Mike Shinoda weighs in on Kendrick Lamar’s Reading & Leeds booking: ‘He’s a unicorn’

The Linkin Park member will make his first appearances at the 2018 edition of the twin festivals since the death of Chester Bennington

Mike Shinoda has given his thoughts on Kendrick Lamar‘s booking to headline Reading & Leeds 2018.

The rapper will top the bill at Reading on Saturday (August 25) and Leeds on Sunday. He previously appeared on the Main Stage at the twin festivals in 2015.

Speaking to the Guardian ahead of the weekend, Shinoda commented on the reaction to Lamar’s booking. “If I saw him on, like, a Hellfest bill or something that might be a little weird,” he said. “But Kendrick is a unicorn. He’s not your typical rap artist. Every time I’ve seen him live it’s different – it’s poetry, it’s jazz, it’s rock, it’s rap. It’s everything.”


This weekend will mark Shinoda’s first solo appearances at the festivals, which he has played at many times with his band, Linkin Park. Recalling the first time he visited Reading & Leeds he said: “I remember the show pretty distinctly because it was the most rugged-looking fest I’d ever seen.

“Back then, being from the States, I thought music festivals were all like Lollapalooza – you go for the day, and then you go home. This was totally different, real down and dirty. There were tents everywhere, everything’s muddy, and the fans were just filthy and stinky and having the best time.”

Meanwhile, the star recently discussed which Linkin Park songs he finds hardest to perform since frontman Chester Bennington’s death. Speaking to NME, he said: “We didn’t play ‘Breaking the Habit’ at the tribute show because topically, that’s just way too hard. For me, on the solo shows, there’s probably a few songs I could play myself but I don’t want to at this point, I don’t want to do it.”

He continued: “I can sing ‘Nobody Can Save Me’ and ‘Battle Symphony’ from the new Linkin Park record and I can sing them because I wrote them with my friend John Green. I sang the demos and they were written in a way that I can sing.


“I can sing those pretty well but lyrically, they’re a little too hard. I just know that in the long run, if I put that in the set, it’s only going to be a show or two before I’m like, ‘I don’t want to sing those words.’ It’s a work in progress and it’s also knowing myself as I go.”

On the one-year anniversary of Bennington’s death, his bandmates led tributes to him, saying they were “eternally grateful” to have worked with the singer.