ARTICLES BY: Ethan Megenis-Clarke

Ethan Megenis-Clarke
The Foo Fighters prove why they’re the kings of the festival set

The Foo Fighters prove why they’re the kings of the festival set

Posted:Sunday | 12:07 AM

Imagine having so many hits that you can open with ‘The Pretender’ and have your set only get better from there. Are you imagining it? Good, because that’s what the Foo Fighters just did for their epic festival closing headline set.

The band followed up an elongated version of their hit song with equally stretched-out versions of ‘Learn to Fly’ and ‘Run’, which Dave Grohl dedicated to the late Prodigy frontman Keith Flint.

Foo Fighters Reading Festival

Ramping up the pace, the Foos ripped through a few more tracks before drummer Taylor Hawkins ascended on a giant platform to play a frenzied drum solo and sing ‘Sunday Rain’ from 2017’s ‘Concrete and Gold’ album.

Pumping out hits like ‘These Days’, ‘All My Life’ and ‘Monkey Wrench’ like it was no big deal, it was the deep cuts that elevated this Foo Fighters performance. ‘Hey, Johnny Park’ and ‘For All the Cows’ in particular were a welcome to throwback to the band’s 90s performances.

Foo Fighters Reading Festival

But the best moment of all, and one we’ve still not forgiven ol’ Davey boy for is fooling us all with a monologue about his days in Nirvana, before bringing on none other than Rick Astley to perform a rocked-up version of ‘Never Gonna Give You Up’. Dave Grohl Rick Rolled Reading Festival. You simply love to see it.

Rick Astley
All signs point to heavy as A Day to Remember storm the stage

All signs point to heavy as A Day to Remember storm the stage

Posted:Sunday | 11:56 PM

Many bands would play only their most accessible songs when given the opportunity to sub-headline the Foo Fighters. Not A Day To Remember. The Ocala rockers turned up with some of their heaviest material, sending the crowd into a frenzy of circle pits and two-tier crowd surfers.

Yes, you read that correctly. At one point, frontman Jeremy McKinnon asked fans to climb aboard their friends and ride them like a surfboard over the barrier, putting the fans and security guards through their paces.

Surf's Up

Opening with ‘2nd Sucks’ from ‘What Separates Me From You’, A Day To Remember set an early precedent for the rest of the set, which saw them unearth the insanely heavy ‘Sticks and Bricks’. Even ‘Rescue Me’, the band’s collaboration with EDM DJ Marshmello, sounded beefier than on record.

The band also gave the audience their first opportunity to hear new song ‘Degenerates’ live, unveiling a banner hinting at a new album later in the year.

McKinnon and co. briefly turned the volume down for ‘If It Means A Lot to You’ before ending on a bang with ‘Plot to Bomb the Panhandle’ and the riotous ‘Downfall of Us All’.

Bullet For My Valentine lay waste to The Pit

Bullet For My Valentine lay waste to The Pit

Posted:Sunday | 5:45 PM

Fans at Reading Festival this year have already been treated to secret sets from the likes of The Sherlocks and Enter Shikari, but today’s surprise show over on The Pit stage was the biggest of them all.

Welsh heavy metal heroes Bullet For My Valentine surprised the moshers over at The Pit, playing a setlist of songs from across their discography. Frontman and guitarist Matt Tuck sported a beard almost as mighty as the riffs the band unleashed left and right over the course of 45 minutes.

With so many classic songs in their arsenal, the band absolutely provided something for everybody in the huge audience – which was far too large for the small tent. Bullet first played Reading and Leeds festival all the way back in 2005, so it’s a testament to their lasting popularity that they can still pull such a huge crowd.

As the final notes rang out on the epic ‘Tears Don’t Fall’, fans thought they’d seen the last of Bullet for the day. They were wrong. The band then ripped into a cover of ‘All My Life’ by tonight’s headliners Foo Fighters. While nothing can top the real thing, Bullet for My Valentine certainly got Foos fans pumped up for tonight’s performance.

