Probably the most favoured festivals of the UK’s youth; Reading and Leeds 2014 have just announced a sizeable chunk of the bands on offer for this summer’s shindig. Here’s a look at a select few of those bands and artists…
Their fourth album, ‘Love Letters’, has just been released to critical acclaim, and with a plump spot midway up on the NME stage, Joe Mount and his bandmates have a lot to be happy about. ‘Love Letters’ is a motown-electro mixture that is brought to the boil at just the right point, and will be an exciting addition to the already eclectic bunch of songs that band have, the title track has to be my favorite, drummer Anna Prior’s repetitive refrain of ‘LOVE LETT-ERSS’ being particularly memorable. 2014 could just be the year Metronomy realize their potential, and what better than a decent spot at Reading & Leeds to end a summer festival season that has also seen them rumored for the big one itself; Glastonbury.
2. The Hives
One of my personal favourites, the Hives have been around for a good number of years now and their live performances are executed to perfection. They are chaotic, colourful and often hilarious affairs that just require an active audience that want to have a good time. Their transition from 2012’s NME stage appearance over to the outdoor Main Stage will be interesting; blazing sun will be a necessity and a loud, boisterous crowd would be even better, but without all of that, you can still expect a great show from these mad Swedes.
3. Royal Blood
A loud, unafraid rock duo, Royal Blood had a LOT of hype from day one of their creation-only last year. Arctic Monkeys drummer Matt Helders sported a t-shirt of theirs during last summer’s Glastonbury Festival, and their first single didn’t even drop until November last year. However, when it did, it more than delivered. Royal Blood are one of those bands that get you going, wanting to jump around and have a good time. They may be lacking a substantial back catalogue, indeed they currently have just two singles, but were included on the BBC Sound of 2014 shortlist and indeed supported the Arctics at their Finsbury Park shows last summer, they are fresh, new and exciting, and will be wanting to prove so on a big stage.
4. Arctic Monkeys
Okay, so they’ve oft been branded as ‘boring’ in live performances, and my initial reaction their latest, and arguably most successful to date, album was lukewarm to say the least; but Arctic Monkeys are one of Britain’s biggest and most important bands of the moment. They’ve made rock’n’roll cool again, depending on which way you saw frontman Alex Turner’s infamous Brit Awards speech, and will bring an absolute bucketload of fans to both sites. That alone means that these two outdoor shows to a crowd approaching a hundred thousand will be must-see performances of the weekend, plus at this stage in their career, five studio albums down the line, they have more than enough hits to pack a good couple of hours- let it be known I personally am looking forward to seeing the Sheffield band take the R&L Main Stage.
5. Macklemore & Ryan Lewis
Definitely the big leftfield choice for this year’s festival, Macklemore & Ryan Lewis will definitely divide musicgoers. Some see them as the antipathy of modern-day music, a talentless duo thrown together to make money, whereas others, myself included, think they are a breath of fresh air. It’ll be cool to see how the crowd reacts, will it go the way of when 50 Cent performed, when he was bottled off stage?! You’d like to think not, especially as the demographic and musical landscape of the festival have both shifted recently to encompass the new Dance and 1Xtra stages. So, for a brash show, go see blink’s warm-up!
6. Cage the Elephant
A massively underrated band in my opinion, Cage the Elephant will certainly be on my ‘must-see’ list. Their relatively low down spot on the NME stage, will give them a perfect 45 minutes or so to showcase tunes from new album ‘Melophobia’, along with the breakout songs like ‘Ain’t No Rest For The Wicked’ and ‘Shake Me Down’. It should be a party atmosphere, and the American rockers are another top live band, something which seems to have been specifically targeted by R&L boss Melvin Benn this year, a huge variety of top performers.
7. Queens of the Stone Age/Paramore
Josh Homme and his merry band of rockers ascend to headliner status for the very first time at R&L this summer, along with Hayley Williams’ Paramore, who will also make their debut as the last band of the day. It’s an interesting combination for sure, and one that will likely divide fans of either bands, but I for one am very interested in it. It’s always great to see new bands given the chance in the coveted headline positions, look at how well Biffy Clyro went down last year! Homme and Queens come off the back of their biggest album to date with last year’s ‘…Like Clockwork’, which opened their material up to a whole new group of fans, whereas Paramore’s sound has taken a more pop-based turn, which, again, has seen new fans be welcomed in, but the more hardcore be turned away. It’ll be good to see the mixture of old and new for Hayley Williams, and, on a sidenote, refreshing to see a female-led band become headliners.
What are your favourites? Comment below!