It wouldn’t be Reading festival without a truckload of rain and mud, and as Friday’s midday kickoff approaches, the whole place is entrenched in mud and assaulted by heavy downpours.
So too then, must ARCHITECTS be drenched, but it doesn’t seem to phase them in their debut Reading main stage appearance. It’s obviously an absolute dream for the band, and they’re clearly having the time of their lives. The sound is a little flat for them and you get the feeling that the Reading crowds haven’t quite woken up yet, but there’s nothing wrong with the delivery.
THE BLACKOUT are in charge of kicking things off a notch after Architects, and despite a spattering of tech hitches, they go down a storm. Though not for everyone, there’s many out there who’ve taken a shine to the band recently and they’re getting the payoff of perseverance with slots like this, and have earned every change they get.
A quick dash over to Festival Republic sees THE COMPUTERS being particularly excellent, and though they’re probably a “Lock Up” band per se, they’re very good and keeping people’s attentions, and their brand of punk goes down a treat. Harmonica solos are crimincally underused at festivals as well, for the record.
Next up are potential highlight of the weekend over on the main stage, NEW FOUND GLORY. The band crack through a set similar to theirs in London a few days before, and they’re certainly a little better suited to the “intimate venues, but it’s still a day brightener nonetheless.
Still not going anywhere from the main stage, BRING ME THE HORIZON are carrying on their rampage across the UK this year with another devastating set. The band are unstoppable at the moment, and every time they appear on stages such as these, you can’t help but feel a few thousand previously judging mouths are closed firmly shut up.
Having put on one of the most talked about sets of last year, CEREBRAL BALLZY return to Reading for a second stab at shock and awe. It’s definitely the case this year that the Brooklyn band, appearing on the Festival Republic stage, is toned down somewhat. Still the band that likes to party, skate, eat pizza, and puke is an impressive watch. Even a power outage fails to derail the self-admiring bunch. A fun festival band for sure.
RISE AGAINST don’t quite deliver the same impact as the Sheffield mob that came before them, but there’s no debate that they’re one of the best punk bands in the world. Like New Found Glory, they’re much more a Lock Up band and, despite playing solidly, being outside takes the life out of a few of the tracks.
A band who really are a main stage band are DEFTONES. An absolutely killer setlist, and typically brilliant performance from Chino sees the band sounding as important and influential as ever, and anybody not able to witness should have been kicking themselves.
Similarly, THE OFFSPRING are on top form once Deftones are done. The band haven’t done much in recent years to perhaps justify the giant billing, but there’s a strong crowd, and some brilliant singalongs. The band divide many, but live, they’re still as good as they ever were.
Running away from the main stage for the first time in a few hours, the BBC Introducing stage swiftly becomes the place to be. Lads on tour DON BROCO have a brilliant crowd, and give an electric performance to match it. There’s a few bands on the stage that we’d been looking forward to over the weekend, and it’s a memorable performance post-sundown on the first day of the festival.
After a quick battery recharge, MY CHEMICAL ROMANCE are due to headline the main stage, and they probably entertained and frustrated in equal measure. The hits arrive, but there’s big gaps of new material, and even Brian May in the encore doesn’t quite make the choice to let them head up bill seem 100% bang on the money.
The first day of reading was absolutely piled full of exciting bands new and old from many places in the world, and was largely brilliant. The rain caused inevitable problems, and dampened the spirits in places significantly, but the promise of two more packed days of music kept the beer flowing.
ALEX HAMBLETON / TOM AYLOTT
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