When I looked at that page on the 25th May, I thought I’d attained rapture or nirvana or some other such spiritual high. The announcement I’d been waiting for since I’d bought the tickets was finally there and it seemed like more than I could have hoped for. In order to grasp the importance of this upon my being, here’s a few things about my feelings for Reading Festival which you probably should know:
- As a rule, I generally hate most of the main stage acts. With the exception of about 20%, that holds true this year.
- It’s not quite a waste of money, but it is horrifically expensive, so there has to be something there to keep my attention.
- As nobody will go with me to Rebellion in Blackpool, the Lock Up tent is my one chance of seeing a wide variety of punk rock in the space of one weekend.
- I would still rather be at Rebellion.
So therefore, the Lock Up is a very big deal to me. Many bands who are embarking on a world tour will only play Reading and Leeds before they head off to pastures Japanese, particularly in the summer. So like last year, allow me to dissect the Lock Up for your information.
This time, there are a fair few bands I haven’t heard of on the Friday. I will most likely be spending time on the main stage as a result, if their Myspaces don’t impress. But, let’s give them a fair chance.
Blood Or Whiskey
Blood Or Whiskey may possibly be the only true Irish punk band in the scene today, as we generally have to deal with Boston impostors. They describe themselves as “demented Irish traditional music kicked in the balls by punk rock!” and well… I wouldn’t so much say kicked in the balls but possibly tapped. It lacks the edge of the Murphys or the melody of Flogging Molly, but it’s certainly an interesting combo. And they get extra points for actually being Irish.
Crazy Arm are on Xtra Mile, alongside folk punk hero Frank Turner and their Myspace proclaims that they’re a mix of punk, rock and country. I’m not hearing the country so much, but I am hearing brilliance. Their singer has a positively lovely voice, and it sounds like good honest punk rock. I may have just found my new favourite band. First song I clicked on, Still To Keep, grabbed me by the lady balls and said ‘fucking listen!’ So, I certainly am, I’ve ordered the CD just now, and will be watching these guys without a doubt.
Punk based reggae from London. Generally, I don’t like reggae at all, but this doesn’t sound too bad. There definitely is more reggae than punk in this, but recent slots on Slam Dunk Festival lead them to be put onto the Lock Up. As the song (GET ME!) plays, it gets a bit more heavy, gains a bit more attitude, grows in confidence. I imagine that they’d be a reasonably fun band to watch, and I appreciate that they don’t lose the London accent in favour of something a bit more Jamaican flavoured.
Civet are an all girl punk band from LA. Now, I’m going to hold back my prejudices (how terribly unfeminist of me) because hell, so far I’m in an all girl punk band . In their Myspace pictures, these girls are dressed to the nines, and well, good on them. I’m hoping that the song content isn’t all ‘we hate men, let’s torch some shit’ because so far, ‘Son Of A Bitch’ seems to be just that. They seem like the cliché girl group, which is a shame, because it’s been proven that girls in punk rock can be so much more – Bridge and Tunnel, The Distillers, Tsunami Bomb! Although they didn’t have an entirely girl band, they certainly knew how to rock and not try and play up their feminine wiles in order to get people to listen to them. Sadly, I will be watching these in order to see how it goes, but I can guarantee I won’t be enjoying it.
East Bay hardcore. This is more like it! It’s hardcore, sure enough, but there’s a bit more to it – far more melodic than you might expect. The band themselves describe themselves as genre breaking and to be honest, they are. They say they’re progressive, hoping to show that through their music and their lyrics and yeah, I can agree that they are. From the songs I’ve heard on the site, I’m not sure how electric their live show would be, but musically, they’re certainly keeping me interested.
This Is Hell
Well, I knew what to expect, having heard these guys before. This Is Hell? This is hardcore. Some sweet breakdowns, fast pace, kind of from the same school as Comeback Kid (which is never a bad thing) if only a bit more melodic which is how I like it anyway. Woo, clauses. I am going to come out of a pit battered and bruised after this one, whilst loving every minute.
I’ve never really listened to Strike Anywhere before, although knowing that they were exactly my kind of music. I don’t know why not, just never thought about them before. Straight up American punk rock, and there’s not much more to say about that! Lots of fun gang vocals seem to be cropping up, which will make for good times in the set. Yeah, I’ll watch them.
HOLY FUCK I LOVE STREETLIGHT MANIFESTO. Maybe now I’ll get to watch them this time! Last year, I had a younger sister in tow and a boyfriend who hated ska. Now I have a younger sister in tow who is a little older and has friends to accompany her and the boyfriend is now an ex. I am going to skank my little heart out to some sweet, sweet ska.
Typical tough guy hardcore. I’ve never been a Hatebreed fan, alongside Throwdown and Terror and similar hardcore bands that only have one word names. I mean, the guy’s wearing a bandana in the video, for fuck’s sake. You know exactly what kind of band this is. And well, I’m not a fan. I’ll more than likely end up watching them for the sake of it while I wait for something better.
Oh yeah, and there’s the something better! We all know my feelings for Against Me! and if you don’t, it’s that I adore them with all my soul. They only come second to AFI on my favourite bands list. I originally hated White Crosses, then started to love it and saw them on their UK tour (I even reviewed it). They’re my favourite live band and no doubt, they’ll completely own the place.
