Festival Review: Reading 2015 - Day 3

by SeanAtkinson
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on 01 September 2015 in Features

The attendees of Reading festival would be forgiven for feeling a little fragile as we enter the final day. It's the turn of The Libertines today, the atmosphere at midday is vibrant and everyone appears ready to do it all again one last time. There's a smell hanging in the air that can only be found on the final day of a festival, a mixture of sweat, beer, portaloos and the food being cooked in the many vans that line the arena. To an outsider it would be unwelcome, but it's just another element for most.

Beginning my day is Canadian five piece Single Mothers. They play furiously, creating a fearsome wall of sound that sparks a small mosh pit. There's a decent crowd for an early Sunday afternoon slot, and a crowd that seems fairly receptive. The songs begin to blend into one but there's something decent in there somewhere. The band play with a palpable energy, starting the day off well.

Next up are Against Me! and The Gaslight Anthem, bands that have been long time friends and who played a show together the previous night on their day off from the festival. Against Me! play melodically infused punk rock and do it very well. You can tell they've been around for a while, they play as tight as anyone you'll see this weekend in their 45 minute slot. They cap it all off with the utterly irresistible 'I Was a Teenage Anarchist'. They play with a fire and a passion, and it's for all the right reasons. They're a joy to watch, both for relative newcomers to their music such as myself and their fans.

The Gaslight Anthem have announced that they're to take an extended break after the European tour they've been on and their show at Reading is the very last date. At this stage it's unclear whether they'll be back in months, years or at all, which gives an added edge to the show. It doesn't really show on the faces of the band, their hearts don't seem totally in it which perhaps signals why the break is Colin when it is. Nevertheless it's a special set and one that differs from their Leeds show. The most notable inclusion is the tender and heartbreaking 'Here's Looking At You, Kid', which leads into 'The Backseat' just as it does on their most popular album The '59 Sound. It's a bittersweet, and hopefully temporary exit from the band.

Elsewhere, Gengahr draw a sizeable crowd on their debut Reading appearance and The Cribs are solid on the main stage.

Amidst warnings of heavy rain, it is soon time for Jamie T. Having spent a number of years away from the live circuit, he appears keen to make up for lost time. It's enthusiastic from the beginning but there are lulls here and there as the pacing of his set is slightly off. To his credit, there is no one album whose songs gain the biggest reaction, 'Stella', 'Sticks 'N Stones' and 'Zombie' the most notable of his discography. Despite this, there's something missing. Playing third down, you'd expect to see headliner potential but it feels like he would've been far better suited in a smaller tent where he is able to create a more intimate atmosphere.

Kendrick Lamar follows Jamie T, playing the festival for the first time. The reports from Leeds have been good and it's easy to see why. Lamar plays a host of hits from his Good Kid, M.A.A.D City album, all of which gone down fantastically. It's easy to forget what an achievement the record was, and the crowd seem to reciprocate his energy. Lamar feels like a headliner, and it's surprising he isn't. It would've been a gamble but it feels like a headline set. Due to a time mix up, instead of ending on 'King Kunta' he finishes with a much earlier track, not that that diminishes anything, most of the crowd still know every word. He may be second to The Libertines on this occasion, but if he returns, he'll be a fantastic headliner.

Afterwards, Frank Turner very much has his crowd in the palm of his hand as he plays a solo acoustic set. Celebrating his ninth Reading show in as many years (a record, so he tells us), you would imagine he will return for a tenth next year based on the crowds reaction to every song he plays.

Simultaneously, a modest crowd watches The Libertines close the festival on the main stage as another festival is in the books.



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