The year rolls by and Reading rolls in, search for your sleeping bag, tent and ticket; immerse yourself in another summer ritual and descend on this modern day summer solstice.
The festivities opened up when we wandered to the main stage to see everyone’s favourite boy in the corner. The man with the impossibly low jeans pulled out all stops to entertain the thousands that had come to see him and show the sights and sounds of why he won that Mercury Award for his all-action displays. Killing the music to allow us to sing ‘rude boy don’t watch that’ the crowd did their most aggressive accent from the ghetto, but the best part was his hit ‘Stand Up Tall’: the volume oscillated dramatically from ‘din-deh-don’t-know-the-rap to ‘PULL-UP-YOUR-SOCKS-AND-STAND-UP-TALL’. Later on we were gifted the double-whammy of MGMT and Vampire Weekend consecutively: MGMT’s ostentatious antics went down a treat with the audience in the NME/Radio 1 tent, the succession of ‘oh-uh-oh’ that littered their set enabled even those who had only heard the hype, and not the sound surrounding them to join in with consummate ease. Vampire Weekend went on to match the mystical regalia of MGMT, by serving up a series of sing-alongs that surpassed the best of any scout meetings. Indeed it is this boyish innocence that holds the key to Vampire Weekend’s charm, they look like they’d prefer to take a knock than to ever possibly give one out, (unlike the Sex Pistols, eh Kele?), and the crowd were enraptured by their performance. Only a stumbling drunk who played his part perfectly could top the efforts of the bands we had seen and Babyshambles’ ramshackle riot show illustrated that Pete Doherty, whatever else he may have done, is still an astounding showman.
Back at the campsite we had unfortunately seated ourselves next to Megaphone Man. No
superhero, we quickly were at odds and our childish skirmishes encapsulate the Reading spirit: we nicked their firewood and gave him a bloody nose, they woke us up at five in the morning and once pissed on our tents. In normal society we would have a litany of charges against us, but this is Reading, so scream bollocks to that.
Saturday began and in it the two gems that should reside within anyone’s top three performances: Santogold and Justice. In my ignorance and unconverted state I had not previously heard her music, however a happy decision led me to witness an eye-extravaganza as Santi White and band went all out to secure our hearts, they even had two robotic dancers that jerked in to co-ordination spastically to spectacular effect. The fact that they retained their shades and didn’t speak once or interact with the crowd, meant they elevated themselves to another world and ensured amazement amongst all spectators, they even upstaged Santogold slightly but her tremendous vocals and chatty stage presence endeared her to all. Then, when the night fell, Justice appeared. The tent thudded with the unleashed animals within, and their relentless juggernaut of a set was perfectly executed so that no-one knew when the beat would drop, but when it did, cue scenes of chaos en masse.
Sunday, with our ever-battered bodies more bruised than before we were slightly disappointed at the line up prospects, for Reading seemed to have exhausted itself and it wasn’t until dusk before there was any chance of catching us in the arena. Another band of inextinguishable hype were Alex Turner’s new outfit which while having a full orchestra on stage, never really attained any great heights but were enjoyable none the less.
And so with the silent disco offering salvation to those who hadn’t listened to quite enough brilliant music, Reading finished with our all-night campfire causing the nearest fire-towers plenty of concern and the embers were still glowing faintly when the first trains began to leave and us on it.
I shall admit that when I heard those oxford comma and cape kwassa-kwassa-wassa-wassa or whatever demos, I was not convinced in them justifying their hype, but in this record the songs slot in beautifully. The album is a testament to the sum being greater than it's parts. I can quite happily leave it on repeat throughout the whole album and there is no one singular track that I rush to skip over. They are simple, well-crafted harmonies that will bring
I particularly like the line: "How am I supposed to pretend? // I never want see you again."
Vampire Weekend - Vampire Weekend
Or are you bored, lethargic and listless?
I sound like one of those really bad sales adverts, worse than confused.com anyway.
Well if yes to the latter than you need new car insurance, or an AA meeting or something else.
