Tuesday 31 August 2010

Reading Festival 2010

After having arrived on the Wednesday (one of the worst mistakes I've ever made) and getting all of my belongings saturated by the rain whilst putting my tent up and having watched it torrential rain for 2 whole days and having wrecked my military boots in the mud, let's just say I was in desperate need of something to cheer me up. This something turned out to come in the form of a 15 piece female 'Alt-choir' wearing tassells and ribbons and headdresses in every colour of the rainbow and holding a banner a banner which read 'This is merely a distraction from the inevitable' on Friday afternoon. Some would say 'GAGGLE' are bunch of diverse individuals that lack sanity but who says that's a negative thing? The security guards at Reading had apparently christened them 'Radio Gaggle.' But the harmonies work, their ideas and style are original, their costumes are brilliant, the choral directer (is there a proper musically correct name for this?), Deborah, was already cracking open a bottle of wine at 12pm, what more could you want from a band?

I then headed off to catch a bit of Surfer Blood who were...okay. Yet, surely they are just a not quite so talented version of The Drums? However, I then headed straight to catch a bit of Funeral Party, an Irish rock band whom I was pleasantly surprised by, the crowd lapped them up too, which always helps.

I then got drunk on vodka, cider and wine and watched Summer Camp, Jeremy Warmsley's new project with Elizabeth Sankey, former editor of online cult magazine 'Platform.' Their fun 80's tinged pop lightened up my drunken emo phase that I was experiencing as did Elizabeth's onstage dancing and sequined jumpsuit.

And then there was teenage hipster band Egyptian Hip Hop who's demos have impressed industry types all over the blogsphere and radio, a band who I've been fond of for a while, yet, I must admit their set was quite underwhelming. It seems they have a lack of live practice which showed in their performance. That said, they do now possess some brilliant songs, the album should be good at least.

From one teenage band to another...I watched Californian band AVI Buffalo who proved themselves to be masters of heartfelt indie pop. Though the real American stars of the afternoon were certainly Warpaint, the all female creators of fuzzy surf rock/pop music. There seems to be a lot of the same sort of thing about right now (eg. Best Coast, Still Corners, The Dum Dum Girls) but there is a reason for this: It's amazing! Something tells me their EP which is coming out in October will be something pretty special. Their music is lushness personified.

From there I went to a very rammed NME tent for Mumford and Sons, I don't really feel like I should review them as I was too far back to see them and had the most disgusting couple in front of me which was distracting. The girl behind me even said to me "oh god, they'll be shagging on the floor in a minute" whilst the guy next to her shouted "just get a johnny and fuck her already", so yes, I was forced to leave.

I fled to somewhere that I was a lot happier at: Blood Red Shoes's gig in the Festival Republic tent, which was excellent, they just get better every time I see them. It's so nice to see them do well and to see their set go down well with the audience as I feel they are a band that really are underrated. It also makes me feel proud to have interviewed Steven in a shower (just scroll back a few pages, you'll find it somewhere, it's worth a read if I don't say so myself).

I then caught the LCD Soundsytem set which was pretty good and James Murphy is great front man, I was just slightly disappointed that they didn't play 'New York, I Love you', not a logical decision at all. It would have gone down a dream with the crowd.

Everything Everything were the first band I saw on Saturday, who didn't fail to impress as they did last time I saw them. They seemed so grateful to have such a wonderful crowd reaction too, yes, I'm a sucker for gratitude. The album is out next week I think, it will be definitely worth checking out, it will have some good pop tunes on, fact.

I then finally watched Yu(c)k, whom if you've been following my blog will already know my complete and utter adoration for their soothing pop music and how I've accidentally missed them play live twice. Well, Daniel, Jonny, Mariko, Max and Ilana definitely lived up to my expectations. Yep, they definitely write blissful pop music, it was lovely.

Another stand out band of the weekend was Freelance Whales. A Brooklyn based band that writing gorgeous, interesting music that I find possesses that same originality as bands such as Arcade Fire. There's nothing in the music industry quit like it, lots of intriguing instruments, stunning hearty lyrics and charismatic stage presence, definitely one of my favourite bands of the moment.

After such a beautiful spectacle, I Blame Coco failed to impress me really. Having been fond of her for a while now and having seen her perform an excellent acoustic set earlier on this summer, I decided I really liked her. Yet, her electric set proved her as 'just another pop act'. She's gone from a quirky ska writer to 'just another pop act' who fails to compete with stronger acts such as Marina and Florence. This said, as she comes across as quite a shy person offstage, the girl gave it her best shot, she gave the audience her heart and soul, yet a lot of the pop content lacked originality.

