Strictly’s countdown of the Top 100 Reading Bands of the 2000s climaxed with a shoot out between Rage Against The Machine and Metallica last week, but as usual, you can’t please everyone and hindsight is a wonderful thing; so with that it mind we take a look at the top ten surprise omissions.
Now we’re not saying that all ten of these bands should have made the list, or that even one of them should, but these are the bands who can consider themselves truly unfortunate to have missed out.
Honourable Mentions: Cage The Elephant, Rancid, DFA 1979, Be Your Own Pet, Bring Me The Horizon, Funeral For A Friend, Wild Beast, Trash Talk, Ladytron, M.I.A, New Found Glory, The King Blues, We Are Scientists, Pennywise (and probably many many more).
10. Oasis (2000 Main Stage Headliner)
Oasis, despite enduring the harshest critical backlash of their career, managed to deliver a superb, and in many ways classic Oasis set in 2000. Big hits with a super passionate crowd, what’s not to love?
So why didn’t Oasis make the list? Well disappearing for the next ten years certainly didn’t help, but at the end of the day these one off headliners felt like the leaders of the old order, a bastion of Reading in the 90s. So much of the Reading story in 2000s centred around The Strokes and the indie revival washing away Brit Pop, and unlike Pulp and Blur, Oasis never created those ultra poignant moments or gestures of transition needed to truly be apart of Reading in 21st Century. They were a hangover from the 90s, a glorious hangover, but one Reading soon shook off.
This was a tough call, there have been a whole host of great up and coming indie bands who have help the festival find its identity in the years after the indie revival’s 2006 peak, but Friendly Fires have flown higher than most. With his wild dancing and his flair for sexy beats Ed McFarlane has become Reading Festival’s official party starter; whether he’s out in the sun or in a sweaty overly rammed tent, it doesn’t matter Ed is going to get everyone moving. The Fires were unlucky to miss out, they occupy a similar place in Reading’s heart to Vampire Weekend and on another day they may have snuck into our countdown in their place.
8. Body Count and Ice T. (2006)
Ice T is a Reading veteran who hadn’t been seen since the late 90s, and when the words “Body Count” appeared on the Reading line up few could believe their eyes. The talk before the set was of disbelief: “This has to be a joke”, “Ice T won’t turn up”, “I can’t believe I’m about to see Ice T in 2006!”.
It was a shock, and it was a sensational booking, the band were ragged, but absolutely killed it, Ice T was practically inaudible, not because his mic was faulty, but because the crowd wouldn’t stop chanting his name. An incredible set, and a classic moment that just missed out on our countdown.
7. Linkin Park (2003 Main Stage Headliner)
Much derided as a shoddy live act in the earlier 2000s Linkin Park brought something close to their A-game at Reading in 2003. On top of that LP represented one of the biggest trends in music in the first half of the decade, drawing a big passionate and casual fan base, and the band could make a legitimate claim to being the biggest band in the world at that point in time.
So why didn’t they make the countdown? Well partially because their set wasn’t particularly special; it’s not mentioned often, or talked about in a positive light, and they didn’t create a great moment in the way Pixies or Radiohead did. They just arrived, played a competent set at the height of their fame and never came back. Some might argue that their fame and Reading representing the height of their UK ascent makes them worthy of a placement on the list, and they might be right, but it’s hardly a conclusive argument, as such, they just miss out.
6. Paramore (2010, 2007, Pulled Out 2006)
No prizes for guessing why Paramore didn’t make the list. they truly are a love hate band, but unlike My Chemical Romance, for example, who easily made the list, the arguments on both sides are incredibly well balanced.
One onside they say: Paramore have a huge following, they’ve drawn jam-packed crowds, and they sound like a Reading band: equally parts catchy pop and jagged angst.
On the other side they say: they’ve performed dreadfully, Hayley has been consistently out of tune, they’ve pulled out of a big slot and their sets are remembered for being controversial after the fact (where MCR were critiqued for not being big enough to headline, few quabbled with the quality of their actual performance).
5. Sick Of It All (2010, 2006 Lock Up Headliner, 2004, 2002 Third Stage Headliner)
The self-proclaimed inventors of the Wall of Death are Reading legends and multiple headliners, and we have to be honest, it’s pretty hard to explain how or why they didn’t make the list. Their sets are always fantastic and the crowd energy is unparalleled, the only real complaint I can picture is that a Sick Of It All set is the same everywhere, at Reading, at Sonisphere, at Download, but that’s a minor quibble for such a consistently superb outfit.
4. Kaiser Chiefs (2009, 2007 Leeds Only, 2006)
Timing is everything when it comes to making a countdown list, and unfortunately for the Kaisers, voting happened to take place during a real downswing in the Leeds’ band’s career. The band are local legends at the festival’s northern leg but they’ve always been well received down south too. The Kaisers were particularly stunning in 2006 when they had the entire crowd doing the Mexican wave during a fun filled sub headline set. They can count themselves very unlucky to miss out on the Top 100.
3. British Sea Power (2010 FR Headliner, 2008, 2005, 2004, 2003 Carling Stage Headliner, 2002)
No band have embodied Reading’s rough around the edges Indie aesthetic better than British Sea Power. They’re the type of the band who write gorgeous pop songs but who exist entirely outside of the mainstream. They represent the grass roots approach, hard gigging and consistent songwriting, and at times they’ve felt like England’s own answer to Arcade Fire. They’ll never be big, they’ll never be stars, but there will always be a place at Reading for British Sea Power.
2. Dropkick Murphys (2008, 2005, 2004, 2001)
My best bet is a clerical error occurred as to how these Celtic punks failed to make the 100 when all they seem to deliver is pure gold (from the end of the rainbow?) whenever they step on stage. The Murphys have hit the Reading main stage 3 times in the 21st Century (2004, 2005, 2008) and every show’s been brilliant fun. In 2004 they brought the sunshine, picking the crowd back up after The Rasmus bombed and in 2008 they filled the holes left by Avenged Sevenfold and Slipknot with vocalist Al Barr declare he’d been ‘singing with vocal strain for over 10 years’ (with reference to Avenged Sevenfold pulling out for that very reason). Adam McCartney
1. Rise Against (2011, 2009 Lock Up Headliner, 2006, 2005)
Arguably the most shocking exclusion from our countdown Rise Against have a little bit of everything it takes to become a Reading Legend. They marry big blustering power chords with punk speed, gorgeous pop melodies, inescapable hooks and a strident left of centre political message, and on top of that they’ve played five times including a blistering headline set.
So how did Rise Against miss out? Quite frankly we don’t know. They got a large number of votes, but sadly they were low scoring votes, and while Billy Talent snuck onto the countdown, Rise Against were left sitting just outside the top 100.