Monday, 30 August 2010

BEDA - Aug 30 - Reading Festival 2010

First allow me to apologise for my utter and abject failure to blog since Wednesday. The reason is simply that I have not been within range of a laptop since then. I was at the Reading music festival all weekend for my birthday, and while I expected to be able to blog from my phone, it turns out you can only read posts from Blogger on mobile devices, not post them so that somewhat scuppered the plan!!

I will however make up with it now with a full recap of my weekend.


Not a lot to be said to be honest, got to the campsite at Reading on Thursday afternoon, went and got some food and just generally chilled out for the evening. Very much what I have referred to before as the “pre-awesome” day.


At around 11am, the gates to the main arena opened, and the 1000’s in attendance rushed in.

My brother and I headed first to the Alternative stage, where we were lucky enough to catch some brilliant comedy from the likes of Emo Phillips and Stephen K. Amos before the crowd swelled to fill the tent as YouTube sensations “The Midnight Beast” broke out their own brand of hip hop (including “We are the TMB Party! Who in da house? We in da house! We in da house of parliament)

Next we rushed over to catch the end of Two Door Cinema Club’s set, and then chill out sat watching The Big Pink

We then headed over to the Main stage to be serenaded by scottish rockers Biffy Clyro and Wales’ offering to the festival Lost Prophets. Both were awesome, indeed Biffy remain one of my favourite bands of the moment, and while their new album is perhaps not the strongest material they’ve got, their old stuff doesn’t fail to please.

American rock legends Queens of the Stone Age followed and – hardly surprising having seen them several times before – they kicked some serious ass, and had complete control over the huge crowd gathered to watch their hour long set.

And then the problems began.

9:30PM: headline act Guns N Roses are supposed to be taking to the stage.

9:45: No sign of them

10:00: No sign of them, the crowd is booing by this point

10:15: More and more boos crescendo throughout the crowd, as plenty of people walk off to other stages, convinced they’re simply not going to turn up at all

Finally at gone 10:30, well over an hour late, the band take to the stage, and understandably the completely pissed off crowd boos the hell out of them. There is no apology from Axl, indeed no interaction at all with the crowd for the duration of the set, which basically consisted of them playing a song, then a 5minute guitar solo while Axl went off to change his costume, followed by another song, followed by another costume change. Given how bloody late they were to begin with one would have assumed the idiot would have just kept in what he was wearing and motored through but oh no, he decided he would do things his way, and, yes you guessed it: even more boos, chants of “Fuck You Axl”, and “We Want Slash” coming from all around the field.

The official curfew for the event, as set by noise pollution laws, is 11:30, and the organisers had made clear they were going to stand firm on this. As you can imagine, this particular set was not going to be completable in the single hour they had (entirely because Axl was being a prick). They play ed until 11:45, which they shouldn’t have anyway, at which point the band left, meaning to return for an encore, but the organisers cut the amps, so that when they returned they were effectively unable to complete their set.

The whole thing was a bit of a shambles, but to be fair not one bit of it can be blamed on the organisers: they were sticking to the rules, and they had been lenient as it was. The band were the ones fucking about, not anyone else.


Once again with our eyes set firmly on the Alternative stage to start our day, me and my brother were excited to see Kevin Bridges, one of our favourite comedians. Unfortunately when we got their we were informed that Bridges was currently delayed at Edinburgh airport, and would be here as soon as possible, and would be on later in the day if he made it in time.

In the mean time they moved the remainder of the schedule up, which brought an American comedian by the name of Neil Hamburger to the stage. Oh my god. I have never heard such a tirade of just blatant homophobia, racism, and other sick jokes (some aimed towards Michael Jackson, who lets face it, in a crowd made up of music fans, is just off limits). In his 25minutes there simply was not a funny joke. The entire crowd booed him, and before long we were pelting him with bottles and whatever else littered the floor of the tent. Chants rang out of “You’re shit and you know you are, you’re shit and you know you are!” until finally he left the stage.

The host, Andrew O’Neill immediately managing a bigger cheer than Hamburger’s entire set as he walked forward and asked: “You may not have liked that, but did you at least enjoy hating it?” (which yes, I think its fair to say we did).

We stuck around to watch Jason Byrne (who was hilariously funny) and Milton Jones – who was actually funnier than he’s ever managed to be on Mock the Week, which is saying something, before moving on to catch a few songs from Hadouken on the second stage and The Maccabees.

Rapper Dizzie Rascal is decidedly out of place so far up the bill, (or on it at all), but the crowd knows all the words anyway, so we sing along at the top of our voices nonetheless.

