Recovered yet? Nope, us neither. Reading and Leeds Festival has shut its gates for another year, after three wild, wearying days of live music and partying. But which band stole the show? We asked NME readers who voted Nero as the 20th best act of the weekend. Their ribcage-quaking bass music was one of the dance highlights of the festival, drawing a massive crowd in the NME/Radio 1 tent.
SBTRKT went one better though, according to NME readers. The Bristol producer’s NME/Radio 1 stage set featured a guest spot by Vampire Weekend mainman Ezra Koenig on ‘New Dorp, New York’ during a set showcasing new album cuts alongside hits like Little Dragon collaboration ‘Wildfire’ and the mighty, Sampha-starring ‘Hold On’.
Straight in at number 18 is Gerard Way, who kicked off the weekend with a thundering set debuting new solo songs. You might think the fact that fans only knew two songs – three if you include a wiry closing cover of Jesus and Mary Chain’s ‘Snakedriver’ – might have dampened the buzz inside the NME/BBC Radio 1 tent. You’d be wrong – this was a triumphant Britpop-flavoured reinvention.
Danny Brown launched a raucous rap takeover of the BBC 1Xtra stage at Leeds on Friday and Reading on Sunday to win 17th place in our poll. Well deserved, we say – last year’s ‘Old’ album is a weird, wide-eyed hip-hop supernova that deserved more attention than it got.
How did Jungle fare? In Leeds, the NME/Radio 1 tent was reasonably quiet as the London duo took to the stage. In Reading however, a carnival of dancing, whooping and falsetto singalongs ensued. NME readers voted the ‘Platoon’ crew the 16th finest band of the weekend, perhaps won over by glorious renditions in Reading and Leeds of their smash ‘Busy Earnin”.
It takes more than a huge power cut derailing the Tennessee group’s set by over 20 minutes to deter Paramore fans, who lapped up Hayley Williams’ Main Stage kicks, leaps and wails. Some balked at their “co-headliner” billing. Paramore proved those doubters wrong. A well deserved no. 15 placing.
Chvrches brought their sugary electro-pop to the NME/BBC Radio 1 tent in Reading and Leeds. It’s been almost a year since the Scot trio released their brilliant ‘The Bones Of What You Believe’ debut album. Their shows at the festival capped an extraordinary 12 months, with crowds singing along to every word of Lauren Mayberry’s vocal hooks. A worthy number 14.
Call him what you will, but no one could accuse Jake Bugg of laziness. The 20-year-old troubadour played three sets across the weekend – two on Reading and Leeds’ Main Stages and one on the BBC Introducing stage at Reading. He seemed just as at home on the Main Stage in a blockbuster slot beneath Arctic Monkeys as he did on the intimate confines of the Introducing stage – undaunted.
In at number 12, Foster The People played the Main Stage at Reading and Leeds and didn’t disappoint. Taking their new ‘Supermodel’ album to the masses, they were out to prove there’s more to this band than mega smash ‘Pumped Up Kicks’. Job done.
The 11th best band of Reading and Leeds? Why, that’d be The Horrors, according to NME readers at least. The Southend-on-Sea gloomsters were in fine form as they brought new album ‘Luminous’ to life.
Vampire Weekend were always going to feature highly here, weren’t they? The last stop on the New Yorkers’ current tour, with Ezra and co expected to take a lengthy break now, their renditions of ‘Holiday’ and ‘Diane Young’ stirred the Main Stage crowd into a late-afternoon frenzy. Tara for now – don’t stay away too long.
9th place goes to Bombay Bicycle Club who wowed on the NME/BBC Radio 1 stage at both sites. Performing tracks from February’s ‘So Long, See You Tomorrow’, Jack Steadman, Jamie MacColl and band mates reinforced their reputation as one of Britain’s most reliable live acts with hit-packed sets high up the bill. Melvin Benn tips them as future headliners. No arguments here.
Reading and Leeds’ NME/Radio 1 tents were the latest stops on Metronomy‘s promo trail for new album ‘Love Letters’ this weekend. That album’s Motown-riffing indie-pop was made for loud, unhinged festival singalongs and that’s exactly what ensued when they leapt into its brilliant title track. Number 8 belongs to you, Joe Mount.
The biggest breakout band of the weekend? Royal Blood. No doubt. Packing the NME tent, their heavy bass-drums-and-wailing assault on the senses was a huge smash at both Reading and Leeds. No wonder NME readers voted them the 7th best act of the weekend.
We’re getting towards crunch time now… number 6 in our list of NME readers’ top Reading and Leeds acts are The Courteeners, whose radio-friendly lighters-in-the-air rock was a big hit on the NME/Radio 1 stage.
Top 5 time! Disclosure were the biggest dance act of the festival and, not ones to get complacent, turned in an intensely energetic display on the NME/Radio 1 stage. ‘White Noise’ remains a festival anthem, a year on from its release.
“That sexy seven-foot ginger bastard” was how Pulled Apart By Horses’ Tom Hudson described Josh Homme after Queens of the Stone Age closed Reading on Friday. A powerful, piledriving greatest hits set, the band put in one of the gruffest sets at the weekend, more than earning the rockers their high placing in our readers’ poll.
Congrats to Peace on being voted 3rd best band of Reading and Leeds. Having stepped up the dance vibes on new material, the Worcester group now have the grooves in their arsenal to wow massive festival crowds – as their sets this weekend proved.
In at number 2… it’s Palma Violets! Debuting a tonne of new material, the Londoners clearly haven’t lost any of their fizzing energy since retreating to write their next album, if this weekend’s performances are anything to go on, kicking off the next chapter in the ‘180’ crew’s career in spectacular style. Read the full story of their comeback in this week’s NME.
At number 1… who else? It’s been a rollercoaster 13 months since Arctic Monkeys began the ‘AM’ journey, opening Glastonbury with ‘Do I Wanna Know?’. With the group now planning to “leave things for a while” according to Alex Turner, this was a goodbye with a bang – a slick, career-spanning 90-minute spectacle to remember. Thanks to all that voted – see you all next year…