Tuesday, 30 August 2011

Mud, Beer & Rock n Roll (Part 2)

So you have heard about all the wonderful people who made Reading Festival so good this year, but what about the music? If you are expecting a write up stating how wonderful "Muse" were, then you may as well give up reading this blog right now.... no really... stop reading... Frankly they bore me, I stomached 15 minutes of them before losing the will to live. Sure they are talented musicians, they simply do not inspire me one bit. Sorry! So if you are still here and want me to now tell you how great "The Strokes" are - they are shit... end of, go and cry in the corner or something! In fact how the hell did a band that is so bad get to headline a festival that is so good?

For me the weekend was all about "Flogging Molly" on the Sunday night, hell they may have been on the somewhat smaller "Lock Up Stage", and not even the headline act, but they do know how to put on a show and a half and it goes without saying that the tent erupted when the band played their anthem "Drunken Lullabies". I have always had a love for the lock up stage, in fact I could quite easily stay there for the bulk of the festival! I had been there the previous night for "The Mighty Mighty Bosstones", who I hadn't seen before, or in fact heard. I knew of them, but didn't know what to expect. Frankly they were fantastic, and to have a ska dancing dude on stage for the full set...boy he has stamina! I have always had a love for ska rooted music, a guy called Martin Atkins got me into it back when I used to work for Argos as he loved Less Than Jake, and got me into some of the music I am into today. I wonder whatever happened to Martin?

It was a good day for ska, as earlier that day the somewhat iconic "Madness" had graced the main stage. I really didn't know how well the crowd would take to them, seeing as Reading always attracts a younger crowd, and Madness of course being a band of our parents generation, I feared they might have been snubbed. In fact the complete opposite happened. If it were not for the fact it was broad day light, based on the sheer number of people there to watch them and the response they had, you could have easily have mistaken them for the headliners. The band of course played all their classics, along with some newer numbers. I was really pleased to have seen the band, they really were fantastic and had got me in the mood for the Bosstones later that evening.

It is rare so many pop-punk rooted bands play the main stage, however with "New Found Glory", "The Offspring" and "My Chemical Romance" all playing the Friday, it was quite a day for me. In fact I think in all my time of going to Reading I have never spent so much time on the main stage as I had that day. It was my first time of seeing My Chemical Romance live since 2004, a lot has changed, and I must say I am loving their new tunes, even if that is a shocking thing to admit, am I digging myself a deeper hole if I admit that I sang along to "I'm Not Ok"? There are so many MCR haters, and truthfully I am really not sure what their problem is. They are a great band with a huge following... deal with it!

Just like MCR it had been some time since I had seen "The Offspring" live, I won't lie, I was a little disappointed by their set. There seemed to be a lack of interaction even if the music was good. I love "The Offspring", but honestly I know they can do better, it just felt like they wanted to get on, play, get off and go home. This however was not the case for "New Found Glory", who made the most of their main stage opportunity, I love NFG and the moment the first chord of "Understatement" blasted out of the PA speakers I was in my zone.

It however isn't all about the main stage, I only made one trip to the alternative tent, to see "Tim Minchin" perform. The tent was bursting at the seems, literally there were thirty or more rows outside the tent on top of those who had been crammed in like sardines already. I somehow always overlook this tent, having missed one of my favorite acts "Stephen Lynch" there a couple of years back.

I also managed to catch "Thirty Seconds To Mars" who are now on an indefinite hiatus, looks like I caught them at the right time. Honestly I wasn't blown away by them, but to be fair I didn't expect to be. Another band that did little for me were the former "Pennywise" frontman's new outfit "Black Pacific", just seemed a little average really and the poor attendance reflected that they were nothing on "Pennywise".

I had seen "Pulp" at the "Wireless Festival" in London just the month before Reading. I never had great expectations of them, but had been really impressed by their live set. Needless to say I was keen to do it all over again this festival. There is something about Jarvis Cocker that just makes him the perfect front man now he has matured a little. Ironically it was 17 years to the day from when the band made their first Reading Festival appearance, playing "Common People" for the first time. Who would have thought they would have been playing the same song to a rapturous response all those years later? On the conclusion of their set I was just about able to catch the end of "The King Blues" lock up tent performance, which I thought also was rather good, shame I didn't get to see more.

So overall who was I most disappointed with? It has to be "Jimmy Eat World". I love their music, but their live show seems to lack that interaction with the crowd, I felt so disconnected, and was really looking forward to them as well. Who on the other hand was my festival underdog? This goes to "Frank Turner". I wasn't expecting to like him too much, but he blew me away, to the extent I am planning on seeing him next time he plays the UK!

In all a fantastic festival, and echoing the words of part 1 of this blog, thanks to all of those who made it so special - in no particular order: Jordan, Zach, Gayle, Ross, Allan, Ryan, Nathan, Sam, Ann, Reiley, Bethan, Jonny, Jonesy and anyone else I have forgotten!

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