LIVE: Reading Festival (Sunday)

By Ben Tipple

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

Back to Saturday

Bleary eyes and pounding heads from the night before, what better way to kick off Sunday’s proceedings than with a dose of pop punk all the way from Walnut Creek? Another surprise Main Stage opener (that perhaps points towards Reading and Leeds paying bigger attention to these sort of bands) The Story So Far initially sound a bit lost amongst the vastness of the Main Stage, but any technical issues soon bugger off and the band put in a great shift. The singalongs are there with the likes of ‘Quicksand’ and ‘Daughters’ provoking the bigger reactions and the band look genuinely happy (if a bit bemused) to be gracing one of the biggest stages of their career. A cracking start to Sunday. [CM]

Although likely to be classified as part of the ever-expanding grunge revival, Allusondrugs are more than that. Their indie-punk vibes are met by an extroverted stage presence, and pulled together by the sheer quality of their material. Wavering between a contemporary take on the aforementioned genre and melody driven numbers like ‘Nervous’, they are quick to move an early afternoon crowd onto their feet. The BBC Introducing stage, described by Marmozets as “that stage you probably walk past”, feels like a prime location as Allusondrugs deliver a handful of tracks from self-titled EP. It’s manic and controlled in equal measures – messy, subtle and loud all at once. This is great stuff. [BT]


They may find it difficult to break out of the “that band with the Billie Joe Armstrong’s son in it” (in fact, us mentioning that probably doesn’t help), but Emily’s Army are certainly interesting. Sporting matching black and white stripped tops and floppy sun-tinged hair (at least on two of them), this is essentially a pop band. Perhaps finding themselves on the Lock Up bill due to family connections, they would be more suited to the Festival Republic stage. That said, their surf-pop is unquestionably fun, and the simple melodies are delivered with aplomb. Emily’s Army are a year band at the start of their career, likely to pick up pace in the coming months. [BT]

Over on the Introducing Stage and You Me At Six are playing one of the BBC’s traditional ‘surprise slots’ and as expected the stage is packed. In what is a fairly brief five song acoustic set, the band play tracks only from their latest album ‘Cavalier Youth.’ With the highlight undoubtedly going to set opener ‘Lived A Lie’ all in all, the set is a great treat for fans of the band and a memory for them to treasure. [CM]

On the Main Stage and it is the turn of Sleeping With Sirens to show the Reading Festival crowd what they’re made of, unfortunately, things are OK at best. For what it’s worth, the predominantly teenage looking crowd absolutely love it, but for us, it’s a dull affair. Frontman Kellinn Quinn is good at what he does and in all fairness, his vocals, although at times earsplitting, are mostly in tune. It never really gets out of second gear – this looks like a stage show that has been rehearsed a thousand times and as a result, it doesn’t really feel fun. [CM]

Well, if Sleeping With Sirens are an example of never really getting out of second gear, the opposite can be said about A Day To Remember. Coming on stage with a band to their breakthrough hit ‘Downfall Of Us All’ things never really go down from fifth gear. It’s incredible, the showmanship from frontman Jeremy McKinnon is almost second to none, whether he’s walking on top of the crowd in a zorb ball or high fiving those down the front, he’s one of the best at what he does. A Day To Remember have the hits to back them up to, there is no dull song on show here, no lull in proceedings, it’s hit after hit after hit. A Day To Remember have made their case of being further up the bill next time they play Reading and Leeds and nobody can begrudge them that because today, they are just that good. [CM]

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It’s no secret that we are Punktastic are a little bit fanatic about The Wonder Years, particularly following last year’s impeccable ‘The Greatest Generation’. That being so, we have had a little bit of a love-hate relationship with their live performances in the past. Today however, they are on top form. From the opening moments of ‘Dismantling Summer’, the whole of the Lock Up tent is singing along at the top of their voices, all the way through nine tracks from the band’s most recent two albums – yet none from ‘The Upsides’. Having honed his vocal abilities on his Aaron West and the Roaring Twenties project, frontman Dan Campbell sounds better than ever, supported by a perfect energetic accompaniment. As the final moments of ‘Came Out Swinging’ come to a close, we’re pretty certain we’ve witnessed the set of the weekend – but we would say that, wouldn’t we. [BT]

You Me At Six follow up their earlier “secret” slot on the BBC Introducing Stage by playing their highest Reading and Leeds Festival main stage slot to date. Looking confident and assured as they come on stage it’s clear that YM@6 have been gearing up to take the band to the next level for quite some time now. The crowd they pull is huge and the response is massive. You Me At Six have the hits – like earlier ‘Lived A Lie’, the lead single from their latest release ‘Cavalier Youth’, goes down especially well. Reading and Leeds Festival 2014 has made a case for a fair few acts to make the step up to headliner status in the next couple of years – You Me At Six arguably state the biggest claim to do just that. [CM]

The Lock Up Stage is set for a particularly heavy end, minus headliners Gogol Bordello. Kick-started by the ferocious hardcore veterans Every Time I Die, circle pits and moshing are the order for the evening. Material from their recent ‘From Parts Unknown’ sounds relatively tame when up against the likes of ‘Floater’ or ‘Bored Stiff’, yet each tracks packs one massive punch. Frontman Keith Buckley is a vicious powerhouse on stage, screaming his way through the nine-track set and throwing himself into the crowd. It’s loud and intense – just what we have come to expect from Every Time I Die. [BT]

Letlive. are renowned for their uninhibited live spectacle, dominated by frontman Jason Butler’s mesmerising rants and superhuman acrobatics. These on-stage antics are however now wearing a little thin. What originally got the band noticed – we refer you to their legendary early UK appearance back at the Old Blue Last – is now dangerously close to becoming a melodramatic self-caricature. Having spent considerable time voicing his disdain for alcohol in perhaps not the most appropriate setting, letlive. also appear tired of their performance today. Musically they shine as ever, but something doesn’t appear to be clicking. They have certainly had stronger days, and the question is raised: perhaps it’s time to reinvent the wheel. [BT]

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The last time blink-182 played Reading, it was on the back of a triumphant return – it was a moment to be savoured because the majority of that crowd had never thought that they’d get to see a blink-182 live show again. Tonight’s headline slot however, feels laboured. It’s sloppier and out of tune way more than you’d come to expect and you’d be forgiven for wondering whether the band wanted to be there with each other at all. The “banter” you’d usually expect from a blink-182 show feels forced, with Mark Hoppus almost biting the head off of Tom Delonge every time he opened his mouth.

It feels uncomfortable and dated. It goes without saying that blink-182 are responsible for a lot of the acts that they share the stage with at Reading and Leeds Festival today, and for that we are grateful, but when a headline slot at one of the world’s biggest festivals comes across as a chore, then perhaps it’s time to re-evaluate why you’re in a band. It’s a sad end to the best Reading Festival in recent memory. A Reading and Leeds Festival that has given a platform for new bands as well as more established acts. A Reading and Leeds Festival that has struck the balance almost perfectly between mainstream and underground. The festival itself is heading in entirely the right direction. Tonight’s headliners however threaten to hold it back. [CM]

It’s a reasonably downbeat end to an amazing weekend, but we pick ourselves up and head for one final party in the bar. Done!