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Definitely one of the main British festivals on the calendar, Reading and Leeds have conjured up yet another solid line-up. If you look close enough that is. Everyone always has something to complain about, but there’s some great acts this year that you need to see. Here’s a few worthy of focal points, and for reference, dates will be based on the Reading festival order.
Metallica – Main Stage, Saturday night
Where else to start really? You’ll struggle to find any bigger band to headline the Main Stage on the Saturday night. It’s kind of difficult to try and convince people to see Metallica, their name says it all. Regardless of if you like or dislike the American band, the atmosphere will be phenomenal. If you’re willing to tolerate a dozen or so mosh pits, then this will definitely be worth every penny spent on your ticket.
Royal Blood – Main Stage, Saturday evening
The Brighton duo were nominated for the Mercury Prize with their debut self-titled album last year. With just a bass guitar and some drums to their collection, you wouldn’t expect them to sound as loud as they do. Expect plenty of songs from Royal Blood, like Little Monster and Out of the Black, as well as the band potentially throwing out a few new songs.
Django Django – Festival Republic Stage, Friday night
Django Django may be an unusual choice to headline a stage at a rock festival, but compare it to Mumford & Sons headlining the Main Stage and you can see why I’ve highlighted the electronic band to watch instead. Now Mumford & Sons aren’t bad, but a little generic to be heading the first night, and hardly a band unique enough to conjure up the perfect festival atmosphere. Try and get space at the Festival Republic Stage and watch a unique performance by Django Django, supporting their recent album Born Under Saturn. Take a listen to First Light and you’ll see why Mumford & Sons is probably worth skipping.
Alvvays – Festival Republic Stage, Friday evening
I was a big fan of this Canadian group when they released their debut eponymous album last year. Molly Rankin’s dreamy vocals sound beautiful in the studio and live, with Archie, Marry Me being the pick of their tracks. Scoring consistently good reviews in their music, it’s worth getting down early to the Festival stage on Friday night if you were planning on seeing Django Django later.
Pretty Vicious – Festival Republic Stage, Saturday afternoon
The Welsh teenagers recently supported Manic Street Preachers at their iconic gig at Cardiff Castle as the final leg of their The Holy Bible tour. I was lucky enough to catch the Merthyr Tydfil punk rockers, and they pack such a punch. That was their biggest gig to date, and with a good slot at the Reading Festival, they’re surely onto bigger things next year. Reminiscent of a louder Sex Pistols, they’re definitely worth checking out to see why they’re deserved of their astronomical rise.
Ash, Darlia, Seether, Radkey – Festival Republic Stage, Saturday afternoon/evening
If Metallica, Bring Me The Horizon and Royal Blood are a little too loud for you, you may as well just camp at the Festival Stage for the whole of Saturday afternoon. After the aforementioned Pretty Vicious, we have young blues rockers Radkey. Then veteran rockers Seether, followed by another young band Darlia. Ash (famed for Girl From Mars, Shining Light and Orpheus amongst others) finish off this cluster, supporting their first album in 8 years, Kablammo!. They’re all rock bands to enjoy, just perhaps a little less mental than Metallica and Bring Me The Horizon.
Mini Mansions – Festival Republic Stage, Sunday afternoon
I’ve listened to a bit of Mini Mansions recent LP The Great Pretenders and I wasn’t overly fussed. But I’ve checked out clips of them live, and you can see the effort and creativity that actually goes into their music, but don’t get to witness just listening to it. With funky guitar grooves and sexy falsettos, check out Mini Mansions if you want to witness some extraordinarily intricate rhythms and instrument switching.
The Libertines – Main Stage, Sunday night
Part of the indie rock room at the turn of the millennium, Pete Docherty’s group will definitely be a great closing act to draw the curtains on the festival. Famous for the anthems Don’t Look Back into the Sun and Can’t Stand Me Now, the crowd will be singing along to every song. Regardless of what genre you’re into, it’s definitely worth checking out just for the atmosphere.
Refused – The Pit, Sunday evening
If The Libertines are a little too clichéd for you, check out hardcore punk legends Refused. Hailing from Sweden, this band have deservedly gathered a cult following since their formation in 1991. Having only just reformed last year after a 14-year split, expect a raucous crowd eager to end the weekend on a high. Expect songs from their critically acclaimed album The Shape of Punk to Come and new album Freedom.
Parquet Courts – NME Stage, Friday afternoon
Indie rock at its most interesting angle. The New York rockers have three critically acclaimed albums to their name now, with their most recent Sunbathing Animal perhaps being their most mature and calm, which is saying something about predecessors American Specialities and Light up Gold. Perhaps a little too esoteric to listen to in the comfort of your own home, but if you have time to spare on Friday afternoon, definitely check out this band. You won’t forget it in a hurry.
Lethal Bizzle – BBC Radio 1Xtra Stage, Saturday night
Why not? Emmanuel Frimpong might turn up.