August Bank Holiday belongs to Reading and Leeds Festival, and whether you’re heading to either of the festivals or watching from the BBC’s website, you are spoilt for choice over the weekend on which acts to catch.
Kasabian, Eminem, and Muse are this years’ headliners, presenting a mix of genres. Kasabian were last month one of the best acts over on the Costa Azahar at Benicassim Festival. Eminem is in front of UK crowds increasingly less often, so to catch him will be a special occasion. Muse, who will close Reading on Sunday after opening up Leeds on Friday, will split opinion as much as ever. If they’re your bag, it promises to be a huge headline show, if they aren’t, then worry not. Here are 10 acts you’ve got to catch over the weekend…
Liam Gallagher (Fri Leeds, Sun Reading – Main Stage)
Liam has been a familiar face in music once again this summer, the announcement of his new album for release in October has been followed by numerous single releases. Live performances at Glastonbury amongst others has fuelled another rise to the top of the scene. His voice is arguably as good as it’s ever been, he is powerful and has a unique stage presence which makes him a staple on your list for the weekend.
Haim (Fri Leeds, Sun Reading – NME/Radio 1 Stage)
The US band released their new album earlier in the summer, the record is largely underwhelming despite being one of the best debut albums to come across to the UK in a long time. ‘Something To Tell You‘ leaves room for improvement on stage, and it will be interesting to see whether the energy of that first album is replicated this weekend.
The Sherlocks (Fri Leeds, Sun Reading – NME/Radio 1 Stage)
Lauded as one of the country’s best guitar bands and an album that launched with huge commercial success, they’ll be a popular band, especially at Leeds Festival. But I don’t quite get them, I’ve seen them 5 times so far and I’ve yet to become immersed in the hype around them – but perhaps this album will be a turning point for me, I’d be willing to give them a chance.
The Pale White (Fri Leeds, Sun Reading – BBC Introducing Stage)
Newcastle’s music scene has been desperate at times over the past few years. Too often, Maximo Park have been the regions’ sole saviour (and a good band they are, their set at Leeds last year was great). But it’s time for The Pale White to take the reigns, they had their new single premiered on BBC Radio 1 and now have a strong setlist. Their set at Glastonbury on the BBC Introducing Stage was popular, and here’s hoping Reading and Leeds will match it.
The Magic Gang (Sat Leeds, Fri Reading – NME/Radio 1 Stage)
The Magic Gang’s new single is accompanied by a bizarre video, white and beige outfits dominate in a contrast to considerable brighter sounds. With touches of The Coral and The Wombats in their music, they have released 3 EP’s to date and will make the trip North from Brighton to perform on the NME/Radio 1 Stage.
Louis Berry (Sat Leeds, Fri Reading – Festival Republic Stage)
Now for someone who has subverted current trends for male solo artists, Louis Berry’s rock and roll style provides a platform for fast-paced tunes like ‘She Wants Me‘. His Scouse character is clear, and his ambition clearer, headline shows across the UK have brought with them an increasing fan base and they’ll be turning up at Reading and Leeds.
The Amazons (Sat Leeds, Fri Reading – Festival Republic Stage)
The Amazons are another band who’ve benefitted from dates across the country, they’ve transformed from a largely unknown quantity to a band who’s single ‘Black Magic’ was one of the hottest in the country upon release. I saw them in Liverpool and it became apparent very quickly they were able to fill any venue with their huge, confident sound. They’re Reading locals, so expect a partisan crowd.
Cabbage (Sun Leeds, Sat Reading – NME/Radio 1 Stage)
Where to start with Cabbage? They’re the best satirical neo-punk band around and talk of private school dinner ladies and the shocking state of Northern Rail are just two of the current affairs they discuss in their unique way at their gigs. In a recent interview I did with them (read here!), they told me a new album is on the horizon for the beginning of next year following successful EP releases. Prepare for gritty, sweaty, Mancunian protest-cum-chaos – it’ll be great.
The View (Sun Leeds, Sat Reading – Festival Republic Stage)
Talking of partisan crowds, the Scottish will be out in force to support Dundee lads The View, they’re tieing up their live performances for at least a year or so this Autumn and having been festival favourites over the years, the Festival Republic Stage is sure to be rammed. This year they’ve toured ‘Hats Off To The Buskers’, but the summer has seen their setlist merge all their work together, they’re not to be missed.
Blaenavon (Sun Leeds, Sat Reading – NME/Radio 1 Stage)
Blaenavon are another band from the South Coast, they’ll be more popular at Reading than Leeds, but their popularity is spreading. Their debut album was released in April after 4 years in the making, NME said it hinted at better things to come, but plenty have disagreed and see it as an impressive album right now – they’ll be at the front of the NME/Radio 1 Stage.