Reading Festival - 25, 26, 27 August 2006 (Part 1)

Being somewhat of a veteran UK festival now, I always seem to get drawn in by the lure of Reading, perhaps because it was my first festival and I think Diamond Head will suddenly appear instead of Franz Ferdinand (trivia fans will know they replaced Manowar in 1982), but here I am back again August Bank Holiday, stuck in a sun drenched field wondering "why the fuck am I here?"

This year has to be without doubt the weakest line up ever, all Emo and Indie bollocks, so over the next 3 days here is the festival reviewed from a Glitzine angle, please remember this review was undertaken without the aid of alcohol.

Friday
Kicking things off in fine style were Towers of London over on the main stage, all attitude and loads of Cockney Rejects style singalongs. I've always had doubts about this band, but today I was a convert of the Rev and Co. From I'm a Rat to Freebird (including loads of pigeons being set free) this was quality stuff. Can't wait for the next UK toilet tour now.

Over To The Lock Up Stage and Municipal Waste are thrashing out some Nuclear Assault style hardcore crossover that goes down well albeit to a small crowd of early birds, these guys certainly know their old school.

Having noticed by chance that Towers of London were also due to undertake a Questions and Answers session over at The Nokia Stage, we decided to chance our arm and go along. Lo and behold front and stage right we spent 2 hours watching Towers challenge Batman and Spiderman to wrestle (I kid you not), have a debate over Pikeys, and whether they are of that ilk due to living in a caravan and finish off with a 4 song set that adds "Loose It" from the mornings opening salvo. It was all very unrehearsed, with the Rev having to tune Tommy's bass for him… but it was all very good. Sad thing is, talking to the guys it looks like TVT their label have already decided to pull out touring funds, but good news is "I'm a Rat" is out in October as a single. The UK needs bands like this, not……

Fall Out Boy, are the first band of the weekend that I can say, "I was expecting that", over on the main stage. They are all Emo haircuts, poses and fake angst, whilst "Patrick Stump" the plump hat wearing lead singer (who is actually the talented one here) doesn't even get to speak with the crowd. Such is bassists' Pete Wentz control over what happens. I actually like some of the bands recent singles (they oddly remind me of an early 80's band called G Force that featured Gary Moore), plus I also saw them on the recent UK tour, but my dislike of Wentz onstage antics outstay any humility their tunes might have.

So after that a cleansing experience is needed and that thankfully comes in the form of some real punk rock with New Jerseys The Bouncing Souls over on The Lock Up Stage. For everything I say about Fall Out Boy reverse it for the Bouncing Souls, the band are very humble, wear quality t-shirts (Joan Jett in this case) and look and sound like they actually mean what they are playing. Tracks aired from the new "Gold Album" will have me searching "the tint" this week for my very own copy.

The Kaiser Chiefs bring on the onset of the first night time show of the weekend and they have a quality arena stage show not unlike "Magnum" circa Vigilante, which made me laugh loudly and get strange looks from the Indie girls around me (and god were there a lot of these spoilt idiots around). I have a soft spot for Ricky and his boys and have always found them more in tune with say a "Slade or Roxy" influence than with the obvious Oasis or Blur. Well tonight Matthew they most definitely turned up the Slade, bringing back memories of Noddy's fine return in 1980, with classics from Employment and soon to be classics from the new album. Sadly 5 or 6 songs in the heavens opened and a monsoon ensued.

This "force majeure" disorientated me enough that like a startled bunny I chose the NME tent over the Carling tent (where Eagles of Death Metal were playing) and ended up in the middle of a Dizzee Rascal crowd. Oh fuck!!!! I honestly have never seen so much bollocks in all my life, it was like a scene from "Ali G Indahouse" and I was a fricking extra.

Which is why I'm glad I then made it over to watch Twilight Singers with Greg Dulli and Mark Lanegan, which although somewhat subdued in pace was at least listenable and marked a 40 minute set of guitar driven epic landscapes not unlike both singers previous acts.

Having suffered a good soaking and with the time fast approaching 10:30, it's time for a short walk back to the NME tent for Primal Scream (Franz Ferdinand simply do not warrant another hour in these torrid open air conditions) and boy do the UK's MC5 "Kick Out the Jams muthafunkers". "Moving On Up" sets the pace to frantic and before you know everyone in the tent is joined as one dancing away to "Swastika Eyes" and "Jailbird", and then the hour set is all over with "Country Girl". I have a love/hate relationship with Primal Scream live but on this showing the Riot City Blues tour will be a must have ticket come the winter (that is if any of them are still left).

This day was a great start to the weekend, but with biblical rain and a day of Indie ahead we headed back to our hotel (what do you think I would be camping… your having a laugh) thinking of either building an ark or staying in bed til Sunday.

Johnny H

Part 2 to follow