Highlights and low comedy

(Almost) live from the Reading Weekend, Britain's best rock fest.

Friday, August 25


Our day begins with Boss Hogg, who sound pretty much like the Blues Explosion, only with a hot chick yelling stuff. Don’t they get bored, playing that same riff all the time? Someone told us a while back that the First Couple of Unlistenable Rock were having problems, which just goes to show ya, it doesn’t matter how hot they are, you still get tired of ’em eventually. And that goes for Cristina too.


We are joined today by our good pal Kenny Weinstein, who was asked by the Immigration Lady at Heathrow, “Aren’t you a little old to be attending the Reading Festival?” Oh yeah? Tell that to the geezers in Doves, who, though they have no business playing in sunlight, go over beautifully.


“Keepin’ It Real!” “What the fuck is up?” “Who’s fucking hot.” Yup, the Bizkit have arrived. That Fred Durst is dumb. Real dumb. And yet he’s smarter and more articulate than most record label vice presidents. The only thing shocking about Limp Bizkit today is how soft they are. We hate Durst’s pudgy soulless backwards-red-Yankee-cap-wearing ass so much!


Prml Scrm fckn’ kck ss. Thnk Gd, cs w wr rlly wrrd thy’d sck.


In fact, it’s fair to say the Scream have already blown Quoasis off the stage, not that it’s hard to do. We’re all here to see the Gallagher Boyz fight or break up, but instead it’s just a sad and dull hits set like you’d see at a state fair. Every song, even the old ones, seem a beat too slow, except for “Wonderwall,” which is a beat too fast. It really is sad to watch the brightest rock ‘n’ roll mind of the Britpop generation reveal himself to be a posh, sober wanker. Of course, Liam remains Our Hero. “This song’s for everybody with walking sticks!” he says for no apparent reason. Personally, we’re hankering for the Noel & Liam Spoken Word Roadshow: “Fook off!” “No, you fook off!” “No, you!”

Saturday, August 26


We missed the Get Up Kids. Why? Because we are not kids, and we did not get up.


Not surprisingly, the Super Furry Animals have the ability to change the weather. The drizzle stops, the sun comes up, and we get our dream sing-along with “The Man Don’t Give a Fuck,” which the No WTO/anti-globalization forces really ought to adopt as their anthem. It would sound great blasting from a sound truck during a Lieberman campaign stop.


We feel really really old. This place is filled with so many children that we wish we had the Clearasil concession. The only thing that’d sell better is Slipknot merch. Holy crap-on-a-crutch, do those guys sell a lot of T-shirts! No wonder the kids feel like a number. They’re all wearing the same shirt!


At long last, Pulp. They take the main stage with a dirged-out electro version of “Common People” that frightens the shit out of us, until it breaks halfway through and becomes the Festie Anthem to End All Festie Anthems. Jarvis is in top form, though dancing barefoot on a stage where Gomez have recently been seems both unwise and unsanitary. The post-Russell band has truly meshed and the new songs all sound great, funky, folky, and funny. A day-closing “Babies” reminds us that Pulp remain Our Favorite Live Band Ever.

Sunday, August 27


Finally the moment we’ve waited three days for. Slipknot take over the main stage as what appears to be every teenager in Britain converges into the pit, many wearing homemade masks and UPC-adorned boilersuits. After a rousing version of their one song, the crowd applauds, and what does #7 (or whatever the fuck the lead singer’s name is) do? Does he tell the audience that Slipknot doesn’t give a fuck for their meaningless clapping? Nope, he tells them how much he loves them. “Are you motherfuckers having a good fuckin’ time?” He thanks us for giving Slipknot a gold record, reveals a lifelong dream to play Reading, and generally makes kissyface with the rabid throng for an hour. The guy exhorts us to “sing along” (Is “BLEURGGHHH!” a verse or a chorus?) and even takes out a camera and snaps a photo of the crowd. Really, how Poison can you get? “Be well! We love you!” the singer shouts as Slipknot venture off into the night. We wanted apocalypse but got an arselicking. No piss. No blood. No fire. No broken bones. Fuck these Iowa phonies. Slipknot = Pussies.


Given the choice between Ian Brown, Babybird, and the execrable Stereofuckwits, we opt to beat the rush and head back to the hotel for one more round of sandwiches and, oh yes, Summerslam on Sky Sports 1. Man, does Reading motherfuckin’ rule, or what?