The August Bank Holiday weekend offers up an almost unrivalled set of distractions and attractions for the discerning punter, and always presents yr. humble writer with something of a dilemma. London offers both the UK’s biggest free festival, the Notting Hill Carnival, and the country’s largest gathering of horror fans, Frightfest (more on this from our embedded correspondents on the ground, fear fans).
And then there’s the Reading and Leeds Festival, the climax of the music, mud and over-priced lager season. For the first time in three years, X&HT will be on site.
Thanks to docoDom, we’ve snagged tickets to the Sunday performances, which to my mind is very much the strongest day. But the buzz about this year is especially intense, with headline performances from Kasabian, The Cure, and my personal favourites, The Foo Fighters. Throw in a “secret” set by Green Day at some point on Friday or Saturday, and you’ve got the makings of something very special.
Sunday is looking pretty Foo-centric, with appearances by Eagles Of Death Metal, and Me First And The Gimme Gimmes both having strong connections to the headlining band. Look out for a guest appearance from Chris Shiflett of the Foos during the Gimmes, as he’s part of the core studio band.
I’m also excited to see The Mark Lanegan Band, who again have links to the Foos through their shared association with The Queens Of The Stone Age. Blues Funeral, the latest album, is one of my favourites of this year so far.
Other potential highlights for me include The Black Keys and The Gaslight Anthem on the Main Stage, both touring the best albums of their careers. We should never discount The Kaiser Chiefs, who know how to get a festival crowd jumping.
Keep an eye on the other stages as well. I love The Cast Of Cheers’ new album, and the prospect of The Futureheads abandoning their punkfunk clatter for an acoustic and acapella set has curiosity value if nothing else on the Festival Republic Stage. Turbonegro and Gallows will be tearing the canvas off the Lock Up Stage. The Radio 1/NME is especially strong on Sunday, with a great mix of dance, rock and indie from Justice, Two Door Cinema Club, The Horrors and SBTRKT.
But the highlight of the day has to be the Foos, who claim Reading as their spiritual home. We’ve seen them twice on the holy ground of Richfield Avenue, and Grohl and co know just how to lift a capacity crowd and get them roaring along with every chord change. They are one of the finest live bands on the planet, and Reading always gets them lifting their game to a higher level. I’m jittering with excitement about what’s in store on Sunday.
Drowned In Sound have a great Reading and Leeds playlist up on Spotify, just to get everyone in the mood. See you all on Sunday.
Let’s get this party started.