Carling Weekend: Reading Festival 2006 Review

Skiddle went to Reading Festival! Some of use got heat-stroke. Some of us got a tan. Some of us came back with beer!

Chay Woodman

Date published: 13th Sep 2006

C’mon? Did anyone actually think that 2006 would be the year of the ‘Vote For Pedro’ shirt (only the cool ones), or the ill-fitting fedora (possibly a few), and the emo haircut? Answer to the last one – somewhere in the thousands. But enough talk of fashionistas, faux pas, and cinematic icons with blond curly hair, Reading Festival’s all about the music, the music…..(the music)….For this review, read it as all mainstage bands with bands from the other stages thrown into the mix because they played at the sametime.

Friday –

Seeing as it was day1 of the weekend, getting the Towers Of London in to kick some dust in our faces was a good idea. However, they’re brand of hair metal mixed with the attitude of punk was well and truly shrunk in the dryer, leaving some people heading for the beer tent early on and others to guess which song sounded like another more famous and far better song. They might make it, but 2/5 says probably not.

The boy from Busted has balls. He can shave, he can pout, he can play the guitar, and the tunes aint that bad. Fightstar have the perfect elements and the doubters had to take it on the chin at Reading, however, they’ve also got the ex-boyband anchor tattooed on poor Charlies forehead so until, at least live, they reach U2 sized proportions, nobody is going to take them too seriously. 3/5.

I can’t say what I thought of Dashboard Confessional because, well, they neither float my boat, Rock the casbah, or indeed, make me care enough to give them a chance. 1/5. God gave us cold beer and fajitas after all.

Panic At The Disco have what it probably one of the worst names ever but then given the audience reaction, it doesn’t matter. They could be called Beowulf for Fuckwits and the girls at the front would still give a squeal of undignified pleasure. But suddenly, head Panic boy had a bottle of water thrown at him and we then see what passes for the worst played up foul since Brazil’s Rivaldo in the 2002 World Cup against Turkey - Spot the difference?

Panic at the disco-

Brazil - 

2/5, and that’s just for the crap emo-fall. He’s only 19; don’t they teach them ice hockey in US schools?

*NME stage: Band of the weekend and it’s Friday afternoon? Yes, Gogol Bordello took the lead early on, scoring high with bags of energy, banging on red buckets, having top taches, and generally, just being the fantastic Gypsy punks that they are and with more swagger and nerve than the rest of the world. 5 out of bloody 5!

The Subways are popular. Really, really popular. Is it their ability for catchy Rock-lite tunes ripped from the stand-on-the-spot-one-inch-jump trick like The Libertines? Whatever, they’re not the worst of the day but the singer should learn that people don’t buy bands shirts to hear him talk. 3/5.

Nobody can stop the Fall Out Boy ball from rolling along. 1/5. Seriously ridiculous and utterly bland.

Never one to be called ‘Scots Rockers’ it seems that although Belle & Sebastian seem to get up the noses of the people waiting for the Kaiser Chiefs, what is a real shame as they’re a band that can back up their albums live in the most curious way. Wouldn’t fancy your chances in a rumble as there’s at least 17 of them. 4/5.

Yeah Yeah Yeahs. Karen O jumps, howls, and prowls around dressed like a dragon while sticking the mic in her gob. The guitarist looks like he wants to play in The Birthday Party. The drummer grins like Stewart Copeland in a bad mood. There’s nobody quite like them and this alone makes them more special than they ever get credit for. 4/5.

*Carling Stage: There’s no Josh Homme but who gives a damn. Jesse ‘The Devil’ Hughes seems genuinly thrilled at the size of the turnout to see the Eagles Of Death Metal. It started to rain outside. Didn’t matter. People just danced around the ropes to the tunes. In-bloody-fectious. 5/5.

Time will tell if the Kaisers Chiefs can cut it. If Glastonbury was on this year, would they have been the headliner here instead of Franz? It’s a symptom of The Darkness syndrome – one album under your belt that’s been toured to Hell, Hull, and the Highlands, and all of their festival appearances being shown on TV so there’s no surprises left. The Reading crowd didn’t get bored by the Kaisers but once the singles are out of the way, no jumping around or audience participation could withstand the cold hard fact that….the Kaisers write bloody great tunes that everybody loves. 4/5.

*NME stage: Anyone up for Primal Scream? Well, forget it! Couldn’t get anywhere near the stage! Nowhere. Near.

Headliners? Franz Ferdinand? The FF albums do the business, but in front of a massive audience that isn’t Scottish, things take a weird turn towards the bizarre. The cleancut sheen of their music meanders and drifts, leaving a cold lacquer of boredom to crawl in halfway through. Of course, the rabbit’s pulled out of the hat but for the last band of the night; we expected a wee bit more. 3/5.


