Monday, 27 August 2012

NEWS: Reading And Leeds Festival 2012

The Cure closed the opening night of Reading Festival on Friday night (August 24) with a mammoth, two-and-a-half hour set. Watch videos from the set HERE.

Making their first appearance at the festival in 33 years, Robert Smith and his band played a whopping 31 songs during their performance, with tracks taken from across the whole of their career. Smith was quiet throughout, only thanking the crowd on a few occasions. He made reference to his lack of interaction when the band returned for their encore, saying: "I still don't know why I don't talk, even after all these years, I'm thinking it all though, trust me." As well as hit singles 'Friday I'm In Love', 'Just Like Heaven', 'Why Can't I Be You?' and 'The Lovecats', the band also aired a selection of cult favourites, including 'Play For Today' and 'Dressing Up'. The band finished the set with their 1979 classic 'Boys Don't Cry'.

Earlier in the day, Cancer Bats had kicked things off on the Main Stage with a powerful set that showcased their latest LP 'Dead Set On Living'. Over on the NME/Radio 1 Stage, Spector drew a modest crowd to their early afternoon slot. Singer Fred MacPherson, who was clad in a white suit, then led his band through a set which included recent singles 'Chevy Thunder' and 'Celestine'. Bombay Bicycle Club followed and drew one of the biggest crowds of the day as they worked with their way through the highlights of their recent album 'A Different Kind Of Fix', before Paramore warmed up for The Cure with punchy, 50-minute set.

Green Day brought Reading Festival to a standstill on Saturday (August 25) as they played a surprise set on the NME/Radio 1 Stage. 

The band had been rumoured to perform at 12pm and were thought to be playing their 1994 album 'Dookie' from start to finish. However, their set actually began at 11am and was only confirmed when frontman Billie Joe Armstrong took to Twitter to say so, writing: "Green day - READING FESTIVAL CONFIRMED!! On stage in 45 minutes! In the NME / RADIO 1 tent. 11am!! Be there!" Such was the demand to get in that the organisers were forced to seal off access to the stage, leaving most of the crowd to watch the band on the Main Stage, where the set was being shown on a big screen.

Although they delivered five tracks from 'Dookie', the band actually played a career-spanning set similar to their show at London's O2 Shepherds Bush Empire on Thursday (August 23). However, they aired only two new songs from their forthcoming album trilogy '¡Uno!, ¡Dos!, ¡TrĂ©!', which were titled 'Oh Love' and 'Stay The Night'. At numerous times during the set, Armstrong heightened the atmosphere by pretending to be dragged off-stage by organisers. After curtailing the band's 2004 single 'Boulevard Of Broken Dreams', he told the crowd: "We're having a little fucking problem with time."

Yet even when the coverage ended on the Main Stage, the band still ploughed on, leaving a large group of fans to watch a distant screen from behind a security cordon. In the end, the set clocked in at just over an hour and included 14 songs, with classics 'Basket Case', 'Minority' and 'Brain Stew' all in the setlist. They ended with 'Dookie' track 'She'. During the set, Armstrong praised the Reading crowd, telling them that he rated them more highly than US audiences. He said after the crowd's rabid response to 'Hitchin' A Ride': "That's why I fucking love England, the Americans just don't get that shit."

Kasabian covered Fatboy Slim's 'Praise You' and The Beatles' 'She Loves You' as they made their debut as Reading Festival headliners on the Saturday night (August 25).

The Leicester band, who were making their first appearance at the event in seven years, played a 18-song set, which also included covers of The Korgis' classic 'Everybody's Got To Learn Sometime' and 'Take Aim', their reworking of the theme from A Clockwork Orange. Kicking off their set with recent single 'Days Are Forgotten', the band ran through a hit-strewn set which featured 'Underdog', 'Club Foot', 'LSF', 'Shoot The Runner', 'Switchblade Smiles' and the closing 'Fire', which included an ending incorporating the Fab Four's classic single. Before the closing 'Fire' Meighan told the crowd: "I want to tell you something. We started a band when I was 17. I'm an old man now, 31, but thanks to you, here we are. This was my ambition, Reading. Thank you so much."

Canadian punks Billy Talent proved themselves a talking point over on the NME/Radio 1 Stage and played a punchy, 45-minute set which included 'Red Flag' and new single 'Viking Death March', which singer Ben Kowalewicz dedicated to Pussy Riot, telling the crowd: "This song is about standing up for yourself.''

Back on the Main Stage, The Vaccines drew a massive crowd to their early evening slot. The band, who release their second album 'The Vaccines Come Of Age' next Monday (September 3), played a selection of songs from their new LP, including the opening 'No Hope', new single 'Teenage Icon' (watch footage here) and 'Ghost Town' as well as previous hits 'Blow It Up', 'Tiger Blood', 'All In White', 'Post Break-Up Sex' and 'Wetsuit'. Singer Justin Young thanked the crowd profusely throughout and speaking before 'If You Wanna', he said: "When I was 12 years old I saw video footage of Nirvana playing on this stage, I never imagined I'd be up here. Thank you for making my dreams come true."

