Reading Festival is in full swing, with the first day of the event featuring performances from Queens Of The Stone Age, Metronomy, Jamie T, and Gerard Way.
Arriving onstage as green lasers shot out out from the Main Stage alongside circular lights onstage which counted the band in from 20 seconds, Josh Homme’s band kicked off their set with ‘You Think I Ain’t Worth A Dollar, But I Feel Like A Millionaire’ from their 2002 album ‘Songs For The Deaf’ before veering into fan favourite and hit single ‘No One Knows’ from the same LP.
Despite being up against QOTSA over on the Main Stage, The Courteeners’ headline slot on the NME/BBC Radio 1 Stage drew a large crowd. They opened with ‘How Good It Was’ from recent album ‘Concrete Love’, followed later by older tracks ‘Cavorting’, ‘Not Nineteen Forever’ and ‘What Took You So Long?’, with frontman Liam Fray letting the crowd take the lead to sing along on their 2007 single ‘Acrylic’. “Enjoy the rest of the your evenings,” he said, leaving the stage to even louder cheers.
Metronomy arrived for their set in the NME/BBC Radio 1 tent to a stage decked out like the cover of this year’s album ‘Love Letters’, kicking off with the album’s title track. “Hello Reading festival 2014,” frontman Joe Mount said after the first song. “Thank you for having us, we’re very pleased to be here.” He then switched between keyboards and guitar, letting bassist Olugbenga Adelekan take some of the strain as frontman, geeing up the crowd and asking them to clap along. Later in the set, there was synchronised dancing from the rest of the band, giving the set the feel of an old revue show. ‘She Wants’ and ‘The Look’, from 2011’s ‘The English Riviera’ were highlights, with the five-piece coming together as the set closed to take a final bow.
Palma Violets kicked off their headline set on the Festival Republic stage just before 9.30pm, drawing a capacity audience, with the band playing tracks from debut album ‘180’ alongside three new songs. During their set they paid tribute to Jamie T, who in his set earlier in the evening had said done the same for them. The band ended the gig by jumping into the crowd to huge cheers from fans.
SBTRKT, aka London dubstep producer Aaron Jerome, was joined for his 7.50pm set in the NME/BBC Radio 1 tent by Vampire Weekend’s Ezra Koenig, who had just finished his own band’s set on the Main Stage. The pair performed ‘New Dorp. New York’, his and SBTRKT’s new collaborative single. There were also several appearances from SBTRKT’s long-time colleague, singer Sampha, who performed ‘Trials Of The Past’ from SBTRKT’s 2011 debut album as well as ‘Temporary View’, a taster of forthcoming album ‘Wonder Where We Land’, which is due for release on September 22.
Jamie T made his festival comeback by playing a surprise show on the Festival Republic stage, which he announced via Twitter earlier in the morning. Fans were already climbing onto each other’s shoulders as he took to the stage shortly after 7.30pm, launching straight into opener ‘The Man’s Machine’ from his 2009 second album ‘Kings And Queens’.
“Are you ready! It’s good to see you all,” he yelled before ‘Don’t You Find’ – the first track to be revealed from his forthcoming comeback album ‘Carry On The Grudge’, to which fans were already singing along. “It’s nice to be back. I’ve been away for a really long time so it’s nice to be here,” he said. ‘Panic Prevention’ favourites ‘Salvador’ and ‘Sheila’ were set highlights, along with finale ‘Sticks ‘N’ Stones’. Read the full report here.
Wrapping up their 2013 tour for the album ‘Vampires Of The City’, the four-piece performed five tracks off the record including singles ‘Diane Young’ and ‘Unbelievers’.
They also played a host of hits from their three albums including early hit ‘Cape Cod Kwassa Kwassa’ which saw singer Ezra Koenig make his early introductions, when he asked the crowd: “What’s up Reading? We are Vampire Weekend and it’s good to see you. You guys have a good summer?”
They went on to play ‘A-Punk’ and ‘Oxford Comma’, both of which were greeted with huge cheers, followed by ‘Holiday’, ‘White Sky’, ‘Cousins’ and ‘Giving Up The Gun’ from their 2010 album ‘Contra’. Wrapping up their set with ‘Walcott’, Koenig signed off by saying: “Thank you very much Reading. We’ve come to the end, this is our last song. Have an amazing weekend.”
Kicking off with ‘Keep It Healthy’ from their second, self-titled LP which was released in January, they then launched straight into ‘Bees’ from their 2010 debut album ‘The Fool’. The LA quartet continued with a set which spanned their career – with highlights including an uptempo rendition of ‘Undertow’ complete with crashing crescendo, ‘Love is To Die’ and a finale of ‘Elephant’.
