Go ahead punk, make my day… well at this year’s Reading and Leeds Festivals you can have punk make all three of your days if you know where to find it all.
The Lock-Up has always been the traditional home for the genre at the festival and in 2011 the trend continues. Headlining each of the Lock-Up days (Reading Saturday & Sunday, Leeds Friday & Sunday) are legends of the style, Descendents and The Mighty Mighty Bosstones. Even though both bands come under the big punk umbrella they couldn’t be much more different with the Bosstones being innovators in “ska-core” and Descendents perfecting pop-punk a decade before Green Day arrived on the scene. The one thing the bands share is longevity, which has seen both bands become big enough to top the Lock-Up’s bill decades on from the start of their careers.
The rest of the bill is rammed with choice cuts from the world of punk. Among the numerous gems are The Black Pacific, Jim Linberg’s new band since parting ways with Pennywise, and Capdown returning for their umpteenth festival appearance (and their first since reuniting after a brief hiatus). Another band back from the abyss and playing the weekend are Face to Face while Hot Water Music are back on this side of the Atlantic for a long overdue appearance this Bank Holiday Weekend.
Street Dogs will be there with their brand of “Bawston” street punk while Los Angeles’ Flogging Molly will blend punk and Folk in their sub headline slot before Descendents. If you’re after some contemporary hardcore there’s Comeback Kid and The Bronx, and if you just want ukulele action try The King Blues who are subbing to the Bosstones.
Even though the Lock-Up might be the spiritual home to punk at the festivals there is still plenty to find elsewhere. Arguably the biggest punk act at the festival and one of the biggest in the world today (and ever) is the The Offspring. Who will be high on the Main Stage (Reading Friday, Leeds Saturday) and will surely be playing most of their radio friendly so-cal punk flavoured hits. Also playing the Main on the same day as The ‘Spring are some of the most ethical punks to break the mainstream, Rise Against. The straight edge vegans will be supporting their latest album, Endgame, as well as nailing some of their most popular melodic hardcore tracks. The other punks showing up that day on the Main Stage will be New Found Glory who’ll play their brand of pop punk from the Sunshine State. It’s not just old people and walking catfish from Florida you know…
Fucked Up are many many things and being punk happens to be one of them. They’re also experimental, strange and worth a watch when their representing on the NME/Radio One Stage (Leeds Friday, Reading Sunday). The Festival Republic Stage has more gems hidden amongst its bill. Former Lock-Up band Rival Schools (Lock-Up Stage in 2009) return to the Reading and Leeds Festivals in 2011. Joining them in the Festival Republic Tent over the weekend will be The Computers and the utterly bonkers Cerebral Ballzy… They’re not just a funny name!
If you want some punk Jim, but not as we know it - there are a few more acts that might take your fancy but slightly more from left field. Henry Rollins, front man of one of the most important and influential hardcore bands ever, Black Flag, will be back at the festivals for a spoken word performance. Headlining the Alternative Stage (Reading Friday, Leeds Saturday), and back again after his last showing at the festivals 2 years ago, expect captivating tales that might make you laugh and certainly make you think.
Frank Turner, once the front man for somewhat successful punk band Million Dead, will be back at Reading & Leeds again for his eight thousandth performance (slight exaggeration). Expect sing-alongs galore on the Main Stage (Leeds Friday, Reading Sunday) from one of music’s nicest men with some of the most loyal fans. And finally, if you like The Bronx but wish they were just a little bit more, well, swarthy and Hispanic sounding check out Mariachi El Bronx on the Festival Republic Stage (Reading Saturday, Leeds Sunday), they look just like The Bronx but perhaps a little more swarthy and certainly more Hispanic sounding.