Sick Of It All
Again, I’ve seen Sick Of It All already this year, as they supported AFI but holy shit, they were amazing! I first saw these guys headlining the Lock Up in 2006 and well… it was great then, they’re bound to be great now. The new album is pretty badass and Built To Last is one of the greatest hardcore songs ever written so they should be on top form.
Again, another band I’ve already seen this year and adore. Alkaline Trio were good, but they could have been better when I saw them in Birmingham. A festival set should be a lot sharper, a lot more singles based and generally, more fun. Hopefully, the Trio’s most dark and acerbic songs should be coming out to play for what should be an excellent set.
Well, out of 12 bands, it seems that 9/12 are set to be pretty fantastic in my eyes. Worthy of a whole day spent there? More than likely. To be there early enough to catch Crazy Arm should result in me being there the whole day and I’m surely going to enjoy myself. Even if I am on my own all day.
Saturday’s lineup is a bit more well known in regards to my musical background and therefore, I’m most likely to spend the day there. There are, however, a few rogues in there that I haven’t seen live before or heard of, so I may as well break it all down again for you.
A bit of female flavoured punk rock from London. Unlike Civet, it seems like these boys and girls actually know what they’re doing. This is some seriously angry stuff, and don’t be fooled by the fact that there’s a girl in the band – it’s pretty brutal. This is exactly the kind of music I would like to be playing myself. This should make for an excellent wake up call on Saturday morning.
Off With Their Heads
I LOVE THESE GUYS. …From The Bottom is a ridiculously good album which more people need to listen to. Oh, they’re just so good! I can’t help but sing along whenever anything of theirs is on, and nothing’s changed since they moved to Epitaph – it’s still as gruff and bouncy as ever. These guys are set to be one of the best bands of the entire weekend. Yep.
Paint It Black
Paint It Black, Dan Yemin’s other band, are not quite Lifetime but hell, they’re still pretty fucking awesome. Melodic hardcore at its finest. Following after Off With Their Heads, everyone should be pretty psyched up and feeling up for some good clean fun, making this set potentially amazing. One of the bands I’m most looking forwards to in the weekend.
A band frequently featured on The Org that well… I haven’t ever listened to completely. Pretty heavy stuff. This is set to be one of the most intense sets of the weekend. I might sit this one out, to be honest. I love hardcore, and I love really heavy hardcore, but if I want to survive for Bad Religion, it might be a good idea.
Well, The Rats just don’t seem to exist. Lots of googling aside, it looks like it’s most likely Gallows, as their fan club is called The Rats. However, it could be a wide number of bands, as it appears to be a secret slot; personally, I’m hoping for The Gaslight Anthem.
Again, a band I’ve heard of but never actually heard. Well, I probably have at some point in my life, but for the purposes of this article, no I have no. They seem to be a glorious mix of EVERYTHING – there’s some synth in there, some ska grooves, some vaguely Minus The Bear-esque sounds. Hell yeah I’m checking this out, if for no other reason than I’d love to finally find out who the hell they are.
Crime In Stereo
Crime In Stereo are amazing. Pretty much enough said. Seriously fine post-hardcore. I’ve never seen them live before so this should be an interesting set. I unfortunately do not know enough of their back catalogue to predict what they’ll play, but I’m hoping a fair amount from Crime In Stereo Is Dead because well, that’s pretty much the only album I know. I am very, very excited for these.
Zebrahead! It’s been far too long! Last time I saw you, it was 2006! Possibly earlier (when the hell was Give It A Name in Birmingham?) or later, but even so, it was at least three or four years ago and I have missed you. The only pop-punk band that I will ever permit to rap in (Good Charlotte kind of tried it and failed) because they’re so much fun! Me + moshpit + Zebrahead = happy Ripper. I wouldn’t miss this for the world, if only for the nostalgia element; Zebrahead were one of the first bands I encountered by the medium of satellite television.
Cancer Bats are pretty brutal. I’ve been around Cancer Bats but never actually seen them as a result of “Ripper, let’s go watch something else that isn’t any more of your hardcore shit!” Unfortunately, I am the best sister in the world and will sacrifice much to keep my sister happy. But not Blink 182 on Sunday. But yeah, Cancer Bats are a bit more metal than hardcore but ultimately pretty awesome. I will cling to the barrier and hope not to die.
The Get Up Kids
Oh. Holy. Shit. I’ve been wanting to see TGUK for aaaaaaaages, but never managed to when they did their first and second reunion tours. Therefore, this should be something special. I’m a huge 90s emo fan and while TGUK might not quite fit that mould, they come close enough. Like Rival Schools were my fix last year, TGUK will be this year. Oh man, I love James Dewees so much. If you’ve never listened to The Get Up Kids, please remedy this immediately. It’s in your best interests and will make you a better person.
Do I need to say anything? It’s Bad Religion! One of the first punk bands I ever listened to, courtesy of Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 2, one of the first punk bands that made me pay attention to the world and one of the biggest inspirations behind my wanting to be a musician some day. This will make Reading Festival. Oh yes.
So, Saturday seems to be a most excellent day with 10/12 being most likely to enthral me. But please, let’s have positive thoughts about it not being Gallows for The Rats, as well… they suck. But on the whole, the Lock Up looks to be more impressive than last year’s efforts and I can see that it will be a worthy enough replacement for Rebellion, especially as World/Inferno Friendship Society have pulled out of Rebellion. Sweet.