|Reading Festival August 24-27 2006||For Thursday and Friday click here|
|Click on pics to see them bigger|
We can't hear softly-spoken Stewart Lee in the comedy tent - he's drawn a big crowd, and is drowned out by The Cribs on the main stage. We do get in to hear Ben Hurley, who turns out to be very funny indeed.
I had high hopes for The Automatic in the Radio One tent, but, like their album, it's all a bit samey, and quickly drags. But half past five brings the highlight of the weekend - and, indeed, any festival - The Fall. You never know whether they're going to be shambolic or incredibly tight, and tonight it's the latter. A cracking set played to a relatively (for the second stage) small crowd. The soundman even got a decent mix this time. You should have been there!
An awesome curry is followed by another trip to the Radio One tent (there was precious little to excite me on the main stage this year, sadly) for The Raconteurs. But yet again the poor sound mars what should have been a stunning show. A cover of Cher's 'Bang Bang' is the highlight, and we get out before the end to avoid the crush at the exit.
Now, we're the first to complain about the lack of heavy metal on the bill, but really, is Sunday's line-up the best available? Oh well, we'll give Mastodon a try. Aah, someone's turned the bass up and the guitars down again... it could have been so good, too. Mind you, they're way better than Killswitch Engage and Taking Back Sunday... High time to get to the Comedy Tent early to get a good position for Mark Steele. We're there early enough to catch Ian Cognito - how he's been playing Reading since God knows when is a mystery. Sorry, Ian, but you're not very funny. A lot of other people want to see Mark Steele (a late and very welcome replacement for Russell Brand), but we get squeezed into the middle and enjoy a rip-roaring 45 minutes.
Now Goldie Lookin' Chain have been one of the previous two festivals' genuine highlights but they're just doing the same things and the joke's starting to wear quite thin. They still have their moments, but there aren't enough of them. Sorry, lads, but I think your 15 minutes of fame are up. Mind you, they draw a big crowd, and the back of the arena was rammed in the run-up to their set, so what do I know?
We leave GLC just as Slayer take to the main stage. Now, I know Slayer wrote the rule book on extreme metal, but my word, are they dull or what? Endless, aimless (and frankly dull) riffing doesn't make for an enjoyable half hour, which is all I can stand. It's a relief to get back to the pub which also has the added advantage of meaning we miss the remaining bands, though, as we're camped near the Radio One tent, we do get to hear Maximo Park while we have a fire. Can't see why anyone would think them worthy of headlining any of the stages.
And so another Reading ends. I went with pretty low expectations: the new car parking arrangements and the sheer number of people didn't bode well (particularly considering previous toilet facilities) but it turned out to be a triumph. I'd steeled myself to thinking that this would be my last ever Reading, but it won't be. Oh no, I'll be doing this for the rest of my natural life. Excellent! See you there next year.
|Best bands of the festival
• The Fall
• Towers of London
• Gogol Bordello