Day two of Reading begins with that smudged, slightly hungover feeling. Everyone seems quite happy, despite the hiding sun and the wind which has died down a little from last night's cut-through-you brrr-ness.
First act of the day for me is Metric who kick off with the dizzying 'Help, I'm Alive' and for 40 minutes have the huge Radio 1 tent dancing, fisting the air and clapping along. Emily Haines looks every bit the heroic star in a silvery, shiny dress and Stones-esque military jacket. Her limelight is stolen slightly by some incredible solos from guitar god Jimmy Shaw. The set ends with the DiS-released single 'Monster Hospital' and new anthem 'Stadium Love', the latter causing one of the least likely circlepits of the weekend.
A burger later and I'm watching someone that looks androgenous like East London trans-rock-poet No Bra but it's not, it's Patrick Wolf with blonde hair extensions and enough make-up to paint the faces of 20 glamour models. Patrick completes his 'look' with Union Jack motorbike leathers and a new strand of strange confidence. As someone nearby says "if he toned it down a little bit and focused on the songs, he'd be a superstar!"
Then, after an age of tut-tut-tisk-choo-chew-free-check, on walks Josh Homme, Dave Grohl, some other guy and Led Zep's John Paul Jones for the least "secret" gig I've ever witnessed. Them Crooked Vultures are a supergroup to end all supergroups but as they shake their manly meaty rock schtick around the stage, I can't help think they're less than the sum of their parts. Yes, it's an amazing treat to watch Grohl drumming but where are the killer songs? It's all a bit Queen of the Stone Age b-sides or Desert Session off-cuts, rather than a trio of legends coming together like Power Rangers.
United by Fate was one of those albums, along with Bleed American and Rated R that made the slog of watching MTV and scouring the internet a fruitful investment of time. Rival Schools have reformed and ahead of a new record, they treat a half-full Lock Up Tent to all the best bits of their soaring emo-rock armour and alternate with new tracks which, are, yeah, alright, I s'pose. Weirdly, though, it sounds like Ryan Adams' Rock 'n' Roll album when he channeled The Boss. The 16-year-old old me loved it but my attention span still hasn't matured and I nip out to catch youtmeatsix. Last year the brit-'mo lads played to a half-full but 200% enthused Festival Republic tent crowd. This year however they've rammed the Radio 1 tent and treat the shouting-a-long crowd to their rendition of 'Poker Face', which, er, really-really works.
Over to the main stage and Ian Brown is rumbling along until he plays 'F.E.A.R.' which still has the spectacular act of genius akin to a naked man falling out a hotel window and sliding down a roof, flipping backward into a suit and landing in a seat beside a horny Paris Hilton. How he managed to muster such genius when the rest of his set resembles a k-hole grunt is still shocking.
A quick surf through the noodles to the backstage bar and half the music industry seems to be putting on dead animals and dancing to Daft Punk's 'Robot Rock' and pondering whether it's worth watching Prodigy ten years past their prime. It really wasn't worth watching but it's a festival and watching old men dance is funny.
Today is only really about one band and when Sheffield's finest take to the stage, the crowd starts juddering in fast forwards. Arctic Monkeys look the part (if you ignore Matt Helders' jogging bottoms), almost as if they're mocking garage rock and Oasis-a-like bands. Their set bounces like a football against a variety of concretes and metals, echoing on gong-like garage doors with 'Bet You...' and against hollow houses with the ballsy crowd-pummelling - rather than pleasing - tracks from the new LP. The fact a band of their stature can develop in full sight is a wonder of the mondern age and as '505' brought things to a close these clever-tykes floated past the moon of moderiety and drifted to beyond the anticipated, box-flitting'n'ticketing expectations of headlining 'entertainers'. Gimme that over ghost-fucking anyday.