it's Friday and I'm In Love with The Cure at Reading

Reading Festival 2012 review

published: Tue 28th Aug 2012

The Cure

Friday 24th to Sunday 26th August 2012
Little Johns Farm, Richfield Avenue, Reading, Berkshire, RG1 8EQ, England MAP
Friday or Saturday £85, Sunday day tickets and weekend tickets sold out
daily capacity: 90000
last updated: Mon 27th Aug 2012

The advantage of Reading Festival is that it's easy to get to, and easy to find, and early on there's plenty of space on the 90,000 capacity site and time to orientate yourself to the six main stages.

around the festival site (Friday)
On arrival I'm relieved to find that it's not muddy but that instead there's grass underfoot, and a chilled friendly crowd. First up for me are O'Brother, and a great noise great to blow out the morning cobwebs. We get 'Machines' both parts but their set is not really entertaining and rather introspective. With so little on, well there are festival regulars Future Of The Left on the NME and back at the main stage I eye the sky balefully and watch an hour of Deaf Havana. They're genuinely shocked to be here, saying, "this is ridiculous that we are actually playing the main stage. It's something we have dreamed of since we started the band." A sensible statement for an act opening slot of such a prestigious festival.Opening with 'I Will Try', they follow with 'I'm A Bore, Mostly', and 'Little White Lies', before my favourite 'Leeches'. It's an accomplished six song set, and I expect more from them in the future.

Palma Violets
The crowd gathers for festival favourites Hadouken!, and I'm headed that way. It's clearly going to be one of the most lively of the weekend, but I am distracted by a trumpet blaring from We Were Frontiers on the BBC Introducing stage, and stay for a couple of songs, before going on to the garage psychedelic sounds of Palma Violets, and so Hadouken! will have to wait. They have drawn a sizeable crowd, and rave through an energetic set. 'Best Of Friends' is one of many decent tunes, a band destined to climb through the ranks over the next few years at this festival. The band tell us they met at Reading only a couple of years ago, and yet the crowd participation going with hands in the air. To the chant of "Over And Over Again" the drummer ascends, and '14' has decent hooks once the crowd know it, it will be a decent future anthem. They end on a "brand new song, its going to be a number one" and we all sing along.

As predicted Hadouken! are packing the tent, and dedicate tunes to old school and their "Myspace crew - we didn't have Tumblr in my day." They still rock in style, I can't believe it's only their third visit here as they're songs for me are that memorable. They sure know how to lift a crowd, shame the tent smells of piss though, and they're shout and reply is top notch, the samples they use aren't bad either. They are the first band to smash it at this year's Reading, and 'Turn The Lights Out' is one of the highlights of the weekend.

Family Of The Year
For a complete music shift, I take in the uplifting surf rock delivered from Family Of The Year who have the crowd clapping along, with nice feel good tunes driven by synths and rolling basslines. They are genuinely amazed people know the words, and 'Hero' has more clapping along to its gentle tune. 'St. Croix' has all the hallmarks of a classic sway along radio friendly hit. They finish with 'Living on Love'. Nice sounds expect them to grace bigger sunny festival stages in future, and with a spring in my step I am off to a bit of ska punk with Star Fucking Hipsters before Brooklyn's Friends beckon.

When I get there, their lead singer Samantha Urbani is in the crowd singing "for the weekend" and they prove aurally entertaining with their instrumentation. After watching Savages I join the crowd to wait for Spector. From their introducing slot last year they sure have come a long way. They are greeted with a great reception and sing along to 'Celestine' they have an hours worth of tunes now, and I am shocked how many know every line of these songs now. During 'Friday Night, Don't Ever Let it End', singer Frederick Macpherson even has time to laconically comb his hair. By the third song '20 Nothing' its clear that everyone also thinks these guys from "London, England" rock. The audience's age is revealed when Macpherson asks all those who got their GCSE results to cheer. The noise doesn't dissipate for 'What You Wanted' and the band, who say they are playing to the most people ever, have clearly arrived on the music scene. 'Chevy Thunder' and a bit of patter, the crowd are in the palm of his hand, responding to his call chants and clap to 'Never Fade Away' which they say they wrote here last year. Surely, future headliners if they keep at it.

around the festival site (Friday)
After a quick look at the rather mental Ceremony, its back to another highlight of the weekend Sweden's The Hives. Reading usually looks trashed by now but it's surprisingly tidy even by the main stage. I've only been there in passing as for me all the action has been away from the main stage, with the tented second stage the best atmosphere and no rain yet.

