Reading and Leeds are right around the corner and each year certain tracks become festival defining anthems, instantly creating unforgettable moments that will live on in memory for decades.
Rage Against The Machine blew Reading apart in 2008 with opener “Bombtrack” having already wreaked havoc many year’s before with “Guerrilla Radio”. System Of A Down made fans quiver with a hilariously brutal rendition of “Drugs + Suite Pee” in 2001, while Franz Ferdinand set themselves on course for Superstardom with a riotous reading of “Dark Of The Matinee” in 2004, to name just three great moments.
Sometime’s it’s the biggest hit, sometimes it’s the biggest statement and sometimes it’s that quirky little band who takes everyone by surprise, but who will it be, and more important which tracks will own R&L in 2011? Over to the team…
5. Foster the People – “Pumped Up Kicks”
Although the lyrics to Pumped Up Kicks suggest an apparently distressed young person with extremely homicidal thoughts, this song actually contains a very upbeat and catchy melody. Foster the People have gained a lot of popularity in the UK recently, and when Pumped Up Kicks hits Reading and Leeds this year, that popularity could show a huge boost.
4. Cage The Elephant – “Ain’t No Rest For The Wicked”
Cage the Elephant have made a huge impression on me recently, and ever since the release of Thank You, Happy Birthday, I haven’t been able to stop listening to them. But from their debut album, “Ain’t No rest For The Wicked” will be one of the key songs of the festival, along with Cage the Elephant surely giving one of the key sets of the weekend.
3. Frank Turner – “Photosynthesis”
Frank Turner has shot to fame recently. Always a big Reading and Leeds favourite, but with his first spell on the main stage this year, it shows that things are only going up for the ex-Million Dead frontman. Photosynthesis is always a great sing-a-long, and judging from the way it went down in the NME tent last year, it will be surely be a defining moment this year.
2. Pulp – “Common People”
After nearly 16 years since the release of Different Class, Common People is still a song that everybody knows and loves. Not only is this a great song that is bound to get the expectantly huge crowd singing along, but Pulp have also been on incredible form ever since their comeback, so Common People is sure to be a hit when Pulp hit the main stage headlining Reading and Leeds.
1. The Strokes – “Last Night”
This is probably the song that has defined The Strokes’ career, certainly from the album that did not just that, but inspired many more after it. The one song that everyone from the most casual fan to a diehard fan of The Strokes loves and will be singing along to every word. This could certainly be the one song that gets everybody together at the end of the night.
5. Capdown – “Ska Wars”
Maybe this won’t be an anthem for Johnny Haircut in his straw hat and checkered shirt, but for the sensible among us taking refuge in the lock up this year, Capdown’s “Ska Wars” will be one to remember when it more than likely rounds off what will more than likely be one of the sets of the weekend.
4. Flogging Molly – “Drunken Lullabies”
The second that banjo kicks in; the lock up tent (which if past experience is anything to go on, will be packed) is going to go crazy. Expect mad dancing, slurred singing, and flying pints of Guinness (or more likely, Tuborg. Blergh).
3. Jane’s Addiction – “Stop!”
“Here we GO!” I can’t help but feel that “Stop!” will be the highlight of what is already sure to be a memorable headline slot from Jane’s Addiction, yet I can’t quite explain why. It has that incredibly upbeat sound that goes down a treat at festivals, and it’s one of the band’s songs that even people that don’t listen to much JA should know.
2. The Offspring – “Pretty Fly (For A White Guy)”
Now, I should say, there’s a pretty good chance that “Pretty Fly…” won’t get an outing this time around (nor am I suggesting this is their best song, far from it), but if it did get played, the vast majority of the festival should be flooded with childhood memories, and the sing along will be out of this world.
1. Muse – “Knights Of Cydonia”
This song will without doubt close Muse’s set and therefore the festival (for Reading at least), so it’s a good job it’s one of modern rock’s most epic and enduring anthems. Including the “Man With a Harmonica” intro, “Knights Of Cydonia” is going to clock in at around 8 minutes long and will squeeze every last bit of energy from what is sure to be a huge crowd, it actually sounds as though it was designed for moments like these.
5. The Vaccines – “Post Break Up Sex”
Fast paced, The Vaccines set will be a special one. When they play the big hit ‘Post Break Up Sex’ put your dancing shoes on and your arms in the air, spill beer on the little girl in front of you, and sing ‘Post Break Up Sex’.
4. Foster The People – “Pumped Up Kicks”
This could be the campsite anthem answer to 2008′s anthem “Kids” by MGMT. Let’s face it ‘Pumped Up Kicks’ is everywhere, no let me say it, no indie cheese night playlist is complete without this track.
Even Weezer have started to cover ‘Pumped Up Kicks’ which will no doubt bring Foster The People more exposure.
3. Cage The Elephant – “Shake Me Down”
I can see the crowd going absolute bananas during “Shake Me Down”, mosh pits, sweats and loud mouths shouting the lyrics back. Let’s face it Cage The Elephant don’t do sets by half do they? The grunge rockers know how to party and perform withs high energy driven sets. You will walk away needing a sugar injection.
2. The Horrors – “Still Life”
During the shows since The Horrors released ‘Still Life’ the crowd have sang every single lyric back at the band. Even before Skying had dropped, the words just kept flowing from the audience mouths. Glastonbury was a special place for ‘Still Life’ and with The Horrors headling The Festival Republic tent, they should be able to capture the same sense of atmosphere.
