Reading's final day climaxes in Foo delight

Reading Festival 2012 review

published: Tue 28th Aug 2012

Foo Fighters

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

It's all about drum and guitar duos this weekend for me with Deap Vally the main attraction first thing after Of Monsters and Men close with their hit. The attractive American pair deliver a blues drenched set and are a decent opener to get us all awake properly, an act I'd like to seek out more from.

Mongol Horde
Following them Toy are up next and by comparison they do little to enthral me and so I head with the crowds next door to a packed Alternative Tent and comedian Tim Minchin, delivering a familiar set of songs and laughs. Crossing the stream of people entering the arena I catch Frank Turner's new outfit Mongol Horde, a Million Dead lite, I'm not all that impressed. Less manic, silly lyrics and a singer who it seems to me wants out of the folk singer box he's been placed in.

Next door first timers at Reading Scots Django Django are making a more impressive musical legacy, with dense beats, organic bleeps and a building percussive urgency as the undercurrent, it draws in a growing crowd although the fact the tent reeks of piss means many prefer to watch from outside. Despite being relative newcomers they already have a fully formed set built around crowd pleasers 'Hail Bop', 'Storm', 'Waveforms', and 'Skies Over Cairo'.

Back passed the arena gates to see DZ Deathrays another guitar and drum duo on the metaller side of the spectrum, they're a pair of highly enjoyable noise merchants. Attracted by the name as much as anything else a visit to Americans Polar Bear Club for some Lock Up bouncing in the heat means that I get to also enjoy the rather out of place , Rachel Sermanni's gentle acoustic set before reaching Festival Republic early for Alberta Cross. Whilst waiting I realise that there's some act playing with their backs to a gathered crowd up in the BBC Area, below them crowds are craning to hear the set from vantage point of the third story TV set. I am not cricking my neck finding out who they are, and I feel the lack of special guests on Introducing replaced by this instead is an idea that sucks, almost as much as walking off the real ale bar yesterday when that too was controlled by the media, with the place half full.

The Joy Formidable
Talking of which the tent for Alberta Cross is nearly empty, and judging by the sea of people leaving Stephen K Amos comedy is definitely the new rock and roll even at Reading. Luckily, its much busier for The Joy Formidable, who seem to climax each song with euphoric walls of sound. Wandering back again I stumble across the rather awesome Marmozets on the BBC Introducing who are smashin it with some new grooved old school metal. Lead singer Becca MacIntyre has an awesome growl! Tracks include 'Collisions' and this is a band I'll be watching again, one of my three top new finds of the weekend.

Most of the early bands on Reading's line-up on the main stage have worked their way up and I have seen most of them too often already to prove much of a draw for me, it is the other stages I prefer to haunt, but Welsh rockers Bullet For My Valentine are the exception, proper rock and they're still not massive, no idea why, but their show encapsulates what main stage acts have traditionally been all about with ear punishing riffs, yell along lyrics, and circle pits. To say it in Welsh, "lush!" With singalong classics like 'Tears Don't Fool' which they dedicated to Foo Fighters.

Zulu Winter
After doing the main stage thing I feel comedy is the order of the day and Jason Byrne has me in stitches taking the piss out of the Scottish security and it was the only time I have ever seen a rolling race between two pairs of grown men wrapped in cling film – hilarious! Next door Zulu Winter are pretty good too, although they struggle, as they clash with Kaiser Chiefs, to draw the crowd they deserve with songs like 'We Should Be Swimming'. The Chiefs may not be the best musicians but they deliver what Reading crowds love – the chance to deliver a hit packed set of scream along tunes from 'Never Miss a Beat', through 'Everyday I Love You Less and Less' to the rousing 'I Predict a Riot', 'Ruby' and 'The Angry Mob' they're all hits with the crowd even a cover of 'Pinball Wizard' and a few less well known tracks go down well whilst up at the NME Stage dance fans are kept happy with SBTRKT and their giant spectacled badger head.

Whilst there's another drum and guitar duo on the BBC Introducing stage, We Walk On Ice although this one fails to grab me. Next up are Turbonegro with their new Brit lead singer, and more crazy hooked choruses, and then a little The Black Keys. Last time I saw them at Reading they were just a duo, and I expected the same, instead we get a full band. The disappointment continues as the crowd only know 'Howlin' for You' and 'Gold on the Ceiling' and the set is pretty flat apart from 'Lonely Boy'. I decide it's time for a little food before tonight's main event and the queues are quite long, and food prices were quite average and ranged from £3 for chips to £7 for a meal, but the amount of food on the floor made me wonder what the quality was like at many of the stalls.

Foo Fighters
For many this is the perfect climax to this year's festival, a packed field are here to see Dave Grohl's Foo Fighters playing what Grohl announces will be their last live show for some time, and a 26 song set including a rare outing of 'Exhausted', and 'Alone + Easy Target'. Taylor is wearing a NASA t shirt, and he sings 'Cold Day In The Sun' Grohl brings out his daughter with headphones on and dedicates, 'Walk' to her. We all wondered how Grohl would mark that Nirvana Reading set 20 years ago , and he dedicated 'The Days' to "a couple of people that couldn't be here tonight. This one's for Krist and this one's for Kurt." Later he got the audience to sing happy birthday to his mother on the side of the stage, just as he had done back in 1992. It's a bit of a surprise to see quite a few flags at the start of their set, but they're not there a few songs in, clearly the no flags rule is still pretty much in force.

For those that weren't Foo fans Justice hit the switch on their giant white cross and opened with 'Civilisation' whilst for the punks Less Than Jake get us bouncing, and call us Reeding and say they have been here for 4 days already, not sure how as they were at Leeds. The humour and the horn section stay sharp throughout and I enjoy the space to bounce along to 'Johnny Quest Thinks We're Sellouts'. But by far the biggest crowd, dwarfing that of The Cure on Friday and stretching all the way back to the BBC introducing tent (making it one of the biggest I've seen here in a decade is for the Foos who finish their crowd pleasing set with 'Everlong' as fireworks blast into the night sky and no one leaves disappointed.

around the festival site (Sunday)
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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