Top hatted, suited and booted with a surging staccato drum beat they begin their nine song set with 'Come On!', and 'Main Offender' and in the words of singer Howlin' Pelle Almqvist, "We are going to do our best to tire you out." And soon they have us yelling along to what they call their "national anthem" 'Hate To Say I Told You So', and under canvas we're even happier as the rain starts as 'Wait a Minute' starts, and awesome performance!

around the festival site (Friday)
I can't resist a bit of Brooklyn's We Are Augustines who sound great. I arrive just in time with them in full flow with balloons being thrown into the crowd who sing 'Happy Birthday' when Billy McCarthy mentions his birthday in an off the cuff remark . The balloon theme continues on the main stage with Crystal Castles' haunting wig out music. As usual the purple haired Alice Glass is shrouded in smoke, although amazingly the screens pick her out clearly although I can hardly see into the stage.

Scroobius Pip takes over from Nathan Caton and the Alternative Tent goes from half empty to packed, 'Domestic Silence, and 'Try Dying' are amongst the tunes pip raps out this afternoon. He says he's glad to see "pockets of rowdiness" breaking out in the tent.

Looking out of the tent flap I see a large crowd forming and so walk over to Lucy Rose who has packed the tent. Looking out at the seething tent Rose admits, "this it's a totally insane the most insane gig we have ever done" and the crowd claps boisterously throughout the set, and it's so loud during new single 'Bikes' that I can't even hear it. Rose is moved, saying she didn't know if anyone would turn up, and that like other bands appearing here over the weekend, this is the best gig show she has has ever done so far. Maybe it's the fact that Reading means so much to the acts that makes this such a good festival atmosphere. She ends with 'Red Face' with the line "take what you wanted" and we have.

Wet Nuns
The crowd stay and amazingly swell even more, getting impatient for Alt-J, and it gets hot and close in the tightly packed crowd, and some find it all too much, collapsing and being carried out to the fresh air. The opening notes get a huge cheer. During 'Tesselate'. I'm slightly distracted as another girl collapses,and I take her out to of the tent. I decide to leave the sweaty throng - what a great decision! I catch Wet Nuns. The duo from Sheffield are rocking up a blues fuelled storm, fantastic stuff and the pair are funny with it. They feature next single 'Why You So Cold?' due out in September and it turns out they end up being my band of the weekend.

I head to the main stage next to chill out with a spirited performance from Bombay Bicycle Club, and chat to friends during Paramore. The former prove to be the better of the two. Proxies draw a small but bouncy crowd, "just for the weekend". They're a nice distraction as are Every Time I Die in the Lock Up who whip up the crowd arriving like refugees from the rain. I hear good things about Foster the People playing in the NME tent. But for me it's all about The Cure.

Okay the slimmed down crowd proves they are not to everybody's taste, but I'm so glad Reading took a gamble on booking them, and there's always The Maccabees, Anti-Flag, and Social Distortion for those who didn't fancy a trip through The Cures' back catalogue. What followed was a three hour heavy weight set that was a delight for Cure fans. Not until the encore did Robert and Co. elect to play the more familiar, winding up for those few that remained with an encore that included 'Lovecats', 'Close to Me' and 'Why Can't I Be You?', and a monumental climax with 'Boys Don't Cry'. Thank you Reading boss Melvin Benn for taking the risk in booking them, it was more than worth it, will booking 'risky' headliners continue next year? I hope so.

The Cure
review by: Scott Williams

photos by: Karen Williams / Scott Williams

Friday 24th to Sunday 26th August 2012
Little Johns Farm, Richfield Avenue, Reading, Berkshire, RG1 8EQ, England MAP
Friday or Saturday £85, Sunday day tickets and weekend tickets sold out
daily capacity: 90000
last updated: Mon 27th Aug 2012


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