Before them Kettering psychedelic four-piece Temples played their second Reading Festival, having graduated from their slot on the Festival Republic stage last year.
The set drew from their debut album ‘Sun Structures’, released in February this year, with highlights including ‘Keep In The Dark’, the reverb-soaked ‘Colours Of Light’ and the psychedelic of ‘A Question Isn’t Answered’. They wrapped up with ‘Mesmerise’ before finishing the show with ‘Shelter Song’.
Brody Dalle played to a full Lock Up Stage tent, coming onstage at 6.15pm to perform a host of tracks from her debut solo album, ‘Diploid Love’, which was released earlier this year. “I’d like to dedicate this song to Romy,” she said, referencing The xx’s Romy Madley Croft who was in the audience, before Distillers track ‘Die On A Rope’. It was one of two tracks from her old band she performed along with ‘Coral Fang’.
“This is a love song”, she said introducing ‘Meet The Foetus/Oh The Joy’, which was followed by ‘Rat Race’, ‘Underworld’ and ‘Don’t Mess With Me’.
Fat White Family played to a packed Festival Republic tent that got progressively more rowdy as it went on this afternoon.
Mostly shirtless, the band ripped through ‘Cream Of The Young’, ‘Garden Of The Young’ and ‘Touch The Leather’ from their debut album ‘Champagne Holocaust’ along with ‘It’s Raining In Your Mouth’. The London band wanted to play more but the plug was pulled on their set with one song left to go. “This guy won’t let us play,” said guitarist Saul Adamczewski, throwing down his guitar and storming off. The others took their bow and left, still giving the stage manager the V sign, to cheers from the crowd.
Back on the Festival Republic stage, Chicago’s The Orwells sparked a massive moshpit from the off with a set drawn from their album ‘Disgraceland’. Mario Cuomo dedicated final song of the set to the NME. “It’s called ‘Who Needs You’,” he said. “Because who needs the fucking NME?”
Drenge dressed in summer mini dresses for their afternoon set on the NME/Radio 1 stage. After a few moments’ technical difficulties as the duo’s Eoin Loveless got to grips with a misfiring guitar, the Castleton brothers launched into regular set-opener ‘Gun Crazy’. More tracks from their debut album ‘Bloodsports’ followed, with Eoin flinging himself to the floor for a guitar solo during the title track. ‘Fuckabout’, saw a mass audience singalong, while new tracks ‘Favourite Son’ and ‘The Snake’ also made an appearance before they signed off with an elongated thrash to ‘Let’s Pretend’.
Earlier in the afternoon, Slaves played a short, brutal set on the Lock Up Stage. Coming on at 2.10pm, Isaac Holman and Laurie Vincent played a half hour long set, featuring single ‘Where’s Your Car Debbie?’, as well as the 10-second long ‘Girl Fight’, which boasted a spoken word introduction by Holman.
Later in the set, the crowd started a huge circle pit which they skipped around in during songs. “Open it up,” yelled Holman during ‘White Knuckle Ride’. The band finished with Holman crowdsurfing through the tent yelling “You’re beautiful” at the audience.
Over on the NME/BBC Radio 1 Stage, Twin Atlantic pulled in a huge crowd for their mid-afternoon set sparking mass sing-a-longs as they performed tracks from their new album ‘Great Divide’, which was released earlier this week.
The Glaswegian four-piece kicked off their set with ‘I Am An Animal’ before following it up with ‘Fall Into The Party’ after frontman Sam McTrusty arrived onstage and declared: “Reading, how the fuck are you?”
Later he strapped on an acoustic guitar for ‘Crash Land’ before following it up with ‘Make A Beast Of Myself’. They finished with recent single ‘Heart And Soul’.
Over on the Dance Stage, Alunageorge got the party started with several hits from their 2013 debut ‘Body Music’ including ‘Attracting Flies’, ‘You Know You Like It’ and their cover of Montell Jordan’s ‘This Is How We Do It’. The band also debuted new single ‘Supernatural’ to a packed tent. But the highlight was their version of Disclosure‘s ‘White Noise’, which saw the crowd singing and pogoing along to the Number Two hit.
St Albans hardcore band Enter Shikari delivered impassioned speeches about politics and the state of the nation as they took to the Main Stage earlier this afternoon. Midway through their set, frontman Rou Reynolds told the crowd: “We’re going to play a new song now. It’s about the best thing about this country. Not fish and chips, not a cup of tea. They’re up there.”
He continued: “No matter who you are, man, woman or child, rich or poor, we all have access to free healthcare. This year our NHS is 66 years old. Make some noise for the NHS. David Cameron and his cronies are slowly, slyly privatising it, selling it off so they can make a profit off our health. We cannot let this happen. The NHS should stay free.”
