LIVE: Reading Festival 2017 – Sunday

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

Baby In Vain have been working hard, carving their own niche and digging their claws in. Joining The Lock Up on Sunday makes perfect sense, a lineup boasting some of punks current finest. But unfortunately their slot works against them – it’s too early and too hot for people to truly appreciate their snarling, old school sound. For those of us who did make it, they are rough and ready, dishevelled and chaotic, yet each song has a strangely haunting quality about it and we can’t think of a better way to kick start our Sunday. [BM]

Whilst it’s 2017 and gender shouldn’t be discussed (let alone still an issue), Sløtface are doing us all proud and making a point of making creeps alike uncomfortable, by not only supporting women’s rights to wear whatever the hell they want – “if anyone gives you unwanted attention, you have my permission to punch them in the nuts” says frontwoman Hayley Shea – especially at a festival, but also by showing the boys how it’s done. They dish out perfectly punk, garage pop and go down a storm; with a tour and debut album just around the corner, their performance at Reading is just the start of things to come for the achingly cool Norwegian four piece. [BM]

New York pop rockers Against The Current had apparently never ever played a festival until this year’s Reading & Leeds festivals. Something which did not show at all as they provided an upbeat, energetic display on the main stage perfect for anyone faltering on the last day of the festival. Perfect vocals from Chrissy Costanza are enough to brighten up any day and by the time the band leave the crowd with ‘Wasteland’ there isn’t a single person not ready to do it all over again. [CL]

Easily the most humbling and emotional performance of the weekend goes to Brighton based Metalcore band Architects. Storming the stage with a brutal performance which was as heavy as the main stage got all weekend the late Tom Searle surely will have been watching down with great pride as his fellow band members put in the performance of a life time and enjoyed every second of it if the smile on frontman Sam Carter were anything to go by. An endless stream of crowd surfers and more mosh pits than you could count were how the crowd reacted and for everyone involved both band and fans this was surely one of the highlights of what has been an incredibly difficult last twelve months. [CL]

It has been quite a summer for Culture Abuse. With a relentless touring schedule, it’s any wonder they’re still standing by the time they take to the stage on Sunday. They are everything you expect them to be; their set is gritty and raw, mesmerising and totally destructive. It is quite simply modern punk, a bare bones approach that goes down wonderfully. Ploughing through tracks from last years debut ‘Peach’, we’re already excited to see what we’ve got up their grotty sleeves next. [BM]

Jetlag be damned, because Tired Lion did not fly all the way from Australia to give a half arsed performance. Relatively unknown (and with their debut ‘Dumb Days’ not yet released), they’re surprisingly high up on the Lock Up bill. But any doubts are soon smashed to pieces, because their perfectly imperfect set is a storming lesson in punk soaked grunge, painfully en pointe but still setting them apart from those play-by-numbers grunge bands that are doing the rounds. If Tired Lion aren’t already on your radar, change that. And fast. [BM]

What can one say about Liam Gallagher that hasn’t already been said. He is undoubtedly one of the biggest rock stars the UK has ever produced with an ego to match. You either love or hate his unwavering self-confidence but when you’ve been in one of the biggest bands ever it’s probably hard not to be so confident. And his performance lived up to the reputation, sporting one of his famous parka jackets and those sunglasses his set is a 50/50 mix of Oasis songs and those from his latest solo album ‘As You Were’. It’s obviously the Oasis tracks that command the biggest responses from the crowd who are in full voice. The final song ‘Wonderwall’ seems like a truly beautiful moment as the entirety of the many thousands in the crowd sing along to the backdrop of flares throughout. Who knows, maybe one day we’ll see the brothers back on stage together but until then this is as close as we’ll get. [CL]

Ash are this incredible phenomenon; a British (Northern Irish, specifically) institution that have been going strong for 25 years now. The Festival Republic stage is impressively packed but that’s to no surprise – their set is a frantic, perfectly executed and finely tuned array of “the hits”. ‘A Life Less Ordinary’, ‘Shining Light’, ‘Burn Baby Burn’…it’s a different kind of nostalgia that we are absolutely here for and it’s a masterclass in pop hooks with grunge undertones. [BM]

Say what you like about Muse, they sure as hell know how to headline a festival. Sure, they’re verging old hat – but isn’t that the curse of most UK festival headliners these days – but they still put on an impressive show full of the best kind of cliches you’d come to expect from a Muse performance. There’s the hits, the quirky camera tricks, the borderline dangerous pyro…and yet, it still feels special and downright impressive. It’s the kind of set you want to finish a festival with – a familiar spectacle that still blows your mind, even if you could pick out the setlist with your eyes closed. That said, amid a weekend of cameos (and then some), when you get Brian Johnson out for a perfectly raucous rendition of ‘Back In Black’, you know you’ve made it. [BM]

It genuinely feels like Reading and Leeds is going through an existential crisis, the line up an unsteady mix of hidden gems, old faithfuls, questionable choices and poorly planned fan bases. But for every criticism of the somewhat messy lineup (and distinct lack of female musicians) there are some fantastic additions and familiar faces nestled in. Yes a shake up is needed, and yes whoever was in charge of clashes needs a stern talking to but for what it’s worth, there’s simply no place like Reading Festival.