So Reading Festival was amazing, just as I’d expected it to be! We had a bit of rubbish weather on the Thursday and Friday but it cleared up fairly quickly and we even had some rare sunny patches. Our camp was awesome and we had a great location, so it was smiles all round. We decided this year to go to White Car Park (Green Car Park has a 45 min walk before you even get to the camp site) and we camped at the back in Brown which meant we were all set up by midday, plus we didn’t have the hassle of being surround by 16 year old idiots.

As usual I saw too many bands to talk about them all, but I’ll list my favourites.

My Chemical Romance – They are at the top because they just blew me away. Absolutely incredible. I’ve never really been a fan of them, but I quite liked the new album so I figured I would go and see them, and I think now I’m a convert! They had the stage presence, the over the top outfits, a great show, and a perfect setlist. Then in the encore, when we thought it couldn’t get any better, they bring on Brian May for a cover of ‘We Will Rock You’ and to help out with ‘The Black Parade’. It was exactly what a headliner set should be and I hope they silenced all the people that were moaning about their booking.

Muse – A two hour set including the whole of Origin of Symmetry plus a selection of singles? I was always going to love this. The stage was a massive re-enactment of the album cover, the visuals were massive and the sound was perfect. The only thing that annoyed me was being surrounded by girls who were silent for the first hour, and then screamed along to Starlight.

Pulp – They came on, they played an hour of hits, Jarvis flirted with the audience and climbed the speakers, and their work was done. This was definitely one 90s band reunion that didn’t feel old or rehashed.

The Strokes – I don’t think a lot of people liked their set, due to a lot of album tracks and a weird order as they kept getting told they had to go off stage. I loved it, and I thought Julian was on fine form with his weird drunken ramblings and effortless rockstar cool. They even dragged Jarvis Cocker on stage to do a cover of a song no-one had heard of, but really enjoyed anyway. ‘New York City Cops’ and ‘Take It Or Leave It’ made up for the sad absence of ‘Heart In A Cage’.

Friendly Fires – It’s hard to watch Friendly Fires and not get an insatiable urge to dance, owing to the fantastic beats and Ed’s equally fantastic hip-shaking moves. I don’t think I danced so much during the whole of the rest of the festival. The Hawaiian dancers giving out leis to the audience were a nice touch.

The Kills – I took a friend to see these for the first time and warned her that Alison Mosshart was the most rock and roll person ever, and she came away agreeing wholeheartedly. It was a great performance, although they left out a lot of nice tracks from their earlier albums that seemed to leave a gap in the setlist.

Metronomy – They have slowly got better with each performance I have seen them do this year and this was no exception. The crowd were surprisingly into it (usually their crowd consists of a few fans and some people who know Heartbreaker) and I danced lots, although not as much as for Friendly Fires.

Simian Mobile Disco – Even if you don’t like the music or the dancing, it’s worth watching these guys just to see the bizarre central setup of computers, synths and twiddly knobs, with the two members circling the peripheral while they create their sounds. Luckily for me I enjoy the music and the dancing as well, and a set that included ‘Cruel Intentions’ and ‘Hustler’ made me very pleased.

The Offspring – Not the best I have ever seen them perform and the young audience were a bit lacklustre (they clearly didn’t grow up on Americana like myself and my friends!), but they played all the songs a fan would want to hear so our camp loved it for the nostalgia value.

Here is a selection of photos for your amusement. I think I need a lie down to recover before I set off on my Edinburgh adventure!

