LIVE: Reading Festival 2017 – Friday

By Penny Bennett

A cursory glance at the Reading and Leeds line up for this all confirmed what many have been saying for years – this is not the rock lead festival we once all knew. Musically diverse is one way of putting it but actually the Bank Holiday weekender – an institution in its own right – still boasts an array of acts to tempt even the most stoic festival goer.

The Punktastic team headed up to the Richfield Avenue site to check it out.

Words: Christopher Lee, Becky Mount / Photos: Olly Hanks

Puppy take to The Pit stage and whilst their set is short but sweet, they remind us why we all fell in love with them in the first place. Everything about them is effortless, and that melodic grunge they’re painfully good at goes down a treat. That said, Friday’s performance left us chomping at the bit for their next release and upcoming October tour (as if that’s a bad thing). [BM]

Bristol post punk outfit Idles continue to impress at every available opportunity. Having played a number of UK Festivals already over the summer including Download and Latitude they arrive at the Festival Republic stage in great spirits and begin to impart their infectious tones on a somewhat unsuspecting crowd. But as with every other crowd the guys have played to of late it doesn’t take long until everyone is singing along. Tracks such as ‘Mother’ & ‘1049 Gotho’ spark up a few mosh pits here and there and it’s easy to see on this performance just why they’ve recently been booked as support for both Foo Fighters and The Prodigy. These guys are definitely headed in the right direction and festival performances like this will see their fan base grow even larger. [CL]

WSTR follow suit, and with an army of fans to boot, it’s very apparent that there’s always room for pop punk. They play a blinding set, punctuated even more so by a dedicated crowd, a reminder that The Pit/Lock Up stage is the glue keeping Reading together as far as the rock crowds go, and for that we’re grateful. Bands like WSTR bring an undeniable sense of fun to Friday’s line up and it just goes to show, pop punk isn’t dead.  [BM]

When Counterfeit come to town chaos usually ensues, and the band’s first ever Reading Festival was certainly no different. Their live sets are a powerhouse of energy and if anything, the guys seem to step it up a notch as they nearly tear The Lock Up Stage apart from the inside. Screaming fans, multiple mosh pits and the band spending as much time in the crowd as do on the stage ensure that every single person who has made it in to check them out leaves knowing just what Counterfeit are all about. Blistering riffs, tight drums and a ferocious energy are what set them apart from the pack. As far as festival debuts go, this is how it’s done! [CL]

Arizona rockers Jimmy Eat World return to the Reading Main Stage to an army of adoring fans and instantly set about taking them back to their teenage youth. Playing a brief but career spanning set Adkins & co remind us all just why they’re adored so much. The guys sound just as good as they did all those years ago and iconic tracks like ‘Bleed American’ & ‘Sweetness’ have the crowd singing along at the top of their lungs in the blazing sunshine during what is undoubtedly a highlight of the weekend. [CL]

We’re back at the pit and swooning hard for Tigers Jaw. Brianna Collins and Ben Walsh are nothing short of mesmerising; with tracks from this years release spin falling into step beautifully with older, stalwart favourites. Whilst the past couple of years may have been tough, their performance just goes to show they are – in the nicest possible way – a force to be reckoned with and frankly there’s no stopping them, thank God.  [BM]

You can throw terms like “meteoric rise” around as much as you want, but in the case of Boston Manor? Well, that really is the case. It’s almost hard to believe it’s been just short of a year since their debut, with a packed out tent and a relentless set featuring the likes of Shade and Laika. There’s a real frenzy for their set and is there any wonder? They have a remarkable talent that shines brighter and brighter with every performance, and Friday is no exception. [BM]

If you looked closely around the festival site you’d have seen the small and subtle posters that simply stated ‘Villains, NME Stage, 9:20pm’ any Queens of the Stone Age fan will of course instantly have grasped the fact that ‘Villains’ is the title of the band’s latest album due out on the same day. So of course Josh Homme and the rest of the band took it upon themselves to not only play Leeds Festival in the morning but to then travel to Reading via helicopter and provide the biggest and best secret set since Green Day in 2012.  Playing to an overflowing NME stage the Californian band blow everyone away with seven tracks of greatness which quite simply could never be enough but we’ll just have to make do until the band return in November on their headline tour. [CL]

The past couple of years haven’t exactly been easy for Billy Talent, with drummer Aaron Solowoniuk having to take a hiatus due to an MS relapse. But you know what? For any trouble they’ve been up against, it’s been 24 years, they’re onto album number five and showing The Pit just how a headline slot should be. Yes, there are the hits – let’s not pretend we’re not suckers for Try Honesty – but their set is rich and varied, tailored for fans but nonetheless enjoyable for fair weather bystanders. Energetic is an understatement but would you expect anything let from frontman Kowalewicz? Their showmanship is admirable yet genuine, a band built on hard graft and fine tuning their craft. There’s a reason they’re still around, after all this time, sounding bigger than ever and with that same old swagger. [BM]