Reading Festival - Friday
Reading Festival has traditionally been seen as a rock festival stretching back to the days of Rainbow in the 80's. Recently there have been arguments across social media about the perceived 'dip' in quality since 2000 and the days when Oasis ruled the world. Nowadays the festival has diversified and the event across it's three days over the Bank Holiday weekend in August has a variety of acts covering many genres.
The art of a secret set in the days of Twitter and Facebook is an act that is hard to pull off. With a new album in the bag and a new song out in the form of 'Mantra', the Radio 1 tent is packed to the rafters as Bring Me The Horizon take to the stage. Starting with the aforementioned song, the bang plough through a quick 45 minute set showcasing the majority of their recent output. Having changed their sound quite drastically over the years (and why not after all), the band are still fighting their way into the mainstream whether you like it or not. Apart from a quiet vocal mix the band and particularly a smile you couldn't remove with a buzzsaw off lead singer Oli Sykes face, the set is a triumph. Headliners for 2019 for sure.
Off in the distance and set out of the way Royal Republic are getting their groove on. Having seen this band over a number of stages across multiple festivals it's always baffling why they aren't bigger than they are. With a pounding groove, a vocalist with a diverse voice and a stage presence to match (the spangly jackers are killer) the band stride through their back catalogue with the tent quaking to its very foundations. A snippet of 'Battery' by Metallica and singing Happy Birthday to lead singer Adam Grahn's 1-year-old was a nice touch too.
Nothing But Thieves over on the Radio 1 stage bring their version of Foals and Civil Twilight alternative rock. Pulling in a decent sized crowd can always energise a band and Nothing But Thieves absorb this energy and give it back to the crowd in spades. Having been a band for just over five years the band still have plenty of solid material, with a rendition of 'Soda' being a highlight.
With the release of latest album M A N I A being a divisive collection of songs for the punk fans of Fall Out Boy you could forgive them for relying heavily on that material. All is well though as the band bring out the big guns for a run through a Greatest Hits-style set with a few new songs thrown in for good measure. Musically the band are on fine form, Pete Wentz' flamethrower bass is pretty badass but both drummer Andy Hurley (who quite frankly hits the kit like a man possessed) and guitarist Joe Trohman's bored expression makes them look like they are going through the motions. The big hitters are all pulled out 'Dance, Dance', 'Sugar, We're Goin' Down' and 'This Ain't A Scene, It's An Arms Race' but a particularly vocal version of 'Save Rock and Roll' (featuring Elton John but obviously not here) is a highlight with Patrick Stump hitting the Elton notes perfectly. Fireworks explode over the main stage as the crowd finish up debut album track 'Saturday' and the capacity crowd exit with day one of Reading ringing in their ears.