Reading Festival 2005
diary, part gloat and part reminder to a future me of the rash
mistakes of a middle age youth. DO NOT proceed beyond this point
if you suffer from any degree of attention deficit disorder.
readers will know the journey to Reading courtesy of the railways
is usually a battle against fire, flood and public transport not
transporting the public. This year it couldn't have been easier
if Reading had been brought to me, so..guns swivel, this year's
soft target is: you. You lot. And touts. There were sod all day
tickets to be had this year, the wristband scam had been sussed
and the touts could only debate theoretical prices for tickets
they didn't even have. The reason is the market place is now eBay
and the touts are you, all you people buying then selling for
filthy lucre. You should be donating them to fellow music fans.
Me for instance. Anyway, after 3 fruitless hours begging, pleading
and negotiating at the gate I went home, forsaking the Reading
Friday line-up for some pretty good cricket (the new rock and
roll, ya know).
yes, you don't need to tell me that Friday was brilliant, the
most perfect day ever. You all saw Kasabian, you all had
a wild time and you all met your perfect partner.
Pic: Arctic Monkeys
kicked off with a packed 12 noon Radio 1 tent witnessing Editors,
of whom mucho buzz. Loved the music, hints of Echo and The Bunnymen,
Joy Div and the guitarist must call The Edge "Dad".
Good to see black shirts still de rigeur with the bottom-of-bill-but-rising
American Rejects There are no excuses for putting on bands
like this, not even their mothers should be forced to watch them.
Dance Tent has become Saturday's Lock Up punk stage. My first
band's lead singer came on with Mark Knoppfler hair and a white
sweatband, so it was a lost cause from the start. I tried my hardest
but I had to leave after two songs, I won't tell you the band's
name in case you try something ridiculous like listening to them.
stop were Nine Black Alps in the Radio 1 tent- their name
is an anagram of Counterfeit Nirvana (well it is if you learnt
to read and write in Manchester). Good enough though.
to the second tent to see the mid afternoon set by Arctic Monkey.
The place was mobbed. Good tunes, a front man who drips charisma
and an audience word perfect on songs that have never officially
been released! There is obviously something afoot here and this
time I don't need a youngster to explain it to me. Actually, I
Pic: Juliet & The Licks
other blessing in going to see Arctic Monkey was missing Juliet
and the Licks, whose reported cluelessness was so astonishing
that even Juliet's removal of her dress and alleged bap flashing
did not redeem things. .
this time there was a total collapse of the latrines on the site,
we don't know if we were left in the poo due to a common central
problem or did one block close, setting off a chain reaction (pay
attention - gag alert) of successive failures in the rest of the
cistern. Cue laydees switching from pints to sherry. Remember
there used to be vast expanses of fence around the edge of the
site which made very convenient conveniences, for the boys at
least? All inaccessible now and replaced by various retail outlets
serving piss back to us, truly we reap what we sow.
try anything twice so its back to the Lock Up for The Dwarves.
Not often you see a guitarist dressed in a full latex face mask
with Gene Simmons style graphics. And not a stitch else. The moment
he put his left foot up on the stage monitor was enough to convince
me I do not have what it takes to stomach hardcore speed skater
punk or whatever ya call it.
exit to the Main Stage for The Charlatans. I'm a bit biased,
they can do no wrong in my eyes (ears), their set fitted like
a comfortable slipper and this was one of the highlights of the
day. New material New York City clearly indicated no intention
to dramatically change musical direction just yet. Burgess's voice
is awesome but maybe I have had my head in the sand for 15 years,
is he batting for the other side? I never ever suspected his demeanour
and dancing owed so much to Jimmy Somerville.
my mosh pit position (theoretically speaking, I was where the
mosh pit would have normally been) for a more sedate viewing point
several hundred yards back Razorlight announce the end
of gigging Up All Night as if it was some kind of albatross, then
give us new material cut from the same mould. Enjoyable but had
to leave during the interminable solo sea shanty.
a little rant at you lot. Flags - NO! In the old days rock and
rollers burnt flags, now you just use them to tell us which tiny
province you come from or that you are an attention seeking little
jerk. Mr Mean Fiddler - put a stop to it in the Arena cos viewing
from anywhere greater than 20 yards away is getting impossible.
