News: Reading & Leeds Festivals make first line-up announcement

Last night, Reading and Leeds Festivals announced the first few acts confirmed for next year’s line-up, including one of the three headliners: the mighty Muse.  The festivals will be held over the August bank holiday weekend next year, from the 25th to the 27th.

Alongside Muse, some of the other heavier acts announced include Architects, Against The Current, While She Sleeps and At The Drive In, plus who could ignore the pop/electronic giants Bastille.

Overall I’m fairly impressed with this announcement, but it’s quite difficult to guess how good the festivals’ line-up is going to be overall judging from these eleven acts.  The announcement spans a number of genres, so as someone who would only be interested in seeing heavier bands, I can’t judge how much I’d enjoy next year’s festival.

Compared to the last Download Festival line-up announcement, I’m definitely much more enthusiastic about the Donington Park festival.  Download have announced all three headliners, and it must be said knowing all of the headliners makes a festival a much more exciting prospect.

Hopefully we’ll be hearing more from Reading & Leeds soon, but until then this latest news is enough to tide us over.

What do you think about the announcement? Let me know your thoughts on my Facebook or Twitter page, or in the comment section below this post.

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Music: My Reading & Leeds festival line-up highlights

As everyone who likes festivals and live music will know, Reading & Leeds festivals take place this weekend.  This year’s Reading festival sold out, which I haven’t seen since I started following the festivals in 2013.  Whilst I don’t think this year’s line-up is their strongest (which I think is proven by the fact that the organisers felt they needed to have dual headliners on two out of three days), there are some fantastic bands on the bill.  Here’s my list of the best bands playing the festival this weekend.

Foals

Since I picked up their latest record What Went Down, I’ve grown more and more interested in this Oxford indie band, and I wish I could see them live this weekend.

Die Antwoord

One of my electronic/alternative favourites, I missed out on seeing Die Antwoord at Leeds festival in 2014 due to them clashing with another band.  I’d still love to see them live, so I’m jealous of everyone at R&L this year!

Frank Carter And The Rattlesnakes 

Of course I want to see The Rattlesnakes live.  If you know anything about this blog, dear reader, it should be that I’m obsessed with The Rattlesnakes and everything they do.  Maybe someday I’ll get to see them live, but for now it’s obviously not meant to be.  Sad face.

Slaves

I still have yet to see Slaves perform live, but from the videos and stories I’ve seen about their shows, the punk duo look like they know how to throw a party.  I’d love the opportunity to hear some tracks off their upcoming album too.

Coheed And Cambria

Now, I haven’t heard much of this band’s music, but I think the vocalist has a very interesting voice and I really enjoy listening to their tracks.  I’d be very interested to see these guys live.

Fatherson

I watched these guys support Enter Shikari in 2015, and I thought they put on a really good performance. It would be cool to see how they perform on a bigger stage in front of a festival crowd.

So, these are my Reading and Leeds recommendations.  If you take the time to see these bands, I reckon you’ll have a fantastic weekend.

Are you looking forward to attending Reading and Leeds this year?  Can you think of any awesome bands I missed? Let me know your thoughts on my Facebook or Twitter page, or in the comment section below this post.

Leeds Festival Round-up: Sunday 24 August

Sunday was an extremely busy day for me, with loads of rushing between stages to catch acts that clashed with each other.  All in all I saw 12 acts, and I think Sunday was the most consistent day in terms of the quality of the artists we saw.  Here are the photos I took on the day:

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M A R M O Z E T S ★★★☆☆

After Pulled Apart By Horses had to pull out of the festival due to bassist Rob falling ill, I headed back to the NME/Radio 1 Stage to catch the first of Marmozet’s two sets.  The entire band was bursting with enthusiasm, and singer Becca’s vocals were spot-on throughout.  I’m still a little confused as to why the band were scheduled to play two sets when another band could have taken part in the festival, however they were really good performers which bodes well for the future of this relatively new band.

R O Y A L B L O O D ★★★★☆

I think Royal Blood were surprised at the massive crowd they managed to attract, and frankly so was I, considering the two-piece only formed last year.  Their performance was well polished, and even though it was only the two of them on stage their energy was palpable even from the back of the tent.  I will definitely be picking up their first album now I’ve seen how promising this band is.

L O W E R T H A N A T L A N T I S ★★★★☆

I only caught the last couple of songs of their set but Lower Than Atlantis seemed right at home on the stage, and it was obvious they were having a good time.  Vocalist Mike sounded strong, and the entire band’s performance was well rehearsed.

B A S E M E N T ★★★☆☆

Whilst Basement’s performance wasn’t offensive to my ears, it wasn’t particularly memorable either, and I left the tent feeling a little disappointed.