Kim Petras treats the dance stage to some European disco pop

Kim Petras treats the dance stage to some European disco pop

Posted:Sunday | 5:34 PM

This afternoon, Kim Petras treated the BBC Radio 1 Dance Stage to some EDM-infused pop tunes, including cuts from her debut album ‘Clarity’ released earlier this year.

The German pop star has been marked as one to watch by the likes of the NY Times and Billboard after achieving over 100 million streams following the release of single ‘Heart to Break’. Petras brought the European disco vibes as she danced across the stage, offering a refreshing break from the heavier drum n’ bass and house acts playing the stage throughout the day.

The Story So Far give Reading Festival a Proper Dose of pop-punk

The Story So Far give Reading Festival a Proper Dose of pop-punk

Posted:Sunday | 5:25 PM

Bay Area pop-punk heroes The Story So Far returned to Reading festival, playing songs off the brilliant ‘Proper Dose’, released last year.

Parker Cannon and co. seemed right at home on the massive Radio 1 Stage following a pretty extensive European festival run, with Reading the final stop before the band head home.

The Story So Far breezed through the title track from their newest album as well as the anthemic ‘Keep This Up’ before whipping out the modern pop-punk classic ‘Quicksand’ less than halfway through the set. A ballsy move, but one that pays off as crowd surfers aplenty are launched over the barrier.

The band also surprised fans with a rare performance of ‘Placeholder’ from their debut album ‘Under Soil and Dirt’. The slow-paced song is often left out of the band’s set in favour of more upbeat material, but with the crowd already sweating from the heat, the tune went down a storm.

Cannon channels his hero Liam Gallagher as he swaggers onto the stage, hands behind his back. The action-packed set finishes with ‘Roam’, another song from their debut, drawing the biggest singalong of a set packed full of them.

AE Mak takes the Festival Republic stage to space

AE Mak takes the Festival Republic stage to space

Posted:Sunday | 4:33 PM

We’re not saying AE Mak is an alien, that would be absurd, but there’s no way someone from planet earth could make music as otherworldly as this.

The Irish avant-pop artist bought spacey beats and ethereal vocals to the Festival Republic stage this afternoon. AE Mak’s wonderfully weird music and, err, interesting dance moves got the early crowd nicely warmed up for the rest of the day.

Post Malone smashes his headline set…and a guitar

Post Malone smashes his headline set…and a guitar

Posted:Saturday | 12:14 AM

While Post Malone may need to brush up on his Spider-Man movie knowledge, the American hip-hop star smashed his debut headline slot following a wildly successful performance earlier on in the day last year.

Only two albums into his career, Austin Richard Post is something of a one man hit factory, firing out back-to-back bangers like ‘Better Now’, ‘Candy Paint’ and ‘Psycho’ like it was no big deal. Meanwhile, earlier songs such as ‘No Flex’ and ‘White Iverson’ transcended their Soundcloud roots, sounding huge on the Main Stage tonight. Highlights of the set included the now classic ‘I Fall Apart’, which got everyone in their feels, and certified summer bop ‘Sunflower’.

It’s a well-known fact that the single most rock star thing anyone can do is smash a guitar, which Posty does with ease at the end of the aptly named single ‘Rockstar’. Both Twenty One Pilots and Post Malone proved tonight that being a rock star is about more than just music. The theatricality and attitude of both acts is fully in-keeping with Reading Festival’s history and future.

Twenty One Pilots soar during their Reading co-headline set

Twenty One Pilots soar during their Reading co-headline set

Posted:Saturday | 11:05 PM

If the never ending costume changes, burning car and firework show didn’t prove that Twenty One Pilots are not here to mess around, nothing will.


Tyler Joseph and Josh Dunne brought an unparalleled theatricality to their hour and a half long set, comprised mostly of songs from hit albums ‘Blurryface’ and ‘Trench’. Twenty One Pilots’ loyal fanbase came out in droves to catch the two-piece’s first UK festival headline performance.