Having a relax after setting up the tent

Patrick Wolf

Animal hat friends

Our group for the whole of the Offspring

The Kills and their fantastic backdrop

My mum and my aunt on Pulp/Strokes day

Mr Jarvis Cocker himself

Tim Minchin

A very bad side view of Muse


As I mentioned previously, I went to see Arcade Fire last week. Unfortunately it got off to a bad start when despite having an early access pass, I was let in slightly after the general admission crowd. I had paid a rather large amount for this pass and to say I was annoyed would be an understatement. Luckily when I finally got in, I cornered the organiser and he took my details and promised to take action on it. I made my way to the stage and managed to get myself a place on the barrier, albeit off to the left by the screens. The first three support acts were all entertaining enough to make the time pass, and I even got interviewed for a documentary about the gig (and my photo taken a few times as I was reading a book inbetween acts. Apparently this is not a normal sight!). Then came Mumford & Sons and oh my god, did they ever drag on. I have never much liked them as their music has too much banjo for me, but it seems that live they are even worse. Every song sounds exactly the same and I can tell you that an hour and 10 minutes of them is absolute torture! To make it even worse, it seemed that everyone around me was mostly there with the sole intent of seeing them, so I looked very out of place just standing still on the barrier while all around me the crowd went crazy for yet another banjo solo.

Finally Mumford & Sons were over, people around me actually left and I could unplug my ears. Now it was time for Arcade Fire, and the stage was decked out with bunting and a cinema-style marquee. They arrived onstage promptly and without fuss and immediately launched into the single ‘Ready To Start’, a song that I assumed everyone would know and love. Unfortunately for me, the crowd around me had minimal movement and the girls directly next to me on the barrier looked bored throughout the whole thing. I tried not to let it deter me, but it’s hard to feel like you can let go and enjoy yourself when no-one around you is moving. Luckily the band was on top form and the setlist was great. We even got the first live rendition of ‘Speaking In Tongues’ which was a nice bonus. I came away with the buzz of an amazing show, despite the boring crowd and access issues, and it’s had the problem of making me want more Arcade Fire gigs now. I may have to look into Edinburgh in September.

The setlist was:

Ready To Start
Wake Up
No Cars Go
Speaking In Tongues
Crown Of Love
The Suburbs
The Suburbs (Continued)
Month Of May
Rebellion (Lies)
Neighbourhood #2 (Laika)
We Used To Wait
Neighbourhood #3 (Power Out)
Keep The Car Running
Neighbourhood #1 (Tunnels)
Sprawl II (Mountains Beyond Mountains)

Here is a slightly rubbish photo from my temporary small camera.

The next day I received an email from the organiser of the early access passes offering his apologies for the confusion, and asking if I would like a VIP pass for the Wireless Festival Sunday date. Pulp, The Hives and free booze? I typed yes so quickly I almost broke my fingers.

I have to say, having VIP access to a festival has given me the taste for it now! It was lovely to have a free bar and nice toilets to retreat to. I also managed to get in a few choice bands, including Yuck, Metronomy, The Horrors, The Hives and Foals. Pulp were the headliners and they were really quite incredible. Jarvis still leaps around the stage like a man twenty years his junior, climbing the speakers and tossing out casual quips to the crowd. The setlist was near perfect as well, with a great mix of hits and rarities to keep the more die-hard fans satisfied. The only thing that would have made it better was seeing it with my friends, and luckily I will when they headline Reading in August.

The setlist:

Do You Remember The First Time?
Pink Glove
Mile End
Something Changed
Disco 2000
Sorted for E’s and Wizz
I Spy
This Is Hardcore
Bar Italia
Common People


The Reading Festival lineup was leaked early yesterday afternoon, and there was only a short wait until the official announcement confirmed that it was true. A lot of naysayers are claiming that The Strokes and My Chemical Romance aren’t big enough to headline, but everyone said that about Arcade Fire and Blink 182 last year and look what happened.

Personally I am very excited about the initial run of bands that are playing, as there are some of my favourites in there. Everyone in our camp has already agreed that The Offspring is the place to be on Friday evening! The announcements of Patrick Wolf, Death From Above 1979 and The Kills back up the predictions I had, and I’m so happy to be seeing them all again.

The best of the lineup so far:

Friendly Fires
Enter Shikari
The Streets
DFA 1979
Chapel Club
Peter Doherty
The Strokes

Two Door Cinema Club
The Joy Formidable
Janes Addiction
Crystal Castles
Bombay Bicycle Club
The Kills
The Offspring

White Lies
Patrick Wolf

The Horrors

Speaking of Death From Above 1979, they played their comeback show in a secret slot at the SXSW festival this weekend and it looked insane. Check out the footage below for the riots and massive crowds of people who tried unsuccessfully to get in.