Tuesday, 14 August 2012

A to Zee of Reading and Leeds (and Introducing Marsicans!)




Good rhyme eh? Well maybe not, but it amused me anyway. 

Considering that I've had a pretty busy year of Uni, reviewing, interviewing and gigging. I figured I owed myself a busman's holiday. So (shock horror) I actually BOUGHT a ticket to Leeds festival, with the view of becoming a music lover for the weekend rather than a journalist. Being from daaan south, I've been to Reading twice, in 2009 and 2011, but figured it was about time I explored it's northern cousin.

With a line up boasting the usual combination of rock titans and critically lauded next big things, Reading and Leeds might not quite be the 'hippest' of festivals anymore, but it always provides value for money for people like me who hold no shame in liking 'mainstream' indie and rock music. Being lucky enough to attend Beacons Festival this weekend and then Leeds the very week after, I'm am totally ready to have my new music goggles on for Beacons and then have a more chilled out, celebratory jolly at Leeds. Before you all panic, never fear: I will of course be delivering a review of Leeds fest, it just might not be as detailed as others. We're all entitled to a holiday!

So with that in mind, I thought it'd be fun to attempt an A to Z instead of a normal preview. Keep an eye out especially for letter M: a hint at some exciting things to come on Safety In Sound.com very soon....


A is for... Azealia Banks
She's been a girlcrush of mine for a while, and Leeds festival will be my first (and probably last) opportunity to see Miss Banks before she gets properly huge. A certified festival 'moment' is sure to come in the form of '212' blasting out from the dance stage on the Sunday - keep an eye out for a mad girl in a floral dress (me) attempting to dance and surreptitiously swear along like a wannabe rudegirl.

B is for... BBC Introducing 
For those who take their music seriously, the BBC introducing stage is the place you want to be in order to set up those smug 'I was there first' moments later on. Ever heard of a little band called Everything Everything? I spotted them on the tiny Introducing stage back in 09. How about Spector, Rizzle Kicks or Daughter? All bands that caught my eye last year. This year, my top shouts are Tall Ships, Bearfoot Beware, Proxies and of course Marsicans, who you'll be hearing a little more from later...

C
 is for... The CribsI have waited YEARS to see The Cribs. In fact, dedication to the Wakefield brothers cause had me travelling from Huddersfield to their hometown back in May, just to watch their JD Roots gig on live stream in a pub opposite the sold out venue. All fingers and toes have been crossed ever since then that 'Be Safe' remains on the setlist for Leeds: my tears will be flowing like rain through a leaky tent roof.

D is for... Deaf HavanaYou may remember my live review of You Me At Six in October than was perhaps a little indifferent towards support acts Deaf Havana. Whilst I stand by my conclusion, I have listened to their latest album Fools And Worthless Liars a fair bit since then, and am ready to open my heart to give them another chance to impress me when they open the mainstage on the Saturday. No pressure lads!


E is for...Extracurricular Entertainment 
If hundred of bands on that famous yellow poster aren't enough for you, Leeds boasts a few sneaky extras. Fancy a bit of five a side football? Well if you sign up on the leeds website, you and your mates may be in with a chance of a tackle with Serge from Kasabian (how amazing would it be if he actually turned up?!). Leeds also boasts an extra stage on the Thursday night, curated by the record label Dance To The Radio, featuring sets from Little Comets and Various Cruelties, amongst other bands on the label.

F is for ...Florence and the Machine
Riding high off the success of her dalliance with Calvin  Harris, Flo looks likely to provide one of the most high profile sets of the weekend and she warms up for Kasabian on the sunday night. Whilst I'll probably be busy hollering away to The Cribs when she's on, I look forward to catching up with her ever-impressive hollering and enviable dress sense on BBC3 when I get back.

G is for Grohl, Dave
The man, the myth, the legend. Whilst I was lucky enough to witness Them Crooked Vultures do a secret set at Reading in 2009, I've never seen The Nicest Man In Rock do his day job. Seeing as as some of my best friends went to the Foo Fighters show at Milton Keynes few years ago and came back declaring it the best rock show they had ever seen, my expectations are high.

H is for... Headliners
Whilst all eyes will be on Foo Fighters, The Cure and Kasabian, I'm pretty excited this year about some of headliners on the other stages. My adoration of The Maccabees is no secret, and I wouldn't forgive myself if I missed them closing Saturdays NME Tent, topping off what has almost definitely been their most successful year as a band. I wouldn't mind a gander at Justice either, clashes permitting...

I is for...'I was there' moments
Every year has them, from the Bombay Bicycle Club oxygen deprived crowd crush of last year, to the biggest Festival Republic tent attendance ever of a little band called Arctic Monkeys back in 2005. But who will be it be this year? My bets are on Alt- J, perhaps one of the most worthy 'hype bands' of the past year, and Two Door Cinema Club, proving their worth in the NME tent as they debut songs from their forthcoming second album.

