LIVE: Reading Festival (Friday)

By Ben Tipple

Check out our photo galleries of the Friday at Reading Festival. Part 1 | Part 2

Back to Reading Festival (Introduction)

First up on our schedule, it’s former My Chemical Romance frontman Gerard Way taking to the expansive Radio 1 and NME tent. Having been marketed as his global debut, although since preceded by warm-up shows both in the US and the UK, it’s clearly quite a draw for today’s festival goers. As they pack into the tent despite having only heard two songs, Way commands the stage and crowd with ease. The new material moves away from his former outfit’s offerings, removing the melodramatic sheen that defined tracks from ‘Danger Days…’, Way’s solo material sounds a little more mature. There’s unquestionably indie influences, with the backing band acting and sounding like a glitzier version of The Strokes, with ‘Action Cat’ – the lead single – proving to be the closest to any previous material. There’s no sign of any My Chemical Romance in the mix as Way begins to cement his stance as a new artist, with plenty more to come. [BT]

From the moment Crossfaith jump onto the Main Stage at Reading Festival, they look entirely at home. Their sound is absolutely huge and the Japanese rockers have the crowd in the palm of their hands. As they plough thunderously through a heavy and atmospheric set, those in the crowd are left with little doubt that Crossfaith are going to be gracing the bigger stages again soon. [CM]

There’s a few die-hard fans littered around the Lock Up Stage as Dave Hause casually takes his place. Both his demeanour and his obvious comfort as a solo artist are a far cry from the full-band raucousness emanating from every other corner of the site. The die-hard fans lead the sing-alongs as Hause is joined by his brother on keys to add a new dimension to tracks from his recent record, ‘Devour’. Hause’s ability to tell stories is unrivalled in the singer-songwriting circles, and he successfully manages to create a sense of intimacy in an entirely distant setting. Immediately different than today’s alternatives, it goes some way to show just how mind-blowing Hause is on a smaller stage. [BT]

It came as a surprise to many when La Dispute were announced on the second largest stage at Reading Festival. Many assumed that the Lock Up stage would be more suited to the sound of La Dispute but it’s a testament to the band that they prove all of those doubters wrong. Lead vocalist, Jordan Dreyer looks assured with the extra space he has to jump around on stage, while the introduction of Touche Amore vocalist Jeremy Bolm for a cameo appearance goes down well. The set is, as expected, heavy with tracks from their latest release ‘Rooms of the House’ and as such the “hits” aren’t out, but that doesn’t detract from the fact that La Dispute sounded comfortably at home on the Radio 1/NME stage. [CM]

La Dispute

From the moment The Front Bottoms come on stage, the Lock Up tent is one huge party. If you asked the band beforehand about what sort of crowd they’d expect today, I doubt they’d have thought that they’d be playing in front of a packed out tent. And not just a packed out tent, the Lock Up stage is full with people singing the words back to the band. It’s incredible. It’s one of, if not the set of the weekend. Whether it’s the frantic singalongs to ‘Skeleton’ or the crowd chanting back the trumpet bits from ‘Maps’ there’s a sense of something special happening and as the final tones of ‘Twin Sized Mattress’ ring out, you can’t help but wonder just how far The Front Bottoms can go. [CM]

Jimmy Eat World are playing two sets today – one on the Main Stage and one later in the Lock Up. As predicated, their main stage performance is one of hits, taking in the heavy hitters like ‘Bleed American’, ‘The Middle’ and ‘Sweetness’. There’s considerable material on display from 2007’s ‘Chase This Light’ when taking the band’s relatively short set-time into account, and interestingly no tracks from ‘Clarity’ or ‘Futures’ (the reason for the latter explained later in the day). Be it the track choices or the fact that Jimmy are simply much better on a smaller stage, but something doesn’t quite sit right in the Main Stage performance. Still, witnessing a field full of thousands of people wailing back to ‘Sweetness’ is as euphoric as ever. [BT]

Having recovered from some sound issues on the Main Stage last year, Twin Atlantic prove they are worth the hype over on the Radio 1 and NME Stage. Performing to a huge crowd, the boys treat fans to tracks from both their new album and their breakthrough, ‘Free’. That record’s title track incites a huge sing-along, yet it is set closer ‘Heart and Soul’ that almost lifts the tent off the ground. The appearance of ‘Crash Land’ allows frontman Sam McTrusty to show off his vocal abilities, and there’s even a glimmer of enjoyment across his face from time to time.

Playing the Lock Up stage for the second time, Touche Amore come onto stage full of energy. You barely see frontman Jeremy Bolm stand still but things don’t quite click here. The set is as breathless as you come to expect from a Touche Amore show, but the band themselves almost look as if they’re going through the motions. The introduction of La Dispute’s Jordan Dreyer fails to incite the reaction it deserves and though their performance of ‘I’ll Get My Just Deserve’ is blistering, it doesn’t quite elevate the set to the standards expected. [CM]

Brody Dalle

Undisputedly one of, if not the, queen of punk Brody Dalle struts across the Lock Up Stage with suitable arrogance. Her set bounces between tracks from this year’s ‘Diploid Love’ solo debut, and some choice selections from The Distillers’ back-catalogue, including ‘Dismantle Me’ and ‘Die On A Rope’ from the seminal ‘Coral Fang’. Vocally, Dalle is on top form, tensing her voice and oozing passion at all the right times. Slower number ‘Dressed In Dreams’ showcases her vocal register, all the while retaining the grit that’s made Dalle one of the most distinctive icons in punk history. The newer material may lack the urgency of The Distillers tracks, but Dalle’s no-nonsense attitude and stage presence is immensely mesmerising.

It’s a testament to Jimmy Eat World that despite Paramore taking the stage about halfway through their set, the Lock Up stage stays full to the very end. From the moment they come out and announce they will be playing their incredibly fondly looked upon album ‘Futures’ in full the tent is in full on party mode. This set is special, the likes of ’23’ and ‘Drugs or Me’ are as emotive as ever and the outings of ‘Kill’ and the incredible ‘Work’ are received with the ovations and singalongs they deserve. Even now as we listen to the record while writing this review the chills are there. [CM]


Much like the headline set of My Chemical Romance a few years prior, this feels like a huge coming of age moment for Paramore. Having been through the mill and back while on the way up, the band returned last year with their incredible self titled record and fully justify their billing as co-headliners here… perhaps putting in a case that they probably should have been topping tonight’s bill. The band come on stage to their mega hit ‘Still Into You’ – a ballsy move to play probably their biggest song first? Perhaps. But it’s one that works and ensures that the party gets off to the biggest of starts.

For a lot of bands a power cut would signal an end to a set, not for Paramore, as vocalist Hayley Williams refuses to leave the stage, preferring to stay out and keep the 80,000 strong crowd company. The whole situation culminates in one of the best moments we’ve seen at Reading Festival, as the band refuse to admit defeat and carry on, treating the crowd to an acapella version of ‘The Only Exception’. It’s unplanned but it’s the best possible resolution as the crowd end up taking over vocal duties, ensuring that both they and the band go away with incredible memories of their Friday night at Reading Festival 2014. [CM]

We retire to the bar, excited for what Saturday has in store.

On to our Saturday review of Reading Festival