And here comes the customary Lock Up preview. Although this preview comes a bit later in the year than usual, it’s perhaps a rather good thing – several bands have dropped out or been added in the time between the announcement and now. In any case, here’s a breakdown of what you’re likely to see at Reading or Leeds Festival this year!… if you’re like me and pretty much stick to this tent alone.
There’s a fundamental difference concerning the Lock Up this year, and that’s the scheduling. Unlike previous years, where the Lock Up ran Friday-Saturday (at Reading), it’s now moved to Saturday-Sunday. Leeds is mostly unaffected, with the Lock Up remaining Sunday-Friday. What this means for me in particular is that I won’t see Muse do their Origin Of Symmetry anniversary set because the Descendents are playing at the same damn time. I’m only sort of okay with that. But for Milo and the guys, I’ll make the sacrifice. But anyway, let’s get down to it – who’s playing and who do you need to see?
Leamington’s own, Sharks are pretty well known around my area. They supported The Gaslight Anthem on their American Slang tour in the UK and fared rather well amongst the audience. Their particular brand of punk is possibly better suited to the NME stage – a bit like Fucked Up, it’s rather hard to place but it has too much of a universal affair for the Lock Up stage. Nevertheless, they’re sure to be winning openers for the day.
One of my most anticipated bands of the weekend, Title Fight are awesome. I’m a huge fan of the melodic hardcore/pop-punk hybrid a la Lifetime, Set Your Goals and all that. There’s something in there that just screams a bit of 90s emo as well and it’s ace. I’m not entirely sure how their live act is going to pull together, but frequenting the hardcore circuit in the US, they’re more than likely going to deliver.
Ah, Teenage Bottlerocket. I remember listening to these guys back in the hazy days of middle school, their tracks passed around on mix CDs bearing pretty much entirely Fat Wreck bands with a few Epitaph ones chucked on as an afterthought. Ridiculously fun pop-punk, it’ll definitely lighten the mood if it’s a rainy day (although let’s hope not!).
There’s a lot of stuff I could write here, but I’m saving that for next week’s post-hardcore expose. To put it bluntly, letlive. are one of the best things to happen to the alternative music scene in the past ten years. Fake History is an amazing record and I simply cannot wait to see this band live. Behind Hot Water Music and Descendents, letlive. are on my must see list and I won’t be missing this for the world.
Mike McColgan’s (former Dropkick Murphys singer) band dating back from 2002, for those of you who didn’t know. I don’t think I did. It’s good old honest shouty punk rock with a far less of an Irish feel than Dropkicks. If you like Bouncing Souls, you’ll probably like these guys. More than likely worth a watch, despite their interruption of what could have been the perfect set (come on, letlive., Boysetsfire and Comeback Kid in one go would be like a triple orgasm).
It has been a hell of a long time since I’ve heard anything from Boysetsfire. Since their reunion last year, they’ve been touring all over and it looks like Reading and Leeds will be no exception. Their particular brand of post-hardcore is wonderfully melodic and atmospheric, which should bring a touch of epic back to the stage. If you’ve never heard them before, a whole lot of After The Eulogy (which rules) is up on their Myspace for your delectation.
We all know how much love I have for Comeback Kid by now. A blinder of a set at Imperial Never Say Die last year has set them up perfectly for this. The new album is pretty damn sweet but I’ll be looking for material from Broadcasting more than anything. Hardcore that in the words of Bill and Ted is ‘excellent!’ Get on this if you like lots of gang shouts.
I’ve never been a huge Leftover Crack fan. I enjoy ska, but their kind of skacore just isn’t my thing. Nevertheless, their live presence can’t be denied and will probably be worth a watch. Famously described as anti-everything, there’s going to be a lot of fury, a lot of breakdowns and probably some pretty big moshpits.
Ah, Capdown. Yet another reformation to grace the stage. Not that I’m complaining; Capdown are one of my old P-Rock TV staples and should go down a treat. An ideal lead in from Leftover Crack to The Bronx – it’s ska-punk as you know it best.
Here’s a shocking thought for you – this will be my first time catching The Bronx. Unfortunately unable to attend their Coventry show in my first year, I have been left bereft, but no longer! Hardcore legends. If you haven’t heard of The Bronx and you regularly read this website, then something went wrong in your musical education. I’m definitely expecting some violent pits for this one.
