August bank holiday is the weekend where music lovers of all types head to one of two places; Creamfields or Reading and Leeds. We headed down to Reading to take in 2018’s Reading Festival.
We get Reading Festival 2018 off to a fantastic start with a tight set from Cardiff rockers Himalayas on the BBC Introducing Stage before an entertaining performance on the Lock-Up stage from Thunderpussy. The glam-rockers create an electric set with great vocals and a dazzling stage presence.
Staying on the Lock-Up stage, we encounter Australian rising stars The Faim. As has come to be the norm, the packed out tent is treated to a spellbinding performance with soaring vocals from frontman Josh Raven. On stage the band are full of smiles and energy, which translates over to the crowd, who are eating out of the palm of Raven’s hand. Scottish rockers The XCERTS follow their Australian counterparts with a crowd pleasing, sing-a-long set.
Things take a turn to chaos as The Fever 333’s demonstration kicks off. Frontman Jason Aalon Butler doesn’t stand still, using the wiring and mic wire as a swing, running around the stage and even lassoing a cameraman into the set. The punk anthems like Made An America get the crowd pumped. We take a break from the Lock-Up stage to head towards the BBC Radio 1 tent as The Front Bottoms keep the crowd entertained with catchy tracks.
Main stage headliners Fall Out Boy provide a huge sing-a-long to both their old-school emo anthems and modern pop-rock hits. The quartet have the crowd hanging on to their every word as they power through tracks including The Phoenix, Sugar We’re Going Down, Uma Thurman, Dance Dance and even a cover of Beat It by Michael Jackson. Pete Wentz’s bass proved a highlight as a spark of flames cannon out.
While Friday saw us spend most of the day at the Lock-Up stage, Saturday sees us camping out at Main Stage for the most part, starting with post-hardcorers Trash Boat who open up with Inside Out, instantly easing the hangovers of the small but growing crowd. It’s back to the BBC Radio 1 stage for a double Australian whammy of West Thebarton and Chase Atlantic. The former, a septet garage rock band, providing a grungey set focusing on their electric debut album Different Beings Being Different. Chase Atlantic bring their hip-hop/rock infused set that captivated Warped Tour audiences including viral hit Friends!
Over on the Festival Republic stage, Welsh rockers Pretty Vicious show us why the hype surrounding them is worth it, including guitarist/vocalist Brad Griffiths playing with a broken hand. New single Move got the crowd well and truly pumped and excited for the band’s forthcoming debut album.
It’s back to Main Stage as Welsh reggae punks Skindred dominate proceedings from the start as they take to the stage to the Star Wars Imperial March. A cover of The Prodigy’s Out Of Space and their own hits including Kill The Power. Warning ends with the crowd partaking in the infamous ‘Newport Helicopter’. Staying at Main Stage, we have a sobfest as Mike Shinoda takes to the stage with a set full of his recent album, Fort Minor tracks and a couple of Linkin Park hits. Castle Of Glass and Crossing A Line get fans singing along before chants of ‘Chester’ from the crowd lead to a heartfelt speech from Shinoda about grief and coping as he asks everyone to sing along with Chester so loud that Chester can hear, leading to an emotional piano-led rendition of In The End.
Sum 41 provide the old-school punk vibes on Main Stage as they power through hits including Fat Lip, In Too Deep and We’re All To Blame get great reactions from the packed crowd, as does the ‘family meeting’ called by Dereck Whibley before ‘the guitar solo’ leads into a joint sing-a-long of Queen’s We Will Rock You. The set ends as Mike Shinoda joins the fray for a rendition of Linkin Park’s Faint.
We take a break from the music as we head to the Alternative Stage to see comedian Chris Ramsey provide some witty responses to the festival environment, family life and slow cookers before its back to the music as Blood Youth get rowdy on the Lock-Up stage and rising star Yungblud entertains the Festival Republic tent.
Back to Main Stage and it’s time for a party as Panic! At The Disco takes to the stage for a sing-a-long to a hit filled set including Don’t Threaten Me With A Good Time, LA Devotee, Hallelujah, Nine In The Afternoon and I Write Sins Not Tragedies. There’s a moment of magic as even those who had no interest in Panic! But were eagerly awaiting the main headliner Kendrick Lamar couldn’t help but join in a cover of the classic Bohemian Rhapsody. Throughout the entire set, Brendon Urie’s vocals are like a dream, reaching heights no-one thought possible.
Over on the Lock-Up stage, Beartooth bring the heavy as they power through a select few of their best tracks including Aggressive, Body Bag and Hated before Papa Roach take to the packed tent to close out proceedings with an energetic punk throwback, opening with Getting Away With Murder. By song three Face Everything And Rise, frontman Jacoby Shaddix is on the barrier, playing to the crowd. A cover of Blur’s Song 2 and arguably their most famous single Last Resort, has the crowd feeling like they are at a good old-fashioned emo-night, screaming the words along.