Reading Festival Weekend 2002

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FRIDAY

“How many members of Blue does it take to wallpaper a room?” compere Steve Lemacq asked.

“It depends on how thinly you slice them,” was the answer.

12pm

What better way to start the Reading Festival Weekend than with The Moldy Peaches with their brand of risqué and yet amusing gems such as These Burgers, Who’s Got the Crack? and Downloading Porn with Davo?

1pm

The Swedish sextet (with a singer who looks like your Dad in a smock) soon, Soundtrack of Our Lives, followed with tunes you feel as though you’d known all your life but couldn’t quite place.

2.05pm

The quasi-angelic (and in my opinion, vaguely camp) tones of Mercury Rev were next onto the Main Stage. However, afternoon felt too early for Goddess on a Hiway and The Dark Is Rising.

3pm

Okay, I know it’s a music festival but I wasn’t that bothered about seeing the Dandy Warhols and went off to see Ross Noble in the Comedy Tent instead. Though his routine about licking the Dalai Lama was amusing, he was best when improvising, particularly when during a rant about Craig David, someone produced a phone complete with the singer’s number. The upshot being that the audience left a message on Craig David’s answer phone telling him to ‘F*** off!’. A festival highlight that has kept me amused for days.

4.25pm

Considering there’s only two of them, Detroit’s brother and sister team, The White Stripes, know how to get the show going with their pumping blues inspiring songs such as Hotel Yorba and Fell in Love with a Girl. Certainly one of the best acts, if not the best, to grace the Main Stage this year.

Sometime between 5 and 8.30

I saw a bit of Weezer but I wasn’t overly inspired. They weren’t bad, but the White Stripes had stolen the show for next few hours. Food and drink was in order. Both overpriced. Both not particularly good. The egg mayonnaise baguette was a mistake. Not that I learned this until the following day as I saw more of the Festival facilities than I would have liked.

Oh, I also saw someone wearing a t-shirt with a Babel Fish and 42 on the front. I wore one with Marvin with the caption ‘Life! Don’t talk to me about life.’

8.30pm

’Is this the way it’s meant to be, twenty thousand people standing in a field?’ Possibly more had turned up to see Pulp with the ever amusing Jarvis Cocker commenting between the Pulp back catalogue from Babies to Sunrise to us Common People. We love life for them. And compared with many other acts, Pulp proved they were indeed a Different Class.

10.30pm

Despite a le injury, the front man of The Strokes showed up but spent most of the time sitting. Perhaps with one album behind them, headlining the Main Stage is asking a lot and a shortage of new material was evident. However, they pulled through, looking and sounding far more confident than last year. It was also front man Julian’s birthday and the crowd sang ‘Happy Birthday’. A cake was brought out and massacred by the crowd. Later, Jack White from The White Stripes joined the New York sextet for finale of New York City Cops. But Is This it? Not by a long way. We’ll hopefully be seeing a lot more of them in the coming years.

SATURDAY

1.40pm

Andrew W.K. was the first act I saw Saturday when I wasn’t regretting the egg mayonnaise baguette from the previous night. The new hard rock crowd-surfing meister was clearly there for a good time with songs (sounding very much alike) such as Party Till You Puke and Party Hard (notice a reoccurring theme?) and enough energy to power several medium-sized cities or one slightly ageing Iggy Pop. Party on, dude.

2.40pm

I may have seen Less Than Jake, but I was less than enthused by yet another skate punk band.

3.45pm

Despite how American they sound, A are actually British. They came and did the job but were Nothing to write home about. But then again it was better than some job at Starbucks.

4.50pm

The Hives are possibly Sweden’s modern age answer to the Rolling Stones. Dressed in black with white ties, they were the Main Offender against the heat and won our hearts with front man asking after the first song if ‘One was plenty’ and ‘Applause, please’. Maybe they were ‘Our New Favourite Band’.

5.55pm

As the backdrop proclaimed, Canadian skate punks Sum 41 do indeed like it loud with catchy tracks like In Too Deep. My girlfriend also wants me to add that she thought that the lead singer looked like a squashed Graham Norton (hopefully, that’ll keep her quiet for a while).

6.30pm

Reading’s own The Cooper Temple Clause have produced one of the albums of the year with ‘See Through This and Leave’. And live they are great though this time the Evening Session Stage sound system is not, too much bass and not enough treble. Though the worst part is having to leave early due to another act coming onto the Main Stage.

7.05pm

With the release of ‘Free All Angels’, the past year or so has seen Ash return to being a Shining Light on the indie scene. It was a shame they weren’t higher up on the schedule. Despite only just surviving an accident earlier in the week which left the drummer with broken ribs and the bassist with whiplash, complete with neck brace, could they Burn Baby Burn.

8.25pm

Matt Bellamy looks as though he could do with a good feed but he and the other members of Muse gave a musically flawless performance. However, I was left feeling that they should have been on before Ash as they built up little rapport with audience leaving their crowd pleasers of Muscle Museum, Plug In Baby and Bliss until the end. Too much, too early. An album or two with more upbeat songs and more charisma will make them a force to be reckoned with.

10(ish)pm

Fresh from a stint of drumming for Queens of the Stone Age, ex-Nirvana member Dave Grohl, announced that this was his night. And for him and the other members of The Foo Fighters it was. This is the third year running that the Saturday headliners have been the best act on the Festival Weekend. It was Dave Grohl’s sixth appearance at Reading, though possible the first time he licked a camera lens, mouthed that he loved us then picked his nose and smeared snot over the lens. He claimed Reading to be his favourite venue, something other acts also say, but I’m inclined to believe him. After all, he’s no one’s Monkey Wrench.

SUNDAY

Today started a little later than Friday or Saturday for me as I was sidetracked by a pub, though the toilets weren’t any more pleasant than those at the Festival, but luckily I had steered clear of egg mayonnaise baguettes the previous night.

7.20pm

Unlike others, I don’t actually find Slipknot offensive. Deafening, yes, but not offensive, mainly as I can’t hear the lyrics properly other than the ever delightful chorus of People Equals Sh*t. What is offensive was the lack of choice at the bar while I waited for the next act.

9(ish)pm

The Offspring are probably one of the earliest American punk bands. And they experience shows when getting the crowd jumping and singing along to I Want It All and Why Don’t You Get a Job?. During the Intermission, the lead singer handed out popcorn to the crowd. Indeed, pretty fly for some white guys.

10.35pm

The thumping techno of The Prodigy was late and I’m not sure if it was really worth the wait. They were good with tracks like Breathe and Firestarter, though I preferred their rendition of Madness’s Night Boat to Cairo. But after the Offspring, I found the Prodigy took themselves too seriously for me to get wrapped up in the performance.


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