Tag: reading festival

10 of the most unforgettable Reading and Leeds Festival moments

Back in 2005, I went to my first ever Reading festival. I remember it vividly, I was 18, and Pixies, Foo Fighters and Iron Maiden headlined.

With one exception, (2010, a friends wedding I couldn’t miss) I have returned to Reading or Leeds every year which makes this coming weekend almost my 12th consecutive year of watching landmark performances, getting drunk, getting sunburnt, falling over, crying, laughing, and, erm, running in a circle around a pole.

It’s impossible to whittle these life-affirming moments down to a top 10, but I’ve given it a good go!

1. Foo Fighters, Main Stage, Reading 2005
Everyone remembers their first Reading/Leeds as something special, and this has gone down in memory as one of the best experiences of my adult life. The Foos opened with In Your Honour before launching headfirst into All My Life, Times Like These, My Hero and Best of You, in that order. Just wow.

2. Rage Against The Machine, Main Stage, Leeds 2008
Their first UK shows since 2000. No further statements, your honour.

3. Biffy Clyro, Radio 1/NME Tent, 2007
An exceptional performance just after the release of Puzzle including a rare outing for Folding Stars, a track they only ever play on special occasions. They’d never play a UK festival stage this small again.

4. Nine Inch Nails, Main Stage, Reading 2007
I remember thinking, ‘how on earth can The Smashing Pumpkins follow this?!’ With great difficulty, as it turns out, as Trent Reznor delivers a headliner-worthy performance that would blow anyone off the stage.

5. Manic Street Preachers, Radio 1/NME Tent, Leeds 2008
At this point, the Manics were enjoying something of a resurgence following 2007’s spectacular Send Away The Tigers. The title track, and single Your Love Alone Is Not Enough sat alongside a greatest hits set for everyone not interested in watching The Killers.

6. Architects, The Pit, Reading 2014
Within the first 15 minutes, vocalist Sam Carter declared this as the best gig of the band’s career so far. It’s difficult to argue against this, as the band ignore the majority of their previous output to play almost all of their instant classic Lost Forever // Lost Together.

7. Frank Turner, Main Stage, Reading 2011
Having played almost every other stage at the festival, in 2011 he finally made his way to the big one. Glorious sunshine greeted Frank and his Sleeping Souls on Reading’s main stage as they played standout tracks from his third album England Keep My Bones.

8. At The Drive-In, ‘NME/Radio 1 Tent’ Leeds 2012
Having missed them the first time round, I’d waited a long time for this. As a huge circle pit erupted around us for opener Arcarsenal, it felt like a lot of people were in the same boat.

9. Rise Against, Lock Up Tent, Leeds 2008
I got quite involved in the mosh pit on this one and managed to lose my wallet during an epic The Good Left Undone. Luckily, the kind people at Leeds fest found it and send it me in the post!

10. Queens of the Stone Age, Main Stage, Reading 2005
For reasons I’ve never fully understood, particularly as I’ve never been a huge fan of this band, this set was RIDICULOUS amounts of fun.


Reading & Leeds 2013


As mentioned earlier I’m heading to Leeds Festival this weekend. A Friday night spent at Kenwood House in London watching Suede means I’ll miss Nine Inch Nails, but there’s plenty else I’m raring to see.

If you’re heading down make sure you wake up early on Sunday (Friday at Reading) for Decade. They’re a five piece ‘post-hardcore’ band from Bath with hooks that will get stuck in your head for days. I’ve been playing them on the Kerrang! Chart for a couple of weeks now and they’re opening up proceedings on the Lock Up/Rock stage. Check out the video for ‘Never Enough’ below.

Also, there’s a handful of other great R&L warm-up gigs this week if you’ve been lucky enough to get tickets – primarily Green Day tonight at Brixton Academy (supported by the excellent, Frank Turner) and Bring Me The Horizon at, ahem, a tattoo parlour in London. The latter is so over-subscribed that even their PR guy told me he his only chance of getting tickets was by entering a competition! If you’re there, you have my envy.

See you at Leeds!

The Day The Whole World Went Away

Nine Inch NailsNine Inch Nails, The Scala, 20/8/2013: Review

You don’t really need me to tell you how good this gig was – you know the story. Nine Inch Nails are an incredible live band. They possess a frontman capable of delving deep into his unconscious to deliver some of the most intense performances known to man. They boast an enormous back catalogue covering everything from metal, industrial, goth, disco, to glam, pop. dance and everything in between and they’re back after a six year hiatus with an album that promises a spectacular return to form, playing a TINY venue as a Reading and Leeds warm-up. Needless to say, tickets sold out in minutes and people were practically selling their mother to get in. All of that is patently obvious.

BUT what I didn’t see coming was an epic light show that wouldn’t look out of place in an arena, a brutal cover of David Bowie’s (NIN-esque) ‘I Believe In Americans‘, a surprisingly talkative Trent Reznor, a brutal moshpit for Terrible Lie, and (however many times you’ve seen it before, it never ceases to surprise) the sight of grown men crying to the dark balladry of Hurt that gets you every single time. Epic.

Of course, this was just a warm-up for the madness to come this weekend at Reading and Leeds Festival. Their previous performance, in 2007, was so captivating that frankly, The Smashing Pumpkins were blown off stage, and I certainly don’t envy Biffy Clyro this weekend. Unfortunately I’ll have to miss this, as I’m heading to Suede at Kenwood House on Friday, but I’m heading up to Leeds on Saturday and looking forward to checking out Frank Turner, Deaf Havana, Bring Me The Horizon, Twin Atlantic, Chase and Status and Eminem (in that order!).

(Re NIN, Cleverly I turned up 20 minutes before showtime which meant I was literally right at the back with no chance of moving, so the above pic is sadly the best I could do!)