Darwin Deez was also a definite highlight of the day, having just watched Chapel Club play a surprisingly half decent set, considering their live reputation amongst journalists with some of the guitarist's friends, I stayed in the tent and watched Deez perform an absolute cracker of a set. Also, he seems to be the most loved man in the music industry as he took to the stage to chants of 'Darwin, Darwin' which he seemed thrilled about. In fact the crowd reaction throughout the entire set was insane, as were the band's dancing and the fact that Deez chose a security guard and danced onstage to single ladies with him. So there you have it, everyone loves Deez.

Villagers performed a lovely set, I thoroughly enjoyed eating chips and wotsits and watching lead singer Connor pour his heart out to blissed out spectators. The boy's a cutie pie! And their set made me realise that I need the album in my life! Does anyone have it yet? How is it?

And then it was time for...THE LIBERTINES! I was particularly excited as I was too young to see them (13) when they broke up. They played pretty much everything the crowd wanted to hear really, bar, The Man Who Would Be King, which is all everyone wanted really, a drunken sing and dance along. There were even flares let off and a bit of a fight at one point so security turned the power off half way through their set but then let them return to the stage shortly after. I had fun with my Libertines crazy friend, Eva anyway.

We then ploughed to the front for Arcade Fire, an act which was worth every push and shove and kiss dodging (long story) and standing next to weird old men for. Words just can't describe how beautiful it was. The unity, the insanely capable musicianship that was witnessed by the audience, Regine's outfit, the meaningful lyrics sung in a meaningful way, the stage graphics... It. Was. Magical. It also proved the strength of the new album 'The Suburbs. ' Stand out tracks were: Intervention, We Used to Wait, The Sprawl II, Wake up (obviously), Tunnels and Haiti. It was a BEAUTIFUL SPECTACLE.

If I'd have not known the time I would not have thought that it was 12.45pm when I saw The Joy Formidable in the NME tent. Their set was excellent. Front woman Ritzy was on fire, she smashed up her guitar during the first song. Their excellent simple rock music never fails to impress me. I look forward to their next release, whenever that may be..

I caught Local Natives's set whilst in there, it was great as ever. Good crowd reaction too. They were joined by a few random people onstage at the end, including We Are Scientists.

Me and my friend's then witnessed Los Campesinos! play a thrillingly emotional set, that just wasn't quite long enough considering how good they are, they needed to be higher up on the bill as they are not only one of my favourite bands ever but one of my favourite live bands too. Half an hour set is not enough for them, they have three albums worth of superb material!

We stayed for Wild Beasts who eased our hangovers with their hazy tones. I don't even care that an over excited fan in front of me jumped on my toe and quite possibly re-broke it (I think I broke it at a Silent Disco at Summer Sundae Festival), I enjoyed it thoroughly.

Staying for Wild Beasts meant that we were right at the front for The Drums's set, a band whom I love dearly. They played a really exciting set, despite the fact that they ran out of time to play 'Let's go Surfing.' It was well worth having the BBC cameraman stick a camera in my face throughout the entire set for anyway.

After that, off the Festival Republic tent to see 60's girl band influenced 'The Like', AKA the best looking band in the world, watching them makes you feel so ugly and untalented (they played a great set). They seem far too lovely people to dislike with envy though.

Straight after that was Tame Impala who performed an excellently woozy set whilst shoeless and they gave me a Kit Kat, they know how to win me over, for sure. I was really pleasantly surprised by them, I enjoyed them a lot and shall certainly be investing in more of their material.

The NME tent was absolutely packed for FOALS, who played and alright set but they didn't play 'This Orient', which is the best song they've ever written, why would they do that? I was drunk, I wanted to hear it so badly and dance manically to it. Gutted.

From Foals I headed straight to Caribou, who really impressed me which I didn't expect them to do live. I definitely danced in a drunken haze to them and made friends with some weird boys that crashed me some of their roll ups too. I now must get the Caribou album as what I heard was BRILLIANT.

Klaxons were great, yet, didn't compare to Caribou. The new stuff sounded better live than on the record though, I may have to give the record another listen, maybe it's better than I first thought it was. They played a nice mix of both albums and I found it a really enjoyable set. I'm not sure it was the best way to end the festival though, it made me wish the Sunday headliners were better...

All in all, I am rather satisfied Reading Festival punter. I am sorry that this blog is so long, I just couldn't leave any bands out.


Thursday 12 August 2010

Like Dinosaur Jr?

Here's when VBS interviewed the founding member of the band, J Mascis and talked about his life on the East Coast, Scooby-Doo comparisons and The Stooges, it's pretty interesting, have a watch: