It’s not long to go now until Reading and Leeds festival 2014. The line-up is bigger and better than ever. In fact it’s so big, you’re probably going to need a hand deciding what to go and see. Here 40 of the sets you’re simply not going to want to miss, from Peace making their main stage bow to Arctic Monkeys’ final (?) UK shows in support of the magnificent ‘AM’.
Here’s your guide the stuff you simply can’t miss at this year’s Reading and Leeds. Starting with…Queens Of The Stone Age. Josh Homme and co have had a long relationship with the festival, but this year sees them taking on a headline slot on the main stage. Kind of. Splitting the slot with Paramore, Queens are on last at Reading and second at Leeds. It’s guaranteed to be a total blast.
Coming to their end of their ‘AM’ jaunt, you might think you’ve seen everything Arctic Monkeys have got to offer. Think again. Their second Reading and Leeds headline slot – after a more floppy haired appearance in 2009 – should see Alex Turner and co at the peak of their powers. Expect Leeds in particular to be something of a particularly rowdy northern homecoming.
He’s already topped Glastonbury’s Other Stage, but opening up for Arctic Monkeys here is in many ways a bigger deal. Fingers crossed for one of those glorious sunsets of the kind that Foals were blessed with last year at Reading during one of Bugg’s ballads, and a killer festival moment is guaranteed.
With a game-changing afternoon set on the main stage, expect Peace’s set to be a crossover appearance that folk’ll be raving about for years. They killed it in the NME/Radio 1 tent last year, but then they were preaching to the converted – expect this set to see them win over new legions of fans with new and old songs.
Pulled Apart By Horses
The perfect fast-paced accompaniment to your lunch, Pulled Apart By Horses early main stage set – after the equally punkish Gnarwolves – is just the kind of thing you need to see to steel yourself for a day of some of the best music in the world. Rowdy rock with tats, beards and questionable piercings, this is the shit your parents warned you about. Get involved.
Liam Fray’s indie rockers never fail to pull in the crowds. If it’s a sunshine-smattered sing-along you’re after, this is the show you need to see. Heading up the BBC Radio 1/NME Stage, expect a packed-out tent to greet the Manchester band, and don’t worry if you can’t remember all the words to ‘Not Nineteen Forever’, because the guy next to you about to hug you will.
They’ve already headlined their first festival this summer – Field Day – and Reading and Leeds sees them relegated slightly, opening up for Courteeners’ evening closing slot. No matter, a sunset set will suit Joe Mount and company just fine. This is one to pack your dancing shoes for, especially when singles ‘Love Letters’ and ‘The Bay’ take off.
Aaron Jerome will be bring the rave ahead of the release of his second studio album, ‘Wonder Where We Land’, which comes out next month. Special guests are likely, particularly long-term collaborator Sampha. Vampire Weekend’s Ezra Koenig also features on new single ‘New Dorp, New York’, and guess which preppy Stateside act are also playing this weekend…
Want to be wafted away into a proggy land of California licks and moody guitar scenescapes? Who doesn’t during your standard festival afternoon. Providing the perfect sonic tonic inbetween all that moshing and raving, Warpaint are here to hypnotise – and maybe have a crazy hair colour battle with Harry from Peace.
Proving the psych revival didn’t stop at Kevin Parker from Tame Impala’s antipodean doorstep, Temples have been the global festival hit of the summer, drawing huge crowds everywhere from Glastonbury to Coachella. Reading and Leeds are the latest fields set to be slain with their curly mop tops and sweet swirling sounds.
The two-piece that everyone’s – still – talking about, and quite rightly, Drenge are another band that have been sharpening their teeth on the 2014 festival circuit. With gnashers sparkling, they bring their double-fisted grunge to the NME/BBC Radio 1 stage for a blistering early afternoon slice of destruction.
Making his solo debut on the hallowed Reading and Leeds ground – his first set is Friday on Reading’s main stage – the former My Chemical Romance frontman is providing the festival with an exciting world first. Expect to hear tunes from Way’s solo debut ‘Hesitant Alien’ and the sound of grown men and women weeping with joy at his return.
Bombay Bicycle Club
Lovely London lads Bombay Bicycle Club are playing the whopping great Earls Court Arena later this year, so consider this their warm-up set. They proved at Glastonbury that their fourth ‘So Long, See You Tomorrow’ was worthy of the UK’s festival fields, watch them cap another successful summer in the twin sites of Reading and Leeds.
Casually getting on with being one of the biggest new bands in America, Chvrches come back to the UK after a triumphant run of US festival dates and before a whopping autumn tour. The Scots trio look set to turn the NME/BBC Radio 1 tent into a hot, sweaty electro-indie mess. One of the band’s of the summer, their return to home shores should be spectacular.
This will be nothing less than massive. God knows how the NME/BBC Radio 1 tent will cope with the thousands of punters flooding in its direction, but we predict a similar situation to Foo Fighters in 1995, when Dave Grohl’s new band caused an almighty crush. Fortify yourself with a suit of armor made from cardboard pint pots and hurl yourself into the mega-mosh.
Reading and Leeds have booked a lot of awesome, heavy duos this year. DZ Deathrays join Drenge, Royal Blood, Slaves and Blood Red Shoes on the bill, the recent Infectious signings and former Foo Fighters touring partners preparing to thrash the site senseless with their Aussie awesomeness and new album ‘Black Rat’, which recently scored 8/10 in NME.
They’ve cancelled a run of dates this autumn for mysterious reasons, but thankfully Reading and Leeds still stands. With frontman Faris Badwan taking a belligerent approach to a number of festival crowds this summer, it’ll be interesting to see what kind of attitude he brings to this weekend.
Reading and Leeds will be the first UK festival appearance for LA rapper and Black Hippy cohort Schoolboy Q. What he might make of one of the rowdiest festival crowds of the summer remains to be seen, but we reckon he’ll receive a heroes welcome when he, very strangely, opens up for The Kooks.
Another set that already screams ‘oversubscribed’, Jungle’s early afternoon appearance on the NME/BBC Radio 1 Stage promises to be as tightly packed as Josh Homme’s jeans. Their dancefloor-centric mix of funk, electro and downright party music should provide a fitting echo of Notting Hill Carnival, which is taking place in London the same weekend.
One of the biggest small bands here, expect the The Wytches to return in 2015, higher up the bill and playing to thousands more. In the meantime, smugly catch them opening the NME/BBC Radio 1 Stage just before lunch and then brag to your mates who were still sleeping that you’ve seen one hell of an awesome rock band.
Diplo collaborator MØ will be bringing one massive bag of party tricks to Reading and Leeds in the shape of cuts from her debut album ‘No Mythologies To Follow’. Taking on the BBC Radio 1 Dance Stage, her ponytail swinging antics are probably the most fun you can have at a festival without taking your clothes off and being invited into your crush’s two man tent.
Ahead of their ambitious 3D printed tour this autumn, Klaxons play one of their biggest UK festival shows of the summer, with a late night spot on the BBC Radio 1 Dance Stage. Latest album ‘Love Frequency’ hosts some of their most danceable tunes in years, so expect this set to be seriously sweaty.
With her hubbie Josh Homme doing his thing with QOTSA on the main stage, Brody Dalle opens up for Jimmy Eat World on the Lock Up Stage on the same day, meaning she’s likely to clash with her Mr at Leeds. Those looking for visceral punk kicks should pick Brody’s set, which will squall with her early Distillers work as well as her slicker solo offerings.
Post-punk has rarely been pulled off so well since 1986. Eagulls will provide Reading and Leeds with a gritty, rage-y outlet, perfect for screaming along to should you get dumped, lose your wallet or have beer spilt over your hoodie just as the sun’s going down.
One of the most straight-up entertaining bands on the bill, Kent’s Slaves are a must-see not just because of the unapologetic punk songs, but because of their hilarious between song banter, crowd-surfing attempts and general ‘don’t give a toss’ attitude.
