Review: Reading Festival 2014

Photo Courtesy of Ticketmaster

Photo Courtesy of Ticketmaster Blog

The line-up for Reading Festival 2014 was pretty impressive which resulted in a fully sold-out festival. If you’ve ever been to a festival you know you’ll have an amazing time by listening to some of your favourite music, meeting new people, having campfires and discovering new talents. Here’s a look at the music across the stages throughout the weekend:

Headliners

Friday night made history with the festival’s first co-headline sets from Paramore and Queens of the Stone Age. Paramore took to the stage first and wowed the audience with music from all four of their studio albums. The band put on an energetic performance with lots of confetti and flashing lights. Paramore faced a technical problem when the sound cut out during their set. This led to the magical moment of Hayley Williams singing ‘The Only Exception’ a cappella with the audience. The technical issue turned out to create the most unforgettable memory for the audience and the band with Hayley exclaiming “Oh my gosh, I’m never going to forget this”.

Queens of the Stone Age closed Friday night with lots of lasers and classic rock songs. The band played an amazing set but it felt like the connection with the audience was missing.

Arctic Monkeys headlined Saturday night and gathered possibly one of Reading Festival’s biggest crowds in history. The crowd went crazy for their old classics such as ‘Fluorescent Adolescent’ and ‘I Bet You Look Good On The Dancefloor’ but also went mad for the more recent songs from the number 1 album, AM. You can watch the band finish their set with ‘R U Mine?’ below:

Sunday night saw Blink-182 bring the festival to an end and had the crowd singing and dancing along. However, the American pop-punk band did not sound brilliant and were out of tune at times. This did not affect the audience who loved every minute of their performance and the show had a great atmosphere. Blink-182’s set was certainly fun and they had the audience laughing at their jokes.

Main Stage Acts

Jake Bugg played the main stage before Arctic Monkeys on Saturday night. He put on a remarkable performance as the sun set on Reading Festival. Bugg played many of his popular songs such as ‘Two Fingers’, ‘Me and You’ and ‘Lightning Bolt’.

You Me At Six played an energetic show on Sunday afternoon as they played songs from various albums. They welcomed Alex from All Time Low on stage to sing ‘Fresh Start Fever’ with them and to announce their UK co-headline tour taking place in February. The band as always were very grateful to play to such a large crowd on the main stage.

A Day To Remember played a brilliant rock show on Sunday performing many of their top hits including ‘The Downfall of Us’, ‘All Signs Point to Lauderdale’ and an acoustic version of ‘If It Means A Lot To You’. Lead singer, Jeremy McKinnon, got into a giant hamster ball and crowd-surfed during one of the songs in the middle of the set. Watch Jeremy in the giant hamster ball below:

NME/BBC Radio 1 

Lead singer of My Chemical Romance, Gerard Way, made his debut solo performance on the NME/BBC Radio 1 Friday morning. A huge crowd formed for his debut performance, most likely hoping for a few MCR songs which never got played. The frontman play a great set on his own but all the songs were new and unknown so the audience weren’t able to sing along.

Bombay Bicycle Club played an amazing set on Saturday night and had a huge crowd gathered with the tent overflowing. The band welcomed Lucy Rose on stage to sing ‘Lights Out’ and ‘Wherever, Whenever’ and Rae Morris joined them on stage to sing ‘Luna’. Bombay Bicycle Club were magical as they lit up the tent with bright colours and amazing sounds. I’m sure it won’t be long before the band play the main stage.

Smaller Stages

Hudson Taylor played the Festival Republic Stage on Friday afternoon and played an amazing set to an overflowing tent. Hudson Taylor are a folk-pop band formed by two brothers from Ireland, who have built their fan base from posting videos on YouTube. The band had a large crowd come to watch them perform which is impressive considering they are yet to release their debut album. The band also made their first UK TV debut during the festival which you can watch below:

American rock band, Mayday Parade, took to the Festival Republic Stage on Sunday night and put on a great performance of their biggest hits, including ‘Jersey’, ‘Jamie All Over’ and ‘Three Cheers for Five Years’.. The band’s fans were there in force with the audience singing along with every word. The only downfall of the set was that it was not long enough to play all the songs the crowd wanted to hear.

Alternative Stage

The alternative stage offered entertainment away from the music with many comedians performing stand-up comedy.

Bill Bailey was hilarious and incorporated music into his comedy on Friday afternoon. The comedian, who is best known for his role in Black Books, had the audience in stitches as he told jokes and played variations of songs, such as singing Miley Cyrus’ ‘Wrecking Ball’ in German and Lady Gaga’s ‘Poker Face’ in a West Country accent. The Alternative Stage tent was rammed full with people laughing.

Bill Bailey. Photo courtesy of Viagogo.

Bill Bailey. Photo courtesy of Viagogo.

Seann Walsh. Photo courtesy of Reading Festival.

Seann Walsh. Photo courtesy of Reading Festival.

Seann Walsh took to the stage on Sunday and put on a humorous show about living with his girlfriend. The stand-up comedy was relatable to the audience with many people laughing and nodding in agreement. Seann Walsh made his first comedy performance in 2007 and went on to win Leicester Mercury Comedian of the Year within two years.

