it's the fans that make or break bands

Reading Festival 2011

9.0 10 Excellent

Reading Festival always stays loyal to the festival scene. Well, maybe a little untrue but let’s say they’ve learnt their lesson from the 50 Cent days. The Friday as usual offered the American Emo show on the main stage so we parked up at the NME/Radio 1 stage for most of the day. Kicking things off were Frankie and the heartstrings with and energetic performance as always. Closely followed by Miles Kane who donned a tie for the masses and rattled through hits from his debut album Colour of the trap surprisingly leaving the title track out of his set. The fans loved it though and were hoping for a glimpse of a certain Mr Alex Turner – but not to be. Quick jump across to the Festival Republic Stage to see Foster the People. It seems most other people were following the same itinerary s the tent could not deal with the swarms that had gathered eager to hear ‘that tune from the O2 advert…’. These guys should have been on a bigger stage for sure.

Other artists that impresses on the first day, in the NME/Radio 1 Stage were, of course, The Vaccines. Thousands of wasted A-level students sang along with every word as if it were the soundtrack to their school year – this band a perfect for a tent and perfect for this time of the evening. Not sure Noah and the Wale deserved their place so high up on the running order but nonetheless they were adequate. Perhaps they were warming things up for Beady Eye. If so, then I’m not sure it worked. Beady Eye rolled through hits from their one and only album. I’m just not sure they’re well established enough as a band for this headline spot. OK, so it’’s Liam Gallagher but once you’ve got over the ‘awe’ of seeing the front man, you need something else to keep your attention. Maybe in a  couple more years??

With Saturday comes more rain but Two Door Cinema club brighten things up with their indie-pop that was made for festival crowds. Other daytime acts to impress are Madness, Everything Everything and Bombay Bicycle Club. But they day is stolen by Pulp. Jarvis using his experience and surprising charm to hold the crowd in the palm of his hand. Pulling out the classics and blowing off the dust for the captivated crowds. If only The Strokes could follow it. They start well, very energetic and giving the fans what they want to hear, but half way through you can tell they’re not reading off the same  hymm sheet. I suppose it’s to be expected from a band that recorded their latest album separately. Don’t get me wrong, these guys can still please, but just think how much better they would be if they actually wanted to play with each other! Hits include ‘Reptillia‘, ‘New York City Cops‘ and ‘Last Night‘.

Sundays are always a tough day at festivals but bands like Frank Turner, The Streets and Friendly Fires made the most of it. Frank Turner, for a one man band, smashes the main stage. A great achievement from the boy who grew up going to reading festival. Friendly Fires open with the line ‘Hi we’re Friendly Fires and we’re from St. Albans..’ before treating loyal fans to their hits. These boys have come a long way from venues like The Horn in St Albans and you can tell they appreciate it.

The Streets have the masses jumping as Mike Skinner plays out his last gig before retirement. The crowd are tired and he appreciates that, what he would’ve given to grab the Saturday headline slot! Muse do not disappoint. They are there usual epic live self! You know what you will get with Muse and that’s exactly what they deliver to close Reading 2011!


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