It’s February. The threat of snow and rain linger, temperatures remain barely above freezing and only memories of the last great Summer remain. But then, to brighten the bleak Winter blues, festival organisers treat us music fans with teases of the festival line-ups that will be the soundtrack to our Summer. Reading & Leeds is the latest to slowly show it’s high-quality line-up, just a few bands at a time to keep fans guessing. The latest batch was just released, so let’s see who makes it to Britain’s only dual-festival this time around…
After the surprise of world-famous rapper Eminem, being announced as R&L’s first headliner for 2013, this time they kept to their rock roots, with Scots Biffy Clyro grabbing the second slot. The ‘Biff’ have just achieved their first UK no.1 with sixth studio album, ‘Opposites’, and the news was a double celebration for fans, as the line-up begins to develop from its initial hip-hop flavoured start. Personally, I think they are just right for the festival, not too heavy, but mainstream fans who they will have gained after the mammoth touring that followed previous album ‘Only Revolutions’, and also allow for a more specific third headliner, kind of how last year’s decision to have Kasabian, meant that The Cure could also be incorporated.
Next up are two recently reunited bands, the hard rock System of a Down, who were only ever officially on hiatus, most likely subbing the Main Stage. They were a surprise choice for many, and I must say I’m not a ‘die-hard’ fan just yet, but I’ll give them a go, just for the hell of it! Then come Fall Out Boy, remember them?! That one band you loved when you were 13? They’re back, with their R&L performances forming just a small part of a massive reunion tour that’ll look to create the ‘magic’ of the first time around. I’m not too bothered about them, but can see them being a laugh at least.
Foals are next up, finally attaining Main Stage status, just before the release of their new album ‘Holy Fire’, which is already being claimed as the album to help them breakthrough from their NME/Radio 1-level status. I just wonder whether their ‘quiet’ sound, sometimes with a lot of fantastic build-up will fit with the acoustics of such a massive stage, perhaps a headline slot on the NME/Radio 1 tent would’ve been better suited, but we’ll see.Then come the scream-rockers of Bring Me the Horizon, who also graduate to the Main Stages of Richfield Avenue (Reading) and Bramham Park (Leeds). Now, I have heard of their music, and just KNOW it isn’t for me, which sadly means I’ll be vacating the area during their stint on the big stage!
2012’s real unknown was Jake Bugg, an 18-year old lad from Nottingham, who less than a year ago was a fixture of the BBC Introducing stages at festivals, well 2013 is the year he gets big. Shooting up to the NME/Radio 1 stage is no mean feat for the now 19, Bugg, but you can bet he’ll do a great job, with his debut album now out for the world to devour, and was personally one of my favourite of the last year.
Not a bad set of announcements, and when combined with the likes of the aforementioned Eminem, alt-j, Deftones, Sub Focus and Boy Better Know, it’s clear to see variety is the theme of R&L 2013. And the guessing game for the third headliner begins, will Alex Turner lead his Arctic Monkeys back home to Leeds? Will Ozzy Osbourne’s rejuvenated Black Sabbath rule the roost? Or will The Prodigy blast the ears of R&L’s revellers?