Aghhh. Reading was amazing. As ever.
Massive props to the guy who chivalrously allowed me to go ahead of him into the only decent-looking bathroom stall (I use the word decent in the loosest possible sense, it was kinda the lesser of about twenty seven evils), and the security guard who winked at me and then waved me through after spying the little can of gin and tonic stowed at the bottom of my bag (you’re not allowed to take alcohol into the arena, I saw one girl drinking vodka from a suncream bottle, sneaky…) It was an awesome weekend!
Bastille played in the NME tent right after Frightened Rabbit on Friday. Just after the Reading and Leeds line up was announced, their song Pompeii started playing on the radio, with the result that everyone in the NME tent was squashed and sweaty and pretty hysterically excited by the time they came on stage (okay, maybe that was just me, but BASTILLE! Dan Smith is such a wonderful human being). Their debut album has been such a success, and it is definitely my current favourite.
Photo: Frightened Rabbit, Rob
Later on, we got to see Major Lazer and his pretty enthusiastic back up dancers, and then Green Day, who had, admittedly, less back up dancers, but Billy Joe Armstrong ran around like a little kid, grabbing water cannons and t-shirt guns, covering the camera man in toilet roll and playing the whole track list of their Dookie album, because he’s Billy Joe Armstrong, and he can do what he wants.
On the Saturday, we saw a little bit of everything; Darwin Deez, an incredible Imagine Dragons set, Chase and Status (who had to stop half way through a song and give the crowd a telling off because someone broke their leg in the mosh pit), and then we sneaked away from the biggest Reading crowd I have ever seen, watching Eminem, to leg it across to the NME tent and watch Alt-J. They played an awesome set.
I’ve banged on about this before, I know, but I really love listening to live music. Absolutely nothing compares to it. Going to Reading is like a little muddy pilgrimage to me, and, honestly, there’s nothing like losing it to your favourite band with thousands of other people who are jumping up and down and singing and going crazy.
Photo: The Lumineers, Rob
Photo: Tribes, Sarah
Sunday was the best. We watched Tribes (who, according to Ross, were trying to be The Strokes, but as long as that means the leather jackets keep on coming, that is absolutely fine with me), and then got right to the front of Alex Clare (which means that we got completely covered in the water that the security guards insist on handing out), and then got the see The Lumineers, the only Fall Out Boy song I know, and then over to the Festival republic tent for Pure Love.
Photos: Pure Love Instagram
Pure Love was probably the best all weekend (Biffy and Bastille also, but for different reasons.) Frank Carter (ex frontman of the hardcore punk band, Gallows) and Jimmy Carroll, the guitarist, broke every rule in the book to put on the best show I have ever seen. There was so much crowdsurfing there was barely anyone left in the audience, Jimmy performed his guitar solo while crowdsurfing on an inflatable dragon, Abi rode an inflatable swan majestically into the arms of a disgruntled security guard, and Sarah commissioned a couple of burly men to lift her up so she could crowdsurf. We went in the circle pit and paraded around the outside of the tent carrying Frank above our heads in an inflatable dinghy. It was all kinds of awesome. I got a few bruises but it was totally worth it.
Photos: Rob, Reading Festival Facebook
Biffy finished up with an incredible performance; fire, lasers, streamers, and so much sweat coming off Simon Neil that it was almost impossible to see him.
Such an amazing weekend, Reading definitely delivered.
More photos to follow, but now I need to go and have a nap and watch the Great British Bake Off.
I hope your weekend was awesome too,
MTG, PV x