There is always discussion over the quality and greater appeal of the Reading line-up. It’s probably the biggest talking point leading up to the festival from the headliners first being announced right up until the first chords played, but one area of the line-up that seems to stand up year on year to its target audience is the punk rock corner, that is the Lock-Up. 2012 is no different as once again it looks great.
Spread over 2 days once again only this year Friday and Sunday, this year’s Lock-Up is the usual blend of the obscure, the insane, the steady and the legendary. Drawing in bands from overseas and closer to home here’s a guide to how I see this year Lock-Up going down and who to check out.
Friday opens for those who roll out of their tents in time with all female rockers Pettybone. The first of a selection of Fat Wreck bands are up next with Frisco’s Dead to Me followed by the genre splicing New Yorkers Star Fucking Hipsters who appear to be anything but.
British Ska-corers Random Hand are up next and will no doubt draw a decent crowd and go down a storm as festival regulars. Another Frisco band, Ceremony are next before the melodic hardcore of a personal favourite of mine, A Wilhelm Scream. Way back in Spring when the writers of Strictly chose their five bands that could make the festival A Wilhelm Scream were among my choices so I’m stoked to see them there.
The melodic hardcore continues with Touche Amore who lead into Jersey boys Saves The Day who bring their brand of indie rock punk back to Reading. Talking of Jersey the next band to take the stage are true Jersey legends that have shown the way for so many, Bouncing Souls. These ‘True Believers’ are just the kind of anthemic band with 2 decades of history that make the Lock-Up so brilliant every year. Do not miss them!
Things take a heavy turn as Every Time I Die are on 3rd from top, it’s nice to see a more metallic band getting a decent showing in the Lock-Up, as bands of a heavier nature often still go down a storm. Anti-Flag have played Reading more times than I can genuinely remember but they seem to draw a crowd every time, and why not? They’re a likeable bunch, their hearts are in the right place and they’ve got some tunes too. If they can keep the soap boxes hidden away for most of it they should play a belter of a set.
Ending things on Friday are a genuine treat. If you’re not catching The Cure or any other headliners please, go and watch Social Distortion. Front man and last surviving founder member Mike Ness is a true punk poet and song writing genius and given the chance everyone should see Ness and his band at least once in their lives. With self penned songs like ‘Story of My Life’ and ‘When The Angels Sing’ alongside legendary covers like ‘Ring of Fire’ and ‘Under My Thumb’ these punk n’ roll heroes will be a Friday night delight.
After taking a break on Saturday, hell, go into the dance tent and open your minds, or go see At the Drive-In, the Lock-Up is back at noon Sunday. Corwall’s Crowns open things up with their folksy punk before Londoners Apologies, I Have None take to the stage. Another Fat Wreck band are up third, it’s Canada’s own Flatliners.
Now, it wouldn’t be Reading without Frank Turner and here he is… under the guise of his new hardcore project Mongol Horde. If you’re expecting uplifting sing-along acouti-folk-punk, you will be confused but hopefully not disappointed. Remember Million Dead…?
New York’s This is Hell bring the metallic sound once again next, followed on stage by Reading regulars Polar Bear Club who are slowly climbing the bill year on year. Female fronted ska is the name of the game for The Skints who are followed by another Fat Wreck band, skate punk legends Good Riddance back together again after a 5 year hiatus.
Trash Talk are one of those bands where fun can be had even if you know none of their songs as the crowd will whip the whole tent into a frenzy. Last time I saw them a plastic trash can bounced around in the pit for the whole half hour. Fourth highest on the bill for Sunday are Turbonegro, grubby, scummy, obnoxious but so catchy with it too it’s hard not to like them.
You can’t keep a good band down and bouncing back to Reading for the umpteenth time are Gallows, with new front man Wade MacNeil for the first time. Perhaps they’ve come down a peg or two from their headlining days, but I think it’s done the band some good and I’d expect a solid show.
Subbing Sunday are true punk rock legends. With members made famous in such bands as NoFX, Lagwagon & The Swingin’ Utters, Me First & The Gimme Gimmes are the world’s premier covers band, especially since Westlife have called it a day. Expect songs your mum and dad love played how you love, as the band discect classic pop, rock, soul, folk and country songs, and turn them into ska and skate punk monsters. Really, ‘Nothing Compares 2 them’.
Topping off Sunday, and the festival are Gainsville’s own, Less Than Jake. The last time these ska punk heroes headlined the Lock-Up they were up against possibly the biggest main stage headline draw in Reading history, Rage Against the Machine. This time around they’re up against another rock leviathan in the form of the Foo Fighters, but Less Than Jake will still draw a packed crowd because they are… Less Than Jake. If you don’t know any LTJ yet remedy this quickly, the band is sure to play live staples ‘All My Best Friends Are Metalheads’, ‘Johnny Quest Thinks We’re Sellouts’ and ‘Gainsville Rock City’, all of which will blow the roof of the Lock-Up’s roof.
Roll on high noon Friday!