Earlier in the set, Reynolds had spoken out about discrimination, saying: “We’re going to play a song which I think is the first song we wrote as a band over 10 years ago. We’ve been a band for over 10 years, what the fuck? Wherever we’ve gone, more and more people are beginning to stand up for the right things.” He then listed racism, homophobia, misogyny and sexism, and the “slimy 1 per cent that owns 50 per cent of this world’s money” as things to rail against before playing ‘Sorry You’re Not A Winner’.
During the track, Reynolds asked the crowd to form human pyramids, to which sections of the audience responded to by climbing on each other’s shoulders. The band later finished their set with ‘Stand Your Ground: This Is Ancient Land’.
Darlia frontman Nathan Day smashed his guitar at the end of the Blackpool band’s afternoon set on the Festival Republic stage. Walking on stage to fans chanting the band’s name, the three-piece stormed through their six song show, with the audience continuing to chant “Darlia” after every song.
Half way through the performance, the band showcased a new track called ‘I’ve Never Been To Ohio’. Former single ‘Candyman’ was also aired, along with ‘The Stars Are Aligned’, which Day performed on his knees as the arm of his mic stand dropped to the floor. Finale ‘Queen Of Hearts’ saw Day take off his guitar, smash it into his amp before launching it onto the floor.
The duo also played a series of tracks and singles from their back catalogue including ‘Speech Coma’ and ‘The Perfect Mess’ from their recent self-titled fourth album, alongside old favourites ‘I Wish I Was Someone Better’, and ‘Don’t Ask’ and ‘Light It Up’, which singer Laura-Mary Carter dedicated to “all the ladies here”.
Emerging Philadelphian group The Districts made their Reading debut on the Festival Republic Stage just before 2pm. The quartet played tracks from their debut album ‘Telephone’, including ‘Rocking Chair’. Frontman Rob Grote announced to the crowd: “Mark’s bleeding,” referring to a minor injury sustained by guitarist Mark Larson.
The band – who are set to release a new EP later this year featuring live versions recorded in session for the BBC – then played ‘Long Distance’, which featured on their first UK release, ‘The Districts’ EP. A set of Americana-tinged blues-rock followed, before being brought to a close with the anthemic ‘Layla’.
South London poet-cum-rapper Kate Tempest beamed through a 40-minute slot on the Alternative tent at 1.30pm. “It’s lovely to be here, I’m so excited!” she told the crowd before a set which drew exclusively from her debut album, ‘Everybody Down’.
Accompanied by two sets of drum pads, synths and a backing singer, she reeled off tracks such as ‘Lonely Daze’, ‘Circles’ and ‘Marshall Law’ and broke off into a cappella slam poetry that morphed into ‘Chicken’. At one point she delivered a lengthy monologue on how people told her that her ambitions were a “ridiculous pursuit”, but she encouraged the crowd to follow their dreams. “I hope you see some music that changes your life this weekend,” she hollered.
Earlier in the day, Milton Keynes rap-metal act Hacktivist opened the Main Stage with a politically engaged set. Railing against the situation in Gaza, they yelled, “Fuck you injustice!” before ‘Elevate’, where the band were joined by Enter Shikari frontman Rou Reynolds. They hurtled through new single ‘False Idols’, tasters from their forthcoming album and crowd-favourite set-closer ‘Cold Shoulders’. “Thank you for turning up so early,” said rapper Ben Marvin, “It means so fucking much to us.”
The set, which followed a warm-up gig in Portsmouth earlier this week, saw the singer showcase eight tracks from his forthcoming debut album ‘Hesitant Alien’.
Kicking off his Britpop-indebted set with ‘Bureau’, he went on to perform recent single ‘Action Cat’ and ‘Zero Zero’. Greeting fans for the first time since his former band headlined the Reading and Leeds Festivals in 2011, Way said: “It is amazing to be back here. There are so many of you here. I fucking love you.” New album tracks ‘Millions’, ‘Juarez’ and ‘Drugstore Perfume’ followed before he closed the set with a cover of The Jesus And Mary Chain’s ‘Snakedriver’. Read the full report here.
Later on in the day, Eagulls frontman George Mitchell explained the band’s late start on the Lock Up stage saying simply: “Things broke and now they’re fixed. Let’s play.” Opening with ‘Tough Luck’, the five piece new wave band – who are currently writing their second album – drew from their self-titled debut for the half hour long set with tracks including ‘Yellow Eyes’, ‘Nerve Endings’ and ‘Coffin’ before a finale of ‘Possessed’.
Follow all the action as it happens throughout the weekend on NME.com.