By tomorrow afternoon we’ll all know who has made it onto Reading’s illustrious yellow and black line up, but while we still have a few hours to speculate, we’ve decided to ask our staff just who they would book if they had the power.
There is no one scenario, each writer is free to use whatever criteria they like as they pick the five bands they want to see at Reading and Leeds in 2012.
Before my top 5 a short explanation; in making this list I’ve discounted bands that are claimed to be exclusives at other festivals (Black Sabbath, Soundgarden, Refused… Actually I’m still not sure if Refused are or not, but I digress.) and bands who aren’t/are unlikely to be touring this year. I’ve also decided to cast my eye further down the lineup from the all but confirmed headline slots, and look and bands that Reading could book in slots we’re not almost certain about.
5. At The Drive-In
Nothing sells tickets and generates more excitement than a reunion, and at the time of writing the incredible ATDI have yet to announce any UK shows. With a number of US and European tour dates already on the calendar it would be crazy for Reading and Leeds Festivals not to look at booking the post-hardcore quintet. The band could really fit on to a few stages from main to the lockup and would definitely bring the house down with a hugely energetic performance wherever they end up. Booking ATDI just seems like a no-brainer, they would generate a lot of excitement for the festival and bring a fantastic live show.
4. The Hives
It has been WAY too long since The Hives last played Reading and Leeds, not since 2004 in fact! Yet another band who are on the road this year in both the USA and Europe and would perfectly fit in to the festival’s vibe, high-energy fun rock songs. And at a festival where some acts (I’m not pointing any fingers… Enter Shikari, Frank Turner… ect.) seem to become a yearly fixture it would be nice for the festival to embrace the ethos of booking acts that haven’t played in years for those who are regulars at the festival. Please Reading and Leeds start to look at bands who haven’t played in years, it will do wonders in freshening up the look of the lineup.
3. The Specials
For anyone who saw Madness at 2011′s festival will understand how great an idea booking a band like The Specials would be. The success of Madness’ set at the festival almost instantly validates how great an idea booking another legendary ska act to play the main stage this year would be. The Specials really would suit a special guest slot in the afternoon on the main stage, would get the crowd going and would certainly be a highlight for many I’m sure. Also having a big legendary name like that on the lineup wouldn’t do any harm at all for ticket sales… Of course they are already playing the Olympics show in Hyde Park so they’re very much up for playing shows right now and would be a fantastic option for R&L.
2. Jack White
The man behind a number of bands popular with the R&L crowd (Raconteurs, Dead Weather and of course White Stripes) is just about to kick off his US tour in support of his first ever solo album. Jack also has a stint in Europe planned including Radio 1′s Big Weekend (played last year by MCR and The Strokes amongst others) so Reading and Leeds could well be a great fit for Jack. Furthermore, with no other UK shows currently planned (again, at the time of writing at least) outside of Radio 1′s free balloted event Jack really could be a great booking for the festival if they manage to nab him. Jack of course has a great history with the festival having headlined with White Stripes, as well bringing the Raconteurs to the festival on a few occasions. Jack seems like the perfect fit for R&L and it could turn out to be a rare UK performance for him this year.
1. The Black Keys
I’ll start off by saying that more so than any of the others I’ve mentioned, I’d be very surprised if The Black Keys don’t end up on that yellow poster come Monday. The band have experienced (after years of hard work, and 7 albums under their belt) a massive swell in popularity over the last 18 months, mainly thanks to the fantastic album Brothers and further cemented with 2011′s El Camino. The accelerated rise of the band has been further proved with the band touring big arenas with Arctic Monkeys as main support in North America, and even getting a headline slot at this year’s Coachella Festival.
The tell tale signs of a possible R&L slot are already there with the band playing the O2 Arena in Dublin just 2 days before R&L kicks off. I feel this really would be an exciting booking for the festival, and a big moment for the band too; with it being their biggest UK crowds to date. One thing that the festival has done in recent years is looked to provide those special moments, memorable shows and giving bands their big break has always been part of what R&L has done. The Black Keys’ bluesy rock and roll swagger would be more than welcome at the festival, and I can see them being both a talking point beforehand and a highlight afterwards.