Another year and another descent into the underbelly of arguably England’s most popular festival, (Glastonbury is the only other contender), this year, even though I attempted to get a weekend ticket, I was pretty pleased I ended up with entry just for the Saturday, the obviously best choice from a lineup with a majority of mainstream, pop punk or mundane rock acts.

This year though, the festival was SO muddy. An almost unbelievable amount of mud, that you could almost sink into whilst walking. I started the day off by watching The Walkmen so I could hear them play ‘The Rat’,which they happily did three songs in. Then came the illustrious Futureheads, a band I have always loved, they played a set that had some highlights from their recent album, The Chaos, including ‘Struck Dumb’ as well as a plethora of their old songs like ‘Decent Days and Nights’ and of course, ‘Hounds of Love’.

I got to enjoy a brilliant burger from the Fine Burger Co. van, seriously the best tomato relish I’ve ever tasted, whilst I was watching Band of Skulls on the NME stage, an act I had somewhat forgot about but enjoyed their set a lot. Plus they come from nearby city Southampton, wahoo!
Band of Skulls – I Know What I Am

Biding my time for a little while after, I did indeed see a bit of both Gaslight Anthem and Modest Mouse on the main stage, these two almost inexplicably booked American bands, who I admittedly know little about, were good to watch without prior knowledge, yet I’m not at all sure they are even that big in this country? The next big act that properly grabbed my attention was of course, The Maccabees, a band I missed last year only because of clashes on the timetable and admittedly must have been all the better for it as their set was tight and lovely to behold, of course, the focus was on 2009′s ‘Wall of Arms’ as opposed to their ‘Colour It In’ debut, though “Toothpaste Kisses” was a particular highlight.

Following on from them it was The Cribs, the Jarman brothers and Johnny Marr played a brilliant set, taking great songs from the discography before promising that it was in fact their lattermost show this year. Making it seem a lot more special than the gig was. I mean, it was a decent enough performance and a good choice of songs, but I just wasn’t feeling it. The Cribs just seem to be losing their edge and due to their seemingly endless indie posturing, whilst effectively creating similar sounding albums, the band seem to come across old and past it, that’s even without the presence of Marr, the performance left me unsatisfied.

Apart from seeing a lovely 2 song acoustic set for BBC’s Live Lounge by the ever-brilliant Everything Everything, I was then only building my anticipation for the Libertines. Which, actually made this day visit incredibly worth it. As soon as Pete and Carl staggered on stage after a Vera Lynn song played out to the crowd, with pictures of the band displayed on big screens, they went straight into “Horrorshow”, one of the best songs off of their debut album. For those fans who knew their songs, knew the albums, the actual set was amazing and apart from a little power failure near the end, they were astounding, showing that amidst all the breakups and makeups that actually did have quite a few brilliant songs. My favourite of which was “The Good Old Days”, a song that has always reeked of brilliance.
The Libertines – The Good Old Days

Arcade Fire rounded off the night in fantastical fashion. Their elaborate lighting, not as extreme as say, Radiohead, lit up the main stage area and probably could of caused seizures for those easily afflicted. But it fit the music so well, the overly melodramatic nature of the Canadian troupe’s songs belong with lighting so varied and colourful. The band themselves came on in a flurry, jumping around the stage, all the whilst the reprise of “The Suburbs” at the end of the album played, they then went into “Ready to Start”. Thus kicking off a set so brilliant it instantly topped their 2007 performance at the festival. Win Butler may have berated what seemed like a quiet crowd, but the atmosphere was intense and immensely supportive, with people, me included, singing every word to old and new songs. They, for me, concluded a very good day, with a probably curveball headline choice for such a massively generic rock festival, Arcade Fire justified themselves topping the bill with an outstanding performance and The Libertines more than certainly fulfilled their £1 million performance promise.
Arcade Fire – The Suburbs


  1. I was under the impression the power cut during Libs was due to safety reasons but who knows…

    Enjoyed reading this Reading review.