Reading Festival Review // Richfield Avenue – August 2017

Words by Patrick Hollis // @PaddyAstley

  • Hailed by many as the festival lineup of the summer, Reading did not leave punters disappointed
  • Amongst others, the likes of The Magic Gang and Frank Carter rose admirably the occasion
  • Eminem's still got it
  • Get straight onto The Pale White if up-and-coming bands are your thing – we cant get enough of 'em!

The latest instalment on the festival calendar has come and gone as once again Reading and Leeds festival showed how it’s still one of the best musical events in Europe. Baked in sunshine, the main arena played host to some of the biggest names in music. With all types of ticket sold out and a star studded line-up, it was never going to be anything short of fantastic.  

Day 1 at Reading kicked off with a scattering of up and coming acts, one of note being The Magic Gang. They brought their charming disposition to the NME stage, and if the four-piece from Brighton take their enthusiastic performances with them when they tour with Sundara Karma in the autumn a place higher on the bill at festivals will be the reward very soon.

Pictured: The Magic Gang

Pictured: The Magic Gang

Indie and Rock were the main genres of the day, with the Main Stage providing a plethora of big name bands throughout the afternoon and into the evening. If Circa Waves, Two Door Cinema Club, Jimmy Eat World and Bastille all on top form wasn’t enough to whet your appetite, then a headline show from rock and roll royalty Kasabian would have done the trick. The first headliner of the weekend played with their usual dynamic arrogance and brought to a close the first instalment of the festival in some style.

Liverpudlian five-piece Paris Youth Foundation were among the acts playing the early slots on Saturday. A small but intrigued crowd gathered by the Festival Republic stage to witness a band giving a superb account of themselves. They were perhaps a little rough around the edges, but they look eager and will undoubtedly use this festival experience as an invaluable stepping stone in their careers.

Pictured: Paris Youth Foundation

Pictured: Paris Youth Foundation

The early evening pick gave fans of Frank Carter a chance to see him perform at his 10th Reading and Leeds. Now with his third band, Carter has kept his edge and dominance as a front man. He and his Rattlesnakes treated the NME crowd to all of their top tracks, including ‘Lullaby’ and ‘Vampires’.  

There was, however, only going to be one act which everyone was talking about on Saturday night. Rap god Eminem exploded onto the Main Stage and showed that, despite some time away, he is still the one of the best in the game. It was a special night, with the Missouri-born artist treating the crowd to all of his classics from ‘Stan’ to ‘Like Toy Soldiers’ before finishing with ‘Not Afraid’.  His stage presence and charisma is dominant and energetic, he showed that he still has a lot to show the world.

The final day of the festival would have a lot to live up to, and it didn’t do too badly. An early trip to the BBC Introducing stage brought about the chance to see an exciting band from Newcastle. The Pale White performed several of their singles including brand new release ‘Downer’. They are energetic and passionate performers who carried on their rise in the world of indie rock in some style – interview with these lads to follow!

Pictured: The Pale White

Pictured: The Pale White

Late evening brought Milky Chance to the NME stage. The German folk group were a relatively niche act compared to others throughout the day. Their music is both entertaining and powerful, with many of their tracks from latest album ‘Blossom’ being showcased. It was hard to not to enjoy them playing, even if it was the first time you’d ever heard of the band.

The final night of this year’s festival was dominated by two of the biggest names in British Music. Firstly, Liam Gallagher’s rousing set scattered with Oasis classics showed his usual couldn’t care a less attitude; and everyone loved it. Its conclusion would have made many people wish for a reunion with Noel even more.

The festival showpiece role was given to Muse, they didn’t disappoint. The rock band from Devon played with swagger and style, showing why they are hard to top in their field. Bringing out AC/DC front man Brian Johnson for a special rendition of ‘Back in Black’ was the icing on the cake. It was a slick performance from a powerhouse of a band to bring the curtain down on another fantastic Reading festival.  

Pictured: MUSE

Pictured: MUSE

After a summer of festival mishaps and slack organisation, it's great to see the reputation of Reading and Leeds Festival untarnished, and even glistening as the leaves begin to turn brown, and we each of us head back to our own reality. Until next year, R + L.