Music: Reading Festival 2010 Special – Headliners


August’s arrival can mean only one thing – the countdown to Reading Festival 2010 – this year’s alternative music extravaganza has well and truly begun.

Over 100 artists from various music genres and levels of commercial success will take to the six stages over three days at what Dave Grohl from the Foo Fighter’s described as “The best festival in the world”.

Unfortunately with so many countless bands to chose from it can be difficult to choose who to see to guarantee maximum musical enjoyment (and subsequently drunkenness). So, in order to avoid potential panic, This Is Entertainment presents the the first part of the essential Reading Festival ‘Must-see’ Guide.

The big names

The reason people go to festivals is to see the big headline acts right? Perhaps…but it’s not true for everyone.

The beauty of festivals is that so many acts are available all at once, meaning you might wander aimlessly into a tent at 2pm on the Saturday to discover a band you never would have listened to otherwise. The point of this guide as a whole is to give direction to your aimless wanderings, but before all that let’s start with the basics and look at the big names.

Guns ‘n’ Roses

A band out of touch and out of its time grace the Reading Festival stage for the first time – despite appearing at Leeds in 2002, which is surprising considering the bands worldwide fame. In their heyday at the end of the 80s they were one of the world’s most intimidating rock groups, even providing a tune for Terminator 2: Judgement Day in 1991.

Now though, they are a shadow of their former self, with frontman Axl Rose recovering from a decade-long ego trip trying to piece together his magnum opus Chinese Democracy and the fighting between Axl and former band members has dragged on for decades.

Still, there is a new line up – with only Axl remaining as founding member – and fan response to their latest album wasn’t terrible, but I still can’t see them being as fun as Alkaline Trio.

Tracks to catch: Sweet Child O’ Mine, Paradise City, Shackler’s Revenge
Verdict: Miss

Arcade Fire

The radio-friendly indie band of the festival takes control on the Saturday, a theme which echoes down through the rest of the main stage, though more will be overjoyed by the resurgence of drug-fuelled Pete Doherty and The Libertines.

For Arcade Fire though the appearance couldn’t have come at a better time, with their new album The Suburbs assaulting the charts at this very moment after jumping to the number one spot after its release last week.

If you’re wondering what songs the band sing then it’s quite difficult to nail down a song you may have heard of, the style is very much that of modern hippies, a swaying, laid back sort of pop/rock, though one or two tracks might be familiar from BBC television show adverts.

Tracks to catch: Rebellion (Lies), Wake Up, Keep The Car Running
Verdict: Maybe

Blink 182

Another reformation but this time a welcome one, the nasally voiced teenage heart-break-ridden trio have returned to give us a reason to smile as the last act of the weekend.

The pedigree of the band is sketchy at best – strangely people don’t take a band seriously if they run along a road naked in their videos… – but that’s the point of Blink, they entertain first and foremost.

During their last appearance in 2003 the band made even the most tight-faced Blink-haters soften a little with their mixture of boyish banter, catchy tunes and audience participation – at one point they had the audience hold up their phones instead of lighters because “it’s the 21st Century now kids.”

With a new album nearing completion (expected early 2011), fans will be hoping to hear some new songs, and praying they are as good as they remember. It’s been a long time since their last self-titled album in 2003 and the fans are all grown up now, their spirits dampened with years of recession, war and no new pop punk heavyweights around to liven things up.

Tracks to catch: Carousel, The Rock Show, All The Small Things
Verdict: Must See

Stay tuned to This Is Entertainment for more crucial band details…

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