The great Reading and Leeds 2011 sound clash

Who to watch when those set times collide

Photographer:Sara Bowrey

Daniel Fahey, Chris Swindells - 18 August 2011

Selecting the wrong headliner could end up in years of regret, hours of therapy and tainted pub trips because, yeah, you watched the a lacklustre LCD Soundsystem instead of Axl Rose’s meltdown on the main stage, and your mates won’t let you to forget it.

Below we state the case for each tent headliner, tell you who we’d recommend catching and, if you must leg it between more than one of them, the track you have to see before you leave. Let’s begin:

Reading 2011 Friday / Leeds 2011 Saturday

My Chemical Romance – Main Stage
Why should you bother? If your mates ask you to see Beady Eye over My Chemical Romance, stand firm and say: “Na Na Na [Na Na Na Na Na Na Na Na Na]”. You’ve probably already endured 30 Seconds From Mars, so roar along loudly to the epic choruses of the ‘Danger Days’ as they group swallow Queen, Green Day and Busted and spit them out with heart-wrenching, life-ain’t-that-bad-kid cadence.
Stick around for…

Beady Eye – Radio 1/NME Stage
Why should you bother? Forget the funnies in the Alternative Stage, a combination of Liam Gallagher’s northern wit and Pretty Green wardrobe unmask him as a modern day Oscar Wilde. Well, kind of. There would have been a little more elegance to Wilde’s creative output but the gritty rock n roll of Beady Eye will be worth shaking a can over.
Stick around for…

UNKLE Sounds – Dance Stage
Why should you bother? It’s not like it’s really dance is it? More an echoing of synths and guitars hidden behind Joy Division-eqsue feedback. Relish in the best of anthemic UNKLE and a selection of remixes as they drag their finest into 2011, shrouding it with new visuals and lashings of dry ice. You can probably keep your sunglasses on for this one too.
Stick around for…

The Horrors – Festival Republic Stage
Why should you bother? After two stunning albums of reverberating vocals, towering guitar builds and swooning synth-lines, The Horrors’ toe-dip into 80s goth-indie is the hottest skinny-jeaned, leather-jacketed ticket in town. It’s time to get gloomy and broody, baby.
Stick around for…

VF’s choice: The Horrors.

Reading 2011 Saturday / Leeds 2011 Sunday

The Strokes – Main Stage - Reading
Why should you bother? If it weren’t for The Strokes, the NME would have folded a dying origami swan ten years ago. Their influence allowed many a copycat act to be shovelled upon the indie landfill pile, keeping the editorial ambers burning but now here’s a chance to watch the originals. If ‘Reptilia’ doesn’t have you reaching for an air bass, the clattering bump of ‘Last Nite’ pumping air drumsticks and ‘Miachu Picchu’ grooving like a Duran Duran extra, it’s best to miss Steve Lamacq’s silent disco slot afterwards.
Stick around for…

Pulp – Main Stage - Leeds
Why should you bother? About as synonymous with Sheffield as stainless steel, Pulp have set every nostalgic bone in our body aquiver with their 2011 return to the limelight of their nineties heights. Do you remember what you were doing when Jarvis first came around? After incredible Wireless and Glastonbury shows, it’s hard to believe we’ve done without Pulp all this time.
Stick around for…

Jane’s Addiction – Radio 1/NME Stage
Why should you bother? Reformed more times than play-doh, Perry Farrell’s band of leather pant wearing lads have created as many nights of live dynamite as The Strokes have spent indulged in the help of their parents. Funky, soulful and packing more rock n roll than their main stage counterparts could ever hope to, Jane’s Addiction are set to steal the glory over the festival weekend.
Stick around for…

The Mighty Mighty Bosstones - Lock Up Stage
If the word ‘Mighty’ appears twice in a band’s name you know you’re dealing with a group of very special people. These Boston ska-punks formed in 1983 and have stamped their output with a hardcore vitriol and anthemic trumpeting ever since. It’s loud, brash and brutal but with a heart of gold.
Stick around for…

The Midnight Beast - Festival Republic
Why should I bother? Aimed almost exclusively at fifteen-year-old girls, The Midnight Beast make The Inbetweeners comedy look like Fry and Laurie, so puerile their comical taste buds. It’s masturbation jokes, lesbian jokes, penis jokes, just one big joke. It can be on you too if you head to the Festival Republic stage to make it part of the party and THAT Ke$ha cover.
Stick around for…

VF’s choice: Jane’s Addiction at Reading or Pulp at Leeds.

Reading 2011 Sunday / Leeds 2011 Friday

Muse – Main Stage
Why should I bother? Devon’s hardest working trio have been laying low this past year recording after their storming Glastonbury set of 2010. These exclusive shows will bring together all their prog-rock aptitude and guitar-wielding dynamism for a headline set full of fireworks and surprises. Frontman Matt Bellamy has revealed the band are set to play ‘Origin of Symmety’ in its entirety for the first (and probably last) time too.
Stick around for…

2manydjs – Radio 1/NME Stage
Why should I bother? Soulwax, Flying Dewaele Brothers, Samantha Fu, this duo have gone through a fair few monikers in their time but kept to a simple, spine chilling formula of electro-rock carnage. Just enough obscure dancefloor gems alongside cult and populist classics to create a show full of the late night bangers to close your festival weekend, if you’re at Reading that is.
Stick around for…

Descendents – Lock Up Stage
Why should I bother? Formed just a year before a vernix-coated Peter Doherty came crying and screaming into this world, Descendents have had many periods of screaming all their own. The LA hardcore-punks mix a wry-wit with catchy, short, simple ditties and are honoured as godfathers of the scene that has grown so much since the late eighties.
Stick around for…

Peter Doherty – Festival Republic Stage
Why should I bother? He’s back, fresh out of juvie. The singer-songwriter returns to Reading and Leeds after headlining the main stage with his old pals The Libertines last year. Playing tracks from his critically-acclaimed debut ‘Grace/Wastelands’, the hope is Doherty has seen the back of the drugs and demons that have held him back through his career thus far.
Stick around for…

VF’s choice: Muse.


Hide Search Results

Festival Search


All Festival Tickets