As the day went on though there was only one way it was moving, and that was towards the band second on the bill on the main stage. The Libertines. A band who’s set was more anticipated than any other at any festival I’ve ever been to.

For those of you who may not know the long and drawn out history of The Libertines, they are a four piece punk outfit from London, who despite a meteoric rise to fame in the early 2000’s, could not handle the pressure and effectively imploded. Best friends Pete Doherty and Carl Barat, the Paul and John of the band if you will, simply descended into a bitter feud, and the band came to an abrupt finish with Doherty’s arrest and imprisonment.

Pete has been in and out of prison and drug rehabilitation ever since, while Carl has tried to restructure and move on.

Over the last few years both Barat and Doherty have formed their own bands (Dirty Pretty Things, and Babyshambles respectively), but deep down in the hearts of Libertines fans we have always hoped they may one day reconcile. The gigs have been rumoured since almost the day they first split, but finally, after 6 long years, in March of this year it was announced that the reunion was on. Reading 2010 would be the reforming (as it stands for one night only) of The Libertines.

So here we are, August 28th 2010. 8:30pm. The moment music fans the world over have been waiting for. And there they are. Pete, Carl, John and Gary. They play all the old favourites, including the seemingly prophetic “Can’t Stand Me Now” (a song which was on their first album, but basically spoke about two best friends who ended up hating eachother)

Embracing one another like brothers, Pete and Carl look like they’ve never been away. It’s one of those moments which will live in the minds of those who witnessed it forever.

If this was the end, it was a happy one, but I honestly hope this isn’t the end of the Libertines story. Maybe we can finally put the past behind us and let the future shine.

Oh and…headliners Arcade Fire kicked ass. Nuff said.


A) Sunday was my birthday, so wooot. Thanks to all of you for the birthday wishes on Facebook/twitter/email/text whatever. All were greatly appreciated!!

B) Ok back to the bands. Sunday started out with my surprise of the festival, a band I’d never heard of, but who I completely and utterly love now (experiences like this are why I love festivals, because you can discover as much as you can enjoy old stuff). Anyway, the band is called Motion City Soundtrack, and the lead singer is a total nerd, and their songs include references to things like falling asleep late at night watching Veronica Mars reruns, and generally the sort of thing I do. I could literally be best friends with the frontman.

We hung around to watch The King Blues, who I only really knew one song from (inevitably the last they played), and have to admit I was sort of disappointed with the rest of their set. Perfectly Ok, but I love the one song I do know (Save the Girl, Save the World), and I guess I wanted to love the rest as much.

Then it REALLY started pouring with rain, so we ducked back into our go-to tent, the Alt-Stage, where Russell Kane (who less than 24hours before hand had won the a comedy award at the Edinburgh Fringe) was performing, and I think it’s fair to say, from what I saw he definitely deserved the award. He was seriously funny.

We sat and ate lunch beside the tent where Metronomy were playing, who were enjoyable enough, before going to see Weezer, who literally exceeded every possible expectation. With perfect renditions of Teenage Dirtbag from Wheatus and mixing the lyrics to Poker Face into one of their own songs, this set was a definite highlight of the festival.

Next up it was the turn of Paramore. Now this is a band I have said some very mean things about before – including calling lead singer Hayley Williams the antichrist. I just don’t like them at all. That being said: on this night, with 10’s of 1000’s of people singing along, Only Exception and Brick by Boring Brick do sound spectacular. Otherwise ‘twas a pretty boring set, but better than I was expecting

Finally it came down to the final band of the festival, as the crowd swelled around the main stage to see Blink 182 play their only UK show this year. Blink are a band to whom I owe most of my childhood. They’ve always been one of my favourite acts, and I had always regretted not seeing them live while I had the chance first time round, so ever since the reunion was announced I’ve been waiting patiently for a UK tour – so the moment this UK date finally came up I was right on it!

“All the Small Things”, “I Miss You”, “First Date”, the hits just keep on coming, and despite the fact front man Tom Delounge is clearly stoned off his face, the gig goes to plan anyway. It’s a real special way to finish a great weekend.


And we’re back. Today I’m frankly too tired to do anything much at all but lay around now that I’m home.

I leave you all with this video of The Libertines tearing up the Main Stage with "What Became of the Likely Lads"

1 comment:

  1. And there's me thinking the Rapture wasn't due for at least another 2000 years, but I guess "music fans the world over" witnessed it on Saturday night. Truly, The Libertines can stand shoulder to shoulder with the likes of The Beatles, Hendrix, Elvis, et al, and proudly say "indeed, we have changed music, nay the entire world, forever".