Festival Preview: Reading and Leeds

Everybody’s favourite twin festivals return in 2015 to bring an ever more varied line-up to Bramham Park and Richfield Avenue this August bank holiday. Famous for their big-ticket headliners and rivers of late-summer mud, Leeds and Reading promise another memorable year, having attracted The Libertines, Mumford & Sons and Metallica to headline the Main Stage over the weekend, on top of other huge names like Kendrick Lamar, Jamie T, DeadMau5, Jamie XX and Alt-J, to name a few. 

Outside the glare of the Main and NME stages, however, resides a wealth of equally exciting talent deserving some limelight of its own. A far cry from its roots as a rock festival, Reading and Leeds today boasts a huge line-up as diverse as it is talented. Here we list some acts you cannot afford to miss this year.



Hailing from Liverpool’s prolific LIPA institute, this multi-national trio of indie-pop shoegazers promise an exuberant set at Reading and Leeds this year. Releasing their eponymous debut album earlier this year to wide acclaim, All We Are’s delicate blend of electronica, falsetto vocals and funky guitar hooks (self-dubbed as “The Bee-Gee’s on diazepam”) all mix together for guaranteed festival revelry. Get your boogie on, R&L.



Shrouded in mystery throughout their inception, the more we’ve seen of Brighton four-piece Black Honey, the better. Bringing garage rock with a 60s twist to the Festival Republic Stage, Black Honey’s repertoire will thrill from the swinging adrenaline of ‘Spinning Wheel’ to the pop choruses of ‘Madonna’ and ‘Sleep Forever’. Not out of place in a Tarantino flick at times, we’re sure Black Honey will be just as well-suited to R&L this August.


A perfect fit for the festival atmosphere, Gengahr’s debut album A Dream Outside has been making waves since its release earlier this year. Promising to be one of the most hyped appearances on the Festival Republic Stage, their distinctive, grooving psych-pop is sure to earn them a fresh crop of followers before the weekend is out. For a flavour of their soaring melodies, check out ‘She’s A Witch’ and ‘Powder’.



It’s pronounced “Horror”. Though in effect, this New Jersey duo’s deliberately provocative and eye-catching moniker reflects a lot about their work. Combining all the aggro of punk and hardcore with the flexing audacity of alternative hip-hop akin to Tyler, The Creator, Ho99o9 have garnered a notoriety for their high-octane live performances. The swirling, bassy soundscapes, interspersed with post-punk riff and disturbing lyricism, create an ominous, angsty atmosphere ideal for R&L’s Pit.


The jewel in the crown of Canadian punk. 2014’s Negative Qualities holds everything you need to know about Single Mothers, whether it be their angry, restless, scuzzy track structures or cutting observational lyricism. Take an example: their lead single, ‘Marbles’, spits existential crises on hypocrisy and crippling self-awareness to an infectious and raucous rhythmic backdrop that simply cannot be missed in the live arena.


A sly middle finger to the prevalence of a ubiquitous grunge revival, Rat Boy’s cheeky observations set to driving guitar-led tunes hark back to the mid-noughty glory years for indie bands. One to watch as his inevitable LP comes around, Rat Boy’s lamenting his finishing school with no prospects has already gained attention from the likes of Zane Lowe. For fans of Jamie T, you won’t want to miss Rat Boy.

Reading is held at Richfield Avenue, and Leeds at Bramham Park, from 28th – 30th August 2015.

James Noble

Images: Reading and Leeds

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