ARTICLES BY: Lauren Briner

Lauren Briner
‘Good Grief’ – Bastille blow us away with their headline spot on the BBC R1 Stage

‘Good Grief’ – Bastille blow us away with their headline spot on the BBC R1 Stage

Posted:Sunday | 11:59 PM

Indie-pop London quartet Bastille closed out Reading Festival 2019 with a dazzling headline set on the BBC R1 Stage tonight.

The band quickly gained huge amounts of widespread praise and popularity after their debut album ‘Bad Blood’ was released way back in the vintage days of 2013. Since then, they’ve gained international superstar status, with their 80s-synth pop-influenced tracks giving us all the feels.

Tracks like ‘Send Them Off!’, ‘Happier’ and ‘Good Grief’ are rewarded with screams from the overflowing tent of wide-eyed fans who were eager to chant along to Bastille’s catchy lyrics. They even brought on Matthew Murphy, lead-vocalist from The Wombats to join them for hit track ‘Blame’ – and what a treat that was.

Lead vocalist and mastermind behind Bastille, Dan Smith bounces around the stage visibly loving every second of his headline performance. And the crowd were loving it too.

Penultimate track ‘Doom Days’, the title track from their latest album released in June, highlights the joy of living in the moment. Dan gives us a reminder not to worry about what’s outside those festival walls, but to focus on having a good time with your mates on the closing night of Reading 2019 – good advice I think.

Finale track and all-time festival summer bop ‘Pompeii’ was the last track to go off with a bang, and with confetti cannons and inflatable balls amongst the crowd – this was the perfect end to a perfect weekend at Reading Festival 2019.

Bastille-Reading-Festival
All we’ve got is love for Crystal Fighters

All we’ve got is love for Crystal Fighters

Posted:Sunday | 11:44 PM

Spanish alternative dance six-piece Crystal Fighters brought us heavy synths, folk instruments, drum loops and uplifting vocals to create the carefree party that was the stuff of our dreams. Bursting out onto the stage with a dramatic drum intro, these lot sure know how to get us in the grooving spirit.

Absolute classics from their 2010 album ‘Star of Love’, such as the first track ‘I Love London’ and finale ‘Plage’ get us reminiscing of summers gone by. Whilst newer tracks ‘LA Calling’ and ‘Love Is All I Got’ bang just as hard, with the crowd jumping together in unison. There’s positive vibes all round as they ask us to link up with our neighbours and to celebrate being in the moment on this last night of Reading 2019.

Crystal Fighters promise us they’ll be back – and they better be, because this was one hell of a crazy electronic-folk party and we want more.

CHVRCHES put on a kaleidoscopic performance on the BBC R1 Stage

Posted:Sunday | 11:40 PM

Indie-pop powerhouse CHVRCHES lit up the BBC R1 Stage tonight as they delivered a performance which was one to remember. With a setlist brimming with indietronica anthems, CHVRCHES proved to us again their iconic status is well-deserved.

Frontwoman Lauren Mayberry is mesmerising as she gives us her incredible, powerful vocals at the same time as she twirls majestically around the stage. A brief pit stop to tie her laces and she’s off again – the purple glitter on her face giving us life.

Tracks like opener ‘Get Out’ and smash hits ‘We Sink’ and ‘Recover’ absolutely go off, with the crowd transfixed by their impressive light show, but not enough to keep them from dancing to banger after banger.

CHVRCHES are certainly a band here for the ages. I hope you were lucky enough to catch their spectacular set tonight. If you weren’t, you’re going to have big regrets tomorrow morning.

NSG gets everyone grooving on the BBC R1 Xtra Stage

Posted:Sunday | 10:16 PM

East London collective NSG brought tonnes of energy to an overflowing BBC R1 Xtra Stage this Sunday night.

With pounding beats that make it so hard not to start dancing, the Afroswing group’s name has stood for many acronyms, it’s hard to keep up. First, it was No Sleep Gang, then it became Non-Stop Grinding. Apparently now it means Never Stop Growing – quite fitting for the endless stream of fans making their way into the tent who want to get involved with the patty.