During the closing run of ‘Car Radio’, ‘Chlorine’ and ‘Trees’, the band members were seldom on the stage. Dunne played his drumkit from atop the crowd while frontman Joseph climbed a ladder that was, it must be said, far too high. You had us scared for a second, Tyler.

Ending on the song ‘Trees’ from their breakout record ‘Vessel’, both members descended into the crowd to play out the song on a pair of giant drums.

Twenty One Pilots last played Reading Festival in 2016, not long after the release of Blurryface, and have since released another hit album in Trench and won a Grammy. At this rate, it shouldn’t be long until Twenty One Pilots are headlining the festival on their own. Then? World domination maybe? Seems possible.

Get your dancing shoes on for Anderson .Paak

Get your dancing shoes on for Anderson .Paak

Posted:Saturday | 8:36 PM

Bringing some California sun to an already sweaty Reading crowd, Anderson .Paak and the Free Nationals breezed through a set of funky hip-hop tunes in typically cheeky form.

Anderson Paak

Donning his trademark bucket hat and shades combo, the rapper/singer/drummer beamed as he took the stage to a trumpet solo before getting behind the kit for ‘Heart Don’t Stand a Chance’ from 2016’s ‘Malibu’ album.

Anderson’s setlist saw him pull tracks from across his discography, focusing heavily on cuts from 2018’s ‘Oxnard’ and this year’s ‘Ventura’, including the single ‘Tints’ which features former Reading headliner Kendrick Lamar. Sadly, there was no surprise Kung-Fu Kenny appearance today but Anderson more than made up for it, proving himself incredibly versatile.

With Saturday’s co-headliners Post Malone and Twenty One Pilots often focusing on the darker side of life, it was refreshing to see Cheeky Andy bring some pure upbeat positivity to the Main Stage. Following Billie Eilish was never going to be an easy task, but Anderson .Paak manages to get the whole crowd dancing as he bounces between the drums and frontman duties, with his band The Free Nationals tight as ever.

Surprise! Enter Shikari give fans a laid-back taste of what’s to come.

Surprise! Enter Shikari give fans a laid-back taste of what’s to come.

Posted:Saturday | 5:38 PM

How many sets is too many for one festival? If you’re Enter Shikari the answer is no amount of sets – especially when you mix it up and play a surprise intimate acoustic performance on the smallest stage.

The St Albans dance rock mob were already due to play four sets across the Reading and Leeds weekend, but surprised fans by dropping in on the BBC Introducing Stage for a surprise acoustic show. Frontman Rou Reynolds promised walls of death at their full-band performances on the Main Stage and Lock Up tent on Sunday but bought a more relaxed atmosphere to the striped-back performance.

The band effortlessly turned their usually sprawling arrangements into minimal acoustic jams, complimenting the sweltering heat perfectly. The jams in question included ‘Red Shift’, ‘Constellations’ and a haphazard version of ‘Arguing With Thermometers’ written over a simple chord progression.

Enter Shikari

Enter Shikari performing on the Main Stage in 2014. Their acoustic set today did not look like this.

However, the highlight was a mash-up of ‘Live Outside’ and Oasis’ ubiquitous ‘Wonderwall’ during which Rou commanded each half of the crowd sing a different section.

Catch the band tomorrow on the main stage. If you miss that, fret not, Enter Shikari headline the Lock Up stage on Sunday. That’s a lot of sets.

Never mind the GCSEs, here’s Scum!

Never mind the GCSEs, here’s Scum!

Posted:Saturday | 1:44 PM

Scum are, quite frankly, too young. Like, “someone needs to tell their mum that they’re swearing on stage” young. All jokes aside, at only 15 years old, Scum produce a mighty racket akin to Slaves and Idles, warming up the BBC Introducing stage in style.

