System Of A Down
21st Century Appearances: 2001 Main Stage, 2003 Main Stage
The Defining Reading Moment: Sub headlining to Metallica to cap off probably the best festival in recent memory. The desire to see them was so immense that the barrier shifted at Leeds, prompting Festival Republic to rethink their setup for following years
First time around, you’d be forgiven for missing them. It was raining and that band that did that Michael Jackson cover (Alient Ant Farm) was playing in the tent. However, the crowd was still surprisingly huge and more importantly, definitely up for it. Coming onto the stage playing “Drugs” was, and probably still is, the best intro to any act at the festival. It was an incredible set, even the material off their then-new album, Toxicity, went down a treat.
A few years later and with Toxicity firmly planted in CD collections up and down the land, the weekend of 2003 would go down in festival history as one of, if not the best, Reading and Leeds festival weekends. Only a fool would suggest that System Of A Down subbing to Metallica on a beautiful day was a bad thing.
SOAD are like Weezer, in that they could play almost any tune and the crowd would recognize the track, and be instantly up for it, but rather than resting on their laurels little medleys between some of their greatest hits proved to be a sweet move. Even when they messed up songs with Daron admitting that the UK drinks far too much and they smoke far too much weed couldn’t take away from a brilliant show.
Bands like System of a Down are needed at Reading and Leeds. They have everything in their locker whether it be slow or fast, serious or funny. Great music, great musician, great sets; not much else need be said. Janusz Jasinski