Graeme Johnston profiles the Reading and Leeds Festival headliners and the NME/Radio 1 Stage big guns.
For three days, the biggest names in rock are set to emerge from whatever dark hole they usually inhabit to join the Reading and Leeds Festival merry-go-round. Yeah, there may be five stages of brilliant alternative acts, but really it’s about the big guns isn’t it?
Let’s check out what to expect, that's if Axl Rose makes it…
Main Stage – Friday, Leeds – Saturday, Reading
Arcade Fire will have a point to prove as Friday night headliners. There is no doubt that the Canadian husband/wife duo of Win Butler and Régine Chassagne and their band are not of the same pedigree as fellow headliners Blink 182 and Guns N’ Roses.
Don't write them off just yet though… ‘Neon Bible’ was undoubtedly one of the best albums of 2007, scooping numerous awards and winning them rock royalty fans – Dave Grohl loves the Fire and once described hit tune 'Keep The Car Running' as a "great fucking song." So only three albums into their career, headliners Arcade Fire could be the real shock of the weekend. Catch their set so you can say "I was there" in ten years' time.
NME/Radio 1 Stage – Friday, Leeds – Saturday, Reading
Ever curious as to why a "dance" band keeps turning up on rock and metal festival bills? Psst… Pendulum are the worst kept secret in rock music. Scruffy-haired, tattooed moshers will likely outnumber traditional drum and bass fans for their Friday night headline set in the NME/Radio 1 Stage.
In Flames and Porcupine Tree's Steve Wilson both appear on their latest album 'Immersion'. And as the ultimate seal of approval, Liam Howlett of The Prodigy has also guested. If you catch just one song of the Aussie electronic rockers, make sure it's 'Slam' – still the coolest DnB track ever, and sure to be one of those festival moments where you lose all control of your muscles and just dance around in a helpless, embarrassing world of your own.
Main Stage – Saturday, Leeds – Sunday, Reading
Dismiss at your peril. You may remember blink182 as the immature bunch of boys who ran around naked… What you might have forgotten in the five years that their "hiatus" lasted is just how brilliant Blink were.
A worthy contender of Green Day for the title of "Finest pop punk band ever", Blink were responsible for an almost endless list of classics that include: 'Dammit', 'All The Small Things', 'Stay Together For The Kids', 'The Rock Show', 'Adam's Song', 'What's My Age Again' and 'First Date'.
Any rocker who grew up in the 90s or once loved the feel of a skateboard under their feet can relive their youth on Saturday night with one of punk's greatest live bands.
NME/Radio 1 Stage – Saturday, Leeds – Sunday, Reading
NME cover favourites Klaxons will lead the charge for anyone too cool to watch blink182. Huge tunes like 'Gravity's Rainbow' have earned the alt indie band a loyal fanbase, who queued and fought for room outside the Reading & Leeds Carling tents in 2006 just to try and catch a glimpse of the London boys.
Described once as "acid-rave sci-fi punk-funk", demand has grown with albums ‘Myths of the Near Future’ and ‘Surfing The Void’, and the four-piece will now find themselves looking out from the second-biggest stage of the weekend in the NME/Radio 1 tent. It's simple: get there early or don't expect to see Klaxons. Don't say you weren't warned.
Guns N’ Roses
Main Stage – Sunday, Leeds – Friday, Reading
This is a band who need no introduction… If you don't own 'Appetite For Destruction' then pack up your tent, go home early and be thoroughly ashamed.
In their day the biggest rock and roll band on the planet, you might not be on first name terms with every member of Axl Rose's new crew but the essence of the group has not changed one iota in its 25-year history.
Rose is the only original member but you can still expect the same from their live performance; heavy guitar riffs, epic solos, wild antics and colossal ballads that will make the most hardened biker reach for the Kleenex.
GnR are renowned as one of the best live bands in the world and after Sunday night's stunning airing of 'November Rain', 'Sweet Child O Mine' and 'Paradise City', you'll know why.
NME/Radio 1 Stage – Sunday, Leeds – Friday, Reading
Mixing dance, punk and disco, American producer James Murphy's set will be a huge hit with anyone who can't face seeing a 48 year old ginger with dreads and a cowboy hat trying to rock out… Expect a big crowd, then.
Huge hit 'Daft Punk Is Playing At My House' may be the only song most know, but Murphy and his big live band will have many a trick up their sleeve; the group have three studio albums and an arsenal of singles at their disposal, including a cover of Joy Division's 'No Love Lost'.