29-08-12

It's actually pronounced /rɜdɪŋ/

I told people I was going to Reading fest. Reading. /ri:dɪŋ/. As in the present participle. It's not pronounced like that, dummy.

Anyway, I spent last weekend in the UK, more precisely in London and Reading. It was a blast. I went by myself cause none of my friends were excited enough/willing to spend that amount of money to go to a festival abroad that features most of teh Pukkelpop line-up anyway. But of course, Reading is so much better than Pukkelpop because they booked At The Drive-In, AKA one of the best bands in the world.
Also, At The Drive-In played a show in London Tuesday night, but since I didn't hear about that after I booked my fest tickets and train tickets, it would end up way too expensive to go there. Would've loved to see an ATDI club show, though. Maybe they'll came around again, I don't know how long this reunion is going to last.

Anyway, let's start at the beginning, shall we? I took the Eurostar to London on Wednesday evening. I arrived at 8pm, quickly checked in to the youth hostel, which was an really great youth hostel (YHA Euston Road), then jumped on the underground to Camden Town cause there was a show going on in The Blackheart.
I would've booked my train a bit earlier had I known about the show beforehand, but okay. Therefore I missed the first band, Her Parents. What a shame. So I arrived at the Blackheart, which was a pretty big pub. The venue was upstairs and it was really nice. Not too big, a nice bar at the back, rectangularly shaped, good turnout as well.
I paid my 6 pounds to enter and enjoyed watching Ten Speed Bicycle play. They were really great. Their tumblr page says "Ray Cappo'nJazz", which I think is a pretty funny description but also pretty accurate. Cool! They're a 3-piece playing jingly-slash-riffy emo punk.
Random fact: I thought the bass player looked like the bass player from Self Defense Family, which I though was weird cause they're an US-based band. But when I went to congratulate them on the show and ask for an interview, she said her name was Kai, and that's the name of the Self Def member, so apparently she does play in both bands. So that was pretty cool. Also we did an interview of about 30 minutes, they were really cool and nice and I think the interview came out great, one of the best I ever did. So stay tuned for that!

The next band was Chalk Talk. Chalk Talk is a band I know. I once heard them on a mixcd a friend made and they definitely stood out, so I went to check their stuff and they're actually pretty cool. And live they're also very amazing. Indie/emo pop kinda stuff. They're great musicians and they played a fun, danceable show, which is exactly how I like my shows.

They are on tour with Everyone Everywhere, who played last. They were amazing. Never heard a single song of them before. Yet, I found myself singing along to words I didn't know, dancing to tunes I didn't expect and having an all-round great time. They concluded the show on a high note and I'm excited to go see them this Thursday in den Eglantier in Berchem (arguably my favourite venue in Belgium). You should go too!

So that was day 1 of my musically charged holiday trip to the Island. (Seeing as they call the rest of Europe the Continent, I might as well call Britain the Island.)

Day 2 started around 3 am. That's when I woke up and I tried really really hard to fall asleep again but that didn't work. That sucked. I counted the hours until it was time to leave, which was at about 8:30. My bus to the festival left at 9:30, so I had to make sure I was on time. The bus trip was pretty neat.
Day 2 didn't involve a lot of music. It involved getting in, setting up my tent, drinking lousy but free 2.8% lagers and hanging out with my lousy neighbours. Really, the whole fucking fest is loaded with hot chicks, and I wake up from my afternoon nap and there's this 50 year old mom, her boy-ish ginger daughter who couldn't shut up and her fat friend who totally loved Paramore and All Time Low. Just my luck.
Other than that I met Sam, the guy who set up the Everyone Everywhere show the night before. He's a nice guy.
Also I made a trip to the city, which wasn't all that interesting. Checked out the campsite, the area around the arena and all the stuff that was going on. There's a fucking fun fair at this festival. And not like just a merry-go-round, an actual big-ass fun fair. Incredible.
I went to sleep at 9pm because I had nothing else to do, and I was tired cause I hadn't slept much the night before.

