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Film, Album, Single and Event Reviews

Live Review: Reading Festival 2016 - Saturday Highlights

  • By Art. Author Avatar
  • 28 Aug 2016
  • Event Date 27 Aug 2016
Reading Festival - Saturday Highlights

A hangover is a coward’s way out, Supajam dives into day two. These were our top 5 acts:

Written by Andy Vale. Twitter @AndyVale

Skindred

The reason Skindred still occupy a main stage berth at festivals and a rabid following is because despite going for almost 20 years, their sound is still as urgent as ever. Their reggae and metal fusion is more than just a USP, it’s a genuinely thrilling hybrid of styles that sounds unquestionably natural in practice. ‘Sound The Siren’ from last year’s Volume album tears across the field and gets thousands bouncing, showing that blood is still flowing fresh through Skindred’s creativity. Dust rises the crowd from the circle-pit that ‘Nobody’ kicks up, and through the translucent cloud Benji emerges playing something “more satanic and evil than Ozzy Osbourne, Slipknot, and Marilyn Manson”... Bieber - Sorry. It only lasts one verse & chorus, it’s an easy dig but unexpectedly amusing.

Benji continued to play the chaotic ringmaster throughout set closer, ‘Warning’, as thousands of shirts spun through the air (the Newport Helicopter) to round-off proceedings. When so many of their contemporaries from the Nu-Metal years have faded, and sound dated, the freshness of this invigorating band is to be cherished.

Nas

'Hate Me Now’ kicked-off a set where the hits didn’t let up, as ‘N.Y. State of Mind’, ‘Hip Hop Is Dead’, and ‘The Don’ soon followed. Nas played with an inimitable style that blends insight, aggression, empathy and inspiration while being impossible not to lurch your body about to. Hip-hop shows can take themselves too seriously at times, despite delivering an absolute masterclass on the Mic, Nas still took the time to inject some more light-hearted fun such as the classical intro to ‘I Know I Can’ and getting his drummer Eddie Cole (nephew of Nat King) to sing Eurythmics’ ‘Sweet Dreams’. That being said, his parting blow with ‘One Mic’ was emphatic, timely, and chilling.

Eagles Of Death Metal

Through no choice of their own, this band mean something a little different now. When 89 people go out to see a band and don’t come back, just going out in public to watch them becomes an act of protest. But it’s not some sombre chore, it’s a joy. A sleazy, lusty, stylish, and life-affirming joy. As Jesse strides around proclaiming his love for us like soul band leaders of old, it’s clear we’re in the presence of a naturally born entertainer, with a solid garage rock band amplifying his amorous bellows.

Imagine Dragons

Imagine Dragons aren’t a band to overthink. Their lyrics may have the shallow inspiration of teenage uplifting memes Instagram account, and some of their tracks sound like they were written for adverts before humans, but they’re about massive moments and they deliver them. They’re not just about epic whimsy though, ‘I’m So Sorry’ adds an unmitigated whomp, and careens straight into a cover of ‘Song 2’ that was improved by a total lack of irony. The genuinely solid ‘Demons’ is begun while sitting down, before steaming off into the ether.

There’s something missing before they break into the very top level. That’s fine, they’re only on their second album and they can already pack in the singalongs. Given RHCP’s lacklustre display at the top of the bill, stadium rock needs a shake-up anyway.

Netsky

Belgian DnB producer Netsky had one of the most active crowds of the early day. Can I just let this guy sum it up and still get paid?

Probably not, but you get the picture. This style of liquid funk translates to the full live experience better than many other styles of dance music, and the more visceral drops lead to mosh pits that almost spill outside the tent. ‘Rio’ closes the set, with multiple standing drums, and members of his live band running across the stage to switch drums mid-beat. An impressive feat, and if Netsky continues to play ever bigger stages, his band are going to need to keep up the cardio.

We can’t be on all stages at all times, so we’ve inevitably missed some good stuff. Tell us how stupid we are in the comments below.


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