Rhythm and Views: Best of Reading 2014

We all know by now how much I love to ramble about bands I love so, as promised, I thought it was time to carry on that tradition in the form of my Reading 2014 highlights. If you’ve read my previous post, you’ll know I was lucky enough to go to Reading this year and now, with a couple of weeks of sleep behind me (although still with an annoyingly persistent collection of illnesses and bruises), I feel I can properly look back on the weekend.

First off, it wouldn’t be right to start with any other than my beloved Arctics, who unsurprisingly smashed it. My friends and I were right near the front before they came on but decided to move further back so we could actually breathe- let alone dance- and I am so glad we did, as I think such a large part of enjoying a band is having a good crowd (yes I’m talking to you, crappy Vampire Weekend audience). From the opening riff of ‘Do I Wanna Know’ I just knew it would be a good’un; Alex was on point all the way through with his perfectly calculated obnoxious charm and the crowd were lapping up his every word. In terms of the setlist, they played ‘When The Sun Goes Down’ which I’ve always wanted to see live, but I can’t help feeling they missed some of their best hits- namely 505, Mardy Bum and Pretty Visitors (probably my favourite live track when I saw them on their AM tour). It’s hard to compare their Reading performance to seeing them at their own show; the latter was probably more slick and technically perfect, but you just can’t beat the amazing festival vibe and a fantastic crowd ten times the size.

One band who have definitely thrown themselves into the industry head first thanks to Reading has to be Catfish & The Bottlemen, who’ve managed to sell out their tour even before the release of their debut album (I’m still bitter that I missed out on tickets). I know they’re going to be huge, and I can’t be more happy that I got to see them in the tiny Festival Republic stage with one of the best crowds of the festival- complete with a naked crowdsurfer, egged on by the band themselves to “take it off, take it off!“. On straight after Catfish came King Charles, hands down my favourite act from 2000 Trees last year; nothing makes me want to dance more than his music does. Fab music, fab voice and even fabber hair- what more could you really ask for?

Now I’ve always been a fan of Cage The Elephant from their ‘Aint No Rest For The Wicked’ days, but I can’t say I’ve listened to a lot of their newer releases (my beautiful signed Shake Me Down picture vinyl is still unashamedly one of my favourite possessions). The same cannot be said for one of my friends though, so at her request we elbowed our way to near the front and I ended up counting it  as hands down one of my favourite acts of the festival. Definitely will be seeing them again sometime in the future. The end of Cage’s set meant a quick dash back to the main stage for Foster The People- I’ve been wanting to see them live for four years now and I’m still pretty amazed that I finally have. I know a lot of people aren’t fans but I really don’t get that- Mark Foster’s voice is just to die for and everything about their music is so happy, especially at a festival- nothing beats being in the middle of a crowd belting out some indie-pop lyrics as the sun slowly sets behind the stage.

I could go on for weeks about every band I saw at Reading, but I think (know) I would probably lose every subscriber I have, which is probably best avoided. I  just had to give a particular mention to a few bands that particularly stood out or I was especially impressed by- as I said before, any chance to ramble about music is a chance that I never fail to grasp with both hands. As I’m sure you’ve gathered.

Reading 2014

Oh boy, where to begin? I’m currently curled up with a hot mug of Twining’s English Breakfast Tea (yes this is a recurring theme, no I am not ashamed) and have been pretty much consistently since I rolled into my bed on a very soggy Monday morning; drenched, freezing cold and nursing a sore everything, but having had the best five days of my life. For those that somehow aren’t aware, last weekend was Reading and Leeds Festival and I was lucky enough (I say lucky, but I was the one that slaved away at work for months to be able to afford it) to go to the former, and oh my was it an amazing weekend.

As a first time Reading-goer I wasn’t entirely sure what to expect, and without a doubt it lived up to the “drink, drugs and rock ‘n’ roll” reputation that it has gained itself- perhaps with less of the rock ‘n’ roll with the likes of Disclosure and Vampire Weekend topping the bill of famous faces. But in spite of that (or perhaps as a result of) the whole festival just had such a friendly atmosphere and you could tell that everyone was there for the same reason, apart from maybe the wonderful human outside my tent at 4am whose new friend asked him who he was most excited to see and to which he replied “oh I don’t even know who’s playing, I’m here for the ket”.

