The weather is awful but there are plenty of shows out there worth leaving the house for, so get stuck into our recommended gigs for the reminder of March and spread the word. If you have shows you would like to put forward for April, get in touch.
HADOUKEN! – March 20th- Kingston
McClusky’s in Kingston alongside the good folk at Banquet Records will be hosting Hadouken’s album launch show for ‘Every Weekend’. Their gigs always bounce off the walls so go check out a band that have just been announced this week for Reading and Leeds main stage. You’d be a fool to miss this one considering how intimate the venue is. £10 for the show and a copy of the album. Visit www.banquetrecords.com for all ticket info and download this Koven remix for some deep dubstep and bass damage.
PARQUET COURTS – 19th, 20th, 21st March – London
American band Parquet Courts will be playing three shows in London towards the end of the month. 19th The Garage, Highbury (w/ The Men), Wednesday 20th March at The Shacklewell Arms, London New Cross and 21st at the Seebright Arms off Hackney Road as they make their mark on the UK. Follow your nose here to listen to their debut album. It’s a great blend of 70’s punk and trashy indie steez.
BLACK REBEL MOTORCYCLE CLUB – Dublin, Belfast
The rest of the UK have missed out but just in time for their new album ‘Specter At The Feast’, Black Rebel Motorcycle Club will be hitting up Belfast and Dublin. The American garage rock band will hopefully be back soon, but if you are in Ireland then get down to some shoegaze. Check here for dates.
BIFFY CLYRO – Tour across the UK
Scottish rock band Biffy Clyro will be heading off on tour from 20th March, heading to Newcastle, Birmingham, Cardiff, Sheffield, Manchester, Bournemouth, Dublin, Belfast, Aberdeen, Glasgow and London. Arenas are their kind of place and their shows are usually full of fire, smoke and rock and roll. Click here for full dates.
THE SMOKING HEARTS – Tour across England
British rock and roll band The Smoking Hearts will be doing a small tour at the end of March, visiting London (free show!), Bournemouth, Carthmathean, Cheltenham and Basingstoke. These newcomers are already known for their crazy antics of smashing guitars and drum kits sprawling across the stage. Click here for full dates.
JAGERMEISTER W/ GHOST, GOJIRA & THE DEFILED – Tour across the UK
Booze and rock and roll hits the road this month. A mere £5, the tour will be visiting major cities across the UK, bringing their A-game no doubt as they take everyone apart, piece by piece. For full dates click here.
GIDEON – March 20th – London
Heavy metal band Gideon will be showing off their stuff at The Garage, London at a one off show. Profoundly known for being aggressive and hardcore as fuck, £6 is most certainly a good deal. Click here for more information.
Red Dons are visiting for 3 shows in the UK this month bringing their unique incendiary hardcore with them. On Wednesday 27th March they play The Shacklewell Arms in London, Thursday 28th March at Wharf Chambers in Leeds and Friday 29th March TBA in Manchester. Read this killer interview and make sure you don’t miss this. Hyped.
Number one album rockers Biffy Clyro have been announced as headliners of Reading & Leeds this year with System Of A Down, Fall Out Boy, Foals, Jake Bugg and Bring Me The Horizon also joining the festival line up. Tickets are on sale now here.
One more headline act is yet to be revealed, who could it be? My Bloody Valentine maybe?
And so Reading Festival was finally upon us. From the moment the first acts are announced early on in the year, you can’t help but be excited about it. You’ve just never heard of anyone having a shit time at Reading, have you? We certainly never have. Despite almost blowing it by getting rather out of control on the Friday night, we managed to last the distance and ended up having one of the best Reading experiences ever, helped along by a multitude of excellent bands, an endless stream of good people, power ballads, mainstream hip-hop, vodka in Capri-sun containers, a fair few pints of cider and a gallon or two of Relentless energy drink. Relentless eyes ahoy!
Unfortunately, we missed Young Guns open up the main stage but by all accounts, they had a monstrous crowd and did their job of kicking off the festival very well indeed. A Day To Remember followed on in style with their enthusiastic combination of pop-punk and hardcore getting the crowd in a tizzy despite it only being 1pm. Judging by the intense reaction they got, there will be no stopping their rise in popularity any time soon. Everyone present seemed to be relishing in the great melodies mixed up with great chugs.
Two Door Cinema Club continued the theme of humungous crowds for their poptastic set over at the Radio 1 / NME tent. Despite never having consciously listened to their music, they’re one of those bands whose songs I apparently know anyway through some sort of mainstream osmosis process. The band’s set was rapturously received by the mass assembled and it’s safe to say they were the perfect choice for that stage. They probably could’ve even been billed higher. One of those cases of a band blowing up so quickly that, by the time Reading and Leeds come around, they’ve kind of outgrown their slot. Due to the Festival Republic stage running behind schedule, we managed to catch a bit of indie-pop duo Summer Camp who rattled off some dreamy ditties to a moderately enthused crowd. Pulled Apart By Horses were the next to provide the rock as they proceeded to lay waste to the tent in spectacular fashion, bounding all over the place, banging out riffs and generall just being awesome. NOFX sounded good as we traversed the main arena back to the guest area where we heard tales of Strike Anywhere’s Lock-Up stage set being sadly empty.
