Reading Festival review, day two: The Killers deliver one of the great Reading headline sets

On the testimony of roughly 70 per cent of Reading’s foremost stage acts, Richfield Avenue, Berkshire RG1 8EQ is an unrelenting manufacturing facility of goals. “We got here right here when he was 16” beams Child Queen singer Arabella Latham, pointing at a nonetheless fresh-faced bandmate with a well-known story to impart. “I advised him one day I’d be up on this stage and he’d be right here with me.”

It’s the same story of Reading-reveller-turned-main-stage-god that’s already been advised by Foals, Sam Fender and numerous others this weekend. You possibly can nearly image the complete Saturday invoice right here, 10 years or so in the past, gazing up at Dillinger Escape Plan throwing their poo into the crowd and planning to observe of their footsteps by writing mild alt-soul songs, emulating a mumbling Shania Twain or getting their dad in U2 to make some calls.

Slick South African rocker Child Queen captures the spirit of Readings previous higher than most. She wanders the Major Stage East with an open bottle of wine at 1pm, albeit as a prop for a tune, “Buzzkill”, which warns of the risks of consuming to overlook, as advised from the perspective of a perpetual get together pooper. She additionally descends into frantic punk on her manic portrait of unrequited love, “Need Me”, as does self-confessed Deftones fan Arlo Parks on the West stage, thrashing at a guitar to rock up the finish of a “dream come true” alt-soul set.

Which all quite exhibits up Holly Humberstone. In her goth boots and nostril ring – and with a kilted guitarist on a podium guaranteeing that her huge display glory photographs are framed with 50ft furry knees – Humberstone appears like basic Reading’s thought of a picture-perfect promenade queen. But she mutters her means by means of half an hour of understated drivetime pop that solely musters a modicum of Fender-esque bluster in the remaining minutes. Breakup ballad “Antichrist” even inadvertently lets on that Devil has his infernal claws buried deep in business soul pop. “I’m having the time of my life,” she says, forward of an underwhelming duet with Parks on a tune about the pleasure of post-pandemic room service. Good for her.

If Inhaler’s Elijah Hewson ever caught a glimpse of Reading as a youth, it was more than likely from a helicopter en path to St Tropez, or to test on the household’s offshore investments. Now little question Bono’s son is determined to shed such low-cost photographs at his birth-right and forefront his music ((and let’s be actual, if my offspring ever determined towards my higher recommendation to pursue a profession in pageant reviewing, I wouldn’t hesitate in wangling her a spot on the honey practice to Standon Calling).

But when Hewson’s to be the subsequent Jeff Buckley or Wilson Pickett, Inhaler urgently must develop some character of their very own. By the third or fourth pleasantly rousing however interchangeable playlist indie anthem – “These Are The Days”, “Cheer Up Child”, “Are You Completely Positive Your Da Didn’t Write This One?” – the suspicion grows that you may throw a stick over the fence into the backstage space of the Festival Republic tent and hit a dozen acts doing extra fascinating issues with various music.

We check the principle. Wandering over to Festival Republic we catch Scowl, a hardcore velocity grunge band fronted by a inexperienced haired cowgirl, and Zand, an electro-metal Woman Gaga from hell clad in half a plastic minidress. Our annual mid-Reading realisation dawns that, in a populist streaming hierarchy pushed solely by numbers, the formulaic will eternally drown out the distinctive. Up subsequent on Major Stage West: various R&B trio Chase Atlantic. Ever get the feeling you’ve been underestimated?


The afternoon’s UK rap interlude is energising – Kilburn’s Knucks indulges some deep bass grime, whereas Shepherd’s Bush’s Central Cee and his sizable bike-riding crew rap nimbly about his sexual prowess, demanding to see our greatest bottom skills. However no types are revolutionised right here both. Reading begins as soon as extra to resemble a deep, darkish, beauty-filtered mirror, reflecting a music tradition despatched into stasis by its taste-making means of consumption that depends on flogging “us” (i.e. the lowest widespread denominator plenty) with extra of what “we” already like.