Highlights included the latest release ‘OT Bop’ and viral hit ‘Options’ which both were met with huge cheers as their eager fans danced their way into the tent to catch a glimpse of the next big thing. We can only thank NSG for hyping us up and getting everyone in the mood for the final night of festival partying.

We were stoked to catch FIDLAR triumph on The Pit Stage

Posted:Sunday | 8:20 PM

As lead vocalist Zac Carper donned a Union Jack tee, L.A based punk-rock band FIDLAR smashed their slot on The Pit Stage this afternoon to a packed-out tent full of wide-eyed fans.

Their frantic, gritty skate-rock tracks were met with hyped-up rowdiness from the crowd, with mosh pits and crowd surfers aplenty. They even opened up the pit for female-only moshing, making sure everyone felt comfortable enough to get involved have a good time.

Their setlist was an eclectic mix of old and new, all with the same skate-punk vibe. The crowd went wild to opener track ‘Alcohol’ and ‘Be Myself’ – both from their latest album ‘Almost Free.’ Older classics, such as ‘Stoked and Broke’, ‘40oz. On Repeat’ and finale banger ‘Cheap Beer’ went down a storm with the tent becoming one big mosh pit that everyone was looking for a way into.

Fidlar’s riotous energy was infectious this afternoon, and we can’t wait to see what’s next for this rowdy lot.

We ‘Lose Lose Lose’ our minds to SWMRS on the Main Stage

Posted:Sunday | 4:32 PM

After completing raved about performances on the Festival Republic and BBC R1 Stages in years gone by, Oakland locals SWMRS are back and they finally graced us with their presence the Main Stage this afternoon.

With a riotous set filled with head-banger classics, the American punk-rock band got us jumping to every single one of their foot-stomper hits. They cite both The Beach Boys and The Ramones as some of their influences, and they even have a song named after Miley Cyrus – who they declare as one of their biggest inspirations.

With an electronic, thumping beat and thrashy guitars, bops like ‘Trashbag Baby’ and ‘Berkeley’s On Fire’ go down a treat as co-frontman and songwriter Cole Becker gets us pumped up for the last day of the festival. Their finale consisted of recently released hit single ‘Lose Lose Lose’ which perfectly rounded off a mosh-pit, headbanging filled set. Most importantly, we witnessed a group of lads who looked like they were having the time of their lives – and that’s what Reading’s all about.

YUNGBLUD waves the flag for the underrated youth on the Main Stage

YUNGBLUD waves the flag for the underrated youth on the Main Stage

Posted:Sunday | 4:28 PM

Rockstar and cheeky chappy YUNGBLUD took to the Main Stage this afternoon with a set brimming with high-energy, grit and theatre.

Northerner YUNGBLUD’s alt-rock hit tracks are influenced by hip-hop and grime, which gave us the perfect combo of poetic lyrics with breakbeats behind them. Socially conscious Dominic Richard Harrison cites Bob Dylan, Arctic Monkeys and Eminem as some of this influences, and it was clear it was a dream come true for him to be partying with all his fans in the afternoon sun at Sunday’s Reading Festival.

Yungblud-Reading-Festival

The crowd eagerly awaited to hear crowd-favourite head-banging tracks like ‘21st Century Liability’, ‘Anarchist’ and latest hit ‘Hope For The Underrated Youth.’ YUNGBLUD got everyone hyped, sparking off mosh pits all over the Main Stage crowd. He even brought out special guest and friend Machine Gun Kelly for a special performance of banger ‘I Think I’m OKAY.’

The closing track was absolute bop ‘Machine Gun’, with YUNGBLUD getting fully involved with his fans as the crowd held him up in the front row. YUNGBLUD certainly put on a show and left us screaming for more.

Mura Masa gets us moving on Saturday night at the BBC R1 Stage

Mura Masa gets us moving on Saturday night at the BBC R1 Stage

Posted:Saturday | 12:16 AM

Guernsey born Alex Crossan AKA Mura Masa is a man of many talents. He’s an electronic music producer, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist and his set absolutely blew us away tonight with an impressive headline performance on the BBC R1 Stage.