At The Drive-In played their first UK show in over 11 years as they headlined the NME/Radio Stage 1 at Reading Festival on Saturday night (August 25).

The Texan alt-punkers, who reunited earlier this year after a decade-long absence, played to a surprisingly sparse crowd. Taking to the stage at 10.15pm (BST), the band played a 13-song set, which included a cover of The Smiths' classic 'That Joke Isn't Funny Anymore', which they mixed in with their own track 'Catacombs'. The set began in bizarre fashion with frontman Cedric Bixler-Zavala arriving onstage with a broom and saying to the crowd: "What the fuck are you doing here? I'm trying to clean this place up." He then joked to the crowd about Prince Harry's recent Las Vegas indiscretions as the band launched into 'Arcarsenal'. The band's performance focused heavily on their seminal 2000 third album 'Relationship Of Command, with eight of the LP's 11 tracks aired during the set. As well as this, they also played four from their 1998 album 'In/Casino/Out' and 'Metronome Arthritis' from their early 'Vaya' EP. 

Bixler-Zavala, who was outspoken throughout the set, told the crowd that the UK "was the first place to really give a shit about our band. You guys saw something in us that no-one else did."

Frank Turner launched his new hardcore side project Mongol Horde at Reading Festival on the Sunday afternoon (August 26). The band, which also features Turner's former Million Dead bandmate Ben Dawson and Matt Nadir, who is a member of the singer's current backing band The Sleeping Souls, played a lunchtime slot at the event which saw them play a frenetic 30 minute set. Turner, who had been hidden under a hood while the band completed their line checks, reappeared shirtless for the start of the set, and, after introducing the trio as "a new jazz combo", he spent the majority of the band's opening track in the crowd.

Among the tracks aired were 'Stillborn Unicorn', which Turner revealed was inspired by The Really Wild Show, 'Casual Threats From The Weekend Hardmen' and a thrashy cover of The Streets' 'Don't Mug Yourself'. They ended the set with a pulverising cover of Nirvana's 'Territorial Pissings' before exiting to loud cheers.

Meanwhile, The Cure brought the second day of Leeds Festival to a close (August 25) with an epic 33-song set. 

"Hello again. It's been a while," singer Robert Smith told the crowd, as he took to the stage for the band's second appearance at the festival in two days, after having not played Reading and Leeds festivals for 33 years. “I thought yesterday maybe I should say things between songs,” Smith said before ‘The Walk’. “But it breaks a spell in my head. So just imagine I'm saying things to you.”

Liam Stainsby, 18 ,said: "I thought The Cure were…brilliant, sorry, I was going to swear…ok, they were FUCKING insane. They were the best band so far, they've got so many years of so much good music. Amazing." Tamsin Daisy Reece, 18, from Durham added: "I thought they were just lovely. They're a band that's really comforting. I loved 'The Lovecats' and 'Friday I'm In Love', they were so good."

Taking to the stage before The Cure, Bombay Bicycle Club showcased a new dance orientated track titled ‘Carry Me'. “I think it’s time to step it up a gear,” guitarist Jamie MacColl told the crowd, “Yeah it’s time to get down and dirty,” singer Jack Steadman added before the band launched into ‘Ivy And Gold’. Earlier in the day, Crystal Castles opened on the Main Stage with their new track ‘Plague’, before a rendition of ‘Baptism’ which saw Alice Glass launch herself into the crowd before throwing herself to the ground in front of the stage. Playing a nine-track set spanning across their two albums, the duo finished on Platinum Blonde cover ‘Not In Love’, which they previously released as a duet with Robert Smith. 

Kasabian paid tribute to late astronaut Neil Armstrong (August 26) as they closed day three of Leeds Festival.

The band, who made their headline debut at the Reading And Leeds Festivals this weekend, dedicated their recent opening album track 'Let’s Roll Just Like We Used To' to the late astronaut, who died yesterday aged 82. Introducing the track, guitarist Serge Pizzorno told the crowd: "Everyone look at the moon behind you," before singer Tom Meighan added: "Everyone, this is for Neil Armstrong." 

The Leicester rockers drew a huge crowd for the closing night as they brought on a trumpeter for their closing set, kicking off with hit single ‘Days Are Forgotten’. Pizzorno sang a couple of songs mid-set including ‘Take Aim’ and The Korgis cover ‘Everybody’s Got To Learn Sometime’ before they kicked into ‘Club Foot’. They later performed Fatboy Slim’s ‘Praise You’ again, before many sections of the crowd donned skeleton masks for 'Switchblade Smiles'. Later Meighan declared: "Leeds, we formed a band when we were 17. We made it man. Thank you for getting us here," before a whole crowd of people dressed in skeleton outfits appeared onstage for hit single ‘Fire’.