Matty Healy of The 1975, although, presents a robust Millennial counter-argument. “The web is working the means it ought to do,” he muses, noting the huge quantity of youngsters down the entrance nonetheless engaged with their self-titled debut album, 10 years after its launch. “It feels as related as ever,” he says. Or is that this, maybe, an indication that music hasn’t moved on in a decade? No matter, changing Lewis Capaldi the 12 months after they stepped in for Rage In opposition to the Machine right here, Reading & Leeds’ go-to subs have great enjoyable winding again the clock to these harmless days earlier than Healy’s £2m snog onstage in Malaysia, enjoying that first album in full beneath the cowl’s iconic neon rectangle. “Maybe we must always have rehearsed,” Healy grins, swigging dry his personal bottle of wine and reaching for a hip flask. “We’re f***ing winging this, lads”.

Get pleasure from limitless entry to 70 million ad-free songs and podcasts with Amazon Music

Join now for a 30-day free trial

Sign up

Amazon Music logo

Get pleasure from limitless entry to 70 million ad-free songs and podcasts with Amazon Music

Join now for a 30-day free trial

Sign up

The 1975 frontman Matty Healy at Reading Festival 2023

(Scott Garfitt/Invision/AP)

It sounds something however cobbled. Recalling a youthful, much less fussy band revelling in funk-laced Eighties pop starting from China Disaster to Luther Vandross, the play-through is an opportunity to honour a file that’s arguably the origin of what’s now generally known as various pop, Reading’s now dominant sound. It additionally boasts some of their best tunes in the gleaming “Chocolate” and an excellent, soaraway “Intercourse”, however they throw in a handful of later crowd-pleasers like “It’s Not Residing (If It’s Not With You)” at the finish anyway. For a knockabout one-off, it’s an assured hit.

Closing the evening on Major Stage East, The Killers seem to show Healy’s level about the web. Drawing a far bigger crowd than Sam Fender yesterday, they – and the 20-year-old “Mr Brightside”, celebrating its 376th week on the UK singles chart and at the moment the highest-earning tune on Spotify – have been adopted simply as a lot this technology’s band (and tune) as any earlier. They rejoice by delivering one of the great Reading headline performances. And sure, I did see Nirvana in 1992.

“They used to name this Reading Rock,” pronounces singer Brandon Flowers, all Vegas blazer and showman beam. “Properly we’re turning again the clock tonight.” And the way. Galloping for glory by means of “My Personal Soul’s Warning” and “When You Have been Younger”, they got down to steal the weekend, the previous few years of the pageant and, should you’re getting it in form already, they’ll have subsequent 12 months too. The electro-noir “Jenny Was a Buddy of Mine”, gargantuan groove rocker “Shot at the Evening” and roar-along alien abduction anthem “Spaceman” are absolute powerhouses, whereas “Any person Advised Me” – displaying not a minute of its 20 years – nonetheless boasts the thumping depth of a warzone rave.

Brandon Flowers at Reading Festival 2023


Halfway by means of, one moshpit dreamer will get fast-tracked to Reading superstardom. Invited onstage to drum on “For Causes Unknown”, Ozzy from close to Tub receives a hero’s reception, then resoundingly fails the audition when his wonky time-keeping slows the tune to a comedic crawl. The band try to fail to gee him as much as a tempo that’s “extra cocaine, much less marijuana”… regardless of. By “Runaways”, The Killers are again to full bombastic pelt and slaying more durable by the minute.

A monumental “All These Issues That I’ve Achieved” offers technique to a cocky disco strut by means of “The Man” (with faux greenback payments firing over the crowd) and a remaining, stampeding “Mr Brightside” – performed in each Jacques Lu Cont remix and authentic trend – that enraptures the Major Stage East of 2023 each bit as a lot because it did the John Peel Tent of 2004. Earlier, Flowers described the “boys” who wrote their early materials as being “swept up in a whirlwind.” And Hurricane Brandon grows extra devastating by the hour.

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to top button