With the August Bank Holiday weekend rapidly approaching, it only feels right to look some more of the most anticipated acts playing England’s #1 Festival this year.
Reading and Leeds, notoriously the biggest weekend of the year – for all music fans anyway – is now only a matter of days away. So, as a way to stem our excitement, we are back with some more artists that we feel you should check out. Here is who guest writer, Jess Daubeny, simply cannot wait to see.
THE KOOKS – Main Stage (Reading: Friday / Leeds: Saturday)
If you thought you’d seen the last of The Kooks in 2006 when their album Inside In/Inside Out was released, you thought wrong. This nostalgic, Britpop group are a living reminder of those summer days when we would blast out Naive and She Moves in Her Own Way for hours on end. This four-piece, comprising of lead singer and guitarist Luke Pritchard, Hugh Harris, Peter Denton and Alexis Nuñez, continue to use elements from the 60s pop culture in their music. They have gone on to release Konk (2008), Junk of The Heart (2011) and most recently Listen (2014). As each album has been released, more and more iconic and catchy songs have been added to their already noteworthy bank of British hits.
The Kooks have continued to steal the hearts of the nation with Pritchard’s distinct British vocals perusing through their exceedingly memorable songs. I have no doubt that us 90s babies will be singing along at the Main Stage, teaching a thing or two to those noughties kids.
You have to hear… Naive, She Moves in Her Own Way, Bad Habit, Junk of the Heart
For fans of… The Wombats, Courteeners and The Fratellis
MAGGIE ROGERS – BBC Radio One Stage (Reading: Friday / Leeds: Saturday)
This young, American singer-songwriter has only just burst onto the UK music scene. In February 2017, her single Alaska propelled her name across the Atlantic. Her music is the perfect mixture of synthesized riffs and falsetto vocals. These elements are what makes Rogers the ultimate female indie artist, with her style drawing parallels to Vera Blue and Billie Eillish.
Rogers’ notoriety comes from one of the most influential artists of our generation, Pharrell Williams, who described Alaska to be like nothing he had ever heard before. Recognition from this calibre of artist is a true reflection of the talent Rogers possesses. At only 24, Rogers’ career is just beginning. Her path is one to follow as she will keep getting bigger and better. With a mixture of folk and dance styles, Rogers will perfectly encapsulate the festival vibe.
You have to her… Alaska, Dog Years, Fallingwater
For fans of… Kacy Hill, Billie Eillish and Ellie Goulding
NOTHING BUT THIEVES – BBC Radio One Stage (Reading: Friday / Leeds: Saturday)
Rising British titans, Nothing But Thieves are sure to leave us revelling this weekend. The incredible vocals of Conor Mason and infectious hooks provided by his companions will blend perfectly to provide the ultimate festival soundtrack. The five-piece rock outfit mix vulnerable lyrics and catchy melodies in songs such as Sorry and If I Get High but also offer less forgiving, exuberant tracks such as Amsterdam.
After releasing their self-titled debut album in 2015, Nothing But Thieves have soared to stardom. They sold-out their 2017 UK tour, as well as supporting bands such as Muse and Biffy Clyro in the same year. Their most recent album, released in September of last year, reached Number 2 in the UK charts. Because of this, Nothing But Thieves are guaranteed to be one of the most highly subscribed acts on the Radio 1 stage – you definitely can’t miss this one.
You have to hear… Amsterdam, Sorry, Broken Machine
For fans of… Muse, Sundara Karma and The Hunna
THE MAGIC GANG – Festival Republic Stage (Reading: Saturday / Leeds: Sunday)
Many people may never have heard of The Magic Gang, but I am sure that with just one listen to How Can I Compete they will be hooked. This brand-new British band, formed in Brighton, draw parallels to The Kooks and Weezer. A mixture of Britpop vibes, indie vocals and guitar riffs, The Magic Gang possess everything needed to be a hit.
Their self-titled album has been described to have ‘no Achilles heel’. With lots of tracks which will surely become sing-a-long hits, The Magic Gang will take you on an emotional adventure. The first half of their self-titled album consists of many upbeat and catchy songs which will ignite the Festival Republic Stage, while the softer second half will draw moments of mellow reflection.
This band is one to keep your eye on. I can see them continuing to climb the charts with some awesome, exciting tunes.
You have to hear… How Can I Compete, Getting Along, Lady, Please
For fans of… Circa Waves, D.I.D and The Kooks
KATE NASH – Festival Republic Stage (Reading: Saturday / Leeds: Sunday)
Kate Nash produced anthems that defined my childhood. Songs such as Foundations and Merry Happy are the perfect mix of naughty and catchy. Nash’s distinct London accent has been compared to artists such a Lily Allen, who like Nash, made a name for herself with blunt and sassy lyrics.
Nash released her first and most famous album – Made of Bricks – in 2007, which cemented her legacy among our generation as having written some of the most catchy singles of all time. With anthemic chorus’ and spoken word lyrics, Nash will surely be one of the loudest acts on the Festival Republic Stage.
At the age of 30, Nash continues to speak for us girls with songs like Life in Pink and Drink About You. She is the ultimate break-up revenge playlist and creates the perfect soundtrack for a festival rebound!
You have to hear… Foundations, Merry Happy, Drink About You
For fans of… Lily Allen, Jamie T and Eliza Doolittle
Now, despite the ever-diversifying line-up that Reading & Leeds prides itself on, there is still a portion of fans that long for an alternative revival on the festival’s bill. With that in mind, guest writer George Knight weighs up five more artists that he doesn’t think anyone can afford to miss.
