Reading and Leeds Festival 2012: Preview

Que the familiar wellington boot jokes, it’s already approaching the end of August. Therefore, the poster boy of english music festivals is heading our, whether rain or shine. In what’s already been a stella year for music festivals, such as Radio 1’s Big Weekend and T In The Park, the promising line up that was announced earlier in the year for the Reading and Leeds festival is highly encouraging. The stages will host a plethora of talent, and the line up this year mixes a blend of the big hitters whilst welcoming newcomers to the parade.

The Cure are arguably one of the best alternative rock bands of the last thirty years, and are making their second appearance at the festival. Their last appearance was in 1979 around the release of their debut album ‘Three Imaginary Boys’. The group are known for their blend of moody music with a pop vibe, and should create a haunting atmosphere inside the grounds of Reading and Leeds. Look out for songs such as ‘Lullaby,’ and ‘Friday I’m In Love’.

Kasabian will be closing the Leeds festival on the penultimate day, and are known for kick-starting the party atmosphere with loud anthems. Since the bands debut back in 2004, Kasabian can rightfully claim to be up there with the likes of Oasis and Coldplay as one of the greatest UK rock bands ever seen. Fans at the Leeds festival will be lucky enough to experience the colourful pallet of the closing fireworks show, as well as songs like ‘Empire’, ‘Fire’, and ‘Underdog,’ on the Sunday evening.

The boss of the Reading and Leeds festival, Melvin Benn, has said that Paramore, Florence + The Machine and The Black Keys will be ”future headliners,” in years to come. The bands couldn’t be further apart style wise. Paramore, the daring loud pop-punk band from Tennessee, USA. Florence + The Machine with their powerful, room-filling, ballad-like vocals. The Black Keys, providing a smooth southern state influenced, blues inspired rock.

All three are extremely popular not just in the UK, but worldwide. Paramore sold-out their 2010 UK tour which ended at the London O2 arena. Florence + The Machine’s recent album, ‘Ceremonials’, went number one in the UK and she has recently scored her first solo UK number one single with ‘Spectrum (Calvin Harris Remix)’. ‘El Camino’, The Black Key’s latest album sold over 1 million copies and have already won three Grammy Awards since their debut album in 2010.

Within any festival line-up, it’s important to look out for a surprise package among the chaos. One that has previously appeared the year before at the Reading and Leeds festival is the rap collective rightfully named Odd Future. Known for their controversial sense of humour and outspoken lyrics, they can also put on quite a devious show. Be aware, they will up the ante, so bring suitable body protection if you decide to dive straight in to the crowds.

Reading and Leeds line-up poster

Reading and Leeds line-up poster

Band Of Skulls are another group to look out for, appearing second on the mainstage on the 26th at Reading and the 24th at Leeds. Their style is similar to an english Kings Of Leon, the only difference being that they have a female band member. Band Of Skulls have already had the privilege since their debut in 2009 to support the previously mentioned The Black Keys on tour.  Notable songs include ‘The Devil Takes Care Of His Own’ and ‘Sweet Sour’.

It’s never a good idea to completely ignore the smaller stages. This year on the Festival Republic Stage, the pick of the bunch includes British band Young Guns, veterans Feeder, newcomers We Are The In Crowd, The Subways, 2.54 and The View. Proving that the slightly cramped, smaller stages still bag gold dust. Get there early though, as the stage is known to overflow from under it’s canopy during a highly anticipated set. Other bands to be on the look out for in the Reading and Leeds festival include the duo Blood Red Shoes, Pulled Apart By Horses, Twin Atlantic and Django Django.

The BBC Introducing Stage has been known in the past to include secret performances from some of the bigger artists, with last year seeing Ed Sheeran performing a short gig. The Dance and Lock Up Stages will also be vibrant this year. Between the two, Less Than Jake, Metronomy, Katy B, Azealia Banks and Modestep are the most promising performers.

It’s one of the fastest rises ever seen from the smaller stages to the spotlight of the main stage. But with their energetic live show, why not? The Vaccines made their debut at the Reading and Leeds festival just last year on the NME stage.  Considerable progress for a band which released their first album only in 2010 called ‘What Did You Expect From The Vaccines?’. Expect a dominat performance, and a showcase of one of the best indie rock bands currently in the UK.

But the cherry on top of the ice cream sundae is the Foo Fighters. They are the multiple award winning Seattle rock band, led by frontman Dave Grohl. The Foo’s have numerous international album number one spots for their latest album ‘Wasting Light’. It’s the Foo’s return to the mainstage since setting the benchmark for live performances all the way back when they last appeared at Reading and Leeds in 2002 and 2005. Expect euphoria when they take to the stage, as they are an undoubted crowd pleaser, and always receive the warmest of welcomes from festival crowds. It’ll be a special experience to be there when they close the show at Reading.

It’s one of the most diverse line-ups in recent years, as it attemtps to mix heavy metal from Bullet For My Valentine to the indie pop group Foster For The People. It’s under twenty days away now. So, all eyes on Reading and Leeds 2012. Who are you excited to see?

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