1. The Strokes – “Last Night”
Like how could I ever not add this? ‘Last Night’ will be a special moment within Reading and Leeds history, even if the band hate ‘Last Night’ the song made them whether they like it or not. ‘Last Night’ should define Saturday night at Reading.
“Last Night, My Chemical Romance headlined. They were poor.” I will stop with the bitterness now. Well ‘Hard to Explain’ maybe would stop the bitterness. I was torn between which Strokes song would be the most anthemic, ‘Hard To Explain’ was up there, but ‘Last Night’ stormed my top spot.
5. Madness – “Baggy Trousers”
I can easily picture a lot of the older crowd dancing and singing along to this with a beer in hand regardless of what the weather is doing at the time.
4. Pulp – “Common People”
We all remember this track from when we were kids right? It’s great, it’s catchy and we all know the majority of the words; and “Common People” is still played enough on the radio enough for the younger fans to know it too.
3. My Chemical Romance – “Welcome To The Black Parade”
I’m not fond of this band to put it lightly, but MCR will draw a huge emo fanbase/pre pubescent crowd to the festival and I expect a huge audience for them. “Welcome To The Black Parade” is arguable the track that defines who the band are, and I imagine the fact it will be dark at the time they’re playing will make their fans feel like they’re at home in their dark rooms singing along.
2. The Streets – “Fit But You Know It”
I Cannot stand Mike Skinner or his band personally but with The Streets performing their last set of shows there is bound to be a party atmosphere when they take to the NME Stage. The tent will undoubtedly be rammed with people drunkenly bouncing around to this anthem.
1. The Strokes – “Last Night”
This is one of the biggest Indie classics of all time and I will go out on a limb and say it’ll definitely be the biggest hit at this year’s festival. “Last Night” will be played at every single Indie Disco until the end of time. The euphoria will be boil over when The Strokes take to the stage and I have no doubt the crowds will sing back every word of this hit to the band.
5. Elbow – “Grounds For Divorce”
Okay so “On A Day Like This” will probably get the biggest sing along of the night, but “Grounds For Divorce” is the Elbow anthem most suited to Reading and Leeds. When that woozy, click and thud beat kicks in the entire main arena will be united in one giant bellow of “Woah-ah-oh-ah-oh-oh-oh-oh-ooooo” and I except to see wave upon wave of pogoing fans when that riff kicks in. Reading And Leeds is not Glastonbury, I doubt Elbow will be greeted as warmly, but this track can…not…fail.
4. Thirty Seconds To Mars – “The Kill (Bury Me)”
I can never decide whether I hate or really enjoy Thirty Seconds To Mars. I find their albums unbearably overblown and underwhelming, but the ridiculous ambition that clearly fuels Jared Leto has led him to write a series of mammoth anthems. In fact, he tries so hard to write booming anthems that you feel the actual music and message gets somewhat lost in the pious bombast.
Thankfully, he did pen this gem, a true Emo anthem that rarely get’s labeled as such. It’s just pure escapist fun, you don’t have to have dyed black hair to enjoy screaming “Bury Me, Bury Me” and the ultra-stylish Shinning aping video ensured that all rock fans were at some point exposed to this track on the TV. I’m certainly preparing my best faux-American accent so I can shout “I’ll I Wanted Was You!”
3. Cults – “Go Outside”
I happen to write for In The Name Of, Cults record label, but I that in no way influenced my decision to pick “Go Outside”. This track is just a shimmering masterpiece, an exercise in divine simplicity. When I saw Cults in a jam-packed Lexington earlier this year, they were nervous on their first European tour, and this track was still rough around the edges, but even the band’s nervousness couldn’t tarnish these sweeping melodies. Throw your hands up, dance your arse off and just let the airy ethereal majesty of “Go Outside” wash over you.
2. My Chemical Romance – “Teenagers”
This was a tough choice as I wasn’t sure what would be an anthem with the entire festival field, but I’m pretty sure that “Teenagers” is big enough, catchy enough, and damn right yelp-able enough to have every last soul singing along (albeit begrudgingly). Every line is chantable, the guitar solo is huge (scale not length), and as far as sentiments go, is any track more Reading and Leeds than “Teenagers”?
1. Pulp – “Disco 2000” / The Strokes – “Take It Or Leave It”
Okay so I cheated, but so did Festival Republic, if they’re booking co-headliners, then I’m having co-number one’s. Seriously, that’s my flawed logic and I’m sticking to it.
“Disco 2000” is not my favourite Pulp anthem, and it’s not “Common People” but it is by far and away the easiest to sing, and if Isle Of Wight and Wireless are anything to go by, the crowd are going to explode when those Disco lights and that riff kicks in. Listening back now, my mind is flooded with special memories, and I can feel the chill that shot down my spine when 50,000 people in Hyde Park bellowed “Oh Deborah Do You Recall?”
“Last Night” will be huge, “Juicebox” insane, “Under The Cover Of Darkness” infectious, “Someday” beer in hand brilliant, and “Reptilia” all of the above, but by the time The Strokes get to the end of their set, and everyone’s drunk and buzzing it’s “Take It Or Leave It” that will be destined to steal the show. Every last lung shredding second of it will be amazing, even if you’ve never heard the track before, it really doesn’t matter. I’ve seen The Strokes headline before, and by the second verse, everyone has figured it out, and everyone will be wearing their throats red roar in one giant discordantly beautiful bellow.