Metallica, Foals, Wolf Alice and many more played
The second day of Reading Festival (August 29) saw a secret set from Foals, a headline set from Metallica and coming-of-age moments for a new generation of indie heroes.
The day began with the teenage J-pop/metal mash-up group Babymetal, who began with ‘Babymetal Death’ and performed a set full of choreographed routines. Some of the audience even managed to sing along to ‘Gimme Chocolate!!’, with its manically catchy melody.
Following them, Fidlar weren’t quite so well rehearsed – their chaotic set included favourites from their debut album including ‘Cheap Beer’, which saw the crowd kick up a huge circle pit, and ‘Cocaine’ which concluded the set. Frontman Zac Carper, who was dressed in a white t-shirt emblazoned with the slogan “wake up jerk off”, had a bit of fun with the lo-fi nature of their set. Playing against a huge backdrop with the band’s name scrawled in chalk, Carper asked the audience: “You guys like our backdrop? We made it in our backyard.” They also showcased a number of tracks from their forthcoming album ‘Too’ including ’40oz On Repeat’, ‘Drone’ and ‘Why Generation’.
Foals played a six-song secret set on the NME/BBC Radio 1 Stage which, long before they took to the stage at 1.40pm, was no longer such a well-kept secret. The Oxford group emerged bathed in red light and launched into ‘My Number’, which built to a noisy climax. After, Philippakis greeted the crowd by saying, “It’s so good to be back, thanks so much for coming out and seeing us, if you don’t know who we are, we’re Foals.” It’s safe to say that the majority crammed inside the tent knew exactly who they were. The set ended with the frontman jumping down from the stage to join his fans, who held him aloft as he screamed the final lines. With his bandmates already departed, he returned to the stage and said, “Thank you so fucking much Reading!”
Meanwhile on the Main Stage, Marmozets drew a huge audience for their set, which included a cover of Black Sabbath’s ‘Iron Man’. The Yorkshire group appealed to the crowd to show them some love before ‘Hit The Wave’. “Who likes to crowdsurf?” asked guitarist Sam Macintyre. “Let’s see some of that.”
For those Jamie T fans that can’t wait until Sunday, Ratboy was a welcome stop-gap, turning out T-like urban rock rap tales such as ‘Carry On’ and ‘Knock Knock’ in the Festival Repulic tent. Streetwise stories abounded through ‘Stick Up Kids’, with its riot scene imagery, and ‘Sportswear”s portrait of a down-and-out young father. “Go mental,” Jordan ‘Ratboy’ Cardy instructed the crowd before ‘Left 4 Dead’ – and they duly obliged, chanting “Ratboy” through the technical hitch that forced them to abandon ‘Sign On’. Instead they played new single ‘Fake ID’ to finish the show – and the crowd were still shouting for ‘Sign On’ as they left the stage.
Slaves played a rowdy set to a packed NME/Radio 1 tent, opening with ‘Are You Satisfied?’ and ‘White Knuckle Ride’, after which drummer Isaac Holman declared: “Reading, what an honour, what a privilege.” Guitarist Laurie Vincent also hailed the festival ahead of fan favourite ‘The Hunter’, saying: “We decided to start a band because we came here when we were younger, so thank you very much. This is the best festival in the world.”
As the set went on, Holman also revealed that Vincent’s goldfish Gerald died today before they played ‘Live Like An Animal’, which prompted the crowd to chant ‘Gerald, Gerald’. “He died five years too young,” Vincent noted. The band debuted a new track, ‘Facing The Wall’, before powering through ‘Where’s Your Car Debbie’?, ‘Cheer Up London’ and ‘Hey’ at the finale, which saw the pair stage dive into the crowd. At one point Holman was dragged deep into the throng. “Oi, Oi don’t be so, don’t so rough,” he shouted. Unlike previous festival performances the pair decided to omit fan favourite ‘Feed The Mantaray’ from their set.
Circa Waves had a huge audience surfing, singing and moving to tracks including ‘My Love’ and ‘Young Chasers’. The response seemed to overwhelm frontman Kieran Shuddall, who breathlessly told the crowd: “Thank you so much for watching us today. This is incredible – there’s so many of you.” He introduced ‘T-Shirt Weather’ as being “the last to chance to get on each other’s shoulders”, and many of the crowd took him up on the offer.
Wolf Alice opened their NME/Radio 1 set with ‘Fluffy’ and ‘She’ and, following ‘Your Love’s Whore’, frontwoman Ellie Rowsell told the crowd “I love you guys already, this is gonna be fun.” ‘The Wonderwhy’ was one of only a few songs from the band’s debut album ‘My Love Is Cool’ to be played during the set, with most tracks taken from the band’s early singles and EPs ‘Blush’ and ‘Creature Songs’.
Catfish and the Bottlemen packed out the NME/Radio 1 tent to capacity, and their were whole-crowd sing-alongs for a set that saw much of the group’s debut album ‘The Balcony’ get an airing. ‘Rango’, ‘Pacifier’, ‘Kathleen’ and ‘Cocoon’ generated some of the biggest reactions. Frontman Van McCann was surprisingly quiet throughout the set, limiting his usual stage chat to repeated “thank yous” and an admission that it was their “first gig back so they might be a bit rusty”. Despite this, the crowd were hugely receptive throughout, bringing headline-level applause to the band as they finished with an extended, heavy outro of ‘Tyrants’.
Charli XCX bounded onto the Dance Stage with middle finger aloft and launched straight into ‘Sucker’, its chorus of “Fuck you, sucker,” setting the tone for one of the weekend’s sweariest sets. She donned an inflatable guitar for ‘Breaking Up’, bounced up and down for ‘I Don’t Care’ and told the crowd: “This was my first ever festival when I was 16 years old and my friend got hit in the face with a frying pan, so I’m so happy to be back here.” The set also included an unnamed new song, her hit with Rita Ora, ‘Doing It’, and a version of ‘Fancy’ in which she took Iggy Azalea’s rapped verses.”You guys are badasses and I love you,” she told the crowd before a closing ‘Boom Clap’.
Manchester-based quartet Everything Everything played to a heaving crowd on the NME/BBC Radio 1 Stage as they brought songs from third album ‘Get To Heaven’ to Reading Festival. ‘Regret’ featured early in the set, alongside other tracks from earlier in the band’s career such as ‘MY KZ, UR BF’ and ‘Photoshop Handsome’. “We’ve been rushing this along a bit because we want to fit as much in,” frontman Jonathan Higgs told the crowd towards the end of their slot, before thanking them for coming to watch. The group then rounded things off with ‘Cough Cough’ and recent single ‘Distant Past’.
Northern Irish trio Ash played a set full of classic hits on the Festival Republic stage, sandwiched between Darlia and Lucy Rose. The crowd was spilling out of the tent as Tim Wheeler and his band ran through a 40 minute set, which closed on ‘Girl From Mars’ and ‘Burn Baby Burn’.
Azealia Banks’ club-friendly set of house trap bangers was a hit on the the BBC Radio 1Xtra Stage. Flanked by one male and one female dancer, the US singer and rapper donned an eye-popping outfit of red sequinned hotpants and a bikini top as she played hits from her acclaimed album ‘Broke With Expensive Taste’. Highlights included the MJ Cole produced ‘Desperado’ and the explicit, bumping rhyme of ‘BBD’, as well as showstopping finale ‘212’, which sent the party-ready crowd into a spin.
The evening concluded with a href=”https://www.nme.com/news/metallica/87942″>headline performance from Metallica.