The weekend brought one of the most anticipated and exciting music events that the UK has to offer; Reading And Leeds Festival 2012 with live performances from The Cure, Kasabian, Paramore, Bombay Bicycle Club, The View and Foo Fighters.
While thousands of revellers flocked to the festival braving a mixed bag of weather (as usual) I settled down on my couch for the best bits of what Reading/Leeds had to offer (minus the mud but including a case of beer) . . .
Bombay Bicycle Club brought their own brand of indie/pop to Reading on Friday delighting crowds and kick-starting the party in style and Foster The People brought a slice of psychedlia to England all the way from Los Angeles creating the illusion of California sunshine in soggy Reading with a little help from material from debut studio album “Torches”.
The stateside success continued with punk/rock outfit Paramore bringing their sweaty, energetic set to Reading on Friday night all the way from Tennessee sampling material from all three of their studio albums. Frontwoman, Hayley Williams owned the crowd and showcased herself as one of the most exciting young frontwomen of our generation.
The anticipation for Friday’s headliners The Cure was palpable enough to taste and they certainly didn’t disappoint. With the bulk of their back catalogue shaping their headline slot, The Cure showed that the are a force still to be reckoned with and still have relevance on the current music scene having inspired many bands since including The Killers. Frontman Robert Smith is still wonderfully weird albeit a little old for the make-up of his 80s youth.
Saturday brought ‘band of the moment’ The Vaccines to the Main Stage at Reading in support of their forthcoming studio album “The Vaccines Come Of Age” due next month. Frontman, Justin Young delivered the set with an energy which seemed so electric that even he struggled to contain it and material from their hugley-successful debut, “What Did You Expect From The Vaccines?” dominating their set.
“The worst kept secret in music history” arrived in the form of Green Day who unveiled new material from forthcoming album, “iUno” as well as fan favourites “American Idiot” ” and “Basket Case” creating mass hysteria that the band are known and loved for; an undoubted highlight of the whole weekend.
Modern-day goddess, Florence Welch brought her machine for her slot which proved somewhat soggy due to a downpour of rain which did a lot to create hazards onstage but little to dampen spirits. Leggy Florence did everything to get close to her fans (much to the dismay of security staff) and delivered her storming set with a zest that should have meant an oxygen mask was an essential on her rider afterwards.
Kasabian brought the evening to a close headlining the Main Stage with the best of their back catalogue and a cover of both Fatboy Slim and The Beatles to mark the occasion. A band who rarely disappoint live but one I feel like play festivals so much that I can’t turn one on without seeing Tom Meighan swaggering about onstage doing his “Liam Gallagher gone nice” impersonation.
Northern Ireland’s Two Door Cinema Club brought a much-needed dose of indie pop/rock to the festivities on Sunday and the ideal antedote for the hangover that most festival-goers were undoubtedly nursing. Their energetic set gave fans a flavour of why they fell in love with the band initially and provided a little promotion for their forthcoming second studio album, “Beacon”.
Kaiser Chiefs did what they do best; whipped fans into a frenzy as a perfect warm-up for the main event. Although, a very likeable band with an infectious back-catalogue to boot, Ricky Wilson has the flair and energy required to hold an audience but not enough to ever surpass the “support slot” and headline.
Reading/Leeds come to an explosive climax last night with a phenomenal slot from US rockers, Foo Fighters with Dave Grohl warning early on that the band would be playing till the plug was pulled. With an extensive back catalogue, it would have been difficult for this set to be anything but what it was; a welcome trip down memory lane with one of most exciting live bands of the past 20 years. Frontman, Dave Grohl lived upto his “nicest guy in rock” image when he urged fans to “look out for each other” and “help anyone who looks like they need help” but was upstaged by his MOTHER after fans raucuously chanted “Dave Grohl’s Mum!” after singing “Happy Birthday” to Mama Grohl. “Breakout”, “The Prentender”, “All My Life” and “Learn To Fly” provided the soundtrack for an electrifying conclusion which Grohl called “the gig of his life” before telling revellers that this would be the last Foo Fighters show “for a long time”.
Never one to disappoint, Reading/Leeds carries the extra pressure of bringing festival season in the UK to an unofficial close as one of the last of the summer.
From the comfort of my couch, I escaped the rain and mud while still managing to enjoy some of the exciting live performances; TV highlights provided me with just a small slice of the festival . . . those who had the whole cake are very lucky indeed.