This is the second installment of my 3 pieces about reading festival, this is down to the vast amount of bands I went to see and how much I enjoyed them. If you still haven’t read the first piece, please check it out here to catch up.
After a strong to start to the festival on Friday, I was struggling to see how Saturday was going to top it, then I remembered that Arctic Monkeys were headlining – so anything was possible.
Due to the lack of sleep on the Friday I started relatively late, so the first act that I went along to was the much praised and heralded Royal Blood. When the band were playing their debut album was yet to be released, so in that case there was a lot riding on it. The band didn’t sweat it as they played their way through a blistering set giving everyone a reason to keep listening and purchase their debut album. It was energy from start to finish, with songs like ‘Figure it out’ and ‘Out of the Black’ standing out as they have ridiculously catchy riffs like a lot of the songs do.
Also on a quick note I was impressed to hear the sound they managed to create, seen as it is only a bass and drum they make the most incredible sounds.
Straight after that I jogged on over to Peace to see one of the best bands to come out of Birmingham in a while, and although I’ve seen them a few times, they still seemed as fresh as ever. With a few new songs added to the setlist (‘Money’ and ‘World Peace’) along with some classics like ‘Bloodshake’ and ‘Calafornia Daze’, the band put on one of the best performances of the festival.
I then lost valuable music time as I had to go along and find the rest of the group, forcing me to miss Wolf Alice who I was excited to see, so the next act on the list was Foster the People. I hadn’t seen this band before, and after the performance I won’t be seeing them again. The songs never really picked up the pace, and it only seemed like the die-hard fans that were enjoying it. Things looked interesting towards the end as the lead singer, Mark Foster, smashed his guitar but to quote a friend, it was about as rock and roll as a sausage.
Before the festival I developed a love for electro pop act Chvrches, so when the time came to see them I felt like a little girl who knew she was getting a Barbie doll for Christmas. Chvrches were hands down one of the best acts of the festival, I feel pretty confident in stating that anything going on while they were performing was not as good as these. It sounded like it was coming straight off the vinyl but just 100 times louder. Everything was squeaky clean, nothing was left unpolished and the vocals were undoubtedly special. ‘Gun’ managed to get the whole crowd going, but the stand out song for me was ‘Under the Tide’ because not only do I have a love the song, but the lyrics a cool to sing.
Then it was the war between Bombay Bicycle Club and Jake Bugg, and as a lot of people poured out to see the young guitar wizard I stayed to watch another great act in the NME tent. Bombay are a special act and I understand that now, because the people that into them, are really into them, as they seem to have this die-hard fan base, and it’s easy to see why. They blew me away as they played songs from each of their albums and put on a highly above average show.
Unfortunately I had to leave Bombay to make sure I was there for the biggest act of the night in Arctic Monkeys, and also to meet up with the rest of the clan who were dithering in the cold and nursing sore voices.
In walked Arctic Monkeys, and the stage was there’s as they showed how to own a stage and keep a crowd on the edge of your every word. The set list had no surprises as they played pretty much what they’ve been playing all year with ‘Do I wanna Know?’ and ‘Why’d you only call me when you’re high?’, however they still manage to make their set interesting thanks to the overly talented Alex Turner. Whether he’s pausing to keep the audience hanging, sparking up a cigarette or playing a devilishly good solo, the audience are just soaked into him.
Love him or hate him it’s very hard to deny that his a ridiculously talented songwriter that has been fused with one of the best quiffs we’ve seen in a long time in mainstream media.
Unfortunately the speakers were playing up again so at times the sound would drop only to suddenly pick back up again, it was more annoying than it sounds.
Overall Saturday was a very strong day with some very good acts, which would have been able water the mouths of any music fan. The standout acts of the day were Chvrches, Peace and Arctic Monkeys, however if there was space for all of them, they would all be in there.
Please check back soon for the final installment of the review on the Reading Festival 2012!
Words by Alex Wise @al456