The Vaccines also pulled in a massive crowd as they showcased new material from their forthcoming second album 'The Vaccines Come Of Age' which is out next Monday (September 3) including new single 'Teenage Icon', as well as 'Ghost Town' and ‘Bad Mood’. The band also played hits from their debut album including, 'Post Break-Up Sex', 'Wetsuit' and ‘If You Wanna’. Introducing the latter Justin Young told the crowd: "This time last year we played the NME Stage and it was one of the best gigs we’ve ever played. So thank you for coming along and making this one even better."

Over on the NME/Radio 1 Stage The Cribs played a triumphant 10th anniversary homecoming gig. "This was the first festival we ever played," said a smiling frontman Ryan Jarman, "So, er, thank you very much." The Wakefield band, who came onto to the Kiss version of the anthem ‘God Gave Rock 'N' Roll To You’, played a set loaded with fan favourites such as 'I'm A Realist' and 'Mirror Kisses', also playing tracks from new album 'In The Belly Of The Brazen Bull' including 'Chinatown' and 'Come On, Be A No One'. They ending their tent-packing set with a rendition of 'City Of Bugs'.

Meanwhile, hotly-tipped singer and songwriter Jake Bugg played a mid-afternoon set to a packed out Festival Republic tent following recent support slots with Noel Gallagher and Stone Roses. Playing tracks from his self-titled debut album, the Nottingham teenager previewed tracks such as 'Seen It All' and 'Country Song' along with the more familiar 'Trouble Town' and 'Lightning Bolt'.

Meanwhile at Reading, The Gaslight Anthem drew a massive crowd to the Main Stage as they delivered a punchy, 45-minute set with tracks from across their whole career aired. Particular highlights included recent single '45', 'American Slang', 'The 59' Sound' and the closing 'Backseat'. The Black Keys drew one of the biggest crowds of the weekend and celebrated the announcement earlier in the day of their first UK full arena tour with a hit-packed hour set that offered the best bits of their recent LP 'El Camino'. Watch videos from their set HERE.

Foo Fighters played their "last show for a long time" as they headlined the final night of Reading Festival (August 26). Watch videos from the set HERE.

The band played a two-and-a-half hour set with a setlist that differed wildly from their 21-song effort at Leeds Festival on Friday (August 24), this time airing a full 26 songs. Speaking to the crowd, frontman Dave Grohl said that he felt this was a special night and that it marked the end of the band's tour in support of their latest album 'Wasting Light'. Speaking early on in the set, he said: "Well, well, well. The fucking Reading festival. You guys realise we've got a lot of songs to play. It's the last show of the tour and it's the last show for a long time.''

Grohl was in a reflective mood, dedicating 'These Days' to his former bandmates in Nirvana, Kurt Cobain and Krist Novoselic, telling the audience before he played the band's recent single "I'd like to dedicate this song to a couple of people who couldn't be here tonight. This one's for Krist and this one's for Kurt.'' He also brought his daughters Violet and Harper onstage and dedicated 'Walk' and 'Monkey Wrench' to each of them respectively. As well as this, the singer also dedicated the set to Miti Adhikari, a BBC engineer who worked with Grohl numerous times and retires from work today, 

Grohl's bandmates also found time to praise him, with Taylor Hawkins telling the crowd that he was thrilled to be onstage with "the greatest musician of this generation". Grohl responded by telling the crowd cheekily that he didn't enjoy such attention. The set drew from across the band's career, but did include seven tracks from their self-titled debut album, including the rarely aired 'Exhausted' and 'Alone + Easy Target'. It also featured a very rare airing of 'Winnebago', which featured on 'Pocketwatch', the cassette tape Grohl recorded on his own before he put the band together. Speaking about this track, he said: ''First time we ever played here, we played in the tiny tent and it was the hottest show we ever played. They asked us to headline and we said 'No! We don't to headline the first time we ever play in England'. This was the first song we ever played."

It had been rumoured during the day that Grohl would acknowledge the 20th anniversary of Nirvana's seminal headline spot at the festival with a cover of one of their tracks. This didn't materialise, though he did speak about that day and, as they did then, he got the crowd to sing 'Happy Birthday' to his mother. He said of this: "In 1992 when Nirvana played here, the last show we ever played in England, you sang happy birthday to my mom. Here's your chance." They duly responded with the song. 

The set, which also included a cover of Pink Floyd's 'In The Flesh?', ended with a rousing airing of 'Everlong' and a firework display. 


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