Day 3 then. Entry into the arena went okay. The site is huge. There's a lot of food stands and bars. Some lousy merch stands where they sell slightly overpriced (£20) t-shirts of the main bands (I got an At The Drive-In shirt, mostly because I was cold on Saturday night and didn't want to return to the campsite (a fair 15-minute walk) to get another shirt). I found a non-official time table at the campsite, but it was slightly off (official time tables/info leaflets were £7, no thanks, capitalist fucks) so I was confused at the beginning. Anyway, the first band I saw was an all-girl hardcore band, Petty Bone, who weren't really good. I went to see Fidlar, who I had heard were really good, but as my time table wasn't correct, I ended up watching Palma Violets, who were really cool too. Surf rock, lo-fi, chillwave or some other weird name to describe the relaxing pop/rock music they made. After that it was Fidlar, who put on a great show, and are just a really cool band. Songs about drugs and stuff. Musically, they link Black Flag with Beach Boys, kind of. Glad I saw them.
Then I saw a fair deal of Random Hand. I knew they were a ska band, but the guitar player was wearing a Descendents shirt and sporting a Weasel tattoo so I was kinda hoping for those influences. Well, they didn't really come through but it was a great show nonetheless. Ska punk can be real fun sometimes. I saw glimpses of Coheed And Cambria (that hair!), Spector (whose singer I got compared to a few times), and other bands until it was time to see Ceremony. I haven't heard the new album, but I'm sure I like it. Their show was awesome. Their attitude is great. Their performance is stellar. Started out with Into The Wayside/Sick, played a lot of new stuff like Hysteria and that kinda, more mid-paced music that's actually a remarkable progression for Ceremony. They ended the set with Kersed, probably for old times sake or to please the fans of the faster stuff? I don't know, but I though it was cool and I screamed along to it. "Pack your fist full of hate, take a swing at the world." Ya know.

(whitespace to create structure. allegedly.)

Next up were 3 bands I wanted to see playing simultaneously. But first I went to say hi to the Subways guys and gal at the signing tent, not cause I wanted their autographs but just to meet them for a second, cause they're an awesome band, they seemed like cool people and they totally are cool people. So that was fun. Also, there were crazy queues for signing session for Paramore and the likes, like absolutely crazy. Thankfully I only had to queue for about 5 minutes to get to the Subways.
Anyway, enough fanboystuff. I saw a couple of Hives songs, but decided, since I have tickets to see them in December, and I'm not the hugest fan, I'd go see Crystal Castles. And I saw a couple of their songs, and I love them, but then again I felt like the punk thing to do (and I'm a punk, so that shit is important to me) was to go see A Wilhelm Scream. I've seen them numerous times but it had been a while so it was nice. I saw the final half of their set, and it was great, as always. Technical shit. The vocalist in his ever-present sports marcelleke, the bassist with his ever-present smile, the guitarists with their ever-present shreds and the drummer with his ever-present velocity.
Next band at the Lock-Up stage, where I spend most of the day cause they hosted the punk/hardcore bands, was Touché Amoré. I hadn't actually realised they were playing the festival so I got really excited when I noticed. Got all the way up front and sang along to the words. One of my favourite bands. They played 2 new songs from an upcoming split with The Casket Lottery, one I hadn't heard before and then the one they played on the Rise Against tour, which is probably my new favourite song. "It was the first time, in a long time, that I felt alive. At least I tried." Awesome. The drummer blasted his bass drum, which is also quite something (those things are pretty tough). Love this band to bits, it's cool to see them get more and more exposure!
Saves The Day! Whoo! They also played! They were great! Quite a few old songs, which I was fond of cause, you know, I haven't heard anything aside from the first 3 albums (not cause I'm an old school fan, just because I'm lazy). So that was fun and I loved the set. Bouncing Souls followed them and, although it started of a bit unenthousiastic, it got better during the set. Some classics, some new ones. No Gone, which made me sad, but if they had played Gone, that would've made me sad as well. I would've prefered being said while hearing Gone, though. It's a different kind of sad.
I went to the campsite to get a sweater and a drink, so I missed most of Paramore but I saw a couple songs and she's pretty so that's cool. Not that good though. Every Time I Die made up for that, they were tight. I mean, I don't really like their music, but the fact they're playing it, I respect that. (+10 points for who gets that reference.) Seriously though, they are a great bunch of musicians.