All snot and shouting, the three-piece take the stage and immediately blast into a song which ends with singer Ezra Glennon spelling ‘S-C-U-M’ over thrashed guitars. Comparisons to Idles are clear at this point, but the band take it one step further by covering the haunting ‘10:49 Gotho’.

BBC Introducing has helped launch the careers of artists such as The 1975 and Sam Fender over the years, so a spot on this stage puts Scum in leagues with current and future headliners. What’s more, this was only Scum’s seventh EVER show. Seven shows and they’re fifteen. Playing Reading Festival. What were you doing at fifteen? Probably not playing Reading Festival.

The band revel in their youthful charm, shouting lyrics about avoiding revision and spiked remarks against the so-called ‘Tesco Gang’ at their school. They’re not fans of the Tesco Gang, so neither are we. With more shows and more songs under their belt, Scum have marked themselves as a band to watch going forward.

Dave marks himself as one to watch

Dave marks himself as one to watch

Posted:Friday | 9:43 AM

One of the best things about Reading Festival is how eclectic the line up is year after year. While The 1975 headline the Main Stage, South London’s finest Dave brought his distinctly British hip hop to the BBC Radio 1 tent.

With the tent rammed before the rapper even took the stage, Dave’s position as a second-stage headliner is clearly justified. At only 21 years old, he is also the youngest stage headliner by a considerable amount, and one of the most versatile performers in his genre.

To pull a crowd as large as he did with only one full-length album under his belt, 2019’s ‘Psychodrama’, is a further testament to Dave’s enormous talent. Humble as ever, the rapper asks the crowd to carry the melody of ‘Voices’, but its Dave’s dulcet tones that shine through.

Picking up the energy with more upbeat cuts from ‘Psychodrama’, Dave proves himself one to watch as a future main stage headliner, proving definitively that hip hop will always have a place at Reading Festival.

Dave-Reading Festival
Pup bring their morbid stuff to the Lock Up Stage

Pup bring their morbid stuff to the Lock Up Stage

Posted:Friday | 11:30 PM

As the sun set on a perfect first day of music, Pup frontman Stefan Babcock was busy screaming “I hope the sun explodes, I hope that we all die” over at the Lock-Up stage.

The Canadian punk quartet bought the ruckus as they blasted through a set comprised primarily of songs from the incredible ‘Morbid Stuff’ released earlier this year. Fans jumped, clapped and crowd surfed on queue as the band played anthem after nihilistic anthem, attracting many passers-by who were previously unaware of them.

Mr Krabs Gif

Passers-by during Pup’s set

Deeper cuts such as ‘Reservoir’ and ‘Dark Days’ from the band’s self-titled debut were met with equal fervour, but it was the songs from 2016’s ‘The Dream is Over’ that truly turned the Lock-Up tent upside down. Closing on ‘If This Tour Doesn’t Kill You Then I Will’ straight into the riotous ‘DVP’, Pup left fans hungry for their November UK tour.

Joji gets Reading Festival slow dancing in a tent

Joji gets Reading Festival slow dancing in a tent

Posted:Friday | 8:29 PM

Watching Joji perform on the BBC Radio 1 Stage this evening, it’s hard to believe this is the same guy who once ate a cake made with human hair.

Indeed, it’s only during an impromptu cover of Randy Newman’s ‘You’ve Got a Friend In Me’ that the Japanese-American singer gives any indication of his past life as YouTuber Filthy Frank. With his tucked in vest and theatrical microphone gestures, Joji’s onstage persona today is closer to Freddie Mercury.

Joji reminds Reading Festival why he’s one of the fastest rising figures in lo-fi R&B, cramming in as many bangers from 2018s ‘Ballads 1’ as he possibly can. Taking the stage with just a keyboard player and guitarist, Joji’s voice is truly the hero of these minimal trap-infused tracks.

