Skip to main content

Reading & Leeds Festival Preview

The annual Reading and Leeds festivals are this weekend. We'll be down the front, holding our bladders, watching this lot.

Heading to Reading or Leeds this weekend? Come rain or shine, here are twenty bands spread over the three days that are entirely deserving of your attention…

Queens of the Stone Age

Though to some Queens may have lost the venom that used to be the very blood in the veins of their earlier material, a Queens Of The Stone Age show is still a Queens Of The Stone Age show and in that sense, they’re bound to be unstoppable. Josh Homme is a ridiculously powerful frontman and has the ability to whip up a frenzy in no time, even without opening his mouth. Their last UK tour saw them turn arenas into frothing messes, QOTSA’s brash and rock’n’roll tones taking audiences to another plane entirely and as they (co)headline Reading and Leeds for the first time, expect much of the same to send you off into the night.

Stage: Main Stage

When: Reading Friday, Leeds Saturday

Paramore

Hayley Williams and co are now certified megastars the world over. Their most recent, self-titled album saw the group return as a trio and fall head first into full on pop music. This did nothing to deter their legions of fans however and saw them gain even more in the process. Whilst older pop punk/emo tracks like Misery Business, Decode and Ignorance are still firm fan favourites, the hooks on tracks like Ain’t It Fun and Still Into You are undeniable. Happily sharing headline duties with QOTSA, Paramore’s set will dazzle and sparkle over both fields this weekend.

Stage: Main Stage

When: Reading Friday, Leeds Saturday

Enter Shikari

With their appearances at Reading and Leeds closing in on double figures in almost as many years, it’s obvious that Enter Shikari are a hit amongst the R&L demographic. Constantly pushing their sound forward, the St. Albans punk/post-hardcore/metalcore/dub/whatever they feel like playing these days crew are closing in on finishing album number four and they’ll be roaring to get back playing on English soil after playing Warped Tour this summer. An Enter Shikari light show is also definitely something to behold, so grab all the flashing lights that you have and join them as they return to the Main Stage after last year’s outing on the Lock Up as Shikari Sound System.

Stage: Main Stage

When: Reading Friday, Leeds Saturday

Jimmy Eat World

An obvious choice, but there are multiple reasons for this and those come in the form of Jimmy Eat World’s back catalogue. With The Middle, Bleed American, Sweetness, Futures, Pain, Big Casino and heaps more in their arsenal, Jimmy Eat World’s list of timeless singalong emo rock anthems is almost never ending. For those moments where you and your friends just want to sing your hearts out, there aren’t many out there more prepared to help you do so than Jimmy. Bonus points for anyone who checks out their headline set over on the Lock Up Stage on the same evening. With several ten-year anniversary Futures tours planned for the end of the year, who knows what they might play in round two…

Stage: Main Stage

When: Reading Friday, Leeds Saturday

The Hives

If you’re yet to witness The Hives live, you’re in for a treat this weekend if you catch them on the Main Stage. Vocalist, charismatic frontman and overall master of ceremonies Howlin’ Pelle Almqvist will have the audience eating out of the palm of his hand, possibly literally, as the sharply dressed Swedes bust out some of the finest rock’n’roll around. If you dismissed them years ago as a joke band, it’s time to revisit and realise what a mistake that may have been.

Stage: Main Stage

When: Reading Saturday, Leeds Sunday

Gnarwolves

The rise of Brighton trio Gnarwolves to the Main Stage of one of the country’s biggest festivals will completely baffle some, but will be greeted with cheers by countless others. So close to the release of their first proper album on Big Scary Monsters Records, this is a huge step up for the band and it’s going to be interesting to see how they tackle a stage that is bigger itself than the venues they’ve grown up playing. Doing things their own way since the start, Gnarwolves’ lightning fast skate punk is so infectious that it’ll be hard not to join those right down the front for some crowd surfing action. It might be a good idea to avoid the 20 foot gap from the stage to the audience for a stage dive, though.

Stage: Main Stage

When: Reading Saturday, Leeds Sunday

Blink 182

Returning to headline for the second time in four years, things seem to be in rude health for Blink 182 currently and not even in a dick joke way. Their two recent ‘intimate’ Brixton Academy shows sold out in no time, receiving rave reviews and with a new album in the works, there’s still plenty of life left in the Californians yet. Sometimes, Blink get slated for their live show due to sloppiness, but if it’s a non-stop fix of pop punk hits you’re after, then look no further than a set from Messrs Hoppus, Delonge and Barker.

