9 Acts to see at Reading & Leeds

Right, so we already know that The Libertines are headlining and it’s going to be great but there is going to be plenty more to see over the weekend. Here is a helpful list of some people playing further down the bill at Reading & Leeds (28th-30th August) who we think you should check out!


1. Ghostpoet (NME Radio 1 Stage, Leeds Fri 28th, Reading Sun 30th): Alt-Rock, Electronica, Hip-Hop. Ghostpoet has proven over three albums that he is a multifaceted artist capable of spanning genres as if he was flipping a coin. What remains throughout though is a string of intelligent, palpably melancholic lyrics that cut to your core. Listen to: Off Peak Dreams, Survive It, Liiines.


2. The Cribs (Main Stage, Leeds Fri 28th, Reading Sun 30th): Brothers Ryan, Gary and Ross Jarman are perhaps the quintessential cult band in the UK. Consistently brilliant style pervades every record they’ve released and they have admirers that range from Johnny Marr to bloody Harry Styles. A DIY, punk ethos defines the band and their live shows are an array of ear-blisteringly good riffs and flying guitars. Not to be missed. Listen to: Our Bovine Public, Burning For No-One, Mirror Kissers.


3. Mark Grist (Festival Republic Stage, Date TBC): Poet, battle rapper… English teacher. You may well have seen Mark Grist on the old youtube tearing up MC Blizzard in a Don’t Flop video that went viral a few years ago but Mark Grist is so much more than the ‘your mum jokes’ world of battle rapping. He’s a charismatic, witty guy that has an absolutely superb grasp of the English language. Mark Grist is one of the most articulate performers you’ll see all weekend so head over to the festival republic tent and prepare to have some wisdom bullets fired at ya. Listen to: A Teacher Eh?, Girls Who Read, Mark Grist vs Blizzard.


4. Babymetal (Main Stage, Leeds Sun 30th, Reading Sat 29th): Babymetal are perhaps the greatest musical experiment ever concocted. The dizzying amalgamation of heavy metal with Idol J-Pop. To see Suzuka, Yui and Moa (aged 17, 16 and 16 respectively) doing choreographed dance moves and singing with their cutesy voices and matching outfits over thundering metal licks and pounding drums is a sight to behold. Listen to: Gimme Chocolate!, Doki Doki Morning, Megitsune.


5. Rat Boy (Festival Republic Stage, Leeds Sun 30th, Reading Sat 29th): Rat Boy (real name Jordan Cardy) is a 19 year old from Essex who sounds like the lovechild of Jamie T and Mike Skinner. Rat Boy makes all of the music in his bedroom and he even creates his own artwork. Talented kid. His only officially single released thus far is the catchy ‘Sign On’ in which Jordan ecstatically details how he lost his job at Wetherspoons. Songs for a disenchanted youth in Tory Britain? Look no further. Listen to: Sign On, Sportswear, Hanging Round.


6. Wolf Alice (NME Radio 1 Stage, Leeds Sun 30th, Reading Sat 29th): It felt like the buzz around Wolf Alice was perpetually building for an eternity, with people waiting anxiously for an album to see if they could pull it off. Early EP tracks like ‘Fluffy’, ‘Moaning Lisa Smile’ and ‘Bros’ proposed a shoegaze-esque, angsty sound that they have built on with the long awaited release of their debut album ‘My Love is Cool’. Grungy yet at times hauntingly melodic thanks to the beautiful voice of Ellie Roswell, Wolf Alice are something special and they are finally getting the recognition they deserve. Listen to: Bros, Fluffy, Giant Peach.


7. The Smith Street Band (Lock Up Stage, Leeds Sat 29th, Reading Fri 28th): The Smith Street Band are a bunch of lads from Australia who produce a fantastic brand of perturbing yet equally inspiring folk punk. Songwriter Wil Wagner is an elegiac and poetic lyricist who can shout or sing his personal stories down the microphone with an exceptional energy. Listen to: My Little Sinking Ship, Something I Can Hold In My Hands, Get High See Mice.


8. Black Honey (Festival Republic Stage, Leeds Fri 28th, Reading Sun 30th): This enigmatic band from Brighton initially wouldn’t even issue any photos of themselves when they first started out, instead opting to let their music do the talking. Interesting concept. Dreamy, psychedelic indie-rock ahoy. Listen to: Sleep Forever, Madonna, Teenager.


9. Drenge (Main Stage, Leeds Sat 29th, Reading Fri 28th): Forget Royal Blood, if you want a band that provide heavy blues-rock then Drenge are your best bet. Originally from the picturesque but somewhat dull Castleton, The Loveless Brothers have now adopted nearby Sheffield as their hometown and their refined style shows on their second LP ‘Undertow’. If you want a noisy, punky and exuberant show (they wore dresses at Glasto 2014) then stick Drenge on your list of bands to see. Listen to: Bloodsports, I Want To Break You In Half, Running Wild.


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