Gather ‘round, please, because it’s that time again. It’s time for people over 39 to squint at the first names on the Reading and Leeds festival line-ups and scream “WHOMST.” Yes, for a very long time Reading and Leeds were all about guitar bands – as ‘popular music festivals’ that reflected the music that sold the most records. And we do mean actual records – Reading proper was founded in the early 1970s, before Leeds hopped on in 1991.
And in those days, people could rely on names like the Jam, Patti Smith, Alice Cooper, Status Quo and later Manic Street Preachers, PJ Harvey and Nirvana towards the top of the bill. Now, if you have older family members who grew up here and remember those good old days, this morning’s Reading and Leeds line-up may not make that much sense to them. Now, Tshepo's uncle is a legend who only listens to classic soul and R&B, so he’s the furthest thing from a rockist. But if you’re related to the sort of person with a Twitter account dedicated to telling off mobile phone providers, Premier League footballers and official festival accounts, here’s a handy guide you can print off for them about the artists confirmed so far to play Reading and Leeds 2019. Let’s start with the headliners:
You like Queen, don’t you? And Phil Collins? This is kind of like that, but also a bit like those boy bands your niece is into. Also, the lead singer dresses a bit like Bowie, and you know who that is.
TWENTY ONE PILOTS
You know what, I had to Google them as well. They’re a hugely successful American duo, making a mix of alt-rock, rap and pop. You’ll have heard their music playing in the background while you were in a shop, maybe, and definitely on the radio.
Okay, you definitely know this lot. That song where a guy screams “DONE! DONE! ONTO THE NEXT ONE, DONE I’M DONE”? Yeah, them. Yes, one of them was in Nirvana and now he’s a very very rich man.
You may find him a more palatable rapper (of sorts; he mostly sings) because he’s white. Also last year he said “whenever I want to sit down and have a nice cry, I'll listen to some Bob Dylan," which sounds like your sort of vibe on a quiet day.
And now, here’s a guide to every single other name announced so far:
She’s 16 so please make sure your friends at the pub don’t fancy her. An American who sort of whisper-sings in a trendy way and has truly millions of young followers. She’s relatable because she sings about anxiety and vulnerability.
A rapper and singer. She was the first British woman to feature on an annual rap magazine list that matters to people, unlike yourself, who care about rap.
Some guys with guitars and luscious hair.
Completely inoffensive, with lots of “woah-oh-oh”-ing. A bit like a younger version of Gary Barlow. The musical equivalent of eating cardboard.
Quite stressful, this one. He’s got a good heart and sings about… like, being a young man and stuff but somehow settled on a stage name that reads like something spat out by a ‘so you wanna be a Soundcloud rapper’ name generator.
Vaguely indie music with hints of 80s synths, that critics tend to dislike. But they’re five lads from Stockport so will probably make a lot of sense to you. The Guardian said they sometimes sound a bit like Hollywood Beyond, if that helps.
On one of her songs she goes “Beat in my chest, pain in my breast” so just file this as ‘Australian drum-heavy pop that I will certainly not be hoping to hear down the pub on Friday.’ Very modern.
BOWLING FOR SOUP
They've been going since the 90s, so you're at least faintly aware of their hits. Shockingly bad at writing songs from the believable perspective of a woman, which you can hear on their biggest singles “1985” and “Girl All the Bad Guys Want.’
Avoid. It’s electronic music, and I know you hate that. Will sound to you like the racket being pumped through Topshop when you’re just trying to find your daughter during the sales.
You know Taylor Swift because they play her on the overheads at ASDA. This is kind of like that, but cool and lesbian.
I don’t know how to explain Crucast to you other than he sounds like this: DOOF, DOOF, DOOF, DOOF, DOOFDOOFDOOFDOOF, WEH WEH WEH WEHHHH WEH. Yeah you’re right, a bit like that time you tried to fix the oven with a power drill, but more rhythmic.
Pronounced “Paris.” Not actually French. A rock group with very nice guitar; I feel as though you’d like that guitar.
Another name with a bit of fun: pronounced “Notes.” He makes music loosely called afropop, which might sound to you like something to soundtrack an ad for tropical juice but is a wave of British pop that pulls from the west African and Caribbean diaspora.
ABSOLUTE LEGENDS WHO MADE ONE OF THE BEST ALBUMS OF ALL TIME 15 YEARS AGO, IT’S CALLED CORAL FANG AND I’LL BUY YOU THE CD FOR YOUR CAR. A punky, rock masterstroke of a band.
Proper DOOF-DOOF house music, this. Not for you – unless you’ve been keeping your stories of a Second Summer of Love, knee-deep in pingers, secret from me and the rest of the family. He’s Glaswegian and well-respected.
You know what, you might like this lot. Push against your instinct that they sound “too girly” (that’s just your knee-jerk reaction to a woman-fronted rock band) and see what you make of their poppy hooks. Beware: they have no fans born earlier than 1995 so you’d feel ridiculous at their gigs.
None of them are actually from India. Bit glam, bit indie – sometimes sound like the 70s, which I reckon you’ll like.
If he's convinced, he and anyone can get tickets from 9AM this Friday (this link will lead to something tickets-related by that time).