Kendrick Lamar compares Reading to Compton
The Cribs’ Ryan Jarman smashed his guitar, Jamie T played his final show of the year and Kendrick Lamar compared Reading to Compton. The final day at the festival was action packed.
Leeds-based musician Robert Harvey opened the day on the Radio One Dance Stage with his new band The Six, which also features former Delphic member Richard Boardman. Harvey, better known for his time in The Music and his Mike Skinner collaboration The D.O.T. played bass and danced around the stage as his new house-pop act made their debut. Their short set included new single ‘(Don’t Go) Running’, ‘Gold Rush’ and ‘Unfinished Sympathy’.
On the Main Stage, Against Me! played a set which leaned heavy on their 2014 album ‘Transgender Dysphoria Blues’ on the Main Stage. The Florida punk band performed six songs from the record including the title track, ‘Unconditional Love’, ‘FuckMyLife666’, ‘True Trans Soul Rebel’, ‘Dead Friend’ and ‘Black Me Out’.
Singer Laura Jane Grace, who was wearing a t-shirt sporting the slogan ‘Gender Is Over’ in reference to her own decision to become a woman in 2012, said very little as the band powered through a 13 song set which also included ‘Pints of Guinness Make You Strong’ and ‘White People For Peace’.
She did explain the band’s political stance ahead of ‘Transgender Dysphoria Blues’ at one point though declaring: “For those that don’t know of us let us tell you what we stand for, we stand against racism, homophobia and misogyny but we stand for freedom of expression. We welcome that.” Against Me closed their performance with ‘I Was A Teenage Anarchist.’
The Cribs played their highest billing in eight reading performances on the Main Stage, with guitarist Ryan Jarman finishing the set by smashing up his guitar and throwing it into the crowd as bassist Gary Jarman played an impromptu drum solo. Earlier in the set the band revved the crowd up to start mosh pits while playing a selection of hits from across their back catalogue including ‘I’m A Realist’, ‘Mirror Kissers’ and ‘Come On Be A No-One’. The set ended with recent album track ‘Pink Snow’ with the hefty crowd dancing to the climax.
The Maccabees brought their Number One album ‘Marks To Prove It’ to The Main Stage at 5.10, with a set including the title track, ‘Spit It Out’, ‘Something Like Happiness’ and ‘Kamakura’, which guitarist Felix White dedicated to “anyone who bought the album”. The band also played old favourites ‘Can You Give It’, ‘Precious Time’ and old favourite ‘Latchmere’. Ahead and of the latter, singer Orlando Weeks told the crowd: “I’m getting into the spirit of Reading. We’ve been coming up the stages over the years and we’ve always played ‘Latchmere’ so we thought it’d be wrong not to play it again.”
Rounding off with ‘Given To The Wild’ favourite ‘Pelican’, Weeks added: “It’s a shame it’s gone so quick. We were only just getting started. Everyone get on everyone’s shoulders for this last one.”
Jamie xx performed a well-received DJ set in the NME/Radio 1 tent, mixing vinyl in front of a huge glitter ball. His performance included tracks from his recent album ‘In Colour’ including ‘Gosh’ and ‘I Know There’s Gonna Be (Good Times)’ as he spun the turntables cloaked in blue light and flashing strobes. He also played a series old skool ‘90s dance music.
At the same time, another Jamie – Jamie T – opened his Main Stage set with ‘Operation’, the reggae-tinged ‘Don’t You Find’ and ‘British Intelligence’. After, he stopped to survey the audience. “We’ve done a lot of festivals and one thing I will tell you, there is always at least one inflatable penis in the crowd, and there is is, ladies and gentlemen,” he said, pointing at a big, blow-up phallous. ‘Salvador’ followed, after which he announced he won’t be playing any further dates in 2015. “This is our last show of the year and I’m fucking glad to be doing it,” he said. “There’s a lot of young people in the crowd, which is good.” ‘Back In The Game’ and ‘Man’s Machine’ followed, the latter seeing many of the crowd on shoulders, singing along with arms aloft.
‘Calm Down Dearest’ was introduced as “a song we don’t play often but I enjoy playing it.’ T played it solo, and dedicated to his band for “playing with me all year and putting up with all my shit.” ‘Sheila’ was greeted by a huge roar from the crowd – and a certain amount of hurled beer cups – and T prowled around in the pit during the first chorus. A sped-up ‘If You Got The Money’ even saw a circle pit open up.” “It means the world for all of you to come out and see me play,” said T before ‘Sticks & Stones’ and a frantic version of recent hit ‘Zombie’ to close.
Over on the Radio 1 Xtra Stage, a huge throng was spilling out of the tent as Stormzy made his debut at Reading. Whipping up a huge mosh pit during his set, the rapper, backed by DJ Tiny, performed both his singles ‘Not That Deep’ and ‘Know Me From’, both of which saw the crowd rapping along to every word. In between chants of ‘Stormzy! Stormzy!” he also performed his freestyle ‘Shut Up’ which saw him MC rap over grime producer XTC’s instrumental ‘Functions On The Low’.
Years And Years filled the NME/Radio 1 tent as they brought debut album ‘Communion’ to the festival. The electro-pop band played all three of their hit singles ‘Desire’, ‘Shine’ and their chart topper ‘King’ during their nine song set, which saw the crowd singing every word to each track. Singer Olly Alexander made a similar comment about wanting to play Reading And Leeds ever since he “finished his GCSEs”, as he did at Leeds on Friday. His band also played ‘Take Shelter’ and ‘Real’ as they wrapped up a successful summer.
“I go by the name of Kendrick fucking Lamar,” said the rapper as people ran, gazelle-like across the field to one of the weekend’s most hotly anticipated sets. Opening with ‘Money Tree’, Lamar told the crowd “we’ve got a long way to go,” before bouncing his way through Backstreet Freestyle’. He paused after as the crowd chanted his name to the tune of ‘Seven Nation Army’, just as happened in Leeds on Friday, and by this point the audience had swollen to a size equal to that of Friday and Saturday headliners Mumford & Sons and Metallica. “I see a lot of people who’ve been around with me since day one,” he said, by way of approval.
‘Swimming Pools (Drank)’ and a version of ASAP Rocky’s ‘Fuckin’ Problems’ intensified the crowd’s enthusiasm, as did ‘Bitch, Don’t Kill My Vibe’, before which Lamar said he was checking the energy from each side of the audience to “make sure nobody goes home with their vibe killed”.
As night fell, the music took a darker turn, and ‘mAAd City’ saw Lamar bathed in red light as his guitarist took a solo. Later, ‘Sing About Me, I’m Dying Of Thirst’ saw many of the crowd holding lighters aloft. “One thing I Love about being out here, it kinda reminds me of Compton,” Lamar said surprisingly after ‘I’. “As I look here it’s some of the most live, live, live individuals.”
‘King Kunta’ closed the set, after which Lamar returned for an unscheduled encore of ‘ADHD’, from his 2011 project ‘Section .80’. “My name is Kendrick Lamar. I love y’all. I’ll be back,” he told the crowd.
The Libertines brought the show to a close for the year.