The moment the full Reading and Leeds Festival lineup drops is the same every year. The feeling’s a bit like being a stressed-out kid in a sweetshop, and in the space of about thirty seconds the giddy glee caused by the massive variety on offer will give way to gut-wrenching realisation that sadly, you can’t have it all. Festival FOMO is a real affliction, no matter what your GP says. And unfortunately, at a festival as varied as Reading and Leeds, with its electric sprawl of massive names from the worlds of rock, hip-hop, dance and metal, it’s pretty much unavoidable. With more than 120 names out there now, following this morning’s addition of another 67 acts, which sets should you prioritise in August? Allow us to make a few suggestions…
The bard of South London is on the Main Stage on Sunday between The Maccabees and Kendrick Lamar. No pressure then… But he’s sure to rise to it, and has the songs from last year’s ‘Carry On The Grudge’ to help him out. Not to mention the voices of 40,000 fans singing his songs back at him.
The nostalgic reunion shows are done and dusted. This summer’s marks the next chapter for the regal-coated four-piece, who should have a new music to play by the time they top the bill at Reading and Leeds this summer, if the rumours are to be believed. They reunited in 2010 to play before Arcade Fire on the Main Stage in 2010. This time, they’re the main draw as they set out to prove themselves as magical a jangly indie force in 2015 as they were in the mid-00s.
Over here, they’re virtual unknowns, but in the US, Tupelo-born brothers Swae Lee and Slim Jimmy are a big deal, having snared an all-star cast of hip-hop A-list collaborators (Nicki Minaj, Big Sean, Mike WiLL Made-It) for their impressive recent debut, ‘SremmLife’. It’s likely their massive trap rumbles and vervey flow will have caught fire in the UK by August, so factor them into your plans now.
At Reading and Leeds in 2014, the Brighton duo proved too big for the NME/Radio 1 Stage – there were thousands packed into the giant tent, and almost as many outside wishing they’d got there earlier. This year, they’ve rightly been bumped up to the Main Stage in what will surely be a defining set of the festival and a perfect way to cap off a remarkable couple of years for the band before they presumably disappear to start work on album number two. Bring Me The Horizon and Metallica are likely to have a job on their bands following this.
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Last year’s Dance Tent was packed from morning till night, so it’s no surprise to see more huge names from the world of electronica on the bill at Reading and Leeds 2015. Cream of the crop is Warp maestro Hudson Mohawke who, having served as Kanye’s right hand man on ‘Yeezus’, made a return to solo life on 2014’s ‘Chimes’ EP, with a full-length slated for spring. If it’s as packed with mind-mangling keyboard effervescence and huge quaking beats as we’re anticipating, this should be one of the sets of the weekend.
It’s all change for Alt-J since they last played Reading and Leeds in 2013. Firstly , they were a four-piece, and they only had the one album. Now, they’re without Gwil Sainsbury, but they do have a No 1 album under their belt, not to mention a sold-out show at London’s O2 earlier this year. It’s no surprise to see them so high up the Main Stage bill, directly before Mumford and Sons. Playing as the sun sets, this is going to be some spectacle.
There’s a reason newly reunited Chicago emo pioneers American Football continue to be revered 16 years after their sole album to date. Gently mathy heart-warmers like ‘Never Meant’ are still as “awwww!”-inducing as they were then, and should provide Reading and Leeds with some serious sentimental sing-along moments.
Catfish and the Bottlemen
In the same way Royal Blood had the NME/Radio 1 Stage bursting at the seams last year, this year’s most-likely candidates to do the same in 2015 are North Wales’ Catfish and the Bottlemen. Frontman Van McCann has claimed in interviews he’s got the first three Catfish albums ready to go – maybe they’ll slip a few new songs into the set this summer?
There won’t be many bands on the lineup louder than Sweden’s premiere political firebrands, whose ‘The Shape of Punk To Come’, released 17 years ago, still packs the progressive punch it did on release. Expect ‘New Noise’ to bring about the wildest mosh of the weekend and who knows, now we’re into the third year of their reunion, maybe even a new song or two…
Ho99o9, pronounced Horror, are Eaddy and The OGM, punk rappers from New Jersey, and played a series of riotous shows in the States last year. Now they’ve got the UK in their sights, and make their debut at the Great Escape in May. By the time August comes around, they’re going to be one of the hottest live bands out there.
Mumford & Sons
The banjos are out on new third album ‘Wilder Mind’, but the rousing choruses are still there. Guaranteed to prove a few doubters wrong and win a load more fans, this headlining slot is a big deal for the band who drew some criticism when they topped the bill at Glastonbury a couple of years ago. “Reading and Leeds are rock festivals,” said the band’s Ben Lovett in a recent NME cover story. “And that’s exactly why we want to headline them.”
Tyler, The Creator
This month’s ‘Cherry Bomb’ saw Tyler building on the NERD hip-hop and surprising introspection of his last full-length, ‘Wolf’. The Californian prankster’s a massive draw with young rap fans, of whom there’s always plenty of at Reading and Leeds so his set should be a riot.
Have you heard that new EE single? A huge, bouncy pendulum swing away from their mathy sonics of old, the Manchester band look set to re-emerge in 2015 as Radio 1-bait art-pop big-hitters, if the brilliant ‘Distant Past’ is anything to go by. A triumphant Reading and Leeds performance come be their tipping point into the mainstream.
When Limp Bizkit last played Reading and Leeds in 2010, they were on the Main Stage in the middle of the afternoon, and drew some of the biggest sets of the weekend as they celebrated the 10th anniversary of breakout album ‘Chocolate Starfish And The Hotdog Flavoured Water’. This summer, they’re celebrating again – 20 years since they formed – but on the much smaller NME/Radio 1 stage. Their tunes are just as big.
2013’s warped street rap odyssey ‘Trap Lord’ proved Harlem’s Ferg has the laconic flow and way around a sinister, chrome beat to match, if not outstrip, the success of his A$AP Mob cohort Rocky. No better time than in front of a bouncing crowd at Reading and Leeds to deliver on that promise.