Incredibly talented, Grammy award winner Mura Masa has achieved over a billion streams of his music and tonight he treated us to a setlist of dreams. Special guests help him bring the party, including Bonzai, who features on hit track ‘Nuggets’, Jay Prince who features on ‘Low’ and last but not least, Slowthai – with their incredibly catchy, gritty collaboration ‘Doorman’ cooking up a storm.

We were treated to hits ‘1 Night’ (which features Charli XCX), a cover of Foals anthem ‘Night Swimmers’ and the bangers we’ve all been waiting for – ‘Love$ick’ and finale track ‘Firefly.’ New material shows he’s going back to his alternative roots, with the showcasing of rock-infused new track ‘I Don’t Think I Can Do This Again’ which features Clairo. It was only released 3 days ago, but it absolutely bangs and the crowd went mental for it – proving to be an instant hit.

There were crazy screams for finale track ‘Firefly’, with the crowd jumping and visibly wanting more. Mura Masa took his final bow in disbelief of the party he’s started. If that show was anything to go by, we haven’t seen the last of him yet.

The boys are back in town – Peace headline Saturday’s Festival Republic Stage

Posted:Saturday | 11:16 PM

Everyone’s favourite indie-rock band were back with a bang tonight.

Last year, they teased us with a surprise secret set on the BBC Introducing Stage and tonight the indie-rock quartet Peace graced us with their presence in the rightfully deserved headline slot on the Festival Republic tent.

The Birmingham locals brought a wave of nostalgia to their set tonight as they played out a well-crafted setlist of festival anthems, with their melodic indie-rock being the sound of summers since 2013 when they released their debut hit album ‘In Love.’ They played everyone’s favourite sunshine-twinged hit tracks like opener banger ‘Follow Baby’ and classics ‘Lovesick’ and ‘California Daze’, which have all remained firmly on our indie summer playlists. With so many people on shoulders, Peace treated to the perfect Saturday night festival party.

They shared new song ‘Good Jeans’ which features the new element of a keys player, with the sentimental track getting the crowd waving their hands in the air in unison – and what a sight it was. Plus, to top it all off they even threw in a cover of Cyndi Lauper’s ‘Time After Time’ for good measure – what more could you ask for?

Finale track ‘World Pleasure’ closed out an unforgettable set with an extended outro that saw the crowd going absolutely mad for it.

Sports Team work up a sweat on the Festival Republic Stage

Sports Team work up a sweat on the Festival Republic Stage

Posted:Saturday | 8:37 PM

Here they come again – Sports Team are back at Reading Festival and this time, they’ve moved onto the Festival Republic Stage.

This time last year, I was reviewing their headline slot on the BBC Music Introducing Stage – does this mean we’ll soon see them on the Main Stage? This band is definitely making moves.

Since the loveable six-piece were last here, they’ve released their a second EP ‘Keep Walking!’ which gifted us more indie-rock hit tracks such as ‘M5’ and ‘Ski Lifts’, they’ve sold out Scala and Electric Ballroom and took everyone on another day out to the beautiful seaside town of Margate.

The band walked on to the anthemic ‘Let Me Entertain You’, and boy did they. Fronted by charming lead-vocalist Alex Rice, these lot make jangle-pop infused indie-rock hits that you’ll have blaring on repeat and your mum will tell you to turn off. The band’s fan-favourite classics ‘Kutcher’, ‘Camel Crew’, ‘Margate’ and closing anthem ‘Stanton’ all go down an absolute storm, with mosh pits left, right and centre.

With microphone stands swinging, crowd surfers galore and impressive harmonica skills – Sports Team are on the up and they’re not done quite yet.

