All the action from Day Two!

This was truly Josh Homme’s day: from the band wot he used to play drums in (Eagles of Death Metal) and the band featuring the bird wot he’s married to (Brody Dalle’s Spinerette), the uber-group wot he’s formed with Dave Grohl (These Crooked Vultures) to the band who’s latest record he produced (headliners, Arctic Monkeys). There was certainly no doubt that Josh Homme and his crew was taking over 2009’s Reading Festival. But that’s not to say that the other bands didn’t put up a damn good fight.

The Bronx topped and tailed day 2 with their alter ego group – Bronx El Mariachi…the mexico-latino mariachi band by day, hard n heavy rockers known simply as The Bronx, by night. Think 3 Amigos soundtrack after one too many tequilas – this is it. They even have the outfits to back it up.

Yes, I’ve been to the year 3000, not much has changed but they live underwater. Fair play…Charlie Busted has done a pretty good job of making most of us forget that he used to be in a rubbish boy band that were copied by McFly in a similar sort of bad photocopy way that Westlife copied Boyzone. Having said that, clearly not all of us have forgotten. Not me, anyway. And I’m not that much more enamoured with Fightstar than I was with Busted. Still, I applaud him for making the effort. Check out the mosh circles that form swirling dust clouds in front of the main stage. Ooh.

Dave Grohl sits to the side of the stage watching Eagles of Death Metal. And though the audience are clapping along and singing the words with wrapt attention, the minute the cameras whip round to reveal Mr Grohl with his daughter watching from the wings, the crowd goes nuts. Who doesn’t love Dave Grohl?

Former Hot Water Music frontman Chuck Ragan is over in the NME tent playing punk acoustic folk with a guitar and fiddle. It’s ok in a fiddly folk acoustic sort of way, but Spinnerette seemed like a better choice. It wasn’t. Dull, dull, dull. Oh Brody.

Thankfully Marina and the Diamonds put a bit of sha-zamm into the early afternoon with a bit of keys and funky dance moves. It’s not the most impressive Marina set I’ve seen, but when she looks that hot, who gives a shit.

Hushed whispers and eventual firm confirmations from the back stage area of Reading sprouted excitement that spread like a raging inferno throughout the rest of the camp site that yes, These Crooked Vultures would be playing a secret set sandwiched between Patrick Wolf and some other band that I, and surely no-one else will ever remember.

What could be more perfect? The sun was cooking, the time was approaching. As predicted, hordes of people turned up in the hope of seeing the much-hyped super-group. Even Clash wasn’t sure whether it would really happen.

There was talk of photographers not being allowed to take pics of the band performing, and the tent was so packed that it was hard to see the stage. The festival cameras focussed on the crowd, even when cheers from the front indicated that the band were there. Cruelly, the cameras remained firmly rooted to the faces of the first few rows of screaming fans leaving us unsure as to what was going on.

Then a teasing shot of John Paul Jones (formerly of Led Zep) – the crowd cheer. Josh Homme: roar! Then finally we see a raging ball of hair and drum sticks. It’s Dave Grohl. Like the sound of Wembley Stadium bellowing in unison, the captive audience erupt!

Could there be a cooler group? These are true rock n roll heavyweights, bearing the shields of Nirvana, Foo Fighters, Led Zepellin, QOTSA and Eagles of Death Metal. And Grohl is at the centre of it all. As legendary Nirvana drummer turned lead singer of the Foos, he went on to propel QOTSA’s success with his percussive appearance on Songs for the Deaf. Then, Josh Homme followed suit and played drums for Eagles of Death Metal. Now we’ve come full circle with Grohl back on skins along with Homme on lead vocals and guitar, Jon Paul Jones on bass and keys, and Queens’ guitarist Alain Johannes on lead guitar. This music is hard, bass heavy stuff, blistering with stoner, desert-rock cool.

After that, Hockey made the most of the sunshine with their summer indie-pop. Song Away and Too Fake were both singalong classics that had the crowd reaching for the band with outstretched arms.

An interview with Beth Ditto fell by the wayside, but there was still time to catch the rest of the Maccabees’ set. It’s been 2 years since they last played Reading, and here they are, playing to even bigger crowds with even stronger, newer material. Toothpaste Kisses remains one of the best ever set-closers.

The Bronx are a lesson in how to really fucking rock the house. Matt Caughthran is one of the most energetic front men you are ever likely to see. Refusing to let the crowd down, he gives as much as he expects from his fans. That’s everything, if you’re wondering.

Backstage during the Prodigy, Clash caught up with The Maccabees’ Mr Orlando Weeks, fresh off the stage after their magnificent set. Buzzing their approaching Malawi charity gig and their soon-to-be-biggest ever gig at Brixton Academy, he mentioned the possibility of a mash-up with Roots Manuva for their next single. Watch this space. As for the bands he was gonna see? Arctic Monkeys. So that’s where we went.

Arctic Monkeys were SHIT. Lacking in any charm, they were off their heads on something or other. And not in a cool way either. It was boring as hell. Didn’t help that the wind was blowing the sound all over the place. It was an unfortunate end to a practically flawless day. As the cloudless sky ensured a freezing night for all, we drank to the sound of Ultimate Power’s relentless power ballads as I argued into the night with other journalists about which Radiohead album was the greatest of all.

Dave Depares
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