T H E G L I T C H M O B ★★★★☆

I didn’t catch as much of The Glitch Mob’s set as I would have liked as they clashed with Don Broco, but I enjoyed what I heard and the whole group seemed extremely enthusiastic and excited to be performing.

D O N B R O C O ★★★★☆

I’ve been looking forward to seeing Don Broco live for a long time, and they definitely did not disappoint.  Singer Rob is a charismatic fella who knows how to get the crowd interested, and the rest of the band could hardly stand still, they seemed so enthusiastic about their performance.  If the number of people sat on shoulders and crowd-surfers was anything to go by, the rest of the crowd enjoyed their performance as much as I did.

I M A G I N E D R A G O N S ★★★★★

Lead singer Dan had some technical difficulties which admittedly left the crowd (and the rest of the band) twiddling their thumbs, however overall their performance was atmospheric and left me wanting more.  Their closing song, Radioactive, was accompanied by every member of the band joining in a huge drum solo, which added something special to the already awesome song.  These guys were easily one of the best performances of the weekend.

C H V R C H E S ★★★☆☆

Once again, I only caught a couple of songs from Chvrches’ set as they clashed with Jake Bugg, however what I saw I thoroughly enjoyed.  Chvrches get a lot of radio airplay, so their set was a light-hearted sing-along experience.

J A K E B U G G ★★★☆☆

Whilst I couldn’t fault Jake Bugg’s performance in terms of his guitar playing or vocals, his on-stage presence was really lacking.  He didn’t interact with the crowd at all, and spent most of the set stood at his microphone, which got old quickly.  Even his band seemed disinterested – whilst Bugg’s music is fairly upbeat, his attitude on stage was anything but, and I hope he improves with time.  I was glad to leave early in order to catch all of Band Of Skulls’ set.

B A N D O F S K U L L S ★★★★★

I had high expectations for Band Of Skulls, and I was not disappointed – my only critique is that I believe they should have been on a bigger stage, as their performance was truly brilliant and their massive choruses could easily fill arenas.  The vocals from both Russell and Emma were perfect, and the drumming from Matt was full of energy.  They played a great mix of songs from all three of their studio albums.  Band of Skulls were a hidden gem in the Leeds line-up, and easily one of my favourite performances of the weekend.

O F M I C E & M E N 

Whilst I was a little disappointed that I had to leave Arctic Monkeys’ set early to catch Of Mice & Men, I was definitely glad I decided to stop by The Pit and watch the Californian five-piece.  Vocalist Austin was great at getting the crowd excited, even though it was obvious the majority of us were lagging after an intense weekend of moshing and singing along.  Aaron Pauley’s vocals were a little wobbly, possibly due to nerves, but overall the entire band’s performance was electric and I managed to summon what little energy I had left to take part in the circle pit around the tent pillars.

A R C T I C M O N K E Y S ★★★★★

As mentioned above, I only caught 45-50 minutes of Arctic Monkey’s set as I wanted to watch Of Mice & Men perform.  I was extremely reluctant to leave the main stage, as their performance was absolutely brilliant.  They played a good mixture of both older songs and tracks from their latest studio album, and you could tell by their confidence and swagger that they deserved the headlining spot.  Singer Alex’s vocals were flawless, and although I think the band’s performance could have had a little more energy, their type of music doesn’t really call for jumping around on stage, so I think I’ll let them off.  Overall, Arctic Monkeys really ended the weekend on a high note.

That’s it for my Leeds round-up – what did you think of the bands I reviewed?  Let me know in the comments or on Twitter!  This week was a little hectic, but I’ll be back to my regular Monday and Thursday posting schedule next week.

Currently listening to: Love Has A DiameterBiffy Clyro

Leeds Festival round-up: Saturday 23 August

Saturday at Leeds was a little quieter for me – I saw seven acts in total, one of which was unplanned.  The weather was fairly good, with only a couple of heavy showers throughout the day which were, thankfully, easy to avoid.  Here are the photos I snapped:

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G E R A R D W A Y ★★★☆☆

Some of Gerard’s new songs sounded pretty decent, and I found myself tapping my foot along to them.  However, some of them seemed to miss their target for me, and I think I would need to listen to them again to be able to gauge if buying his solo album would be a good choice.

R E D F A N G ★★★☆☆

I didn’t plan on watching Red Fang, but when it started to rain I decided to camp in the NME/Radio 1 Stage until La Dispute came on.  I had no idea what to expect from these guys, but their live performance was good and I enjoyed their songs.  I’ll definitely be checking out their music now that I’m home.