Onwards and upwards to the top of the Bill(ie)

Onwards and upwards to the top of the Bill(ie)

Posted:Saturday | 6:40 PM

What a show we just witnessed – Billie Eilish gave us a Main Stage performance that we’ll never forget. As soon as her infamous intro track began to play out, floods of fans could be seen running across the field to catch a glimpse of one of the most famous teenagers in the world right now.

Dressed in green and black (and green hair too) – her signature colours, Los Angeles native and singer-songwriter Billie Eilish entered the Main Stage with piercing screams from her many fans that had now packed out the arena. The first track on her setlist, huge pop hit ‘bad guy’ was met with the crowd jumping and singing every lyric back at her so loudly as she performed the biggest track of 2019. Other highlights included famous smash hits ‘ocean eyes’ and ‘bellyache’ which showcase her incredible vocals and threw us back to the days of her mesmerising debut EP ‘don’t smile at me’ way back from 2017.

Billie-Eilish-Reading-Festival

She’s the voice of a generation and has already achieved over 1 billion streams of her music worldwide – not bad for a 17-year-old. Her whispery, smooth vocals and the raw emotion she channels into her music make her pop tunes irresistible to listen to, and it’s clear to see that she was born to be on that very stage.

She’s been one of the most raved about artists of this year, and her effortlessly cool performance proved she’s a star that’s not going anywhere.

Billie-Eilish-Reading-Festival

Bleached clean up on the Festival Republic Stage

Posted:Saturday | 6:32 PM

L.A natives garage-punk band Bleached rocked out over on the Festival Republic Stage this afternoon. With infectiously gritty guitar riffs and fast-paced drum beats, Bleached treated us to a set brimming full with sunny rock anthems for us to dance to this afternoon.

Highlights included catchy garage-rock hits ‘Rebound City’ and new track ‘Daydream’ from their recently released explosive album ‘Don’t You Think You’ve Had Enough.’ The band put on an energetic live show, which saw plenty of head banging from lead vocalist Jennifer Clavin alongside her sister Jessica – who both looked like they were having the best time. If you want some hot new tracks to add to your summer indie-rock playlist, hit these up right now.

Georgia gave us a party to remember on the BBC R1 Dance Stage

Georgia gave us a party to remember on the BBC R1 Dance Stage

Posted:Saturday | 4:03 PM

Multi-instrumentalist, producer and singer-songwriter Georgia was the star of the BBC R1 Dance Stage this afternoon with her 80s and 90s infused dance hits, which gave us a party to remember. You definitely wouldn’t have guessed this is her first time at the festival as she was so comfortable giving us the dance anthems we were desperate to hear.

The talented Londoner is an accomplished musician and has recently gained increased popularity for her hit tracks ‘Started Out’ and latest single ‘About Work The Dancefloor’ which both went off and banged as hard as the drums she was hitting.

Her musical style is described by herself as ‘post-punky-hip-hop-soul’, mixed with influences from the worlds of electro pop and R&B – an absolute treat for the ears. With her club culture influences and trippy light show visuals, Georgia got the crowd going and started a party we can’t wait to continue.

‘I Think I’m in Love’ with Pip Blom

‘I Think I’m in Love’ with Pip Blom

Posted:Saturday | 3:09 PM

Dutch indie-pop quartet Pip Blom won everyone’s hearts today on the BBC Radio 1 Stage. The band have certainly been busy lately –  they’ve recently joined the Heavenly Recordings gang late last year, and have just released their highly praised debut album ‘Boat.’ With plenty of fun, upbeat and gritty tracks to choose from their ever-growing catalogue of foot-stomper hits, Pip Blom were a band you definitely didn’t want to miss.

The band got the crowd going with their scratchy, scuzzy guitar melodies with grunge-infused vocal delivery. Older, classic tracks ‘Babies Are A Lie’ and ‘School’ went down a treat with their fans who’ve been there with them from the beginning, whilst songs from their recently released debut album ‘Boat’ was met with an equal amount of head bopping and appreciation from the crowd. Opener track ‘Don’t Make It Difficult’ is surely one of their best, with other new tracks like ‘Tired’ proving their boundless energy to be simply infectious.

