Photo By Sidney Bernstein

The Rock Guide To Reading and Leeds

For better or worse, Reading and Leeds have evolved into so much more than a rock festival. Nudging its way into the same ilk as V-fest, T In The Park or even Glastonbury, it does leave rock fans who have either been attending for years or are new to festivals scene in general in a bit of a pickle. Though the pallet has added a few more colours to the scheme, there’s still plenty of rock bands to choose from across the weekend. So, here’s our brief guide to the bands and acts we think might tick your boxes…

FRIDAY (Reading)

MAINSTAGE

BANDS TO WATCH: FALLOUT BOY/ CREEPER/ BIG SHAQ AND FRIENDS

After their soft attempt at writing a contemporary pop album [Mania], though die hards would disagree, the Fallout Boy we all grew up with is very much dead and buried. Everything eventually has to change there’s no getting around that, however live they could go one of two ways: Either they sink or they swim. Regardless, the only advice that should be taken on board is, why not? It won’t be the highlight of the day by a stretch but you may as well enjoy it and scratch it off your bucket list.

Check out their latest video for ‘Bishop’s Knife Trick’ below, a return to their rock roots

Anywho, as far as main stage acts are considered for the average rock fan, there be some slim pickings today if you’re not feeling too adventurous. Creeper is the obvious choice here – there’s just no denying it. Arguably one of the best live underground bands on the British circuit (that’s if you want to argue that fact?), we predict due to the sheer scale of diversity and wider spectrum of fans that the Reading mainstage opens up doors to, we’ll see the Southampton sextet (don’t laugh) throw everything in their arsenal of neo-gothic pop-punk goodness our way that’s going to leave people speechless.

Why Big Shaq And Friends? Who doesn’t love memes?! Get a few pints in ya, relax and have fun! It’s a festival after all. Don’t over think it.

THE LOCK UP

BANDS TO WATCHUNDEROATH/ THE USED/ THE XCERTS/ THUNDERPUSSY

Make sure to bring a box of tissues, you’re Friday hangover feels will be pushed to their very limits here. With the presence of Floridian post-hardcore heroes Underoath headlining the energy will be intense and immersive after a day that sees emo giants The Used tear it up as well as up and comers The Xcerts who’ve had more buzz around them than an open jam jar in summer. If having a good sob out in the open isn’t your cup of tea, the delicately named Seattle female four-piece Thunderpussy will shove a fuzzed-up size 13 Doc Martin down your throat and get the job done.

FESTIVAL REPUBLIC STAGE

BANDS TO WATCH: DEATH FROM ABOVE/ THE HORRORS

Duo disco rock Death From Above (1979, if you want to get serious about this), get their fair share of flack, but do have the goods on offer if you have the patience to stick around. They’re packing decent enough grooves to stir up a decent atmosphere so, hate the hype all you like that’s totally cool, but our Spidey sense is tingling here which could very well pay off.

If The Smiths and Nine Inch Nails adopted a child, The Horrors would babysit that child on weekends. Say what you will, takes a lot for a band that’s under the eye of the media machine to not as much as a flying fuck as The Horrors do. Industrialised brit-pop at its… at its… hang about, has that even been a thing?

SATURDAY (Reading)

MAINSTAGE

BANDS TO WATCH: PANIC! AT THE DISCO/ MIKE SHINODA/ SKINDRED

Despite playing some rather obvious nostalgia cards here, a fun line-up speaks for itself. Unlike others from the early ‘00s pop-emo generation, Panic! At The Disco have always kept up an interesting persona both live and in the studio. Love them or hate them, they seem to fit a sub-headliner slot pretty well and for our money will put on a damn fine show. Must not miss.

No matter what festival, crowd, time, place; Skindred manage to absolutely slay it every single time. With latest album Big Tings still relatively fresh and raring to go, just remember to bring a spare t-shirt just in case the Newport Helicopter gets a little too rowdy. Make sure to keep them good vibes going, as things will be getting a hell of a lot more real later on.

As important performances go, Mike Shinoda’s will be very much on everyone’s itinerary. Just over a year after Linkin Park frontman Chester Bennington tragically passed, Shinoda’s appearance is going to be an emotional roller-coaster that a lot of fans are going to resonate with. The loss of Bennington still remains fresh in all our minds and is incomprehensibly heart-breaking to think about. Having opened up to KERRANG! about his bandmate’s death and dropping the heavily reflective instrumental track ‘Brooding’ last week, there’s no getting around it – this is going to be a hard watch.