J is for...Jenessa on holiday!
So I couldn't think of a J, so I figured I'd dedicate it to me. And look how smug I look back in '09! I'm nothing if not modest. Anyhow, the point remains that I haven't been to a festival (or really a gig) all year that hasn't been work based, and I am excited to put the dictaphone down and pick the winebox up. But back to the alphabet...

K is for...Kasabian
I know this isn't an excitement my housemates share, but I'm pretty excited to finally see Kasabian. Love them or hate them, they are pretty much one of the ultimate british festival bands; who doesn't get a smile on their face imagining spending their Leeds Sunday sat upon some broad yorkshiremans shoulders, brandishing a pint and declaring loudly that they're ON FIIIIIIIIIRE? Exactly.

L is for...Los Campesinos
We'll keep this brief, because I have dedicated a pretty huge amount of column inches to this band already, but basically, if you don't know them already, I suggest you wise up. Los Campesinos will be opening the Leeds mainstage at 12pm sharp on the Sunday, and I will be down the front, acting like a proud mother and wondering why this moment hasn't come sooner for them. Please readers, show them a great welcome, because they bloody deserve it.

M is for... Marsicans
Ah, the exclusive I mentioned earlier! Well folks, the lovely boys from Marsicans, a great new band from Leeds, have agreed to do Safety In Sound an exclusve diary of their time at Reading and Leeds festival. Having won the futuresound competition, the four piece will be playing the BBC Introducing stage, and we wish them every ounce of luck. Scroll down past this alphabet to read an interview with the band about how they're limbering up for the big show, and stay tuned to read all about their antics.

N is for... No Campfires Allowed
Safety (in sound, ha hardy har) appears to be paramount for the lovely people at Festival Republic this year, with campfires, camping stoves and antisocial behaviour all being cracked down upon in the campsites. Having witnessed my fair share of idiots setting fire to anything within reach and generally behaving like lawless fools in the past, this news is music to my ears, and hopefully means we can all focus on the music without worrying about returning to a melted tent.

O is for... OFWKTA
Or, Odd Future Wolfgang Kill Them All, if you want their full title. Having never really fully understood the fanfare behind Tyler The Creator and co, I'm looking forward to witnessing their live show in an attempt to get my head around it all. I will especially be keeping an eye out for gang member Frank Ocean, by far the most talented member and the man behind the excellent Channel Orange, a contender for RnB record of the year.

P is for...Paramore
Who doesn't love a bit of powerpunk? A lot has changed in Paramore camp since I saw them last, but what still remains is frontwoman Hayley Williams, who will no doubt be belting out Misery Business like there's no tomorrow from the mainstage on Saturday night. Expect to do battle with disapproving Cure purists if you want to get to the front, mind you...

Q is for...Queuing
Queues are an inevitable part of the festival, and there is no point moaning and groaning. Use the time getting into the campsite, the arena and the loos to chat to people, make friends and soak up the atmopsphere you've paid £200 for. People at Reading (and Leeds, presumably) tend to be very friendly. Whilst there's no need to be that annoying over eager guy who wants to invite the whole festival back to his gazebo for a pint, other punters are far more likely to keep an eye out for you and belongings if you introduce yourself and be affable.

R is for...Rest and Relaxation
i.e, you're not getting any. Whilst GCSE generation in denim hotpants and pristine hunters wellies might seem super annoying, remember that you were probably like them once. I certainly was, if you swap the hunters for ASDA price wellies and add in a near obsessive tendency to see at least 12 bands a day instead of getting pissed. Reading and Leeds can be quite a full on and youthfully populated festival, and it is far better to accept that sleep will not be a priority before you get there. If all else fails, head to family camping, where you're guaranteed a few hours kip before the WKD fuelled screams of 'ALAN!' pipe up once more.

S is for...Silent Disco, Signing Tent
Both a must if you want the full experience, especially if it's your first time. Top tips for each: save the silent disco for your last night when you're running on the 'screw it, i'm going home tomorrow' festivities, and do not camp anywhere near it, for it's name is a little of a misnomer when drunk people decide to sing along with what is in their headphones. Listening to tone deaf Tinie Tempah wannabes inform everyone that they have visited Southampton, but have indeed never visited Scunthorpe at 4am in the morning isn't fun. As for the signing tent, check the list of bands first thing in the morning, and get yourself down there a good 30 minutes before anybody you really want to see. If you're lucky like I was, you'll get to meet the band and have a proper chat before they even enter the tent, saving yourself all that queuing and giving you a far more 'human' experience.

