Glastonbury has come to an end. Summer has started. For every music festival lover lucky enough to be situated in the UK, this next two month period between two of the UK’s most popular festivals is vital. While Reading and Leeds’ pull may differ slightly from Glastonbury’s – this two month period may, for example, consist of buying as much alcohol as your budget can allow – both require some serious strategic planning in order to make sure you don’t miss your favourite bands.
The headliners of Reading and Leeds are obvious ones not to miss – whether or not you’re a Mumford and Sons fan, you’re going to want to hear ‘I will Wait’ in that 80,000 strong crowd as the sun sets. Every indie lover will have the time of their lives on the Friday at Reading or the Saturday at Leeds, watching the likes of Drenge and Palma Violets, and then flocking over in a hoard of denim and doc martens to see Peace and Swim Deep on the NME stage. Aside from these obvious names, here are a few other acts that you won’t want to miss this August bank holiday.
One of the first billed but last announced to the NME stage are the Chicago rockers Twin Peaks. Self described as “the rolling stoners” (like The Rolling Stones, if they smoked more weed); their second LP Wild Onion sounds more like if Mac Demarco did some harder drugs, went back in time to the 60s, and got turned down by their high school crush. This is all done without any of the brattish arrogance that tends to follow young bands, and is partly due to the band’s range of styles created by having three distinct songwriters. Wild Onion is a brilliant flow of insanely catchy riffs, simple love songs and brash and fast tracks that are sure to get any festival crowd moving. The placement on the NME stage may be daunting for the band’s R&L debut, but if their live shows are anything to go by, they’ll take the stage by (a rather sweaty) storm.
While Twin Peaks are possibly destroying the NME stage one guitar thrash at a time, FIDLAR will be over on the main stage starting the day’s proceedings. If you’re not a fan of the band, I’d recommend giving them a listen on the day anyway, just to have the experience of hearing songs like ‘Cocaine’ and ‘Wake Bake Skate’ at 11am on a Saturday or Sunday morning. Not one for the faint hearted, their name alone (Fuck It Dog, Life’s A Risk) gives a good indication as to the type of music they play – hard, fast punk songs about drugs, life, drugs, death, drugs, partying, drinking, and drugs. Also drugs. Their skate punk style might come across as trite if it weren’t for their ability to make lyrics like “I drink cheap beer, so what, fuck you” actually work and sound good in a song. In fact, they sound so damn good that that friend who wouldn’t drink a drop of alcohol if their life depended on it may be found, at the back away from the mosh pits, bobbing his head up and down.
If you came to Reading for something more Mumford and Sons-esque and would prefer to stay away from bands with words such as ‘Risk’ and ‘Fuck’ in their name, give Bear’s Den a try. End a hectic festival night with their laid back folk melodies and introspective lyrics over on the Festival Republic stage. Beautiful, slow build melodies found on tracks such as ‘Elysium’ and ‘Agape’ will be sure to create that perfect summer night atmosphere, without the pain and mess of the violent crowds that may be present at the same time on other stages.
Jamie T is an obvious act not to miss – after his surprise performance at last year’s R&L, this year’s main stage set is sure to be just as amazing as his recent triumphant return to Glastonbury. If you can hardly contain your excitement for Jamie’s set, there may be a couple of other acts that would be up your street. Ratboy is like a younger, dirtier, Jamie T who still lives with his mum. Showing off the capabilities of DIY bedroom recordings, single ‘Sign On’ sounds like something a 16 year Alex Turner would write if you spliffed him up and swapped his polos for a Nike jumper – and, as Ratboy’s R&L performance will be, the outcome is surprisingly brilliant. Joining him on the Festival Republic Stage is Surrey band The Bulletproof Bomb, who have also been held comparable to Jamie T. Get in early on this promising young band’s career and have a listen to their tracks ‘Suitcase’ and ‘Five Green Bottles’ before setting off for the weekend; unless you don’t like an electric mix of Jamie T lyricism and early Arctic Monkeys melodies, you won’t be disappointed.
Article by Amy Eskenazi