For those of us that were actually there for the music, we certainly weren’t disappointed, with my stand-out act being Arctic Monkeys (not really a surprise for anyone who knows me in the slightest)- it was the second time I’ve seen them and I finally got to see them play When The Sun Goes Down live, which pretty much made my year. I’ll probably end up doing some in-depth reviews of particular sets from across the weekend as it is way too much to fit into one post, but my other highlights would have to come from Catfish & The Bottlemen, Cage The Elephant, Foster The People, King Charles and The Kooks, just to name a few.

All in all, despite the gag-inducing toilet stench and complete lack of sleep, comfort or sanitation, it was a weekend I won’t be forgetting quickly- not least thanks to the multitude of illnesses I seem to have returned with that garner no sympathy from my parents on account of being “self-inflicted”. Can’t say I can really argue with that.

Festival Packing: Reading 2014

Now I know that festival season is coming to a close here in the UK and there is already a whole host of festival packing lists floating around, but I figured I would hop on the bandwagon and share what little wisdom I have to offer as I pack for Reading festival, which I leave for tomorrow. I’m not going to bother with the obvious things like underwear and a toothbrush- I think we are all grown up enough to be able to figure this out for ourselves by now, this isn’t primary school. Think of this as a compilation of things that you’ll think you don’t need, then find yourself sat in the mud at 4am wishing you’d listened to that advice. Just warning you.

  •  Baby wipes- honestly if you only brought one thing to a festival it should be baby wipes, you don’t quite realise just how many uses these things have and trust me, they’ll be a god send when you are unlikely to be able to shower for the four or five days you’re there for (you can get Huggies wipes for 99p in Boots for a huge pack)
  • Face wipes- along the same lines but for any girls that aren’t quite ready to embrace the no-makeup look, you really don’t want to be bringing along your endless cleansers and toners and fancy make-up removers- it’s time to crack out the face wipes. Primark do a range of different types that are only £1 for two packs so you can hardly go wrong.
  • Toilet roll and tissues- needless to say, festival toilets are disgusting. There is rarely any toilet roll available (in fact Reading have said this year they won’t be providing any) so these are most certainly essential to have- tissue packets are especially good as you can just stick one in your pocket or bumbag each day and you’re set.. plus you can buy 4 packets for £1 in Primark at the moment (you can tell where I do all my festival shopping)
  • Dry shampoo- back on the no washing theme, my hair is certainly not used to surviving five days without a shower so anything I can do to make it look slightly less slick with grease is always a bonus- dry shampoo, bandanas and hats are all good solutions here
  • Other toiletries- deodorant, hand sanitiser, paracetamol and a lip balm with spf (even if it isn’t meant to be hot) are definitely essentials in my opinion along with any hayfever tablets if you suffer from that
  • Suncream and sunglasses- may seem a tad optimistic seeing as the weather forecast for this weekend isn’t meant to be the best, but you never know with this English weather and being outside all day can have disastrous consequences when you’re as ginger and pale as I am
  • Raincoat and wellies- on the opposite end of the scale and much more likely to come in use, it’s a pretty obvious essential for any English festival
  • Bin bags- weird thing to add but they take up no room at all and without fail will always come in handy- make-do raincoats, rubbish bag, bag for your wet clothes, etc etc
  • Torch- those obstacle courses of guy ropes are hard enough to navigate in the light, don’t make it harder for yourself that it need be
  • Small towel- not essential but definitely handy if you have room in your bag, especially if it’s a wet weekend
  • Pillowcase- I’m definitely not one of those people that is going to be lugging round a pillow with me but I do love to bring a case at least to stuff with jumpers in an attempt to make sleeping at least a little less impossible
  • Crappy old phone- I’m taking my year 7 slide up (classy I know) but to be quite honest, all I need to be able to do is text and ring my friends to meet up with them- if you are tweeting every moment of your weekend you are clearly not enjoying yourself and to be brutally honest, I think if you take your iPhone to a festival then you deserve to get it stolen
  • Some other kind of shoes you don’t mind getting ruined- I’m taking some cheap black high tops from H&M that are just super comfortable and make a nice change if the ground is dry and wellies are no longer needed (a girl can dream)
  • Bumbag- not the coolest thing in the world (although you can get some pretty nice ones- mine is from depop) but so handy for carrying round essentials without having to carry a bag around and worry about everything getting stolen
  • Glitter/ face paint- when else do you get the chance to wander round with your hair full of glitter and paint on your face without getting some weird looks?
  • Plastic bottles/ hip flask- you’re not allowed to take in any glass so if you’re planning on bringing alcohol it’ll need to be decanted into plastic bottles- definitely handy to bring a couple of extras as trips to Tescos are a lot more popular than paying the extortionate bar prizes and you don’t want to be stuck with nothing to decant those glass bottles into. Having not been to Reading before, I don’t know how strict they are about bringing alcohol into the arena, but it’s always handy to have a hip flask or something similar you can slip down your wellies for ease

