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


On Wednesday I got to skip free from work at 3pm (after being given an Easter Egg) and make my way to Leicester Square for the XFM session featuring Miles Kane. We arrived with plenty of time to spare, so after some food and cheeky cocktails in the pub we ventured into the Global Radio headquarters. We waited in the reception area until most of the other competition winners had arrived (there were about 25 of us in total) and then we were ushered into the ‘Green Room’ bar where we were served free beer. Beer only tastes good when it’s free! The walls had been signed by previous XFM guests so we wasted time trying to spot the best ones. The Wombats had scrawled their name in massive letters, possibly to compensate for how sh*t their music is.. Eventually everyone had arrived and the band was ready, so we were led into a room just off the recording studio, which had massive glass windows so we could see inside. It felt a bit like we were in a zoo and Miles Kane was a rare tiger exhibit.

Steve Harris was in with us, and introduced Miles and asked him a few questions before they played their set. They played the three singles plus an album track and I was really impressed with how polished it all sounded. I knew it would be good, but they really exceeded my expectations. It was over too soon and we were taken back to the bar and told that Miles would be with us in a moment. After signing the wall himself (and right over Alex James by mistake!) he made his way round the room and chatted to each pair of competition winners, thanking them for coming and signing things and having photos taken. It was a really nice touch, although when he reached us my friend started off the conversation by saying she didn’t actually know who he was! Luckily she recovered and went on to say that she was really impressed, and asked if he was playing Reading and Leeds. He confirmed that he was and after two hilariously bad photos with us, it was time to leave.

All in all it was a really fun afternoon. We got to see bits of the XFM studios, have lots of free beer, watch a great set and meet Miles Kane afterwards. I’ll definitely be trying to win my way into more sessions in the future.

Last night the entire Glastonbury lineup was revealed, which took me by surprise because I wasn’t expecting it for another couple of weeks! The biggest announcement for me is Queens of the Stone Age headlining the Other Stage on the Sunday. I was wondering who I was going to see instead of Beyonce, and now I’m incredibly happy. A lot of the smaller bands are also playing Reading so if there are clashes it won’t be the end of the world.

Bands I am most excited for include:
Biffy Clyro
Two Door Cinema Club
Primal Scream
Bright Eyes
The Chemical Brothers
Friendly Fires
The Kills
Queens Of The Stone Age
TV on the Radio
Bombay Bicycle Club
Miles Kane
The Horrors
Ok Go
The Joy Formidable
Crystal Castles
Graham Coxon
Patrick Wolf


Last Thursday I went to see The Kills at Heaven. It was a gig I had been looking forward to immensely, so in my excitement I decided to go and queue straight from work. The doors opened at 6:30 and I managed to get a fantastic spot on the right of the stage, second row behind two short girls. Unfortunately I then had to stand around for an hour and a half waiting for something to happen. Promoters, venues, here’s a tip; don’t let people in at 6:30 and then have your first band start at 8! They could have just as easily opened the doors at 7 or 7:30. I wasted a lot of time playing Broken Sword on my iPhone before the support act, S.C.U.M, took to the stage.

I had heard of S.C.U.M before but had no idea what their music was like, so I was pleasantly surprised when the group of mismatched youngsters produced some wonderful psychedelic post-punk, quite reminiscent of The Horrors’s last album. The lead singer looked like Nick Cave’s long lost song in a bad linen suit, but his voice was really lovely and I found myself enjoying them a lot. They seemed to have little effect on the audience though, as they left in as much silence as they had arrived.

Finally it was (just after) 9 and it was time for The Kills. They arrived on stage without much fanfare, but to a loud chorus of screams from the waiting crowd, and launched into ‘No Wow’ from their second album. They played a set which was heavy on the new album, Blood Pressures, and which saw Alison Mosshart play a range of instruments instead of just her usual guitar and vocal duties. When not encumbered by an instrument she prowled the stage like a caged animal, alternating between crooning sweetly and shrieking like a banshee all whilst avoiding the audience’s gaze. Jamie took over most of the crowd interaction, muttering his thanks in between songs and taking it upon himself to verbally break up a fight between a man and a woman. His frenzied guitar riffs were expertly delivered and sounded just perfect in the gritty, intimate atmosphere of Heaven. The rest of the set was peppered with fan favourites such as ‘U.R.A. Fever’, ‘Kissy Kissy’ and ‘Tape Song’, with the latter getting the biggest crowd reaction of the night.

After a short break they were back for the encore with a beautiful rendition of new song ‘The Last Goodbye’ and ending on the classic ‘Fried My Little Brains’. The audience screamed their appreciation as they took a bow and left the stage smiling, and we all tumbled satisfied into the cool London evening. I really enjoyed myself and the gig felt quite intimate compared to the previous times I had seen The Kills (mostly large festivals), plus the new tracks all sounded brilliant. I’m still unsure if I will get tickets for their Roundhouse gig in June, but I’m sure I will see them at at least one of my festivals over the summer.

