Review – Reading Festival, Saturday 24 August 2013


Reading Festival review

2000 Trees Leaf Lounge headliners Childhood opened the Radio 1 Stage and their blend of Pavement meets Youth Lagoon dreamy indie pop was perfect for easing you into the second day. With a otherworldly quality throughout, are they going to be at the forefront of the second rising of tweecore? Post War Years in the Dance Tent had everyone captivated throughout with each song being welcomed like an old friend. A quick dash back to the Festival Republic tent for Skaters, a band I shamefully had no previous knowledge of but one that ended up being my new favourite come Monday morning. Hailing from New York, the band had a perfect line in fuzzy indie-punk that contained elements of The Clash but also a touch of Guided By Voices. Remember how exciting The Strokes were when they arrived on the scene? Well, this band felt like that. Genuinely happy to be playing the festival, they put every ounce of energy into their set and the audience lapped up their enthusiasm, even singing ‘I wanna daaaaance, but I don’t know how’ by the end of the single of the same name. They also finished with a frantic cover of ‘Caught by the Fuzz’, which should have received a far better reception. Maybe Reading’s crowd is too young to remember Supergrass now?

Swim Deep are still riding upon the crest of the huge wave that caused a splash in the album charts and drew a massive crowd and some loving sing-alongs during their set, which once again included the crowd-pleasing cover of ‘Girls Just Wanna Have Fun’, while Johnny Marr’s Smiths-heavy set seemed to delight the older punters, while also doing a good job of confusing some of the Imagine Dragons fans who were waiting patiently for the band after him. ‘There Is a Light that Never Goes Out’, ‘Bigmouth Strikes Again’ and ‘How Soon Is Now?’ were all played, while the songs from his solo album ‘The Messenger’ also took on a new vitality in the festival setting. Tim Burgess’s set to an appreciative crowd in the Festival Republic tent was mainly drawn from his wonderful ‘Oh No I Love You’ album and he seemed in good spirits as the mellow pop songs were performed in almost stripped-back fashion. He brought back a couple of almost-forgotten gems from his first solo album, ‘Years Ago’ and ‘Oh My Corazon’, and even treated his loyal fans to an alternate version of The Charlatans classic ‘The Only One I Know’. After a difficult few weeks, it was great to see him in good spirits throughout and you could tell how much he believes in this solo output.

A previous star of BBC Introducing, Lucy Rose lived up to her position third from top of the bill and has some truly dedicated fans. As she delivered note-perfect song after note-perfect song, there was a hush amongst the audience who seemed to realise they were watching something special and a singer growing in confidence by the minute. Her band also seemed to be having the time of their lives throughout. Closing the day on this stage was Reading veterans British Sea Power. Going head to head with Eminem, the crowd was perhaps a little on the small side, but this did not matter one jolt as, after an initial series of technical problems, they delivered a set drawn from their extensive back catalogue. ‘Waving Flags’, ‘Remember Me’ and ‘No Lucifer’ all received outstanding ovations, while ‘Apologies to Insect Life’ featured Savages frontwoman Jehnny Beth on outstanding lead vocals, while BSP frontman Yan descended into the audience. The closing ‘Carrion’ segued with ‘All In It’ brought smiles to everyone’s faces, especially when both their black bear mascot and the new Bi-Polar Bear decided to come into the crowd for a hug and dance, all while being lead around by particularly bemused looking security guards…

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