So there you have it, my probably completely useless checklist for Reading and Leeds (or any other UK festival for that matter). To be honest, if you are going to Reading there is a huge Tesco’s just a few minutes walk from the site where you can stock up on anything you have forgotten, so don’t panic too much. Most of all just have an amazing time no matter how dirty and wet you are; I know I will.

 

Rhythm and Views: Reading Lineup Reaction

If you were scrolling through Twitter at any point on Monday night, you will have no doubt run into countless over-excited teens alternately fangirling and complaining about this year’s Reading & Leeds Festival lineup. I thought it might be a good first post for me to talk about which side of the line I stand and who I’m especially excited about seeing.

For a long time now, I’ve wanted to go to Reading. Aside from the fact that it is only 10 minutes away from my dad’s house, it’s always struck me as the epitome of a perfect weekend: hundreds of thousands of like-minded people, a fuckload of great music, and a general consensus that everyone just wants to have a good time. Due to being a student, which of course comes with the obligatory lack of money, this is the first year I’ve been able to afford a ticket and to be honest it’s the only thing enabling me to look past exam season and to a summer that I hope will be fabulous.

As is always the case with music, I know that there’s a hell of a lot of people out there that’ll completely disagree with my opinions but isn’t that part of the fun of it? It would certainly be a lot more boring if everyone liked the same thing and there were no Beliebers to ridicule. So of course, this is just my personal opinion, feel free to agree or disagree to your hearts content.

Friday

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QOTSA– I’ll be completely honest and say I’ve never really been a massive fan simply because I haven’t listened to a lot of their music. I’ve heard a crazily wide range of opinions on them so I guess the only way to find out is to listen myself. Failing that there’s always the Courteeners to go watch instead.

Paramore and Lily Allen Visit FUSE's "The Sauce" - June 13, 2007

Paramore– Aside from a brief stint in year 9 when I thought that “The Only Exception” was the best song ever written, I’ve never listened to a lot of Paramore songs but the ones I do know are definitely danceable, so you can’t go far wrong with that. Won’t be rushing to the front but wouldn’t mind catching some of their set, if only for Hayley Williams’ famously great stage presence.

vampireweekend

Vampire Weekend– Wanted to see them live for a long time and I think a festival is their perfect venue to be honest. Very excited.

jimmyeatworldJimmy Eat World– It’s quite coincidental actually, as before this year I hardly knew of Jimmy Eat World, aside from “The Middle” of course, which was one of the first songs I learnt on guitar. Recently though I’ve listened to them a lot more and I’m definitely going to be at the main stage for their set.

courteenersThe Courteeners– Been in love with these guys for quite a while. Excited is an understatement.

drengeDrenge– Saw them live supporting Peace back in December and I can’t say I’m especially thrilled about repeating it, I just don’t get the hype. I think enjoyment definitely depends on level of intoxication here.