Reading 2014 was a remarkable year for the festival and will be tough to top in 2015!

Who to watch at Reading Festival 2014?

At a festival there’s always a huge line-up and trying to decide who to watch can be difficult. I’ve come up with some suggestions of who’s not to be missed. The festival is sold out and there’s only a week to go so it’s time to get planning your lineup.

Main Stage

The main stage has some amazing acts this year and the 2014 headliners are pretty impressive. There’s even an extra headliner on Friday night when Paramore and Queens of the Stone Age co-headline, Arctic Monkeys will rock the stage on Saturday and Blink-182 will take you back to your youth on Sunday.

Arctic Monkeys are sure to play a number of hits from their most recent and number 1 album ”AM’ but hopefully they’ll play some of their classics too.

Blink-182 is sure to be pop-punk fun, a chance for sing-a-long and will take you back to your childhood.

On Friday, Blood Red Shoes are definitely worth watching after they played a great set at the festival in 2012. Vampire Weekend are bound to put on a fantastic show as they return to the festival for the first time since 2009.

Foster the People and  The Hives both play the main stage on Saturday after putting on a hell of a show on the NME/BBC Radio 1 stage in 2012. The atmosphere in the tent was electric and the crowd was wild. You can check out Foster the People’s closing their set with ‘Pumped Up Kicks’ below.

Jake Bugg is set to play before Arctic Monkeys on Saturday night. Even though he may not be bursting with personality, Bugg does make great music which he performs amazingly live.

On Sunday Papa Roach will blast their rock hits and ‘Last Resort’ is certain to make the crowd go wild. You Me At Six also take to the stage for some lighter rock and they always put on a tremendous show.

The main stage features many huge acts throughout the weekend and you could easily stay at the stage all weekend but make sure you explore some of the smaller stages at the festival.

NME/BBC Radio 1 Stage

On Friday, My Chemical Romance frontman Gerard Way will make his global debut as a solo act so that may be one to check out if you’re a MCR fan. There’s not many clues of what to expect from his performance but he’s always been one to give 100% on stage. You can check out his new solo single below.

Saturday night will see Bombay Bicycle Club take to the tent and they will light up the tent with their feel-good vibe.

The 1975 and The Horrors play the stage on Sunday night and they should bring an awesome indie-vibe to the NME/BBC Radio 1 Stage.

Other Stages

The Festival Republic stage has some great acts on Friday with Palma Violets headlining the stage. If you’re a fan of indie-rock then they are not to be missed.

Jimmy Eat World are playing an additional set on the Lock Up Stage on Friday night (as well as playing the main stage) so you have two opportunities to catch them and sing along to ‘The Middle’.

Folk-pop band, Hudson Taylor, also play the Festival Republic stage on Friday. The Irish duo resemble the likes of Mumford and Sons and have supported Jake Bugg. Have a listen to ‘Care’ below because they’re certain to put on a great show.

If you’re looking for something heavier, then The Pit on Saturday is the stage for you. Catch Of Mice & Men headline and cause some mosh pits.

On Sunday, American rock band, Mayday Parade play the Festival Republic stage where they’ll play their number of hits.

The Alternative Stage has some great comedians over the weekend, such as Milton Jones on Friday, Katherine Ryan on Saturday and Seann Walsh on Sunday. If you need a break from the music, go get some laughs at the Alternative Stage.

Surprise Act?

There is reportedly going to be a surprise performance at this year’s Reading festival from an “arena sized band”, according to NME.

In 2012, Green Day performed a surprise set on the NME/BBC Radio 1 Stage and it was amazing. If there is a secret set by an act this year then it’s sure to not be missed.

Listen out for any rumours when you’re at the festival because there’s bound to be some clues. You’re not going to want to miss out on the surprise!

If you don’t have a ticket, don’t worry because you can catch all the best action on BBC Three and Radio 1. If you are going, I hope you have the best time ever! Keep your eyes peeled for our review the week following the festival.

Russell Howard at Bristol Zoo

Russell Howard in the limelight. Photo courtesy of digitalspy.co.uk

Russell Howard in the limelight. Photo courtesy of digitalspy.co.uk

Stand-up comedian, Russell Howard, took to the stage at Bristol Zoo Gardens on Saturday Night. He put on a hilarious performance and the show was worth every penny.

The zoo is not a conventional venue for stand-up comedy but it certainly was a good one with ticket holders having the opportunity to visit the animals beforehand. The unique night was named ‘Giggle for Gorillas’ in aid of raising money for Gorilla conservation.

Russell Howard is a stand-up comedian from Bristol who is well known for his TV show ‘Russell Howard’s Good News‘ and his many appearances on ‘Mock the Week‘.

The night was held together by Mark Olver who had the audience laughing throughout as he filled the gaps between the stand-up acts. Olver is well-known as a television warm-up act and has worked on many shows including Bristol’s very own Deal or No Deal, 8 out of 10 Cats, Vicar of Dibley and Jonathan Ross. He bounced off the audience’s energy and had every person hysterically laughing.

