The Colour Of Vinyl’s guide to Reading & Leeds 2014

For many, August Bank Holiday isn’t August Bank Holiday without packing up and heading to either Little John’s Farm or Bramham Park. These places are of course, the locations of the world famous Reading & Leeds Festivals, which are gearing up for their 2014 editions this weekend with the gates opening to general admission tomorrow! In light of this, The Colour Of Vinyl has checked out the line up and given an insight to the bands you need to see…

FRIDAY READING / SATURDAY LEEDS

The first place to head to on the Friday is the Main Stage, with British Rap-Metal quintet HACKTIVIST opening precedings. Debuting at the festival last year on the Lock Up/Rock Stage, they’ve made the jump up this year and will be a rude awakening to anyone unsuspectingly grabbing breakfast. With a TBA debut album due this year, these boys are a good way to start things off

Next it’s off to The Lock Up stage to catch former The Loved Ones front man DAVE HAUSE. His 2013 album Devour was an essential display of heartland rock, americana and songwriting expertise, and he always delivers live. A staple of The Lock Up over the years, the Chuck Ragan inspired Dave always goes down well

Refill the beer helmet for 40 minutes now before returning to The Lock Up for THE FRONT BOTTOMS, indie-punks from New Jersey who have created a reputation of being spellbinding live. Expect a set heavy with tracks from their 2013 album ‘Talon Of The Hawk’.

The first venture into the NME/Radio 1 Tent now, to catch Cambridge boys MALLORY KNOX. With debut full-length ‘Signals’ making tracks in the album charts last year, the band have just announced that their sophomore record has been completed so keep your ears peeled for some preview of a track or two from that!

Stay put now for TWIN ATLANTIC, a band who’s songwriting has gone from strength to stregth since their 2011 album ‘Free’, with their latest release ‘Great Divide’ coming out just two days ago. Expect the set to be heavy with material from this release.

Back to the Lock Up now for one of my favourite bands, and regular on this stage over the recent years; East London Reggae quartet THE SKINTS. With a superb EP released earlier this year and two very different but excellent nonetheless albums behind them, this band will pull a huge crowd so get down there and skank it out!

To the Festival Republic stage now, to marvel at London singer-songwriter KING CHARLES. He doesn’t look, think like or make music like anyone you know, and is a captivating performer. Don’t miss out, this is a treat on an intimate stage!

Friday night Lock Up headliners now, in their 20th year JIMMY EAT WORLD are still one of the most loved acts in alternative music with albums ‘Bleed American’ and ‘Clarity’ defining a generation. I’d avoid their mid-afternoon set on the Main Stage as to not saturate myself with them, as this particular set in the Lock Up is bound to be a bit special.

Plenty of time to get yourself stoked for the night’s headline act now, the mighty QUEENS OF THE STONE AGE. Go get food/beer/whatever it takes to avoid the Paramore kids down the front, then get yourself back to the Main Stage for what will surely be a defining moment in Reading and Leeds’ modern history. Unfortunately for Leeds, Paramore are taking the top slot in this co-headline agreement, so get your arse down the front early. Expect hits for days from these legends, with Josh Homme orchestrating in the way that only he could. Firm favourites at both festivals, this will be a, if not the, highlight.

SATURDAY READING / SUNDAY LEEDS

I would not be anywhere else but on the Main Stage barrier at midday on Saturday, waiting for the incredible GNARWOLVES to take the stage. With their debut album due in September, they’re opening Reading and Leeds’ main stage without a full length release under their belt. INCREDIBLE. These boys are the future of punk rock. Go see them, and marvel.

Stay on the Main Stage now, as Leeds boys PULLED APART BY HORSES are up next. Their 3rd full-length album ‘Blood’ is due on 1st September, with the two tracks already heard from it being classic PABH. They’ll be a massive hit in their hometown, but are guaranteed to go down well in Reading too, where they’ve become a festival favourite.

Bit of a gap now, so next stop by the NME/Radio 1 Stage to see the start of LOWER THAN ATLANTIS. Don’t hang about too long though, because reformed emo-rockers BASEMENT are playing The Pit and you’d be mad not to be there. Their new EP ‘Further Sky’ is a great insight into what the band’s future holds, and they’re bound to cause a storm over at The Pit.