L A D I S P U T E ★★☆☆☆

I expected big things from La Dispute, considering how vocal their fanbase is on social media, however I found their live performance really disappointing.  The vocals from Jordan were seriously lacking, and even though the rest of the band performed well I wouldn’t recommend seeing them live.  Also, Jordan gave himself a bloody lip after swinging the microphone into his mouth – not a particularly good omen.

D E A F H A V A N A ★★★★☆

I also expected big things from Deaf Havana, and unlike La Dispute these guys really delivered.  They had a great energy and stage presence, and the vocals were spot on throughout the set.

M A L L O R Y K N O X ★★★★☆

Mallory Knox were absolutely brilliant.  They played a nice mix of heavy and slower songs, as well as songs from both their previous album Signals and upcoming LP Asymmetry, out in October.  Mikey’s vocals were strong throughout, and I don’t think any member of the band (excluding drummer Dave, of course) stayed still for more than a couple of seconds throughout the performance – I could really tell that they were excited to be on stage.

T W I N A T L A N T I C ★★★★☆

After hearing the Scottish four piece perform live previously I didn’t have particularly high expectations for them, because they’ve performed a few lower-than-average gigs in the past.  Their performance on the NME/Radio 1 Stage, however, surprised me in how good it was.  Sam’s vocals were on point throughout, and the band were really good at getting the crowd excited.  I will definitely have to invest in their latest album.

E N T E R S H I K A R I ★★★★☆

Enter Shikari really know how to put on a show.  They played a good mix of older and new songs, as well as a preview of their latest song The Anaesthetist.  Drummer Robert’s “I met God, she’s black” t-shirt was a nice touch, as was Rou’s denouncing of racism, homophobia, sexism and misogyny between songs.

What were your Saturday highlights?  Let me know in the comments or on Twitter!

Currently listening to: Homesick (Acoustic Version)A Day To Remember

Leeds Festival round-up: Friday 22 August

I got back from my weekend in Leeds this afternoon, and I had a brilliant time!  Instead of my usual Monday and Thursday timetable, I will be posting three blogs this week rounding up each day of the festival with photos and reviews.

Friday was a fairly busy day, as I saw eight acts in total, and apart from a little bit of rain during Papa Roach’s set the weather was dry, if a little chilly.  Due to traffic I missed out on seeing Young Guns, which I was really sad about as I’ve been looking forward to seeing those guys live for a long time.  I didn’t get photographs of every act I saw, but here are the ones I managed to snap.

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P A P A R O A C H ★★★★☆

Papa Roach had an awesome stage presence, and Jacoby’s live vocals were excellent.  You could really tell that the band have been together for over 20 years – their live show was well polished and great fun to watch and listen to.

C L E A N B A N D I T ★★★☆☆

I know these guys are a little different to the music I normally write about here, but their latest album is full of feel-good summer tracks, and their live performance was a lot of fun.

N E C K D E E P ★★★☆☆

I didn’t get into Neck Deep’s performance as much as I could have done, as previous to the festival I’d never listened to their music.  However, I thought their act was well-rehearsed and you could tell that they enjoyed being on stage.  I would definitely give their music a listen.

A D A Y T O R E M E M B E R ★★★★☆

As soon as the introduction to 2nd Sucks started to play, I knew A Day To Remember would be one of my highlights of the festival.  Jeremy’s vocals could have used a little work, but overall it was an excellent performance.

Y O U M E A T S I X ★★★★☆

You Me At Six’s performance was a lot of fun, and great to sing along to.  Josh really knew how to work the crowd and get everybody involved.

K L A X O N S ★★★★☆

I found it a little strange that this act played the Radio 1 Dance Stage, as I don’t really think they were suited to that stage.  However, they made the most of it and put on a really good show.

L E T L I V E . ★★★☆☆

As with Neck Deep, I had never listened to Letlive. before seeing them live, but their lead vocalist Jason was an awesome performer and he kept the entire crowd entertained.  I’ll also be giving their music a listen on the strength of their live performance.

B L I N K – 1 8 2 ★★★★☆

Both Mark and Tom’s vocals left a little to be desired, but their on-stage banter was hilarious and they played a great range of their greatest hits and less well known album tracks.

That’s it for my round-up of Friday – check back soon for my review of the bands I saw on Saturday!

Currently listening to: Figure It OutRoyal Blood

altrocklife’s Top 10 festival dos and don’ts

So, if you haven’t already worked it out from my Twitter, I’m going to be attending Leeds festival this year.  This will be the first time I’ve ever attended a festival for the entire weekend, so I’m really looking forward to it!

