From Babymetal to Bring Me The Horizon, here’s your rundown of the second day at Reading Festival…
**BABYMETAL WIN OVER READING IN STYLE **Despite the early warnings of cloud the sun is shining for the second day of Reading. And if that wasn’t unusual enough, perhaps the main stage will make up for it with Babymetal. The J-metal sensations have long since thrown off the shackles of internet oddity and become a fully-fledged festival necessity (and Hammer cover stars). Attracting a frankly bafflingly large crowd for this early on a hangover, the trio of tutu’d terrors rattle through 30 minutes of heavy, poppy, dancey bonkers metal. Fox horns are held aloft throughout as the curious Reading crowd sign themselves up to the Metal Resistance. We’re off to get the Gimme Chocolate!! lyrics tattooed on our face. (LM)
Babymetal | Will Ireland
EVERYONE LOVES PVRIS ‘Quick, we need to get to PVRIS!’ is the phrase seemingly on everyone’s lips as the crowd surges towards The Pit. Listening to Lynn Gunn’s crystal clear tones ringing out through the overflowing tent, it’s obvious why PVRIS have amassed so many fans so quickly. Their confidence and presence grows with every show, and with The Pit stage full beyond its capacity, they could well find themselves on a bigger stage the following year. Of course, they finished the set with My House, and despite it being their go-to closer, it’s still tingle-inducing.
PVRIS | Sandra Sorensen
ATREYU CAN STILL MAKE METALHEADS SING BON JOVI SONGS Part of Atreyu’s schtick ten years ago was embracing metal’s cheesy side with their cover of Bon Jovi’s You Give Love A Bad Name, and you’ll be pleased (maybe) to hear they’re still at it today. PVRIS’s young audience has filtered out of The Pit to make way for Reading’s older metalhead contingent, but nobody is too cool not to shout along to the Bon Jovi cover at the top of their lungs. Shredding is the name of the game for Atreyu, and the lively crowd proves that power-metal is still great fun to watch. Which is good news for the American rockers – their new album Long Live is out on September 18, and if this set is anything to go by, it’s going to sound quite a lot like their previous ones.
Atreyu | Sandra Sorensen
MARMOZETS’ BECCA MACINTYRE IS A ROCK ’N’ ROLL QUEEN Only three words can be used to describe Marmozets’ storming main stage slot – absolutely bloody brilliant. Becca MacIntyre is everything a frontwoman should be, alternating effortlessly between a razor-sharp scream and powerful singing. Her energy is definitely worthy of a slot higher up the bill, which, after Saturday’s rousing, no-bullshit performance, might just be a possibility for next year. That’s not to say the other band members aren’t pulling their weight – Sam MacIntyre and Jack Bottomley bust out some impressive dual riffs over the tempo changes, while Will Bottomley holds it all together with his tight basslines. Stellar work from Becca and her band – now let’s have a another album please, and quickly.
Marmozets | Will Ireland
SLAVES AREN’T BIG ON EDUCATION ‘Who here has just finished their GCSEs or A-Levels?’ asks Laurie Vincent, to a rapturous cheer from the packed NME tent. Their elation doesn’t last long, though, as he declares: ‘Let me tell you a secret - they don’t matter. We haven’t got any!’ And a lack of qualifications certainly hasn’t stopped this very angry duo from filling stages at festivals. Against an innocuous backdrop of two cuddly-looking Bichon Frise dogs, the Hawaiian-shirted Laurie and drummer Isaac Holman draw on the Sex Pistols and fellow duo Sleaford Mods for inspiration, getting to Britpop’s disenchanted heart and playing an impressively noisy, tight set.
Slaves | Will Ireland
PIERCE THE VEIL ARE VERY EXCITED TO PLAY READING Vic Fuentes is feeling ambitious – despite looking like he’s taken up a second job in a supermarket in his striped shirt complete with embroidered name-badge, the frontman encourages the crowd to start a pit during the set. Just like All Time Low the previous day, his request is met with an enthusiastic flurry of moshing pop-punks. You can’t blame him for being excitable – it’s Pierce The Veil’s first time playing Reading festival, and it’s also guitarist Tony Perry’s first show back after having to take time out to recover from a mountain biking injury. Vic even smashed his guitar in an attempt to up the rock ante, but that sweet-sounding pop-punk ain’t fooling anyone, Vic.