Stage: Main Stage

When: Reading Sunday, Leeds Friday

Young Guns

One of the UK bands currently smashing it over in America, Young Guns’ alt rock anthems are Main Stage material through and through. Ever since single Bones exploded after being used on the Wrestlemania XXIX broadcast, the group have been caught up in a whirlwind of non-stop promotion in the States, but they are back to take on Reading and Leeds once again this summer. This might be your last chance to catch them for a while as they trek back Stateside for a giant stint with fellow Englishmen You Me At Six and with the promise of new material like single I Want Out being aired, it will be worth your while.

Stage: Main Stage

When: Reading Sunday, Leeds Friday

La Dispute

Earlier this year, La Dispute took over London’s Bush Hall for a three-night stint and it was nothing short of incredible. A spellbinding display of subtlety and power, they were nights that will live on in the memories of those that attended for years to come. La Dispute’s mix of progressive post-hardcore and spoken-word screamo worked incredibly well in this intimate setting, but how will it translate to a giant tent? Will all the magic be lost? Let’s hope not. If they play it right, theirs could be one of the most memorable sets of the weekend.

Stage: NME/BBC Radio 1 Stage

When: Reading Friday, Leeds Saturday

Marmozets

West Yorkshire’s finest young upstarts Marmozets have been causing quite a stir recently. Frantic live shows perfectly display their strong mix of math rock and pop hooks, and fronted by one of the strongest female vocalists around in Becca Macintyre, their music is possibly the oddest but most enjoyable thing you’ll hear all year. This set will be a huge step up for them and with any luck will bring the band an entire army of new fans just in time for the release of their debut album The Weird And Wonderful Marmozets in September, on Roadrunner Records no less.

Stage: NME/BBC Radio 1 Stage

When: Reading Saturday, Leeds Sunday

Lonely The Brave

Lonely The Brave are another act on this list that you barely hear a bad word about and the fact that all these upcoming bands are British? Well that’s got to be a good thing, surely? Lonely The Brave are captivating both live and on record, their gem of a vocalist David Jakes’ voice soaring high over the towering rock soundscapes that the remaining band members produce. Don’t be expecting a wild live show however, just sit back and bathe in the glorious chords. When you get back from the festival, you’ll only have a week to wait to grab their highly anticipated debut album, The Day’s War, on September 1st.

Stage: NME/BBC Radio 1 Stage

When: Reading Saturday, Leeds Sunday

Royal Blood

Oof, that bass. Royal Blood have been covered far and wide in both the mainstream and rock press since last year and with good reason. The Brighton blues rock duo make one hell of a noise between them and Mike Kerr’s overdriven bass churns out some fearsome riffs all over their self titled debut, with Come On Over being a particular highlight. The second stage at Reading/Leeds will be one of their biggest shows to date and if their performances at Download and Glastonbury this year were anything to go by, it’ll be quite the occasion.

Stage: NME/BBC Radio 1 Stage

When: Reading Saturday, Leeds Sunday

Brody Dalle

Punk Rock’s leading lady, Brody Dalle returned this year with her debut solo album, Diploid Love. Featuring her trademark raspy voice and even Brody’s first production credit, the album is still rooted in punk rock, but has darker electronic/pop elements throughout. There may be outings for classic tracks from The Distillers and Spinnerette during her set, but we get the sense that Brody is finally ready to stand out on her own and Reading and Leeds are big chances to do so, in front of a lot of people. On the plus side for her, she’ll also probably be able to dash over to the Main Stage just in time to catch Husband Josh Homme and the QOTSA boys tear it up after her set.

Stage: Lock Up Stage

When: Reading Friday, Leeds Saturday

Möngöl Hörde

Frank Turner is now without question an arena-filling name. The last two and a half years have seen him headline Wembley and The O2, sell out shows worldwide and even play the Olympic Opening Ceremony in 2012. Hell, along with his band The Sleeping Souls he played fourth from top on the Main Stage of Reading and Leeds last year despite some severe back issues. However, such places are not for his side project Möngöl Hörde, oh no. Möngöl Hörde is for the dark depths of the Lock Up Stage, seeing Frank return to his heavier, punk/hardcore roots and getting gritty again. This is a chance for Frank to come out thrashing rather than jigging and Möngöl Hörde gives him the perfect pedestal to do so. Just don’t expect to hear The Ballad Of Me And My Friends.

