Reading Festival 2014 - Saturday - Reading

Following the myriad of great acts on Friday, how would Saturday fair? Surprisingly well, as it turns out. We began the day with some comedy in the alternative stage before heading to the NME/Radio 1 Stage for Lonely The Brave. Whilst frontman David Jakes looks a little uncomfortable on such a big stage, the rest of the band made up for it with an incredibly tight set with their alt-rock waking up the tent. Next up were Yorkshire rockers Marmozets who delievered a high octane, energy-packed set including the likes of ‘Why Do You Hate Me?’ and ‘Move Shake Hide’. They are definitely ones to watch in the future and have staked a claim to move up the pecking order.

Now, imagine the scene: a 20,000 person tent over capacity, a crowd in the palm of the band’s hand, and sing-alongs that some main stage acts can only dream of? Must be Royal Blood. The Brighton duo laid waste to the NME/Radio 1 stage, with a hit-packed set including ‘Little Monster’ (which garnered a sing-along so loud it overpowered the band’s sound at points), ‘Figure It Out’ and ‘Come On Over’. Closer ‘Out of the Black’ saw drummer Ben Thatcher dive into the crowd before returning to finish the song. An incredible set that will surely go down in Reading history. Main stage next year, lads?

On the introducing stage, All We Are provided an ideal soundtrack for relaxing whilst eating in the mid-afternoon. The psychedelic three piece drew an admirable crowd for the festival’s smallest stage. Over to the main stage - and dressed like student teachers - The Hives stride on to take command. Initially the crowd weren’t particularly into it, but once frontman Howlin' Pelle Almqvist was unleashed like a madman possessed the crowd ate it up. Closing with a trio of ‘Tick Tick Boom’, ‘My Time Is Coming’ and ‘Hate To Say I Told You So’, The Hives certainly reminded many what made them great in the first place.

Back at the NME/Radio 1 tent, Don Broco do very little to impress with bland songwriting and an air of “ladness”. It’s ironic when they give shoutouts to Lonely The Brave and Marmozets as both bands outclassed Don Broco by light years. Watching Die Antwoord live is like being on certain illegal substances (which we suspect MANY in the crowd were) whilst an angry man shouts about his penis. A memorable experience, but for all the wrong reasons.

Subbing the NME/Radio 1 stage this evening were Scottish electro-pop trio CHVRCHES. Last year they were on the Festival Republic stage, so how did they take the step up to the festival’s second biggest stage? Brilliantly is the answer, with singer Lauren Mayberry being in fine voice, making quips about that “typo” in their name whilst Iain Cook (bass and synths) and Martin Doherty (synths, samples and vocals) play their roles perfectly. Perennial set closer ‘By The Throat’ proved an early delight four songs in, whilst ‘Under The Tide’ (which saw Doherty take lead vocals) was possibly the most electric moment of the festival. Fitting really as the band not only took the step up, they smashed it out of the field.

Drawing the largest crowd of the weekend were this evening’s headliner, Arctic Monkeys, who deliver a hit (and we mean hit after hit after hit) packed set. Opening with ‘Do I Wanna Know?’ straight into ‘Brianstorm’ the crowd went wild. Frontman Alex Turner had eyes wider than the sky but it didn’t seem to hamper his performance at all as the likes of ‘Teddy Picker’, ‘Crying Lightning’ and ‘Arabella’ all got airings, but a real highlight came with early hit ‘When The Sun Goes Down’ (which hadn’t been played in the UK since last year’s Glastonbury) which saw the crowd in fine voice. Finishing with an encore of ‘One For The Road’, ‘Snap Out of It’ and ‘R U Mine?’, post set commentary suggested some people left unsatisfied but the majority lapped it up. Another triumph.

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