RADIO 1 STAGE

BANDS TO WATCH: PENDULUM/ DEAF HAVANA

It’s been a while since the world took to the pit to epic drum and bass drop of ‘Slam’. Undeniably an experience that crosses over with anyone who can appreciate massive tunes when present. Pendulum are within that area and aren’t bound to any conformity, only to the music. If you’ve never experienced a live Pendulum set, drop everything and get your arse over there and seriously lose your shit.

Deaf Havana’s upbeat pop-rock vibe has everything a typical British festival needs for a good time. A strong following and a plethora of hooks that have dominated the airwaves and shopping centres nationwide, there’s no doubt their crowd will go batshit, so it’s a pretty safe option for a good time.

THE PIT

BANDS TO WATCH: PAPA ROACH/ BEARTOOTH/ BLACK PEAKS/ BLOOD YOUTH

Papa Roach will undoubtedly warrant your attention and will round off a pretty exciting day. As long as Beartooth’s latest singles ‘Disease’and ‘Bad Listener’get their chance to raise the roof to the ground we’ll be most happy as we get our aggressive fix shot straight to our brain. On that note, Blood Youth’s hardcore presence will be a welcoming sight and will certainly pump a healthy dose of adrenaline through your veins to keep you going. For our money, Black Peaks will certainly contend for band of the weekend. 2015’s ‘Statues’ took us all by surprise as the Brighton four-piece have been steadily on the rise. With their second studio album All That Dividesheading our way come this October, you can expect new tracks slamming into your chest as well as gems from their stunning debut. Seriously, do not miss this.

SUNDAY (Reading)

MAINSTAGE

BANDS TO WATCH: BILLY TALENT/ DINOSAUR PILE-UP

Who can say no to Billy Talent? The real rock ambassadors of the Sunday mainstage. Dominating mainstages across the world several times over by this point, their ultra-catchy radio punk will be a breath of fresh air that will have to be savoured throughout the day if you plan on sticking around the main stage. Luckily you also have Leeds alt-rockers Dinosaur Pile-Up kicking things off to get yourself nicely warmed up for the day ahead.

RADIO 1 STAGE

BANDS TO WATCH: DON BROCO/ SKINNY GIRL DIET

Now here’s a party. Don Broco’s 80’s style pop-rock has charismatically stolen everyone’s hearts. 10 years and three albums in, this could be an important moment for them as they continue their ascension through the ranks. Tearing the main stage at Slam Dunk is one thing, but rest assured in a few years, their name will no doubt be up there in presence of the main stage.

When Iggy Pop is one of your biggest fans, you kind of have to find out what this fuss is all about. Playing by their own post-grunge rules, Skinny Girl Diet simply don’t give a flying fuck. Keeping it all within the family, sisters Delilah and Ursula Holliday, as well as their bassist cousin Amelia Cutler are a pretty potent mix of political angst and kick ass riot grrrl feminism that’s packed with a unique frustration that’s not fucking about. Whether anyone turns up or not won’t make any difference to them, but if you happen to be up by the rack of noon make sure to pop in and give them a gander.

THE PIT

BANDS TO WATCH: HOLLYWOOD UNDEAD/ THE BRONX/ STRAY FROM THE PATH/ SLEEP TOKEN/ MILK TEETH/ SCARLXRD/ ACTUALLY, PRETTY MUCH STAY HERE ALL DAY…

If the pop/ dance overload is too much for you, which is fair enough considering the evolution of Reading over the years, never fear The Pit has you covered today. Stray From The Path, The Bronx and Hollywood Undead will take care of all your moshing needs after your inevitably killer veg out shoe-gaze session with Sleep Token is in the bag. By far the strongest rock line-ups of the weekend.

FESTIVAL REPUBLIC STAGE

BANDS TO WATCH: HUSKY LOOPS

After supporting Placebo last year, Husky Loops’ brand of contemporary art-rock ditches the pretentiousness and just has fun with your brain. Unpredictable, infectious and a good workout for the old neurons, it will be interesting to see how immersive their live show will be out in the open. Diverse enough to please any crowd that’s fun, interesting and, dare we even say it, sexy! No beard stroking, only hip shaking.

 Reading Festival have now completely sold out!

About Hywel Davies

Full metal ginger. Based in Cardiff, love nothing more than feeling the pure adrenaline that metal music gives me. Been head banging since I was a childling, I've grown up with all manners of music from rock to orchestral. Simply put, I love music. Movies are great too.

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