Reading Festival - Saturday
After a fantastic Friday, Saturday is mostly about the main stage, mixing pop punk, hip-hop and rock it's a melting pot of genres, and the sun is out to boot.
After getting up late, the first band of the day are Skindred, and Newport's finest raga metal brotherhood are the ultimate festival band. Whether it's at the none more metal Bloodstock, the rocked up Download or the 'I'm away from my parents at my first festival' Reading crowd, frontman Benji Webbe can whip a crowd into a swirling cloud of dust. With latest album Big Tings broadening the bands sound commercially, the biggest interaction with the crowd is with the customary 'Newport Helicopter' (you have to see it to believe it) set ender. Fun times.
Linkin Park's Mike Shinoda is up next for his debut UK solo show. Hanging over the crowd is the memory and loss of lead singer Chester Bennington and he's not far from Shinoda's mind throughout the set. In the massive crowd there are people openly sobbing, full on shoulder shaking grieving, people hugging each other as Shinoda leads the crowd through a piano version of the classic 'In The End'. Indispersed throughout the set is solo material referencing Chester ('Make It Up As I Go') or other classics for the crowd to sing/sob along to ('Bleed It Out'). With more thoughtful words about depression and getting help, the set ends with 'Running From My Shadow' and you can feel the crowds collective sigh as the last notes ring out.
Sum 41 are up next and looking a little bit older but a lot more musically diverse they steam into their set pulling out classic after classic ('Fat Lip, In Too Deep') and having an inflatable skeleton flicking the bird behind them is a nice touch. Getting Mike Shinoda out to run through the Linkin Park classic 'Faint' is a master stroke and works surprisingly well.
Songstress Dua Lipa is here for the pop lovers in the crowd and she pulls together a display of dance moves but this isn't 1995 and miming should be nowhere near a festival. To cleanse the palette is a late set by the legendary hip hop outfit N.E.R.D. Fronted by the musical genius of Pharrell Williams, his interactions with the crowd (and live singing/rapping, take that Dua Lipa!) show the doubters how it's done.
Then it's on to co-headliner Panic! At The Disco. With an album recently out in the form of Pray For The Wicked the set is peppered with tracks from that record but also from the now considerable back catalogue from the band. Last time frontman Brendan Urie (and sole original member) was here he was knocked out by a flying bottle to the temple. There is none of that shenanigans as the master of ceremonies pulls out a musical journey through swing, rock, pop and everything in between.