Nirvana covers, political speeches, orchestras – the Reading And Leeds Festivals yet again brought together tribes from across the musical spectrum over the Bank Holiday weekend (August 22-23).
Although all the Main Stage headliners at the event, which takes place simultaneously on sites in the north and south of Britain, were from the US, the acts themselves couldn’t be more varied.
Rage Against The Machine used their slot in Reading to make a strong political point, taking to the stage wearing Guantanamo Bay-style outfits and denouncing George Bush and Tony Blair from the stage.
Although they toned this down by the time they reached Leeds, the reunited agitprop rockers inspired such a reaction in the crowd that they had to briefly pause their set asking the audience to step back to avoid a crush.
The Killers, who used their performance to preview a song from their forthcoming third album, while Metallica also showcased two new songs, as they blew chunks out of the English countryside with flamethrowers and fireworks.
Elsewhere during the weekend Arctic Monkeys‘ Alex Turner and The Rascals‘ Miles Kane defined festival convention by donning suits and bringing a full orchestra to the NME/Radio 1 Stage as they performed their brought their Last Shadow Puppets side project to life.
The Cribs meanwhile recruited The Smiths legend Johnny Marr as a full bandmember during the festival, while The Ting Tings, Vampire Weekend, MGMT, Foals and Pendulum all played to giant crowds.
Bloc Party performed their first gig since the shock release of third album ‘Intimacy’ just three days beforehand (August 21), battling with council-imposed sound restrictions on the Reading Festival main stage.
Meanwhile having been so closely associated with the Reading Festival while they were a going concern, Nirvana cast a strong shadow across the weekend, as Dirty Pretty Things, Feeder and the Manic Street Preachers – who dedicated their set to missing bandmate Richey Edwards – all included covers of Kurt Cobain songs in their set.
And that’s just the start. Relive all the action from the weekend Reading And Leeds Festivals 2008. We have news, blogs, pictures and video interviews from both Reading And Leeds Festivals sites online now. Get this week’s issue of NME, out Wednesday (August 27) for the ultimate Reading and Leeds review.
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