Pictures by Dijana Capan / DVision-Images / http://www.dvision-images.com
“You’re not born to pay bills and die!”
Bracknell-based rapper NonameDisciple’s exhortation to the crowd heralded Day Two of Reading Festival.
But did the audience heed the call throughout the day?
Find out for yourself, as we review the six key highlights…
1. A lineup with a tougher edge.
“Fewer kids today, rockier crowd” remarked one attendee. They were right – Skindred kick things off with a huge main-stage mosh pit, and the sea of bouncing heads proved that the day started with gusto.
Sum 41 upped the ante with an even harder-rocking set. “The weekend started properly with them!” one audience member screamed with joy as they finished.
The Introducing Stage matched the headliners riff for riff, with Sit Down (a guitar/drums duo from Brighton) delivering a set to rival the White Stripes. Kudos to the drummer for beating the hell out of the kit while simultaneously delivering stellar vocals.
2. And what about that dance tent?
Meanwhile, over at the dance tent (strategically located next to the water bottles), Fred V and Grafix Live took the stage at a decent 6.35 in the afternoon and the energy rivaled that of a nightclub at 1am.
3. Emotional moments.
Hundreds of hands were raised in unison during Mike Shinoda’s solo performance, which included songs from Linkin Park.
Across a hauntingly emotional set, hundreds of hands were raised in unison as singer and fans were united in the wake of Chester Bennington’s tragic passing (the anniversary of which was still painfully fresh in the minds of many).
Multi-talented with great vocals, Mike performed with heart and soul (and pulled off a daring day-glow yellow top).
4. Diverse crowds.
While the “traditional rock crowd” was strongly represented, the festival continues to build a reputation for catering to everyone.
Small enclaves of champagne-sipping music connoisseurs sat alongside mums and dads who’d brought children along for their first festival experience…
…giving rise to such delightfully whimsical soundbites as “I accidentally tagged us into Reading Vegan Festival” and “I only came to watch these guys because they’re named after a line in Back To The Future”.
5. Local acts getting their due.
The Introducing Stage also featured the superb NonameDisciple, who delivered a performance that may well be one of the standout moments of Reading Festival 2018. It’s clear why artists as high-ranking as Lilly Allen have marked her out as one to watch – she combines hypnotic beats with powerful lyrics that inspire and bring comfort to the listener.
The rapper took the stage to huge applause from the devoted crowd, and introduced the set as “20 minutes of love, of being OK just being yourself”. Here is an artist who genuinely cares about her audience – and knows how to engage them.
Whether leading them through a call-and-response song about female empowerment (“No Chicken”), welcoming nervous passer-by’s to the crowd (“Don’t be shy, come on over!”), or powering through her songs with passion – the audience really responded, clearly taking her messages of hope, light and strength to heart.
6. Brilliant (un/official) headliners.
It might not be “rock”, but Panic! At The Disco and Pendulum brought the evening to a brilliant close alongside the other featured headliners.
People ran headlong into the main stage as a string quartet and brass/wind section played the opening notes of “Panic!”’s set – a brilliant collection of songs, including a standout “Hey Look Ma, I Made It!”, during which I saw a man dressed as Jesus doing a spirited Cossack dance.
Pendulum truly stole the show, however – even if they weren’t afforded a (deserved) slot on the main stage.
But the atmosphere in the Radio 1 tent was phenomenal as the band returned to Reading after 8 years away. Bass notes vibrated bodies like the water glass in “Jurassic Park”, the audience’s cries of joy were so loud that they drowned out the music, and when Gareth McGrillen screamed “Are you READY?!” into the microphone, the crowd’s response left no doubt that their 9-5 day jobs had well and truly been left behind.