Pierce The Veil | Will Ireland
ALEXISONFIRE STILL BURN Despite various members of the seminal post-hardcore squad now finding full-time work elsewhere, Alexisonfire will always be home for the Ontario quintet. Whether this is the start of a full-scale reunion remains to be seen, but judging by the size and volume of Reading, it wouldn’t be a bad move. Rattling through nothing short of a masterclass in emotion, Boiled Frogs a particular arms open highlight. The camaraderie onstage is palpable as the band is well and truly back together and full of the same vitriol we know and love. A city-levelling This Could Be Anywhere In The World sends die-hards and newbies alike into a frenzy and could be responsible for the heavens opening. AOF are back and we don’t care if we’re wet. (LM)
Alexisonfire | Will Ireland
**NO DEVOTION MAKE THEIR FESTIVAL DEBUT **After a lengthy tune-up (which it would turn out was just the start of problems on The Pit stage) a slightly nervous No Devotion play what vocalist Geoff Rickly calls their ‘first big show’ and there’s a strong sense that they’re still testing the water. Nobody could blame them for being nervous after the horrific end of their previous incarnation Lostprophets, and Geoff Rickly is well aware that his new band wants nothing more than to shed their associations with the past. ‘Thank you for caring about these guys, who went through the worst fucking break-up ever,’ he says. As the set goes on, they find their groove, and rouse the crowd with collection of melodic, indie-tinged tracks like Addition and the anthemic Stay. Once they fully find their confidence, they’ll be great.
No Devotion | Sandra Sorensen
BARONESS SLAY EVEN DURING SOUNDCHECK The Pit stage is running later as the day goes on, but Baroness are determined to keep the waiting crowd entertained, by making their sound check a metal show in itself. Never has the word ‘check’ been growled with such force. Frontman John Baizley even jokes that the band should be finishing their set when they finally get round to starting, but they manage to hold the slightly tetchy crowd’s attention with a set that’s all piercing riffs and soaring harmonies like those on March To The Sea. Even the younger half of the audience that are there only to save a spot for PVRIS seem to be enjoying themselves – even if one did describe Baroness to her mate as ‘dodgy old blokes with beards’. That’s half the charm of metal, isn’t it?
Baroness | Sandra Sorensen
IT’S THE YEAR OF THE DUO You’d think a band that can count Jimmy Page among its fans (the Led Zeppelin guitarist labelled Royal Blood ‘fantastic’ after watching them play in New York) would look a bit happier, but drummer Ben Thatcher won’t crack a smile for anyone, even when bassist Mike Kerr introduces him and lets him go crazy on the drums for five minutes. After Slaves’ rousing set on the NME stage earlier in the day, Royal Blood are bringing more of the same two-man energy to the main stage, where they unleash the bluesy Come On Over and Figure It Out early in the set, and manage to sound like an entire band. If anyone’s flying the flag for duos to be given headline sets of their own, it’s the Black Rebel Motorcycle Club-loving Royal Blood. They might not be the most original-sounding rock act of the past year, but they can pack a live punch.
Royal Blood | Will Ireland
TWIN ATLANTIC CHEER EVERYONE UP Less than a year ago, Twin Atlantic was struggling to keep the attention of the crowd at London’s Roundhouse, with undeniably anthemic songs but a lack of on-stage confidence. Sam McTrusty has well and truly broken out of his shell for their set on the NME stage – he holds the crowd in the palm of his hand as he nonchalantly flips his fringe and commands what might just be the biggest cheer the stage has heard all day. Cracking out their breakthrough hit Free early in the set was a good move; the crowd goes wild, and it’s more than enough evidence that Twin Atlantic might just be ready for the main stage next year. The bigger the stage, the better these Scottish rockers sound, and their feel-good pop-rock is the perfect antidote to the evening drizzle.
Twin Atlantic | Sandra Sorensen
BRING ME THE HORIZON DELIVER THE GOODS With the bass turned up to 11, Sheffield’s inkiest export are out to do damage tonight. Anticipation and expectation is high from fans and industry alike as the phrase “future headliners” is uttered across the site with wishful thinking. Opening on Happy Song, BMTH have their full production backing them up with giant screens and loads of CO2 sending Reading into a mass of circle pits and crowd surfers. Antivist, Blessed With A Curse, Throne and Chelsea Smile are met with open arms and lungs but it’s set-closer Drown that turns it up a notch. This is the moment the song was written for, the sun setting over 50,000 baying fans who are still crying out for more. Come back soon, lads. (LM)
Bring Me The Horizon | Will Ireland
GHOST GO HEAD-TO-HEAD WITH ‘TALLICA Topping off a long day on The Pit is Ghost, who get the brunt of the stage’s late running time. They’re almost an hour behind schedule, meaning they now clash with Metallica, but that hasn’t put their fans off coming to rock out to the Swedish rockers. Opening with From The Pinnacle To The Pit from their latest, very well-received record Meliora, it’s immediately obvious that behind the creepy imagery, these guys are really all about the music. The tandem solos between the two Nameless Ghouls on guitar put a retro spin on their often grungy sound, and the tightness of the live show is more than worth missing Metallica for. If You Have Ghosts, the track that first propelled them into the metal mainstream, is the encore, and the crowd chants along word for word as Papa Emeritus III thanks them by blowing a kiss. ‘I love you, Papa!’ shouts one excitable gentleman.
Ghost | Sandra Sorensen