Reading 2001 Review - Friday
If the loosely-knotted school ties and putative afros of some of today's crowd are any sign, Friday is unofficially Strokes-day; but it's the other music press darlings from Noo Yawk, the Moldy Peaches, who set today's ball rolling. Newly-augmented by a full band, their guitarist compensates for Kimya's absent rabbit costume (easy tigers - she was sporting a fetching American Flag number instead) with his Spiderman-meets-Jackie-Chan look; they might be louder, but the songs retain their wistfully obscene charm, sounding as ever like the Velvets' 'Afterhours' being performed by sniggering pop-culture-savvy adolescents. The sweetness at the heart of 'Nothing Came Out' might be obscured by comedy Eddie Van Halen guitar-twiddling, but the Peaches always teeter on the fine line between absurdity and a rather touching sincerity - as they say, 'we like to contradict ourselves, and that's a rap'.
Over on the main stage, Eels seem determined to throw as many curveballs as possible, whether it's the gothic cover version of 'Get Your Freak On' or the Bo Diddley crunch of 'Souljacker Pt.1'. It doesn't seem to deter the crowds, but then it's more likely they're gathering for the Strokes, who are next up.
There's the same cartoon frisson of recognition about seeing them striding onstage as provoked by the Ramones - iconic already - but there's an 'impress me' wariness about the crowd, and the band seem nervous at first, Julian's Iggy-esque vocals wavering uncertainly in the mix. 'Last Nite' seems them step up a gear, locking into that metronomic 'Lust for Life' chug while Albert Hammond Jr flails his guitar; a sun-bleached stage this size might not be their natural environment, but their short, sour-sweet blasts of garage pop convince that their reputation doesn't entirely rest in the hands of style mag journos fixated on their thrift-store Clem Burke chic.