Having teased the set throughout the week before an announcement, Pendulum took to the BBC Radio 1 Dance Stage following A.M.C ft Phantom’s early evening set after countdown appeared on video screens alongside the band’s logo. Arriving right on cue, the band started their first UK show as a full band since 2018, with 2020’s comeback single ‘Driver’.
“We are Pendulum. Surprise motherfuckers. Let’s blow this fucking roof off,” shouted the band’s Gareth McGrillen just before the track kicked in.
“It’s so fucking good to see you,” McGrillen said before ‘Propane Nightmares’, inviting the crowd to “sing this as loud as you can”. The tent then chanted the song’s bass-heavy synth like it was The White Stripes’ Seven Nation Army’.
Before a rowdy ‘Come Alive’, McGrillen told the packed tent “I love each and every one of you. My friends, my family, I want to see you jumping.” Moments later, bursts of flames from the stage made the hot tent even hotter, with ‘Blood Sugar’ and ‘Voodoo People’ cranking up the energy further. “Holy shit, you motherfuckers are crazy,” exclaimed McGrillen before asking the crowd to sit down for the drop. “Respect each other, be safe,” he continued, before the EDM anthem kicked back in.
Pendulum then performed a brand new song. Driven by a bass-heavy energy but with plenty of twists and turns along the way, the crowd reacted like it was an old favourite.
After playing a blistering run of ‘The Island’, ‘Nothing For Free’ and ‘Witchcraft’, McGrillen announced that Pendulum would be bringing out “someone very special” before introducing Enter Shikari’s Rou Reynolds. “Somebody fucking scream. Yes, yes Reading,” said Reynolds before the band started playing Enter Shikari’s 2007 breakout single ‘Sorry You’re Not A Winner’. After the now-iconic handclaps though, Reynolds shouted “it’s the remix” as Pendulum reworked the aggy rave-rock song.
“Make some god damn noise for Rou from Enter Shikari,” said McGrillen after the electrifying performance. “We’ve got time for one more song,” he continued, demanding the house lights go up. “This is your last chance, I want to see you go fucking crazy,” he said as the band launched into a punishing ‘Watercolour’.
“Reading Festival, we love you so much,” McGrillen said as Pendulum left the stage.
Hours earlier, Enter Shikari performed on Reading Festival’s Main Stage East, with Reynolds telling the crowd the band had two rules. “One, look after each other. It’s a mad world out there, full of hate, division and tribalism. Inside this festival, we have love and human connection. Rule two, dance like no one’s watching.”
Pendulum’s secret set had been teased across the weekend, with posters displaying their logo also featuring a telephone number. When called, a message said: “Ladies and gentlemen, we understand that you have come tonight to bear witness to the sound of drum and bass. We regret to announce that this is not the case. As instead we come tonight to bring you the sonic recreation of the end of the world. Reading Festival prepare to hold your colour.”
It was then officially confirmed a few hours before they took to the stage.
🚨Reading and Leeds we’re coming for you! Join us tonight Reading 7.35pm Dance Stage 🔥 pic.twitter.com/78ahhCgDlU
— Pendulum (@Pendulum) August 27, 2022
‘Untitled New Song’
‘Nothing For Free’
‘Sorry You’re Not A Winner’ (Remix, with Enter Shikari’s Rou Reynolds)
Talking to NME about not being able to tour during the COVID pandemic, Pendulum’s Rob Swire said: “Yeah, it’s odd. I’ve always found touring kind of stressful. I was actually looking forward to taking a year off at one point, then it happened and I hated it. You need that so that you can be excited to go and do it.”
Pendulum are due to appear at Leeds Festival later today (August 28).
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