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Ben Thatcher cranks up an air raid siren front of stage; over by the stacks, Mike Kerr loads the heavy artillery. Squeals, feedback, bass riffs like they’ve put strings on Thor’s hammer – Royal Blood’s arsenal is mighty, but their morale shaken. “There’s not a single person in this field who truly understands how insane it is for us to be up here right now,” Mike admits, “there’s a lot of people. I think I just shit myself.” Ben, on the other hand, stands on his drum stool sipping nonchalantly from a pint of lager, surveying the crowd like a war-time field marshal who knows exactly how much of a firestorm is about to be unleashed on an unsuspecting village.

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How Reading Proved Wolf Alice Have Become The Perfect Festival Band

Twelve months ago, Wolf Alice played on the Festival Republic stage, the fiercest they'd been at that point, but still lacking that killer confidence that could really convince any doubters that they were the real deal and in it for the long haul. Then, they had a cover of Chris Isaak's 'Wicked Game' in their set as a guaranteed crowd-pleaser, just in case the likes of 'She' and 'Blush' failed to sway the audiences in front of them.

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Foals' Surprise Set Summons The Primal Spirit Of Reading Festival

The rising dust clouds can mean only one thing. Foals have hit Reading. They’ve only been on site a couple of hours, but Yannis Philippakis looks like he’s been here since Thursday. When the frontman prowls the lip of the stage after ‘My Number’, which opens this hastily announced secret set, bright white lights catch his face and you notice his black curls are matted and his beard is straggly. There might be a hint of a hangover in his eyes too.

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Babymetal Just Delivered One Of The Most Batshit Crazy Sets Reading Has Ever Seen

Babies. Metal. Two words in and this blog has already been flagged up by Berkshire social services and a team of crack CPA agents are swooping on this writer before he does any more harm. That’s how easy it’s been for Babymetal to get attention. The brainchild of some evil talent agency genius who decided to combine hardcore speed metal with J-pop idol music, they consist of three 15 to 17-year-old flamenco cyberpunk dolls doing frantic synchronised Japanese dance routines in front of a white-clad thrash band of ghouls, zombies and psychopaths. Opening Saturday’s main stage at Reading, and with a show at Wembley Arena already on the books, they are by far the weirdest and wildest phenomenon on the bill, and here’s why…

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Living Up To The Headline Hype? The Libertines At Leeds Festival - Review

With The Libertines, everything’s emotional until it becomes cynical. Or maybe it’s the other way around. In any case, that was the story of their last sojourn to Reading and Leeds back in 2010, two shows laden with six years of expectation, but which ultimately seemed to confirm everyone’s worst fears about why they got back together in the first place. They made a lot of money that weekend (“240k each after tax for me and Carl,” Pete Doherty told NME last year) but the gigs themselves were more memorable for the scenes in the crowd than anything happening onstage.

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The Libertines At Leeds Festival – Five Talking Points

Prior to his band’s headline set at Reading and Leeds, Carl Barât told NME in an interview that people were expecting “straight-up, raucous Libertines”. Closing the first night of Leeds, he made good on that pledge with a set that erased memories of the tepid response to the last time the band graced the festival in 2010, as the Good Ship Albion capsized. With their set moved earlier by 25 minutes due to Tyler, The Creator being forced to pull out after being denied access to the UK, and armed with an arsenal of new material, the Libs gave the city a night to remember – and not just due to Doherty’s questionable attempt at the local accent.

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Boy Better Know's Packed-Out Set At Leeds Festival Suggests The Grime Revival Is Just Getting Going

Another year, another even bigger year for grime. Whether it was Boy Better Know ending up onstage with Kanye at the Brits for his spectacular flamethrower finale, ’All Day’, or, uh, Idris Elba rapping about Stringer Bell on a Skepta track, we’ve seen the mainstreaming of artists who, five years ago, would’ve been playing seventh fiddle to Dizzee in the eyes of the public. Novelist came of age and turned 18. Stormzy nixed any remaining doubts that he’s a major talent to watch. And Jamie Adenuga, aka JME, entered the charts at number 12 with his third album, 'Integrity'.

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