TROPHY EYES – The Lockup (Reading: Friday / Leeds: Saturday)
Australian Punk-rock group Trophy Eyes have been rising emphatically over recent years. They have featured on some of the lead stages at the (late) Vans Warped Tour in both 2015 and 2017, playing alongside massive acts such as Eramosa and Knuckle Puck to name a few. They have launched an impressive three albums and two EPs in their short five-year career, with two Top Ten releases for 2016’s Chemical Miracle and their most recent album The American Dream.
If their enticing discography isn’t enough to grab you then you need only to listen to a handful of their songs to notice that their sound offers something for everyone. Tracks like Chlorine maintain a strong punch and emotion which are reminiscent of their older, hardcore style. However, the majority of the latest releases like You Can Count On Me and Friday Forever aim towards a more pop-influenced style, created to draw the crowd in and keep them moving. Regardless of your music taste, Trophy Eyes are one of the smaller alternative acts that most definitely deserve a visit.
You must hear… Chlorine, You Can Count On Me, Heaven Sent
For fans of… Boston Manor, Endless Heights, Trash Boat
BLOOD YOUTH – The Pit (Reading: Saturday / Leeds: Sunday)
British born and bred, Blood Youth are some of the rawest talents in the hardcore music scene. Forming out of the ashes of previous metal band Climates, Blood Youth offer an experienced and polished sound. Although the original trio has all left, the current four-piece have really taken the reigns and continued to release all their recorded material to date.
Beginning with EP Inside My Head in 2015, Blood Youth have forged a unique hardcore sound with the clean and scream vocals of frontman Kaya Tarsus. Songs from their early releases like Failure and Closure are guaranteed mosh-pit starters and this is undoubtedly the same with their more recent releases. Releasing their new single Starve only days ago on 20th August, with the same gritty guitar riffs and brutal bass lines amplified as seen in their last album I Remember only released last year, Blood Youth are loaded with their freshest material to hit Reading and Leeds with full force.
You must hear… Failure, Starve, Closure, Mood Swing
For fans of… Hacktivist, Napoloen, Crooks UK, Counterparts
FIZZY BLOOD – BBC Music Introducing Stage (Reading: Friday / Leeds: Saturday)
Rising from obscurity to the national stage, Fizzy Blood have vigorously ensured that they will appear on the Reading and Leeds bill again this year. Appearing previously in 2017, Fizzy Blood now grace the festival again. Compared to their appearance in ‘The Pit’ or ‘The Lockup’ last year, performing on the introducing stage could be considered a step-down. However, frontman Benji Inkley described, in an interview with the ‘Mike James Rockshow’ at Reading 2017, playing small gigs is more personal and possibly the band are set to enjoy it more than playing bigger stages.
Fizzy Blood hit the festival with an evolving, alternative rock sound. They draw elements from hardcore and punk styles but largely remain a rock band. Songs, like I’m No Good and CFO, are classics which are sure to catch the attention of any festival-goer, providing a bouncing bassline and beats that raise the adrenaline and will get anyone dancing.
You must hear… CFO, Strangers, ADHD, January Sun
For fans of… Black Foxxes, Royal Blood, The Fratellis
LIL PUMP – BBC Radio 1 Stage (Reading: Sunday / Leeds: Friday)
Lil Pump is an odd addition to this list, but one that should not go without consideration. Lil Pump has managed, over the past several years, to jump from literal obscurity to a staple of this most recent wave of Xanax-fuelled rap. Despite his various controversies and boastful, superficial attitude, having recently claiming that many festivals stages were ‘too small’ in a TMZ interview early this month, there is something to be said of an individual who can manage to gain millions of listeners worldwide at 18 years old from doing little more than saying ‘Esskeetit.’
His sound is not dissimilar from various other Trap artists, but his music does have a light and colourful tone to it. It requires absolutely no form of thought or emotion to enjoy, rather simply just the ability to dance to its repetitive beats. Many of his beats and vocals sound somewhat juvenile, the repeated phrases and high-pitched melodies of Gucci Gang are a prime example. His music reflects himself, as a young, immature and careless individual, perfect to encapsulate the summer freedom felt at Reading & Leeds.
You must hear… Gucci Gang, Esskeetit, D Rose
For fans of… Kodak Black, Ugly God, Lil Yachty
SUM 41 – Main Stage (Reading: Saturday / Leeds: Sunday)
As one of the oldest bands on this list, Sum 41 are still performing with the same punk rock vigour which they had in the early 2000s. As one of the last jewels from the golden age of pop punk, Sum 41 diligently soldier on, amazingly playing main stage despite their lack of major commercial success for the past decade. Despite their new material being largely fan-approved, with tracks like Fake My Own Death and Screaming Bloody Murder featuring, their best work remains in their earliest years. One can only hope they still have the willpower to play it today.
Their sound is impactful pop-punk, whilst drawing hardcore elements to create a solid balance. Some of their classic tracks like Fat Lip and In Too Deep have a brilliant equilibrium between soft melodic sections and heavy breakdowns which offer sudden bursts of energy and lulls to build anticipation. For anyone looking for an exciting moshing experience, but who isn’t too interesting in getting flattened by a heavy metal Viking, Sum 41 are probably the best choice for you.
You must hear… In Too Deep, Fat Lip, Still Waiting, Underclass Hero
For fans of… blink-182, Rise Against, Good Charlotte