However, I’m also gonna leave their set early, because Swedish garage punk quintet THE HIVES are ready to rock the Main Stage. After setting the NME/Radio 1 tent alight back in 2012, this band will gather a huge crowd for what is bound to be one of the most energetic sets of the weekend.

DON BROCO on the NME/Radio 1 tent now, a band that’ve gone down a treat both times they’ve played the festivals so far in the career. Expect hook-laden rock bangers, and engery for days.

Sub-headlining The Pit are Brighton metalcore titans ARCHITECTS, and their pure energy and stage presence make them worth a watch, if nothing else! Now an Epitaph band, their ferocious riff-tastic strand of heavy music will delight this new stage

I’ll be leaving early however, as Main Stage headliners ARCTIC MONKEYS are a band I’ve avoided for far too long. Unintentionally of course, and Alex Turner and co. have turned into one of the slickest, coolest and most established rock acts on the planet. Despite coming from Sheffield, expect an especially huge welcome in Leeds, although wherever the Monkeys go, the crowds adore them. This should not be missed.

SUNDAY READING / FRIDAY LEEDS

If the sun’s shining, then what better way to kick off Sunday than with pop-punk from California? THE STORY SO FAR will oblige, their latest release is an acoustic EP so expect to hear a ‘best of’ set from this band.

Keep the Cali pop-punk coming, now with personal favourites EMILY’S ARMY. Their latest EP ‘Swim’ is a massive show of things to come, and their previous two full length releases are littered with great tunes. This is going to be one of the most talked about sets of the weekend.

Even more pop-punk now, but going north of the American border into Canada with PUP – the band making waves all over Europe so far this summer. I’ve never seen them, but heard nothing but excellent reviews so head on down and see what the fuss is about.

The Lock Up is littered with awesome on the Sunday/Friday (depending where you are!) so don’t go anywhere as Nottingham’s BABY GODZILLA are ready to tear the tent a new roof. Cited as the UK’s answer to Every Time I Die, these boys are superb live, and their set at 2000trees earlier in the summer was enormous.

The poster boys of UK pop-punk next, North Wales’ NECK DEEP have transformed from a fun act into one of the hottest properties in the UK music scene over the last twelve months. Honest lyrics, catchy hooks, this band has it all and can go really far in this game.

THE FLATLINERS are one of the hardest touring bands on the circuit, with their excellent 2010 album ‘Cavalcade’ follwed up by the extremely strong ‘Dead Language’ last year, these guys are seasoned pros who know exactly how to work their crowds.

Leave The Lock Up now briefly, to catch A DAY TO REMEMBER on the Main Stage. Fusing modern pop-punk with metalcore, ADTR will bring their Floridian show to Reading and Leeds once again this summer. Latest full-length ‘Common Courtesy’ has been a huge hit, but keep your fingers crossed for plenty from the back catalogue.

More pop-punk now, from masters of the game THE WONDER YEARS. Since their conception, they have released four full length albums, two EPs, and several splits/compilations. The group is currently signed to Hopeless Records and originally got their name from the television show of the same name!

More Lock Up goodness now, with the previously mentioned EVERY TIME I DIE bringing their legendary metalcore to the festival yet again. 7th albums ‘From Parts Unknown’ was released last month and is classic ETID, so expect metalcore fused with southern rock and bits of mathcore.

One of the best lve bands you’ll ever see now on the Lock Up, LA post-hardcore quintet LETLIVE. made huge waves with their sophomore full length and Epitaph records debut ‘Fake History’ and only fuelled the fire of their meteoric rise with last years follow up ‘The Blackest Beautiful’. Their live energy levels are unrivalled and singer Jason Aalon Butler’s livewire performance style is quickly becoming the stuff of legend. They are not to be missed!

Now my most anticipated band of the weekend; the mighty, brutal, extreme beast that is MONGOL HORDE. Former Million Dead members Ben Dawson and Frank Turner are joined by baritone guitarist Matt Nasir, and their not-hardcore music is not as lyrically serious as Frank Turner’s other projects, but were absolutely outstanding on their recent tour. Go see them tear shit up on the Lock Up.

The final band of my weekend now, the Lock Up headliners GOGOL BORDELLO, a Gypsy punk band from the Lower East Side of Manhattan, formed in 1999 and known for theatrical stage shows and persistent touring. Much of the band’s sound is inspired by Gypsy music fused with punk and their live performance is confusing, captivating and thrilling. Do not miss this band.

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