now) They were incredible to put it lightly. Admittedly, the crowd sucked, even after persuading my dad to leave the first barrier & push into the middle of the two, it was empty and throughout the set everyone was leaving (their loss) so there was little crowd atmosphere shall we say, which did make it a bit frustrating, like i said before,if you’re gonna see a band, you might aswell make the most of it, no?
But that’s beside the point anyway because the band themselves were on top form, every single track (32, i am told) sounded faultless, i don’t think i have ever seen a band that are just perfect live before but The Cure were just that. It ceases to amaze me how Robert’s voice hasn’t altered in those 33 odd years, i mean going from sixteen to fifty two & still note perfect is something to be admired in itself, let alone still creating songs as good.Speaking of which the setlist was ace, pretty standard but ace, any set with Bananafishbones is a winner in my eyes (shout out to the bloke next to me who knew every word).
I’ve seen many reviews criticising how the band “self indulge” on those that aren’t the hits that are mindless because hearing songs like One Hundred Years, Push & Dressing Up live is, if anything, refreshing and brilliant, anyone that appreciates music in the crowd (aka almost everyone) will know that (even if they dont know the words) so I reckon they should be praised for that especially when playing such songs at a festival like Reading where everyone is expecting the hits. A prime example is Roger’s solo in Trust, that was magical – his hairflicks were the same, like a neverending incredible l’oreal ad.
(i’ve only found the Pinkpop version online, but you get the gist)
Reeves Gabrels is also an awesome guitarist, no one would know it wasn’t him playing for the past 30 years, he just fits really well into the current line up making it just as flawless as i have probably said about several times already (were you expecting this not to be heavily biased though, come on) and Simon too sounded as immense as ever, the end of A Forest was just boneshaking- thats the only word i can think of to sum it up really.
In short, the hits were great, Boy’s Don’t Cry was the best moment of my life, the more unknown tracks were treats and brilliant, the band sounded perfect (watch it on tv, i’m not even exaggerating) and The Cure are hands down the most awesome band I have ever seen and also still the best band in existence
Now, about that next album…..