If there's one festival you can rely on to provide the goods it's the Carling Leeds / Reading Festival. After last years festival that saw The White Stripes, The Darkness and Green Day gain mixed reactions, the organisers have drafted in veterans for the headliner slots in the form of Iron Maiden, The Pixies and The Foo Fighters.

Below we're putting the spotlight on those bands further down on the bill that you really should make the effort to see, but in the meantime lets ask the important questions:
* Will Pete Doherty turn up for the Babyshambles set on Sunday?
* Have Mean Fiddler wimped out by not putting on a major hip- hop name after the 50 Cent bottlegate incident last year?
* Do Bloc Party really deserve to headline the Radio 1 Stage?
* Which bands on the Carling Stage should we check out?

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The weeend tickets for Leeds and Reading have now sold out.

At the time of going to press new day tickets had just been released for both sites Check ticket availability from:

Ticket Hotline: 0870 060 3775
Online: /

Full details of line up additions and changes can be seen at

As an album "Hours" stands head and shoulders above "Casually Dressed and Deep In Conversation". Despite the production history of Terry Date with the likes of Pantera and Deftones it's a remarkably polished album that is unlikely to appeal to fans who accused them of selling out when they signed to Atlantic, but if anything it captures the energy and spirit of the early releases that was lacking on the debut album. It may be a different energy, but this album is a classic of our times brimming with hooks and set to take them up to the next level

HAL - Radio 1 Stage
The self-titled album is a journey through West Coast pop. For the uninitiated imagine the Thrills with memorable choruses and without the c*nty Conor Deasy for a frontman. The influences are glaring obvious after just 30 seconds with Steely Dan, The Beach Boys and, on the ballads, Bread steeped in the foundations of this record from beginning to end. Bizarrely enough the falsetto of vocalist Dave Allen gives the album a strangely contemporary feel aligning itself with the pitch shifting samples of a Kanye West production.

M.I.A -Dance Arena
A raw affair with 2 decks, a microphone and two backing dancers which bring the ragga style Salt & Pepper booty shaking back in fashion. With an eclectic mix of ragga, electro and huge hip hop beats it could easily fall apart, but every single track is a huge club banger taking Missy Elliots early work and pumping it with steroids. Cockney patois scatter-guns political situationist slogans like a call to arms, a British female MC with the lyrical nouse of Public Enemy, but the only militant aspect of the live show is the incessant dancing.

ELBOW - Main Stage
It's hard to imagine where it all went right, but Elbow have changed from morose bedsit dwelling student favourites to one of the best live acts out of the city. There's always been a strange relationship between Elbow as people and the music they make, but slowly and surely the music has taken an uplifting mood shift as if the new dawn has brought the sun up. New tracks "Buddha with Mace", "My Very Best" and "Leaders of the Free World" are the best they've done and baby Dylan (Jupp's son) and the impending fatherhood of Mark and Craig seem to have given the band a new found spirit rather than saddle them with dadrock.


You know the middle eight of Alice Cooper's "Schools Out" where the children's choir kicks in with the refrain of "no more teachers, no more pens". Imagine that stretched out for a full live show with the band leading the audience along with each and every song. A show which sees the frontman stretching out to the sky, keeping his balance as he teeters on the edge of the monitors conducting the audience as they sing along every single word to the new album ""Three Cheers For Sweet Revenge". Never before have the lines between audience and band been blurred so much. You can stick your Sing-A-Longa Abba, Rocky Horror Picture Shows and the Sound Of Music because in My Chemical Romance we have a band which brings us stronger melodies and more meaning than the rest of those shows combined.

THE SUBWAYS - Radio 1 Stage
If it was impossible to read a review of the Subways without hearing about their baby faced youthful optimism prior to their debut album release, then "Young For Eternity" looks set to push the teen factor even further into the spotlight. There's a naive vital energy to this record that couldn't have been made by anyone who's really tasted life. Their minds are open to the possibilities of life, there's optimism in the air which hasn't been shattered by the mid twenties breakdown crisis.
"Young For Eternity" is an album which grabs you instantly and by the end of the brief 42 minutes you're desperate for more. The most life affirming debut album since Definitely Maybe!!!

DEAD 60s - Radio 1 Stage
"Riot Radio", "Loaded Gun" and "You're Not The Law" all reverberate with the spirit of the Clash. All punky spiky guitars and dub rhythms with a working class attitude that soundtracks the uprising of the proles.


THE TEARS - Radio 1 Stage
"Imperfections" sets the benchmark for The Tears. A close partner of Suede's "Obsessions", the track talks of "Your imperfections are beautiful" and "my animal". Single "Refugees" has all the hallmarks of a lost McAlmont & Butler track - soaring strings, a large dose of soul and Brett and Bernard playing the parts of Bonnie & Clyde.
"You're as dark as the ocean. As high as the rain" croons Anderson on "Beautiful Pain". A song which sounds like "Pantomime Horse" had it been recorded as part of the Dog Man Star sessions. When The Tears hit the mark they do so with the passion of their former group.

THE OTHERS - Radio Stage
The Others offer a world of a chaos and confusion. The fact that they have the songs to back it up suggests that they will be around long after the media tires and moves on to the next fad.


"The Young Offenders" sounds like Oasis when they were relevant. It's their "Rock N Roll Star", "Live Forever" and "Cigarettes And Alcohol" rolled into one. A un-named tune which sounds like a proto-type Stone Roses tune passes by quietly, before they launch into "Baby Cocaine", The Young Offenders token ballad and one set to propel them into something above and beyond being just another scally manc band. "Jiggy Giro" and "Havin' A Party" return to what they know best and sum up the ethos of the band. "Let Me Out" alludes to the rumoured spell spent in Her Majesty's Pleasure, what starts as a delicate ballad erupts into a wail of "I've done my time, paid the price and now just let me out". Ending on a semi-acoustic version of "Acid Man" they prove why they're one of the most exciting bands to come out of Manchester in years.

Whether the Young Offenders Institute can breakthrough is anyone's guess. This ain't some faux-scally act like The Streets, Lady Sovereign or Goldie Lookin Chain. This is the real deal, it's raw and explosive, and it's got the potential to blow up in yer face the moment you let yer guard down.

Mando Diao are a Swedish rock outfit who like the Libertines have two singers with that bond Doherty and Barat once had. With two dynamic frontmen you'd think there'd be one upmanship and fierce competition, but this isn't apparent for this ferocious beast of a rock band. The drummer pounds away like Animal from the Muppets, the harmonies are luscious and Mando Diao play the blues on "Motown Blood" with a quick refrain from Elvis' "It's Alright Momma". With some salsa for the chicks to dance to and the mellow "Mr Moon" they win the crowd over with ease. The only mistake the band make all night is dedicating a song to Eric Cantona, but I feel our favourite new Swedes were just playfully winding up the crowd.

Like the Super Furry Animals, The Beta Band and Dawn Of The Replicants, Clor manage to make experimental leftfield pop that mocks the zeitgeist. If you're tired of the obvious reference points of media friendly bands, you could do worse than check out these musical alchemists.

The Mystery Jets are the most f**ked up band to arrive in recent years. A cross generational band with a grey haired, surprisingly youthful, man chuckling to himself bemused that everyone is taking them seriously. Centre stage his son bashes away on pots and pans and stage right the guitarist and bass player try to out sing the Futureheads. Its nuts and a buzz to watch and best of all they've got the tunes to match this insanity.





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