Missed Aiden due to a queue to get into the arena and….ah, just don’t ask.

More Irish than a weekend in Shane McGowans shoes, the Flogging Molly experience is something that wakes the arena from the slumber of a Friday night hangover. With nods to the man in black, this was party music to shake your bones to. 5/5.

*Carling Stage: Norways Sareena Maneesh didn’t have it easy. Nobody really knew who they were, nobody really knew what they looked like, and nobody really knew what the tunes would be like. Thankfully, it was like My Bloody Valentine put through the blender with a violin. One to watch. 4/5.

Wolfmother. It’s far too easy to do an impression of the singer. Just stand like Robert Plant, sing like him saying ‘..wooo-man..’ and do a bit of air guitar. Yes, so they’re a wee bit like Led Zep, but who cares when the they’re so much fun so that’s 5/5 or at least it was until the last song when it goes a bit, y’know, prog and we all realise his prog tache is also real. Ah, better make it 4/5 then.

*NME stage: Bloke wanders on, pretends he’s from a ghetto of New York, mumbles a bit, points at his sneakers, adjusts his baseball cap, and 40 minutes later he walks off. That was Plan B. Blank faces all round. 2/5.

Dirty Pretty Things cannot live up to the hype. Are they the Babyshambles it’s okay to like or a diluted version of The Libertines without Doherty? Doesn’t matter. They look bored. Broken arm or not, by law, I have to say it was one of the most flat-as-fuck sets of the weekend. 1/5.

Everyone knows every Feeder songs, every lyric, every beat….this was mass karaoke on the biggest scale. The popularity of Feeder only really began to grow back when the played the mainstage in 1997, 2nd band of the day above Radish (Ben Kweller). And now, 9 years later, to get such a reception at 6.30pm in the daylight with no shortage of their shirts on show - 5/5.

The Arctic Monkeys. Same as the Kaisers – potential headliner with one album under their belt, media frenzy etc? Alex looked bored. The stage was bathed in red. The fans loved it. People were singing the songs while ordering chips. Alex looked really bored. The bar staff were singing. The bubble’s about to burst but nobody told the fans. 3/5.

You can’t fault Muse for trying to better themselves, but the scary truth is that they’re more of a V Festival band and their operatic songs are as overblown and egocentric as their followers. It’s nothing personal. They’re just rubbish. 2/5.

Sunday –

If Mastodon didn’t kill you with their fat thunderous riffs of ‘aaaagghhhhh!!!!!!’ then there’s a good chance that you, like me, would have been doing to the cool-nod dance while the singer goes ‘aaaaggghhhhh!’ Monsters, indeed. This is how a day should start. 4/5.

Thanks to a bout of illness, from Killswitch Engage to Less Than Jake is a blur.

*Carling Stage: Dirty Dublin accents and some mean post-punk attitude. ‘C’mon Reading, for fucks sake!’ It doesn’t take long for Humanzi to work the people around. This band deserve your attention. Converted a few people? Oh, just a marquees worth. 4/5.

Noise. Chaos. Fury. Anger. Meat. Today’s headliner was Slayer. This is the band the crowd had been waiting for. Don’t be mistaken in thinking otherwise. Even the fiddler from Gogol Bordello had a Slayer shirt on. And lo, for they were good. 4/5.

*NME stage: The Chain! 6 or 7, or is 8 Welsh loons jump about singing filty songs wearing bright yellow bibs. That was the view from the TV on the outside of the stage because it was packed. Goldie Lookin Chain – now I’d like to see them on Parky!

My Chemical Romance deserve an award for being the most fey band of the weekend. Even Belle & Sebastian were more manly! Emo-heavy bollocks while trying to get everyone onside by slagging the Daily Mail. I don’t agree with bottling a band. However, I think when the band left, someone should have grabbed Gerard and given him a bloody good dead arm for acting like a nob. 1/5.

Another big question of the weekend - why were Placebo not headlining? Molko is a unique frontman. Needs to be said more. And to show this….there was a break halfway throw which consisted of the onstage cameras panning around to various women in the crowd who then were then goaded to lift their tops while being shown on the screens at the side of the stage. And then Placebo came back on to do Running Up The Hill by Kate Bush. What? 4/5.

A surprise band that nobody would have assumed would play Reading, Pearl Jam just suffered. The sound drifted in the breeze, they were the grunge band that your kid sister liked, and no matter how hard they tried, in their own country, they’re treated like Gods, but in the UK, well, it’s Pearl Jam. As the closer of the weekend on the mainstage, it wasn’t the same as The Stone Roses, but the crowd thinned noticably as everybody agreed, ‘Ten’ is still a great album. 3/5.

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