Leeds survived last night’s washout while Reading basked in glorious heat, but both legs of Britain’s premier rock festival got off to the sort of start which demonstrates exactly why bands come from so far and wide to play it. It’s not just about having fun though. Reading and Leeds Festivals are an educational experience, and here’s just some of the things NME learned on day one:
1. A$AP Rocky has the power to make men walk on water
Or at least, on crowds. Spotting a guy on someone’s shoulders halfway back in the crowd. He played ‘Peso’ to help soundtrack his unstoppable march across peoples’ shoulders. He made it all the way on to the stage, where he danced and A$AP high-fived him for his gravity-defying feat.
2. Chapel Club Brought A Baby
Drummer and new father Rich Mitchell had a baby in tow, and was more than happy to pose with her. Her name? Sisi. Which could be shortened to CC. Which just so happens to be Chapel Club’s initials.
3. Fall Out Boy Fans Have Green, Pink Or Blue Hair
No other colours are available. Not in the queue to meet the band in the NME Signing Tent at Leeds anyway.
4. Gnarwolves are neither gnarly nor wolfish
Friday’s Lock Up Stage opener at Reading are, in fact, only about two per cent as good as their name.
5. Frightened Rabbit fans are hirsute
They know what powers a good Friday afternoon Reading set, as proudly declared on the back of one air-punching fellow’s shirt: ‘Blood, Sweat & Beards.’
6. Oxygen gets you hiiiigh
The vibes in the onsite ‘Oxygen Party Bar’ at Reading look literally as much fun as breathing. Watch out for the oxygen thieves!
7. System Of A Down make everyone dance too fast
Seriously, it’s not safe. If you jiggle your brain that frantically for too long and the wind changes, you forget how to do long division
8. Aluna Francis could be the next ‘Greatest’
The AlunaGeorge singer warmed up on the side of the stage before going on for their set by shadow-boxing. She looks pretty handy, too.
9. Leeds festival is the only place in the North that can’t do gravy
Unless you like brown water, steer clear.
10. Fidlar have excellent taste in covers
Their rowdy version of Nick Cave’s ‘Red Right Hand’ lead to a glorious skatepunk meets goth mosh.
11. Wavves don’t know what country they’re in
“We’re excited to be in San Antonio,” singer Nathan Williams declared on stage. Erm… not even close.
12. It’s possible to fall asleep a metre away from a headline set
As proved by a man passed out cold right by the entrance to Spector’s none-too-quiet slot. That’s impressive.