Last night, on BBC Radio 1, the final headline act for Reading & Leeds festival was announced. The first two had already been announced earlier in the year and were received by many with a great deal of indifference. Many will be pleased to hear that it’s Greenday that will be joining Biffy Clyro & Eminem, as part of the elite three that will round off a night each at the huge annual music event. Many though, I’ve found so far, are less than impressed and I personally join them in this opinion. The landscape of this years festival has a very different look to most years and in an almost indescribable way. When you look back at recent years, the headline acts have been of a similar formula, and just as eclectic, but this year, something appears to be different. Something seems to be missing. The chances are, my opinion is unlike anyone else’s and I’ll actually miss an incredible weekend this August, but for the large sum of money that is expected, this years lineup just really doesn’t seem worth it.
Recent years headline acts have included bands such as Muse, who have won numerous awards for their live shows, and have a string of hits, loved by some, and known by everyone else that filled the set from start to finish. No filler required.
Pulp, who returned to the scene, revitalised and intent on introducing their now retro back catalogue to a fresh crowd, as well as those original fans, and they conquered.
Foo fighters, last year, took over the stage with one hell of an energetic performance, and throughout Dave Grohl ran up and down the stage, looking so excited, that someone who didn’t know any better might expect it was his first festival.
The Cure unleashed a three hour epic in 2012, and packed the field with people who had paid to see living legends return to the main stage.
Some of these acts, I was merely interested in seeing. Some of these bands i would have paid double to see. Eminem, Biffy Clyro and Greenday, provoke no desire at all to spend hundreds of pounds, make that journey… or endure those toilets. It’s not through any level of disrespect to these bands either. I have no problem admitting I’ve never been a Biffy Clyro fan, although it’s clear that they have some good songs, that I see translating well to a festival performance. Greenday & Eminem on the other hand, I loved between the ages of 13 & 17 years old, but through perhaps over-exposure, i’ve been numbed to anthems like Longview & Basket case. I imagine standing in a field, probably in the rain, with a thousand people going mental, and me stood there with the same feeling I get when ‘Down with the sickness’ by Disturbed comes on in Sugarcubes; bored and fed up, but pretending to enjoy it, because you’re supposed to be having fun. I honestly can’t see how Eminem’s material is going to come across to the music fans in attendance, and I can’t get out of my mind, the image of me waving hopelessly as everyone sings along to ‘The Real Slim Shady’, praying that nobody takes a picture. If somebody ran past with a mirror while I’m rapping along to ‘Just Lose It’, and I caught a glimpse of myself, I’d wonder what the fuck I was doing.
The rest of the lineup looks equally poor and confusing. If you fancied an early night and left for your tent before the headline acts took to the stage, you’d have System of a Down to look forward to, which for me is another 15-19 year old obsession for me, but not appealing now. Failing that, how does Chase and Status tickle your fancy? Not at all? Me either. Ok, never mind. Just head over to the NME tent for… Phoenix. Who? I’ve never heard of these guys but maybe I’m being thick. I would look them up to see if they’re any good but surely that defeats the object of an appealing and attractive lineup. Hang on though there’s always Skrillex!!! Jesus christ.
The bands that have been announced so far that I’d love to see are Haim, Bastille and Palma Violets. There’s others I’d like to see such as Foals, Peace, Deep Vally, Johnny Marr and Tame Impala. It’s noticeable that all these acts have very recently released albums, or will have released albums before the festival, and are all relevant and current talent. In fact those names make up the forefront of credible rock music in 2013. It’s no coincidence as far as im concerned.
My fingers are firmly crossed that it’s a great festival, I really do hope the rest of the lineup is great, and I pray that I’ll be eternally wounded that I didn’t go. But at this point in time I think there’s as much chance of that as there is that it won’t rain the whole time…
Words by Stuart Green (@mojo20_music)