Frank Turner conquered the main stage at Reading and Leeds last year with his heartfelt acoustic punk, but this year he returns as the frontman of the brutal Mongol Horde, a band he debuted here in 2012. Now with an album to their name, expect more people growling along than when they last played.
South London’s finest have been relatively quite over the summer, contentedly working on their second album. Hopefully there’ll be airing some new tracks during their headline slot on the Festival Republic Stage, which will no doubt see them receiving an amazing welcome, following last year’s triumphant set.
Band of Skulls
Also heading up the Festival Republic Stage are Southampton’s Band of Skulls. Playing in support of their third album ‘Himalayan’, which was released this spring, the trio will be warming up here for their UK tour, set to take place this November. Expect slick rock licks and graceful guitar bothering.
A whirlwind of a rapper and one of hip-hop’s most interesting new personalities, every Danny Brown show is memorable. Headlining the BBC Radio 1Xtra Stage, expect the unexpected from the Detroit native as well as some bigass beats and a furious flow.
Any friend of Chance The Rapper is a friend of ours. 21-year-old Chicago based rising R’n’B star Vic Mensa will be bringing the smooth party groves of ‘Down On My Luck’ to Reading and Leeds. Catch him now before he blows up.
Hip-hop’s brightest hope, Lizzo has been kicking up a fuss ever since the initial release of her ‘Lizzobangers’ LP last year. With her DJ Sophia Eris in tow, her punchy brand of performance is perfectly crowd-pleasing and her tunes are seriously danceable – hell, there’s even a routine to ‘Batches and Cookies’, if you’re brave enough.
One half of the iconic rap duo Clipse, Pusha T’s headline set on the BBC Radio 1Xtra Stage promises to be altogether awesome. Don’t worry about going to get a pint before he starts however – recent shows have seen him turning up waaay past stage time.
Reading and Leeds doesn’t go in for circus tents, face painting fields and healing workshops, but it has always had a soft spot for comedy. King of the music and jokes crossover is Bill Bailey, who’ll be bringing his hilarious one man band to head up the Alternative Stage.
Poet, rapper and all round wonderwoman Kate Tempest will take to the Alternative Stage. We’ve already tipped her for a nod at this year’s Mercury Music Prize with her debut hip-hop album ‘Everybody Down’. Chuck D’s a fan, which should tell you all you need to know.
Another headliner on the Alternative Stage is former ‘Never Mind The Buzzcocks’ host Simon Amstell. If the festival site promises to stay half as dry as this comedian’s wit, then we’ll be in line for a very happy weekend indeed.
A live set from the brothers Lawrence takes the headline spot on the NME/BBC Radio 1 Stage. Guy and Howard take time out from hanging out with Madonna for what’s bound to be a must-see set, with hit after hit from their global smash, ‘Settle’.
Comeback kids The Kooks played a surprise set at Glastonbury earlier this year and the huge crowd that greeted them in the John Peel Tent proved the public’s still hungry for their classic indie hits. They’ll be playing new tracks at Reading and Leeds too – but are any of them as good as ‘Naïve’? Come and find out.
So Blink-182 have headlined Reading and Leeds roughly 26 times before, but that shouldn’t stop you going to see the world’s most overgrown teenagers another time. Dumb fun is the name of the game here – it’s impossible not to have good time moshing your socks off to ‘Enema Of The State’ classics.
You can always count on The Hives to roll out an impressive festival show. In their matching outfits and with Howlin’ Pelle’s excitable, crowd-pleasing antics, this is where the West End meets punk rock. Thoroughly enjoyable.
The festival bookers have promised a surprise appearance from an ‘arena sized band’, much like how Green Day casually rocked up onstage at lunchtime in 2012 with no warning. So just who could this special guest be? Foo Fighters, Gaslight Anthem, Death From Above 1979, The Black Keys and The Libertines are just some of the possibilities…