I wanted to get a good spot to see The Subways, one of my favourite bands nowadays, and they are pretty popular but they were playing one of the smaller tents so that was 1) awesome and 2) crowded. I went to the front while Veronica Falls were playing, arguably the most boring band in the world. Then waited for the Subways to come and they came and they started playing and the crowd was wild. It was awesome but I decided it was not my spot right there in the front. Oddly but thankfully Billy decided he wanted to see a circle pit during Turnaround (maybe because of onomastic reasons?) so that was my way out of being crushed to rock'n'roll death. They played an awesome show, all the hits. Not necessarily their best/my favourite songs, but that's okay. Would've loved to hear the intro and rest of Girls & Boys (that intro contains one of the heaviest riffs in non-extreme music) and it would've been mental to hear All Or Nothing (that climax near the end makes my spine go all whirly). But they did play a good set and that's what mattered. During the last song, It's A Party, which was pretty accurate regarding the circumstances, Billy decided he wanted to crowdsurf at Reading festival, cause he never had. (Note: there's a general no-crowdsurf rule at the festival.) So not only did he do that, he did so all the way to the back of the tent and to the front again, while Charlotte and Josh held the party going for a couple of minutes. Cool show, definitely one of the highlights for me.
The Cure was playing the main stage and I checked a couple songs between The Subways and Social Distortion, so that was fun to see them play. But I had also never seen Social D play so I was (prison)bound to go check them out. They played a solid set, but I think I like 'em more on record than on stage. I don't know, the songs are pretty slow-paced and in a live performance that kinda drags it all down (haha, GET IT?). So yeah, I loved seeing them but my expectations weren't really fulfilled. Also they should've played their cover of the Stones' Under My Thumb instead of their cover of Cash's Ring Of Fire, but that's just me I guess. They ended the set with that one, good nonetheless. That was the story of how I finally saw Mike Ness. (That last sentence is there because it rhymes.)

After the show, the first festival day was over. But not done. No, the brilliant people at Reading had morphed the Lock-Up tent into a cinema tent. With actual recently released movies. Friday night they screened The Dictator, which was pretty damn hilarious. So that was cool. Included in the ridiculously high price for the festival were a few good movies as well. Yay!
After that I went ot sleep. Day 3 done.

(major whitespace)

Day 4 was a Saturday. Funny start of the day: I didn't really wanna see anything before, like, 2pm cause there was nothing good scheduled. Simultaneously, I had heard rumours of Green Day who would do a surprise performance in on of the tents. Little did I know, when I was walking past the entrance at 11 am, that Green Day was surprisingly scheduled to play at 11 am in the BBC1/NME tent. Being a true punk, I thought "oh, okay, Green Day, their new stuff isn't really good so I don't really care", but then I heard them play Burnout, and a lot of old stuff from the Dookie album and period. So I went in with everyone else who was totally freaking out (probably because they're the biggest Green Day fans on earth). I didn't get to see them entirely live, cause, y'know, the tent was more than packed and I coudln't get in, but they showed the footage on all of the screens around the festival so it was cool. The show was pretty cool, because of the songs, but lame, because the non-songs. You know, that whole "AAAAAAYOOOOOO" stuff bands do with the audience. Seriously, one minute he's saying "we don't have much time" (yeah, if you're used to playing 2,5 hour shows I guess 1 hour isn't much, but to everyone else it is alright) and the other minute he's just fucking WASTING THE TIME HE DOESN'T HAVE MUCH OF by doing fucking rock star things like the aforementioned yelling and other silly things. And while doing that, he quite obviously took cues from the Bouncing Souls cause he started singing the tune to Olé and Here We Go. (I know those are popular things to yell outside of a Bouncing Souls context but the fact he sang those things in that particular sequence made it pretty obvious to me, while all the other people were probably all like "huh, what's punk music, can somebody explain that to me?" (+1000 points for who gets that reference).) So, I saw Green Day, which was cool, but the only cool thing Billy Joe has done lately was release The Thing That Ate Larry Livermore on his record label. Enough ranting.
Next I went to see The Minutes, which were a pretty cool rock band. I don't know, they sounded nice and it was a cool show. They had a song about best friends. i can't imagine what I went to see after that. I guess I went to the campsite. Oh yeah, I did, and I met this guy'n'gal who were really nice. The guy provlaimed himself a bigger At the Drive-In fan than me, which I was fine with, cause he had been a fan for 10 years, and I was a fan of the Backstreet Boys 10 years ago. So I guess he won. Nonetheless, cool to meet like-minded people. Like this guy, John, who talked to me about my Give Up The Ghost shirt and consequently the band and the reunion and all that. And this guy at the poster stand who was a huge Social D fan and he was really nice and fun. We talked about how much Bullet For My Valentine sucked (note: I used to listen to their first EP a lot, in my 'good old' nu-metal/metalcore days) and how we didn't understand people buying posters of such bands (Paramore, All Time Low, ...).
Anyway. White space coming up!

