August 05, 2011

Past Leeds/Reading Festivals - 2005

here is the line-up

With ticket prices rising year-on-year, Festival Republic were facing stiff competition from other Alternative music festivals. Glastonbury had bagged Coldplay, White Stripes and Basement Jaxx, T In The Park managed to coax New Order and The Prodigy into second stage headlining slots to clash with Green Day and Foo Fighters and V2005 containing Oasis and Franz Ferdinand, Leeds and Reading could have flopped.
Instead, they booked The Pixies and Iron Maiden alongside Foo Fighters to show that they were able to battle the big boys. Pixies were still in the early part of their reunion (so I'm guessing they will have given it more than they will have done in videos I've seen from their recent tours), Iron Maiden continuing to be heavyweights in the Metal world and Foo Fighters thriving with songs 'Best Of You' and 'Cold Day In The Sun' hot off their latest album.

Strength in Depth
Like most Reading and Leeds (now referred to as R/L) line-ups, the strength continues when you look deeper into the line-up.
Sub-headlining to Pixies were The Killers, still coming off the huge chart success of debut Hot Fuss the previous year. Despite The Killers not being considered 'cool' these days, you will only find a minority of people who didn't adore that album when it came out, which was shown by the various awards the album has since won. This performance would have been pretty special.

Foo Fighters were subbed by then-garage rockers Kings Of Leon, whose setlist was, looking back, the best it could have ever been with every KoL fan's favourite tracks being aired. Aha Shake, Heartbreak and Youth And Young Manhood's garage tunes would have lit up the main stage.

On the heavy day, Marilyn Manson and Incubus provided the perfect metal supports to Maiden and I'm sure their fans will have appreciated at least Manson and his industrial tunes.
The rest of the main stage had gems included, such as Dinosaur Jr. on the Foo's day, Queens of the Stone Age, Elbow and The Wedding Present being underneath Pixies and Iggy & the Stooges being present for post-punkers before Maiden.

Alternatives to Headliners
What if you didn't like the main stage headliners? Well, Kasabian (in their beatz-rock days) and Black Rebel Motorcycle Club were the chief alternatives to Pixies which I believe to be a really strong area of the line-up.
If you won't have been keen for Foo Fighters, electro-poppers The Go! Team and britpop revivalists The Tears were clashing with Grohl and co, which now doesn't seem like a good alternative but at the time The Tears were playing all over the place and The Go! Team had a unique sound of Sonic Youth-esque distorted guitars and a love for hip-hop which would have probably been a pretty refreshing sound at the time.
Echo & The Bunnymen and Bloc Party lead the way if you didn't want to watch metal act Iron Maiden.

Getting there first
Elsewhere, R/L continued to impress with the number of bands further down who have gone on to be some of the greats and have ended up headlining in later years.

On the NME stage, The Arcade Fire played off the back of their album Funeral, a time when most Arcade Fire fans say is their greatest album. They went on to sub-headline to Red Hot Chili Peppers in 07 and then headlined the festival in 2010 (which was a true festival highlight for me).

My Chemical Romance appeared at a similar level on the NME stage in their pre-Black Parade days when they released excellent raw punk rock albums Three Cheers For Sweet Revenge and I Brought You My Bullets... They have gone on to having a massive and dedicated fanbase and are headlining R/L this coming year. 

Another band came through in 2005, a band who gave indie-rock a new face. As The Strokes departed, The Arctic Monkeys entered. Playing on the fourth stage, this was one of the last times the Sheffield rockers ever played to a probably quite small crowd and I'm certain those who were there brag about seeing them at such an early stage of their career, before their debut was even released. The internet phenomenons have now taken the world by storm and are playing sell-out tours across the world. They headlined the events in 2009, but it's better that we don't talk about that because it was a pretty average performance.

Who I would have seen

Friday - The Wedding Present (main), Death From Above 1979 (nme), The Subways (nme), We Are Scientists (carling), My Chemical Romance (nme), The National (carling), The Killers (main), Pixies (main) 10/10

Saturday - Editors (nme), Clor (carling), The Cribs (nme), Arctic Monkeys (carling), Dinosaur Jr. (main), The Kills (nme), Arcade Fire (nme), Kings Of Leon (main), Foo Fighters (main) 10/10

Sunday - Boy Kill Boy (nme), Art Brut (nme), Forward Russia (carling), Hot Chip (dance), Four Tet (dance), Iggy & The Stooges (main), Marilyn Manson (main), Echo & The Bunnymen (carling) 8/10

Absolutely perfect Friday/Saturday for me makes this my favourite line-up of Reading & Leeds, and probably of any festival ever

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