Photo: Splash News
Clearly having a fantastic time on the opening of Sunday at Reading, were Broadway Calls. The power-pop-punk boys played like they had nothing to lose, and all to prove, which they did. Making an unusually early appearance on the main stage were Noah and the Whale. They were calm and serene, holding peoples attention without needing to play hit single, Five More Years. A true, honest band with masses of talent. The same goes for The Living End. Even though they’re constantly likened to Green Day, they had an encapsulated crowd chugging along to the punk-rock tunes with a bluesy edge.
I did wonder why the main stage crowd was looking so small right before The View were about to come on. Then I remembered that Lethal Bizzle was about to pump-up the Radio One stage, which was so busy, it couldn’t even accommodate one more lonely reviewer. Bizzle was on fire – nuff said. As was Frank ‘could I be any more popular’ Turner. He held his own, whilst the girls held their hearts.
The View were on form, and in actual fact, did have a large crowd. As long as you didn’t try to understand what lead singer, Kyle Falconer, occasionally blurted out in a rambling Scottish accent, you could get along with their set just fine. Coincidently, I’d been wearing my jeans for four days now. Whilst Metromony, Passion Pit and Crystal Castles slotted comfortably into the ‘scene’ section of the day, Brand New played a highly regarded show to the main stage crowd. Jesse Lacey and co displayed a flawless set and are obviously very much humbled by their ever-growing UK fan base.
The weather was the worst it had been all weekend (apart from Funeral for a Friend’s set). Never the less, Vampire Weekend were not to be deterred. Ezra Koenig told the crowd “it may not look like summer, but this a summer festival and this a summer song”. Spirits were consequently raised and everyone had a lovely dance.
Although the sun wasn’t out, it didn’t matter, because Karen O and the Yeah Yeah Yeahs were. O's genuine lust for life and live performance shone through a smile that didn’t leave her face for the whole set. Fans of all ages were delighted through a perfect mix of songs, old and new, whilst Karen sang to the crowd, “Wait, they don’t love you like I love you”. Heart felt is a massive understatement.
Bloc Party did what they needed to do: Pumped up the crowd with fan-favourites and a vigorous performance. They’re firmly content with festivals by now, and they performed as well as any band, which was before Radiohead, could do.
“What d’ya reckon they’ll open with?” was the question murmuring around Reading. Hats off to the man who said, 'Creep', as it took thousands by surprise. As did the immediate transition into ‘The National Anthem’. The visuals were mesmeric. The stage was mounted by hanging cylinders that bounced the lighting around euphorically to each song. It was a set of satisfaction. A perfect mix of tracks you want to hear and tracks you have to hear. Just, Nude and Weird Fishes were untouchable. To end with ‘Everything in its right place’ was no coincidence to the feeling we were all left with. As clichéd as it sounds, it was a performance where people will rightly say, “I was there”.
Reading Festival 2009 - Highlights in photos: