Upon waking up for day two, we were greeted by a Twitter notification from Oxford-born band Foals, confirming the rumours that they would be at Reading Festival, hinting towards a secret set.
As we headed onto the festival site, crowds of people were swarming towards the NME/BBC Radio 1 stage, and not long after we found ourselves inside the entirely packed out tent waiting for Foals to take to the stage. As much as the set was shrouded in mystery, the fans certainly seemed to have got the details as they turned out in their thousands.
Launching straight into “My Number”, the band performed effortlessly as the audience jumped, crowd surfed and sang with everything they had to offer. With their new album What Went Down released tomorrow as the festival will come to a close, their performance proved to be the perfect promotion for their new material. The short set was comprised of just 6 songs, but was more than enough to set the bar extremely high for all of the acts to follow. Foals’ set was perhaps one of the strongest of the entire day. With the band’s first performance at Reading in 8 years, festival-goers were left hyped for the rest of the weekend.
Heading over to the Main Stage, we managed to catch a glimpse of Catfish and The Bottlemen at the signing tent, who would perform later on in the evening. As the queues gathered in their masses at the chance to meet the Indie Rock rising stars, the enthusiasm of their fans made it clear that they would not be ones to miss.
The atmosphere over by the Main Stage gave off a distinctly different vibe, as the dubstep foursome Modestep powered through their latest singles, pumping bass through the entire arena. With the sun still shining, the crowd danced in unison as they geared up for the day’s proceedings, which was set to take a much heavier turn later in the day, with Alexisonfire, Pierce The Veil, Bring Me The Horizon and Metallica all performing on the same stage.
A trip to the Festival Republic Stage found newcomer RAT BOY and his political raps storming the stage armed with a guitar and a keyboard. An essence of Jamie T, the newbies effortlessly moved between sung lyrics and rap verses, covering topical issues for young people, such as unemployment and money troubles. Recently signing to the same label as bands such as Blur, RAT BOY are certainly ones to watch for anyone looking for some relatable material.
Of course, Reading Festival is nothing if not varied, and Saturday’s lineup boasted an impressive range of comedy talent as well as musical. Under the roof of the Alternative Stage sat hundreds of fans eagerly awaiting the appearance of TV personality Sean Walsh.
Although some of his jokes did fall flat, including some more non-PC material on Obsessive Compulsive Disorder being a “real” disorder, and wasn’t well received, generally his set brought in the laughs as the afternoon progressed. Following Walsh was English teacher-turned-comic, Mark Grist, who told tales of his pupils and their obsessions with rap battles. With his slot also including his very own rap about his board game abilities, the crowd responded well to his quirky ways, even though the long-winded nature of his storytelling led to his set running over time by nearly 40 minutes.
As the rain finally started to trickle down, the team at The Spark took shelter in the NME/BBC Radio 1 tent for some back to back highly anticipated acts. Although Wolf Alice didn’t bring in the largest of the crowds we’ve seen so far this weekend, their performance did not disappoint. Still high off their surprise set earlier in the day on the BBC Introducing Stage, the North London four-piece showed off their sound abilities, with many vocal echoes and harmonies giving their songs the surreal alternative feel they are known for.
With Everything Everything next up, the audience began to expand and fill the NME/BBC Radio 1 tent. Immediately wowing the festival-goers with his impressive vocal pitch, lead singer Jonathan Higgs powered through the bands famous tongue-twisting lyrics, bringing the entire crowd to their feet. Although there was a struggle to distinguish one song from the next, every number went down extremely well. Before their set was over, the excitement for the evening’s next performers was already on the rise as fans began to make their way to the tent for Catfish and The Bottlemen (CATBM).
Dressed head to toe in merchandise, the audience was soon spilling out into the arena as sound check began to take place. It soon became apparent just how enthusiastic CATBM fans can be, with an announcement calling out to the stage requesting the audience take steps back to refrain from crushing people stood nearer the front. As fans were pulled from the front in their masses, following the ‘trampling’, the band finally took to the stage and immediately demanded to see crowd surfers despite the previous issues.
Catfish and The Bottlemen did not disappoint, providing one of the most high-energy sets of the day. Constantly thanking their loyal followers, the band seemed genuinely grateful to be appearing at the festival for the third time, having worked their way up the lineup considerably from previous years. Their success is definitely warranted, with their hits such as “Cocoon”, “Pacifier” and “Kathleen” bringing the perfect balance of variety and classic rock sound to their set. As the crowds continued to grow, their closing number gave audiences an unheard preview of the style of their upcoming album set to release late this year.
As the audience went their separate ways in anticipation of Metallica’s Main Stage appearance, loyal Twin Atlantic supporters gathered for their last chance to see the band performing off the back of their 2014 release “Great Divide”, before taking a break from touring to work on their new material.
Launching into their set with a cannon blast of streamers into the audience, “Fall Into the Party” set a high standard for the Scottish festival regulars. No doubt, the highlight of the performance was their single “Heart and Soul,” which echoed throughout the arena, bringing an end to another spectacular set.
To finish the evenings events was of course main event Metallica, who had famously spent more money on production than any festival has ever seen before. Similar to their Glastonbury set, the band were joined onstage by an army of adoring fans, as well as surrounded by an astounding amount of projection of their performance. Ensuring every angle was covered by cameras, not a single attendee missed out on seeing the sheer scale of their setup. With tens of thousands singing out into the night, for many this was a once in a lifetime opportunity to see a truly unforgettable show.