Reading Festival: Royal Blood, Marmozets, Lonely The Brave

UK rock music in rude health on the NME/Radio 1 Stage

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It’s great to see such a big UK presence on every stage at Reading this year and the Saturday afternoon NME/Radio 1 stage line-up is no exception.

The first act making the huge jump from the BBC Introducing stage to the second biggest stage at the festival are alt rock’s worst kept secret, Lonely The Brave (710). The Cambridge quintet arrive onstage to a modest crowd that begins to fill out as they belt out some uplifting, post-rock tinged songs accompanied perfectly by introverted vocalist David Jakes’ powerful delivery on tracks like Trick Of The Light. There’s barely any stage show, but such things as fancy lights and pyro aren’t necessary when the music is as captivating as this. Just ahead of their debut album being released, Lonely The Brave did more than enough to win over a hoard of new fans during their set.

Next up, also jumping from the BBC Introducing Stage to the NME/Radio 1 stage are Marmozets (1010), who play an absolute stormer of a show. Frontwoman Becca MacIntyre has a possessed look on her face as she mesmerizes the crowd, switching from pitch-perfect singing to vicious screams in an instant on Why Do You Hate Me? and Born Young And Free. Backed up by her brothers Sam and Josh on guitar and drums respectively, as well as brothers Jack and Will Bottomley on guitars and bass, Becca and the gang take the audience on a wild ride through tech metal and math rock via the catchiest choruses you’ll hear all year. Destroying the stage as they leave, this was a statement of intent from Marmozets, who you’ll be hearing lots more about as they release their debut album on September 29. Later in the day, as if playing the biggest tent at Reading wasn’t enough, they also totally slayed The Pit stage, with an even heavier set.

By the time Royal Blood (910) take to the NME/Radio1 stage the tent is so full that there are rows and rows of people stuck outside, clambering for a glimpse of rock’s hottest new property. The Brighton duo’s debut album has just dropped and the hype around them couldn’t be much more frenzied than right now. Judging from their set at Reading, it’s easy to see why. Vocalist/bassist Mike Kerr uses a multitude of pedals to get a full, bluesy/distorted sound out of his four-stringer while drummer Ben Thatcher smashes all hell out of his drums. Combine the two and you get a damn powerful performance with a sound vastly bigger than the sum of its parts. Simple yet devastatingly effective, their heavy blues rock will translate the world over and no doubt they’ll be tearing the Main Stage apart this time next year.