Biffy Clyro, White Lies, The Raconteurs & more

I’m kind of not surprised that knife crime is so prevalent amongst youths in the UK.

If I had to pay ten bloody quid for the privilege of knowing the playing times (on top of everything else) at this year Reading Festival then I would be damn well pissed off too! Of course as a reviewer, and indeed a patron attending a festival, there is always going to be something to bark about, usually more than one actually, and so that’s basically the only spot of venom I’m going to spit at this years event since it’s Reading Weekend, above every other festival, which is dedicated to music. And so, from the first two days at the best rock gig of the summer comes the highlights of Reading Festival 2008.

Biffy Clyro earn themselves the number one spot on this reviewers list of highlights for so many reasons, though reason enough is that Biffy, more than any other act, are a band that have unashamedly stuck with their personal stride, earning the unwavering affections of thousands of people through no other means than continually producing quality songs. Songs, that live, have an ability to move you like no other. Some might have remembered their headline-stirring set at Reading in 2007, in the aftermath of jumping labels and releasing record number four ‘Puzzles’, Simon and Co were invited to play the smaller Radio One tent and branded their mark into this festivals heart by setting fire to their guitars. Fast forward a year and the Scottish hair-metal trio have been promoted to main stage, and though they weren’t so much interested in wowing with self-made pyrotechnics, their set which included, ‘Who’s Got A Match’, ‘Machines’ and that epic new single ‘Mountains’ demonstrated remarkable growth in the band, their undying ability to rise to the epic occasion of a festival, and that matching blue jeans can still look rock’n’roll.

Second on the list and quite controversially is Welsh rockers The Blackout for nothing else but their jaw-dropping live brilliance. Being the first band on the main stage on Saturday morning, The Blackout trashed out and rocked like it was 2am at CBGB’s circa 1979, proving that they were unaffected by an early start and that the only way to shake off a hangover is to be scremo-exposed out of it. I tell you, it worked! Credit where it’s due to a band that can have a ca-zillion fans swooning at such an early hour, and for the best song title of the festival, ‘Spread Legs, Not Lies’. Though their emo-ish, hard rock might not have been everyone’s wake up call of choice, The Blackout grunt and breathe fire that inflames your desire to dance and gives you day-two strength like an injection of gear.

White Lies, without a doubt, are the next great British headline act, a band whose lush Echo and The Bunnymen-esque rock is so immediately engrossing, that their half-hour Reading debut, might have easily gone on half the day. Donning a mantle in the brand of rock that echoes through stadiums and into the hearts of thousands, the London trio bared little signs of nerves, and enticed a reasonably sized attendance at the Festival Republic stage with little banter and ample amounts of talent. ‘Death’, ‘Unfinished Business’ and ‘STARS’ showcased the band stunning ability to pen a fine pop tune, tunes which require little stage presence to secure your attention, though Harry Mc Veigh tends to charm one with the richness of his tone, and an unassuming presence. In short, White Lies have what most bands lack, that’s killer songs, and so I hope that you too are one of the few who will be able to say that you saw White Lies at their first Reading Festival.

Fucked Up. No words can describe this band! You’ve got to brave it to see it, and see it to believe it. Check it out ASAP- nothing short of wild!

And the final shout out goes to The Raconteurs, a band whose musical talent trickles through each song so effortlessly, they make conquering the main stage look as easy as loosing your phone. Set highlights included ‘Hold Up’, the immaculately timed ‘You Don’t Understand Me’ and the festival favourite ‘Steady As She Goes’. Indeed, it’s not often that you witness a festival set that somehow includes all your favourite songs, but uncannily excluded so many more, a precedent that affirms The Raconteurs as a sure thing each and every time.

Reading 2009? 363 days and counting..
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