I saw the last Japanese Popstars song, who were DJs recommended to me, but obviously I missed their set. I saw Grimes soundcheck, who is probably a new sensation in electro-world cause she's really cute? Not really cute but pretty bad-ass were the Odd Future Wolf Gang Kill Them All guys. But... let's say I don't listen to hip hop for more than 20 minutes. It was a fun performance though. I guess Enter Shikari was up, they were absolutely shit. They were really energetic and their show was decent, it's just, the music they make makes my ears cry. We Are The In Crowd then. (You can by now probably already guess that Saturday was not really my favourite day of the festival.) We Are The In Crowd play pop punk that appeals to young guys and girls, like Fall Out Boy but with a (slightly cute) female vocalist.
Then, finally something worth my time: The Vaccines! One of the UK's best bands to come out in recent years. Their new album, Come Of Age, is due about now and they played a fair bit of off that, which was enticing. The songs from What Did You Expect? were obviously the crowd pleasers and they sounded awesome. They played a cover, I think, but I can't remember what it was. Anyway, great band, post-punk with added fun.
MASTODON! I've never seen Mastodon live before. Can you imagine? Missing out on these giants of the metal-scene for so long? Thankfully, Reading was kind enough to book them and I got to experience the band. Not necessarily for the songs, cause I'm more of a fan of the older work (Remission and Leviathan), and they didn't play a lot of that, but it's a pleasure to see the drummer play alone. That man is a machine. And of course, although they've gotten more progressive and such on their later work, Mastodon still holds true to being heavy as fuck, which is always a plus. Lovely show!
I then went to see The Cribs, cause I wanted a good spot to see At The Drive-In. Apparently the Cribs are pretty cool as well. Lucky shot! It was a shame though that the guitarist seemed pretty much an arrogant asshole, but okay. Also, apparently their 7th time at Reading. I've never even heard of these guys. I guess that says more about me than about them, of course. Anyway, the music was cool, I sang along although I didn't know the words, and I danced because I didn't wanted to be 'that guy'. I'm totally 'that guy' sometimes, though. But it's often not cool to be 'that guy'. Don't be 'that guy'. At the end, The Cribs got even more stupid by smashing their instruments on stage and front stage. That's not cool, that's just stupid. Even Paul Simonon regretted doing it.
So, that was over and the place was starting to get packed with good people. People who were excited, pumped, stoked, psyched for what happens to be one of the best bands in tah weurld! At The Drive-In, ladies and gentlemen. They came on stage, Cedric started babbling like usual, saying crazy shit that's either really funny or really disturbing, and they went into Arcarsenal. Good choice. First thing everybody does is get crazy and yell at the top of their lungs: "I MUST HAVE READ A THOUSAND FACES". It gives me goosebumps thinking about it. The setlist can be found here. It was awesome. I mean, just look at the songs, think about the songs. The only thing I was kinda dissappointed about was the lack of Rodriguez-Lopez signature dance moves. His guitar playing was spot-on, but his youthful spirit has apparently gone, which I can understand, but I kinda hoped he'd be all over the place like in the videos. Guess I was born too late. Cedric was still pretty wack, though. I high-fived Jim Ward. Paul killed it on the bass and Tony was just amazing. I mean, it's not an easy job to keep up with the rhythms in At The Drive-In's music, which is pretty Latin-inspired and all. But all of them together played tight as fuck and I was happy as fuck to see them although I got squeezed and stuff and I guess people even fainted so it must've been pretty wack. Security did a great job though. Also, I was probably on the screen for a good few seconds cause there was a camera aimed right at me (like, straight in my face) while I was happily singing along but I was too busy screaming along, being happy and watching At The Drive-In play to bother watching the screen, so I don't know. Maybe thousands of people have seen my ugly face on the big screen. Maybe rather hundreds. That's bad enough. Sorry for ruining your weekend, if that happened.