If you’re going to be attending, whether you’re a first timer or a R&L veteran, here are some dos and don’ts which, if you follow them, will ensure you’re a dream festival attendee.

DO – wear sensible shoes

Make sure your shoes are comfortable and practical in wet or muddy weather.  I recommend Doc Martens that are already broken in, hiking boots, combat boots or sturdy trainers.  Flip-flops, sandals and high heels are a BIG no-no.

DON’T – complain constantly about your aching feet

I get it, you’ve been waiting for the main stage headliner for hours now, and standing in a field to keep your spot secured isn’t the most pleasant way to spend a day.  However, everyone else is in the same boat as you – if you really dislike standing that much, buy a seated ticket at a gig next time.

DO – take more money than you think you’ll need

Budgeting is difficult at the best of times – even worse during festivals due to inflated food prices.  It’s far better to come home with some spare change instead of run out of cash on Sunday morning.

DON’T – spend all of your money on alcohol

Festivals are a great way to kick back, relax, and have a laugh with your mates whilst watching some awesome bands.  However, getting completely bladdered before midday and spending the best part of the evening – when all of the best bands are playing – throwing up or sleeping off a hangover is a serious waste of time and money.  Plus, if you’re drunk, all of the sober people around you in the mosh pit will hate you.

DO – keep an eye on your drinks and belongings

Nothing will put a dampener on a festival more than your phone, iPod, or wallet being stolen.  I even heard of a girl whose brand new £99 Doc Martens were stolen when she left them outside her tent overnight.  Keep your valuables in a rented locker or on your person at all times.  Not only that, but having your drink spiked is always a possibility, especially for girls, so never leave your drink unattended and keep your hand over the top of the cup or bottle to avoid something being slipped in.

DON’T – be a shover

Unfortunately at every festival there will always be those awful people who barge through the crowd to get as close to the front as possible, even if there isn’t a clear pathway though.  Everybody wants to get as close to the stage as they can, but forcing your way through everybody else is a bad choice – getting to the stage early and picking your spot always pays.

DO – stay hydrated

You don’t want to flake out halfway through the day due to dehydration, especially if it’s a hot day.  And no, drinking cider does not count as keeping yourself hydrated.

DON’T – spend all of your time taking photos and videos

If you’re going to watch the entire festival through the screen of your phone or camera as you take photos or record videos, you might as well have stayed at home and watched the festival highlights on the telly.  My advice is to snap your photos during the songs you don’t know or like, or during the opening and closing song, so you can spend the majority of the set enjoying yourself.  Plus, unless you have an extremely high quality camcorder or camera, recording videos is usually pointless as the sound quality will probably end up terrible.

DO – bring plenty of hygiene products

Nobody wants to be shoulder-to-shoulder with someone who stinks of body odour and mud.  Wet wipes, deodorant and fabric freshener for your clothes are must-haves, along with plenty of clean clothes.

DON’T – forget to be prepared for every type of weather

Over the course of a weekend – or even longer if you have early entry tickets – the good ol’ British weather can change dramatically.  Remember to take something for every type of weather: sun cream; wellies; a sun hat; a waterproof; a thick coat or jumper for the cold; and airier clothes for warmer weather.

Can you think of anything I missed off the list?  Let me know in the comments or on Twitter!

Currently listening to – Brothers and SistersTwin Atlantic

R&L: the latest line-up news fails to disappoint

So, a bit earlier on Reading and Leeds added 50 new acts to this year’s festival line-up, taking place from the 22nd to 24th of August.

Probably the most exciting announcement was the addition of Gerard Way, performing his first ever solo UK show, following the demise of My Chemical Romance, the band he fronted until March 2013.  I was a big fan of My Chem for a long time, so seeing activity from its former band members is super exciting!  I’m definitely looking forward to hearing what he’s come up with in the year since they broke up.

He’ll be playing on the NME/Radio 1 stage alongside one of my favourite vocalists, Maverick Sabre.  Now I know he’s not particularly rock ‘n’ roll, but you’ve gotta appreciate his beautiful voice.  La Dispute are also playing the same stage, and considering their popularity online (especially on Tumblr and Twitter) they have a lot to live up to.

The Lock Up Stage will also be benefiting from the addition of We Came As Romans, following the release of their album Tracing Back Roots last year.

I’m also excited to hear We Are Scientists perform on the Festival Republic Stage – Nobody Move, Nobody Gets Hurt and Lethal Enforcer are awesome songs, and it would make my day if they played them.

All in all, the R&L line-up is still looking as strong as ever.  Nothing they could do could make me regret buying my ticket now.

Currently listening to: In The NightYoung Guns