Stage: Lock Up Stage

When: Reading Sunday, Leeds Friday

Every Time I Die

Keith Buckley and his merry band of mayhem bringers are once again returning to the Lock Up Stage at Reading and Leeds to provide those watching with the ultimate release. Every Time I Die’s latest album, From Parts Unknown, is crammed with everything you’d expect from the Buffalo natives: Humongous riffs, choruses oozing with swagger and more mosh parts than should technically be legal. Tracks like Decayin’ With The Boys and El Dorado are bound to sound feral in the live setting and let’s not forget their older material packs a mighty punch, too. Expect sweat, beer and some of the most raucous, rock tinged songs that metalcore has to offer.

Stage: Lock Up Stage

When: Reading Sunday, Leeds Friday

letlive.

Recently, letlive.’s 2013 album The Blackest Beautiful was hailed as a modern classic on this very website. Described as ‘the type of music that lights a fire in your eyes when it hits your ears’, the album and letlive.’s presence have brought a vitality back to the post-hardcore scene that hasn’t been felt in years. Raw and urgent, it seems crazy that four short years ago, very few had heard of a band that now mean so much to so many. Their live reputation precedes them, with frontman Jason Aalon Butler renowned for his emotion fuelled onstage antics igniting their already intense performances. Don’t miss out on this one.

Stage: Lock Up Stage

When: Reading Sunday, Leeds Friday

Of Mice & Men

Headlining a brand new stage for their first Reading and Leeds performances, Of Mice & Men certainly aren’t setting the bar low for themselves this year. Invoking the spirit of nu metal into the modern era of metalcore, the band hired producer David Bendeth (Killswitch Engage, Underoath, A Day To Remember) to take their sound to the next level on this year’s Restoring Force and it has paid off in dividends for them. Following a recent sold out UK tour and leading up to dates supporting Linkin Park at The O2 (!), these Reading and Leeds shows will be a good test for the band to see if they can stand up to often brutal English festival crowds.

Stage: The Pit

When: Reading Saturday, Leeds Sunday

Architects

Architects may not have reached the levels of Asking Alexandria and Bring Me The Horizon yet, but that’s not to say they’re not one of the finest heavy bands the UK has produced in the last ten years. This year’s Lost Forever//Lost Together is a blistering example of modern metalcore and is likely to be a fixture on album of the year lists across the board. The quartet have been (almost) all over the globe recently, as documented on their crowd funded One Hundred Days documentary and this has set them in good stead to become a seriously formidable live act. This year is the first year of ‘The Pit’ stage at Reading and Leeds, and Architects have the power to really get it going.

Stage: The Pit

When: Reading Saturday, Leeds Sunday

Little Matador

Stomping rock tunes are the order of the day with Little Matador and if the likes of Band of Skulls are your bag, then you’re likely to take more than a passing interest. Though frontman and Snow Patrol guitarist Nathan Connolly ran away from fighting a lady in the boxing ring in their video for Reasons, the band will assuredly pack one or two sonic punches in on the Festival Republic Stage. Don’t let the Snow Patrol link throw you, the band will have some seriously kicking rock songs in tow with them that should easily blast any preconceptions out of the water. After all, they wouldn’t have already played shows with the likes of QOTSA, Nine Inch Nails and Biffy Clyro if they weren’t the real deal.

Stage: Festival Republic Stage

When: Reading Saturday, Leeds Sunday

Both Reading (sold out) and Leeds Festivals take place this Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

Bonus band:

You Me At Six

Snapping at the heels of former tour buddies Paramore are our very own You Me At Six. The band have had unprecedented success over the course of the four albums they’ve released thus far, culminating in a massive UK Number 1 for latest outing Cavalier Youth. The Surrey quintet probably never dreamed of such good fortunes being blessed upon them and this weekend sees them just two places below their idols, Blink 182. That said, YMA6 have transcended the pop punk trappings of their earlier material and are now a bonafide rock band in their own right. Who’s to say they couldn’t be headliners in years to come?

Stage: Main Stage

When: Reading Sunday, Leeds Friday

Get Involved

Trending Features

Promoted

Top