Opening up Reading’s Main Stage this year needed to be someone who could make an impact and if there was one person who was going to do that – it was Big Shaq. Getting the crowd pumped and ready to roll late into the night the ‘Man’s Not Hot’ star took the energy levels up to 100.
From then on, it was a non-stop party on the Main Stage with Post Malone delivering hit after hit. With England adorned on his back and his knees, he didn’t come to mess around launching into ‘Too Young’ followed by crowd favourite ‘Psycho’. Opening up the pits for ‘Rockstar’ and giving it his all, we wouldn’t be surprised if he was in a headline slot in a few years time.
Elsewhere on the Main Stage, Travis Scott pulled one of the biggest crowds of the weekend to witness his ‘SICKO MODE’. With the bass from every song filling bodies as far as the eye could see, the bouncing mass of people lapped up every second.
Closing Friday’s Main Stage were Reading connoisseurs Fall Out Boy, back for their seventh performance at the festival. Opening with ‘Thriller’ they set the tone for the next hour and a half – a huge party filled with all the best anthems by one of rock music’s biggest bands. Pyrotechnics? They had them by the bucketload. Special shout out to Pete Wenz’s flaming bass guitar. Why were Fall Out Boy the perfect headliner? Yes, they transport you back to your teenage years but even their new songs pack a punch of infectious energy that deserves to be heard by thousands. Thnks fr the mmrs FOB.
It wouldn’t be Reading without a secret set or two now, would it? The first of the weekend came on Friday when ‘An Invitation To Salvation’ aka Bring Me The Horizon took to the BBC Radio 1 Stage. Showcasing their latest release ‘Mantra’ and tracks from their back catalogue, they proved once again why they deserve the ‘Throne’ to Reading Festival.
Elsewhere across the weekend, the mighty Wolf Alice returned to headline the BBC Radio 1 Stage with a setlist overflowing with a mixture of grunge and rocky-pop festival anthems. While Annie Mac brought the beats in abundance to the BBC Radio 1 Dance Stage.
Saturday at Reading saw one of the biggest female acts in the world right now take to the legendary Main Stage. Dua Lipa brought the vocals, the dance moves and the bangers to Richfield Avenue. With a whole host of critics watching, waiting for her to fail – Dua showed them and unsure passers-by her ‘New Rules’ are the ones we’re going to be living by for years to come.
Next up on co-headlining duties were the mightly Panic! At The Disco, twelve years since first playing the Main Stage they were back again for a ‘Victorious’ set. Pop-rock royalty, Brendon Urie was a true star, in every sense of the word, opening with a full orchestra. Backflips, impeccable high notes and a rendition of Queen’s ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ meant the crowd didn’t know what had hit ‘em.
Saturday was all about King Kenny, the Compton native blew us away with his debut headline performance at the festival. Giving us an unforgettable and explosive hour set, full to the brim with some of the best hip-hop anthems around. Kung-Fu Kenny shook up his set list to feature a mix of older established classics such as ‘Bitch, Don’t Kill My Vibe’ and ‘Backstreet Freestyle’ with newer tunes from latest release ‘DAMN’ such as ‘HUMBLE’ and ‘DNA’ – all of which were equally as fiery.
Over on the BBC Radio 1 Stage, Brockhampton made their debut Reading Festival performance. With the crowd spilling out over the edges of the tent, you could tell this was the place where magic was about to happen. Opening up circle pits and bowing down to all of Kevin Abstract’s commands – this was a life-changing experience for the band and those witnessing their set.
Smashing the Festival Republic headline duties on Saturday was Kate Nash, opening up her set with a nod to her new career as an actor in Netflix’s ‘GLOW’ as Jetta of Pro Wrestling EVE called Kate out onstage, only to recieve a powerslam for her troubles, all before a song is played. Of course, there was a huge moment that stood out and that was with ‘Foundations’ which provoked unsurprisingly the biggest singalong of the set, all adopting Nash’s trademark London accent for the infamous “You said I must eat so many lemons, coz I am so bitttttaa” line. It’s one of those songs that you don’t need any encouragement to sing along to – making it the perfect song to close the set.
With the festival drawing to a close for another year, it was only right to invite back one of the biggest rock bands to close the Main Stage. Nashville native rockers, Kings of Leon, treated us to over an hour of foot-stomping tunes taken from their seven chart-topping studio albums. This headline performance was truly special, with the multi-platinum selling band giving us a dazzling light show and seamless transitions between songs. They gave us the perfect soundtrack to beat the last-night festival blues, and we can’t thank them enough for it.
On the BBC Radio 1 Stage, Don Broco aka one of the best live bands on the planet totally nailed their seventh time performing at Reading Festival. Blasting out hits from their discography, this was a set for old and new fans alike. Whether you’d been there for the Bedford-band since their ‘Big Fat Smile’ EP or only just wandered into the tent on a whim – you were sure as hell left after having the best time of your life.
Slaves provided one last chance to party in their raucous BBC Radio 1 Stage headline set. The cheeky punk-pop duo well-known for their epic viral music videos saw the crowd dancing along to their signature moves for their huge single, ‘Cut And Run’. They were the musical equivalent of England’s World Cup summer; loud, laddish and just pure fun. Saturday’s set proved they are one of the UK’s finest.
Ready for another dose of secret set goodness? This time it was down to Frank Carter & The Rattlesnakes on The Pit Stage. Impeccably dressed as always, The Rattlesnakes blasted through, ‘Juggernaut’ to open. We didn’t even have to wait until the end of the first song before Frank became shirtless and stood atop the crowd. Encouraging females to crowd surf in a safe environment, an important message of community that permeated the set. If that wasn’t enough, Frank decided to get a spot of exercise midway through his set, orchestrating a circle pit AROUND the tent. Now that’s how you do a secret set.
On the Festival Republic Stage the hottest girl band in the world, Hinds, took the tent by storm. The Spanish indie-rock powerhouse brought their lo-fi, DIY sound to a crowd packed with seasoned fans wanting a slice of their garage-rock carefree vibe. Their effortlessly cool performance which included the stand-out tracks, ‘New For You’, ‘The Club’ and ‘Easy’ made us want to be best friends with them all.
And that was it for another year packed full of music, comedy and memories that will last a lifetime. Now, we’re just counting down the days until we can be back in that field where we belong. Who’s with us?