Damson's guide to Reading & Leeds Festival 2019
The Reading and Leeds weekend has been an essential part of the UK festival season for years now, and while the acts have gone from grunge and rock to more commercial sounding acts (for the most part), it still remains as popular as ever.
Being York-based, we will be heading to Leeds, and hoping to catch as many great live shows as possible. Here are our pick of the tracks to look out for. They may not be the artists best or most popular tracks, but seeing them live is a real experience!
Royal Blood - Little Monster
Released in 2014, Little Monster was one of the very first releases from Royal Blood, before they became the worldwide megastars that they are today. Wearing their influences firmly on their sleeve, from Led Zeppelin, to Jeff Buckley with a healthy sprinkle of Queens Of The Stone Age, Little Monster is in or opinion, still their best track. Using the loud/quiet/loud grunge template that has seen great success for many, many bands, Royal Blood, for a two-piece (although they do have some help live), make one HELL of a racket. This will be a sure-fire hit of the whole weekend.
You Me At Six - Take On the World
YMAS, as the cool kids call them, had been around quite a few years before the release of their fifth album "Night People", which contains this track. "Take On The World" is as close to a Rock Ballad as they have ever been. It was the first time singer and primary songwriter Josh Franchesci had ever co-written with anyone else from outside the band, by bringing on board Jake Bugg, James Bay and Iain Archer. It's a very sensitive track, and has a great message behind it: "Whatever happens, I want to make it easier for you". For proof of the effect it has on a live crowd, make sure you watch the video below.
Twin Atlantic - Crashland
Twin Atlantic, a perfect blend of Biffy Clyro, Smashing Pumpkins and early Idlewild and have a reputation as an absolutely ferocious live band. Yet it is their most stripped back number that leaves the most lasting impression. Crashland has been part of their live show since they very first started touring, but wasn't included on a record until 2011's release "Free". A mix of acoustic shoegazing, heavily accented vocals and a sprinkling or cello, seeing this live will stay long in the memory. "Cello Solo Barry..."
Post Malone - Better Now
Here's the thing about Post Malone. He is RIDICULOUS. But he knows it. Face tattoos, gold teeth, and hair braids (before he got rid of them), you can kind of understand why a lot of music journalists called him a "Culture Vulture", although that is a little unfair. He is not hip-hop. He is not country. He is not anything that can be pigeonholed, he's just a great, great songwriter, and if he didn't look and act the way he did, he wouldn't be treated as any more than that. Better Now is a highlight of his live shows, and while it's not usually the closer of the set, it does have the most audience participation and a hell of a chorus. Who doesn't love a good break up song eh.
Anderson .Paak - Come Down
Anderson .Paak is the latest in a long line of Dr Dre endorsed artists, and along with Kendrick Lamar, has the best chance of becoming the biggest artist in the world. His live shows stand out amongst the whole host of rappers singing over a DJ, in that he has a full band (The Free Nationals) and plays drums at the same time as singing/rapping. He is one SERIOUSLY talented guy. He is bound to be one of the highlights of any festival show he is on, and especially "Come Down", a raw, funky and ridiculously catchy track off his second full studio album.
Foo Fighters - Best Of You
Dave Grohl and the Foo Fighters need no introduction. For years, they have had a reputation as one of, if not the, greatest live band in the world that are still performing. Their set is likely to be over 2 hours long and packed from start to finish with hit after hit. It's almost impossible to choose a favourite live track. Special mention to Everlong, My Hero, Monkey Wrench and many others. But for us, it has to be Best Of You. A soaring call to action that, when played live, seems to go on forever. And that's not a bad thing at all.
Frank Carter & The Rattlesnakes - I Hate You
Frank Carter is an interesting guy. He's a renowned tattoo artist, and has fronted Gallows, Pure Love and now The Rattlesnakes, who at 3 albums in are proving to be his most successful. Frank has always had a reputation of being an engaging frontman, whether that is starting fights in the crowd, or pouring his heart out, but with "I Hate You", their slowed down grunge number, he finishes most sets by having the crowd sing back to him every choice word and insult. With lines like "You're a f*****g mistake, you're an embarrassment mate", it's hardly the friendliest track, but miss them at your peril.
YungBlud - 11 Minutes
Leeds will be practically a homecoming for Doncaster native Dominic "Yungblud" Harrison. We're not quite sure how this will come across live as the release features vocals from Halsey, but she may be there to perform with him. They are apparently in a relationship together, so you never know! An insanely catchy song and will be sure to have the whole field singing along. Big, big things are predicted for Yungblud, so don't be surprised if it's not too long before he is one of the actual festival headliners. Catch him while you can still get anywhere close to the front of the stage.
The 1975 - It's Not Living (If Its Not With You)
Now onto the third album of their relatively brief career, The 1975 are on a serious trajectory, as evidenced by them being one of the main festival headliners. Singer Matt Healy has had some very public problems with addiction, and with this track off their latest album, he really puts it all out there. A track with some subtle, and some not so subtle references to the perils of drug addiction, this is nonetheless a seriously catchy track and (Weather permitting, you never know in the UK), is bound to become the perfect summertime sing-a-long.
Twenty One Pilots - Heathens
We'll admit, until recently, we weren't too familiar with Twenty One Pilots, but they have made a big impression in a short space of time. "Heathens" was chosen by the musical curators of DC movie "Suicide Squad", but the less said about that car-crash of a movie the better. It is a genre-bending mix of electronica, indie and hip-hop. Its typical of the rest of the tracks that that these guys have put out there. Like Post Malone, its almost impossible to pigeonhole them, and that's a good thing. As one of the co-headliners, they are guaranteed to command a huge crowd and don't be surprised if "Heathens" is the one that gets everyone singing at the top of their voice.