Black t-shirt day is upon us. That’s right, Metallica are in town and the headlines are dominated by talk of Enter the Sandman and Lars Ulrich’s beautiful, beautiful hairline… Or so they should be.
But no, today is about one thing and one thing only: Japanese internet sensations, Babymetal.
That’s right, today is Saturday and with it brings 16-17 year old metal heads Babymetal, who open the main stage to a sea of bemused faces, only to close it to whoops, cheers, and in true Reading style, a wall of death. Of course, this should come as no surprise to anyone; Reading has always had a particular knack for unearthing a sprinkling of unexpected nuggets of gold. Let’s not forget THAT Daphne and Celeste episode in 2000. Fast forward 15 years and here, in their own unique and bizarre way, Babymetal defy the Daphne and Celeste legacy to mould me (and the rest) into fully-fledged, loyal Babymetallers. Hats to you, girls!
Elsewhere, as part of the annual best, worst kept secret, Foals take the mantle of surprise guests, gracing the NME at 1:40 for a thirty minute explosion of sweaty, tribal and unrelenting excitement. With the day running away from us faster than we would like, Foals are joined by a collection of the very best in Indie and Alternative, with Spector, Wolf Alice, Everything Everything and Catfish and the Bottlemen indulging our now filthy, but oh-so-beautiful selves.
The main stage paints a different picture, with eclecticism always the order of the Reading day. Here, we are dominated with some of the leaders in rock, and a fairly sizeable dashing of sensual tuggings at the inner emo heartstrings. Royal Blood give us a glimpse into what’s to come with a debut airing of their new song Hook Line and Sinker to the delight of one of the largest crowds of the day. Triumphant sets also come from Alexisonfire and Bring Me the Horizon who, never ones to deal in the lazy or lukewarm, provide further excuse for servings of euphoric moshing. They keep Saturday ticking over on a rather intense slow-burner in the lead up to Metallica’s third headline Reading slot in 7 years.
Casting our eye elsewhere to the Radio 1Xtra tent and once again Melvin Benn underlines the vast expanse of his creative mind at Reading Festival. Here, we go hard and fast with the original ‘Fester Skanker’ Leathel Bizzle, Fifa 2003 hero Ms. Dynamite, and of course, American rapper Azaelia Banks, who can truly class herself as a modern day hero. Indeed, here we witness someonone from of a very, very select few that can claim to have created something so addictive that all colors, ages and creeds will join together to sing the heartfelt anchor of her hit-single, 212: ‘I guess that cunt getting eaten’. It’s all fun and games, really.
A special, closing mention should go to our headliners Metallica for somehow out-weirding the weird of Babymetal. In keeping with their recent tour tradition, Metallica man the stage with an army of Metallica diehards which on the face of things all makes sense. In practice, however, it all feels a little awkward. Normally a free-for-all zone of air guitar glee, Metallica's headline set is instead more noticeable for flickers of brief, then embarrassed air-guitars on the big screen from the 'lucky' stage dwellers. A visual backfire, for all involved, methinks.
They redeem themselves with some nice pyrotechnics, but we’ve seen it all before. Metallica serve their purpose, but you can’t help feel its time for someone else to step up to their lofty platform and deliver something new and interesting within the world of Metal. The Libertines are a prospect that’s probably even more at risk of feeling tired, but for now, I’ll give Pete and Carl the benefit of the doubt.
See you tomorrow.