Also condemned are un-amusing artefacts on a stick - rubber chickens,
condoms, inflatable fish, over-size soiled granddad Y fronts,
even, incredibly, yard brushes, feather dusters and a mop. Save
your pathetic irony for your teeshirts you inconsiderate mental
Pic: Arcade Fire
not often a senior bean counter from a far away land can claim
to be first to draw this reviewer's attention to a new band but
in this case its true, so it's back to Radio 1 for Arcade Fire,
much hyped in accountancy circles. What a blast. Eight instrument
swapping Canadians with coo-wahhhhh backing harmonies sounds like
a recipe for disaster but it was magic. We're talking a line linking
a pumped up Polyphonic Spree (so said someone seemingly familiar
with them) to, at the other end, the fantasy hybrid combo of Stereolab
and The Tindersticks, possibly the first ever time that name has
been used as a positive benchmark. The percussionist gets the
Most-Theatrical-Tambourine-Playing EPNS silver triangle stick
award, not so much a religious experience as a desperate attempt
to draw attention to himself with 6 other musicians in front of
him. His set closing assault on the ubiquitous single cymbol would
get him a job in Saudi Arabia market square meting out justice
to adulteresses any day.
Raveonttes - best of the day. Sharon sets the boys (and girls)
hearts a-pumping. Thankfully, no Danish flags were on sale in
Pic: The Tears
Tears, Brett and Bernard, watched mainly in silhouette, close
proceedings. Great guitar work from Bernard and Brett seems lifted
by the rejuvenated partnership. Close your eyes and it could still
be 1993. Don't know why there were barely 200 souls in the crowd
for the last train home to ensure a comfortable bed and decent
breakfast, I passed the Foo Fighters and - this is the
truth - Dave Grohl plumbed the depths with the deadly words "help
me with this
.DAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAYO". David, its Room
101 time if that continues. Nicely retro green lasers though,
must have kept the cows amused.
insight into the quality of his own merchandise plus nimble-footed
marketing resulted in one stall holder's killer pitch: "slow
burning jackets two for a tenner - start yer fires easy".
why am I doing this, it's bound to be ROARING vocals, black teeshirts;
band motifs combining skulls, motorbikes and pneumatic virgins
with name fonts dripping blood red - you know, the full metal
believe it, turned out to be the best day. No, believe all the
above but at least there was still a small corner of a field in
Reading that hadn't drowned in motor oil.
Pic: Boy Kill Boy
Kills Boy weren't on my running order list, nicked off the
NME board. Tunes, guitars, moogy [©] keyboards, and a top
set-finish by the drummer simultaneously kicking his kit over
and himself off the back of his stool resulting in bad concussion,
a valu start to the day.
Brut next and this band are definite live contenders. Whoever
he is the singer has one hell of a way with words. The lyrics
had us in stitches and we loved the "me mate is a nutter"
backing vocals on the song which I for convenience sake am going
to call "I'm Considering A Move To LA". File under Damn-Great-Live-But-You-Know-You'll-Only-Listen-To-The-CD-Once".
only shift from the Radio 1 tent gave us a band on the third stage
who we didn't know and genuinely we could not find anyone else
who knew. The poor sods on stage must have picked up the scent
of confusion, or was it indifference and at the end the roadie
packing up the gear announced the band as Every Move A Picture.
The only thing I remember was a chorus that went "San Francisco
Take Your Hands Off Me", that's either off the scale paranoia
or a mate with a naff name.
Pic: Maximo Park
Park and the Duke Spirit rocked well and bring proceedings
in fine form through to the inevitable British Sea Power. Now
here's a band that understands festivals. Owls and trees on stage;
half of Reading's shrubbery in the audience; live favourite songs
from the first album still being wheeled out; bear; shoulder jumping;
still looking like a slightly sinister troup of boy scouts; yup
- BSP play to their strengths and please us mightily. Add to that,
sunshine and news of an England victory filtering through and
you have such a perfect summer combination beyond even Enid Blyton's
it onto the Must Buy pile are LCD Soundsystem. Electro
funk (I can make these up if I want) and dynamite percussion ,
Have you ever before wondered what a combination of The Fall and
The Human League would sound like, or perhaps New Order blended
with The Rapture? The sum effect got even us oldies shaking our
Pic: Bloc Party
reviewer can neither confirm nor deny seeing The Futureheads
but definitely there was one song from Bloc Party squeezed
in before the dash for the last train, prior distain may need
to be revised.
note to the idiot contingency, don't climb the tent poles and
don't lob stupidly heavy projectiles, its not funny and it ain't
clever. It wasn't your mate with the cut nose was it but next
time, it might be YOU.
thanks to mates present - same time same place next year; mates
absent - must try harder!!!
Photos: Shirlaine Forrest - www.shirlainephotos.co.uk
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