With less than a month to go until Reading & Leeds, you’re probably starting to think about what you’re going to see. There are so many great acts on show that it’s hard to narrow them down. But we’ve chosen a few from each stage that we reckon are worth checking out. Follow our lead and you’re in for a treat.
We’re using the Reading timetable for our picks, but we’re sure they’ll be just as great in Leeds!
Here’s our guide to who you should see on Sunday (Friday @ Leeds):
Biffy Clyro – It’s been 12 years since the Scottish trio first played Reading/Leeds. Since then, their uncanny ability to make you grin in disbelief has won them fans across the globe. They’ve been known to set guitars on fire on stage and very rarely end a gig fully clothed, but you should be most excited about their truly awesome brand of experimental rock. As long as you don’t mind the occasional drunken oaf flying into you, courtesy of the inevitable mosh pit, get down to the front early for the proper Biffy experience.
Fall out Boy – This year marked the reformation of a firm festival favourite. After splitting in 2009, citing fatigue, many feared we’d never see the punk rockers perform together again. They arrested those fears in February, announcing a new studio album, ‘Save Rock and Roll’ and accompanying tour. They’re coming to Reading on Sunday to remind us what we’ve been missing.
The Lumineers – After a year that saw the Lumineers catapulted into the stratosphere of superstardom, the Denver folk-rockers head to the main stage to show you why their debut album went Top 10 in the UK, USA & Australia. You don’t achieve that without some serious talent and musical know-how. Now it’s your turn to see what they can do live.
Nine Inch Nails – Trent Reznor’s absence from the festival scene, the result of numerous Hollywood score commissions, has been harrowing. His daring vitality, uncompromising attitude and unrelenting ability to create great rock music have given Nine Inch Nails an almost God-like status on the festival scene. Miss them at your peril; witness the legend.
NME/BBC Radio 1 Stage:
Alex Clare – Clare’s rocking brand of drum ‘n’ bass is an awesome live spectacle. We reviewed his recent show at Somerset House’s Summer Series – just read that!
Villagers – Their dark and stormy interpretation of indie folk is nearly as dreamy as frontman Conor o’Brien’s eyes. They’ve recently begun to work interesting electronic sounds into their music, which compliment their poetic lyrics beautifully. With a few tear-jerkers guaranteed, you will be moved. Stand in their headlights and let it happen.
Azealia Banks – After playing to a packed dance stage last year, a return seemed inevitable. Reading/Leeds 2013 will be one of the first airings of her long awaited new album, ‘Broke with Expensive Taste.’ More of the same or something new? This is your chance to find out before just about everybody else. Get ready for expansive hip hop and some serious sass from the Yung Rapunxel.
Radio 1 Dance Stage:
With Baauer on the line-up, we could be set for Reading’s own Harlem Shake, so wear something (in)appropriate and join in the fun. Meanwhile, the real ones to watch on this stage are:
Pegboard Nerds –The joint project of Alexnder Odden and Michael Parsberg, both experienced and knowledgeable producers in their own right, began remixing tracks together in 2005. They’ve now been producing their own material for a couple of years and the combination has proved sensational. We love them because they are genuinely ground-breaking. They will show you something you’ve never heard before.
Knife Party – Bringing you electronic dance music with a punch, a kick and a bloody nose, the Australian duo have taken the world by storm. Their live show is a rollercoaster of massive tunes and stage madness of the highest degree. It could be messy; it will be brilliant.
Funeral for a Friend – After a few years struggling to make the waves of their formative years, their reinvigoration has coincided with the addition of former Rise to Remain drummer, Pat Lundy. They’re back to their energetic, urgent roots, ready to blow you away with their past-hardcore show. This is rock for the purist, refusing to popularise their sound for the mainstream but remaining true to their magnificent roots.
Arcane Roots – Their new album, ‘Blood & Chemistry,’ is a confirmation of what many have known for some time: this Kingston 3-piece can rock with the best of them. They’ve been on the rise ever since their debut mini-album was released in 2011 and they’re picking up pace. Don’t miss their blistering live show, laced with clever experimentation and mountains of power.
Enter Shikari present Shikari Sound System – GLOBAL DEBUT ALERT. After years of thrilling and disturbing crowds with their brutal electronic hardcore, these sons of Hertfordshire have decided to move more permanently into the realms of dance music. They’ve promised a mixture of classic remixes, new material and massive baselines. Be part of the very first crowd to hear it.
Festival Republic Stage:
Merchandise – Predictability is the death of music – which is why it lives on safely in the hands of these Florida rockers. Beginning as a hardcore outfit, they made a name for themselves with the harder strands of punk. But recently, they’ve departed to a softer place, compared to the likes of Joy Division and The Smiths. We have no idea what they’ll do next, which is what makes them so exciting.
Frankie & the Heartstrings – Northern Soul was a beautiful movement. Fortunately, elements are being kept alive by the outrageously charming Frankie Francis and his Mackem band. They combine these elements with 80s soul and shreds of Afro-pop to create passionate indie rock. They’ve just released their 2nd album and they’ll have plenty of treats in store for you.
Mount Kimbie – Peckham soundscapists have been steadily building fans from a wide range of backgrounds. With 2 albums under their belt, their live show is something to behold. From their own home studio, they’ve learnt to make extraordinary synth sounds, creating an atmosphere that’s minimal, yet somehow huge.
BBC 1XTRA Stage:
This year’s lineup has been unfairly criticised at times, but all 3 days on the 1XTRA stage are packed with one phenomenal act after another. Sunday is no exception, with the likes of Ghostpoet and the eternal David Rodigan MBE making an appearance. Our pick though was simple:
MS Dynamite – Taking time out to have a child, her family’s gain meant R&B’s temporary loss. She won the 2002 Mercury Music Prize and has 2 Brit awards to her name. She’s released singles with Katy B and Labyrinth. In short, she’s musical royalty. Witness her return to the big time first hand and see what she’s been working, apart from the baby.
Wretch 32 – There are few who have the way with words that Jermaine Scott can boast. Although it’s been 2 years since his last release, the massively successful ‘Black and White,’ his success on the grime scene is almost without parallel. Due to release a new album this year, he will bring the 1XTRA stage to the unforgettable close it deserves.
BBC Introducing Stage:
Well, we don’t really know what to expect, this is the first time most people will have heard any of the acts on this stage. If you’re still not sure what to listen to, head down to this stage to see what you can find.
On the Sunday night at Reading or Leeds, literally anything can happen. Have a wander round and see what’s kicking off. Just don’t blame us if it all gets a bit messy.
Who are you most looking forward to seeing at Reading/Leeds 2013? Tell us below!