Just one week to go until the musical event of the year! Whilst most of the bloggersphere may be hung up on Glasto, Reading and Leeds has always been my holy pilgrimage. Reading was my first major festival ever in 2009, but having moved up to University in 2011, I began to pledge allegiance to Leeds Fest, and haven't looked back. The site is great, the people are lovely and this year especially, they have absolutely nailed a booking selection which appeals to all fans of indie, alternative and even hip-hop. Here is the top ten bands I'm be clamouring down the front for.
1)Macklemore and Ryan Lewis (Mainstage Leeds Friday)
Bit of a SIS curveball, but I can't wait to see how this goes down on the mainstage in front of a Blink 182 crowd. It sounds like a odd comparison, but the independent champions of commercial hip hop certainly have the tunes to back them up and will probably encite singalongs not too dissimilar to the ones which will greet the likes of 'All The Small Things' and 'I Miss You.' Although now: 'I'm gonna pop some tags...'
2)Paramore (Headlining Leeds Saturday)
As a long term fan of the Tennessee quartet, I can't wait to see them own the headline slot which won me several bets with friends this year. Having worked their way up steadily, they have more than earnt the position and with Hayley Williams having cancelled several shows recently in order to be in tip-top vocal condition for R&L, I'm expecting big things.
3)Gerard Way (NME/ BBC Radio 1 Tent, Leeds Saturday)
Ladies and Gentlemen, we have an exclusive! Whilst My Chemical Romance may have headlined back in 2011, Gerard Way has now gone solo and R&L mark his first ever shows. That's right, ever. The perfect opportunity to sample new material and see whether he has the potential to make it alone.
4)Vampire Weekend (Mainstage, Leeds Saturday)
Last time I witnessed Vampire Weekend at Reading, they literally brought the sun out - if you're having weather problems, this is the band to book. Destined for headliner status one day very soon, I've not seen them play since their debut record so cannot wait to howl along to 'Diane Young' at the top of my Tuborg-fuelled voice.
5)Royal Blood (NME/BBC Radio 1 Tent, Leeds Sunday)
This years hype band du jour, Royal Blood are surely going to be this years band who people are fighting to fit in the tent for. They sure do make a lot of racket on record, so this will be the ultimate test to see if they can recreate the raucousness live.
6)The Pains Of Being Pure At Heart (Festival Republic Stage, Leeds Friday)
A new SIS favourite, I unfortunately missed TPOBPAH at Beacons Festival last weekend, so their set in the Festival Republic tent will hopefully be an intimate affair for all those shoegazers out there who love pretty melodies. If you're not a fan yet, you should be.
7)Arctic Monkeys (Headlining Leeds Sunday)
But of course - surely it would be rude not to? The undisputed Kings of a Festival, Arctic Monkeys were my first ever Reading headline band so I am more than looking forward to that hit of nostalgia coupled with the undoubtable energy that will come from a northern home crowd. Yorkshire, Yorkshire...
8)Danny Brown (BBC Radio 1Xtra, Leeds Friday)
My R&L experience wouldn't be quite the same if it wasn't for a trip to the dance and hip hop stages, and my must-see for this year is definitely Danny Brown. With 2013 record 'Old' receiving a fair bit of rotation in our HQ, he's bound to bring the party no matter the weather.
9)Queens Of The Stone Age (Mainstage, Leeds Saturday)
For the simple reason that I need to clarify my slightly embarrassing crush on Josh Homme, I will be down the front for QOTSA. I jest - I'm also ridiculously excited to see up close just how they manage to play that breakdown in 'No One Knows' quite so fast, and as a band I've never seen live but have heard so much about, I reckon they might well be my weekend highlight.
10) That elusive secret slot...
Reading & Leeds is famous for sneaking in a cheeky unbilled act to the weekend, (Greenday anyone?) and with promises of an arena sized act, I'm not sure what to think. Could it be Mumford & Sons? Kasabian? Could all of my wordly dreams come true and it be Kanye West or Drake?! There's only one way to find out...