It’s August. Autumn approaches. Your Christmas payment plan makes you want to cry and there’s invisible dog poo everywhere you step. The clock is ticking.
Before consigning yourself to financial oblivion, why not go out with a bang at Reading & Leeds? The twin festivals are boasting a smorgasbord of acts from the biggest bands on Earth to a wealth of next big things. We don’t need to tell you to see Metallica, so, without further ado, here’s ten acts that’ll make you forget about impending economical doom. Maybe.
FEED THE RHINO – Main Stage, Sunday (Reading) & Friday (Leeds) Alongside Gallows and Palm Reader, Feed The Rhino – or, alternatively, ‘Feed The Fackin’ Rhino’ – are a shining example of UK hardcore done right. Since the Mr Red Eye days, the Kent five-piece have expanded from their basic beginnings; the gang vocals are more boisterous, the riffs are meatier and frontman Lee Tobin’s beard is heftier in both girth and length. This is a band designed for filth-ridden sweatboxes – that main stage will be the Rhino’s chew toy.
GOD DAMN – Lock Up Stage, Friday (Reading) & Saturday (Leeds) “God damn,” said everyone in attendance, scooping their brains from the floor and cradling them like a herd of Oods. This Wolverhampton duo make an awful racket for just two blokes, weaving barbed guitar through roared vocals and primal drum beats. Like The Jesus Lizard humping Electric Wizard. Like Black Sabbath doing the dirty with Nirvana. In short: a bit good.
BRING ME THE HORIZON – Main Stage, Saturday (Reading) & Sunday (Leeds) Subbing to Metallica and with an imminent album of anthems ready to go, Sheffield’s inky supernova is about to bring all the tunes. While Drown, Throne and Happy Song split opinion, they’re undoubtedly doing what Bring Me have always strived to do: push buttons. All right, it’s a lot of buttons they’re tinkering with, but they’ve only ascended as a live act in recent years, with Sempiternal’s Linkin Park tinged tunes proving to be certified crowd pleasers. A repeat of the spine-tingling, pant-wetting Shadow Moses moment two years prior is destined to occur when they drop Throne. Just typing that can only be achieved with crossed legs.
FRANK CARTER & THE RATTLESNAKES – The Pit, Sunday (Reading) & Friday (Leeds) Pure Love wasn’t everyone’s cup of tea, but Frank Carter’s latest endeavour promises to be savage as a swan on an arm-breaking frenzy. Blossom is a beast of a record, injecting the volatile hardcore of Carter’s Gallows into Pure Love’s anthemic swagger; it’s a winning combination, with tunes like Juggernaut guaranteed to incite mass limb-flailing and the blues-tinged, abhorring I Hate You will definitely provide the weekend’s most delicate, impassioned sing-along: “You’re a useless fucking cunt, you are nothing to me.”
BARONESS – The Pit, Saturday (Reading) & Sunday (Leeds) You want heavy? Baroness will smite you down with the sheer weight of their songs, flattening your skull into some 2D spade-like shape. You’ll be done, mate. A severe bus crash, line-up shuffles and extensive touring has robbed us of fresh material thus far, but a new album is on the horizon through the band’s own label, Abraxan Hymns. Until then, though, three albums’ worth of bass-laden stoner rock will have to do. That’s all right with us.
MARMOZETS – Main Stage, Saturday (Reading) & Sunday (Leeds) A main stage appearance that threatens to Feed The Fackin’ Rhino a strong sedative and send it to sleep. Marmozets’ spasmodic Dillinger Escape Plan time signatures and guitar blasts blend with gargantuan, undeniably catchy choruses to present an intriguing dichotomy and a right old treat for the punters; Born Young And Free was made to get slightly pissed teenagers clapping along in the rain. Becca Macintyre is one of the strongest voices to emerge from the UK rock scene in an age, balancing melodious leads with guttural bellows that’d earn her a spot in the live finals were The X Factor judged solely by Glen Benton and Chris Barnes.
**GOJIRA – The Pit, Saturday (Reading) & Sunday (Leeds) **The overall line-up is a constant source of debate, but props to Reading & Leeds for booking a death metal band; even if only one drunken indie kid stumbles along by accident, it’ll be worth it. This band does not do bad shows. Gojira plugs in, plays and pulverises. The past two albums – especially L’enfant Sauvage – have flirted with melody, mixing the band’s technical brutality with a few classic choruses just to prove nobody else can do it better. Oh, and when Backbone hits? Make sure you’ve packed a crash helmet. The heaviest band to ever play Reading & Leeds, bar none.
REFUSED – The Pit, Sunday (Reading) & Friday (Leeds) “I hate Refused! They went back on what they said! They said they’d never get back together!” When we were younger, we wanted to be a dinosaur. As the years progressed, the desire to transform into an Iguanodon waned and it became apparent that it was, in fact, a terrible idea. That’s what Refused have done. Whether you call the reunion a shallow money-making scheme or a genuine second coming, the Swedish hardcore heroes are finally basking in the aftermath of The Shape Of Punk To Come and even have a new record, entitled Freedom. They still kick arse live and, with a tent packed of fans going berserk to New Noise, even the most jaded, cynical purist would struggle to keep from grinning.
ATREYU – The Pit, Saturday (Reading) & Sunday (Leeds) The term ‘hiatus’ holds less weight than a cling film ballbag nowadays, but we’re still glad Atreyu have returned after a four year absence. With a new album slated for next month, there are a legion of breakdown-starved fans ready for this Californian metalcore mob to bring all the choruses come the weekend. Lip Gloss And Black. Falling Down. The Crimson. Tunes for weeks.
ANDREW O’NEILL: HISTORY OF DEATH METAL – Alternative Stage, Friday (Reading) & Saturday (Leeds) OK, so this isn’t actually a band. But he’s bringing his customised Flying V and he’ll be cracking nerdish jokes about death metal at a festival headlined by The Libertines and Mumford & Sons, so he gets a thumbs up from us. 100% the best transvestite occultist black metal stand up comedian you’ll ever see.
Reading and Leeds festivals take place this weekend (28-30 August) at Richfield Avenue and Bramham Park respectively.