T is for...Twin Atlantic
Another proud mother moment, Twin Atlantic were one of the nicest bands I've interviewed this year and a great live band to boot. Taking to the NME stage after Pure Love (I wouldn't worry about having hoards of people to push through if you want to be near the front), their brand of empowering arena rock should sound pretty big in such a huge tent, and I'm sure such an experience will mean a lot to the Scots, who've had yet another great year.

U is for... Undesirables 
Again, every festival has 'em. The golden rule to remember is this: just because festival fever has kicked in, doesn't mean you have to do anything you wouldn't do in the 'normal', outside world. Whilst we all know that Festival come hand in hand with drugs, alcohol and carefree 'tent time', think before you act and make sure that at the very least, the friends you're camping with know what you are doing, where you are going and ideally (jn a non creepy way), keep you within their sight. If  the offer of 'tent time' with a new found festival friend does occur, my personal recommendation would be to decline, for hygiene reasons if nothing else. A fumble in a field with a semi stranger in a 'my tent or yours' comedy t shirt and a beer flume hat who hasn't washed in four days is hardly my idea of romance. But hey ho, people will do as people do, and I am nobody to tell others how to live their lives or how to enjoy themselves. Just be safe and savvy about it eh?  Motherly lecture over.

V is for... The Vaccines
If you want singalongs, what better band to turn to than the Vaccines? Whether it be 'A-M-A-N-D-A Noorgard', 'Blow blow blow it uuuuuuup' or even 'IfYouWannaComeBackIt'sAlrightIt'sAlriiiiiiiiight', Justin Young and co have em all for that carefree karaoke cameraderie that makes festivals so much fun.

W is for... Wellingtons
They're not the most comfortable of shoes, but you'll need them. It's that simple. Shove on a thick pair of socks and you're good to go, avoiding the dreaded Welly Rub that ruins many a festival goers weekend. If you know what's good for you, make sure you break them in a good week or so before you set off.

X is for... X-Rays
If Reading and Leeds is anything like getting in Hyde Park for the Olympic gigs, your arena baggage may be subject to a pretty intense search on the way in. Don't risk that bottle of vodka down the back of your shorts if you're only going to be dismayed when they make you pour it away. Invest instead in the humble capri sun - neither can nor bottle, festival security are often obliged to let you in with it. And save the drinking for the evening when the sun is less likely to give you a blinding headache. I know, I'm so sensible it hurts. But you know I'm right. And there's always the hipflask down the back of the welly trick if you are still feeling bold...

Y is for...You Me At Six
A band I still like rather a lot, You Me At Six seem even more appealing when they prelude Bombay Bicycle Club and Paramore on the mainstage in a festival run that lives out all my teenage dreams. Expect a collection of their greatest hits thus far as they slowly but surely work their way up that mainstage.

Z is for... Zulu Winter
A gift from the alphabet gods, Zulu Winter are another of my picks of the smaller bands. Taking to the festival republic stage on the friday, they are one of the better guitar bands to come out this year, and a pretty fun bunch - the first time I met them, they'd been thrown out of a club for being too drunk and invited me to a champagne fuelled afterparty in their hotel room. Rock N Roll!

Reading and Leeds Festival takes place between 23rd and 27th August. For more information, visit www.readingfestival.com or www.leedsfestival.com 


Introducing...Marsicans (Futuresound Reading and Leeds winners)


Hello Marsicans! Give us your back story: how, when and why did you form?
We’ve been playing as Marsicans since last June, and I think the reason we formed really was just because we all enjoyed playing music, it seemed right to form Marsicans. We formed at college, and having known each other for around 6 years, it was no problem when we started playing music together.


How would you describe your music?

About as catchy as them Velcro hand and ball games. We like to think we leave people with a bit of a tune in their head when they leave our gigs.


How does it feel to have won future sound?

Pretty surreal, having been going to the festival for 3 years, seeing different bands pass through then go on to have great success, it’s really nice to see people enjoying what we’re doing.


Were there any other bands in the competition you particularly liked that our readers should know about?

Couple of bands that we know of, St. Somebody and Dirty Green Vinyl.


What can Reading and Leeds goers expect from your show? Why should they come and see you over anything else on offer?

Well not to be cliché, but the BBC Introducing stage is a great opportunity to catch up and coming music, so any eager beavers on the lookout for some fresh new melon like music should definitely come to our slot.


Are there any bands you're particularly excited to see at Reading and Leeds?

Mystery Jets, Spector, The Black Keys, Tribes and Foo Fighters.


Where would you like to be on the bill in 5 years time?

We'd like to think of us headlining the NME stage but that’s a pipedream for now!


Marsican's double A side single ‘SCUBA/EightForty’ is available on iTunes now. For more information about the band including their Reading and Leeds set times, visit https://www.facebook.com/marsicansuk


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