However if that doesn't float your boat:
Then come down to Hoxton Bar & Grill & Kitchen & Dining-Room & Bedroom-en-suite
Time Out reckons: "Aberdeen headliners play poppy post-hardcore that's more likely to appear on Xfm than the Dischord label. Alt-rock supports. "
Should be good.
See you there.
The other piece of news that makes me change my mind on a certain band is the uploading of a new song on their myspace. White Lies [formerly known as Fear of Flying], have just put up 'Death' on their myspace, and sorry to be so crass but the best way to describe it would probably only be uttered in oaths such as: "fuck me sideways, this is E-P-I-C." They've made great strides in the last few months and their sound is huuuuggee. Almost to the point of over playing the giant-card. Nevertheless 'Death' is another gem that I will now spend unwholesome amounts of time listening to, instead of doing other more constructive activities, such as this looming pile of essays. White Lies haven't made it available to download unfortunately, but I am sure there are ways of means, I would love to get this on my iPod, but we shall have to wait and see what becomes of them in this new dawn of 2008.
Suedehead - Morrissey
so I'll join everyone and give my twopence for the year ahead:
GATECRASHERS FOR 2008:
I thought I'd do this as my pleasant surprise list, like when you actually get a decent present from your estranged Aunt, so these are bands that might just make something happen in 2008 and are likely to make great strides but perhaps nothing really, really tangible like Sony Ericsson's new advert theme tune, for example...
The mercurial London schoolboy has already released his debut EP "The Ides" on his own frYarcorp in conjunction with Make Mine Records and looks set to take more under his spell, seeing as he's actually started gigging live now as opposed to doing photo shoots. The industry hounds are well aware off him and NME will probably latch on to him and make him their own, personally discovered musical prodigy. Needless to say full of talent and definitely One To Watch. Note the upper-case letters. And what's more even The Daily Mail like him, I don't know if that's a good or bad thing.
The Ides - frYars
2. White Lies
Artist formerly known as Fear of Flying, [signed to Young & Lost Records, released two singles in their short life: "Routemaster and "Three's A Crowd"] that should have a real go at the industry with their stronger and more fiery collection of tunes. Another secretive lot, who should be gigging soon, but have so far not made an appearance on the Internet visually.
Unfinished Business - White Lies
Having released their single Motherhood/Fatherhood on Transgressive Records, they might, given a touch of luck, go on to get an album deal, but with Frederick McPherson's enthusiasm alone, this should carry them some distance along the way to their goal, whatever that may be. I think it's there for the taking for them.
1. Cajun Dance Party
Enough said really. All the former broadsheets love them, calling them the next Smiths, which is an insult actually, better than Bob Dylan as well allegedly and that made me laugh when I read that. But apart from stupidly generous comparisons that they don't really deserve, expect them to run away with as many accolades as possible. Ignore me, I'm just green with envy.
GREAT HOPES FOR 2008:
1. Late of the Pier
After their wondrous show at Reading I knew that they would go way, way beyond and on from their Way Out West days, might be a little too weird for the X-factor-saturated public to gain any recognisable chart success but 2008 will definitely see their fan base rapidly mushroom in size. As long as they say true-to-der-rootz, then I can say with confidence: The Bears ARE Coming!
2. Tokyo Police Club
Another band that improved my general state at Reading on the Saturday, so energetic and full of vitality live. Not only this but they have the songs to match and after being 2006/2007's favourite band to blog about should make them see 2008 with confident optimism. I know it's not the most original choice, but I'm conceited and want to get at least one right. We-want-album-pleaseeee.
3. These New Puritans
Easy to see this band "making it big" after their immense album.
4. Laura Marling
Chances are Kate Nash mark #2, but please, please no. I'm not a massive, massive fan, I do like "London Town" and "My Manic and I", but while loads of people really like her lyrics, I think they're a tiny bit bland. She also will be struggling against Kate Nash having done this trick twelve months previous. All the best though.
We shall see if I am in anyway right, but I doubt it. They will probably be all involved in complicated dental accidents involving the vocalist leaving him/her unable to sing, but that would be really terrible so it better not happen. Especially not to LOTP.