Reading & Leeds festival set to announce second headliner

Festival Republic yesterday announced that the Reading and Leeds Festival will be announcing their second headline act on Monday 4th February.

So far legendary rapper Eminem has been announced to headline, with acts such as Deftones, Boy Better Know, Alt-J and Sub Focus also playing. Festival organiser Melvin Benn recently announced that there will be a Dance stage and Radio 1Xtra stage for the first time ever, with the arenas expanding by 25%.

2012 saw Foo Fighters, Kasabian and The Cure headline alongside acts such as Paramore, Florence and The Machine.

Check back here on Monday to see who the second headliner is!

Straight Lines live at Face Bar, Reading


STRAIGHT LINES
w/ Evarose, Streetfight Silence, Ascent
Face Bar, Reading
13th October 2012

With arguably a decline in show attendance in the scene at the moment, smaller scale gigs are always going to suffer on an absolutely miserable Saturday night. It seems that the temptation not to venture out in the torrential rain to Reading’s Face Bar was too strong for many as Ascent open up to a grand total of five people. A few more dawdle through the door mid-set but there is a large void in the centre of the room as punters head to the bar rather than appreciate the performance in front of them.

Its really disheartening to see a band play to so few people especially when they are actually pretty decent. Reminiscent of Francesqa, the Newbury based band certainly have a great level of musicianship. The gritty and slightly unclean vocals would set them apart from their peers, if there were people to listen…

Next on are local-ish Streetfight Silence, their presence has an immediate impact as a fair number gather around the stage to engage with their You Me At Six/Lower Than Atlantis inspired pop-punk. ‘We Must All Learn’ is a polished rock song and forthcoming single ‘Low’ is instantly appealing with a dirty, chugging baseline and catchy chorus. By upping the tempo the band captivate the small crowd in what can only be seen as a success in tough circumstances.

The first of the touring bands to perform is Evarose. By being and all girl quartet the group are already standing out from the others, but if you let the music do the talking rather than appearance, they are not so different; its fairly standard pop-rock. Their sound is solid, there are a number of tracks that are pretty good but unfortunately its nothing astounding. However what is impressive is vocalist Dannika Webber and bassist Connie Raitt doing their up-most to hype up a dull audience and their enthusiasm is refreshing. It must also be noted that Robyn Griffith offers some unique fills behind the kit making Evarose sound stronger as a unit.

Headline act Straight Lines have an individual tone to their music; slightly jangled guitars and jerky riffs allow them to be comparable to rock outfits such as The Xcerts, Tiger Please and Max Raptor. Front man Thomas Jenkins is a typically friendly and upbeat Welsh-man attempting charismatic chat between songs. Displaying flashes of humor such as greeting the audience with ‘Hello Reading Festival!’ is an endearing quality of the band.

Although there is little movement in the audience, it’d be fair to say that Straight Lines have a successful night in Reading. By mid set they are playing to a reasonably full room who seem to be fully appreciating the music, but just in a stand-there-smile-and-rock-your-head kind of way. The performance reaches its highlight towards the end when ‘Ring The Bell’ and ‘Commitments’ (taken from the band’s latest release ‘Freaks Like Us’) demonstrate Straight Line’s talent in song-writing through their attentive ear for melody. Straight Lines are a band full of promise, their dedication to touring the circuit gives them much credibility. Lets hope their commitment sees them rise up the ranks like they deserve to.

Words: Emma Wallace

Between The Buried And Me Live at Sub89, Reading


BETWEEN THE BURIED AND ME
w/ Periphery, The Safety Fire

Sub89, Reading
01.10.12

First on tonight’s bill is the home-grown talent The Safety Fire. The London lads play to a fairly full room considering they go on straight after doors. It seems the ever increasing crowd appreciates The Safety Fire’s techy-brand of metal and although not too familiar with the material played before them, the audiences’ reaction to songs taken from ‘Grind The Ocean‘ is positive, a promising sign for a band who are clearly targeting this market. On a completely irrelevant and non musical note, it has to be mentioned that The Safety Fire display facial hair at its finest. Their set was topped off with a glorious array well kept moustaches.

