O2 Academy at Reading & Leeds 2017

Posted: Tuesday 29 August 2017

Reading & Leeds 2017 is over. Sigh. But do not fear, as it was merely a precursor of what to expect from your local O2 Academy later this year! Come and join us as we look back over Reading & Leeds 2017 and take a sneak-peak at just some of the acts that are heading to a stage near you. The music never ends!


Fresh from releasing their second album the day before they hit Reading & Leeds, PVRIS were a band in their absolute element on the main stage. With new music came a fiery new energy, the band pushing themselves to deliver the best performance possible. Working through the hits that brought them to this moment, such as ‘My House’ and ‘St Patrick’, it was new track ‘Half’ which truly showed them at their finest. Not only an incredibly talented singer, ‘Half’ saw Lynn Gunn attack the drum kit just as hard as (touring drummer) Justin Nace, showcasing her new found confidence as a main stage performer.

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The American trio are back for their second year, sitting comfortably between Becky Hill and ALMA on the BBC Radio 1 Dance Stage line up. After releasing their self-titled debut album in June and with an already existing catalogue of EP’s under their belt,  their set list included the likes of ‘Good Girls’, ‘Super Far’ and ‘ILYSB’; all of which frontman, Paul Klein, delivered with the natural ability of a born musician. Several dates into their world tour, with many more to go, the alternative band showed no signs of slowing down and performed with a relentless and very infectious energy.

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Mura Masa

Alex Crossan, better known by his stage name, Mura Masa, proved once again what a well-rounded talent he is when he took to the stage with a treasure trove of his signature, tropical house tunes.  The Guernsey-born DJ isn’t just a songwriter, but also adds multi-instrumentalist and music producer to his resume. It’s probably most notable, however, that he’s a minimalist – nothing is ever too much and that goes a long way toward distinguishing him from his peers. He had the crowd going from the very first drum loop until the very last beat and every moment in between and fans responded especially well to bangers,’Love$ick’ and ‘What If I Go’.

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The Pretty Reckless

Main Stage favourites, The Pretty Reckless reeled in a prize crowd as they dominated both Reading & Leeds with powerhouse frontwoman, Taylor Momsen in the driver’s seat. However, we’re not at all surprised by the thousands who flocked to see the ever-so-cool Momsen and co. do their thing, because they really couldn’t run a tighter ship. Every song came together perfectly as vocals – laced with both attitude and emotion – blended effortlessly with growling guitars and hard and heavy drum runs. ‘Heaven Knowns’, ‘Take Me Down’ and debut single, ‘Make Me Wanna Die’ were among the tracks that filled the airways and kept the audience on their feet.

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Surely there isn’t a better way to make a mark than a comeback show at Reading & Leeds? The Yorkshire band of five did exactly that as they had the BBC Radio 1 tent erupt in utter chaos during one of their biggest shows to date. Armed with their brand new single, ‘Play’ and an arsenal of hand-grenade-like rock anthems, including ‘Move, Shake, Hide’, ‘Why Do You Hate Me?’ and ‘Born Young and Free’ – all from their debut, The Weird and Wonderful Marmozets. The in-your-face band we’ve come to love (and really missed during their short absence) made sure we all knew they are well and truly back.

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Sundara Karma

Sundara Karma did their hometown proud with an atmospheric set when they took to the NME / BBC 1 Radio 1 Stage at Reading. Significantly higher up on the bill than the year before, the four-piece indie outfit, led by a very confident Oscar Pollock, kept the crowd fully under their spell with earnest and enchanting renditions of fan favourites like, ‘Olympia’, ‘She Said’ and of course the song that could easily become the anthem of an indie generation, ‘Flame’.  As fans sang every word back to the band, one thing is clear; the future looks very bright for this band.

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Blaenavon was another fellow NME / BBC Radio 1 Stage artist that didn’t disappoint. The indie rock band, hailing from Hampshire, encapsulated the very essence of a music festival by playing their shimmering hooks and pummelling rhythms fast, loud and distorted. Singer, Ben Gregory eventually dove head first into the crowd, while bassist, Frank Wright got rid of his instrument to join Harris McMillan behind the drums and their set just wouldn’t be complete without a cheeky little pit.

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Against The Current

It’s nerve wracking enough playing Reading & Leeds for the first time, let alone playing it for the first time and on the main stage, but New Yorkers Against The Current took it all in their stride. Their deliciously sweet pop-rock still packs a punch and vocalist Chrissy Costanza is as fierce as they come, owning the stage alongside fellow bandmates Dan Gow and Will Ferri as they smash through hits from debut album In Our Bones

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If there’s one band who can bring metallic shell suits back into fashion, it’s Scottish pop-rock band Vukovi. Choice of outfits aside though, Vukovi grabbed the opportunity of playing The Pit stage at Reading & Leeds by the horns and went for it. With vocalist Janine Shilstone commanding the crowd like a true leader, their performance was at a high voltage from start to finish. Transforming their debut album into a live show, songs such as ‘Animal’ and ‘La Di Da’ were a frenzy of bouncing bodies and huge sing-a-longs, and it’s easy to see why they’re becoming one of the most exciting bands on the live circuit right now.

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Hot Dub Time Machine

Since his debut in 2011, DJ Tom Loud Hot Dub has taken party-goers on a journey through time by playing a cornucopia of dance anthems, ranging from 1954 to 2015, in chronological order. Known for performing at festivals, theatres and even the odd rooftop, Leeds Festival would be no exception as he hit the decks on the Leeds Alternative Stage. Spinning tunes to a packed out crowd – some of who took to socials to say Hot Dub was the only reason they were going to Leeds in the first place – the experience was only enhanced by the innovative strobing and the addition of branded beach balls.

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Fickle Friends

Not even a slight technical hitch can dampen Fickle Friends’ spirit at Reading festival. This is a band who have worked insanely hard over the past couple of years and being here in this moment is proof that it’s all paid off. Their bubbly take on indie-pop got the day-three festival goers shaking off their hangovers and enjoying the fizzy delights of new song ‘Glue’ and old favourite ‘Swim’. Though one of the early performers on the NME/BBC Radio 1 stage, Fickle Friends are a band who could find themselves headlining it within a few short years.

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The Sherlocks

The fact that South Yorkshire quartet The Sherlocks fancy themselves as leaders of the resurgence of guitar music becomes evident as they progress through their Reading & Leeds set with ultra-sharp guitar work and well-crafted songs. Singer, Kiaran Clark’s voice rides each strum and drum beat as it all echoes hauntingly from the NME / BBC Radio 1 Stage during a solid set to a significant and very eager audience; something that’s quite impressive in its own right, given they only dropped their debut album, Live for the Moment the week prior to the festival. That, of course, is due to the fact that they’ve already bagged a loyal following - and with anthemic rock favourites, like ‘Will You Be There?’ and ‘Was It Really Worth It?’, we’re not at all surprised.

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