Reading 2007: Day 1

So the summers last big rock weekend is over and now its time to reflect on what was an amazing weekend of music.

The Thursday morning journey down was smooth, parking was easy, boat to campsite was a result, empty dry field to camp in was even better! Tents pitched perfectly and the beer cracked out before 11am, Result!! On the whole it was a top notch day, even though i had to have a nap mid afternoon as we got up at 5am! Still onto the music…

24th August 2007 – Day 1
So day one lept off to great start being woken up by the early morning sun shining on the tent. With this in mind and a hopefully hot weekend in prospect we decided to invest in some appropriate headgear…Sombreros to be exact! These turned out to be the buy of the weekend, not only does it keep the sun off your head, win you many friends who want be your “amigo” but they acted as superb beacons for finding each other! Many a thought conversation i had with myself went as follows (it’s ok i regularly talk to myself):

Where on earth??…(8 Sombreros go marching past)…Ahhh…. There they are!!

With a buoyed mentality of not being at work on a Friday, feeling great considering the consumption levels of the day before plus the fact that weekend really starts here we all head into the arena early to catch The Pipettes.

I don’t think there is a better way to start a festival that to see the Pipettes. They are fun, easy to groove on down to, easy listening with cheesy Co-ordinated dance moves … and did i mention easy on the eyes too. Their 60’s retro pop was highly enjoyable and perfect for the sunshine! Top Track: Dirty Mind

“The 3×3 Amigos” (I know what you thinking, cool moniker huh! lol) fractured for the first (and not the last) time of the weekend. Off i trotted to the Radio 1/NME stage and to the sounds of The Sounds. This was also a great performance as this Swedish girl fronted electrock act played to a pretty packed tent. For good reason too, their funky bass lines and electro rhythms were great which just urged manic foot tapping brinking on full scale disco dancing. Top Track: Queen of Apology

Back to the Main stage were The Long Blondes were plying their northern charm. They sounded ok, nothing great though, they didn’t really have any stage presence which is a shame as their songs are good. Top Track: Giddy Stratospheres

Gogol Bordello on the other hand the epitome of character and relentless energy. Front man Eugene Hutz and his band flies about stage like a bunch of primates in heat. Right down to the random female dancers, accordion(ist?) and Violinist they project so much life into their audience! These Gypsy punks have to be seen live to be fully appreciated, their albums as good as they are no comparison to their live showmanship. They had the crowd bouncing relentlessly during the whole entirety of the set running through their hits Not A Crime, Immigrant Punk, American Wedding and Start Wearing Purple. Gogol really got the party in full swing with one of my highlights of the weekend! Top Track: Not a Crime

Jimmy Eat World were next to hit the stage as they ran through a decent set of tracks from pop-punks book of lore. I was only there for the big 4 and they didnt disapoint, Sweetness, The Middle, ASHPHALT, Here You Me all getting an airing. I was suprised by the quality of their other material, full of melody and energy. Glad i stayed to see them. Top Track: The Middle

Joining part way through the ex-million dead lead singer’s solo show in the carling tent, Frank Turner sure has a vast hardcore following. And for good reason too, his vocals were superbly delivered and his folky storytelling style brought a very personal touch to the songs. The fact he backed them up with solid acoustic guitars with some super catchy melodies made this more memorable! Top Track: Fathers Day

From one acoustic tradesman to the next, now to far more popular with the ‘nme’ crowd the geniously named Get Cape, Wear Cape, Fly! With his make trade, lets save the world banner hanging behind him, this Southend lad is definitely not going to change the world and eradicate poverty, but what he does instead is play a highly entertaining set full with tent filling singalongs. His band adds another dimension to his acoustic based tracks, bigger, bolder and greatly more eclectic. However did mess up 3 times in succession because he couldn’t tune his guitar properly, fool. Top Track: War Of The World

A good festival band has ‘usually’ at least 3 of the following festival factors: fun, loud, energetic, danceble, enigmatic, singable chorus’s. Which is what makes Interpol a band that really should not work on Reading’s Main stage. Fun (minimal), loud (not really), energetic (hardly), danceble (at times), enigmatic (possibly), singable chorus’s (nope). Their smooth, ice cold almost morbid vocals alongside resonating spooky guitars is hardly one to spark a crowd to life. Yet somehow in the fading light of this late summer eve it sounds perfect. All onlookers watch with either amazement or boredom, I’m glad to sad I was in the former category. Beautiful melodies and moody chants intertwined with funky disco beats and rapid-fire drumming were superb. Not the most cheerful bunch, but that didn’t stop them playing a broody, but super set! Top Track: Evil

Kings Of Leon brightened the mood with some good old fashioned rock straight from the deep south and the weathered vocal chords of lead singer Caleb Followill. The Kings surely lived up to their name as they were amazing! From the pop rock rushes of Molly’s Chamber and Red Morning Light, to the brooding Milk they sound fantastic, suited perfectly to the festival stage. The best guitar work of the day was on show here and especially during Charmer, with its haunting harmonics lighting up the dark Berkshire skies. The set drew plenty of material from their latest album, mixing the rompous My Party with the dark Knocked Up, and the huge shriek-a-long of On Call. This was a superb show from a band who have rose to the very top of their craft! Band of the Weekend? It’s a close call! Top Track: Charmer

I had my reservations about Ash returning to their original 3 members after dumping Charlotte Hatherley to wander into solo-ville. These were quickly diminished as they seem re-invigorated from the freedom of not having a woman around. Tonight they are brash, cocksure, boisterous and seem to be loving what their doing once more! More so than when i saw them here and here. Of course some of the pretty layers have been sanded over but that’s the beauty of them tonight, they don’t feel like the aging pop hit single makers, instead they are a fantastic rock band, doing what they do best!

The crowd were with ash this evening too, Tim wheeler stoked up the crowd with “so you decided not to see Razorlight?”, which was met with roars of “Razor-shite! Razor-shite! Razor-shite!…”. The heaving tent was littered with the hardcore followers howling each word, none more so than during the classics Girl From Mars, Kung Fu and Oh Yeah! Finishing with where it began with their first single Jack Names The Planets, is a fitting tribute to their mentality this evening. Ash are a worthy headline act to round off the day 1 with a literally show stopping performance. Top Track: Girl From Mars

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