Reading Festival 2015 - Round-Up

This year was one of Reading Festivals most anticipated years, mainly due to The Libertines, Metallica and a sold-out event, here we have a collection of reviews from the festival, with Royal Blood, The Wombats, Foals, Jamie XX and Catfish and The Bottlemen.

Vann McCann of Catfish and The Bottlemen - (C) BBC

Jamie XX - by Jack Storey

When I got to the tent it was rammed, everyone knows how big Jamie XX is now, and he's certainly managed to do it all on his own. Obviously you have The XX fans down at the front hoping for him to play some of their songs but this was a different affair.

The highlight of the set was "Loud Places" which got the crowd moving, and myself too, even considering I'm a late 20's chap with a big body I was loving what Jamie was doing on the decks. Although if you are going to sample vocals from a mate, please let them come along, I was half expecting Romy to appear but alas it never happened. However, Jamie XX was one of the highlights of the whole fucking weekend! Loved it!

Royal Blood - by James Kays

At this weekend's Reading festival Royal Blood took to the main stage to perform a cracking band new track called "Hook, Line and Sinker". The tune returns to the rampant style they had at the start of the band, similar to that of White Stripes. With some meaty hooks and pounding drums this basically sums up the duo in a sentence, still... this new track is just the start of things!

The Wombats - by Maria Torres

Reading Festival 2015 was undoubtedly yet another success, with stellar headline performances on the main stage from Mumford and Sons, Metallica and The Libertines, and numerous incredible sets from the varying genres of bands from stage to stage. However, The Wombats’ Saturday headline set on the very small Festival Republic Stage was most definitely the highlight of the festival. Half an hour before the set began and already the very compact tent was full to it’s maximum capacity, with an audience of all ages packed so tightly that one could barely move a muscle. By 10.30pm, the lights dimmed and the Liverpudlian trio took to the stage to give an intense hour-long performance filled with energy and charisma. 

Matthew Murphy launched straight into the punchy hit ‘Moving to New York’, with the audience reciprocating every lyric with greatest ease. Bassist Tord Knudsen commenced running around the stage after the first beat, driving his energy forward into the atmosphere and encouraging more movement (resulting in an overheated tent), whilst Dan Haggis remained poised yet still ensuring he was giving the drumming his all. The set continued without hesitation, consisting of hits old and new, The Wombats were putting on a show directed at every audience member in their presence. New tracks such as ‘Greek Tragedy’ and ‘Give Me a Try’ were a particular highlight, with catchy choruses being sung back and forth continuously without fail. After what seemed like minutes, the set drew to a close and The Wombats decided to go all out by performing old favourites ‘Tokyo (Vampires and Wolves)’ and ‘Let’s Dance to Joy Division’. The crowd went absolutely crazy for the trio, resulting in Matthew Murphy coming down into the audience to get mobbed, ending in smiles all around.  

The Wombats have proved once again that they have returned with a vengeance and will always be the band full of catchy hits and insane live shows that they always have been. Their Festival Republic set will always be one to remember, as it was flawless, energetic and best of all, pure entertainment. 

Foals  - by Maria Torres

Yannis from Foals - (C) BBC

Saturday morning, there was a buzz to be felt at the NME/Radio 1 tent. Rumours had been circulating the festival that Indie rock band Foals were to be playing an early afternoon set, following the release of their new album ‘What Went Down.’ Although not yet confirmed, festival-goers were fairly positive that the Oxford based band would be making an appearance after seeing posters scattered around the festival and a fairly implicit clue from the festival organisers. Come noon and the tent itself started to fill-up as the news of the band’s appearance presented itself on social media.  

By 1.40pm, the stage was overflowing with an audience eagerly awaiting for Foals to come on stage. The band promptly made an appearance which generated an overpowering cheer and launched straight into familiar hit ‘My Number.’ The reception from the crowd was overwhelming, with the whole tent singing back every lyric word for word whilst mosh pits formed and dancing took place. Yannis Philippakis’ stage persona was immediately revealed, he owned the stage and maintained full adoration from the audience. Numerous guitar rhythms drove the set along effortlessly, ensuring that the band’s incredible musicianship was highlighted throughout the performance. Foals followed with a new track ‘Mountain at my Gates,’ which again displayed their faultless performance as well as being a definite crowd-pleaser for all present. Resulting in an atmospheric climax, the new song is undoubtedly received as an instant classic. The set continued with a trio of older songs, ‘Inhaler’, ‘Spanish Sahara’ and ‘Red Socks Pugie’ which were all performed flawlessly, reflecting the professionalism as well as the popularity of this highly-established band. The crowd chants echoed throughout the tent continuously, inevitably showing that Foals are destined for even greater things to come in the next year.  

Foals concluded their short 30 minute set with another new track ‘What Went Down,’ introducing the heavier guitar riffs as well as darker lyrics, all driven by a continuous beat which encouraged the crowd to go wild. Yannis resulted in stepping down into the audience and being hailed as an ultimate indie legend, with the audience reciprocating with utter chaos, trying to get within close proximity of the lead singer. As the song reached an abrupt finish the applause for Foals was deafening as well as never-ending. The appreciation from the band themselves to their fans was evident as they made their way off stage.

Throughout this short set Foals displayed their achievement of an even greater level of musicianship, with the release of new material, insane live shows and that they are now more than ready to take on the headline slots at countless festivals to come.  

Catfish and the Bottlemen - by Martin Woods

There is no hiding it, Catfish and the Bottlemen are a big deal, and have been for a while now, with a massive d├ębut album  under their belts I expected some sing-a-longs at their set on the BBC/NME Stage but this was on another level.

They're a testament to any band out there thinking that they're is no way they're ever going to be signed, this lot have been together for a long time and now they're reaping their rewards, by playing to a packed out tent at Reading. After a solid Glasto appearance in the rain it was quite nice to see them 'in the dry' - although it was awful weather outside - and during their set they even done a little cover of Stereophonics mid-set. All in all this was a solid set of 9 tracks, expect to see them headline this stage in the future!