Reading 2010 has that ultra special 'festival vibe' in the air this year and the place to be for Saturday was clearly the NME Stage, the area was rammed to capacity and beyond all day long, it got a bit edgy there at times to say the least! All of Reading, it seemed, wanted to watch the numerous acts lined up.
30H!3 drew a massive and largely over exuberant crowd as they proceeded to put on a performance that blew everyone away. You couldn't move for the crowd who had hoofed it over to the NME Stage to catch these guys kicking up a storm, 'My first Kiss' and 'Don’t trust me' got the punters moving fast and furious. Often courting controversy the guys from Colorado often get bad reviews but right here at Reading the fans made it abundantly clear that Sean Foreman and Nathaniel Motte are garnering an ever growing fan base, not heard of them yet? oh, rest assured you will.
Over on the Lock Up, Paint it Black, a Philadelphia based heavy rock/punk quartet were kicking up quite a storm with yet another appreciative crowd to boot, much mayhem ensued as Dan Yemin and crew showed they were in full voice delivering a pretty impressive set that certainly satisfied all required criteria.
The Main Stage meanwhile had played host to The Futureheads, The Mystery Jets and The Gaslight Anthem, all of whom delivered superb, quality sets full of energy, full of fun and just perfect for the time and place.
The mighty Hadouken! brought a fiercely edgy set that once again drew a massive crowd to the NME Stage. The tent was heaving and how it stayed in one place we'll never know, inside and outside the Hadouken! faithful were out pledging full support for this well loved band. Apparently it was 'Rabbits' last gig with the band, the guys were simply delighted to be playing to the Reading crowd and it showed in a performance that included numerous oldies and some new stuff thrown in. Opening with 'Rebirth', we also got 'M.A.D', 'House Is Falling', 'That Boy That Girl' among this quality set that finished with 'Lost' - set for an autumn tour Hoboken! are currently on fine form and more than worth a watch, they certainly stormed the NME tent - quality.
A really badly kept secret, 'The Rats' AKA Gallows brought the full force of their understated show to the Lock Up Stage, as ever Frank Carter was in full voice and ready to 'tear the place up' (well, after thanking security and all the 'behind the scenes' crew for such a fantastic job, well executed) Gallows were chaotic, edgy and just a little bit dangerous as you'd expect, the crowd loved them and they loved the crowd - job well done, all boxes ticked and Gallows confirmed their place at Reading once again.
The Invasion Of… drew a nice but small crowd over on the BBC Introducing Stage, that’s what we like to see of course, they went for it, they loved it and the guys did quite a good job of presenting their music to a small but quite impressed audience. I hadn't clicked that the drummer was Gary Powell from The Libertines! I'm not too sure that everyone else did either, but it was a quality set with 'Delusional', 'Horseman On The Roof' and 'High Spheres' among the numbers played, another band who we'll be hearing more from in the near future I'd wager.
The Maccabees on the Main Stage played a typically fine and flawless set filled with all the well-loved hits, delighting the crowd as the sun came out. With the horn section of the band sporting owl, frog and tiger' heads this was a fun filled set - joyous to be part of and playing Reading 's Main Stage has long been an ambition of the band, they got their opportunity and we got a class act.
Darwin Deez pulled 'em in on the Festival Republic Stage, who would have guessed? Another fun filled performance made even more fun when Deez pulled a security guy up onto the stage and made him dance with them! I hadn't seen Deez before and had no idea what to expect, but this was full on fun all the way and I'm so glad I caught it. Confusing, but once you start watching you just can't stop, mesmerising would be one way of describing that which is Deez. A total pop extravaganza - Deez has the moves and he's not afraid to show them and share them!
Zebrahead, meanwhile, full of zest and energy event got the crowd to sit down, appears to be a trend this year as Frank Turner did the same thing twenty minutes later. High-energy punk livening up the afternoon.
Dizzee Rascal delivered, as he always does, and with a "You ready to party?" a full on non-stop party began, mayhem, madness and huge fun brought to Reading's main stage by Dizzee and his crew.
The Cribs were on fire playing to a packed arena on the main stage with old and new tracks given out to a delighted crowd. Ryan Jarman was one of the many performers who mocked Guns N’ Roses "Anyone seen Guns N’ Roses last night then?” he quipped as they launched into a typically Guns N’ Roses style guitar solo. The guys must have been a tad fed up with their equipment as great care was taken to wreck what they could as the set ended with much musical instrument trashing and just good old fashioned rock and roll.
Serj Tankian, it turns out, is rather a dapper gent. The ex System Of A Down frontman turned up looking resplendent in a white suite and backed by a rather stunning band. Not at all sure what to expect I only intended to suss it out and then move on, however, this was powerful, moving and musically brilliant stuff.
Overtones of heavy rock played out in a classically inspired set proved to be a hit. Musically stunning this was an inspirational and inspired set that, on the face of it, you wouldn't expect to captivate a young Reading crowd but it did. This was electrifying as Tankian has clearly taken all of his musical influences and blended them to come up with something quite new and unique, echoes of hard rock, classical and Armenian were apparent throughout a politically charged set. The man's a genius, another rock God who can make that transition to a completely different genre of music - this has to be the biggest treat of the day - so far!
The Libertines however look like they mean business, Carl and Pete appear to be best mates sharing the love, and they are going down a storm on Reading's main stage. This was a hugely anticipated set generating quite the festival buzz; from where I'm standing they appear to be pulling it off in style. There was a pause due to the crowd being a little over exuberant at the front of the stage but the band finished their set and left us all wanting more - question is - will we get it?
Arcade Fire headlined the Main Stage and closed it in style with a beautiful and very grown up performance. They didn't draw the biggest crowd, which was a shame because they certainly were worthy headliners. With a 'Thanks Reading - at least we're punctual' one of the many homage’s to the Guns N'Roses debacle, Arcade Fire set about showing Reading how a worthy headline band does it. Stunningly beautiful the band were up against some mighty competition thus giving us the opportunity to see and hear the set quite nicely! Anthemic, stunning and awesome in quite a gentle way, the Canadian band worked it really magnificently.
Bad Religion closed the Lock Up Stage, a band who have been around and are now celebrating 30 years in the business - it certainly shows, another quite grown up performance but still fun.
Over on the ever popular NME Stage things were getting quite edgy, photographers were forced to abandon the pit after one song with Enter Shikari due to the sheer volume of crowd surfers coming over the barrier non stop. Security were certainly kept on their toes all day at the NME Stage and from what I could see they more than earned their money this weekend!
The awesome Pendulum drew one of the most massive crowds of the weekend - rammed doesn't quite cover or adequately explain the sheer volume of people who made their way to the NME Stage for this headline act. Pendulum never fail to deliver the goods, a full on explosive performance played out to a full on explosive crowd. "Let's tear the roof off the tent," declared Rob Swire as the drum 'n' bass heroes proceeded to do just that! Memorable - for all the right reasons!
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