So away from male-grooming and back to music for a second or two, and its now Periphery‘s turn to take to the stage. With much loved drummer Matt Halpern being forced to withdraw from the performance due to a shoulder injury, a massive burden is placed upon the shoulders of Mike Malyan (Monuments) who has to learn the challenging set in 24 hours and perform to a hungry crowd. Well, the boy did good, there were no notable errors and he played with style, stamina and impressive levels of skill. And as for the rest of Periphery, well they owned the stage, it goes without saying Misha Mansoor was effortlessly exceptional and Spencer Sotelo domineered as a front man.

Between The Buried And Me really deserve to be playing to a sold out show but unfortunately the room is now only around three quarters full. Words cannot describe Between The Buried And Me’s levels of creativity, their captivating set travels through an odyssey of technical music; a progressive journey that climaxes with blistering riffs and intense vocals. Combing old favourites such as ‘Disease, Injury, Madness‘ (taken from ‘The Great Misdirect’) along with newer numbers like ‘Telos‘, BTBAM hold the audience in the palms of their hands. The band perform a masterclass, with a level of musicianship second to none.

Words: Emma Wallace

Reading and Leeds 2012: Top 10 Performances

Arguably 2012 was Reading & Leeds strongest line up of recent years. Not only were did the legendary The Cure take to the main stage, there was a whole variety of acts that put in stellar performances from all sorts of different genres. We’ve picked our top ten from the weekend, some punk bands, some new, some old and one very pop. Check it out below:

ENTER SHIKARI

Enter Shikari and Reading & Leeds go hand in hand. Their performance on the main stage saw punters running over from the dance stage -drawn in by dubstep mix ups- to mosh along with older ‘Take To The Skies’ fans. Tracks from ‘A Flash of Colour’ go down a treat as does ‘Juggernaughts’ which is now somewhat of a Reading classic, again seeing a stupid amounts of crowd surfing. One day soon these humble lads will headline this great stage. Perfection.

RANDOM HAND

Random Hand’s high tempo mix of metal, punk and ska is uplifting. The sheer energy pouring from the band on stage certainly kicked things off in the Lock Up tent after a slow start to the day. Funnily enough, the most impressive part of the whole performance has to be the sheer capacity of Robin Leitch’s lungs! His effortless alternations between trombone, screamed vocals and dancing like a lunatic was a joy to behold.

HAWK EYES

Headlining the BBC Introducing stage was Leeds’ most unassuming rock behemoths Hawk Eyes. Playing a fast and furious set, primarily of tracks from this year’s ‘Ideas’, Hawk Eyes managed to make the outdoor stage feel like a sweaty basement, with the standard troupe of lanky lads starting a (admittedly rather tame) mosh pit. Having previously played the stage under their previous incarnation, let’s pray this signals the last time the boys are on one of the smaller stages at Reading and Leeds.

CEREMONY

When there are an abundance of acts are taking themselves too seriously on stage and swanning around the guest area like they are gods, you need a bit of Ceremony to remind you what punk is all about. Having a fucking good time. And this is exactly what Ceremony do. Vocalist Ross Farrar just goes nuts, spinning around with his t-shirt over his head and microphone dangling around his neck, musically they aren’t that tight, but really no one cares. That’s not what this set is about, it’s just a great laugh.

AT THE DRIVE-IN

Having declared their break-up in 2001 after the release of their seminal album ‘Relationship of Command’, the announcement of reunion dates were a dream come true for many a fan. With mixed reviews emerging from performances at Coachella, it was difficult to know what to expect from their headline set on the BBC Radio 1/NME stage. Opening with the explosive ‘Arcarsenal’, it was hard for a smile not to appear on the face of anyone who holds a special place in their heart for the band.

Given that this was the first time that the majority of the audience got to see the band in the flesh, it was especially pleasing to hear tracks played across their whole back-catalogue of releases, with singer Cedric Bixlar-Zavalar trying his best to recreate those explosive sets from over a decade ago.

