Manic Street Preachers unleash the hits at Reading

United Kingdom United Kingdom | 24 August 2008

"Welcome to the fifth Reading for us", said singer James Hatfield before launching into 'Your Love Alone'.

'Motorcyle Emptiness' proved the night's first rabble-rouser, the overwhelmingly male crowd delighted by Nicky Wire's onstage high jinks.

The newer songs stood up though, with tracks from latest album 'Send Away The Tigers' complimenting classic like 'If You Tolerate This'.

The finale of 'Design For Life' appears life affirming for many. The band leave the audience to sing the words back to them, a testimony to the Welshmen's continuing appeal.

Earlier on, Seasick Steve admitted his surprise to being so highly billed after appearing in last year's smaller Carling tent.

"We ain't got no hit songs, we ain't on the radio", he said. "I thought they'd made a mistake putting us in this tent."

The vast audience suggested otherwise as Steve introduced his son on percussion for 'Hobo Low', before serenading a girl from the crowd and singing an ode to the drink Thunderbird.

Annoucing a new album release for September, he asked the crowd: "Will you buy it? Will you make me a pop star?" But it's clear they already think so as the bearded bluesman breaks into the whirlwind repetition of 'Doghouse Blues'.

Mystery Jets made their live return during their afternoon set, singer Blaine Harrison telling a capacity audience: "It's good to be playing again."        

Noting their recent festival cancellations due to illness, the band mixed hits from their two albums, including recent smash 'Two Doors Down' and 'Flakes', which sparked a mass swaying of hands.

While Laura Marling could not make it to join the band on 'Young Love', We Are Scientists singer Keith Murray helped out on backing vocals just minutes before he was due on the Main Stage.

One of their oldest songs 'Zoo Time' closed the uplifting set, with Blaine exiting on crutches to tumultuous applause.

Earlier on, Joe Lean And The Jing Jang Jong explained why they scrapped their album and are set to re-record it.

"We pulled our record, it was just recorded too long ago", singer Joe Lean admitted. "We were young then."   

He also promised to join the crowd to watch next act Santogold before the band finished on a rousing 'Baby'.

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- Photographer: Stu Kane

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