Carling Weekend : Reading, Main Stage Friday

Linkin Park, Blink-182, The Darkness and more...

Linkin Park's Chester Bennington says he is so excited he wants to shit. Considering the problems he has had with his innards of late, this sounds more like a threat than a call to arms. With Linkin Park, it's all or nothing. And 50,000 fans, lighting fires and singing along to every word, welcome every single note. The stage looks great - an accident of light and graffiti spray; they run and they shout and as the dust settles it makes perfect sense. It's formulaic, of course, but it's a fine nu-metal formula that has not dated.


Drummer Travis Barker is a human ink pad. He looks amazing. Every chance it gets, the camera swings in and presents the crowd with a full-screen image of his his amazing tableau. And that's as sexy as it gets. And that's all that is needed. Blink-182's pop-punk-surf collection lifts everyone. Who cares that they have never had an original idea - as dusk gathers and the drink kicks in you wanted to be lifted.

It makes you so excited, you'll want to shit.

Placebo battle vainly but they are fighting the tide. They bring the hits but they are hits of another time. Brian Molko and pals punt their androgynous chic, but no one is concerned. The sun is going down and they thousands scratch their heads - this was cool a lifetime ago, their big brothers say. When they strike up with 'Pure Morning', Molko invests it with all the earnest loathing he still carries."GIVE ME A D" D! "GIVE ME AN ARKNESS!" ARKNESS! In fact Justin we'll pretty much give you anything you want. Your first ever Number One with next single ' Believe In A Thing Called Love', a lifetimes supply of lycra - hell the freedom of the UK.

Why? Because The Darkness proved today, with 'GETYO'HANDSOFFO'MYWOMANMOTHERFUCKKKKKKKKKKER!' and 'Growing On Me' that they're the heirs to the cartoon codpiece cock rock throne. A long standing British instituion in the line of Iron Maiden, Queen, Def Leppard. And any band who can get the crowd to sing along in falsetto has NME in the palm of their hand. Band Of The Weekend contender? Without question.

Unlike Staind. What the fuck's going on with Durst's proteges? Their frontman has been replaced by some fat squaddie - oh no hang on that's Aaron Lewis. With an acoustic guitar. B-b-but this is READING! HOME OFGROTTY ROCK! "This wasn't the plan" he garbles by way of non-explantaion. Rocking the stool like a walrus on the beach 'Outside' and 'It's Been A While' it's erm...emotional.

Pity The Datsuns. Placed on the same stage as the kings of 2-D rock, The Darkness - the wee kiwis can't even compete. They're better looking, they've probably got a better set but it's just - who cares? The play two new numbers the first nameless number is all ooompah-loompah drums and Ramones "Hey-Hey-Hey-Hey-Hey!" the second 'Girls' Best Friend' is just - pah ! Give me a D, give me an Atsuns just sounds rubbish doesn't it?

Less Than Jake are better than Finch and Bowling For Soup combined because they do a cover of A-Ha's 'Take On Me'. And we didn't even see INME 'cos our train was late. But their name contains the leters N, M and E - how could they be anything but totally amazing?

Paul/McNameeImran Ahmed

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