Anyway, that was the most important thing of the weekend. I've seen At the Drive-In. I could die, I guess? Not really, but it's yet another of my life's high points, something I didn't think I would witness but it did happen. All before my 21st birthday (in UK time) or during my 21st birthday (in Belgium time). Crazy, huh?
I watched The Hunger Games in the cinema tent and I really liked it although I feel like I shouldn't? I don't know.

(white) (space)

HAPPY BIRTHDAY, ME! Yes, yes, It was Sunday, the 26th of August, and traditionally I celebrate my birthday on that day. It's kind of an annual thing. This year was the 21st installment of the festivities. It started out with a free breakfast sandwich (like there was everyday by the way, kudos to that!), recharging my phone, and drinking a few glugs of whiskey to get the party started (most importantly to get my social skills started). This would have its effects, I'll talk about that in a minute. First up, Crowns! Not really good, I reckon. After their set I went to annoy people by introducing myself, talking silly and ultimately mentioning my birthday. I met Georgina and Rosie who I talked to a lot cause they were cute, and nice too. I met Georgina later in the day again which was nice cause she was still cute but also drunk. (No, this didn't end like you'd think, it's still me, you know. "Sweet innocence with loser's luck. I know you think you're giving love, but you're just getting fucked - guess what?") I watched Apologies, I Have None, and they were amazing. Really good. Siked to see them tour with Joyce Manor in September.
I met these dudes Neil and some other dude and Danny and they were really nice. Kinda punk types, but okay. We hung out during the Flatliners and This Is Hell. I went to see Polar Bear Club and I remember seeing them play a song but I guess I fell asleep cause the next thing I knew I woke up? Must've been the alcohol. Sucks cause Polar Bear Club is rad!
I got to see Good Riddance though, who I missed at Groezrock. They were great! (Notice that this day isn't as explicitly reviewed cause I really just don't remember/wanna tell everything). Trash Talk were amazing as well, I really enjoyed them. Turbonegro ruled. I only know their song I Got Erection, which, obviously, they ended their set with, but the entire set was full of fun punk rock'n'roll. Met Sam again in between Turbonegro and Gallows. He advised me to see Gallows (who I'm not that big on, and apparently they have a different singer). They were great. I like that band. i need to check them out. Apparently, Frank Carter, the previous vocal delivery dude for Gallows played with his new band, Pure Love, at Reading. I didn't see them, though. Anyway, Gallows was awesome. Saw some Me First. Went to see Two Door Cinema Club, who apparently have songs I know. Chatted outside of the tent with 2 lovely girls whose hair was pink and blue, which was fascinating at the time. Bit of Foo Fighters, bit of Less Than Jake, went too sleep (too) early cause of drunk/tired/don't know. Kinda regret not seeing the entire Foo Fighters/Less Than Jake sets but it was as good as we have had it had (dutchism) anyway.

Day 5 sucked. Cleaning up my tent in the rain, feeling sick as fuck all day (not only from a hangover), doing a boat trip on the Thames in London (which was nice), throwing up on the underground ride to St. Pancras, wanting to go home but having to spend 5 hours traveling by train to my beloved home.
But I showered (gee!), went to sleep and woke up alright.

Holy smokes. I must have read a thousand faces.

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