Highlights: Reading Festival 2008

Emily Sergent | Tuesday, 02 September 2008

Highlights: Reading Festival 2008

Another August Bank Holiday, another Reading Festival… so what went down this year then? Well, Biffy Clyro kicked things off on the main stage with a truly rocking set which really opened eyes to the talent of this band. Off to the NME tent next to watch Jack Penate, who danced himself silly and entertained the crowd with his irresistibly catchy tunes.

American hedonists MGMT followed on from him, but weren’t majorly impressive and taking an early dart, catching up with Late of the Pier proved beneficial, as they were simply amazing. The atmosphere was electric in the small Festival Republic tent and getting crushed within an inch of life was commonplace. But it was worth it.
As soon as that ended, there was a quick sprint back to the NME tent to catch The Wombats which was, as ever, a sing-along treat from start to finish. Watching Babyshambles instead of Rage Against the Machine was a poor choice - enough said.

Day two involved some more NME stage action with Mystery Jets and Foals both playing notable sets. Although as with many of the acts over the weekend, there was frustration amongst the crowd when watching the Mystery Jets due to poor sound quality. Nevertheless, despite this and singer Blaine’s foot ailment (he did the whole set seated) they still put on a stellar performance.

Main stage was graced by the likes of We Are Scientists, The Editors and The Raconteurs, but it was Bloc Party who really stole the limelight. Probably one of the most memorable main stage acts of the weekend, they got the crowd going with their back catalogue of electro/indie and even threw in a bit of a laser show for good measure. 

It would be rude not to mention headliners The Killers, but in all honesty they don’t deserve that many words. They have their crowd-pleasers and it’s hard to not fancy Mr Flowers, but it just felt like there was something missing. What with the poor sound quality and their inability to generate excitement, it ended up being…dull.

Cajun Dance party were the first band caught up with on the final day, followed by Hadouken. Quite far removed from one another on the indie spectrum, but both equally impressive live.

Next up was one of the most anticipated acts of the weekend – Pendulum, which was intense to say the least. The NME tent was a tad on the small side for the Australian group, but it meant that the atmosphere was to die for (and that literally could have occurred on more than one occasion).

It's possible to state that anyone watching had any control over where they stood throughout the whole of the set but what an experience. From the mighty 'Slam', through to recent hit 'Propane Nightmares' it was pure non-stop madness.

After a bit of a sing-along to ‘Tribute’ with Tenacious D, it was back to the NME tent to catch the end of The Last Shadow Puppets. Alex Turner's new project hadn’t previously caught that much attention, but seeing them live with a full orchestra behind them it’s clear that he and The Rascals’ Miles Kane know what they’re doing.

Last but by no means least, The Cribs (now joined by Johnny Marr) ended the weekend on a high. Punchy riffs, raw vocals and the ability to get a worn out crowd jumping. Quite simply, they rocked it.

The usual Sunday night antics then ensued and in an attempt to escape either being burnt or getting hit by a flying missile we took cover in the Silent Disco tent. And what fun was had there. Dancing around in bright yellow headphones, it was one of the most surreal experiences of the weekend - the icing on the cake of another brilliant Reading Festival.

Roll on 2009.

Rating: 5/5