By the time Eminem’s headline set had finished on Saturday, I had already seen my money’s worth of music for the weekend and could have happily gone home feeling satisfied…but there was plenty more in store for the final day! Here is my review of Sunday at Reading Festival 2017:
I had a very strict itinerary for Friday and Saturday this year, and I’m glad that I stuck to it because every band was fantastic, but for the first part of the Sunday there was no one I was adamant I had to see. It was another scorcher and there was no shade next to my tent, but I made my way to the arena anyway and watched Fickle Friends’ set at the NME Stage. Admittedly I was laying down half asleep for most of the set, but the songs I actually watched were enjoyable.
About halfway through Fickle Friends’ set I decided to ditch the shade and brave the sun for punk rock group Vant. They may be new to the scene, but they certainly don’t play like they are. Lead singer Mattie Vant conducted the show with as much swagger and confidence as ex-Oasis frontman Liam Gallagher would be exerting on that same stage a few hours later. Vant played an energetic and fun set, and I would definitely go out of my way to see them again at a festival in the future.
One problem I encountered with this year’s line up was that a fair number of the bands I was keen to see clashed with each other. However, when it came down to deciding if I wanted to see The Hunna on Sunday, I realised I’d seen them four times since first seeing them play a mid-afternoon set at the Festival Republic stage at Reading 12 months ago, and so I wasn’t that bothered about catching their headline slot on the same stage this year. Nevertheless, I managed to make it 5 times in a year (probably the most I’ve seen a band to date) as they played a short but VERY popular secret set at the BBC Introducing stage. It wasn’t a particularly thrilling set…but it was impressive to see how popular the band had become in the space of 12 months. I still can’t see this popularity blowing up as much as bands such as Catfish and the Bottlemen, but they’re certainly giving it their best shot!
After a short break over at the Festival Republic stage to catch some more shade, I returned to the main stage to see British metalcore band Architects. I watched Architects live for the first time earlier this summer at Nova Rock festival; for that set I went along for my girlfriend as she is a huge fan, but this time both of us were genuinely looking forward to seeing them! We were so exposed to the sun and I was roasting more and more by the minute, but Architects (and the crowd) definitely made it worthwhile. The passing of guitarist and writer Tom has clearly had an affect on the band emotionally – lead singer Sam came close to tears whilst talking about it – but it hasn’t affected the band’s performance, and if anything has encouraged them to perform as best they can to honour his legacy.
Later that evening I once again returned to the main stage for the final time that weekend. There was a buzz in the air like I’d never felt before at Reading and the sun was setting so perfectly in the backdrop that it felt like everything and everyone was focused solely on the next act; Liam Gallagher. He walked on stage with more swagger and cockiness than ever before, shades on and hands behind his back as he opened the set with Rock n Roll Star, the opening track from Definitely Maybe, which was the perfect way to ease the crowd in and get them fired up for the rest of the set. As you might expect, the set was a combination of old and new; he played a number of Oasis classics, including Morning Glory, Slide Away, and of course…Wonderwall; but it was really pleasing to see a few of the tracks from his debut solo album receiving a good reaction – notably Wall of Glass and For What It’s Worth. Liam is obviously playing with a new band now, but even compared to a few months ago when they first performed together, they have come on leaps and bounds. A special mention needs to go to Liam’s vocals though, because they were fantastic; the best they’ve been in well over 15 years. He was reaching all the notes with ease, he sounded strong, and he’s really showing the world that he means business again. He may even be trying to let Noel know that he’s taking music seriously again and a reunion would be worth giving a shot. The atmosphere throughout the set was incredible though, and I’m very much looking forward to his London show at Alexandra Palace in December.
The weekend was drawing to a close, but I still had enough energy to watch Welsh pop-punkers Neck Deep headline the Pit. Only one week prior to the festival Neck Deep released their third studio album, The Peace and the Panic, which saw the band earn their first top 10 album in the US and come even closer to a number 1 album in the UK. The momentum from the release of the album and the positive reactions to both the singles and the album as a whole really showed during Neck Deep’s set. They opened with the first track from the new album, Motion Sickness, which proved to be a keeper in future sets, and the rest of the set did not disappoint either. The set was only an hour long despite being a headline slot, but now that the band were squeezing three albums worth of hits into this set every song was a winner. Highlights include Can’t Kick Up The Roots and the latest single In Bloom. Apparently Architects lead singer Sam Carter made an appearance during Don’t Wait, a track he features on from The Peace and the Panic, but I was clearly having such a good time (or was too drunk) because I can’t recall! The set was received so well though that Neck Deep came back for what seemed like an unexpected encore, and performed the first song they ever wrote, What Did You Expect? A brilliant way to end a brilliant weekend!