By the end of his set, the tent is practically overflowing with people eager to catch Joji at such an early stage in his career. The audience even drowns out the band during set closer ‘Slow Dancing in the Dark’, as Joji prances around the stage, ecstatic that his humble ballads have reached such a large audience.

You Me At Six bring a summery setlist to their fifth Reading Festival

You Me At Six bring a summery setlist to their fifth Reading Festival

Posted:Friday | 8:25 PM

Choosing a festival setlist when you’re a band six albums into a successful career is a struggle. This can only be harder when, like You Me At Six, you’ve played said festival seven times before.

For their eighth appearance at Reading Festival, the Surrey rockers played a more laid-back set featuring songs from across their discography. Early renditions of fan favourites ‘Lived a Lie’ and ‘Underdog’ give way to a streak of newer cuts from ‘Night People’ (2017) and ‘VI’ (2018).

The vibier material perfectly complemented the warm weather, with frontman Josh Franceschi on typically cheeky form asking the crowd to take off an item of clothing and spin it above their head. Later on, he gave security a workout by encouraging the audience to crowd surf.

A finishing run containing ‘Bite My Tongue’, ‘Reckless’ and ‘Room to Breathe’ ensured the set ended on a high, with the already huge crowd sticking around until the very last note.

Towards the end of their set, Franceschi revealed that You Me At Six would be releasing new music in 2020. If brand new single ‘What’s It Like’ is anything to go by, You Me At Six show no signs of slowing down, adding another sonic left turn to an already unpredictable career.

Somebody check if Josh is ok…

Fresh off the Press: Press Club rock the Lock-Up Stage

Fresh off the Press: Press Club rock the Lock-Up Stage

Posted:Friday | 5:59 PM

Extra! Extra! Read all about it: Press Club just smashed the Lock-Up Stage with a rowdy punk set full of bangers!

The Aussie quartet played a mix of songs from their debut album ‘Late Teens’ which was re-released earlier this year, as well as fresh cuts from their new record, ‘Wasted Energy’, released a week ago today.

In a short space of time, Press Club have acquired a loyal fanbase in the UK, selling out shows when they last toured here in the Spring. Despite ‘Wasted Energy’ being literally days out, the crowd showed no signs of slowing down.

Press Club

Press Club doing their best to make it into Vogue

However, it was tracks from ‘Late Teens’ which got the rowdiest reception. ‘My Body’s Changing’ and set-closer ‘Suburbia’ in particular had the audience singing along, with vocalist Natalie Foster venturing from the stage down into the crowd to sing the latter.

With so many amazing songs under their belt in so early in their career, Press Club are undoubtably set for even bigger things very soon. If their first appearance at Reading Festival is anything to go by, these big things could happen sooner rather than later.

No Rome makes the Festival Republic stage his Colosseum

No Rome makes the Festival Republic stage his Colosseum

Posted:Friday | 3:47 PM

They say that Rome wasn’t built in a day, but if the crowd size at The Festival Republic Stage this afternoon was anything to go by, the Phillipines’ own No Rome has built himself a small empire after supporting headliners The 1975 on their world tour earlier this year.

Are You Not Entertained Russell Crowe GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY

The Dirty Hit signee had a packed-out tent eating from the palm of his hand as he blasted through a tight set of songs from across his discography, including ‘Cashmoney’ and ‘Stoned in the Valley’ from 2019s ‘Crying in the Prettiest Places’ EP. The artist and his band blend genre boundaries seamlessly, bouncing between soulful R&B, hip hop and the luscious indie of ‘5 Ways to Bleach Your Hair’.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, it was 2018 single ‘Narcissist’ featuring The 1975 which garnered the biggest reaction, sending more than a few audience-members airborne onto their friend’s shoulders, while others pushed forward. The sheer volume of the crowd more than made up for The 1975 frontman Matty Healy’s absence during his verse, ahead of his band’s headline set this evening, with No Rome himself in awe of the response he received at his first ever Reading Festival.