Reading and Leeds has a bit of a terrible rep, and one that 2012 didn’t disprove. Drunk 16-year-olds everywhere, drugs more common than a filthy toilet and a lot of mud. Having witnessed all three, Concrete can confirm that this year was no different.
The line-up, though, was stellar. With something for everyone, it’s not just a festival for those who’ve just got their 27 A* GCSEs.
The BBC Introducing stage had some gems. Snuggled in between Reading gal Danica Hunter (a bit of a Lily Allen type) and Park Bench Society came triangle loving Alt-J, the first of three “secret sets”.
Jake Bugg had his turn on Saturday. This very small man is going to be very big – at 18 he’s already doing great things. After a little bit of Seasfire (Concrete were right at the front), Two Door Cinema Club performed acoustic versions of new their single Sleep Alone, and Undercover Martyn, finishing with What You Know. Very lovely.
Festival Republic and NME featured great acts (plus a few duds). Friday on Festival Republic was an indie field day with Lucy Rose to Sleigh Bells. For us, The Courteeners were the first day highlight. The Dance Stage on Saturday was also worth checking out: Azelia Banks, Katy B, and festival favourites Metronomy, anyone?
The Cure, while looking flipping haggard and camouflaged with glitter, sounded incredible. The two hour set may have made the Maccabees a better call for those who only knew Friday I’m In Love, but for diehard fans the Reading/Leeds experience was long awaited and didn’t disappoint.
Florence was a bit average. She didn’t command the audience’s attention and described the stage as a swimming pool – this was partly down to the weather ruining the atmosphere.
Serge and Tom then held the crowd in their palms during Kasabian’s turn as headliners, flinging in occasional covers among both old and new tracks. Unlike the claustrophobic experience festival crowds sometimes endure, everyone was dancing, jumping and having a cracking time.
Concrete went to Justice and Futureheads instead of Foo Fighters. Sorry. Both were incredible. Justice’s French electric beats in the packed-out NME tent amongst broken but very happy campers ended Reading how Reading should end: by singing We Are Your Friends all the way back to white camp.
Honourable mentions go to SBTRKT, The Horrors, Of Monsters and Men, and of course the not-so-secret Green Day set.
Loads of the festival’s finest are gracing Norwich with their presence in the coming months. Depending on your taste check out Mystery Jets, Lucy Rose, Benjamin Francis Leftwich, Rachel Sermanni, Azelia Banks, Crystal Castles, Enter Shikari, and Django Django.
And that’s not even all of all them. We’re ever so spoilt.
Were you there? Who did you see? How was it for you? Comment below.
Lightning Bolt – Jake Bugg