No Wow
Future Starts Slow
Heart Is a Beating Drum
U.R.A. Fever
Kissy Kissy
Tape Song
Baby Says
Sour Cherry
The Last Goodbye
Pots and Pans
Fried My Little Brains

Yesterday myself and my mum went to Brixton Academy for a special Japan Tsunami Benefit gig, arranged by Liam Gallagher and Beady Eye. I’m not much of a fan of Liam Gallagher, but the rest of the line up was too good to miss with the likes of Primal Scream, Paul Weller and Graham Coxon all playing.

We arrived about 15 minutes after the doors were supposed to open only to find a massive queue of people still waiting outside the Academy. This was useful for us, as we could slip into the O2 Priority queue and get in before the masses! We managed to bag ourselves spots on the barrier which meant we had a lovely view, and drink in hand we watched The Coral start the proceedings. I don’t mind The Coral as long as they don’t play too long, so their 6 song set (including crowd-pleaser ‘Dreaming Of You’) was fine by me. They ended with a cover of The Beatles ‘Ticket To Ride’ which seemed to set a Beatles-themed precedent for the whole evening.

Graham Coxon was up next, shambling onto the stage minus his glasses and wearing jeans that were far too small for him. He played a set that was a mix of old and new and it was a wonderful, if slightly mad experience. He ended the final song by doing a backwards roll on the floor and then shuffled off again, leaving half the audience confused and the other half grinning widely.

Crowd-favourite Paul Weller was the next act and he played a (deservedly) slightly longer set, that focussed less on his newer efforts and more on the older crowd pleasers like ‘Eton Rifles’ and ‘Start’. He too ended on a cover of The Beatles, ‘Come Together’, along with the help of Kelly Jones on guitar and vocals. Kelly Jones played a short acoustic set after, and although I usually detest The Stereophonics, the crowd singing along to ‘Dakota’ was enough to make me smile.

Primal Scream were up next and they were really my highlight of the evening. Having nothing new to promote at all (apart from the Screamadelica tour they are currently on) they too stuck to the hits, and it had an electric effect on the booze-soaked crowd. Bobby Gillespie danced around the stage like a man possessed and encouraged the fans to sing back to him, and they responded enthusiastically. ‘Movin On Up’ and ‘Loaded’ were incredible and had the whole audience moving and singing and I was pretty certain that no-one else could top that performance.

Richard Ashcroft made a brief appearance while the stage was being set for Beady Eye and churned out a few Verve songs on his acoustic guitar. He also made the strange mistake of playing a new song last, which brought the audience’s spirits right down after a mass singalong to ‘Sonnet’ and ‘Lucky Man’.

Beady Eye were on last, and as usual Liam was a man of few words and many scowls. We stuck around for about half of their set and then pretty much got bored and decided to leave in order to catch our train. Apparently we missed a final Beatles cover, but I wasn’t too bothered really. Their music is ok, but it just sounds like the worst parts of Oasis to me. I’ve always been a Noel fan myself.

We were informed before the evening ended that £150,000 had been raised already, so even if some of the performances had been a bit lukewarm, it was all for a good cause. Plus it has confirmed my decision to see Primal Scream at Glastonbury instead of the incredibly dull U2.


I’ve been a bit sad over the last couple of weeks at the lack of gigs on my calendar. It’s quite difficult to go out with my friends during the week due to location and work problems, so a nice gig every now and then helps to break up the monotony. Unfortunately my last one was a month ago at the NME awards and my next isn’t until the 28th March.

I suddenly seem to have a rush of them at the end of March and beginning of April now though! Me and my mum decided to go and see Carl Barat again at Koko on the 4th April, and now today I bought a ticket for the Japan Tsunami benefit gig on the 3rd April, featuring Beady Eye, The Coral, Paul Weller, Primal Scream, Graham Coxon and Richard Ashcroft. I’m not a big fan of Beady Eye but the other acts look brilliant. The ticket was a bit pricey at £40, but it’s all for charity and I got two jewellery orders come in afterwards so I don’t feel so bad.

Now my gig calendar for the next two weeks looks like:

28/03 – Patrick Wolf, Koko
31/03 – The Kills, Heaven
03/04 – Japan Tsunami Benefit, Brixton Academy
04/04 – Carl Barat, Koko
05/04 – Micachu and the Shapes, Southbank Centre

You wait ages for a good gig, then five come along at once! I’ve also realised that I’ve missed out on tickets for Battles at the ICA on the 20th April, which I imagine sold out super quick. Efestivals has them pegged as a strong rumour for Glastonbury so I’m hoping I can catch them there. They are one of the rare bands that are on my ‘Need to see live (and have never seen before)’ list.


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.