Every time I’ve caught Pip Blom play, they always look like they’re having the best time – which makes them the perfect band to see at this year’s Reading Festival. With Pip’s ponytail bouncing around and the band jumping, it’s so hard not to smile and bop along to their raw, lo-fi sounds.

A TrueMendous start to Saturday afternoon on the BBC 1Xtra Stage

Posted:Saturday | 3:04 PM

Hailing from Birmingham, incredibly talented TrueMendous brought her impressive blend of storytelling, soul, trap and poetry to the BBC 1Xtra Stage this lunchtime, and it’s like nothing we’ve heard before. With non-stop impressive bars, which cover important themes like mental health, abuse and anxiety, TrueMendous put on a captivating and thought-provoking performance.

Her show wasn’t all serious though, with the crowd getting fully involved and feeding off her energetic movements around the stage – and they were absolutely loving it.

TrueMendous is definitely an artist to keep your eye on if you’re not doing so already, she is definitely set for the big time. If you weren’t there today, you’re going to wish you were.

The 1975 live out a childhood dream as headliners of Reading Festival 2019

The 1975 live out a childhood dream as headliners of Reading Festival 2019

Posted:Friday | 9:48 AM

THAT is how you headline Friday night at Reading Festival.

Alternative pop-rock band The 1975 made their headline and Main Stage debut at Reading Festival this Friday night. They headlined the BBC Radio 1 Stage in 2016, and since then they’ve become one of the biggest and most important bands in the world.

The Brit award-winning band made an explosive entrance with a debut of angsty new track ‘People’ – an in-your-face punk anthem calling out for everyone to take action against climate change. “There’s not enough time for the universe”, frontman Matty Healy declares, as he uses his platform to shout about the shocking impact of climate devastation. Before the finale kicked off, their collaboration with environmental activist Greta Thunberg, ‘The 1975’ was played out, with the words of her very important essay plastered across the Main Stage screens. The band aren’t shy when it comes to political statements – with hit track ‘Loving Someone’ quickly becoming a pride anthem across the world.

The 1975 Reading Festival

With Matty’s iconic treadmill, groove-fuelled dancing and constant interaction with the crowd, their performance made for an unforgettable and intimate show. Matty was repeatedly thankful for the crowds support on their big night, but we should be the ones thanking him.

Highlights included ‘Give Yourself a Try, ‘Somebody Else’ and hooky dance indie classics ‘Chocolate’, ‘Sex’ and ‘Girls.’ Each track was met with screams from the crowd who were equally as excited as the band for them to be headlining this year’s festival.

The 1975 Reading Festival

The 1975 rounded off Friday’s music in style with feel-good anthem ‘The Sound’, which left the crowd screaming for more. Coupled with an incredible light show and mesmerising performance – The 1975 have certainly proved their worth and cemented their place as the perfect choice for a headliner for years to come.

Howzat?! Aussie natives The Chats go all out for Reading

Howzat?! Aussie natives The Chats go all out for Reading

Posted:Friday | 8:26 PM

Everybody’s favourite Aussie “shed rock” band The Chats brought high-energy and crazy antics to the Festival Republic Stage this Friday night. With fast-paced drum beats, gritty guitar riffs and their garage, ‘pub punk’ sound, The Chats drew a packed-out tent full of headbangers looking for the perfect energetic end to the first night of their festival. Mosh pits galore and crowd surfers too, The Chats gave it their all and made us laugh too.

The Chats

A definite highlight was viral hit ‘Smoko’, which was met with resounding cheers as the crowd impressively shouted every lyric back to the band. Their setlist included banger after banger, and with recently released instant hit track ‘Identity Theft’, it looks like there’s more foot stompers to come from this lot – and we’re totally here for it.

Clairo gives us chilled out vibes on the BBC Radio 1 Stage

Clairo gives us chilled out vibes on the BBC Radio 1 Stage

Posted:Friday | 6:10 PM

Recently turned 21, Boston native and singer-songwriter Clairo has already conquered the world. Her soft, dreamy and intimate vocals have transported everyone to her world of indie electronic pop, and no one wants to leave.

