There are over 200 artists performing at Reading Festival. Assuming you’re not one of those pricks that goes to a festival just to see the headliners, that’s a hell of a lot of bands you don’t (yet) give a shit about to trawl through in the hope of finding your new love. Plus, you’ve got a job, pubs exist and you don’t even have a tent yet, so time is in short supply. That’s why we exist. We’re here to make sure that you don’t settle on wandering around in a field, blindly hoping to stumble upon greatness but settling on Deaf Havana or, even worse… Mallory Knox. Here are our top tips. Some are new bands and others are just great. Also, there are 12.
1) Empress AD – Saturday, The Pit
We’ve been waiting for Empress AD to release their album [review coming very soon] ever since we put our money where our mouth is a couple of years ago and put them on a TH gig, but they’re finally doing it – via Roadrunner Records, nonetheless – and they’re doing it just after Reading. Blending influences that are heavy, classic and interesting in turn, they’re a band that is a sum of its parts and the maths are incredible. This is the least obnoxious band on this list but they won’t fly under the radar for long. Don’t get too pissed on Friday.
FFO: Oceansize, Mastodon, Pink Floyd, Cult of Luna
OR… Chvrches – Saturday, Radio 1 Stage
They might not be metal enough for you but Iain Cook used to play guitar in a band called Aereogramme. They used to tour with Biffy and Anathema (still goth then) a decade ago. This music comes from a good place. Try it.
2) Marmozets – Saturday, Radio 1 Stage & The Pit
Marmozets are another young British band about to release their debut album on Roadrunner Records but they could not sound more different to Empress AD. I don’t entirely agree that they sound like Paramore because there’s much more of a tech-metal edge. It’s 100x heavier live as well. Two cool British rock bands playing Reading. What?
FFO: Rolo Tomassi, The Dillinger Escape Plan, Paramore
OR… Every Time I Die – Sunday, Lock Up Stage
Come on. It’s ETID. As if there’s a chance of it not being great.
3) Crossfaith – Friday, Main Stage
Because they use electronics and are fun, there are still question marks over whether this Japanese live monster is actually a good band or not. Their biggest song is a cover of ‘Omen’ by The Prodigy and if you want to see them play that live, you’d be a knob not to go see them. They’ve got songs of their own that are ok as well. Ultimately, the only question you should really be asking yourself right now is whether you want to have fun or not.
FFO: The Prodigy, Enter Shikari
OR… Enter Shikari – Friday, Main Stage
Crossfaith are lovely but Shikari were doing that shit first and they’ll always do it bigger. One of the most punk rock British bands around on the biggest festival stage in the country. Lazers. Massive.
4) Hacktivist – Friday, Main Stage
Rap metal is cool, right? This is another band pushing the boundaries of rock fans’ patience by adding non-rock music to their palette but their latest song, ‘False Idols’ is the first time they’ve ever convinced us. Even a little bit. Does it help that their metal of choice is djent? Fucking djent… Anyway. Watch the video below to see if it’s something you can put up with.
FFO: Monuments, Gallows feat. Lethal Bizzle, Aerosmith & Run DMC, etc etc
OR… Wovenwar – Saturday, The Pit
This is a big gig for the new band containing the rest of As I Lay Dying. It’s not every band that gets fucked over by their old singer actually putting an assassination plot into place. It sounds well metalcore.
5) Red Fang – Friday, Main Stage
How good is having a proper gnarly metal band on the main stage of Reading Festival? Bloody good. There have been years where we’ve enjoyed Slayer and – of course – Metallica on the festival’s highest pedestal but the sludgy Portland beardos, Red Fang? There’s a parallel to be drawn with Mastodon’s Reading 2006 set. (Next big thing, etc etc.)
FFO: Mastodon, Baroness, The Sword, Black Tusk
OR… While She Sleeps – Saturday, The Pit
The Sheffield bruisers are only a minor tip because the played the main stage in 2013. Singer, Loz even whacked a bloke for pulling his hair. He does have naturally lovely hair, though.
6) Baby Godzilla – Sunday, Lock Up Stage
Due to their incredible live show (energetic, unpredictable, bonkers), this lot have been mainstays on the heavy metal hype machine for months. That means that this massive festival is the perfect time to go and see what all the fuss is about. They’re good live. You probably won’t be disappointed.
OR… letlive. – Sunday, Lock Up Stage
The Californians are also notoriously bonkers but they’ve toured two albums here over the past few years so you’ve had plenty of opportunity to see them already. However, they’re frickin’ great so go see letlive. as well.
We’ve also made a sick Spotify SLAYlist with even more bands that are playing Reading & Leeds Festival 2014. You’ve probably got Spotify because they pretty much force it onto all phones these days so you may as well listen to our curated crap. It’s fun.