There’s nine-minute songs, endless guitar solos, an awe-inspiring light show... Smashing Pumpkins' headline appearance at Reading Festival was pure prog - but was it bad cabaret or awesome future-rock spectacle?
While my compatriots are at Reading Festival, I've been spending a quiet weekend either enjoying the sun on London Fields or watching the typically variable output terrestrial TV has to offer. It's a dirty job, and all that.
The scale of the Klaxons’ popularity, meanwhile, isn’t something you hear while the music is in progress, more something you can see for yourself. The queues extend miles out from the fringes of the tent. Messages are passed back about what a good time is being had inside.
In spite of the day’s good vibes emanating from the mainly non-rock sounds of the Radio 1 tent, it’s impossible to ignore the Lock-Up stage, and the power of Gallows. Flaming red hair, covered in tattoos, with singer Frank Carter it’s as if someone was granted three wishes, and one of them was “Create the perfect Scotsman. But make him from Watford. And loud.”
Reading on Sunday is, emotionally speaking, a game of two halves. So much so, at the start of the day it helps to imagine a line halfway between the main stage and the Radio 1 tent, where you can stand and ask yourself: “So. Do I want to be happy? Or do I want to be depressed?”
Watching Red Hot Chili Peppers on the Main Stage reminds us of catching Arctic Monkeys last year second on the bill in Leeds. The whole area is as jam packed as then, with drunken punters stretching right up to the food stalls at the side of the arena.
I'm watching Dinosaur Jnr. for the first time since their dysfunctional, tuneless, late '90s swansong at London's Astoria. The Red Hot Chili Peppers are about to close today's festival and the Pumpkins due tomorrow. It's set me thinking about what's happened to US alternative rock since its '91/'92 annus mirabilis.
They might have played every festival this summer, but surely that means they've had loads of practise...? Arcade Fire tonight showed they had more to give than the average group, putting many of the other acts to shame.
Bloc Party have been hanging around all day here, flitting in and out of the press tent, big smiles on their faces. Back in the halcyon/wilderness (delete as appropriate) years of the late 90s, Kele Okereke and Russell Lissack first met at Reading Festival and decided to form a band - tonight, then, is a sort of homecoming.
There's a song on this new Purling Hiss album, playing again now, that sounds more or less like "Debaser" played by Dinosaur Jr. Along with the intensely spirited debut by Mary Timony's Ex-Hex and a comp of the pre-...