Oh Lord.


Except all my goodwill to everything in general evaporated when I woke up this morning: my tent had been "depegged", tagged quite viciously, I hadn't said goodbye to the guy-ropes, yet they were gone and was in an overall tattered state with the roof sinking slowly. Nonetheless this made for an interesting sight for my festival-weary eyes.

But APART from that it was fucking excellent.

Having woken up so early I was still awake, we ventured to Reading, despite several countryside detours and scenic sights we managed to get a good camp spot for the weekend.

First band of the Friday were the really quite regal Bombay Bicycle Club, who raced through their set, playing all the crowd favourites such as "Sixteen" and "The Hill", despite some minor slips - mainly due to the crowd clapping a completely different beat to the drummer and thus affecting the band's timing, it was a very good start to the day.

A sufficient time later, I reappeared in the Carling tent for Cajun Dance Party. Having seen them for the first time live back in June 2006, they haven't really changed much from that day - Danny Blumberg continues to parade around the stage with more energy than an erratic butterfly and they all look like they are generally enjoying themselves. The crowd are very much on the side, and at any given flourish of the keys, the crush of people increases to bruise level.

While I nursed myself in the Carling tent, [I can't believe how bony some people are] Jack Penate, or as I discussed in detail with a fellow camper, should be called "Jackattack" - so much better. His voice was straining and the set was cut short slightly, but he gave his best to the adoring faithful. "Torn on the Platform" was song by the crowd, in order to give him a rest, and the word-perfect, throaty gruff from the depths of the audience was very special and it shows how far he has come when I came across him in the pages of Transparent Magazine. He is only set to get bigger, with XL Recordings behind him, so try catch him if you already haven't before he hits bigger stages in the next year.

And then. and then, and then it was himself, Patrick Wolf, he came on stage wearing the most fantastically contorted get-up at Reading, not even the guy I saw in just a Union Jack thong beat him.

At this stage I was feeling grumpy at people's general etiquette in the crowd, so to have people unsure of Patrick's next move, I think even his double bassist and violinist were as well, meant I, selfish me, could enjoy his performance fully. His songs filled the tent with an air unlike any other, as if something was rising, like a story that in years to come, people would ask little cliches like "Did you see Patrick Wolf at Reading '07?" His performance was unbeaten throughout the rest of the festival, though Late of the Pier came pretty close to ousting him from my number 1 slot. I still don't understand why he is quitting live music, he really looked like he was enjoying himself and he endeared himself well to the crowd.

And that rounds up a Fantastic Friday, I know I have blogged about these bands before, here here and here but all this entertainment was just making sure Reading Festival was living up to my high hopes of it. And I also renewed acquaintances with some really lovely people.

Cancel On Me - Bombay Bicycle Club
Amylase Demo - Cajun Dance Party
Torn On The Platform - Jack Penate
Get Lost - Patrick Wolf

After my mostly North London themed Friday I was roused from my sleep from the pain in my shoulder, from sleeping too long on my side, and I headed to the Dance tent for two bands that I have been looking forward to seeing for a long time. The Teenagers opened up the tent and were, I think, a little overawed by the occasion; they failed to really start the crowd up and this could be down to the earliness of the set, yet Bombay Bicycle Club faced the same task. However when they played "Homecoming", everyone did their best to spit venom on every dirty syllable, though they should have played it last rather than halfway through, as the rest of the set became a bathos. That and "Fuck Nicole" were the highlights.

After this, came on Crystal Castles and got the tent to live up to its name, playing new single "Crimewave vs HEALTH", which is a fantastic remix [again], but was slightly ruined by the dodgy microphones that plagued many sets throughout the weekend. They come with a huge energy and vocalist Alice throws herself about stage looking like a hyper-active skeleton, with multi-instrumentalist Ethan and the drummer adding a nastier edge: in a get-up more suited to bank-robbers of old, albeit, carrying a slightly more jaunty attitude to stocking head wear. The "8-bit terror duo" really impressed me with their "weird-electro" [oh another pigeon-hole] and should go on to gain a later slot in next year's festivals.

Switching to a different tact, completely I went to see Good Shoes pack out the NME/Radio 1 tent: I could only force my way towards the front of the DJ platform [ on the opposite side of the tent to the stage],to get any way of a glimpse of them and as my friend remarked later "that was weird, last time I saw them there was only like 80 people watching", yes indeed. They rattled through their 3-minute-12th-fret delights and the crowd echoed every 130bpm word from Rhys Jones, and even as far back as I was, there was plenty of people swaying and nodding in full appreciation.