The same joy didn’t extend to all members – it was hard not feel disheartened at the sight of Omar motionlessly standing facing his amp for the majority of the set, looking as though he’d rather be elsewhere. This wasn’t the At The Drive-In that left us all those years ago, and perhaps it is too much to expect that.

GALLOWS

The band’s first Reading Festival sans-Frank went off without a hitch in true, unadulterated Gallows fashion. Vivacious circle pits, crowd surfing and an onslaught of punk rock from the stage that never let up, this is a band that is every bit as good, if not better, as version 2.0. The crowd was totally sold by the end of the set. Interestingly it was the band’s new tracks that came across best, leaving everyone wanting more fresh material ASAP.

THE BOUNCING SOULS

Who doesn’t love the Bouncing Souls? Their inspiring punk appeals across the board in the Lock Up tent. Old classics such as ‘Sing Along Forever’ get the dedicated fans jumping whilst newer , softer and more melodic material like ‘Coin Toss Girl’ is a hit with members of the crowd previously unaware of the band. Their set is a resounding success.

ALT-J

The compacted punters inside and swarms of fans outside the Festival Republic Tent show that although fairly new on the radar, Alt-J are already a firm festival favourite. Despite their annoying- hipster-type fan base, Alt-J’s unique and slightly obscure brand of indie is certainly something to take note of with hit single ‘Breezeblocks’ becoming one of the anthems of the weekend.

SANTIGOLD

You may be thinking this is a bit of a bizarre choice if you are familiar with Crossfire’s usual content, but the thing is we can still recognize a good pop artist when we see one! Mixing electronica, hip hop and a healthy dose of mainstream pop, Santigold has a collection of great songs including ‘Lights Out’ and ‘Creator’. Santigold gets the festival party vibe going.

ATTENTION THIEVES

As we caught these local guys in their own territory of Reading, they might have had a slight home advantage. But it appears that it is Attention Thieves’s energy thats key to drawing in a huge crowd around the tiny BBC introducing stage. Attention Thieves have been gaining a lot of attention from the press lately and it seems it’s well deserved as their radio-friendly Rise Against inspired punk rock goes down a treat.

Words: Emma Wallace except Gallows (Sarah Maynard), At The Drive-In, Hawk Eyes (Joe Parry)

Your Demise live at Reading Sub89


Your Demise
SUB89, Reading

14th August 2012

Your Demise at Reading’s Sub89 was a show made up of a mix of emotions; brilliant fun, nostalgic, painful and at times embarrassing. The embarrassment is really down to the crowd. At the start of Your Demise’s set they just aren’t into it. You wouldn’t think they have paid to see one of the UK’s most exciting bands that launch into their business all guns blazing, you’d think its some mediocre act that no one gives a damn about; the half empty room just doesn’t respond to the energy bouncing around on stage. Ed Mcrae does his very best to excite the crowd, and part way through the show, his efforts begin to pay off. His ability to entice some action on a miserable midweek show is definitely an asset and no matter what people may think of Mcrae on a musical or personal level, he is showing classic traits of a skilled showman.

Earlier this year, Your Demise dropped ‘The Golden Age‘ an album that divided opinions to say the least, with the main stream of criticism coming from older fans despising the poppier sounding tracks such as ‘These Lights‘. However, Your Demise clearly love ‘The Golden Age‘ and enjoy performing it. Its great to see a band sticking to their guns, Mcrae shouts, ‘Recently we dropped a record, ‘The Golden Age’, and there’s nothing you can fucking do about it!‘. The band needn’t worry though, as tonight, ‘These Lights‘ is triumphant. After his hard work hyping the crowd, Mcrae is in his element as the younger generation of Your Demise and hardcore fans lap up the high tempo track.

