Rock versus Metal - a quiet Sunday at Reading then?

Review by Lucy Hayes

This review, relating to Sunday's rockfest at Reading in 2002, was kindly submitted to the pages of Indielondon by Lucy Hayes. Feel free to do the same, whether gigs inspire, disappoint, or simply bring out the wordsmith in you. We look forward to receiving your views....

RRRAAWWK!!! Sunday has always traditionally been the rocker/metaller day at the Reading Festival on the main stage and this year didn't disappoint.

At its best, the line-up was impressive, featuring the long-anticipated return of The Prodigy, as well as Incubus, Puddle Of Mudd, The Offspring, Hundred Reasons, and NOFX, while at its worst, it featured angst-ridden hardcore metallers The Dillinger Escape Plan, Raging Speedhorn, Amen and Slipknot.

A mixture of bands performed on The Carling/Evening Session/Dance stages, including Spiritualised, The Shining, Reel Big Fish, Princess Superstar, Alpinestars and The Music.

We stayed where the action was, at the main stage - though the first three metaller acts (The Dillinger Escape Plan, Raging Speedhorn and Amen) served as background noise for us and the majority of the early, hungover crowd.

As hard as they tried, all three bands failed to get anyone moving as, although they were loud and hardcore throughout their sets, they were a bit too much, making it difficult to distinguish between each separate band, let alone pinpoint a song as being unique from the collective "rrroooaaarr"-fuelled cries and psychotically speeding thrashing of guitars.

Although, Dillinger Escape Plan frontman, Greg Puciato, raised some guffaws as he yelled halfway through: "We're not The Strokes!" No shit!! The singer then further enamoured the crowd as he peed into a towel and chucked it amongst the masses, who promptly hurled it right back at him!

Raging Speedhorn screamed in agony and Amen's Casey Chaos slated Axel Rose, while continually diving off the speakers.

Hundred Reasons managed to wake the crowd up and get those chilling on the grass to their feet with their energetic, anthemic tracks, managing to convert the atmosphere back to Rock!

Songs from their Kerrang-awarded album Ideas Above Our Station were particularly well received and sung along to, especially the touching Silver, with it's melodic sing-along chorus and pumping guitar and bass rifts throughout.

If I Could was sung with confidence, conviction and passion, as was the new, emotive Falter. Toploader lookalike lead singer, Colin Doran, did worry at one point that he wasn't giving enough chatter in between, so he spontaneously burst into a creative"nestle" chocolate bar jingle worthy of marketing!

We moved forth for Puddle Of Mudd, who blasted off with fast-paced Bring Me Down, followed by Nobody Told Me, during which the crowd motioned to sing along to the chorus of, 'same old shit, different day, gotta get up, gotta get up'. The majority of debut album, Come Clean, was played, including Drift and Die and Out of My Head.

It was the heartfelt and touching lyrics of lullabyish rock track Blurry, an ode to Wes's son, which the crowd knew best and sang along to, while the intense, chanting Control was shouted back with recognition and force. The set ended with the latest release, She Hates Me, with its catchy la, la, la, la chorus (but not like Kylie's).

Skatepunkers NOFX took to the stage next and, visually, looked wicked with their orange hair, green dreds, skater dress and attitudes, with slamming guitar rifts and pogying punky ska tracks dating back to 1983, which their vast aged fanbase went mad for. As an original finale, they combined an irish jig with ska which was infectiously received.

Incubus followed and we legged it to the front to get a good view of Brandon and his vibrant stage presence, settling quite near to an intense whirlwind moshpit and crowd-surfing area.

They played a breathtaking set which packed in their diverse back catalogue of five albums, from the heavier rock of S.C.I.E.N.C.E to the evolved melodic, mellow acoustic rock of Morning View, with it's insightful and spiritual lyrics.

Brandon opened with Blood On The Ground, followed by Circles. A large majority of the set was from Morning View, including the chronicled and appealing 11am, the poignant and spine-tingling slow-builder Warning, Are You In and the ethereal and euphoric, ultimate feel good track Wish You Were Here, which was ecstatically sung back as endearingly as it was sung out, as was Make Yourself's single, Drive, about taking risks in life and being optimistic about the future. The closer was the hardcore, A Certain Shade of Green, which was yelled for throughout the set.

When Slipknot graced the stage we stayed as far back as possible - near the bar from the sick, scary masked ones, for fear of projectile vomiting amongst other rituals, whilst the very young fan base surged forward to headbang to tracks with titles such as People=shit!! Errr, more like slipknot =shit!

To define their screeching sound as music is a violation, when there is nothing audible in the form of melody or lyrics! With the exception of one track, in which some semblance of something could be heard during the enchantingly titled Wait and Bleed.

As the day darkened and The Offspring appeared, the crowd were drunken and up for it in preparation for headliners The Prodigy. Noodles and Co delivered a kick ass 1,000 miles an hour, 'coming at ya', energetic set with track after track form their six album history.

They exploded into Americana followed by Blackball, from The Offspring and I'll Be Waiting. The crowd went pogoying mad and loved Conspiracy Of One's Original Prankster, Want You Bad, and Million Miles Away.

Americana's comical mainstream chartbreaker Pretty Fly For A White Guy was chanted in American accent, as was Walla,Walla and Why Don't You Get A Job? Noodles ended by wanting to carry on with the Nirvana sounding floor-filler Self-Esteem.

With Offspring heading off into the sunset, Keeeeef and posse made a confident entrance to yells and screams galore.

Maxim was wearing evil fluorescent yellow contacts, Keith with his stereotype mad green mohican and Liam revealing peroxide spikes and piercings.

A rush of adrenalin surged through the crowd as the amps decibel levels soared and the thumping bassline intro of new track Baby's Got A Temper rippled through the air.

The crowd's reactions were tested for the next two tracks, which were from upcoming album Always Outnumbered, Never Outgunned. The tracks epitomised The Prodigy sound and so were hyperactively rave danced to like all the other classics.

The pulsating hard break beats of Music For The Jilted Generation were represented by the classic Poison and the enraged, funk-guitared Their Law. Keith showed he was a fiyarrrrstarter and belted it out, Smack My Bitch Up pounded and Mindfields, from Fat Of The Land rocked.

As a set surprise an original cover of Madness' Night Boat To Cairo added a ska vibe and suited the track.

Hearing Charly, Out of space and No Good Start The Dance would've topped off the excellent set, but only some of the many nostalgic tracks in the band's back catalogue could be fitted in to the set of just under an hour. We were left hoping for more as a swift stage exit was made from a welcome return to The Prodigy massive.

RELATED LINKS: Click here for Prodigy's website...
Click here for Incubus website...
Click here for The Offspring website...
Click here for Puddle of Mudd's website...
Click here for Hundred Reasons website...