Reading Festival Highlights 2012 – Friday

Three days of music, good weather (mostly). This is some of what I saw and what I thought.

Future of the Left

The Future of the Left are a recent discovery for me. I encountered them through Fever Fever who have recently been a support for them. They were better than I expected and a good start to the festival.

Sardonic, witty and at times aggressive FotL have taken me from knowing one song to wanting to explore their back catalogue.

Hadouken!

Ok, I like Hadouken. Coming out as a fan was received with cries of “what are you, fourteen!?” (The answer is no.) But they do make good music. The first album is full of social commentary and the stuff since, well… At least its that kind of cross-over that stops it being generic.

They were better live than I expected. I was thinking one in the morning would be a better slot for them than one in the afternoon. That didn’t stop the crowd for getting going, but that may have been chemical suggestion.

Savages

Savages are new to me. One of the joys of three days of endless music is that you can wander around and see what takes your fancy. The driving bass and drums with moody vocals and ethereal guitar caught my interest. Reminding me of a less aggressive Cold in Berlin and having just recently released their first single this may be a band to watch.

Scroobius Pip

This was the third time I’ve seen Scroobius Pip play live this year. The alternative stage makes sense for a spoken word artist, but he seemed out of place with his whole band. Not that I’m complaining, he is a delight to watch.

Crystal Castles

Crystal Castles are one of those bands I’m never sure whether I like or not. I’m pretty sure they played a good set, through. It was intense and unrelenting. They made 40 minutes seem like 20, I take this to be a good sign. But I’m still not sure if I’ll ever listen to an album from start to finish.

Paramore

This is the second time I’ve seen Paramore. I was interested in how the band would perform after losing two of its founding members in an unpleasant way. Haley Williams is a good front woman and they put on a good show, but they didn’t feel like the band I saw before.

I’m sure the band will continue to do well for itself, Haley does have a cult of personality about her and lineup changes will not affect that. However, I’m not convinced of the writing power or the cohesion of this new lineup. Strangely, their first album comes across as the most mature and I hope the band doesn’t descend into teenage angst sophistry. Time will tell.

The Cure

The Cure were really good. Robert Smith was a quiet front man and they just played and played. With such a large back catalogue it was all good material, some of which I’d forgotten how good it is.

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