The countdown is over, it's nearly here: the summit of the alt. British summer. Are you ready? Ready to shout "TIMMMMMEH!!" and eat soggy potato wedges? Maybe not but we know you're as writhing and ready to see this year's buzziest of buzz bands and this generation's most monolithic of rock bands in a field in Berkshire (or somewhere near Leeds).
DiS has been going to Reading Festival every year since we started (and several more before that). We've watched crowds split for Kelly Osbourne's ex The Used, seen Daphne & Celeste pummelled with bottles, had our lives changed by At the Drive-In in the New Bands Tent, been caught up in Strokes-mania, spilt members of Hope of the States' pints, heckled the Klaxons and much-much more. It may no longer be the piss-lager monikered weekend but this year looks set to be as special as those wot came before it and has the potential to be the best one ever.
Five to Watch
1. CRYSTAL CASTLES
...and the winner of the most marmite band of 2008 goes to this Gameboy-rewiring duo (plus additional member(s) live). This year DiS has already seen them glitch the gurning faces off of festival crowds at SXSW and at our very own DiS stage at The Great Escape. The epic 8-bit joy of their album is lost on some but live there's that touch of blank stare magic which sets them on the trajectory to reach the Reading performances which rest in the land of myth and legend.
Expect: Kidz with glowsticks re-enacting a scene from Skins.
2. FRIENDLY FIRES
Right back to the days when pop still had its afterbirth juices covering its sweet cheeks, the British from Cliff to the Stones right through to Blur's heady Sonic Youth period and Razorlight and The Kooks' post Strokes pillaging, we have taken whatever worked stateside to give it our own spin. FF might one day sit back in an armchair to reminisce on a BBC documentary about how LCD, Radio 4 and the Rapture whetted peoples appetites for their shoegaze-sozzled p-funk.
Expect: To see torn Top Shop tee's discarded in sweaty heaps moments after _'Paris' (taken from their self-titled debut album, reviewed here) climaxes._
3. QUEENS OF THE STONE AGE
Reading's house band never disappoint.
Expect: To be barged by an unpleasant scented man's beer belly several times.
4. LATE OF THE PIER
A year or so ago you would have been forgiven for writing these lads from Castle Donington off as just another bunch of Klaxon's fanboys with a sinister opportunistic smirk. Then they seemingly had a run-in with Les Savy Fav and only went and became one of the most exceptional British bands in eons. Don't believe me? Read Mike Diver's 8/10 appraisal for their debut Fantasy Black Channel.
Expect: More glowsticks than you can shake a light saber at.
5. HOLY FUCK
Canada has been good to us this decade. Following the emergence of Godspeed! and the whole Constellation stable, along came Broken Social Scene which, as you know spawned the careers of Feist, Metric, The Dears, etc... Holy Fuck fit in somewhere amid all of this music of an exceptionally high-standard and if you ask most of these bands they'll say that HF are the best in the scene.
_Expect: Throbbing bass with a spittoon's worth of proggy timings. _
Them's the highlights, here's my rough personal schedule if anyone wants to stalk me:
12 – Hexes @ Lock Up
12:50 – Pete & the Pirates @ NME
1 – Dockers MC followed by John Cooper Clarke @ Alternative
1:30 Jubilee @ New Bands/Festival Republic
1:50 – Blood Red Shoes @ NME
2:15 – These New Puritans @ New Bands
3:45 – Florence at the Machine @ New Bands
4:45 – Biffy Clyro @ Main Stage
6:20 – Friendly Fires @ New Bands
8:20 – Queens of the Stone Age @ Main Stage
9:10 – Pennywise @ Lock Up
10 – Rage Against The Machine @ Main Stage
12:05 – George Pringle @ Alternative
12:45 – Lovvers @ New Bands
2:40 – Santogold @ NME
3:40 - Mystery Jets @ NME
4 – White Lies @ New Bands
6:50 – Foals @ NME
8 – Justice @ NME
8:20 – Bloc Party @ Mainstage
8:45 – Skeletons @ BBC Introducing
9 – Alkaline Trio @ Lock Up
10:30 – Manic St Preachers @ NME
12 – XX Teens @ New Bands
1 – Alexisonfire @ Main Stage
1:15 – Dinosaur Pile-Up @ BBC Introducing
1:45 – Henry Rollins @ Alternative
2:20 – The Whip @ Dance Arena
3:20 – Holy F*ck @ Dance Arena
3:45 – Johnny Foreigner @ New Bands
4:40 – Emmy the Great @ New Bands
5:15 – Crystal Castles @ Dance Arena
7:45 – Conor Oberst @ NME
8:20 – Glasvegas @ New Bands
9:10 – Last Shadow Puppets @ NME
10:20 – The Kills @ New Bands
10:30 – CSS @ Dance Arena
Obviously the above times are subject to change. And if you're not there and wanna follow DiS' roving coverage, point your browser over to the DiS twitter account http://twitter.com/drownedinsound.
Photo by Timothy Allen.
_DiScuss: Who're your top 5 acts to see? What does your rough schedule look like? _