Live Review: Reading Festival – Saturday 23rd August

 Lonely The Brave (7/10)


Starting just before one in the afternoon, Lonely The Brave took to the NME tent to show off their impressive soaring rock anthems. Second track Victory Line got the days first singalong, while other tracks like ‘Trick of the Light’ and closer ‘Backroads’ got a huge reaction. Despite singer David Jakes seeming to suffer a little from stage fright, the band’s songs managed to make up for the lack of crowd interaction, as they continued their ascent to be the next big British band.


 Marmozets (8/10)


Following Lonely The Brave, Marmozets made it their mission to destroy the awaiting crowd. Lead Singer Becca MacIntyre’s deceptively sweet clean vocals in songs like ‘Captivate You’ lulling casual listeners, before tracks like ‘Why Do You Hate Me?’ showed that she can scream on a level few performers can. Ending with ‘Move Shake Hide’, bassist Will Bottomley ended up crowd surfing while playing along in a moment that encapsulated why Marmozets are one of Britains best live bands.


 Basement (10/10)


When Basement broke up in 2012, it was after releasing their album ‘Colourmeinkindness’, a record which went on to influence countless other bands such as Citizen and Turnover. In the year they were apart, their following rapidly increased through the word of mouth and social media such as Tumblr, and this show was essentially a comeback show for the band. It’s no surprise then, that from the moment the band opened with ‘Whole’, the entire tent exploded. The pit opened in seconds, and people were clambering on each other, in a set that had a constant stream of crowd surfers, and not a single moment without a singalong. The band were all smiles with the reaction, with vocalist Andrew Fisher being drowned out at times due to intensity of singing. The set was a good mix of both albums, and left everyone in no doubt that they had seen the best set of the day.


 The Hives (7/10)


Over on the main stage, The Hives arrived to a raptuous applause. Known for their live shows, the band did not hold back. Singer  “Howlin” Pelle Almqvist was in typically humorous form, telling the crowd, “It’s been our pleasure, and you’re very welcome”, and the band ran through a set of their biggest songs mixed with two or three from their newest album. Finishing with a hugely prolonged version of ‘Tick Tick Boom’ and ‘Hate To Say I Told You So’, they warned the crowd “Our time will come again”, and on the basis of this performance, you better believe them.


 Don Broco (8/10)


Back in the NME tent, and Bedford crew Don Broco began a show that caused the tent to quite literally cave in. As stagnant two day old water collapsed into the pit in several places, the band crashed through hits such as ‘Thug Workout’, ‘Whole Truth’, ‘Priorities’ and ‘Actors’, as the whole tent sang back every word. There was a debut for two new songs and the unusual decision to open with ‘Yeah Man’ payed off, as they walked away from a hugely victorious set.


 CHVRCHES (9/10)


Later on, after a weird and wonderful set by Die Antwoord, electronic act CHVRCHES took to a packed NME tent. Opening with a powerful one-two-three of ‘We Sink’, ‘Lies’ and ‘Gun’, the band had the entire NME tent dancing like their feet were on fire. Singer Lauren Mayberry’s vocals were pitch perfect, and she showed more personality and charisma than most with her chat between songs, whilst her performance on ‘Recover’ had to be seen to be believed. Penultimate song ‘Under The Tide’ had Martin Doherty take over lead vocals whilst Mayberry took over synth duty. He thrived, throwing himself about in a way that completely juxtaposed Mayberry’s more graceful presence. Finishing with ‘The Mother We Share’, the band finished on a festival high, as the entire tent ignited for the best song the tent saw all day.


 Issues (8/10)


Over on the Lock Up stage, Issues began a set that never let up. Smashing through hits such as ‘Never Lose Your Flames’, ‘Life of a Nine’ and ‘King of Amarillo’, the band packed out the tent and showcased their trademark mix of metalcore, nu metal and R’n’B. Vocalists Tyler Carter and Michael Bohn were on top form, and the finale of ‘Hooligans’ left the entire tent breathless and dead on their feet.


 Arctic Monkeys (9/10)


Playing to a crowd that stretched as far as the eye could see, Arctic Monkeys were the buzz band of the day. Playing almost the entirety of their latest album, AM, the band added in a mix of their biggest hits. Newer tracks like ‘I Wanna Be Yours’, ‘R U Mine’ and ‘Why’d You Only Call Me When You’re High’ were greeted with as much revere as older songs like ‘When The Sun Goes Down’, ‘I Bet You Look Good On The Dancefloor’ and ‘Flourescent Adolescent’. Lead singer Alex Turner was the very embodiment of rock and roll, and he grooved and shaked in an open suit, playing some of the most memorable riffs in recent rock history. The inclusion of songs such as ‘My Propeller’ in place of tracks like ‘Fake Tales of San Fransisco’ was the only blemish in an otherwise incredible headline set.



Written by Sam Cowen.