The King Blues
The King Blues seemed to fare well enough on the main stage last year, but this is perhaps where they belong and will surely pull a much larger and more dedicated crowd. Punk and Poetry is an ideal summer album, although in my eyes one of their weakest. It still has some great songs on it though and as they won’t be catering to the majority, they’re bound to whip out a few classics.
The Mighty Mighty Bosstones
Truth be told, I’ve never listened to a lot of Bosstones. They’ve always been there in the background of my ska listening, but no doubt my partners in crime on the radio would be far more excited for this set. Although they don’t measure up to the headliners of the next day, they’re bound to be a lot of fun.
Fighting Fiction are apparently dudes from Brighton! Cool! On my trawling through the internet, I spy a connection to Xtra Mile, the record company that Frank Turner is also on. Exciting. But enough about details, the songs sound great. Indie tinged punk rock with a lot of balls, this should prove to be pretty damn good on a Sunday morning.
From the one song I managed to find out there on the internet, Spy Catcher seem to be a pretty intriguing bunch. My expectations were shot from the beginning with some very interesting synth work, then into a post-hardcore/emo sound as the guitars kicked in. Perhaps this should have been expected, upon discovering they supported The Get Up Kids last year, but I enjoyed being pleasantly surprised. Here’s hoping the set goes just as well.
After spotting Your Demise at the Never Say Die tour, there aren’t enough good things I can say about them. British hardcore has been at an all time low and Your Demise are bringing it back. Brutal stuff. I bloody love them and you should too. More than likely, this is going to be one of the most intense and energetic sets of the entire weekend.
I love The Menzingers. Chamberlain Waits is a great punk album. If you like The Gaslight Anthem, you’ll probably be on board with The Menzingers, except there’s a lot less Springsteen and a bit more awesome. Should be good stuff.
The Black Pacific
The Black Pacific seems to be a smorgasbord of punk veterans, including members from Pennywise and Dropkick Murphys. It’s catchy, melodic punk rock by numbers… and that’s not exactly a bad thing. Perhaps not my most anticipated act of the weekend, but they should prove to be not too shabby.
Keith Morris’ newest hardcore project, Off! are once again a mixture of experienced hardcore veterans. Of course, the mere fact that Keith Morris is performing (and that crosses two Black Flag vocalists off my list that weekend with Henry Rollins headlining the Alternative Stage on Friday) will pull some crowds, but is that 80s sound still relevant? I guess we’ll wait and see. It does sound pretty much exactly the same as Black Flag back in the day, but… it isn’t. So I have mixed feelings here.
Bedouin Soundclash are an odd choice for the Lock Up, and again may be better suited to the NME tent. There’s no doubt that their ska/reggae influenced rock is pretty popular amongst the scene, but it seems oddly placed on that day and may have fared better on the Saturday. In any case, it might provide a nice chill out segment to the day before Hot Water Music tear it up.
Hot Water Music
When I heard that Hot Water Music were playing Reading, I was ecstatic. When I heard that HWM were playing on the same day as the Descendents, I was over the moon. To this day, Fuel For The Hate Game remains one of my favourite albums. Nevertheless, both the emo and punk rock sides to Hot Water Music are essential and I simply cannot wait until the moment that Chuck and the boys grace the stage.
Face To Face
I was turned onto Face To Face by former writer Soufex who bloody loves them. And I can see exactly why! Now considered to be one of the seminal punk rock bands from the 90s California scene, this is exactly what you think of when you think American punk rock. You just didn’t know it until now.
The secret act!
For once, I’m clueless. There’s usually some decent indication as to who the secret act could be – last year, Gallows and NOFX ended up playing sets which were completely unannounced. In the tradition of the ‘double set’, Taking Back Sunday seem to be the most likely, playing early on the main stage on Sunday and with the original lineup back in place, it’d simply be a waste if they weren’t back where it all began.
Flogging Molly. Well. I’d much rather them than Dropkick Murphys. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy a bit of Irish flavoured punk but it’s not my favourite. However, I’ll be right at the front, holding my place. A fair few of my friends are up for this one.
Best. Headliners. Ever. Descendents have been one of my favourite bands since I was about 15 and very little has changed. Since Milo’s surprise cancellation at London, this has been announced and waaaay ahead of all the other Lock Up announcements. Positively renowned for an awesome live experience, THIS is why I bought a Reading ticket. And to miss this would be ridiculous. Sorry Muse.