Biffy Clyro kicked the festival up a notch into another league with their polished yet somehow still raucous epic rock. A fair few classics from back in the day mingled in with the standard modern hits like ‘Mountains’ meant their set was enjoyed by all. Not least all the ladies present who were no doubt swooning at the three shirtless men, despite frontman Simon Neil looking kind of like Father Christmas now he’s bleached both his hair and beard. Plus pink jeans – wow. Phoenix continued the wow-factor of the weekend over on the Radio 1 / NME stage. The French act had the most amazing pulsating lights, flashing all the colours of the rainbow and hypnotizing the crowd in the process. Luckily, they also have the tunes to back up the lightshow and everyone present was dancing along to their effervescent pop hits.
We failed a bit on Saturday in terms of watching bands. What can we say – got a bit too enthusiastic at the power ballads DJ set the night before and it somewhat dampened our enthusiasm for Saturday.
Paint It Black, Trash Talk and Gallows were the main casualties of our laziness though by all accounts they were every bit as rad as we knew they would be. The Gaslight Anthem kicked off our band-watching activities for the day in style though. An intense main stage experience, though it could’ve been improved upon tenfold if the soundman had turned up the volume a bit! In spite of this annoyance, the set was enjoyed by a massive crowd as the band reeled off hits like ‘Old White Lincoln’ and ‘American Slang’ and the crowd sung their hearts out to make up for the lack of volume from the stage.
Cancer Bats rocked the Lock-Up stage to its core in a set that put them up against Dizzee Rascal’s Main Stage appearance. Still, their scuzzy riffs were clearly a draw for the rock kids at the festival. We went on to catch a bit of Dizzee, including his now-legendary Nirvana-mashing with ‘Stand Up Tall’ versus ‘Teen Spirit’. An excellent performance as ever, enjoyed by all. The Get Up Kids played to a half-full Lock-Up tent but that didn’t matter. Everyone there was a complete superfan and it was a great set of newbies and classics and also included their cover of The Cure’s ‘Close To Me’. Lovely. Passing by Arcade Fire for a song or two, it sounded pretty incredible, although it kind of looked like everyone was watching Pendulum on the NME / Radio 1 stage instead…
What a day! This has to be one of the best main stage line-ups of all time. So we’ll get to that. But our day started with a bit of Lights on the Dance stage which was all very pleasant girl-fronted electro-pop. Kvelertak were slightly louder on the BBC Introducing stage and definitely did more to wake us up with their Nordic metal inclinations, fused by good old-fashioned rock’n’roll. Foxy Shazam wow those who make it to the Festival Republic tent for their set. Pure genius showmanship. And acrobatics to boot. Debut UK single ‘Oh Lord’ sounds tremendous. We nip out to catch a snippet of Thrice on the mainstage including the massively brilliant ‘Silhouette’. Next up we’re excited to see local youngsters done good You Me At Six on the Main Stage. The band do an immense job of getting the crowd involved even though the big screens have been taken down due to a freaky bit of stormy weather during All Time Low’s set. Hayley from Paramore even comes on to sing ‘Stay With Me’ with YMAS. The screens come up again during Limp Bizkit’s procession of stone cold hits. In fact, their choice of setlist is suspiciously similar to that of their set at Reading 10 years ago. Not complaining though. It was ace. And Fred Durst is definitely a legend, even when not wearing the obligatory red cap (a white cap?!) As a friend quite rightly points out, Wes Borland is dressed as a cross between a witch and a Guylian chocolate. Entertainment at its best. Well, not quite.
Weezer are up next and what they do is phenomenal. Simply put, this is probably the best Reading festival set I’ve ever seen. The sun is shining and Rivers is in the best mood ever. He also has props. A Lady Gaga wig (they cover ‘Poker Face’ mixed in with MGMT’s ‘Kids’), a cat hat, a fucking trampoline. This is the exact opposite of every other performance I’ve ever seen Weezer do. AND they play the good shit. Nothing off ‘Pinkerton’ which is definitely a shame. But we don’t even care, it’s THAT good. ‘Surf Wax America’, ‘Say It Ain’t So’, ‘The Sweater Song’ are definite highlights but even the more frivolous ‘Beverly Hills’ and ‘Troublemaker’ sound awesome. Everyone has a permanent smile on their face for the rest of the night and I’m pretty sure it’s all because of WEEZER.
We caught a little bit of Paramore. Enough to be able to tell that they’re still great at what they do and we’re going to be excited when they return to the UK for TWO o2 arena shows. Blink 182 got everyone more excited than I ever thought they would… They pulled an entertaining set out of the bag, as was to be expected, and they also proved that they’ve got better at playing their instruments in the years since they last played the festival. Not that Travis ever had anything to prove. Obviously. Hits that provided a constant stream of crowd singalongs included ‘First Date’, ‘Rock Show’ and, of course, ‘All The Small Things’. It was also great to hear the songs from further down the line in the band’s career like ‘Feeling This’. I think it’s safe to say that a good time was had by all, not least the main stage bands on this final day, all of whom clearly reveled in their participation in such a well-placed rock line-up. One that will not be forgotten in a hurry.