In a week’s time thousands of 16ish year-olds across the country will be picking up their GCSE results, jumping and smiling for local papers, and lugging their tents to Reading or Leeds. Awaiting them is a weekend of famed debauchery, sunburn, and one of the most solid line-ups of the Summer.
The festival is renowned for being a proving ground for household names, so if you’re heading to either site this bank holiday weekend here are the names you need to see (even if it means ditching your friends who are just sitting around the main stage). Stick these on your preview playlist:
1. Strange Bones
Lock Up Stage: Reading Sun / Leeds Fri
You know when people say a band is bringing rock back (as if it went away) and it’s really just a PR spin for some bog-standard guitar with occasional noise? This ain’t that. Strange Bones’ efforts are a relentlessly unapologetic romp, pulverising aural safety nets and building something you want to be a part of. If you need something to wake you up in the early afternoon, we’ve found just the thing.
BBC Music Introducing Stage: Reading Sun / Leeds Fri
Mowbeck grind together a modern rock sound with Eagles-esque guitar lines and a reassuringly sleazy vocal in places. We see them presenting a fresh take on a well-trodden formula, and turning heads as people walk past the stage. Half-an-hour spent in their company will be time well spent.
3. Giraffe Tongue Orchestra
The Pit: Reading Sat / Leeds Sun
As well as having one of the best names on the line-up, this technical supergroup draws its members from masterful outfits such as Mastodon and Dillinger Escape Plan (both playing later on in the day). Some bold clashes of styles will reward open minds and fluid bodies. You’d hesitate to call their style either dance or metal, but some of their stuff could inhabit the outer fringes of either scene.
4. Metro Boomin
BBC Radio 1xtra Stage: Reading Sat / Leeds Sun
Metro Boomin’s producing credits in on six years already include names such as Drake, Kanye, and The Weeknd, with many more undoubtedly hoping to let him add some credibility to their tracks in the future. His production work is personified by an understated but confidently smoky feel, an effortless cool that lends itself to a raft of dark stories.
5. Strong Asian Mothers
BBC Music Introducing Stage: Reading Fri / Leeds Sat
The most soulful hybrid of indie and trap we’ve heard in an age, Strong Asian Mothers (three dudes btw) have a strong buzz growing around them as one of the most exciting upcoming bands in the country. Sure, you hear that all the time, but it doesn’t take a lot of effort to identify that there’s some massive sounds in here that seep into very special places of your consciousness.
Festival Republic Stage: Reading Fri / Leeds Sat
Named after the Greek god of requited love (we presume), Anteros bring a solidly mature sound that’s not quite dream pop but sets you well on your way to a more ethereal place. Don’t think it’s all Instagrammed rainbows and sepia skies though, this music still has a chest to puff out and a foot to stamp down. The emotional breadth of their releases over the last year have also been something that’s grasped at our attention with an infectious purpose.
What about the biggies?
Of course, we’re not pretending we’re so cool that we’ll only be looking at the upcoming stuff on the smaller stages. There’s some massive acts that we need to see:
Mastodon - For those who like something uncompromising and brutally heavy, there’s few others on the bill who can match these legends.
Boy Better Know - After Grime’s meteoric rise to the peak of British culture, BBK promise to smash the main stage for bits
Biffy Clyro - Question marks hung in the air when they were booked to headline in 2013, but the boys smashed them away in one of the best sets of the Summer. We expect similar again.
Die Antwoord - Probably one of the biggest Marmite acts of the last decade, all is set for them to be one of the most talked about acts of the weekend.
Foals - Probably their biggest gig yet, and the one that could elevate them up to the pantheon of all-time leading acts.
Imagine Dragons - Patronisingly simple in places? Sure. But will we be screaming ‘RADIOACTIVE, RADIOACTIVE’ with tens of thousands of others? Undoubtedly.
See you there!
See that comments box below? Use it to tell us who you think we should go and see!