And then came a band from distant lands, i.e. Canada, where one of my friends spent his whole holiday there, why? I asked myself - well if he spent the whole time watching these guys I'll let him off. Tokyo Police Club are just one large ball of energy on stage: the keyboardist clearly has no respect for his instrument - slamming his fingers on the keys accompanied with hollers to fund the bassist/vocalist Dave Monks. I had liked them a lot before seeing them live, but my estimation rose even further - as they had me jerking in a broken-clockwork sort of a way to songs I hadn't even heard by them. And then they played "Your English" which is now my new favourite song


yes it very well is. They finished with "Nature of the Experiment", need I say any more, the hype is justified - go listen.

After this we dossed around at our tent and made trips to the nearest shops, having wasted sufficient time, we went to Arcade Fire [yes I skipped Bloc Party, as I have already seen them and didn't fancy standing for two whole sets at the main stage, lazy that I am.] Even from my position of two gazillion miles back I could still feel them reach out to the crowd and draw them into their web of extremely fine song craft. A real pleasure to watch and I'm sure I won't be seeing them for a long time, unless I'm quicker than the touts. Which is hard to be.

I do remember popping off to Digitalism for a short period of time, and making a mental note that they were much better this time around than that piss-poor set I saw at Wireless back in June. At Wireless it was just like watching a DJ set, this was an improvement, but then I left for better things.

And that finished a Super Saturday [oh I am good this alliteration lark], time was going so fast I wasn't cognizant of it, and now I only have Sunday left to talk about.

Sunset Beach - The Teenagers
Crimewave - Crystal Castles vs HEALTH
Never Meant To Hurt You - Good Shoes
Smith EP - Tokyo Police Club [Box, Cut Cut Paste, A Lesson in Crime, Your English Is Good]
Maps [Yeah Yeah Yeahs Cover] - Arcade Fire

Right and so Sunday leapt on me as it does have a tendency to do most weeks, and I dragged my ever-more battered body to Late of the Pier; I am so pleased I did. They were given the opening slot on the NME/Radio 1 tent and brought a crowd to fill most of the space in the substantial tent. They grasped this opportunity with both hands and squeezed very tightly, their set was, as I mentioned earlier, one of the best I saw at Reading. They have progressed massively since seeing them at Hammersmith Working Men's club last year, their songs are now much "bigger" [sorry to use such an atrocious adjective but it's true]. Before seeing them on Sunday, I believed that Space and the Woods was by far their best tune. Now, it's not even in the top 3. They have risen the bar and set some standards, they are of the few acts that can even claim to be original, no-one else is like them. I would definitely have them down as one of my bright hopes for 2008, especially if NME get their grimy paws firmly on their arms. Hopefully they'll shrug them off.

The next band I laid eyes on were, in fact seen on the same night as LOTP, and again, haven't been seen since. They too have improved, The Maccabees, packed the tent out and played all the favourites with "About Your Dress" and "First Love" majestic in their vulnerability and ability to make everyone quiver with every word pouring from Orlando Weeks lips. I spent a lot of the time pestering men in large banana suits to throw me in the air, and this sort of shenanigans shows the general "good-feel vibe" [excuse the cliche] that is now becoming a trademark of The Maccabees phenomenon.

Later on in the day I went to watch Mr. T, I mean Jamie T [ooh I've always wanted to do that]. And for the first time at Reading, I was disappointed. Back in February 2005 when I first came across that amazing savefile site with every thing he'd ever touched to date, I heard a Laura Marling but this boy played a bass guitar. He wrote lyrics of teenage troubles and the shadier side to life. Now when I clapped eyes on Jamie T, he has a much, much heavier sound, going down a more Plan B route rather than continuing to play to the WayOutWest following and cement a place in their hearts. Out go the "indie-kids" with their elitist taste and in their place stand thirty-something, smelly, balding, overweight, grubby, squalid, sordid, sleazy I'm-running-out-of-adjectives, ugly people. Whom ignored the space that I did occupy. I am not happy about that development.

I went off in a hump, but my mood restored itself pretty quickly and I returned to watch, or rather hear as I was so far away, CSS. I don't really remember much of it but someone said it was a good set.

And that finishes a Sexy Sunday [SCORE!] and also Reading for another year, the experience was amazing, not just the music: the camping, the bonding, the making new friends, the restoring of old and the laughs. I think a 40-minute battle with fellow campers, armed with water balloons and a catapult bested most of it. We whipped you, Badger Village, by the way.

I'm pretty sure I am going back next year so see you down the front!

Bathroom Gurgle - Late of the Pier
Precious Time - The Maccabees

P.S. Ow my fingers, all that typing.