Her hair as bright as the red in her track ‘Flaming Hot Cheetos’, Clairo bounces around the stage with an effortlessly cool energy. Her recently released debut album ‘Immunity’ features her chilled “bedroom pop” vibe, Danielle Haim on drums and even a children’s choir. It’s gained widespread appraisal from across the music industry, and now we know why.

Clairo-Reading-Festival

She treated us to the viral, lo-fi produced hit ‘Pretty Girl’, which went down a treat with her loyal fans who recognise this is what put her on the map. Newer hit single ‘Bags’, which features on the album, showcased her incredible talent as a DIY musician and closer track ‘4EVER’ had the crowd screaming back every lyric loud and proud.

This is Clairo’s first time performing at Reading Festival, but I don’t think it’ll be her last.

Queen of pop Charli XCX brings the party to the Main Stage

Queen of pop Charli XCX brings the party to the Main Stage

Posted:Friday | 6:04 PM

Cambridge born Charlotte Aitchison, AKA Charli XCX brought boundless energy and nostalgia to the Main Stage this afternoon. Her experimental electropop anthems, fused with influences from the worlds of R&B and Eurodance, made for a performance that was unforgettable.

Charli-xcx

Charli got the crowd jumping to each track of her diverse setlist. She took us back to the 90s with ‘Spicy’, a reworked version of Spice Girls song ‘Wannabe’ and smash hit throwback track ‘1999.’ She treated us to newer tracks, such as collaboration with Lizzo, ‘Blame It On Your Love’ and recently released groover ‘Gone’ with Christine and the Queens. She even treated us to songs she’s worked on outside her solo material, such as 2013 summer hit ‘I Love It’ from Icona Pop and Iggy Azalea’s ‘Fancy’ – which both went down an absolute storm. Then she gave us all what we wanted to hear – classic hits ‘Boys’ and festival anthem ‘Boom Clap’ as the finale. Charli gave it her all – her constant, energetic dancing and never faulting vocals stole the show, with the crowd mirroring her unlimited energy with mosh pits spotted all over the crowd.

Charli is set for world domination with the eagerly anticipated release of her third album ‘Charli’ in September this year – make sure you go and check it out!

Just Banco lights up the BBC 1Xtra Stage

Just Banco lights up the BBC 1Xtra Stage

Posted:Friday | 4:11 PM

Gracing us with a live set to remember, Mancunian Just Banco smashed his afternoon slot on the BBC Radio 1Xtra Stage. Within a few seconds of his first high-energy and explosive track, the crowds came flooding into a chorus of beers, cheers and screams. Although Just Banco’s tracks are a blend of R&B, Grime and Rap, he’s had to create a new genre for himself – Trapanese – a fusion of trap, hip-hop and Japanese aesthetics.

2019 has already been big for the effortlessly cool Just Banco as he was named as one of NME’s 100 essential new artists for this year – and they’re definitely right about that. It looks like the next year could be an even bigger one for Just Banco – make sure you get to know him right now and impress your mates with his back catalogue of incredibly catchy hits.

Diving in to the festival weekend with Swimming Girls

Posted:Friday | 1:36 PM

Alt-pop four-piece Swimming Girls burst onto the BBC Music Introducing Stage this morning with a high energy performance. Heavily influenced by 70s and 80s popular culture, their jangly guitars, heavy focus on synths and thumping beats were coupled with frontwoman Vanessa Gimenez’s raw lyrics and powerful vocals – their setlist made for a perfect stream of dreamy summer anthems.

They already have a solid, loyal following, with the crowd singing every lyric back to the band – even for the recently released instant-hit single ‘1 2 Many.’ Foot-stompers ‘Back of Your Car’ and closing track and debut single ‘Tastes like Money’ already crowd favourites and were giving us festival vibes with people on shoulders and resounding cheers from the crowd. You’ll want to add these tracks to your summer playlist right now – they might just become your new favourite band.