5 bands to watch at Reading & Leeds 2014

RL-logo_red_on_yellow_nodate-610x225As the last major festival of the season rolls around (and rolls straight into the rainiest August ever, sigh) we can’t help but get excited for one final blow-out!

If you’re struggling to fill your schedule over the 3 days of musical madness, we can help!

Check out our top 5 picks of the acts we think you should check out this weekend!


Empress ADempressadband2014new_638

Any of the people who complained about the R&L festival line-up becoming somewhat staid and boring this year have clearly never heard of Empress AD, a progressive metal quartet who were recently described by Music Week as sounding like ‘Mastodon riding a whale, while wearing an Elbow t-shirt’ . If it’s hard to imagine what Empress AD sound like from that description, that’s probably because they’re one of those bands who have to be heard to be believed. Though they take their cues from such prog masters as Pink Floyd and Opeth, Empress AD manage to come up with a sound that’s dizzyingly rich, complex and utterly original.

But don’t just take our word for it; they’ve toured with such heavy hitters as Bring Me The Horizon, Arcane Roots and Cancer Bats, and they’ve accomplished all that without even a full length album to their name, as their first full-length, entitled Still Life Moving Fast is slated for release on September 1st, and they’ll undoubtedly perform a few tracks from it at their festival sets.

So, to recap, if you catch Empress AD at R&L you’ll get to have a sneak preview of what’s sure to be one of the most exciting and unique albums of this autumn and you’ll get to witness one of the most exciting young prog bands of recent years performing at the peak of their powers as well. Surely that’s worth overcoming your hangover for?


deafDeaf Havana

2014 has been one busy year for the boys in Deaf Havana after the release of their critically acclaimed album ‘Old Souls’ back in September 2013. This will be the third year on the trot the Hunstanton boys are playing Reading and Leeds,  and they’re back with their biggest slot yet.

Over the years, Deaf Havana’s sound has changed a great deal especially after Ryan Mellors, the band’s screamer vocalist, quit back in 2010. Since then the boys have adopted a less heavier genre, and have even made an alternative version of the ‘Fools and Worthless Liars’ album containing completely different sounding acoustic versions of previously released songs.

The boys pride themselves on having a truly live show, without any backing tracks, so you can expect one hell of a display of talent on stage. There is no doubt they will be playing the classic crowd pleasers such as ‘I Will Try’ and if their last few tour set lists are anything to go by, they may even throw in a few of their older songs like Nicotine and Alcohol Saved My Life’ for good measure. If you’re looking for an energy filled, sing-a-long eargasm then this band are the guys to watch.

Baby Godzilla

Baby Godzilla have burst onto the UK scene this year with their relentless and chaotic live shows and visceral, ear pounding tracks. The start of the year was a corker for the 4 piece from Nottingham, they were on the Kerrang Tour with CrossfaithNekrogoblikon, and none other than rap/rock crossover legends Limp Bizkit. The tour proved to be a overwhelming success as the magazine loved and heralded them in their pages and fans alike have been praising the band ever since helping them garner a much vaster fan base.

Destroying festivals has been very much on the agenda this summer for the guys with appearances at such festivals as Takedown Festival, Hit The Deck, Camden Rocks, 2000 Trees, Redfest and the prestigious Download Festival that saw them play one of the sets of the weekend. Along with that they’ve also played with Reading Festival favourites Enter Shikari during their ‘intimate’ Hatfield show and a mini seaside tour with Palm Reader. To top it all off they will be embarking on a UK tour with fellow hardcore rowdy boys Feed The Rhino and the atmospheric and well thought out Night Verses.

Looking at all these festivals and the calibre of bands their playing with is definitely enough to whet your appetite at the thought of seeing them smash the Lock Up Stage a new one at both legendary August bank holiday sites.
shikariEnter Shikari

Reading & Leeds Festival symbolises the end of the festival season for another year. And, there are some things that are always expected when it comes to Reading & Leeds; a massive, but diverse line up, one or two big surprises, and of late, an appearance from the St Albans boys known as Enter Shikari.

Enter Shikari have attended Reading & Leeds festival in one form or another for the past five years. Last year saw them appear as their alter-ego DJ set up, ‘Shikari Sound System‘, but 2014 sees the four piece reclaim their spot on main stage. And when you see their live performance, it’s clear to see why they are invited back, and welcomed with open arms, every year..

The incredible energy that Enter Shikari conjure onstage sends the festival crowd into a frenzy for the duration of their set. With a little bit of everything in the vast Shikari sound locker, their set is constantly changing, with new songs, and new DJ remixes, compliments of Rou Reynolds.

With their fourth album on the horizon, new music is expected to feature in their set, whether it be ‘Anaesthetist’ which the band posted to YouTube back in June, or more unreleased music, it’s certainly something you don’t want to miss.

And along with the Shikari Reading & Leeds set comes the call to arms for all crowd surfers when ‘Juggernauts’ drops. The site of hundreds of thousands of people crowd surfing to the front of the barriers as Enter Shikari battle through ‘Juggernauts’ is easily one of the best Reading & Leeds moments in a long time, and seeing them repeat it each year is always a spectacle that you don’t want to miss.

And as Enter Shikari are one of the best live bands around at the moment, any appearance from them should be high up on your to-see list.

Brody Dalle

Growing up on a sickly sweet diet of Cyndi Lauper and The Beatles, Dalle pretty quickly developed a ravenous taste in the savoury sounds of punk rock in the form of Black Flag and Discharge, the kind of palette we want to taste for ourselves.

Better known for her time as lead singer and guitarist of punk rock band The Distillers, Dalle has also dipped her restless feet in the puddles of alternative rock with her three year stint as the frontwoman of Spinnerette, and is now walking the  punk rock roads alone as she takes it solo. And it seems to be suiting her pretty damn well.

And it’s not only music she has good taste in. Her six year marriage to Rancid’s frontman Tim Armstrong also led way to the pair’s cameo appearance in the punk pop fave My Friends Over You. Now she is very happily married (and who can blame her) to Queens Of The Stone Age ginger god Josh Homme, and the couple also parent two very cool children – and by cool, I mean it is literally in their blood.

Her first solo album Diploid Love, which was released earlier this year, has recently been toured across New Zealand/Australia alongside mates Nine Inch Nails and Queens Of The Stone Age – quite the little family holiday.

This gnarly nine track album features guest appearances from The Strokes’ Nick ValensiGarbage’s Shirley Manson and Warpaint’s Emily Kokai,

So break up your pop punk weekend and learn from the mistress of punk itself as Dalle teaches you a thing or two about good musicianship, great hair and bad attitudes on the Lock Up Stage on Saturday. We’ll see you there.

Who are YOUR top 5 bands to see at R&L? Tweet us!