Carling Weekend 2006: Main Stage

Carling Weekend 2006: Main Stage

Photographer: Sara BowreyDan Jones, Ross Baker on 27 August 2006

Reading: Friday 25 August

Kicking off this year’s events on the main stage, Towers Of London manage to translate their dirty rock’n’roll shenanigans to more cavernous surroundings with surprising aplomb, with the release of two cages of homing pigeons during a cover of Lynyrd Skynyrd’s 70’s classic ‘Freebird’ a particularly masterful stroke.

Whilst they’re happy foraging through the post-hardcore rulebook to the letter, Fightstar will probably never fully emerge from the shadows of that former band, but are still afforded a generous reception by the growing crowd, although a seemingly worst for wear Charlie Simpson has his repeated requests for mosh pits largely fall on deaf ears. Dashboard Confessional certainly aren’t a band who are likely to start one either, especially given the fact that their set starts with Chris Carrabba’s microphone refusing to play ball. New single ‘Don’t Wait’ pushes all the right buttons, but you can’t get past the niggling feeling that Dashboard’s emotive outpourings would be far better suited to the cosier surroundings of a tent rather than the open arena.

There’s an air of almost intangible excitement emanating from the crowd even before buzz band Panic! At The Disco take to the stage, but the young heartthrobs barely make it past the minute mark before frontman Brendan Urie is struck in the face by a flying bottle and collapses to the ground in a heap. After a couple of minutes of concern, Urie shakily takes to his feet and shouts "You can't take me out… Lets see how well you guys do with my left side.", before the band valiantly battle through an impressive set that contains a cover of Radiohead’s ‘Karma Police’ and a storming run through of ‘I Write Sins Not Tragedies’, ensuring that P!ATD are one of major talking points of the entire weekend.

Quite what The Subways are doing this high up the bill is anyone’s guess, and after all the excitement of Panic! their energetic pop-rock never quite comes close enough to really igniting the crowd. In between the lengthy (also read annoying) banter of bassist Pete Wentz, Fall Out Boy reel through their fine collection of emo hits, and when Wentz divides the crowd into two for a left versus right trash throwing contest during crowd favourite ‘Sugar We’re Going Down’, they’re especially eye-catching.

Next up, Belle and Sebastian keep things cooking along nicely in their usual unassuming way, with their summery anthems seemingly finding their perfect home at various festivals throughout this summer, before Yeah Yeah Yeahs hit the stage running with ‘Cheated Hearts’. Singer Karen O may immediately draw the audience’s attention in her unusual half Ziggy Stardust, half Godzilla outfit, but it’s the simplistic yet brilliant guitar lines of Nick Zinner that leads the band through a triumphant showing.

For once it seems the gods are against Kaiser Chiefs, as no sooner have they launched into their hour long set the previously perfect weather turns into a downpour, sending many of the crowd running for cover. Once it relents, a dragging set that is littered with a sprinkling of new songs, is finally kick started by ‘I Predict A Riot’ and a guest appearance by Ryan Jarman of The Cribs for a run through of ‘The Modern Way’.

The honour of bringing the first night of Reading 2006 to a close falls to Franz Ferdinand, who certainly don’t let the prestigious opportunity go to waste as they take to the arena to the familiar tones of ‘Michael’. One of the UK’s top exponents of danceable rock music soon have the whole field bopping along to the likes of ‘Matinee’ and ‘Do You Want To’, the latter complimented by some great visuals on the giant screens. Joined onstage by no less than eleven drummers from an encore run through of ‘Outsiders’, Franz Ferdinand close the day in consummate fashion.

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