While many gathered at the BBC Radio 1 Dance Stage to catch the surprise secret set from Bombay Bicycle Club, Yard Act pulled an impressive crowd to open the Main Stage East.
“Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome to the stage, from a recently gentrified suburb of North Leeds, the one, the only, Yard Act,” said frontman James Smith, introducing opener ‘Dead Horse’, which bled straight into ‘Dark Days’ before a set highlight and first mass sing-along of ‘Pay Day’.
Dedicating ‘Pour One Out’ to “anyone who dragged themselves out of their tent just to see what’s going on”, Smith then invited the crowd to throw their hands up for the first spectacle of “audience participation”.
Another highlight came from recent new single ‘Trench Coat Museum‘, complete with some impressive choreography courtesy of Smith and some dancers which the crowd had previously through were mannequins.
first show- Yard Act
had no clue who they were. went just to check out main stage. fuckingnincreduble. got jumpscared by fake statues. may be one of new fav bands. pic.twitter.com/s0EoQDFDp1
— snow ❄️ – reading fest (@snow_i_guess) August 25, 2023
Noting the honour of playing the southern equivalent of their native Leeds festival (“It’s basically the same, but in a car park in Reading”, Smith spoke of R&L as a “field full of people wanting to cut loose” and told the crowd to make the most of their time here with “the people they care about”.
After an emotional outing of the existential ‘100% Endurance’, Smith gave a shout-out to tonight’s headliner, calls on the crowd to “scream for Sam Fender, scream for Yard Act, scream for life”.
“Being a 33-year-old-modern man is hard fucking work,” he ended before an ecstatic closing of ‘The Overload, inviting a huge pit on the left hand side of the stage.
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