Considering the crowd were so dull at the start of the Your Demise’s set, the polar opposite response for ‘Burnt Tongues‘ is electrifying. Taken from one of the bands earlier albums ‘Ignorance Never Dies‘, the simplicity of the song unites the audience in movement. ‘Miles Away‘ keeps up the intensity as crowd surfers start to fly over the barrier. Set closer ‘The Kids We Used To Be‘ is euphoric. Looking around it’s hard to spot anyone not screaming lyrics, ‘So let’s bring back the best years. Nights spent hanging out. Not giving a fuck….‘. It’s a sincere reminder to cherish the good moments in life.

Yet its bizarre how quickly events can change, one minute everyone is having the time of the life, the next the sound cuts out and bassist Jimmy Sampson is crying for help. It appears in the chaotic, high energy end to the set, Ed Mcrae has hurt himself; badly. ‘He’s dislocated his knee!’ Another band member shouts and poor Ed is dragged off the side of the stage to receive medical assistance.

The lights go up and background music plays through the club’s PA. The crowd leave in dismay, contemplating what just happened. Its such a shame the show ended on a downer after all the effort the band put in to to raise the tempo. Your Demise won over a boring audience mainly due to Ed Mcrae putting in a stellar performance. However their commitment won’t go unnoticed, this crowd will be back for more at another Your Demise show as punters walk away from Sub89 still hungry for more.

Words & Photo: Emma Wallace

Gallows

GALLOWS
S/T

(Venn/PIAS)
www.gallows.co.uk

So, your bicycle has been in the repair shop, getting a new front wheel fitted (the old one unexpectedly broke loose after six-odd years of loyal service). You’re excited, but slightly nervous, mainly because it’s an awesome bicycle, and you’re hoping that it’ll give you as much joy with the new wheel as it did with the old one. The guys at the shop say that this new wheel is pretty impressive, though, so you’re waiting with bated breath.

You’ve probably figured out the analogy by now. Gallows are back with album number three; their first with former Alexisonfire guitarist Wade MacNeil at the helm, and probably as good a riposte to their critics and doubters as we could have hoped for.

Make no mistake, this is a Gallows record through and through. From the moment ‘Victim Culture’ kicks in after a sinister spoken-word intro, those signature raw rock n’ roll riffs, squalling guitar solos and raucous gang vocals are all present in abundance, and sounding more muscular than ever. Frank Carter left large shoes to fill, but MacNeil proves himself more than capable; a hardcore screamer among the best of them, but able to hold a tune when it’s called for (most notably on the intro of the gloriously anthemic ‘Outsider Art’, which is sure to incite mayhem live).

None of this would matter much if the songs were substandard, but among the eleven tracks on offer here are some of Gallows’ best songs to date. ‘Everybody Loves You (When You’re Dead)’ matches anything from ‘Grey Britain’ or ‘Orchestra Of Wolves’ in ferocity alone; a stinging indictment of the ‘don’t speak ill of the dead’ mentality. ‘Depraves’ surfs in on a jagged Laurent Barnard riff before exploding into a carpe diem chorus that will have you howling along with conviction. Elsewhere, ‘Vapid Adolescent Blues’ and ‘Cult Of Mary’ are hardcore belters shot through with shards of melody, seething and writhing exactly as they should.

Long viewed as plucky underdogs who have survived (and prospered) through no little determination, it seems that the adversity of Carter’s departure has resulted in Gallows returning angrier and hungrier than ever. Mark my words: this bicycle has what it takes to go the distance.

They’ll be playing the Lock-Up Stage at this year’s Reading/Leeds festivals, before embarking on a full UK tour in October.

Words: Alex Gosman

At The Drive-In UK show & Pre-sale Details!

Recently reformed At The Drive-In have announced they will playing a UK show in August. The band are acting secretive and haven’t mentioned a date or venue although the gig is thought to be scheduled around their performances at this years Reading & Leeds festivals (their only other confirmed UK dates).

The tickets are expected to sell out quickly and as a result the band is offering fans a chance to register for presale tickets via atdimusic.com/presale. Applicants have until midnight (BST) on 5th July to register their details to be in a chance of snapping up the sought-after tickets early.

Despite fans remaining optimistic for new material the band have dismissed the possibility with Omar Rodriguez-Lopez describing the event as ‘a nostalgia thing’.