LIVE: Reading Festival [Friday]

By Ben Tipple

As Reading and Leeds Festival open their gates to tens of thousands of revellers at each site, the all-important weather subsides to allow a glimmer of sunshine in what has been an otherwise ferociously wet week. Tales of knee-deep mud are instantly debunked as excited fans gather at the various stages across the sites. Overdressed and filled with anticipation, we were on hand at Reading Festival to catch as much of the action as we could possibly squeeze in.

Mariachi El Bronx provide a fitting soundtrack to the newfound sun as they open the Main Stage on the first day of proceedings. More than simply a spectacle, the musical prowess of various band members to pull off both this carefree Mexican performance and a later punk set is commendable. Perhaps more importantly, it makes for a very early dancing opportunity for a lucky crowd. [BT]

Despite understandably lacking some of their usual energy (Reading and Leeds mark the end of a tough week for the Wrexham pop-punks), Neck Deep are welcomed by a gleeful crowd as they power through their predominantly upbeat material. ‘Can’t Kick Up The Roots’ is met by a particularly hearty singalong, as is set closer ‘Over & Over’. With everything undoubtedly playing on their mind, Neck Deep are surprisingly on form. [BT]

Over on the second biggest stage of the festival, Parquet Courts provide a quirky performance that delights and confounds in equal measures. Despite their off-kilter banter that demonstrates their on-stage ease, there’s little in their physical performance to draw in a crowd. Their scuzzy take on indie-punk however is a treat for the small yet perfectly formed crowd. [BT]

Battling with the Main Stage return of pop titans Panic! At The Disco, American Football are the true emo alternative. Frustratingly difficult to create the intimate atmosphere that has dominated their recent comeback performances, the band are still obviously exhilarated by the slot they have been given. Perfectly performed yet lacking in atmosphere, this is still much bigger than anything American Football could have hoped for the first time around. [BT]

Panic at the Disco

Panic! At The Disco are usually a band associated with nostalgia, but today they manage to draw a huge crowd to the main stage, and they’re looking at their absolute best. The biggest singalongs of their set come in the form of a gargantuan ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ cover and their finale and arguably biggest hit, ‘I Write Sins Not Tragedies’. Great stuff. [LMW]

Frontman Will Wagner’s distinctive vocals rattle around the side of the festival site as The Smith Street Band play to a refreshingly busy Lock Up. Performing on a stage that otherwise battles with sound issues over the weekend, the Australian folk inspired punks manage to overcome any difficulties with their powerhouse musicians. ‘Surrender’ proves a particular highlight of the weekend. [BT]

Today Don Broco are playing the NME/Radio 1 stage, and the amount of people that fill the tent is testament to how well the Bedford wonders are doing right now. Despite ‘Automatic’ only coming out two weeks ago, a ridiculous amount of people know every single word to the new songs. It’s bloody fantastic to watch how far this band have come, and long may it continue. [LMW]

Modern Life Is War have worse luck than some previous bands in sound, with frontman Jeffrey Eaton’s earnest efforts rarely translating through the PA. It’s a shame as what is heard manages the perfect blend between brutality and beauty that the band have perfected over their impressive career. [BT]

Modern Life Is War

The Bronx suffer a similar fate, although manage to pull out when the show stopping sets of the weekend. A far cry from their frivolous alter-egos that opened the Main Stage earlier, the band display an expect urgency and power that immediately whips the full tent into a frenzy. It goes to show just how good this band are at everything they put their mind to. [BT]

Limp Bizkit should probably have been on the main stage today, due to the fact that the NME/Radio 1 tent is packed to the rafters and there’s a huge overflow of people outside who can’t see anything of the band inside. Nevertheless, it’s a set filled with the usual Bizkit bangers: ‘Rollin’’, ‘Break Stuff’, ‘My Way’ etc. The only downfall of the set is the amount of faffing that goes on between songs, leaving several minutes between tracks and swiftly losing momentum in the process. Aside from that, it’s a classic LB hit-filled set, and nobody can deny the satisfaction of a mosh to ‘Break Stuff’. [LMW]

Limp Bizkit

For regrettable reasons we miss New Found Glory closing up The Lock Up Stage, and eventually retire for the evening following some unmissable partying. With Friday done, we can’t wait to see what’s in store on Saturday.