Reading 2007: Day 2

After a top notch day 1 the Saturday lineup had a lot to live up to.

25th August 2007 – Day 2

First out of the traps was Brakes. This was one of the most entertaining whistle stop performance of the weekend. Comedy Lyrics and cracking riffs to back them up put a smile on even the most dull individual. The 9 second track Cheney got 2 airings and Pineapples were thrown to the crowd during Porcupine or Pineapple (OOuuch!! Spikey Spikey!!) The large early crowd shows their support and I loved this! Top Track: Porcupine or Pineapple

Meanwhile over on the Main stage The Dead 60’s were whacking out some throwback ska tunes that were rather Specials’esque. As good as it was I’m not a big Specials fan, oh well!

Eagles of Death Metal were next to grace the stage and didn’t really impress. Through the first half of the set the didn’t play any recognizable tracks from their latest album which is strange. They looked and sounded like fish out of water with only Josh Homme on providing some quality with his outstanding sticksmanship. Disappointing!

Mute Math provided a much needed get out clause from EoDM. In the Carling tent they played their noise electro creating some great soundscapes. These were the most experimental band thus far this weekend and i enjoyed them, Some of their progressive interludes dragged slightly, but with a lack of recognizable singles to choose from i suppose this was to be expected. They said goodbye as they went all out attack on the drum kit and the guitarist was effectively playing his effects pedals, pretty nifty. Different? yea, but a promising start from a new band. Top Track: Typical

Grunge was back on the menu in the NME stage as Nine Black Alps, climbed onto stage. I always saw the nirvana influence in their music, but the Cobain lookalike frontman does nothing to distance them from this label. Despite this they are really good, catchy tunes with a rock and roll spirit. Vocals took a back seat as the twin guitars crunched out riff after riff. The poppier tracks were met with great appreciation from the crowd sparking waves of crowd surfers. New tracks are sounding good and cant wait for a new album. Top Track: Cosmopolitan

The Shins were doing what they do best when I caught the end of their set. Shimmering feelgood indie pop tunes in the hot summer sun. Relaxing and melancholic, nothing special though (Supposedly they didn’t even play New Slang… Criminal! ). Top Track: Australia

A few Amigo’s and I decided to go see little known emo gang Cobra Starship, (label mates of Fall Out Boy Et al…) who are best known for their uber cheesy-single Snakes On A Plane (Bring It) (Yup, that crappy film had a Theme Tune!). The Carling tent for 30 mins was transformed into a heaving disco party as the ‘Cobra Starshippers’ (mostly female btw…) did their best to scream the entire duration of the set. This was mainly due to the larger than life front man (Ex Midtown vocalist) whose outrageously sized ego could only have been made in America. His crowd pleasing antics of mock kissing both male guitarist and female gui-boarder, as well some of the most shocking dance moves ever sent the teenage screamers into hysteria. Yet as much as you love to hate the dude (huh..Matt..Huh huh) he was a great frontman! They were ultimately the biggest guilty pleasure band EVER but with a seemingly endless stream of crowd sing-along sections, fist pumping and some decent guitar driven dance grooves they were great fun and totally brilliant. We embraced the cheese (just this once) and loved (almost) every minute of it!! Top Track: Snakes On A Plane (Bring It)

Meanwhile another emo behemoth was busy dodging flying bottles hurled main stage-wards. Panic At The Disco didn’t get hit this year to the sadness of many a emo-hater. But yet again, they didn’t impress me. They are not a good live band! Lyrics are weak and hard to decipher (even if you know them), tracks are slower, guitars understated, no sparks here at all. Best bet for these guys is to stick to making LPs! Top Track: Camisado

Dinosaur Jr. are not new by any stretch of the imagination, but on the strength of their latest album and the fact their classic 80’s lineup was back on tour, i decided to check them out. Most band so far this weekend had a couple of non-impressive backing sound equipment. Not Dino Jr, Lead guitar was backed by 3 huge Marshall Stacks each being tested to the limit by the crazy fretboard fingering of this silver haired rocker. Vocals are shared between guitarist and bassist and go hand in hand with their “no frills, lets rock!” ideology. My only gripe would be I missed some of this set for Panic! Grrr!! Guitars plus tonnes of spacey wah-wah were outstanding and really showed up all other new bands who think they can play. One look at this dude will have them shaking in their boots! Top Track: Almost Ready

More emo up next and the spritely new disco funk slanted Shiny Toy Guns. They really suffered at the hands of the Carling stage sound system. Those deep bass lines, spiky electro keys and rattling guitars were a mere shadow of their album originals. With the proper equipment this would have been good, as it was sadly it wasn’t! Left after 15 minutes: Top Track: Le Disko

After Stupidly, Stupidly, Stupidly losing my sunglasses and a failed attempt to find them, i settled on drowning my sorrows at the bar. A quickfire pint later I wandered into the dance tent to see Datarock. They only played one track i knew, but this sparked a mini rave in the tent with complimentary sing along. The track I’m referring to is Fa-Fa-Fa, this song solely turned my day around, put a smile back on my face and the world was somehow put back to right, cheers Datarock! Top Track: Fa-Fa-Fa

The sun was beginning to fade as the Arcade Fire army marched onto stage. I didn’t know how they would work at a festival, especially on the main stage. Needless to say they were fantastic. Their Layered classical sound were a pleasure to behold. Their energy and desire was sky high as they played all their hits igniting massive hum-a-longs. Arcade Fire have never sounded better and totally ruled the main stage roost this evening. Top Track: Wake Up

We Are Scientists were again on their most enigmatic and comedic form again tonight in the NME tent. Their between song banter is always guaranteed to raise a smile or two. These two front men are just instantly likable, jolly and American they played through all their hits from debut album With Love and Squalor, with The Great Escape being the top crowd pleaser. They gave an airing to some new tracks here to, as unfamiliar they were they were still stamped with the trademark WAS flair and fuzzed up guitars. Things are looking promising for album two, and with live show like this it’ll be a hit! Top Track: Cash Cow

So deciding to shun the mainstream funk/rock of the Chili’s and the NME band of 3 months ago pop/rock of The View I headed into the tiny confines of the Carling Tent and to the Canadian piano/pop sounds of Hot Hot Heat. Turned out to be a masterstroke too given that reports from the chili’s were kind of, “Meh”.

HHH were back as if they had never been away, playing tracks taken from their first two albums like they were released yesterday. To his credit tonight they felt as fresh and as essential as ever, plus lead singer and piano maestro Steven Bays still looks like the missing member of the Hair Bear Bunch. In fact this was a joyous show with loads of fun and more infectious crowd vocals, especially on the sublime Bandages. New tracks were also premiered here taken from forthcoming album Happiness Ltd. They sounded good in this lively atmosphere, but a few listens might be needed to fully appreciate them. Nonetheless this was an ecstatic romp through some heady pop tunes which had the tent jumpin’ and screamin’ like theirs no tomorrow, Fantastic!! Top Track: Bandages

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