Saturday

arcticmonkeysArctic Monkeys– anyone that knows me wouldn’t have to ask my opinion on Arctics headlining, and they’d only have to look as far as my bedroom ceiling for reassurance. This time last year I would never have imagined I would see Arctics live so soon, let alone twice in one year. Since seeing them in October I know how incredible they are live and doubled with a festival atmosphere and the same friends I went with last time, I think it’s fair to say it will be an above average Saturday night.

Jake-BuggJake Bugg– Although I’ve always been a fan of his music and admired his ethic towards “real music”, he’s always struck me as, to be completely frank, a complete dick.Who knows though, maybe he’ll put that aside and give a great show, I’ve heard a lots of good things about him live so I’ll save judgement.

imagine dreagonsImagine Dragons– I know that this band are one that a lot of people have a strong hatred for, but I must admit I do actually like their music- I’m a sucker for songs that are easy to dance to.

foster-the-peopleFoster the People– It’s crazy how long I have wanted to see this band for, I’ve loved them for such a long time and it’s kind of surreal I will actually see them this summer. I just pray that they play lots of their older songs.

peacePeace– One of the bands I’m looking forward to seeing most, since seeing them last December I know how incredible they are live and I cannot wait to relive that.

bombaybicycleclubBombay Bicycle Club– For me, Bombay are that one band that you try to get tickets to see everytime they tour, yet for some reason or other you can never go. Believe me, it’s the most irritating thing. So when I heard they were playing Reading and actually headlining the main stage I was beyond excited, but I fear that seeing them would compromise any chance of a decent place for Arctics, even though they assure fans  on twitter that they would not clash, saying “we’re not that stupid”.

cagetheelephantcage03Cage The Elephant–  A band I used to love but haven’t listened to a lot of in recent months, I’m definitely excited to see them play live. Some of my friends saw Cage supporting Foals (no jealously there at all nope) last month and I heard incredible things about them so my expectations are high.

Sunday

blink-182Blink-182– This brings me back to my childhood so much, with Blink and Sum 41 blasting out of my CD, I was such a nineties kid. I’m really hoping that their set finishes later than Disclosure so I can see them; otherwise I might have to try and escape earlier for some good old reminiscing.

youmeatsixYou Me At Six– There was once a time when I had a lot of love for this band. I must admit that time isn’t now, but I’m still really looking forward to seeing them and rekindling my love. Plus I hear they’re amazing live.

DisclosureDisclosure– Although not typically a great electronic/dance fan, I have a definite soft spot for Disclosure, I think what they have done for the genre is phenomenal and they make the kind of music that means you can’t help but feel happy. I’ve heard from people that went last year that they were the best act of the festival, so I’m happy to see they’re headlining the NME stage. Very Excited.

clean-banditClean Bandit– One of the most hotly talked about bands since the lineup was released, I think it’s fair to say the crowd will be large and I will most likely be amongst them.

1975The 1975– Managing to pick up the Worst Band Award at the NME Awards recently, it’s rather ironic that they are now to play on the NME stage at Reading I must admit. Although I have to agree with the masses that say their songs all sound the same and they aren’t exactly the most original band, I don’t think some of their songs are half bad and I feel a festival could be a good venue for them… I guess we’ll have to wait and see. I must admit though, the way they write like // T H I S // all the time is beyond infuriating.

So that’s it. As you can probably tell I am over the moon with the majority of the lineup and I’m really hoping it’ll be a great weekend- well worth the ridiculous fee of £230 that I tried to transfer from my wages with my eyes closed in pain. However there’s always going to be disappointments and people that you’d love to see who don’t appear on the lineup. So who’s missing for me? Foals for one, I was really hoping they would play and I think they would be incredible to see at a festival so I’m definitely a bit gutted by that.

There’s plenty of others and I could talk about this subject for hours but I fear this post is too long already so I’ll end it here. Hope everyone who is going to Reading is happy with the lineup too, and I’ll see you there.

Beckie x