Howard was joined by a variety of comedic guests including Steve Williams, comedian and fellow writer of ‘Russell Howard’s Good News’. The welsh funny-man made jokes the audience could relate to about everyday life and his home town of Newport.

Steve Hall also joined the line-up with a focus on his childhood and a slideshow to accompany him. Hall was hilarious and had the audience giggling away.

George Rigden also took to the stage with his guitar and jokes. He began with a comedic song, told some jokes in the middle and even attempted to woo a lady in the audience by singing her a funny love song.

When it was Russell Howard’s time to headline, the audience went wild and he did not disappoint by having the audience laughing until they cried. A large focus of the comedy was on his family including pulling pranks on his Mum, his younger brother running round Naked as a child and going on holiday with his mum.

Russell is clearly a down to earth man who has a love for his home town of Bristol and his family. He was hilarious and lived up to his witty appearance on TV.

Howard returned to the stage for an encore which resulted in unrehearsed jokes with the audience. Mark Olver jumped into the crowd with a microphone so the banter could be heard by all. It was a great way to finish the show and really involved the audience.

Russell Howard is about to embark on four sold-out nights at the Bristol Hippodrome and Bristol Zoo Gardens was the perfect place to warm-up for his Bristol shows. If you’re lucky enough to have a ticket, you are in for a funny treat!

Weekly Watch: Ed Sheeran Releases Music Video for ‘Don’t’

This week’s watch is of the new music video released from Ed Sheeran. The talented singer-songwriter has uploaded the video for ‘Don’t’, his next single from the number 1 album ‘X’.

The song is catchy, it will have you dancing and singing away and is the perfect choice to release as a single.

The video focuses on a talented dancer that break-dances through a variety of houses and outfits, from poor to rich. It could be a sign of Ed’s rise to fame throughout his music career so far.

The music video uses sound effects to fit in with the action on-screen. The dancer jumps in a pool and the water becomes muffled which really adds something special to the video.

Although, the video does not focus on Ed Sheeran, he does make a few appearances throughout! See how many times you can spot him and enjoy the new video.

The Shock of the Fall Review

“I’ll tell you what happened because it will be a good way to introduce my brother. His name’s Simon. I think you’re going to like him. I really do. But in a couple of pages he’ll be dead. And he was never the same after that.”

The blurb had me hooked before I even opened the book itself. Although, it does not tell you much about the novel’s topic, it does certainly intrigue the reader.

The Shock of the Fall by Nathan Filer is a heart rendering tale of Matthew Holmes’ struggle with mental illness. The ‘COSTA Book of the Year’ winner is written from the perspective of the mentally ill main character and focuses on the death of the narrator’s brother. It unchronologically follows Matthew Holmes from his childhood until his young adult years.

The novel is incredibly well-written, easy to read and will have you hooked throughout. The Shock of the Fall will perfectly capture a mixture of your emotions from shocked to humoured and sad to emotional.

The style of writing and tone has a resemblance to Mark Haddon’s The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time which makes The Shock of the Fall personal and makes you feel like you know Matthew Holmes.

The Shock of the Fall is the first novel written by author, Nathan Filer, who is a registered mental health nurse and performance poet who regularly contributes to literary events. Filer also lectures at Bath Spa University for the Creative Writing course.

The book is based in the city of Bristol and for locals refers to many famous streets and attractions. As a Bristolian, it was relatable and created a sense of knowing. However, if you’re not familiar with Bristol it will not in anyway make the book less enjoyable. The book is an amazing read from anywhere in the world.

The Shock of the Fall is an incredibly well-written book which is a gripping read that will have you on the edge of your seat. You can pick up a copy of the book here.

Details

Title: The Shock of the Fall

Author: Nathan Filer

Publisher: The Borough Press

Published: 7 January 2014

ISBN: 9780007491452

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This week a review of ‘The Shock of the Fall’ by Nathan Filer will be up. Keep an eye out for the book review!

Weekly Watch: Lauren Aquilina Live at St Pancras

Singer-songwriter, Lauren Aquilina, surprised passer-bys at St Pancras railway station by performing a cover of Sam Smith‘s song ‘Stay With Me’.

Lauren Aquilina is a 19-year-old, singer-songwriter of British and Maltese descent who this year signed a recording contract with Island Records and Universal Music Group. She began her career by uploading home-recorded videos of herself singing covers of other artist’s song and her original songs. Aquilina then went on to independently release three EPs, ‘Fools’, ‘Sinners’ and ‘Liars” which you can listen to on iTunes here.

Aquilina covered the number 1 single ‘Stay With Me’ by the 2014 BRIT Critics’ Choice Award Winner, Sam Smith, using just a piano and her beautiful voice in the busy train station. Many passer-bys stop to listen to her breathtaking voice.

The video which was posted on YouTube has already received 20,000 views in three days and has reportedly been seen by Sam Smith who liked it according to Lauren Aquilina’s twitter.

I’ve selected this video as my weekly watch because it is so simple and beautifully sang. The cover is definitely worth a watch!