Reading & Leeds 2012: Clash Of The Headliners

Who will win the crowd's vote?

Reading & Leeds 2012: Clash Of The Headliners

Photographer:Paul Kerr

Chris Eustace - 15 August 2012

Friday (Reading) / Saturday (Leeds)

The Cure (Main Stage)

There’s barely a band on this weekend’s bill that hasn’t been influenced, directly or indirectly, by Robert Smith (The Gothfather?) and his crew, and when you have the chance to take in seminal tunes like ‘The Lovecats’, ‘Boys Don’t Cry’, ‘Close To Me’ and ‘Friday I’m In Love’ first-hand, you should probably take it. If it’s even half as good as Bestival in 2011, it’ll be immense.

The Maccabees (Radio 1/NME Stage)

Having quietly gone about becoming one of Britain’s best, and most popular, bands, The Maccabees are likely to cause many indie-leaning punters a dilemma – one of the post-punk originals are on the Main Stage, but can they risk missing the continued ascent of one of the latter-day torchbearers? The hushed majesty of ‘Given To The Wild’ means the Londoners have yet more affecting anthems in their locker. A tough choice beckons.


Social Distortion (Lock Up Stage)

Maybe you like your influential bands a bit harder on the ears? LA hardcore legends Social Distortion are on headline duties in the Lock Up tent, with their distinctive blend of punk, blues, country and rockabilly enduring into a fourth decade, through tragedies, line-up changes, addictions and the odd hiatus. Into Green Day or The Gaslight Anthem? Get yourself here to see one of their inspirations.

Sleigh Bells (Festival Republic Stage)

The duo returned earlier this year with their second album ‘Reign Of Terror’, continuing their compulsive formula of neck-snapping beats and super-distorted guitars to make yet more street-smart metallic pop. If you’re looking for something to dance to as the sun starts going down, get yourself to this tent.

Saturday (Reading) / Sunday (Leeds)

Kasabian (Main Stage)

Ooosh! The Leicester boys may have inherited Oasis’ place at the top table of British music, but that doesn’t mean they’re strictly a “lad’s band”. One of the reasons they’ve gone on to headline festivals while many other pretenders have fallen by the wayside is their willingness to experiment, with elements of dance, soul and psychedelia in amongst some of the finest bay-along choruses of recent times.

At The Drive-In (Radio 1/NME Stage)

It was a real coup for Reading & Leeds to secure the signature of the (briefly) reformed hardcore luminaries. With the band having split in 2001 after their breakthrough album ‘Relationship Of Command’, their legend and influence has flourished in their absence, and no doubt they’ll draw a huge crowd full of people who never thought they’d get the chance to see them live. No-one knows if there’ll be much more after this run of shows, so this may be your only opportunity.

(Dance Stage)

It’s not Reading & Leeds without Metronomy - they seemingly play every single year. No-one ever complains though, as Joe Mount and co. combine witty lyrics and summery grooves to make a perfect festival package. They’ve worked their way up the bill, and the wider world is taking notice now too, with last year’s third album ‘The English Riviera’ taking both the playlists and the plaudits. This show should be the victory lap before work on the next one gets started.

Feeder (Festival Republic Stage)

The nostalgic choice would be to go and jump about to ‘Buck Rogers’, ‘Just A Day’ and the like. While Grant Nicholas and co. don’t quite scale the heights they did in their early-2000s heyday anymore, they still put on a good show, so if Kasabian aren’t your thing but you still want something you can sing along to, go here.    

Sunday (Reading) / Friday (Leeds)

Foo Fighters (Main Stage)

All hail the King of Reading & Leeds – Dave Grohl is back to greet his subjects. With a history spanning all the way back to Nirvana’s first Reading appearance in 1991, there’s probably no-one one more synonymous with the festival than him. Expect the biggest crowd of the weekend and the biggest sound of the weekend too. The Foos are well-versed in all the stadium rock tricks, and with the choicest cuts from ‘Wasting Light’ joining a peerless back catalogue, they’re highly unlikely to disappoint.  

Justice (Radio 1/NME Stage)

Dance-heads this way then? Well, it’s not quite as simple as that, as this Parisian electro tag team approach dance music as if they too were a stadium rock band. There’s that huge blazing cross at the forefront of their set-up for a start, while their digital house symphonies seem to have taken on some prog leanings on second album ‘Audio, Video, Disco’ to go with the distorted, brutal and dazzling delights of their debut. Still get ready to rock, even if you go for sequencers over guitars.

Less than Jake (Lock Up Stage)

Another harsh headline clash – you’d imagine that plenty of Foos fans would want to be skanking down the front to LTJ too. Them’s the breaks in festivalland, folks. Those who go for the more intimate option will get a set full of ska-punk hits – ‘All My Best Friends Are Metalheads’, ‘Gainesville Rock City’, ’The Science of Selling Yourself Short’…you’re having fun just thinking about it, aren’t you?

The View (Festival Republic Stage)

You know what you’re going to get with The View – while Kyle Falconer may describe the band’s new album ‘Cheeky For A Reason’ as “‘Rumours’ done by The Clash”, it’s still, for the most part, perky indie-pop with terrace chant choruses. There will always be a place for some of that at Reading & Leeds, so if you fancy some, you know where to go.   

Click here for the full Reading Festival line-up and full Leeds Festival line-up announced so far.

Reading Festival 2012 takes place in Richfield Avenue, Reading on 24-26 August.

Leeds Festival 2012 takes place in Bramham Park, Wetherby, Leeds from 24-26 August.

Only Friday and Saturday tickets are still available for Reading Festival, all ticket types remain onsale for Leeds.

Reading 2012 tickets and Leeds 2012 tickets are priced as follows:

£197.50 + £8 booking fee = £205.50 Weekend camping (Leeds only)

£85 + £7 booking fee = £92 Day tickets

£15 early entry

Click to buy Reading Festival tickets

Click to buy Leeds Festival tickets


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