Earlier this morning, the official Reading and Leeds social media accounts broke the internet with their line-up for 2016. Some brilliant bands, like Eagles of Death Metal, Slaves, Foals, Rat Boy and The Courteeners are on the line up, but there are some crap acts on that list as well. We’ve decided to round up the top five performances from Reading 2015, from artists who brought pure, gritty rock n roll to all the stages
Slaves, NME Stage
August 2015 saw Slaves play to one of the most lively, excited crowds ever when they performed on the NME stage at last year’s festival. Delivering a messy, sweaty show, the punk-grime Kent duo filled the entire tent with crazed enthusiastic fans who chanted along at the top of their lungs to all the tracks the band played. Laurie and Isaac played an array of tracks, from the hard-core punk tracks ‘Wow!!!7am’ and ‘White Knuckle Ride’ to crowd favourites ‘The Hunter’ and their new track ‘Facing the Wall.’ Their gritty raw punk-grime sound was like an explosion of energy and light hearted witty humour. Isaac’s popular story of walking Debbie back to her car (resulting in the crowd chanting ‘WHERE’S YOUR CAR DEBBIE? DEBBIE, WHERE’S YOUR CAR?’) and Laurie’s tragic story of the death of his fancy goldfish Gerald amused and entertained the crowd, who could easily have watched the punk pair perform for the rest of the day. The band will be back next year, following their sold-out January tour which was postponed after Isaac dislocated his shoulder whilst crowd surfing at the UEA Norwich back in November. A few weeks later, he dislocated his other shoulder whilst dancing onto the stage, and according to Laurie, he dislocated his other shoulder just before their January show in London…here’s hoping his joints stay in place for next August!
Royal Blood, Main Stage
Following their intense set on the NME stage in 2014, Royal Blood were promoted onto the Main Stage last year where they delivered a powerful performance with blaring guitar riffs, killer drumming, and sweaty mosh pits of thousands of people. Mike Kerr (vocalist and bassist) delivered his intense heavy bass lines, accompanied by Ben Thatcher (drummer) smashing the drums. The crowd screamed back the guitar riffs, especially the captivating bass lines to the tracks ‘Out of the Black’ and ‘Little Monster’; when the crowd sing back your guitar riffs, you know you’re doing something right. The aggressive music was accompanied by Mike’s cutting voice and poetic lyrics, which have been praised by musicians like Alex Turner and Jimmy Page. Featuring Ben leaping in to the crowd and Mike strutting around stage blaring out Black Sabbath riffs, the eight track long set featured their UK debut of new track ‘Hook, Line and Sinker’ which is due to come out on their album scheduled for release later this year. And if the Reading performance was anything to go by, their upcoming album and tour dates are ones not to be missed.
Catfish and Bottlemen, NME stage
Following their top ten debut album ‘The Balcony’ from 2014, Catfish and the Bottlemen absolutely smashed the NME stage last time round, playing to a packed out tent where eager fans were even watching from outside the tent on the big screens. Van’s energy and charisma as a frontman has the professionalism of legendary rock stars, yet he still has his cheeky cocky attitude which makes all the girls fall head over heels for him. Benji, Bondy, Bob and Van gave one of the most impressive sets of the weekend, playing popular crowd pleasers (which are, to be fair, the entire album) including ‘Cocoon’ and ‘Pacifier’. To me, the most incredible track they did was ‘Tyrants’ (purely because of the beautifully melodic guitar) or ‘Homesick’ where once the track ended, Van proceeded to sing acoustically the evocative lines ‘I said, I’m only looking out for you, she said it’s obvious that’s a lie. But I only ever put out for you, you know it’s obvious you don’t try.’ The energy and atmosphere inside the tent was phenomenal as well, despite security being on ‘high alert’ as Van put it. From the flares and smoke bombs to Van daring members of the audience to crowd surf on a lilo being passed around, the entire set was insane, and given the band recently sold out Manchester’s Castlefield Bowl in matter of minutes, it’s only the start for them.
Wolf Alice, NME Stage
Wolf Alice are definitely the biggest and best grunge band to come out of the UK in years; having just released their Mercury prize nominated debut ‘My Love is Cool’ last June, the album peaked at number two, and the band already have a sold out UK tour planned for March. Their glitter obsessed, indie-grunge fans love them to pieces, and their Reading performance makes it clear why. Ellie (lead singer) has the look of a pop grunge groupie, with her willowy figure and light blond hair, and with Theo, Joel and Joff, the band deliver a perfect set each time they perform live. They opened their set with the heavy head banger ‘Fluffy’ before going straight into ‘She’, tracks from ‘My Love is Cool’ and the ‘Blush’ EP respectively. They also performed their grungy hard core tracks ‘Giant Peach’ and ‘Moaning Lisa Smile’, but not all their tracks were crazed heavy rock induced pieces; they also played some lighter, beautiful songs, like ‘Blush’ and ‘Bros’ which show off Ellie’s beautiful melodic voice, a contrast to the heavy Courtney Love-esque screeching in ‘You’re a Germ’. The band’s set was insane; Ellie’s edgy pure grunge voice works so well in harmony with Joel’s light backing vocals, which paired with the heavy riffs from Joff and Theo makes them one of the most exciting grunge bands right now.
Marmozets, Main Stage
Before Reading, I hadn’t heard of Marmozets (ashamed to admit that), yet having watched their set on the Main Stage, I can’t believe I hadn’t discovered them sooner! Becca, Sam, Jack, Will and Josh are easily one of the most extraordinary alternative rock bands right now; with the heavy riffs, killer drum sets and Becca’s raspy screaming voice, they perfectly combine all the elements you need to be a proper rock band. Their debut album, ‘The Weird and Wonderful Marmozets’ is even better done live; the set list was full of intense, colossal tracks like ‘Born Young and Free’ and ‘Move, Shake, Hide.’ Becca’s stage presence was incredible as well; she strutted around the stage, screaming her wild hard-core lyrics out to the crowd of thousands, accompanied by the heavy blare of the guitars and intricate drum loops. Ending with her blaring scream of the line ‘Why do you hate me so much?!’ (and accompanied by the heavy guitar and drumming and energetic mad crowd,) the Yorkshire band certainly showed Reading how it’s done.